Old-time entertainment

![][1]More than 100 years ago, in the days before widespread electrical power, there was no such thing as an entertainment industry - at least, not as we know it today. Instead, entertainment took a little industry.After a long day of work, folks would sit together and read books, or gather around the piano and sing, or swap stories. Some families would have spelling contests every night; others had (gasp!) conversations. Chataquas were big, communitywide versions of this. Entertainment was a participatory event, rather than passive - no sitting around just watching or listening. You had to make your own fun.That tradition has largely disappeared in the last century thanks to radios and televisions and DVD players. Today, we have people to make our fun for us.As you can probably gather, there are days I feel curmudgeonly about this. On those days, I am exceedingly grateful for the Internet.Hear me out on this. In the last few weeks, I have found myself richly entertained by the following, largely home-made offerings:¢ A video made by students at Gordon College, who produced a live-action stage recreation of the first level of [Super Mario Brothers videogame.][2] If you have no idea what that means, you're probably a little older - I'm sorry - but if you've seen it and understand what's going on, you know it's brilliant.¢ Another video, ["The Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments,"][3] which features two young men creating a Las Vegas-style waterfountain show - using the combustible combination of, well, Diet Coke and Mentos.¢ A performance by [Hurra Torpedo][4] - they played Wakarusa over the weekend - singing Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart," with percussion provided by a man destroying an oven with a sledgehammer.If all these things sound impossibly weird, well, that's kind of the point. Hollywood would never produce a video of two geeks dropping 500 Mentos in 100 bottles of Diet Coke for the goofy joy of it. It took the two geeks to do it, and the pleasure I felt in five minutes of online video viewing far surpassed any 22-minute sitcom I've seen recently.The Internet has made it possible for people all over the world to take their half-baked ideas and use them to entertain other people all over the world. Folks are making their own fun again - and you don't have to spend much time online to realize that more and more people are doing it.It's fantastic. Just like the old days. [1]: http://www.jokesunlimited.com/videothumbs/72.jpg [2]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZQtKkf6DGg [3]: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-197826019194600575 [4]: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5711603648659880114&q=%22hurra+torpedo%22


gaiapapaya 11 years, 5 months ago

We did the diet coke-mentos experiment in our front yard. I purchased 8 different kinds of sodas so we could see if different sodas had different responses to the mentos. They do. Diet seems to be a factor. I'm guessing there is some sort of magical compund in aspartame that allows it to shoot fizz farther in the air. Fruit and clear sodas, as well as sodas make with sugar/corn syrup did not do as well. Diet root beer was the best.

We invited the neighbors out to watch and we all had a great time. Nothing lile old-timey entertainment!

I found mentos a roundcorner, but I'm sure you can buy them elsewhere.

ApostrophesAnonymous 11 years, 5 months ago

I love, love, love the Mario Bros video! It is really accurate. I really suck at that game, so I know the first sequence by heart because that's about as far as I ever made it. Wow, that was great!

dennislu 11 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if the camera zoom was implying Mario got bigger from the mushroom.

darkangel 11 years, 5 months ago

Diet coke and mentos? Who would have thought of putting mentos in diet coke. Usually I just drink it. What an absolutely awesome, ridiculous video.

Thanks Joel!!!

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