19 August 2002
None too gentle a breeze

There's a practical limit to how much you can respond to comments on other people's blogs. Today in The Vent, that limit is exceeded.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:00 PM)
22 August 2002
Kickboxers in Peril

Most of my dreams have long since been dashed into shards, but I'm getting close to one of them: reading all the books by James Lileks. (I doubt I'll ever get to go through all his columns.) Not that this does Lileks a whole lot of good, of course; only one of them — the beautifully-snide The Gallery of Regrettable Food — is still in print. I did make a point of ordering it from Amazon.com through Lileks' own site so he could make an extra quarter or so on the deal. But I'm gradually acquiring the other volumes in the curious Lileks oeuvre: the first essay collection, Notes of a Nervous Man, made its way to my shelf earlier this year, and the second, Fresh Lies, has just arrived. The first Jonathan Simpson novel, Falling Up The Stairs, got here earlier this week, and the second, Mr. Obvious, is due Real Soon Now.

Needless to say, all these titles are worth your while, and worth the effort to track down. Since the publishers don't seem to be in any rush to return them to the stores, I'm taking what is, for me anyway, an unprecedented step: the $22.98 I spent for these used books (shipping via Dawdling Courier, LLC, not included) will be matched by $22.98 stuffed into Lileks' tip jar. It seems like the very least I can do.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:10 PM)
23 August 2002
Enuff Z'Nuff

It wasn't that long ago I counseled patience with the comments server.

No more.

There are still some tweaks to make, but the future of this site is Movable.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:05 PM)
24 August 2002
Buncha Evheads

According to IMAO, the Blogger Pro spellchecker chokes on "blog" and "blogging".

What's next? Greymatter refusing color changes in its template files?

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:09 AM)
26 August 2002
The best of all possible wishes

If you graduated from that school of thought which teaches that anything that originates online is by definition artificial and unreal, well, here's your reality check. Spoons is getting married, and thereby hangs a tale, which you must read for yourself.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:16 AM)
28 August 2002
Information overkill

Chris over at Fly Over Country is going through those Second Thoughts that afflict all of us with cacoethes scribendi, and wondering if maybe he should chuck it all and go fire up the PlayStation. Most bloggers, he says, are "hyper-informed people," and wonders if any of them actually enjoy life or are simply looking to score points.

I can't speak for anyone else — often as not, I can barely speak for me — but I am rather fond of the idea of having my own soapbox, especially since it doesn't cost a great deal and doesn't have to get approval through Official Channels. I do occasionally run out of topics, but I think this is true of everyone who writes, with the possible exception of Stephen King. And God forbid anyone should think I am hyper-informed; since I started the daily-update routine two years ago, I have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff I didn't know.

Am I trying for "the next Gotcha!"? Not really. I just call 'em the way I see 'em. And if I don't see 'em, well, I'll try to link to someone who did.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:49 AM)
29 August 2002
Subtle shadings

Let me know if this new column color is even more difficult to read than its predecessor.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:28 AM)
31 August 2002
Destined for the B-list

I happened upon a place called Conservatives Suck. Its foci, in no particular order, seem to be baseball, Bush-bashing, and bare breasts. Not the stuff of legend, perhaps, but a lot easier to read than, say, Bartcop.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:12 AM)
1 September 2002
Embracing the inner grey

John Powers' L.A. Weekly column contrasting the styles of The Nation and The Weekly Standard got some play in the Blogosphere™, and while Powers' conclusion seems inarguable — yes, the Standard is far sprightlier, but the instructions on a bottle of drain cleaner are sprightlier than The Nation most weeks — I have to wonder if this particular dichotomy is also reflected in other subcultures. Yesterday I took a peek at a new blog, posted what I thought was a reasonably wry gibe about it, and watched it soar many thousands of feet over the blogger's head. Are blogs on the left necessarily more drab, less perky, than their counterparts on the right? Has lack of humor become a prerequisite for 21st-century liberal ideology? How come Michael Moore's earlier works are a lot funnier than Stupid White Men?

Powers offers a hint down in the sixth paragraph: "Too much of the writing is muffled by low-word-rate padding and fear of offending the magazine's many constituencies." Well, you can't get much lower a word rate than what is offered in blogdom, which averages somewhere around zero or slightly below — this site costs me, excluding kickbacks, about $275 a year to run — but that "fear of offending" may be the key. Very few centrist blogs, and hardly any on the right, seem to worry about upsetting anyone's applecart. It's no accident that the most common term used for the evisceration of someone devoid of clues is "fisking", a treatment first visited upon Independent columnist Robert Fisk, who has a tendency to tiptoe gently away from anything that might disagree with what post-Cold War Europeans have come to accept as Revealed Truth. Perhaps needless to say, Fisk is regarded as an iconoclast by the bearers of said Truth, a stance which inevitably results in more fisking.

This is not to say, of course, that there are no sources of left-wing bile. But it's almost always monolithic; there's scarcely ever any sense that this stuff has been hashed out by individual minds. It's the Committee-Approved Version. This process would never work on the right, where individuals, however like-minded, count for far more than groups.

And there's one other thing, which I've actually seen mirrored in Real Life. Self-deprecating humor is evidently considered a Bad Thing among leftists, what with its seeming disregard for one's self-esteem, the single most important quality a person can possess. In response to this pervasive belief, Juan Gato bills his blog as "A Bunch of Crap From a Moron," and just to rub it in, tags his tip jar with "I'm better than you. Give me money." Somehow I can't imagine this kind of irreverence displacing the sanctimony of those who "watch" the warbloggers.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:37 AM)
6 September 2002
Sharp! Distance!

It would be possible, I think, to make up a perfectly lovely blog made up entirely of passages from James Lileks. Of course, Lileks himself has already done that, to the delight of all, or at least most, but sometimes he says something that resounds so wonderfully that I can't help but fall into its echo, vibrating with it until the inevitable fade.

And then, of course, I post it here, just to keep the vibration going. What do you think of Jon Anderson? Here's Lileks:

"To those unfamiliar with Yes' singer, imagine a hamster that has been dipped in helium and squeezed between the thighs of a pro wrestler."

Thank you, kind sir. Yours is no disgrace.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:18 AM)
7 September 2002
Minor adjustments

Now that comments for this site have been brought in-house (thank you, Mena and Ben) and work most of the time, I have taken down the Grouse-O-Matic Message Board, which was getting scant use: in two years of operation, it got maybe thirty posts.

The pre-MT log archives are now accessible through a framed (but very lightly framed) page that opens up any of the twenty-odd months from the list on the left. And the MT archives have been resorted to start with the first post of the month, which corresponds more closely to my preposterous notion that the log is actually a secret (possibly even unauthorized) autobiography and should be read in sequence.

As always, thank you for coming.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:00 PM)
8 September 2002
Life among the dogs

At first, I thought Gregory Hlatky was having a bad day:

The march of years has brought less hair and more fat, but it has failed to impart wisdom or maturity. Even as I've reached what should be considered middle age, I completely lack common sense. I remain so socially inept that I'm a constant embarrassment to my lovely bride and now take refuge in taciturnity. I still have the emotional stability of a person a quarter of my age.

Been there, felt that. Still feel that, to a certain extent. But this post, less than twelve hours later, banishes one particularly-annoying publicity hound to deserved oblivion, and in so doing demonstrates the true strength of the man:

Damn you! Damn you, you syphilitic roué, you rancid tub of solipsism, you stuprous slave of your hormones, you fungus that lives off pond scum, you prevaricating confidence-man! May the chancres you acquired from one of your trailer-trash strumpets never heal. How dare you use this somber time to buff up your record! The only thing I forever again want to hear from you is this:

"'I was President of the United States for eight years. I might have, but failed to prevent this atrocity. For that I will feel the deepest shame for the rest of my days.'"

Thanks, Greg. We needed that.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:34 PM)
15 September 2002
Alternative tools

Blogger still is the dominant content-management system for bloggage, with Movable Type coming up fast on the outside, and there are a handful of others, not to mention good old classic hand-coding, which I did for umpteen years. (I still do, on items outside the purview of this blog.)

But there's always room for another one, if it's good, and Marc Lundberg over at Quit That has come up with something called SimCat, which he's using for his own blog. It's still in test mode, but then one could argue that anything blog-related is more or less permanently in test mode anyway.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:32 PM)
18 September 2002
I hear he gets up before Dawn

Eric Olsen, despite dropping back from Tres Producers, is still a busy man. Not only is he doing a nifty job as editor of BlogCritics, but he's made it to Salon.com with a frighteningly-detailed (of course) article about the weirdness that was, and is, American Idol. And it's not Premium content, except in the purely qualitative sense, so people who can't stand the idea of giving money to the likes of Salon can still read it.

I wonder if Mrs Olsen plans to blog this item.

Update, 3:45 pm: She has.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:00 AM)
22 September 2002
You may fire when ready

How is it, exactly, that Quana Jones became a hunter? Why, by learning to shoot, of course. It's a wonderful story, and it's not nearly as long and boring as she thinks it is.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:03 AM)
25 September 2002
This way to the windmills

A college student is claiming to have silenced Susanna Cornett.

In a related story, a guy down in Thibodaux, Louisiana has posted a No Trespassing sign in order to repel Tropical Storm Isidore.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:19 PM)
26 September 2002
Carnival barking

Never underestimate the power of Silflay Hraka. My little outpost on the far fringes of the Blogosphere™ (and if you can explain how a sphere can have fringe, let alone far fringe, you're doing better than I am) scored about thirty percent more traffic than usual, courtesy of Bigwig's Carnival of the Vanities celebration. I am, of course, greatly surprised at any traffic at all, so this little boost was most gratifying.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:18 AM)
Elision course

David Cassel's LA Weekly interview with the amazing Heather Havrilesky gives a couple of insights into The Writer Formerly Known As Polly Esther, and in the process gives the back of the editorial hand to Matt Moore, whose blog title is misrendered as "The Blog Century of the Week". Oh, well, you can't have everything.

