How to disable “related” videos at the end of embedded YouTube clips

Yesterday I posted on my newfound knowledge about how to specify the starting and ending points in an embedded YouTube video.  I was pretty excited to be able to play just a 40-second segment of video from the middle of a full-length documentary.

But then I noticed that when my video clip ended, I got the screen array full of other videos that you sometimes get when you play clips on YouTube.  I didn’t want that distraction.  Plus, even if these particular related videos were “clean,” I’ve noticed that sometimes such “related” videos preview images I’d rather not have on my blog.  (And I can’t imagine how they are related to what I just watched!)

Anyway, I did a little more digging and experimenting, and I figured out how to disable that screen from displaying those related videos.

Here’s the code from yesterday’s post that allowed me to embed the YouTube video with specified “start” and “stop” times:

Here’s the result of that coded instruction displayed in the form of my video clip.  If you want to see the start/stop and related videos, you have to sit tight and just let the 41 seconds play.  Trying to speed things up by dragging the little slider button (don’t know what it’s called :) ) seems to disable the start/stop parameters.

To disable the related videos from appearing at the end, simply add &rel=0 to that long string of code.  (That’s a ZERO on the end, not a lower-case letter “o.”)  So the code would look like this:

And here is the result.  (Again, you need to sit tight and let the video play out until the end.)  Cool, right?



Posted in Creativity, innovation, lifelong learning, Learning, Movies and film, Photos and video, Teaching, Technology, Writing, blogging | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

How to specify “start” and “stop” times in embedded YouTube videos in WordPress

I planned to write a post on allusion and homage in literature and film today, but now I’m going to postpone that till another day—because I’m so absolutely thrilled with myself that I figured out how to embed a YouTube video and have it start and start at specific times.

Here is a clip from Leni Reifenstahl’s Triumph of the Will.  That film is an hour and 45 minutes long.  But I wanted to show just a clip about 30 seconds long taken from around an hour into the film.  And I did it!  Check it out:

The reason I wanted to show just this section was so I could compare it with a section of video from Disney’s Lion King (the “Be Prepared” song) to illustrate the concept of “homage” in film.  As I said, that post is under construction and will go up sometime soon.

But meanwhile I thought I’d share my (minor) success with you.  Yay me! :)  I’ve been thinking I want to learn how to code, and this little triumph makes me feel I can do it.  Working on this blog and leaving comments on other people’s sites, I’ve picked up some HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) tricks, just a little bit at a time.  How to italicize a title, for instance.

Anyway, here’s what you do if you want to embed a YouTube video in your blog and have it begin and end at specific points.

  1. Copy the URL of the YouTube video
  2. Paste it into your WordPress blog post draft
  3. At the very end of the video’s URL, with no extra space, type

&start=[starting point time in seconds]&end=[ending point time in seconds]

So for my video clip, I wanted to start at 1:00:03, or an hour and three seconds into the film.  I wanted to end at 1:00:43, or an hour and forty-three seconds in.

One hour equals 60 minutes.  Each minute contains 60 seconds.  So 60 minutes x 60 seconds equals 3600 seconds.  But I wanted to start at an hour and three seconds.  So my starting time was 3603 seconds.  And, similarly, my ending time would be 3643 seconds.

So my YouTube URL plus my starting and stopping times (in bold, for illustration) looked like this:

Maybe you already knew all this.  But if you didn’t, maybe you’d like to give it a try in your own blog.  Good luck, and have fun!


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London: We Need to talk about Paris

Katherine Wikoff:

Enlightening blog post essay about Paris book shops from The Matilda Project. Had to laugh out loud at the “Cry me a river, Goliath” parenthetical aside.

Originally posted on The Matilda Project:


Readers, have you been to Paris? And? Isn’t it amazing?

Yes, I know. Everyone loves Paris. Everyone agrees that it’s one of the most beautiful cities on Earth. Everyone who didn’t run away to Paris at eighteen feels a pang of regret every time someone quotes Hemingway’s statement that ‘If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.’ You don’t need me to drive the point home. Well, I apologise, but I’m going to have to put in my two Euro cents.

My favourite thing about visiting Paris – the thing even more dear to me than IMG_1499eating brioche with every meal or walking along the Seine at twilight – is being in a city that looks after its bookshops. Walking around the centre of…

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One Grecian Urn

I’m searching for a term that would help me find some sort of documentary evidence, preferably video, of a style of dance that was popular around the start of the twentieth century.

Backstory: I encountered a reference to John Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” recently, which for some reason made me think of The Music Man and the scene where the mayor’s nasty wife Eulalie (Hermione Gingold) performs a classical “tableau” dance with the ladies dance committee (“one Grecian Urn”!) at the ice cream social near the film’s end.

Which then reminded me of a documentary I saw years ago with black and white footage of women doing a similar dance for real around the turn of the century.  Flowing Greek robes and all, just like the characters in The Music Man.  And it was incredibly beautiful.  When Eulalie and her biddies assume their “Grecian Urn” pose, it’s ridiculous.  But when these real-life women struck their poses, they were creating an art form in dance.

