Trolling Middle Earth

Where today, ‘troll’ is almost universally understood as the second of the above quoted definitions — a person solely out to provoke annoyance — I’ve always preferred the first definition. In _that_ sense, a properly constructed troll is something I’ve always respected.

First off, the gorgeous new trailer for the first part of The Hobbit has just been released:

Now, a slight digression. Back when the internet was new (and I’m not entirely exaggerating with that), the Jargon File was created as a living encyclopedia of words, phrases, terms, and events common to the geek communities of the day. In that document are the original definitions for the term “troll” as used in the electronic world.

  1. v.,n. [From the Usenet group alt.folklore.urban] To utter a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames; or, the post itself. Derives from the phrase “trolling for newbies” which in turn comes from mainstream “trolling”, a style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite. The well-constructed troll is a post that induces lots of newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more clueless than they already do, while subtly conveying to the more savvy and experienced that it is in fact a deliberate troll. If you don’t fall for the joke, you get to be in on it. See also YHBT.

  2. n. An individual who chronically trolls in sense 1; regularly posts specious arguments, flames or personal attacks to a newsgroup, discussion list, or in email for no other purpose than to annoy someone or disrupt a discussion. Trolls are recognizable by the fact that they have no real interest in learning about the topic at hand – they simply want to utter flame bait. Like the ugly creatures they are named after, they exhibit no redeeming characteristics, and as such, they are recognized as a lower form of life on the net, as in, “Oh, ignore him, he’s just a troll.” Compare kook.

Where today, “troll” is almost universally understood as the second of the above quoted definitions — a person solely out to provoke annoyance — I’ve always preferred the first definition. In that sense, a properly constructed troll is something I’ve always respected.

The comments for yesterday evening’s io9 post about the Hobbit trailer contain a beautiful example of trolling in the old sense (“…a post that induces lots of newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more clueless than they already do, while subtly conveying to the more savvy and experienced that it is in fact a deliberate troll. If you don’t fall for the joke, you get to be in on it.”). This comment gave me a good laugh this morning:

Yawwwn, sequelitis strikes again.

Hey Hollywood, how long’d it take you to come up with yet another unnecessary backstory?! Do we really need to go with Frodo’s dad on his quest to find the ring?

I bet they’ll dumb it down and make it all kiddy too. Hard R or I ain’t watchin!

How much you wanna bet they’ll figure out a way to shoehorn half-a-dozen giant spiders to compete with the one they had in LOTR2.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a troll is supposed to be done.

Awkward Family Photos: The Game!

Long-time readers will know that my family has been featured on the Awkward Family Photos website not just once, but twice, and both photos were also featured in the Awkward Family Photos book. Well, you can’t keep a good thing down — we’re now also featured in the Awkward Family Photos game!

Long-time readers will know that my family has been featured on the Awkward Family Photos website not just once, but twice, and both photos were also featured in the Awkward Family Photos book.

Well, you can’t keep a good thing down — we’re now also featured in the Awkward Family Photos game!

Based on a popular website, Awkward Family Photos will be your new favorite party game! Combines classic and never- seen-before Awkward Family Photos with probing, open ended questions for a memorable game night full of laughter and creative discussion. Simply flip over an Awkward Family Photos featuring uncomfortable moments from weddings, vacations, and holidays and read aloud the open ended questions. Your hilarious answers guarantee a night of awkward fun…. and if you know your fellow players well enough, and impress them with your answers, you’ll get the last laugh.

Here’s the sales pitch, courtesy of AFP co-founder Mike Bender’s grandparents:

Mechanical Life and Intelligent Design

‘…this is proof that Autobots were not assembled on Cybertron by hurricanes or any other means envisioned by Darwin, and were Intelligently Designed. That makes the Transformers series a compelling parable for ID, and I expect several of this year’s Republican presidential candidates to recommend the movies on that basis alone.’

From On the Origin of Transformers:

The advocates of ID, who are arguing that their belief should be included in science classes in Texas, Tennessee and other states, say that if a living organism has a design that cannot be explained by the theory of natural selection, it is proof of an Intelligent Designer. If you consider a Camaro, for example, wouldn’t it obviously have had a Designer? Could its parts have been assembled by a hurricane (or a trillion hurricanes) blowing through a junkyard?

Certainly not. Therefore, this is proof that Autobots were not assembled on Cybertron by hurricanes or any other means envisioned by Darwin, and were Intelligently Designed. That makes the Transformers series a compelling parable for ID, and I expect several of this year’s Republican presidential candidates to recommend the movies on that basis alone.

Roger Ebert, making the case for Intelligent Design…at least within the universe of the Transformers.

When Harry Met Sally 2

This was far funnier than I expected it to be. I only wish it didn’t have the big “Funny or Die” banner and the intro, so that it was less immediately obvious that it was a joke. They should have saved that for the end, and started with a cold open.

Continue reading “When Harry Met Sally 2”

Happy Penguin Awareness Day!

It seems that Jan. 20th is Penguin Awareness Day. Though I was not aware of this, I _am_ aware of penguins. You should be too. Just in case you’re not…here are some penguins. Be aware.

It seems that Jan. 20th is Penguin Awareness Day. Though I was not aware of this, I am aware of penguins. You should be too.

Just in case you’re not…here are some penguins.

Be aware.

Swimming Penguins

Penguins in hats

Vacation IId: SeaWorld 10

Penguin with Rule #32: Don be's A dorsh.

Vacation IId: SeaWorld 12

All photos by me!

(via insaners, via Cheryl)