Update, 29 September, 9:25 pm: It's been fixed.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:36 AM)
29 September 2002
Tip-jar protocol

I posted this on the 16th of April:

Support Your Local Blogger Dept.: Over the past couple of months, I've scattered maybe sixty, seventy dollars in various online tip jars, and I expect to continue this practice so long as the budget permits (it's under Reading Material, which outranks, say, Entertainment), but there are times when I feel I must do more. Taking my lead from James Lileks, whose pages contain an icon labeled "Buy The Darn Book", I have bought the darn book, which is a nicely-hardcovered edition of The Gallery of Regrettable Food, an extension of Lileks' Institute of Official Cheer. It is, of course, a hoot. Also arriving today, courtesy of Virginia Postrel, is The Future And Its Enemies; since Postrel's blog is labeled as an Online Companion to the book, it seems only sensible that I should at least read the book.

The figure is now closing in on $200, and the practice has been leaving me with an occasional twinge: "Do I really want everyone to know where I'm making donations?" Normally I prefer the amazon.com tip jar to its PayPal counterpart, because it offers the option of anonymity, though I have since admitted to making a donation here in the blog, and once, while apologizing to a blogger in email, I confessed to having previously deposited a small sum to said blogger's credit and would, in partial atonement for the offense given, make that sum slightly less small.

But even anonymous amazon.com sends out a note from the recipient, which often contains a line to the effect of "Please tell me who you are so I can thank you personally," which, were I to do so, would effectively kill off the whole idea of anonymity. It's not like I'm kicking in such huge sums — two hundred bucks spread over more than a dozen blogs won't buy anyone a beach house — or, for that matter, such meager sums that I'm embarrassed to have my name attached to them.

So I'm just slightly conflicted. I could resolve this conflict by not giving anyone any more money, but this doesn't help the bloggers with real needs, or the ones who just happened to post something I thought was freaking brilliant at the precise moment I had a few bucks to spare.

Suggestions?

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:01 AM)
30 September 2002
Reembroidered

Susanna Cornett (with the able and probably surly assistance of Page) has reworked Cut on the Bias once again. Remind me to ask her the difference between "selvage" and "selvedge".

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:00 AM)
2 October 2002
Truly unleashed

Lynn Sislo is touched by the Fiskatorial Muse, and the first object of her scorn is one James Crabtree, who came up with this humdinger:

"Why have Americans started to vilify the Guardian? Why does the actor John Malkovich want to kill the Independent foreign correspondent Robert Fisk? And why is the Princeton economics professor Paul Krugman writing with a new-found attention to detail? Answer: Fisk, Krugman and the Guardian are all victims of the latest web-publishing phenomenon: blogging."

Victims, indeed. I don't see anyone silencing the Guardian or Fisk, and it's probably about damn time Krugman started paying attention to detail.

But Lynn isn't going to let Crabtree and his ilk off that easily:

"I don't think I've actually shifted to the Right. It's just that since September 11 the Right has done a much better job of shutting up their lunatic fringe, while the common sense Left has gone into hiding and let their lunatics take over. So the Left is worried about the Right dominating the blogosphere. This sounds to me like more of the same kind of whining they always do every time someone expresses a different opinion. The right-wingers are trying to shut us up; our civil liberties are being violated; freedom of speech is dead...boo hoo hoo... All while sitting at their PC posting on their own personal website where anyone in the world might read their blatherings.

"I come across lefty blogs all the time. I've even linked a few of them. The 'problem' is not that the blogosphere is dominated by the 'Right', it's that the blogosphere is dominated by common sense. Let a blogger from the far right start preaching their own brand of lunacy — (Sept. 11 happened because God is angry...Creationism is just as valid as evolution etc.) — and that person is just as likely to get a severe fisking as any of the loonies on the far left."

Ask Townhall's Ben Shapiro, who was slapped down by Right and Left.

Lynn's title is Wanted: Common Sense Lefties. You know they're out there somewhere.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:02 AM)
Lacking a certain something

In case you were wondering why I didn't have anything in this week's Carnival of the Vanities, it's because I didn't submit anything. Frankly, I can't think of anything I wrote last week that was all that compelling.

Then again, there are times when I can't think of anything I ever wrote as being all that compelling, and this is turning out to be one such time.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:44 PM)
4 October 2002
A bevy of barbs

I do love snideness, especially when I don't have to come up with it all myself. What follows is a small collection of snarky remarks that have turned up in blogdom this week.

Susanna Cornett, on the possibility that the Green Party's 2004 Presidential Candidate will be that loosest of cannons, Cynthia McKinney:

"Oh, that's a move in the right direction — from Nader to McKinney. Way to make strides into the mainstream."

Bill Quick notes a certain similarity in Microsoft security bulletins:

"I think M$ probably has a huge file of templates somewhere that just allow them to fill in the blanks: 'Microsoft (announced, warned, screamed) that security (flaws, holes, gaping wounds, complete submission) in (Outlook, Word, Office, Windows) could (permit, allow, encourage, demand) an (attacker, hacker, bored ten year old kid) to (take control, own, destroy) a user's (PC, family, home, brain).'"

Frank at IMAO, suggesting an alternate wording for the leaflets being dropped on Iraq this past week:

"On the outside it would say, 'We wanted to tell you how great America is and convince you that Saddam is evil and that you should turn against him...' and then on the inside it would say, 'but we decided it was easier to just lace this card with deadly poison.'"

Finally, James Lileks cashes your reality check:

"I freely admit to preferring Star Trek to The West Wing, and if you think that makes me a dork, well, it is entirely possible that one day Mankind will develop some sort of interstellar drive, but there isn't a chance in hell Martin Sheen will ever become President."

You gotta love stuff like this.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:32 AM)
6 October 2002
Yet another reason to leave Blogspot

Here's a seven-year-old with her own domain, running Movable Type yet.

(Muchas gracias: Jessica Parker.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:02 PM)
8 October 2002
The love/Haight relationship

Freshly squeezed through The Vent: If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some ammo in your belt.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:50 PM)
9 October 2002
From the "Omigod" file

John Scalzi channeling George Michael?

With pictures, yet. (No internal links, sorry; scroll to about the middle, or make the browser find it for you.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:45 PM)
11 October 2002
No accounting for taste

Zeldman on TrackBack and similar blog innovations:

[R]eflective links serve as this year's version of the Hit Counter, which, by declaring somewhat accurately how many people have visited a site, implies merit or at least popularity.

In 1996, Jeffrey Veen sagely observed that such counters add no value to user experience and only betray the producer's vanity. Hit Counters tell approximately how many people have seen a page, but not who, or what they thought about it, or how long they stayed, or how much (if any) of it they read. Hit Counters are also at best semi-accurate. (A Hit Counter may record 500,000 AOL users as a single visitor.) Even their name is a bust. Hit Counters record page views, not hits. For these and other reasons, almost no modern site includes a Hit Counter.

The Daily Report sports a Hit Counter mainly to annoy Mr Veen. It's been restarted three times since 1995 and is about as accurate as anything else on the web.

Reflective links can add value but may also discourage the very practice they record. If your site is shown to have sent two or three visitors to someone else's site, your vanity might prompt you not to link to that site again. After all, who wants to suggest that no more than two or three people are reading their site? For a personal site, the implication is embarrassing; for a commercial site, it could have financial repercussions.

There were days early on (say, most of 1996) when I thought having two or three people reading my site would be Cloud Nine, or at least Cloud 7.62. And present-day tracking services are quite a bit more detailed, and possibly even more accurate, than the old-style Hit Counters.

And I'm happy to send people elsewhere; after all, I couldn't do that unless they got here first. I'm far more interested in giving my readers something worthwhile to look at, whether it's on-site or off, and I suspect the vast majority of bloggers feel pretty much the same way. Traffic hasn't grown much in the past six months — approximately 2,000 visitors per week, heaviest on Mondays — but I'd like to think I've made some progress from the bottom of the blogosphere, and I'm reasonably certain I've made some friends along the way. If I'm at all embarrassed, it's because of something I've written, not because of something I've linked.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:45 PM)
14 October 2002
The spawn of Kimberly Anne

It was billed as "A plea from a sick little girl," and it went something like this:

Little Kimberly Anne is dying of a horrible tropical brain disease, Owa-Tafu-Liam. Her goal, before she passes into the Great Beyond, is to collect as many free America Online disks as she can, to make the Guinness Book of World Records. Her project is being sponsored by the Wish-Upon-a-Star Foundation, which specializes in fulfilling the final wishes of such sick little girls.

So, next time you get an unwanted AOL disk in the mail, don't throw it away! Think of the sparkle it will bring to the eye of a dying child.

Also, remember her when you open a magazine and find one of those blow-in cards that offers a free AOL disk. The card is postage-paid! Fill it out with little Kimberly's name!

Please copy this message and circulate it to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Only you can make a child's wish reality!

God bless you from the Wish-Upon-a-Star Foundation!

Kim Rollins, nowhere nearly as young as her text implied, was arguably sick, though not fatally so, and this little stunt of hers (now 404, alas) won her a place in the heart of every online prankster. Besides, what in the world would anyone do with all those AOL disks?

You could always ask Dani.

(Swiped from FARK)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:09 PM)
15 October 2002
Fix or repair daily

Ford Motor Company is in bad need of fixing, and, says The Vent, recovery is Job 1.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:24 AM)
17 October 2002
Hair today, gone tomorrow

Susanna Cornett is not keen on these pointy buzz cuts for men:

It doesn't look studly, it looks precious. When I see a guy in my age range (35-45) with that gel-spiked short 'do, I want to grab him all right — to put his head under a spigot and get rid of that abomination!

Surely she doesn't prefer, um, mullets?

(When we met this past summer, I figured she was looking at me askance because she hadn't been expecting the Pillsbury Doughboy in a polo shirt and chinos. Now I must conclude that she was unhappy with my hair, such as it is. Besides, I'm out of her age range, and the list of further disqualifications would eat up the rest of this column and part of the next.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:14 AM)
24 October 2002
Quantifying the Carnival

I'm finding, generally, that the first day of the Carnival of the Vanities gives this site about a 25 to 30 percent spike in traffic — at least, on those weeks when I manage to come up with something to submit.

(What is the Carnival? This week, it's this, or maybe this.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:07 AM)
27 October 2002
The very picture of cool

I mean, it's a blog in Antarctica, after all. What could be cooler than that?

