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Zanuck Talking About Spielberg’s Genius and Jaws

Scrolling around for Zanuck stories today, I ran across this photo of him when he was producing “Jaws,” and a quirky interview 2 years ago by a reporter with the pseudonym “Quint” (coincidentally the name of the shark hunter in the movie). They were supposed to be discussing the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film “Alice,” but perhaps understandably, Zanuck was more interested in discussing Jaws.

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Richard Zanuck, 1934-2012

I’m just heartsick to hear of the death of Hollywood producer Dick Zanuck, who was my college roommate and best friend for several years at Stanford in the mid-’50s. We decorated our room at the Fiji house with African masks and spears and South Seas artifacts from the set lot at 20th Century Fox. We went to movies almost every night. We took a surfing trip in a Fox jeep to Baja California in 1954, and then a Fox Ford convertible on a surfing trip to Mazatlan in Spring of 1955. We partied hard, chased girls, surfed, cultivated sun tans, and weren’t too serious about academic excellence.

   We both loved the beach, surfed, played volleyball, were the same size (not, um, tall) — and competitive (we actually got in a few fistfights). We’d go to a party, get semi-drunk, and take off for LA, arriving around sunrise. His family had a large house on the beach in Santa Monica, and my first experience surfing was riding a 12-foot redwood/balsa board owned by his brother-in-law Bobby Jacks at the Malibu colony. His family had a beautiful Spanish-style home in Palm Springs, built around a pool, where we’d go frequently, and John the butler would wake us up each morning with glasses of fresh orange juice from trees around the pool.

   One of our rituals was started by him when we were teenagers (60 years ago—gad!). He sent me a postcard from Hawaii showing a surfer, with the message “Ho!” (he was there and I was not). I started sending him “Ho!” postcards when I would be somewhere or doing something that would make him jealous, and he’d eventually reciprocate. In recent years I’d send him “Ho!” postcards of me skateboarding or doing well in races, and he’d call me right up.

   In recent years we’d talk about how all our friends were retired and we’d both say how we loved our work and were never going to retire. He never did. I’m so sorry to hear that he’s gone.

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Correspondence, Love Letters and Advice*

I love doing this blog. The perfect medium for me. I don’t have time for Facebook, and seldom tweet directly.

   I often wonder about all the time I put into it, what with having to create and sell enough books to keep this publishing ship afloat. But lately I’m realizing the payback of getting comments on just about any subject I bring up. For example, the great comments I’ve gotten on home theater systems, music, where to go in Brooklyn, places to skate. Really, I’ve acted on lots of these comments, they’ve steered me in good directions. So thank you guys.

*This was the title of the “Letters to the Editor” section of the Rolling Stone newspaper in the ’60s-’70s.

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One Minute Vacation by Kevin Kelly

Once in a while something comes in that causes me to drop whatever I’m doing, and this brilliant form of communication by Kevin Kelly is one of them. Perfect for the 21st century. Less is better. Wow!

“One second per day for a 2-months in Asia.

I took a one-second clip each day on a two-month trip in Asia during April & May 2012. On a few days I just had to do an extra second, so this video is actually 90 seconds long. I was inspired by Ceasar Kuriyama’s one-second-per-day life summary. Since it was only one second per day I filmed it on my Lumix still camera; edited on iMovie. This is all the video I took. There is no more; but there are stills. I’ll eventually put them on my site at — Kevin Kelly”

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Lew’s Shelterpub Facebook Page

I started this blog 7 years ago. A bit reluctantly at first. (Sort of the same way I began using a Macintosh.) As the years have gone by, it’s become part of my life; I’m committed to getting up at least one post a day, it gives me a quick and easy way to tell people what I discover in the world around me.

   In a way it doubled my workload: I have my work as an author, photographer, and publisher — making books — and there’s the blogging. Along with the occasional Tweet, a full plate.

   Then along came Facebook. I just didn’t have the time to get involved in this different form of communication, so Lew (Lewandowski) started doing a Shelter Facebook page. I didn’t really understand how Facebook worked until yesterday when Lew and I looked over his work. I was impressed. At left is a photo that caught my eye: the mobile farm stand of the organic Four Season Farm of Harborside, Maine. Lew scans the web for items of interest.

   With the blog I’m basically broadcasting; I don’t have time to reply to many comments. With Lew’s Facebook page, there’s a flow. People don’t just comment, they send photos, videos, they share with friends; it’s a web of communication. So I’ll keep blogging, and Lew will keep Facebooking, and this should give you a pretty good picture of what goes on in our work and with our interests:

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Radio Interview With Me by Mike Litchfield Thursday Feb 9th

Mike Litchfield, author of the excellent book In-laws, Outlaws, and Granny Flats (Taunton Books), is going to interview me on the subject of tiny homes on the local West Marin radio station, KWMR, this Thursday at  9 AM, Pacific Time (PST -0800):

   A great review of Tiny Homes appeared on the flagship of the tiny house movement, the Tiny House Blog, run by Kent Griswold.

   Due to that, and the Wall Street Journal’s and New York Times‘ article last week, we had web orders for 41 books today.

   More on the tiny homes front: Our neighbor. fisherman Todd, told me that a few weeks ago he gave a book to a farmer friend, and the guy is already building something he saw in the book. Last night I saw John Korty, the filmmaker, at a movie in San Rafael and he said that his son was looking at the book and getting ready to build something out of it. It never occurred to me that the book would be such a motivator.

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TINY HOMES in Today’s New York Times

Article by Penelope Green with short mention of our book


“…Lloyd Kahn, once the shelter editor of The Whole Earth Catalog, and the dean of the hand-built movement.

   Mr. Kahn, 76, has been publishing steadily under his own imprint, Shelter Publications, since 1973, and has influenced generations of passionate D.I.Y.ers. He has his own new book, Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter: Scaling Back in the 21st Century ($24.95), a glorious portfolio of quirky makers and dreamers…”

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