Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Albert Ellis and Sherwin Wine, RIP

Today, the newspapers are carrying obits for two different prominent humanists. Here's the New York Times ones for Ellis and Wine.

I never met Ellis, although he's appeared occasionally at humanist events in the NYC area; and I met Wine only once, when he gave the keynote at Humanlight 2003. (In fact, I sat next to him in the car when going back to NYC, so it's unnerving that he died in a car accident.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Jackie Chan's ghost site

The second of two quick notes on my recent stuff elsewhere on the web:

At Steve Baldwin's Ghost Sites blog, he's posted an analysis I sent in about a time capsule from the 1990s Internet: the official book promotion site for Jackie Chan's 1998 autobiography I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action, which has been preserved intact virtually unchanged from the date of release.

Thorstein Veblen and The Icelandic Commonwealth

The first of two quick notes on my recent stuff elsewhere on the web:

Here's Thorstein Veblen's description of the Icelandic Commonwealth, from his book An Inquiry Into The Nature Of Peace And The Terms Of Its Perpetuation as existing in a quasi-anarchist form, where the government lacked most of the usual functions, such as defense, and coercive power. I sent this passage (which I discovered while proofreading the book in Distributed Proofreaders) in to Roderick T. Long, who had written about Iceland in a similar vein here and here; he hadn't seen it, and neither had David Friedman (the other libertarian most well-known for seeing Iceland as a model of anarchy).

Monday, July 09, 2007

Blog maintenance

Over the last few months, I've been making some incremental minor changes and improvements to the blog. I'm not slapping a "2.0" label or anything like that, but I feel it's worth keeping track of; they should add up to a better site experience. This includes, in no particular order:
  • Somewhat belatedly, switching over to the new version of Blogger
  • Cleaning up the HTML coding on pictures (and adding a few new ones)
  • Adding categories (a New Blogger feature) and extending the categories back to older posts
  • Deleting spam comments
  • Deleting some posts I was unsatisfied with
  • A major reorganization and expansion of my sidebar (made much easier by New Blogger), making it a much more complete account of my stuff around the web
  • Finally getting a traffic analyzer, via Site Meter, providing a lot more info about traffic than I had (which was basically none)
And also ... I'm going to try to commit to a more regular posting schedule; I make no promises, but will try to post at least every 3-4 days.

As always, feedback is important, so let me know what you think of any of the changes I'm making.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Troll 2 summer tour



Among bad movie fans, one particularly special favorite is the 1990 "best worst movie" Troll 2. Without the typical features that bring attention to well-known bad movies — big-name stars, a large budget, a recent release date, a showing on Mystery Science Theater 3000 — but solely on the strength of sheer badness and massive filmmaking ineptitude, it's charmed its way into a cult following, a near-permanent space on the low end of the IMDB Bottom 100 (including occasional stints all the way down at the #1 spot), and a RiffTrax.

And this summer, Troll 2 is being featured at an ongoing series of special theatrical screenings, featuring a newly rediscovered 35mm print, at cities across the United States! The next two are this weekend in Seattle, and new cities and dates are being announced. Plus, they will have a large proportion of the original cast in attendance, who are fully appreciative of the movie's badness and the strange following it's gained, who will hang out and take Q&A; and different screenings will have various other events to complete the experience.

Last fall, I was at a similar one-shot screening/cast appeareance/Q&A/party for the movie in NYC (the main difference being that the movie was screened from a DVD, before the print was discovered). It was really a hoot, from the cast, to the outrageous T-shirts and other "merchandise", to the energy of the fans. Here's some stuff that gives a taste:
  • Photos at Flickr here and here
  • video from cast member Darren Ewing
  • fan video of the Q&A session
  • fan video of George Hardy recreating a famous line at the Q&A
  • video of a fan-made mock trailer that was shown at the screening