Well, actually, the logo at 70South.com, the first news site I've seen from Antarctica, is at least decently cool, but so far the blog looks more interesting than the news site.

(Muchas gracias for the blog link: Quana Jones.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:20 PM)
29 October 2002
Fnord explorer

Somehow, I am the #2 site on Google for "paul wellstone illuminati".

You can't keep a good conspiracy buff down.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:34 PM)
30 October 2002
How many bloggers...

...does it take to change a light bulb?

M. Giant at Velcrometer takes a shot at it, and at least he does better than I did.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:11 PM)
1 November 2002
Minor skirmishes

Some people are unaccountably proud of taking Michele at A Small Victory off their blogrolls. Reason enough for me to add her to mine, I'm inclined to think.

And the Professor reports that his October bandwidth was 261.45 gb. For comparison purposes: dustbury.com October bandwidth was 0.651 gb.

Update, 2 November, 9:30 am: Mike at Cold Fury knows exactly what sort of crap up with which Michele has been putting.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:30 PM)
2 November 2002
More tweakage

After one or two false starts, I am phasing in the Trackback system. For most people, this will make no difference, inasmuch as scarcely anything here is ever linked by anyone, but there's a lot to be said for keeping up with the Joneses. (No, Quana, this is not directed at you.)

The really detail-oriented readers will notice that the shade of blue used for links has varied substantially in recent days. Do not adjust your monitor. I think I'm going to keep this one. And yes, the left-hand column is slightly lighter than it used to be.

Before you ask: No, I'm not putting in a WeatherPixie. Actually, I've already done one, for the perfunctory page I keep at AOL for the benefit of chatters, and while it would be absurdly easy to copy the code over here, I figure my load times are long enough already. Rumors that I would recode the Pixie to look like Susanna Cornett are unfounded and have no basis in fact, and what's more, they aren't true, either.

I am trying to think of a better way to organize the blogroll without getting a third-party application involved. Suggestions are welcomed.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:08 PM)
Carl Hellish reporting

One thing I learned today: I should not be allowed near an anagram generator.

My apologies to the following bloggers:

RESONANT TUSCAN (Susanna Cornett)

SHALL ACCRUE (Rachel Lucas)

HARK LEGGY TORY (Gregory Hlatky)

A SAD YEMEN (Dean Esmay)

NYLON DREG LENS (Glenn Reynolds)

SWAN LED ON (Dawn Olsen)

SONIC LEER (Eric Olsen)

JOHN CENSOR LASH (Charles Johnson)

DAMN ELM GRACE (Megan McArdle)

NET CHASM HAPPEN (Stephen Chapman)

NUANCE OR SLIME (Laurence Simon)

A RADAR SHRINE (Andrea Harris)

ELK JAIL MESS (James Lileks)

AMAZON JEEP FEUD SHY (Pejman Yousefzadeh)

Cue "Too Much Time on My Hands"....

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:41 PM)
10 November 2002
Our day will come

Michele at A Small Victory is looking for bloggers who are also veterans. If this describes you — it certainly describes me — please let her know.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:11 PM)
11 November 2002
Be very afraid

The last time Susanna Cornett missed anywhere near a whole week of bloggage, it was the week which began on 14 July, when she and I had lunch.

Now I'm scared.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:21 PM)
12 November 2002
Quick turnover

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm glad to see Bill Quick back at the old stand.

Yeah, I hate popups too, but I hate losing top-class reading material even more. And unlike most of us out here in blogland, Quick is a professional writer; it's damned difficult to blame the man for wanting to turn a buck once in a while.

Besides, this blogging thing gets in the way of real life now and then. Just ask Toren Smith.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:38 AM)
13 November 2002
It's that time again

While hands are wrung at the seeming (and, I think, synthesized) return of Osama bin Laden, blogdom turns its attention to what really matters: the Carnival of the Vanities, now in its Mark VIII incarnation.

I have noticed that I tend to plug the Carnival more enthusiastically during weeks, such as this one, when I have no entries of my own. Not that I'm inclined to pay the guy with the really nice leather couch thirty thousand dollars in $150 increments to tell me why.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:18 AM)
17 November 2002
No Peking

Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman, working for the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law, have an ongoing project to document Internet filtering in various forms and fashions. One of the subprojects this fall is the determination of sites blocked by the government of the People's Republic of China. Described as "an experiment in open research," Zittrain and Edelman have worked up a system whereby any URL can be entered and then tested in real-time (within two minutes) to see if it is accessible to Chinese Internet users.

Needless to say, I had to try this out for myself, and by gum, according to this testing regime, this site is blocked. Presumably no one from the Chinese mainland is authorized to view any of my stuff. This explains one phenomenon: an earlier version of the Music Room here was once duplicated, from first byte to last, and pasted onto some Chinese Web site. They even copied my counter code, which is how I found out about it in the first place. The hits (never more than one or two a day, but what the hell) dried up this summer, and perhaps now I know why.

(Muchas gracias: John Little, The Blogs of War. He's blocked too.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:02 AM)
20 November 2002
Will blog for food

Miss Christine takes a dim view of tip jars:

Blogging is NOT a job. Everytime I see a pay-pal button asking for donations so some schmuck can get paid for aimlessly rambling on a web page, I am insulted. Because really folks, that is exactly what it is. Self indulgent rambling. No one depends on your weblog for critical information. It's still more akin to some deep-seeded exhibitionist tendencies than news reporting.

Possibly even deep-seated, at least from where I sit, but I'm not quite so sour on the concept. Yet. If by some fluke of nature I start pulling 2,000 visitors a day instead of 2,000 a week, it won't cost me one dime more to operate this site. Let it become 20,000 a day (yeah, right), and maybe I'll get worried.

Besides, were it not for self-indulgent rambling, I'd have a lot less to read in the evenings.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:59 PM)
25 November 2002
Holding back

I think perhaps most of us have felt this way at one time or another:

Normally when I don't update, it's because I don't have the words, or they come at the wrong moments. I have the words now, the eloquent phrases that have spun themselves into poetry in my mind. I have the words, but forgive me for not sharing them. Some things are meant to fuel the self and be savored.

Few of my phrases are eloquent, fewer still lend themselves to becoming verse, but there are always going to be things I can say, but won't.

There are always going to be things I did say, but shouldn't have, but that's a tale for another time.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:34 AM)
27 November 2002
Carnival!

Yes, buoys and gulls, it's time for another exciting installment of Carnival of the Vanities, where ordinary bloggers demonstrate their talent for the extraordinary. (I can say that because I don't have any entries in the Carnival this week; the overall average will lurch upward a couple of ticks due to my absence.) Read one, read all, but read, dammit.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:10 AM)
On the corner, 12th Street and Vine

Actually, I won't be standing at that particular intersection at all, but following Wilbert Harrison's lead (by way of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, with a wave to Little Willie Littlefield), I'm going to Kansas City. (Kansas City, here I come.) This is basically a command performance: the children have commanded that I appear, or else. And they're just shrewd enough not to specify the true dimensions of "else".

The downside of this, or perhaps the upside of this, is that there will be a lower level of bloggage through the end of the week.

(See? It's possible to make an announcement of this nature without any reference to a frozen dessert.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:58 PM)
29 November 2002
Until it's time for me to go

One does keep busy under these circumstances. Last night, we took a drive through something called Christmas in the Park at Longview Lake Park in Lee's Summit (remind me to find out just who the hell Lee is), with 160 or so animated displays using a quarter of a million lights. I decided the following: (1) I really, really hate daytime running lights on automobiles, and (2) there are some immensely-talented people in these parts.

Today I met up with Miss Christine, who runs the Narsissy blog. She was at work, but I caught her fairly early in the day, before she'd had time to get incensed at the sort of goofups (see 21 November) who insist on doing industrial-strength shopping on days like this, so she came off as incredibly likable — no surprise to me, of course.

Back home tomorrow, barring catastrophe.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:50 PM)
30 November 2002
Titleist balls

Ravenwood, in the process of complimenting a blogger (who shall here remain nameless) for astutely-chosen article titles, observed:

I rarely re-visit the headline after the first go 'round. Perhaps I should.

The real question here, I think, is "Will a really good title bring attention to an article?" I believe that it will; in fact, although I read The Greatest Jeneration fairly often, I would probably have skipped over this item were it not for its title, which is so good I'm going to have to wait a discreet interval before swiping it. And if I had skipped it, I would have missed a good, solid Jen rant.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:10 PM)
3 December 2002
Roundup of the rotten

John Hawkins at Right Wing News has posted, for the third year, his list of the 20 Worst People, Places And Things On The Internet, which begs the question:

"Only twenty?"

I might quibble about the final rankings, but everything there, in my opinion, certainly deserves to be there. Nice work, Mr. H.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:40 AM)
Going for twenty

When this site was launched in 1996, one of its pages was devoted to whining about my incredibly bad luck at picking Playboy's Playmate of the Year; up to that point, I had been completely wrong for thirteen years straight.

Now it's nineteen years straight, and I have no reason to think I'll do any better this time around, but inasmuch as the January 2003 issue is out with the annual Playmate Review, it's time to make a fool of myself once more — mainly because this page draws about five percent of the site's traffic, mostly from people looking for pictures pirated from Playboy (which I don't have), and I hate getting "Why haven't you updated?" letters.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:59 PM)
4 December 2002
The Carnival comes to town

The lovely and talented Michele at A Small Victory is happy to host the first Traveling Edition of the Carnival of the Vanities, your first look at stuff you would have read when it came out if you had had the time or had known where it was. As always, I recommend it highly, especially since none of it is mine.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:25 AM)
7 December 2002
Without honor in our own home

George Lang churned out a five-page piece about blogs for the Oklahoma Gazette this week, with quotes from Joshua Micah Marshall, Andrew Sullivan and Joe Conason, screen shots from all of the above plus one from Glenn Reynolds, and the obligatory interview with a journalism professor — in this case, Mark Hanebutt of the University of Central Oklahoma, who opined:

If I were an editor again at a paper, I would be assigning somebody to pay attention to these. If you look at some of these Web logs, it's people who are talking about the aftereffects, the aftershocks, the fallout of an event and how it might affect them or how it might push over other dominoes.

