Wasting Time on YouTube

(Picture from here.)

Okay. It’s the pandemic. It’s been a godawful long time. I just saw one of my best friends, in person, for the first time in seven months. If you can call it that. We were both masked. We stood six feet apart and made grotesque long distance hugging motions at one another.

Who am I kidding? It was the best moment I’d had for months with someone who wasn’t living inside my house. Of course, it was the only good moment I’d had for months with someone who wasn’t living inside my house.

That said, there are some really good diversions on youtube.

(Yes. I’ve been watching a lot of it. For one thing, the news sections pops up effectively in headlines so I can be depressed without the horrid experience of actually watching the news. Small mercies.)

So: these have been good at getting me through the night.

In no apparent order…

Realistic Fishing

We got into fishing in a big way this year. It’s outside. It’s doing something. We can spend some time together outside doing something. It’s fairly easy to maintain social distance.

I mean it would be great if I actually caught fish. Wendy and Ben did. Turns out fried fish fresh from the lake is pretty good.

RF fishes a lot and has a lot of videos. He shows you what he does. He shows you when it works and when it doesn’t. There’s a lot of “doesn’t” in his show. He usually catches a fish eventually but you get to watch him cast six or eight or forty times before that happens. This is endearing to me since I cast a lot and don’t catch many fish.

It’s also true RF isn’t proud. If he can’t catch bass, he’ll catch bluegill. Pretty much anyone can catch a bluegill. Bluegill range from not very big to extremely small. But RF likes them all.

In all his videos I only saw him keep a few fish.

On the con side, he really has some very good spots down there in Tennessee. Wendy and I are looking at a bunch of shad feeding. RF tosses a hook into the swarm and hooks one and then uses it for bait.

We stop at the shad feeding point. We never see that.


Scishow is great for 8 or 10 or 20 minute discussions about interesting scientific things. This can be the evolution of sharks or the nature of the Big Bang Theory. (The scientific theory. Not the show.) The hosts don’t dumb it down but they don’t bludgeon you with math either.

There are several hosts but one (whose name escapes me) looks a whole lot like Peter Dinklage if PD were six feet tall. Being lectured to about science by Peter Dinklage is far from the worst thing in the world.

That said, the only thing that would make Scishow better is if it really were hosted by Peter Dinklage.

I would love that.

Joe Scott

Joe Scott has two basic video blogs. One about science (“Answers with Joe”) and one about his emotional state. (“TMI”) Both are fun.

Answers with Joe is Joe Scott trying to figure out science and technology and explaining what he’s found out to the viewer. This can be a lot of fun since he is not a scientist but does have a real drive to get it right. He’s also the first to admit when he runs off the edge of his understanding.

TMI on the other hand is Joe trying to make sense of his life and this current world situation. It’s very personal and, frankly, I don’t listen to it as much as I listen Answers. There are some real nuggets here, though. For example, he did one TMI where he wondered if social media is a possible Great Filter.

(The Great Filter is one of the hypotheses on why we’re not hearing lots of conversation from out there. The idea is that there is some kind of event, probably self-generated, that prevents a species from getting off planet and getting out there riling things up.)

Hijinks ensued.


As both of my readers know, I’ve been experimenting with making knives. I have Outdoors55 to thank for this. I mentioned him earlier, though not by name. (See here.) It was his video that made things understandable enough to me so that I could try it.

Outdoors55 has a particular point of view on everything he does. It’s extremely practical. For example, the video I watched about making a knife said, basically, make a knife from a file because the file is already heat treated. In another video, he built a tiny forge out of four bricks and a couple of torches. It’s a very serviceable  forge for tempering a knofe and it costs about six bucks.

A lot of very good advice that I’m probably not smart enough to take.

Overly Sarcastic Productions

cannot say enough good things about this site. OSP has two hosts: Red and Blue. Red talks about fiction tropes and mythology. Blue talks about history. They make extremely interesting, extremely funny videos about what interests them.

There are also some serious ones, too. Red’s Trope Talks are interesting and not particularly funny– except that Red is funny just by herself.

I’ve seen them all.

She has the best take on Journey to the West I’ve ever seen. Also, her take on Lovecraft should be seen by everybody.


I found this one very recently and I have to say I’m in love. These are, really, flash fiction or short stories with fairly minimal illustration.

The video We’re the Last Humans Left begins:

Or species probably began about two hundred thousand years ago and judging by the fucking state of us I think we can all agree it was a terrible idea.

Which gives you an idea how his nihilist side works. But that’s not the only good thing about his material.

