Thursday, August 30, 2018

It's a World, World, World, Wide Mad

When I posted last week about my commentary piece "The Madness of the Academy" I didn't know if my take on the Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film would get any attention. After some time circulating through the series of tubes, I dare say that it's more popular than the Oscar itself. It's made its way to the New Haven Register, Citizens Journal, USA Today's The Spectrum, and Counterpunch (and, via Counterpunch, to Open Mind NewsRadio Free and Bestseller Magazine).

It's even made it to the print-as-in-on-actual-newsprint opinion pages of The Register Citizen, The Middletown Press, The Daily Lobo and Salt Lake City Weekly. And no, I'm not Tom Knapp (but then again, that's what I want you to think - have you ever seen us in the same place?), but the words inadvertently credited to the guy who created The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism, wrote 99% of its content, encouraged this piece and got it ready for publication, and sent it to thousands of outlets are mine (as corrected in the online version).  And I dig Salt Lake City Weekly's cool and well-designed layout, in which a reader opening the page to those words of mine would see them in the company of Peter Yarrow, He-Man and She-Ra with beer buddies Skeletor and Orko (the Trollan's imbibing explains a lot), and even an installment of Tom Tomorrow's cartoon This Modern World!

This won't be the last op-ed I write for the Garrison Center (how many I write and how fast I write them depends on how much Tom has to pay me for them), but if there are any publications you think will be interested in running this not-yet-dated take on the Academy, let them know!

Monday, August 20, 2018

In Which I Grouch About the Oscars

"The Madness of the Academy" is my take on the Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film, my first commentary piece in a long time for Thomas L. Knapp's The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. I've enjoyed getting back in the op-ed writing game and set to write a couple more in the coming months ... but I'll be able to write more of them if Tom has more money to buy them from me!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Mother Knows Bester

What, me patriarch?
"Even in Pleasantville, there was more to life than Pleasantville," as Jesse Walker noted, but there was even more among the undead in Mockingbird Heights:

"Herman, as head of the house, I think you should get to the bottom of this. Now, you go right on upstairs and have a father-and-son talk with your boy."

"Well, gosh, Lily, I'm not very good at that, y'know, dear. You're his mother. Why don't you go up and have a father-and-son talk with him?"

"No! A think like that is up to the father!" Anyone who's watched Father Knows Best for nine years ought to know that."

"All right. But Donna Reed always handles these things on her show, y'know."

(Eddie's parents in the Munsters episode "Operation Herman")

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Hidden Treasure: The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre

The first of an upcoming series of Joel’s overlooked personal favorite places, events and other things that should be better known.

What is it?

A palatial movie theater.

Where is it hidden?

In Jersey City, New Jersey.

Why is it a treasure?

The screen is huuuge.  Like, very huge.  That-aquatic-dinosaur-in-Jurassic World-that-dwarfs-a-whale huge.  While some IMAX and similar screens may be larger, the sheer feeling of an entire building devoted to one humongous screen is like nowhere else.

Popcorn and drinks are a dollar each. With tickets usually going for $8 (less for double or triple features!), there’s no better value for a dropped Hamilton.

The building is unique and historic.
It dates back to 1929!  Built just before the stock market crash, the last pre-Great Derpession moment when lavish building for a mass audience was economically feasible, it maintains much of its original style.  Much of the facade still needs fixing up from decades of disrepair, but the core functions of a theater are fully operational, and the twist on the original grandeur makes it perfect for an Addams family reunion (which actually was a theme this past Halloween!)

How did I find it?

I knew about it for a while (I’d sometimes seen flyers for its upcoming screenings at NYC theaters such as Film Forum), but it was the closing of Manhattan’s Ziegfeld theater in early 2016 that spurred me to check it out.

Why is it hidden?
It’s a little out of the way of the NYC-focused revival theater circuit, and not as hip as the Alamo Drafthouse theaters in Yonkers and Brooklyn.  As a non-commercial theater, it doesn’t do current releases or have big marketing campaigns.  (Then again, the Ziegfeld was neglected when it was run like a typical big-chain commercial theater in its later years.)

And unfortunately, it lacks a working air conditioning system, so it has to take a summer break during peak moviegoing season.

What is the path to the treasure? Well, literally a PATH, since it’s across the street from the Journal Square PATH station.  “JSQ” is part of a subway line (though not part of the “NYC subway” system, another reason it’s quasi-“hidden”) that bridges New Jersey and Manhattan and connects to various transit systems.

There is one last movie screening tonight before the summer break — The Red Shoes at 7PM — and the building will be open for the JCArts Annual Year-End Gallery Show.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Is this thing still on?

It's been a while.

This blog was never updated on a daily basis even in its early heyday, but it trailed off in a major way.  Some of this is due to Twitter and then Facebook, and my attempted clean break to Wordpress was unsuccessful in starting new momentum where the old had stopped.

But I've been craving a return to the old-school blogosphere from the maelstrom of gossip and trivia and venting that is social media.  That's where everyone seems to be nowadays, but some of my fellow bloggers who started around the time I did, like Tom Knapp, have kept at personal blogging with a regular if relatively small readership, so it can be done.

And I was sick through most of May, so any attempt at doing a whole month of writing would have to wait.

So in a new month, here I am.  Are you?

Wednesday, February 01, 2017


My challenge to myself this month: how much can I write, including but not limited to this blog, in the shortest month of the year?

Friday, September 30, 2016

happy 100th, centenarian mathematician Richard K. Guy!

Some mathematicians die young, like Galois, Abel, or Zhitomirskiy. Others are active well into their 90s, like Bertrand Russell, Martin Gardner or Richard K. Guy, the last of which turns 100 today.  I recently remembered an article a couple years back about him walking over 800 steps to the top of a tower every year, and looking it up shows that he did it this year:

From the The Strong Law of Small Numbers to the glider in the game of life, Guy's discoveries (and compilation of the undiscovered, in Unsolved Problems in Number Theory) will be leading to new mathematics in 2116.  Happy birthday, Richard K. Guy!