Reasonable enough. But George, couldn't you have found it in your heart to talk to so much as one blogger actually in Oklahoma?

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:39 PM)
9 December 2002
The very appearance of gratitude

To commemorate this site's 200,000th visitor, a minor facelift.

In the whirling world of blogdom, picking up two hundred thousand visitors in a few months isn't so unusual. It took me eighty months. No matter. I'm grateful to each and every one of you.

And to the nonexistent Jennifer Hawkings, who infested enough mailboxes over the weekend to send scores of people scurrying to Google to find out what was going on, I thank you as well: this day will likely be the busiest in the site's history.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:37 AM)
The last notification system you'll ever need

I think everyone's seen a blog that would benefit from this.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:29 PM)
10 December 2002
Semi-big numbers

728 visitors viewing 1,110 pages yesterday. Half again the previous record.

And without any assistance from Glenn Reynolds, who remains unaware that this site even exists.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:28 AM)
11 December 2002
25 or 6 to 404

404, of course, is the error code generated when you request a Web page that does not actually exist. Servers feed a 404 page to give you the bad news, and usually it's fairly generic.

I said "usually." Blogdex has been all over plinko.net's best 404 page ever, which seems only reasonable if it's truly the best.

For myself, I kind of like Lileks' variation on the theme.

The worst? Why, it's right here.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:22 AM)
Nonideological plugola

It's an even dozen for the Carnival of the Vanities, where the best of the blogosphere jumps up and slaps you in the face like a damp fish. Read it. Learn it. Take it to heart. Complain about it for issue #13 next week.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:43 AM)
Yes, Virginia

There is something disconcerting about the current flurry of activity regarding the new set of photographs of author/blogger Virginia Postrel. While I freely admit I'm not entirely immune to purely-visual stimuli, I find this sudden shift of interest away from the way she thinks to the way she looks is rather offputting. There is no justification for this sort of leering objectification, and omigod omigod look at her just look at her omigod shes so freaking gorgeous i dont believe shes actually posting these holy mother of god look at that dress i bet it stops a lot closer to denton than university park if you know what i mean that mouth that mouth why are we wasting time on the likes of ann coulter are these gonna be on the next book jacket please please tell me are any of these gonna be on the next book jacket holy cow shes so beautiful i cant stand it i just cant stand it I am disappointed that the blogosphere would expend so much effort on it when there is so much work to be done.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:16 AM)
Less leash on Lynn

The blog formerly known as Poet and Peasant has freed itself from the surly bonds of Blogspot. Lynn Sislo's new digs have been christened Reflections in D minor, and they're open for your perusal even as we speak. Or type.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:31 PM)
12 December 2002
The blogger's prayer

No, it's not "O Lord, we beseech thee, grant us an Instalanche."

Actually, it's based on a theme first enunciated by St. Thomas More, and given a voice by Fritz Schranck. I'll quote just one line:

Give me the strength to be candid with my readers, while respecting the privacy of those whose words and deeds inspire my writing.

Thanks, Fritz.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:02 AM)
14 December 2002
Noise potential

Just wafted through The Vent:

Is it possible to repeat your emotional reaction to Sixties "underground" radio if you're approaching your own sixties?

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:45 AM)
One of those days (Part 2)

At some ill-defined point between Then and Now, my Web host made the curious decision to (1) drop a Perl module essential to the operation of Movable Type and (2) tell no one about it. The easy fix, of course, would be to set up an extlib and install a copy of the module there, but since when have I ever done anything the easy way?

So I backed up the 500 or so files in the archives (itself a tedious chore) and decided to install the 2.51 upgrade and the extlib. This actually worked on the seventh, maybe eighth try, after I'd wrecked my directory structure two or three times trying to get everything to fall into its canonical position. I really think installing 2.21 originally was easier than doing this upgrade. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

If nothing else, staring at this screen for however many hours today has (temporarily) cured me of the notion that I'm overdue for a redesign.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:25 PM)
15 December 2002
From the Department of Redundancy Department

So you thought there were half a million blogs out there, with half a million people busily typing and Googling away?

Sorry, Chucko. They're all written by Susanna Cornett.

(Except this one.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:32 PM)
23 December 2002
Because I can

It's time for the seventh annual Chaz Awards, worth nothing to the donor and even less to the recipient, but it does fill up a page of text, and isn't that what it's all about?

Don't answer that.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:26 AM)
25 December 2002
The Carnival rolls on

Fourteen weeks on and still without a single fatality, the Carnival of the Vanities stops this week at Ravenwood's Universe, where you can sample all the delights of the Blogosphere™ that you unaccountably missed during the last ten days or so.

(Disclosure: I have an entry in the Carnival. Don't let that stop you from enjoying the good stuff.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:03 AM)
27 December 2002
A grim fairy tale

Once upon a time, there was a blogger who decided to move his blog, and....

I never was any good at these things. Go read Fragments from Floyd. Fred tells the story far better than I could. It is, indeed, a tale most hideous.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:17 AM)
29 December 2002
Mystiques were made

Michele at A Small Victory is seeking nominations for The Ten Most Intriguing Bloggers of 2002.

What's that you say? Nah. Don't even think of bringing my name into this. I locked up Least Intriguing Blogger of Any Conceivable Year quite some time ago.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:19 PM)
Measured impact

Zee at RoadSassy looks for her place in blogdom:

I would like to be read but I have come to know from being online that there is a staggering number of brilliant minds out there. Minds and hearts in service to whatever philosophy or passion marches their souls through life. I stand back in awe and admiration of the human race.

A staggering number indeed. I marvel at the sheer diversity (in the real, not the Democratic National Committee's, sense of the word) of the people who bring us these words on a more-or-less-daily basis. Of course, the real worry is that in an effort to pigeonhole ourselves, we'll eventually fly straight up our own archives:

I'm just disappointed to see this hoopla around blogging and what kind of political impact it will have and will it change the nature of journalism and who knows? Who cares? Can't we all just frigging write? As soon as anything comes under intense scrutiny, it becomes self conscious or something.

It's already changed the nature of journalism. Dead-tree writers are catching on to the idea that their asses can be fact-checked. The days when Big Media could just hand out stuff and expect it to be swallowed whole grow ever shorter. And this happened before the orgy of self-absorption, while we were, well, just frigging writing.

Will blogs become less effective as they become more numerous? Maybe. But the best blogs will always have an impact far beyond their regular readership, and the worst — well, I'm still here.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:01 PM)
30 December 2002
Intriguing, she said

About the only thing I'm sure of in Michele's Ten Most Intriguing Bloggers of 2002 competition is that whoever nominated me wasn't paying attention, or something.

Since we're supposed to cough up a list, here is mine, in no particular order:

  • Victorine Sclafani-Drachenberg, Liquid Courage (intellectually curious and frighteningly attractive)
  • John "Akatsukami" Braue, Rat's Nest (as thoughtful a grouch as you'll ever see)
  • Marc Lundberg, Quit That (writing his own blog software ensures his inclusion here)
  • Scott Ott, ScrappleFace (the funniest man alive, possibly even after he's dead)
  • Edward, lactose incompetent (a gentleman and a scholar, and a man with a past or two)
  • Susanna Cornett, Cut on the Bias (like the onion of yore, no matter how much you peel, there's still more)
  • Fred First, Fragments from Floyd (imagine Garrison Keillor with a sense of humor and a sense of priorities)
  • Jessie Rosenberg, Discriminations (she posts so little that she invites curiosity on that basis alone, and besides, she's a 16-year-old college junior, which ditto)
  • The pseudonymous Cinderella Bloggerfeller (an intellectual, a European, and yet not a leftist goofball)
  • Arthur Silber, The Light of Reason (fears no argument from anyone, anywhere, on anything)

I have duly submitted this list to Michele, who is free to discard it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:12 PM)
1 January 2003
Opening announcements

To help ease the pain of that abrupt shift from 2002 to 2003, Solonor's Groovy Grove of Mystical Wonders is providing the appropriate shade for this week's Carnival of the Vanities. For those keeping score, this is installment #15.

And speaking of ongoing features, there's a new Vent. For those keeping score, this is installment #323.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:01 AM)
Not ready to face the light

Well, I'm not, but Andrea Harris certainly seems to be: she's blogging at a new address in Spleenville under the title Too Much to Dream.

Personally, I always thought she was too young to be thinking about prunes — er, um, dried plums.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:37 AM)
2 January 2003
Kind of a drab

An old friend of mine used to sign into the local dialups as "Dull N. Boring". (I asked him once, "What's the N for?" "Null," he said.)

Mr Boring has no real input into this site, but clearly it is informed by his spirit: on the splendid table that is the Blogosphere™, I'm purveying, at best, a can of sub-Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee pasta-like substances. A dented can, at that. Still, this isn't the dullest Web site in the world — it's only a tribute.

(Muchas gracias: LilacRose, now in new digital digs.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:20 AM)
3 January 2003
The road twice taken

Those wonderful folks at Blogcritics come up with some truly excellent original material.

And then there's their new link button, which says "You're entitled to our opinion," which is also truly excellent, but which, alas, is not original.

Oh, well, you can't have everything.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:02 PM)
8 January 2003
Coming around again

Were this television, the audio would be compressed into one indistinct mass, and cue the voiceover: NOW That's What I Call Blogging 16!

Mercifully, this is not television — if it were, I'd have been cancelled years ago — so instead I shall merely suggest a trip to Carnival of the Vanities #16, this week hosted by The Eleven Day Empire. Not available in stores.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:20 AM)
In one general direction

It's said that if you're twenty and you're not liberal, you have no heart, and if you're forty and you're not conservative, you have no brain. What does this mean as fifty arrives? I have no idea, and I prove it in the latest issue of The Vent.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:36 PM)
11 January 2003
Biting the hand, etc.

Edward reports that a friend of his was sacked for less-than-kindly remarks about his (unnamed) workplace on his blog.