Naturally I can’t figure out what the documentary was or find any video clips online of women performing such a dance—although I did find some photographs of women in classical Greek gowns creating tableaux, like the one below.

Acadia Ladies Seminary Physical Cultural Exhibition Scene from fan drill, 1901


And I found an extremely cool short film, “Serpentine Dance,” or “Danse Serpentine” (in French), from 1896 made by the famous Lumière brothers, French film pioneers.

The Serpentine Dance was created by Loie Fuller, Chicago burlesque dancer who experimented with the effects of stage lights on her swirling silk gowns.  Below is a photograph of the real Loie Fuller, taken by Frederick Glasier in 1902.

And here is the Lumière brothers’ film, one of the earliest “color” motion pictures.  Each frame was hand tinted to mimic the effect that stage lighting had on Fuller’s gowns.  This dancer is not the real Loie Fuller, but she is extraordinarily good.  Once you get past the kind of dorky opening 43 seconds, the swirling robes are astonishing.  It’s surprising to me that dancing from 100 years ago would still look so good today.  Somehow I just don’t expect it.


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Random thoughts on time, nostalgia and the human experience


This photo taken on my way to work doesn’t do it justice. but the sun looked really eerie here, like a science fiction movie.  As you can see, the light was directed upward, while the ground below was in shadows.  And it was such a temporary phenomenon.  By the time I’d driven about 20 more blocks, the clouds were completely gone and the sun was blindingly bright.

Last January I wrote a post about a “miracle” class discussion in my freshman humanities class about the nature of time.  Among other things, we took a close look at the concepts of “past,” “present,” and “future.”  Two years ago I wrote a post about “chasing light,” in which I showed how different the same tree looked in two photos, snapped just seconds apart, as the sunlight suffusing its autumn leaves faded.

Time is such an elusive, illusory thing.

Outside my office in the Grohmann Museum are several paintings of horses in harness, mostly hauling huge logs.  In fact, much of my floor is devoted to “earth”-related work—marble quarries, bridge building, lumber, agriculture, brickmaking, peat harvesting, road construction—and many of those industries once employed oxen and horses.

As I think about time, sitting here surrounded by a visual record of other eras, it occurs to me how strange it is, and how recent, that today’s world is scheduled and documented and organized into queues that are all simultaneously synchronized and segmented into micro-second increments.

In the world of horses and oxen, time moved in shadows.  Shadows that slipped slowly across fields.  Long shadows in the morning and evening, short shadows at mid-day.

I have an acute feeling of nostalgia associated with this “physical” sense of time.  Time measured in shadows is something very different from time measured in mechanized ticks or electronic transition frequency.

“Nostalgia” is one of my favorite words.  (Do you have favorite words?  When my older daughter was a toddler, I’d ask her to tell me her three favorite words that morning, and then I wrote them down in my journal.  She was sort of impressed with the idea that her words were being recorded.  And it’s fun to go back and see them now: ponies, lace, ribbons, rainbows :) )

There is something very sad about the idea of “nostalgia,” yet also something comforting.  There’s an ambiguity, an imprecision in our “imagined” past.  Ironically, our imagined past often also seems so simple, so filled with clarity.

When railroads were introduced in Victorian England, people were alarmed not only by their effect on the landscape and on livestock but also on the people on board the trains themselves.  Who knew what ill-effects might befall a person at breakneck speeds of 35 miles per hour!  How silly and naïve that seems now.

And yet.

For thousands of years human existence was grounded in the natural world.  As our relationship with technology has evolved, as our very concept of time has evolved, I have to wonder how that has altered us.

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No (Introductory) Christmas Lyric Left Behind

“The sun is shining / The grass is green . . .”  Thus begins one of my favorite Christmas songs.  It continues:

The orange and palm trees sway

There’s never been such a day

In Beverly Hills, L.A.

If you don’t recognize it yet, the next couple of lines may give it away:

But it’s December the 24th

And I’m longing to be up north . . .

At which point we finally get down to business and transition to the song’s main lyrics:

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas . ..

I’ve always loved introductory verses like the one in “White Christmas.”  I grew up with plenty of old, classic vinyl LP records (not to mention the brittle, even-older shellac 78 rpm records).  Some of those old records, I noticed, began with an odd, extra verse that got left off of most other versions of the songs.

For example, there’s this melancholy introductory lyric:

The loveliness of Paris seems somehow sadly gay

The glory that was Rome is of another day

I’ve been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan

I’m going home to my city by the bay . . .

At which point, as in “White Christmas,” comes the transformation into the song we all recognize:

I left my heart in San Francisco

With the Christmas season now upon us, I started realizing that many Christmas songs seem to have these introductory verses that get left off most recordings.  The aforementioned “White Christmas” is one, of course.  But there are also all these others—and I’m sure I’m leaving some off the list!

  • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Raindeer − “You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen . . .”
  • Santa Claus Is Coming to Town – “I just came back from a lovely trip along the Milky Way . . .”
  • The Christmas Song (i.e. “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”) – “All through the year we’ve waited / Waited through spring and fall / To hear silver bells ringing / See wintertime bringing / The happiest season of all . . .”
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – “Christmas Future is far away / Christmas Past is past / Christmas Present is here today / Bringing joy that will last. . .”
  • Winter Wonderland – “Over the ground lies a mantle of white / A heaven of diamonds shine down through the night . . .”

Here is the Eurythmics version of that last song, just because I like Annie Lennox so much :)

I wonder why so many Christmas songs have these lovely, secret opening verses.  And even more, I wonder:  Why are they so often left behind when the songs are recorded?

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In Praise of the One-Hit Wonder

Driving home today, I was listening to (and, of course, singing along with :) )Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” on the radio.  My first idle thought was to realize that it is in 3/4 time, like a waltz.  Most of his songs are 4/4.  Not that I have ever made a study of this!  It was just one of those weird free associations you may sometimes have.

My second thought, and not for the first time, was to marvel at what an incredible song that was for him practically right out of the gate.  “Piano Man” was Joel’s first hit, and it was released in 1973.  Forty years later, Joel is still performing in concerts, as he was, for example, this past August when he was caught on camera singing to his ex-wife Christie Brinkley, who was in the front row during a concert in New York.

My third thought was that “Piano Man” was the only song Joel ever needed to secure his place in music history.  Yes, he’s had many, many other hit records—songs I really like—but the only one he ever needed was that first masterpiece.  It’s just beautiful, perfect.  The unforced rhyme of the lyrics, the atmospheric mood, the heartbreaking story, the melody, the singing performance.  Perfect.

Then I started thinking about one-hit wonders.  Which got me to remembering the really mean things that Terry Teachout, theater critic for The Wall Street Journal, said about playwright Arthur Miller a day or two after he died (in 2005) and then again when reviewing a newly-published Miller biography in 2009.  (There is a connection here, if you’ll bear with me :) )

“The bells tolled for Arthur Miller all weekend long—but most of them were made of tin,” sneered Teachout in his obituary/commentary/”tribute.”  He went on to label Miller a “pretentious” playwright who “pretended to have big ideas and the ability to express them with a touch of poetry, when in fact he had neither.”  The real reason Miller rose to fame, Teachout said, was not his work but the fact that he married Marilyn Monroe and testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

In the 2009 Commentary review of Christopher Bigsby’s biography of Miller, Teachout expresses bafflement that Miller is regarded as great playwright in Europe, and he takes Bigsby to task for writing such an “unabashedly admiring” book about Miller.  Several times Teachout notes that the contemporary acclaim for Miller is completely at odds with his critical reception during his lifetime.  And he seems to have undertaken the task of restoring that previously unfavorable regard single-handedly.  Among the insults he throws out:

[N]one of the plays he wrote after 1968 was favorably received in this country [and] his American reputation rests almost entirely on Death of a Salesman, All My Sons (1947), and The Crucible (1953), his first three commercial successes and the only Miller plays that continue to be revived with regularity.

[T]he plots of All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible are sufficiently involving to conceal many—if not all—of their artistic defects.

[I]n the end it is hard to see Miller as anything other than a second-string tragedian, a sentimentalist who mistook ideas for art and windiness for poetry

For good measure, Teachout also informs us of a “widely reported posthumous revelation that Miller concealed the existence of his fourth child, whom he institutionalized on learning that the infant, who was born in 1966, suffered from Down Syndrome.”  And he brings up politics again and again.

Why, then, do so many modern-day critics feel so differently about Miller [than Teachout does—i.e., they like him and think he’s truly great]?  The answer, I suspect, is that they are willing to overlook his limitations as a writer because they share his political views—

[To which my reaction is: Huh??? When I formed my favorable opinion of Miller, I knew nothing about his political views]

—and, just as important, his view of what theater should do.

[Which, apparently, is “not unlike attending a taping of a TV show whose audience responds reflexively to the repeated flashing of an “applause” sign.]

[T]he critics of yesteryear, most of whom shared the political views of their contemporary counterparts, were nonetheless capable of setting aside those views and judging his plays not as political statements but as works of art.

I guess I don’t want to get too sidetracked by Teachout-bashing.  I usually like his reviews and other writing very much.  Something about his dismissal of Miller just really got under my skin, obviously.

And thinking about Billy Joel and “Piano Man” today while I was driving, I recalled the way Teachout disparaged Miller for the fact that his reputation rested largely on those three early plays.

So what?  Even if Miller’s reputation rested entirely on only one play, “Death of a Salesman,” that would be more than enough, in my opinion, to mark his legacy as one of the truly great playwrights in history.  Just as “Piano Man” is more than enough to secure Joel’s place as a singer/songwriter.  Not to mention one heck of a piano player, possibly the very best in popular music.

Both men’s creative output continued long after peaking artistically, if you are disposed to thinking about it negatively.

Again, so what?  All the rest (of each man’s respective oeuvre) is gravy.

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