Wednesday, December 25, 2013

National Lampoon's European Socialist Vacation

When C4SS Media made this video, they obviously forgot to include this background image:

Friday, December 20, 2013

A candle in the cold and the dark: 17 years without Carl Sagan

Sorry to not have a more substantial post, but I thought I'd check in with the blogosphere on the 17th anniversary of Carl Sagan's passing.  It's been a long seven years since the 10th anniversary blogathon (yet Sagan would have only just turned 79!), and the Internet is a very different place, but I am thinking about how to revive something like the blogathon on an ongoing basis.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

go see Suspiria at the Museum of the Moving Image

Must-see film screening of the YEAR: Dario Argento's horror classic Suspiria at the Museum of the Moving Image tomorrow.

Yes, it gets shown all the time at revival theaters.  But there is no movie that more demands to be experienced in the very best possible visual and sound quality, deservedly celebrated for both its gorgeous cinematography and stunning soundtrack.  I've even been to a screening where the theater had the truly unenviable dilemma of putting the film either on a screen with sound-system problems, or one with better sound but markedly worse visual quality.  And this is almost the Platonic ideal of a presentation: in the Museum's gigantic main theater with the most impeccable revival screening environment in New York, in not only a 35mm print in an era when that is becoming increasingly rare, but an "imported 35mm print of uncut UK version"!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

the opening sentence of an upcoming book review

"In 1975, two leftists, one of whom had been a top GOP insider, anarcho-capitalist, and a founder of the American libertarian movement, collaborated on a book published by a leading Washington, D.C. left-wing think tank and the Unitarian Universalist Association advocating decentralization of political and economic power from the federal, state and city levels to local neighborhoods — hopefully facilitated by the passage of a Republican senator's bill to divert 75% of income tax revenue to them."

Friday, December 06, 2013

Santa Claus Conquers the Gray Lady

Little-known fact: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians received a positive review in The New York Times praising Pia Zadora's "appealing" performance. No, really.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Lost in Non-Non-Translation

At one point, this was how the Chrome browser's built-in automatic translation handled the header of

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Selected Works of Voltairine de Cleyre on Project Gutenberg

A day I have been awaiting for almost a decade has arrived: the classic, yet extremely rare collection of anarchist and freethought essays and poetry Selected Works of Voltairine de Cleyre has been posted as a Project Gutenberg eBook. It was in the summer of 2004 that I both read Selected Works and started proofreading for Project Gutenberg; the book immediately struck me as the perfect fit for Project Gutenberg's mission of making freely available accessible editions of public domain books, particularly as Selected Works had always been overlooked by print publishers of such public domain material.  (Incidentally, the other classic turn-of-the-20th-century anarchist volume I read that summer, Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread, made it to Project Gutenberg in 2007).  And how fitting that the eBook be posted on the Fourth of July weekend, since de Cleyre's American-as-apple-pie anarchism is the perfect bookend to the Declaration of Independence being deliberately chosen as the very first Project Gutenberg eBook by a self-described "Ayn Rand freak" who was "doing Project Gutenberg for the most selfish of reasons - because I want a world that has Project Gutenberg in it".  (Amusingly, the eBook of The Conquest of Bread retains the notice "PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA".)  I have much, much more to blog about this crucial book, but for now, enjoy a painstakingly formatted edition of a lost classic, available in a variety of both browser- and eReader-friendly eBook formats and proofread by some of the most obsessive typo-finders on the Internet!

Monday, May 06, 2013


As mentioned by dorkbot's founder, NYC meeting organizer and sexy geek douglas irving repetto earlier today, he has just replaced the static dorkbot logo on the dorkbot home page with my animated GIF version assembling the several alternate-color-schemed logos douglas had previously created. Though I've contributed in various small ways to dorkbot over the years, this is a true honor! And I think it's the perfect encapsulation of the dorkbot spirit that an animated GIF, whose frames are images created by douglas with an old-school analog pen plotter, joins a BLINK tag on a webpage that's remained in plain-vanilla HTML all these years while waiting for the world to catch up with it.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Writing the Libertarian New York Times Sunday Dialogue

Here's the perfect opportunity for aspiring libertarian op-ed writers to follow Murray Rothbard's lead in getting into the opinion section of The New York Times: send in a response to the newspaper's weekly "Invitation to a Dialogue" feature.  I've floated the general idea of having libertarians coordinate on responding with letters to the editor before, but this feature is particularly suitable for unconventional contributors due to being specifically aimed at soliciting contrasting responses from across the political spectrum to each week's piece (which makes it even more of a letdown when a promising topic gets a weak response).  And while the usual contributions make it clear that New York Times regular columnists have no monopoly on banal authoritarianism, this week's opening letter Invitation to a Dialogue: Skipping 12th Grade is a surprisingly Paul Goodman-esque "practical proposal" "to break the rigidity of four years of high school".

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Garbage in, garbage out

From this morning's David Brooks column:
Likewise, many teachers have an intuitive sense that different students have different learning styles: some are verbal and some are visual; some are linear, some are holistic. Teachers imagine they will improve outcomes if they tailor their presentations to each student. But there’s no evidence to support this either.

Monday, January 07, 2013

History Lesson

  • Les Misérables: everything Americans know about French revolutions.
  • The Big Lebowski: everything Americans know about the New Left.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: everything Americans know about anarcho-syndicalism.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian: everything Americans know about leftist sectarianism.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation screening this Saturday in NYC

At 92YTribeca. It's been a while since the ultimate fan project has been shown in the NYC area, so this is a rare opportunity for Indiana Jones buffs!


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Bill Murray casting irony

FDR was closer than the Koch brothers to being a real-life Duke brother.

I'm on Tumblr

As part of a fresh start for the new year, I decided to finally try out Tumblr (as a supplement to, not a replacement for, "regular" blogging on this blog and elsewhere). My currently-very-work-in-progress Tumblr is here.