On this basis, by now I probably should have been disemboweled, pounded into a paté, ground into powder and poured into a sewer grating.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:33 AM)
12 January 2003
Jumping the snark

A quick run through the last thousand entries or so reveals that I toss off the term "snarky" or some variation thereof with the same sort of heedless elan as a four-year-old who's just learned a cuss word. What, in fact, constitutes snarkiness? Here's my take:

If you blog about Pete Townshend's interest in child porn, that in itself isn't snarky.

If you title that blog entry something like "The Kids Are Alright", that's snarky.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:48 AM)
Everybody into the pool!

Two thousand three will apparently be the Year of the Dead Pool. Laurence Simon's Amish Tech Support Dead Pool has over 100 contestants, and I suspect that the simpler Indo-Pakistani Deadpool, in which all you have to do is guess when the first nuke is dispatched from Islamabad or New Delhi, may draw even more.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:24 PM)
13 January 2003
On the street where you blog

Of the various sites purporting to list just where one's blog falls in the general scheme of things, I find myself most often at BlogStreet, not so much to see my blog in the Top 500 (where it has never been and likely never will be), but to see some of the weirder artifacts derived from their database.

The one that perplexes me right now reads as follows:

Total Blogs: 50446 Total Links: 151278

That's only about three links per blog.

Three links!

Maybe I shouldn't be kvetching about my lowly position (1657th) after all.

Update, 14 January, 11:00 am: Evidently I misinterpreted that little factoid - see Comments.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:11 PM)
14 January 2003
Unexpected attrition

It appears we will no longer be able to experience The Spoons Experience; Spoons, citing the usual Real Life concerns, is going to give it a rest.

He's not retiring entirely, though, so watch for him in a comment section near you.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:18 AM)
15 January 2003
I saw it posted there

Well, it was just seventeen,
You know what I mean,
And the way it looked was way beyond compare....

That's right, it's the seventeenth edition of Carnival of the Vanities, now playing at Greeblie Blog. Your heart will go Boom.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:00 AM)
18 January 2003
An exceedingly minor milestone

As of this week, dustbury.com in its Movable Type incarnation (which began in late August 2002) is actually averaging (slightly) more than 1.0 comments per post.

This is, of course, no great shakes — delightful extroverts like Rachel Lucas can pull dozens of comments on every single post — but there's some small comfort in knowing that I'm not just talking to myself here.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:59 AM)
22 January 2003
18, and I don't know what I want

What you want is Carnival of the Vanities #18, hosted by the estimable Meryl Yourish and embellished with an all-new rating system that's absolutely, um, keisterrific.

Now go read, dammit.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:40 AM)
23 January 2003
Trust the Force, Angus

Okay, the first question on your mind is probably not "What if Star Wars had been set in Scotland?"

Well, move it up a few notches on the brain pan, and see the vector the one and only Gregory Hlatky has found connecting Alderaan to Edinburgh.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:15 AM)
24 January 2003
Unmitigated Gaul

Bigwig scores today's Spiffiest Blog Article Title award with a piece on the perfidy of France, called Hoist by Their Own Petain.

You can't get much more apropos than that, n'est-ce pas?

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:07 PM)
25 January 2003
Blanked out

According to Dean Esmay, who knows about this sort of thing, UUnet had some major problems last night, which might have been the result of a Denial of Service attack. As a result, Net traffic was snarled, and some data packets never went anywhere at all. Indeed, there was about a 30-percent reduction in overnight traffic at this site.

Tonight, however, there will be a 100-percent reduction at this site: my little row of the server farm is being physically relocated, as in "Okay, load that box on the truck, Jim," some time around midnight CDT. How long this will take, I don't know; I expect to be up and running Sunday morning without incident.

(Update, 6:30 pm: Apparently it was a DoS, but not aimed at UUnet; it was an exploit of an existing security hole in Microsoft servers that not everyone chose to fix when the patch was issued. And this explains why I was still getting traffic: this site runs on a Linux box.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:24 AM)
A star is born

As a prominent member of the D list, I have the honor of occasionally finding A-level stuff and pointing you toward it, usually with words of praise.

For this, I can find no words, except that you must read it — and that you will never, ever forget it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:08 PM)
26 January 2003
Back at the old stand

Total downtime was about five hours, which wasn't too bad, all things considered. Normal operation, to the extent that any of this can be considered "normal," was restored slightly before 5 am. Planned downtime, to be sure, is much more pleasant than unplanned downtime — and it's easier to schedule, too.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:49 AM)
29 January 2003
19th nervous breakdown

While your father's perfecting ways of making sealing-wax, the rest of us are reading the nineteenth weekly edition of Carnival of the Vanities, this week hosted (because he said so) at Ipse Dixit. As always, it's the best of the blogs, plus a few snide comments from yours truly, and is not to be missed.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:14 AM)
Trying to get the feeling again

Last night someone wandered into last February's log entries looking for "anal barry manilow lettuce".

Not exactly a true-blue spectacle, but okay, if you say so.

(Also posted to Disturbing Search Requests)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:17 AM)
30 January 2003
In Dodd we trust

Thanks to 150 (!) referrals from Carnival of the Vanities, this site hit the 500-visitor mark yesterday for only the third time ever. I don't know whether this should be credited to the ingenuity of C. Dodd Harris IV, who wrote up the descriptions, or to my own indecisiveness — which article to send? — which led me to turn in two submissions, but being the sort of person who ducks credits for things (thereby simplifying the task of ducking responsibility when they go wrong), I'm going with Dodd.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:32 AM)
The book of numbers

You can definitely tell that Oscar Jr. is starting to get into the groove here; he's churned out a piece which is called, so help me Hannah and her sisters, A Preliminary and Shoddy Statistical Analysis of the Heights of the Blogosphere.

Crunching data from the Myelin Blogging Ecosystem, Oscar has determined that, on average, ten extra blogs in your blogroll will get you four extra links in return. I'm not sure exactly when you're supposed to add those ten to achieve the desired effect, and I have some general qualms about futzing with blogrolls — the ninety or so blogs I list are there because they are regularly read, not because I think I stand to gain anything from their presence — but it's an interesting statistic nonetheless, and I'd like to see someone do a study on how many links you can garner from delinking someone or from demanding that someone else delink.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:21 AM)
Type O

Note: this is not a link to Silflay Hraka.

Seriously.

(Before you ask: Yes, I've seen dustbunny.com. It's great.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:03 PM)
For my Carnival visitors

There's a whole lot here to read, some of which is actually worthwhile.

If you'd like to improve the odds of finding a good read while you're surfing, Bill Peschel keeps a list of Best Internet Essays of 2003, and he's averaging about five or six a week. A couple of them have been linked from here; one of them actually originated here.

And if you've seen all the Carnival entries and all the other ephemera of the blogosphere and would like to do this sort of thing yourself some day, Tim Dunlop has some excellent advice. (How excellent? It made Peschel's list.)

Thanks for coming.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:01 PM)
4 February 2003
Flying fickle finger of fame

Jeebus. Yesterday the meter on this site was running, if not 18 times the speed of light, certainly faster than it's ever run before. And instead of the usual 350 or so for a Monday, the spreadsheet shows a startling 1699.

I could, I suppose, characterize this event as yet another step on the long journey from Completely Unknown to Deeply Obscure, but once this flurry passes (and that CNN goofup falls off Blogdex, where it climbed briefly to #51), I'm gearing up for resettlement in a moderately-priced area of Oblivion Heights.

For those of you who were here, however briefly, on a day more than twice as busy as any I've ever seen — the previous record for 24 hours here is 728 — thank you for making possible something entirely unexpected: a veritable Instalanche without any participation by InstaPundit. In the immortal words of Marx: That's the most unheard-of thing I ever heard of.

Regular programming will resume shortly.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:17 AM)
Java enabler

There's a lot of cute blog schwag out there, but if you're going for maximum cute, you want the Rachel Lucas "Imagine" mug, guaranteed to hold your favorite hot beverage without once complaining that the top ten percent contains as much warmth as the bottom 90.

I'm sure this will tide me over until Susanna Cornett finishes up work on her signature lingerie line.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:43 PM)
5 February 2003
The Carnival pulls out a plum

Carnival of the Vanities Episode 20 is now being screened at Plum Crazy; as always, this is where you catch up on the best bloggage of the week, and we won't even mention the stuff I wrote.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:59 AM)
Lunatic pamphleteers

I'm not quite sure what's most annoying about this San Diego Union-Tribune piece about blogging: the rendering of URLs without making them clickable, the scattered typesetting commands that weren't screened out or converted to HTML, or the definition of "blogrolling" as "linking to sites that tend to share similar ideologies." On the far reaches of the political spectrum, maybe, but not for most bloggers within screaming distance of the mainstream.

On the other hand, Neal Pollack's characterization of bloggers as "lunatic pamphleteers shouting into the wind" — that I'll buy.

(Muchas gracias: Becky at Paradigm Shifts.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:15 PM)
6 February 2003
Back to the shadows again

Well, it was nice while it lasted — 1699 visitors Monday, 1166 Tuesday, 604 Wednesday — but apart from some Carnival traffic, things are pretty much back to normal around here.

I was slightly amused by a thread at Café Utne which linked back to that CNN screenshot, in which someone wondered why there was a goldfinch on the page. I duly copied the pertinent paragraph from the site to the thread, and somehow managed to refrain from asking "How come you couldn't find this?"

Still, I got a couple of new readers out of all this brouhaha, and, as John Lennon once observed, you know that can't be bad.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:30 AM)
More on bloggage

Neal Pollack, you may remember, tagged all of us in blogdom as "lunatic pamphleteers," a term with lyricism enough to compensate for its barely-veiled sneer. Pollack, of course, has his own blog; people who don't, don't bother with the veil. An example:

[T]hey rant about things that upset them, they swoon over girls/boys they like, they expose their deepest fears and herald their most miraculous events with bold tags and large colored fonts. They evangelize for their favorite computer manufacturers, they list URLs they find interesting, they philosophize on mundane linguistic topics and editorialize on current political issues to, apparently, everyone. Therein lies the catch, of course, for their "audience" is probably, at best, only a couple of pairs of eyeballs and the countless hours they spend at the keyboard typing out their inner thoughts are likely wasted on a couple of readers, whom they will probably never actually meet.

And that was the kindest thing he said.

