Friday, May 30, 2008

Excellent Web Cartoons

Everyone has got to check out The Rut. Sister sites: Pencils at Dawn, See Mike Draw.

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What I've Been Reading Lately and Will Be Reading Shortly

One of my resolutions this year (actually, my only resolution this year, and one that may stretch to two or three years) is to read the three volumes of Shelby Foote's Civil War trilogy cover to cover to cover to cover to cover to cover. We are 5/12th of the way though the year, and I am about 5/16th of the way through the first 1/3. That's OK; lots of time to read and smoke cigars on our new deck. Here are some comments I made on the occasion of Mr. Foote's death.

I got some books out of the library the other day, too.
  • Glut, by Alex Wright, which I am about 1/2 way through right now. This is about the way that information has been organized and disseminated from prehistoric times through the present. So far so good! I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff. It sort of reminds me of a book I read years ago, A History of Knowledge by Charles Van Doren. (Proofing note: First full paragraph of page 11, you have "scrict" instead of "strict.")
  • The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I like the quote on his site: "My major hobby is teasing people who take themselves & the quality of their knowledge too seriously & those who don’t have the courage to sometimes say: I don’t know...." Here's a separate Wikipedia page on the Black Swan theory.
  • Gilligan's Wake, by Tom Carson. Here's it is on Google Book. About dot com review here.
  • Two of the "Southland Tales" graphic novels. Saw the movie a few weeks ago, watched it twice in a row. It's one of those movies (like Videodrome, which I just watched last night for the first time in years) that I know I will be coming back to over the course of coming decades and finding new ideas and content. Side note -- Interesting category on the Videodrome page -- Motif of harmful sensation.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Third Blog Birthday

Three years ago today, I entered the Blogosphere! Here's the entirety of my first post:

Well, I'm taking advantage of a little extra time over the Memorial Day weekend to do some things I've been meaning to get around to: cut down some nuisance trees in the backyard, finish two books that I started over a year ago (reading, that is, not writing), clean more junk out of the garage, and start a blog. Instapundit, Wonkette, Sullivan, Volokh -- move it on over.

I'm not planning on anything earth-shattering, just kind of commenting on stuff big and small as it strikes me. I have opinions but most of them start out with "Well on the one hand, X but on the other hand Y" so don't be surprised by inconsitency and seeming wishy-washiness.

So, I guess we'll see how long this lasts; There's only one way to find out how obsessive or neglectful I will be about blog maintenance, and that starts with clicking the big red "publish post" button.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Take a Look at Darkon If You Have the Chance

I got the movie Darkon from Netflix the other day, and it's real good! It's about these LARPers from Maryland who philosophize about their weekend antics. Two different commentaries! I was reminded of the magnificent obsessions of those featured in the documentary Trekkies, and I see that the folks at Film Threat thought the same thing. I like this quote from their review:

They’re a really smart, charming bunch (okay, some of these dudes are a little spooky), constantly using their imaginations and creating and that’s quite a bit more than you can say for many other people out there leading dull existences with no creative outlet. So in the end, you’re not laughing at these guys because they’re a bunch of weirdos, you’re laughing in celebration of their unbridled passion.

Here's the question I pose to narrow-minded conformists "regular" people who roll their eyes at such things:

Why is this stupid, but football isn't?

Full 90+ minute movie below:

And, JFTHOI, here's a couple of minutes from Trekkies:

Update, 5-26-08: Thanks to commenter Fantasy Freak for pointing me towards Monster Camp.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Allman / Stones Pianist Chuck Leavell on Marian McPartlnad's NPR Jazz Show

A few weeks ago I was driving home and caught part of the charming and talented Marian McPartland's NPR show Piano Jazz and an interview she was doing with Chuck Leavell of The Allman Brothers. It's really good! Interview here; note that it is in two parts. If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the live jazz rendition of Jessica that starts at about 23:00 on part one.

(Then, compare it to this cover of the same song by They Might Be Giants!)

They Might Be Giants - Jessica

Found at bee mp3 search engine

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Open Memo to Netflix

To whom it may concern at Netflix,

First, I LOVE your service. You have absolutely revolutionized the way I watch and keep track of movies.

One suggestion: Fix your "Queue" feature so that it can hold more than 500 titles at a time. Currently, I have a queue, and so do my girlfriend and two of our cats. The cats let me keep some of my movies on their queues. It would be much easier to manage the total number of titles that I want to keep track of if I could have them all on one list.

What's the magic about the number 500?

Many thanks.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Clearing Out Some Links

Here are a bunch of links (some of which my friend SSMW showed me) that have been stacking up, patiently waiting to be posted:
I like big books and I can not lie
You other brothers can't deny
That when a girl walks in with an big fat book
And glasses on her face
You're all thrilled, wanna talk to her quick
Cause you notice she's reading Dickens
  • The What on Earth catalog has some fun stuff, like this voodoo doll knife set and holder.
  • The Parallel Information Universe: What's out there and what it means for libraries: Regardless of type—public, academic, school, or special—libraries increasingly provide more people with improved access to a wider range of resources and services. Beyond the improved catalog, for example, electronic databases are superior to printed periodical indexes, digital reference provides expanded availability to assistance by librarians, and networked computer workstations in the library provide users with access to global multimedia resources. There's much more potential. That's the purpose of this article: to take a look at what's out there (WOT) and do a brief analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOTs) in terms of what's good, interesting, or desirable for users (including those whom we might currently label nonusers), libraries, and librarians and the implications for library and information science education.
  • Looking forward to seeing "Fog City Mavericks" about the cadre of directors from the San Francisco Bay area, including George Lucas, Clint Eastwood, and Francis Ford Coppola. After I get a look at it, I am going to have to help bulk up its Wikipedia page.
  • Here's where you can buy a T-shirt with a Venn Diagram that explains the vowel/consonant situation of the letter "Y."

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