Tag Archives: CBS

Sheldon Cooper Presents “Fun With Flags”: A YouTube Series of Podcasts

The other day I happened to be eating lunch and staring off out the window. While that may not seem important, it is. Most of the time, I like to be reading or doing something, while I’m eating. I completely understand that it’s probably better to not do this, but I often can’t help myself. Anyway, as I was sitting and just eating, an idea came to me. (Don’t you find that ideas come to you when you’re not thinking about them?) The idea, as the title of this post suggests, a web series from one of The Big Bang Theory’s main cast members: Sheldon Cooper.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the show (it’s quite funny), but a few times throughout the six seasons, Dr. Sheldon Cooper has led us on a journey through the wonderful world of vexillology: “scientific study of the history, symbolism and usage of flags or, by extension, any interest in flags in general.” Sheldon’s generally a pretty funny guy (not on purpose, that is, on purpose by the writers, but not by the character himself), so when he does these short podcasts on flags, it certainly provides a laugh or two. To date, there have been 5 instances of “Fun With Flags.”

In the first podcast, Sheldon and his, at the time, “girl who’s a friend, but is not my girlfriend,” Amy Farrah Fowler, introduce us to vexillology and tell us a bit about Oregon’s state flag.

Every time I watch this one, when Sheldon asks Amy about the white flag, I can’t help but laugh… “I’m submitting… to fun.”

In the second podcast, we learn about Bavaria.

In the third podcast, we learn a little bit about flags in Star Trek with Wil Wheaton.

In the fourth podcast, LeVar Burton replaces Wil Wheaton in attempting to teach us about flags in Star Trek.

In the fifth podcast, Penny (Sheldon’s across-the-hall neighbour),  helps teach us about Nebraska’s state flag.

The idea is that these podcasts could actually become an online series that supplements the show. They wouldn’t necessarily have to be every week or even every other week. The idea is that Dr. Sheldon Cooper could teach us about flags. This could be a big boon for CBS and The Big Bang Theory as I can’t imagine it not being a hit with fans of the show. Plus, there’s the whole social media aspect to it. That is, these clips would undoubtedly be shared vehemently across many networks.

Maybe I’m way off, but my guess is that this could really be a creative way for the show to engage viewers on a medium other than the TV. There could even be “special guests” (i.e. other cast members or noted vexillologists [are there any?]).

If you’re an executive at CBS and you’re reading this, I’d encourage you to get the marketing team on this and see if they think that there are enough people to warrant this kind of endeavour. I understand that there’d still be some cost to it (paying Jim Parsons, the film crew, the editing team, etc.), but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’d be profitable.


For those of you who think that I may be a bit biased because I like these online learning formats (John Green, Hank Green, ASAPScience, Michael Sandel, etc.), I’d encourage you to take a look at some of the number of followers of these accounts. The Crash Course has almost 1,000,000 subscribers. AsapSCIENCE has almost 1.5 million subscribers. MinutePhysics has almost 2 million subscribers. Consistently, the videos that these users upload obtain views in the hundreds of thousands.

One final note — Mental Floss. They’ve, in a sense, tested the market as they already have a “Fun With Flags” kind of series. They’re up to episode 17. Here’s a link to the first.


Quick Thoughts on the “60 Minutes” Interview with President Obama and Secretary Clinton

Earlier this evening, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton sat down with 60 Minutes to do an interview. Apparently, it was at the request of President Obama. During and after the interview’s airing on CBS, I offered some of my thoughts on Twitter. I’ve embedded those tweets below. I’ve also included the two tweets that I RT’d. In short, I think the last 3 tweets are really important. This interview certainly wipes the slate clean for 2016.

Note: In one of the above tweets, I referenced a post I wrote about deference. You can find it here.

Arbitrage: Another Reason Why Mergers & Acquisitions Fail?

I’ve seen a couple of good movies in the last few weeks (look for some posts on them in the upcoming days). In this post, I wanted to talk a bit about one of those movies: Arbitrage. It came out this past year and stars Richard Gere (and Susan Sarandon). In fact, Gere is up for a Golden Globe for his performance.

And Wikipedia says that, “Many critics pointed out Gere’s ‘conflicted performance’ as a ‘career-best’, and cited the screenplay, ensemble acting, and direction as high quality.” Although there isn’t a reference, I did find this article in Rolling Stone from a few months ago that says, “Gere’s performance in Arbitrage is too good to ignore. At 62, he is at the peak of his powers.” And another from a CBS affiliate that says this could be Gere’s, “best performance ever.”

The movie really reminds me of a movie I saw around this time last year: Margin Call. It’s not hard to see why — they’re both about Wall Street and some of the transgression that may lead to turmoil. In Arbitrage, Gere is a financial wizard who is in the process of selling his firm (that he built from the ground up to a $600 million business). In amongst this, there are affairs, murder, lies, cheating, scandal — just about everything you’d expect in a good movie. While clearly a movie, some of these plots don’t seem out of the realm of possibility for actually happening (in real life).

The one thing that I found the most telling was something towards the end of the movie. Now, it’s going to spoil the movie, so this is where I’m supposed to say “SPOILER ALERT.” If you don’t want the plot ruined, you should definitely bookmark this post and come back to it after having watched the movie. You can watch it on Amazon right now!

Okay — so this is what it was: as the acquiring CEO is on the way to the gala, his right-hand man hands him a piece of paper that points out that Gere’s character’s firm has a $400 million shortfall. The CEO says something to the effect of, “what do you think?” And right-hand man says, “It’s all right there.” And then the CEO says, “I don’t see anything.” And then the CEO smiles at the right-hand man.

It’s often written that mergers & acquisitions fail and there are plenty of reasons why this is the case. Managerial hubris being a key culprit. However, after watching Arbitrage, I wonder how often it happens that the acquiring firm learns about a firm’s “cooked books” after acquiring it and then has to “sit on it,” or else the stock price would take a major hit.