Jeff Jarvis suggests that it's "a desperate urge to get links from webloggers," and he may be right. Fortunately, whether it's desperate or not, it's at least reasonably amusing. And since I am intimately familiar with the process of trying to be both desperate and amusing, and mindful of the Second Commandment of Blogging — well, what the hell, he gets a link.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:36 AM)
7 February 2003
Cadre remarks

Everyone knows the canonical collective nouns, even the weird ones like a murder of crows or a pride of lions or a clutch of mechanics or a graft of politicians or a gaggle of Googlers.

So how shall we denote a multiplicity of bloggers? The first thing I thought of was crash, but then it occurred to me that in this context, "crash" equates to something properly single, and a proper noun at that: a crash of Blogger. Okay, there are a lot of such, but as Bono might have said, we still haven't found what we're looking for. (And Bono apparently has no qualms about finding prepositions to end sentences with.)

If you have better ideas than I — and who doesn't? — please pop open Comments and expound.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:10 PM)
8 February 2003
Rebound effect

You may remember Behind the Mantle, operated by a blogger who was sacked (Bite me, King Stan!) for having a blog. (I mentioned it briefly here last month.)

Now working for someone less anal, he's back blogging at entrebat.net.

(Muchas gracias: Edward Ocean.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:55 PM)
9 February 2003
Gam bits, again

I tend to pay close attention to anything Andy Crossett does, since Mr Crossett is the proprietor of The Celebrity Legs Gallery [not necessarily safe for work], a biweekly glance at some of the world's major-est Major Babes from here down. And it was inevitable, I suppose, that he should open a blog.

As a skirtwatcher of long standing, I consider this sort of thing noteworthy. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:20 PM)
T'ain't funny, McGee

No, not you, Kevin.

The previous entry, reports Movable Type, was number 666.

It caused the database server to error out, and had to be reposted.

Hmmm....

(Mental note: Write to DavidMSC up in Montana and see if he can get me one of those Helena handbaskets I've been hearing about.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:27 PM)
10 February 2003
Site issues

The site has actually been up, but anything requiring cgi — for readers, this means the comment windows and whatnot — has been down most of the morning due to Actual Hardware Failure, as in "Geez, isn't it about time we got rid of this piece of crap?"

In the meantime, someone Googled his way here looking for susanna porn. Uh, not here, pal.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:18 AM)
Site issues (the sequel)

I honestly don't know if everything is fixable at the host end; they seem to be fumbling a lot.

Unfortunately, I'm paid up through the end of the year, so I am loath to move — at least right now.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:11 PM)
12 February 2003
The Carnival comes of age

John Ray's Dissecting Leftism (it's dead and on the lab table?) is the host for the 21st edition of Carnival of the Vanities, with scads of high-quality bloggage for your reading pleasure. As always, you miss this at your peril.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:10 AM)
16 February 2003
The quest for B.O.

Fametracker has a lovely feature called "The Fame Audit", in which a celebrity's perceived level of, well, celebrity is contrasted and compared to where, in the opinion of the auditor, it by rights ought to be. An example: the Audit of Leonardo DiCaprio, which, after fourteen paragraphs and a pair of boxes listing Assets and Liabilities, concludes that while Leo is Up There with Brad Pitt, he really belongs in Jude Law's neighborhood.

Inasmuch as the Blogosphere never metadata it didn't like, something of a Blog Fame Audit would seem inevitable. But where to do the math? While fumbling for the shampoo this morning, it hit me, and rather painfully so.

So say hello to the Blog Overachievement Factor — for various aesthetic reasons, we can call it the B.O. factor — which is defined in terms of BlogStreet data: the Blog Importance Quotient (BIQ) divided by the BlogStreet rank. The BIQ, says BlogStreet, is based upon how many high-ranking blogs link to your blog.

Auditing Glenn Reynolds for B.O., we find that he has a rank of 1 and a BIQ of 1, which puts him at a B.O. of, well, 1.00.

To pick a few not entirely at random out of BlogStreet's Top 100 or so:

USS Clueless
 rank 13; BIQ 5; B.O. 2.60

Lileks' The Bleat
 rank 14; BIQ 9; B.O. 1.56

The Volokh Conspiracy
 rank 20; BIQ 4; B.O. 5.00

Tim Blair
 rank 22; BIQ 8; B.O. 2.75

A Small Victory
 rank 49; BIQ 61; B.O. 0.80

PejmanPundit
 rank 52; BIQ 17; B.O. 3.06

Amish Tech Support
 rank 82; BIQ 75; B.O. 1.09

Cut on the Bias
 rank 102; BIQ 31; B.O. 3.29

In a check of the top BIQs, the B.O. leader was Aint No Bad Dude: rank 277, BIQ 29, B.O. 9.55.

My own B.O. computes as follows: rank 2282, BIQ 531, B.O. 4.30.

If all this means anything — and I'm almost certain it doesn't — I'm punching a class or two above my, um, weight.

(Update, 11:25 am: This data was originally in a table, which I scrapped after deciding its appearance was even more preposterous than the numbers I had plugged into it.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:05 AM)
A carousel of time

So it's come to this: fisking thirty-year-old songs by Joni Mitchell.

Then again, were we truly happier when all we had to fisk was Fisk?

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:39 PM)
17 February 2003
Airflyte!

I know, you'd read Lileks anyway, but today he's got a lovely little piece that touches on the thoughts running nonstop through your head when you visit an unfamiliar church.

And what's more, he's got a gorgeous picture of a bathtub Nash, postwar automotive aerodynamics at its best. In its time, perhaps the finest highway cruiser we had, though in town it tended to be a handful, what with a fifty-foot turning circle because of the skirted front wheels. And we won't mention the infamous fold-down seats.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:30 AM)
Well, they call it the streak

About one month into this Web thing, I was scratching around for topics — rather like now, as a matter of fact — and I decided to post something about one of my more ignoble distinctions: the fact that every year, I take a stab at predicting Playboy's Playmate of the Year, and every year, that stab catches some of my own flesh.

At the time, I'd made thirteen consecutive wrong guesses. Now it's nineteen. You'd think this would be the year, huh? Not on your tintype, Binky. My secret sources within the Mansion (yeah, right) have informed me that my twentieth annual pick is every bit as prescient as its predecessors, which is to say not at all.

I'm not going to be posting the official results until the actual PMOY issue (usually June) arrives, since I don't really know who the PMOY is — only who she isn't. I am, however, going to take some extra time this year to frown and pout and mutter and grumble. (Last year, I didn't start FPMG mode until the 27th of April. On this topic, anyway.)

(Aside to SWINTBN: As His Purpleness might say, "Nothing compares 2 U.")

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:26 PM)
18 February 2003
Axis of Feebles

The lovely and talented Rachel Lucas offers the "definitive word on trolls and assclowns", and this is the bottom line thereof:

It's all quite simple and reasonable. If I wouldn't waste time on you at a real party because of your unpleasant personality, then I'm not going to do it here, either.

For myself, I have had no such problems up to now. The nature of trolls and assclowns is to desire the maximum exposure possible for their irritating drivel; this site actively thwarts their desire by going largely unread, thereby reducing exposure, and by containing a high percentage of irritating drivel itself, thereby reducing contrast.

Still, it's probably a good idea to have something resembling a policy on such matters, and when I get around to concocting one, it will probably look a lot like Rachel's.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:53 AM)
19 February 2003
It's some carnival, that Carnival 22

Almost live and indirect, it's the Carnival of the Vanities, episode twenty-two, emanating from the People's Republic of Seabrook, Texas, bringing you the finest bloggage from all over the civilized world. (I didn't check to see if there were any entries from France, but, well, write your own joke.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:06 AM)
21 February 2003
Doc, it hurts when I say this

"Don't say that."

There are 48 words/phrases/bits of vernacular shorthand that are not to be used within earshot of the Jodiverse.

(Actually, there are rather more than that, but let's take them a few at a time, shall we?)

(By way of Cyberangel, who has been known to utter a few of them herself.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:39 PM)
Color scheming

Not that anyone notices these things, but I have given a general facelift to the items in The Vent. This makes the fourth redesign of these pages since Day One (today is something like Day 2,509), and I hasten to point out that it does not hint at a future redesign for the blog.

Not much, anyway.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:55 PM)
50 ways to look quite stupid

Well, actually, Jane Galt mentions only thirteen, but every single one has been used, perhaps even abused, either in her Comments boxes or in her incoming email, and there are good reasons to eschew them:

Sending off bile-laden missives to your political opponents poisons discourse, makes you look like a jerk, and gives them the evidence they're looking for that your side is just a bunch of evil, potty-mouthed fanatics who haven't had a new idea since the Jurassic.

This phenomenon, incidentally, is not restricted to one side of the political aisle, either:

[T]here is no idiocy on the left, except the worship of Stalin, that is not mirrored on the right.

I, of course, strive mightily to preserve idiocy in the center.

(Update, 9:30 pm: Make that 51 ways. You've heard of forgetting to close a link? It's also possible to forget to open one. Sheesh.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:23 PM)
24 February 2003
The conscience of blogdom

You know these folks. There's Steven, the analyst; Charles, the front-line reporter; Jane, the chief financial officer; Glenn, the head of distribution; Laurence, who is, well, Laurence. And there are plenty of others who've earned their place on the first team.

And then there's Susanna Cornett, who over the past year has become the unofficial conscience of the Blogosphere, the still, small voice who pipes up to remind us that some things are more than simply inexpedient: they are wrong, and there's a reason why.

Today we celebrate one year of Susanna's cut on the bias. And if you're wondering just what kind of person she is, well, as that Lee Ann Womack record says, "Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance/And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance/I hope you dance."

Susanna dances. She always has. And she always will.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:34 AM)
26 February 2003
Carnival letter #23

And not a strawberry in the bunch. This week's Carnival of the Vanities is hosted by Kesher Talk, and once again, if you miss out, the management cannot be held responsible for your failure to keep up with the Best of the Blogs. And it should be even better this week; I'm not in it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:13 AM)
27 February 2003
Scratching a niche

Asked "What separates your page from the pack?" by the ever-reliable John Hawkins, Tim Blair answers:

I'm filling an overlooked market niche: the bitter, personal, unfunny blog.