Letter to Marble 3 begins

To our excellent friends of Marble 3. Congratulions on decoding this message from the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. You must be getting very clever. Don’t ask us why it’s written in your languages. Give us some credit. We’re gone now. But we left this message behind for when you’re ready to hear it.

It’s a lovely, hopeful, and not terribly sentimental letter to us to keep trying to be better.

Which is pretty much all there is, isn’t it?

Warlord of Noodles

Also called Betsy Lee.

This is a very strange site. There are a lot of different pieces to it. There are two main story lines: No Evil and Swingers Side Show Dance Club. The dance club story line is, sad to say, now defunct. It’s worth watching but it ends abruptly.

No Evil is an entirely different kettle of fish.

Imagine meso-american mythology being told with the point of view of Appalachia.

No Evil is convoluted and mysterious. Several parts or flat out obscure– you know that what is happening has a reason behind it but the reason is not forthcoming. It may never be forthcoming.

I’m fine with that. No Evil has interesting characters and a good plot. Some of the singing is heartbreakingly beautiful. (I’m looking at you episode 10.) It blends music and folk lore seamlessly.

Some singing, I think, is by the production team. Some comes from old recording.

The sense of it reminds me of the Grand Old Opry and other like music I heard when I was a child fifty or sixty years ago.

And that’s it.

These are interesting sites. Things I like might not be things that you like but give them a whirl.




Wasting Time on YouTube — 4 Comments

  1. I especially like a few channels that are interested in shifting to a more sustainable and safer infrastructure.
    Getting a substantial percentage of people out of their cars for at least a portion of their (shorter) journeys would do much good for the climate and people’s health, as well as making the places where people live and gather safer and more pleasant.

    Not Just Bikes https://www.youtube.com/c/NotJustBikes
    is a Canadian who now lives in the Netherlands; he’s been posting videos for a year now, so it’s a reasonable number to watch if you’re interested.

    has been posting a weekly blog plus video for more than a decade.
    It is really worthwhile to look up some specially interesting older posts, like those on the principles of sustainable (systematic) safety which underly Dutch infrastructure design guides. This is the one he made with a US professor to explain it specifically for a US audience: https://youtu.be/5aNtsWvNYKE

    He has blogs explaining design principles, showcasing specific design elements (like safer intersections https://youtu.be/FlApbxLz6pA, or roundabouts, bus stop bypasses, etc.), new street or bridge upgrades, interesting themes, and some just showing rides around the Netherlands.
    Some are long, fun to “ride along at home” on your stationary bike, and some are short and quite relaxing just to watch, especially the themed compilations like https://youtu.be/SfLJ876lXsQ (cycling with babies and toddlers), or https://youtu.be/8NUgB_xkIvU (the school rush); https://youtu.be/tv4jZXcKOtk (tulipfields in spring) or https://youtu.be/ZyhVQfLDJQ0 (autumn in his hometown).

    He aims to give people in car-dominated societies a look at what else is possible, without diminishing one’s quality of life (in fact, increasing it, in my opinion). If people can’t envision what the new situation could be, changing the present status quo often feels like a threat; and not everyone can come and visit to experience it for themselves.

    is an US based filmer who documents positive infrastructure developments around the world, with lots of US examples.
    Here’s his film on my old hometown:

    Electric cars aren’t the solution, as those still cause particulate pollution from brakes and tires and road wear, they still take up too much space in cities, they use too much of a finite resource to electrify all vehicles, and the growth of SUVs is more than negating all the gasoline savings from electric vehicles.

    Electric (cargo)bikes, eliminating problems with hills and sweating, and enabling longer distances, together with a good network of trains (fast and frequent, clean and safe) for long distance travel would be a real game-changer. But those need an investment in safe infrastructure, and for people to be willing to invest in that they need to be able to see, to imagine, what that investment could enable.
    That’s why I think YouTube channels like those I mentioned here are important, as well as often interesting or relaxing to watch.

  2. And then there are the channels my spouse watches–BIG tankers entering the locks at Duluth, Minnesota–each ship has a distinctive horn. Tractor pulls. stationary cameras at train crossings… pipe organ concerts. Bagpipe bands…

    Never a dull moment on his TV.

  3. If I had not already sworn deep and abiding friendship with you, Steve, the introduction to OSP and particularly the Lovecraft piece would have done it. OMG, as the young folk say.

  4. I love watching remastered old film, the older the better, especially shot on city streets around the world, of people who don’t know there is a camera watching.