It's a nasty job, but somebody has to do it. (Though I thought I was.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:05 PM)
3 March 2003
With a song in his heart

Two songs, actually.

Go see what McGehee hath wrought, or hath writ, or anyway hath posted.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:21 AM)
4 March 2003
No further comment required

Somebody got here last night via a Google search for "mister rogers" illuminati.

Fnord.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:06 AM)
Just in time for Ash Wednesday

It's Carnival of the Vanities #24, brought to you by the one and only Acidman. This week's edition features nearly three dozen articles by bloggers near and far, annotated and collected in fine style with just a hint (okay, maybe more than a hint) of that patented Gut Rumbles reflux. As always, miss this at your peril.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:43 PM)
6 March 2003
Sizzled, not stirred

Two words: bacon martini.

Bless you, Weetabix. ("Pretty hot, but in a Ned Flanders kind of way?" Now that's descriptive.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:04 AM)
7 March 2003
Yes, it's another facelift

I figure, if I'm going to drone on in my usual monotone, I ought to have a backdrop that is closer to monochrome.

Besides, in tests on a 33.6k dialup, it loads 0.4 second faster.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:54 AM)
Lynn breaks free once more

Once upon a time, there was Poet and Peasant, hosted at Blogspot, and it was good.

Then there was Reflections in D minor, running Movable Type, and it was better.

Now there is the new and improved Reflections in D minor, and it's a pMachine.

One thing about Lynn: she's determined.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:18 PM)
12 March 2003
25 (or six to four)

What's the appropriate gift for the 25th anniversary?

Right you are: linkage.

Jay Caruso's Daily Rant hosts the 25th edition of Carnival of the Vanities. As always, it's the best of the blogs, compiled and unedited, and this week it's guaranteed CGH-free, since I didn't send anything.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:17 PM)
13 March 2003
She slices, she dices

In the absence of anything useful from this corner (like that's news), let me point you to an example of what happens when Susanna Cornett of cut on the bias brings out the industrial-strength Fiskars. To be sheared: a Dowd-y fellow from the Lexington Herald-Leader who (1) really, really doesn't like the President's war plans and (2) mixes metaphors faster than Tom Cruise mixes drinks. You really need to read the whole thing to get the full flavor, but since it's traditional to provide an excerpt, here's her explanation of why France is not our friend:

"Friend" does not mean "someone who makes really good cheese, bizarre yet freakishly pricey clothes and sometimes agrees with us if it benefits him".

I guess she's not going on vacation with Rod Dreher. No matter, though; she's in her element, and the offending scribe from the old weird Herald will never be the same.

Now you know why I fear her so. :)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:47 PM)
15 March 2003
Hraka round the clock

Silflay Hraka's Bigwig has been lately plying his Muse with brewskis or something; whatever the circumstances, the result has been some scathingly good tunage. Most recently, he's unveiled a sea chantey for 21st-century pirates (you know who you are) and a not-quite-lighter-than-air followup to Madonna's "Vogue".

I hope he and the Muse get along better than, say, Miles Green and Erato, or at least Albert Brooks and Sharon Stone.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:07 PM)
16 March 2003
I should live so long

An impatient Tim Blair declared last week:

Women of Enron. Women of Starbucks. Women of Wall Street. Big deal! How long before Playboy hits us with Women of the Blogs?

The likelihood of this, I fear, is very low, but the collectibility of such an issue would be extremely high, and ten years from now the price for a single copy would be somewhere around:

[   ] $4.99
[   ] $20
[   ] $200
[   ] A year's worth of auto insurance in New Jersey
[   ] A week's worth of bombing strikes on Baghdad
[   ] Everyone at eBay could retire on this one commission alone
[   ] A buck times Avogadro's number

Suddenly mere tip jars seem inadequate.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:12 PM)
19 March 2003
Carnival of the Vanities #26

Twenty-six times that we've all shared,
Every week a Carnival, so don't be scared,
Here are all the best from those who dared
To blog, to blog, to blog, to blog.

It seems so distant, twenty-six weeks before,
When the Carnival was new;
Yet each edition, published each Wednesday,
Is still fresher than the morning dew.

Twenty-six weeks, still going strong,
Bigwig's great invention simply can't go wrong,
Wylie down in Norman now takes up the song,
To blog, to blog, to blog, to blog.

Twenty-six times (repeat until fade)

(With apologies to Glen Larson, Bruce Belland, any remaining Preps, and a place 40 km offshore)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:15 AM)
21 March 2003
That new retro look

Scads of blogs have moved from manual operation to content management systems such as pMachine and Movable Type. It's harder to find one that's gone the other way, from a CMS to manual maintenance.

Not impossible, though.

(And it looks pretty good so far.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:59 AM)
23 March 2003
Where praise is due

The rationale behind The Command Post is simple enough:

So we can post breaking war news in one convenient place, and not all over the web.

And they're doing a bang-up (sorry about that) job of it, too; at this point, it's more practical, I think, to hit The Command Post before even thinking about those Big News sites. Collective blogs are nothing new, at least on the accelerated time scale to which blogdom is accustomed, but for maximum immediacy with a minimum of froth, there's never been anything quite like The Command Post.

Thank you, Michele, Alan, and all the participating bloggers. It's a damned fine job you're doing.

(Update, 4:44 pm: New URL, so new link.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:28 AM)
A view from the Big Apple

The Blogosphere™ can seem to be closed and insular at times. The price of admission is low, but the price of acceptance is wildly variable.

Which leads me, occasionally, to wander outside the endless circle of blogrolls and into some unusual alleys. One of the places I've visited on a highly-sporadic basis is Faith's Dollheads Dot Com, and fortunately for me, she's got a new item in her Writing area that struck a few chords. It's yet another look at the antiwar folk, this particular bunch in New York City, but it's written from a perspective that's part irritated, part amused, which always scores points with me. What's more, this is the first attempt I've seen to classify the protesters into subgroups based on perceived motivations, and there are great photographs besides. Read it now before she writes another one and changes the URL. :) (Warning: Some photos may qualify as NSFW.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:30 PM)
Speaking of blogrolls

Mine is getting rather out of hand, but since I do actually read these things, they really need to be there.

Still, a line has to be drawn somewhere, and I can't think of a better place to draw it than where Shanti has drawn hers:

To get on the blogroll, $5US
To get off, $10US
For both together, $12US (best value for money)
The satisfaction of being delinked, priceless!!!

Speaking of Shanti, she's hosting Carnival of the Vanities #27 this week, and I hope I can think of something at least slightly interesting to say in the next couple of days.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:08 PM)
25 March 2003
Downright breezy

Susanna Cornett would like you to know that she is excessively cool.

Of course, we knew that.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:16 AM)
Unsolicited testimonial

If you're pondering whether you should order something from ThoseShirts.com, providers of branded blog merchandise hither and yon, allow me to tilt you just slightly towards the Yes column. The Rachel Lucas mugs look absolutely splendid on my shelf next to (and, generally, compared with) my vast quantities of accumulated public-radio detritus. And besides, it puts a few coins in Rachel's too-often-empty pocket, which is also a Good Thing.

Bottom line: Buy something, dammit.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:02 PM)
26 March 2003
Carnival Twenty-Seven

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends.

Yes, it's the Carnival of the Vanities, three times three times three, offered unto the world through the good graces of Dancing with Dogs, and if you're still hazy on the concept, it's the weekly roundup of the Best of the Blogs, now entering the second half of its first year, or something like that.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:15 AM)
A nice cup of 404

This has to be maddening.

Your friend and mine, Sgt. Stryker, got a namecheck and a screenshot at CNN.com today, which generated traffic far beyond any conceivable Instalanche, so much that it melted down the server into a heap of smoldering slag. They're back up, after the host moved the site to another machine, but I shudder to think what his bandwidth bill is going to look like next month.

Come to think of it, I shudder to think what mine is going to look like if this site ever becomes popular; about a hundred of the Sarge's visitors wended their way down his blogroll and wound up over here, which inflated my daily totals by twenty or twenty-five percent. Then again, I can remember when I could inflate my daily totals by twenty percent by hitting the Refresh button once.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:42 PM)
28 March 2003
Coalition of the yawning

The Dynamic Duo (well, Matt, anyway) at Blogmosis issued this call for (in)action:

[A]n entire movement of bored bloggers who can't or don't wish to keep up with the onslaught of war coverage and or otherwise just sick of all of this ridiculous caterwauling. I can't fathom how it would ever work, because I myself have become fixated on criticising behavior I witness that in my opinion is ridiculous. But someone smarter than I should be able to get this Bored Bloggers movement off the ground.

I'll win no prizes for stunning (maybe stunted) brilliance, but I've been providing enervative bloggage for years now. Ask any of my nine regular readers, if they're still awake.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:36 AM)
You gotta have Hart

Somewhere at an angle to his Presidential aspirations, Gary Hart is pushing a "primary of ideas", a discussion of the issues without any of that tedious political-campaign stuff. I don't know how well this will work, but I have to give the man credit for having the temerity to take on the Blogosphere™ on its own turf.

That's right, folks. Gary Hart has a blog. Unsurprisingly, his blogroll tilts a tad to the left, and there's already talk of an Official Comments Policy, but you gotta start somewhere. Make a note on your Trend-O-Meter and see if anyone else with his hat in the ring follows suit.

(Via The Professor)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:27 AM)
29 March 2003
Doing the math

Down here way below the A-list, even the B-list, it is an article of faith that we scramble for every reader we get. Still, I had no idea it had gotten this bad.

Earlier this week, I gave a tentative plug to a proposed Bored Blogger movement, and in so doing said something about my nine regular readers.

In a wholly-unrelated posting, DavidMSC this week mentioned his two regular readers.

Since David and I read each other's blogs on something resembling a regular basis, subtract 1 from each statement, and we're left with an 8:1 ratio. And try as I may, rationalize it as I will, I cannot bring myself to believe I have eight times David's readership.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:08 AM)
30 March 2003
Ne plus ultra

Sooner or later, someone always asks: "So who's the best actual writer with a blog?"

Easy enough. I point to James Lileks, and quickly comes the demurral: "But he's, like, a professional."

In that case, the question becomes: "Who's the best writer with a blog who also has a non-writing day job?"

Still easy enough. This time I point to Bill Whittle.

It's an honor to be on the same continent as these guys.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:00 PM)
1 April 2003
Blogging from the shadows

Venomous Kate declares that she has the only blog in all of blogdom that is not read by Inspector Gadget — um, InstaPundit.

Much as it pains me to do so, I must report that in thirty-odd months of daily blogging, I have received exactly the same amount of attention from the Professor (which is to say, zero, zilch, nada, zip, bupkis) as Kate has.

As distinctions go, I've had better.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:36 AM)
They said it couldn't be done

I never have been able to come up with a good three-column layout for this site, owing to a dreadful lack of time and an equally-dreadful lack of talent.

Meanwhile, Phillip Coons forges ahead with four columns. Dayum.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:44 PM)
2 April 2003
AC/decent

Just got my first look at the renovated acdouglas.com. Apart from the photo of Michael Moore in the first column, it's splendid.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:30 AM)
4 April 2003
Syntax assessment

In the most recent chapter of his ongoing Book of Numbers, Oscar Jr. considers the postings on this site, and after applying the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level formula, determines it to be written at a grade level of 9.6: that is, between ninth and tenth grades.

I find this conclusion inarguable — most of what I post is sophomoric, or almost so — but there's a small credibility problem, in that Oscar, in describing his 11-blog sample, pronounces mine to be "popular". As if.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:36 PM)
7 April 2003
Amazement by the mile

Oscar Jr. is surprised, although I'm not sure whether this surprise is due to discovering that I am a registered Democrat, or to the fact that I admit it.

Actually, it's an ego thing: in the GOP I'd be just another member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy®, while as a Democrat I get to (pretend to) be the Voice of Reason.

The very basis of life, after all, is surprise. I mean, why shouldn't ABC switch to all reality shows, all the time? Why shouldn't Microsoft buy a blog? Why shouldn't Johnny Cash cover a Nine Inch Nails song? I mean, some of these things are even true.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:31 AM)
8 April 2003
FrontPage news at The Ville

David Horowitz, whose evolution from Sixties leftist to staunch conservative has raised hopes in some and eyebrows in others, is inarguably one of the more interesting characters on the right side of blogdom. His Web outpost, FrontPage Magazine, publishes some excellent conservative writing.

And Brent at The Ville has snagged an exclusive interview with Mr Horowitz, which I just finished reading and which I recommend to everyone of every political persuasion.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:02 PM)
The Agonist and the eczema

If I were itching to rip off someone's commentary on the Sean-Paul Kelley plagiarism kerfuffle, I'd rip off Acidman's:

[N]obody plagiarizes MY stuff. I would be flattered if someone did, but only a really desperate, mind-numbed individual would WANT to.

Over the years, I've found bits and pieces of stuff I've done in, um, unauthorized mirrors. Sometimes it's almost amusing. Then again, if I were living off the income from this site, I'd be annoyed. (I'd also probably be starving, but that's another story.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:19 PM)
9 April 2003
Exceedingly minor historical event

Be it noted that this site is seven years old today. (However, it reads at a 14-year-old level.)

And in a rare bit of theatrical timing, Ye Olde Site Meter, which picked up the count on the day this domain was established (at which time it read 6,444, the last reading from my original front page), has clicked over past the quarter-million mark. (#250,000 came in from Blogosphere.us, which would be filling the void left by the departure of Daypop if Daypop were in fact departing.)

Thank you all. I couldn't have done it without you. At the very least, I would have worn out the F5 key.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:00 AM)
We have all been here before

Once again, Solonor Rasreth, more or less 50 percent elf, presents The Carnival of the Vanities Episode 29, more or less 100 percent good reading from your favorite blogs plus some you might have missed along the way. As always, it's not to be missed.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:33 AM)
Gorgon grinder

Some Canadian chap (I presume) wandered in here in the wee hours of the morning searching for "Venomous Kate" and photo. Of course, he went away empty-handed, unless he was typing with one hand to begin with.

What's odd about this is that Kate's Electric Venom site was the third site listed in the search results, above mine, but below two links to Acidman. If this suggests something, I don't want to know what it is.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:22 AM)
12 April 2003
A friend drops off the blogroll

A blogger I know has decided to retire from the fray, and here's why (no link, she's pulling the goodbye page):

It was always my intention that I share [my] experiences with others in hopes that someone would be able to relate or possibly learn. Just being able to share my experience at all has been a great source of comfort to me. However, much of what I write I would never want my family or co-workers to have access to without my express consent. That is hardly possible when all they have to do is Google me and there it is.

I understand, believe me. Few people can maintain an open-book life; the only reason I appear to get away with it sometimes is because I hold back at least as much as I reveal.

From the net to the fishbowl: is anyone still surprised?

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:34 AM)
15 April 2003
Like I should give design advice

Nobody should have pinstripes in the background — except, of course, the Baseball Crank.

(Another dandy Sekimori screen. Of course.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:13 PM)
17 April 2003
It's Carnival time once more

Carnival of the Vanities #30 (!) is now playing at Billegible, who has adopted as metaphor the classic work of John Montagu (1718-1792). As always, you don't want to miss it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:06 AM)
18 April 2003
The world according to Jesse Jr.

I don't always call attention to a new Vent, sometimes because it's intensely personal and I'd just as soon not have everyone read it right away, and sometimes because I can't believe I wrote something that ridiculous. (These two situations, incidentally, are not at all mutually exclusive.)

On the other hand, the current issue, #337, might actually be of interest. "Saint Paul" at the Minnesota blog Fraters Libertas dug up some House resolutions authored by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), and I found them sufficiently appalling to reprint.

With commentary, of course.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:05 AM)
What about protecting the wetlands?

About 350 entries ago, I posted something vaguely concerned with body hair on women, and to this day I still get four or five hits a day from Googlers searching on the term "bikini wax", despite the fact that I'm way, way down the list, about sixty pages below Ken Layne.

And if said search-engine users were disappointed before, they're going to be more so now, since I'm speaking, not of the Brazilian bikini wax, but the North Dakotan bikini wax (if images of Grant Wood's American Gothic are now rushing through your head, I'll have what you're having), which is now legal in the Not-Quite-Saskatchewan State as of August first, just in time for pre-winter.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:06 PM)
22 April 2003
From the Department of Official Denials

So far as I can ascertain, it is not true that Oil-Dri Corporation of America, the manufacturer of JonnyCat litter, forced The Blogger Formerly Known As Juan Gato to give up his name so as to facilitate the company's expansion into the Mexican market.

Repeat: So far as I can ascertain, it is not true. It's a filthy lie.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:34 AM)
23 April 2003
31 flavors!

Every week, the Carnival of the Vanities is fresh and new, and this week's edition at The Kitchen Cabinet, the thirty-first in the series, is no exception. Drop in and do some baskin'.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:06 AM)
25 April 2003
He ate all her Krispies, too

So what would you do if you got a few minutes alone with Condi Rice? No, I mean besides that.

Actually, there's no reason for either of us to answer this question: this is why we have Frank J.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:50 AM)
Page one

Leave it to me to find what might be the least interesting item in a Lileks Bleat. Then again, maybe it's more interesting than I think:

I have Instapundit as my home page; it's certainly more interesting than a news site, does not contain 4,573 graphic elements, or a survey (Do you believe that Laci Peterson would have approved of the Dixie Chick's comments?) or ten subcategories about things I am not likely to read.

Which, of course, makes perfect sense. My browser starts with a blank page, because...well, just because. I am told that one reader of this site starts a browser session with this page, which is astounding.

So what's your start page? (This does not seem to apply to AOLers, who get forcefed whatever AOL Time Warner Altria Nabisco Chevron chooses to shove at them.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:17 AM)
Best. Post. Ever.

No, of course it's not mine.

It's Tim Blair's, and quoting even one sentence of it would destroy its gorgeous continuity.

Assuming (a safe assumption these days) that Blogspot's archive links are hosed, and not in the Hanes Silk Reflections sense, you want the Friday, 25 April, 6:30 pm item about R. E. "Ted" Turner.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:14 PM)
27 April 2003
The future of the personal voice

According to core mythology, some bloggers are Linkers, and some are Thinkers, and any meeting of the twain is because the rest of us are looking for a niche Somewhere In Between.

Mark W. Anderson, already established as a Thinker, is persuaded that the balance has to shift towards Thinking:

[T]he overwhelming majority of weblog operators have yet to move beyond the passive to the active voice, a transition that may well be required to move the phenomenon from the neo-underground status it currently occupies and into the accepted realm of viable, alternative news and information source many of the format's adherents clearly want. That a further majority of bloggers express worldviews through the aggregating and filtering of third-party works is instructive in this regard, not necessarily as a failure to execute the successful logistics of news-gathering but perhaps of the failure to imagine a set of possibilities found outside the currently-accepted boundaries of the format.

It should be pointed out here that most of us have day jobs that don't permit us to gather a whole lot of news on our own, and that those who have day jobs which involve gathering news are expected to do so for their employers, not for blogdom.

And while aggregation and filtration of third-party works is indeed a part of this blog, I was writing feature articles of a sort for a good five years before the Big Blog Boom of 2001.

Anderson correctly notes that the audience for blogs is, at the moment, decidedly limited:

Currently, most blogs are written primarily for other bloggers, as the general professional, educational, and access-to-technology levels needed to read them act as a sort of barrier to entry, should we wish to admit it or not.

Certainly most blogs are read primarily by other bloggers, for exactly those reasons. But I don't think I consciously shape anything I write for a blogger-heavy audience, and since most people who are driven to blogging seem to have gotten there by reading other people's blogs, this may be a circular pattern based on a self-fulfilling prophecy. Had Andy Warhol lived, he might have said that in the future everyone will blog for 15 megabytes.

So what will happen in the next few years? Anderson sees the Thinkers far outstripping the Linkers:

Weblogs represent exciting possibilities precisely because of their personal inclusiveness, elimination of the obstacles to publishing, and the sense of self-empowerment they embody. However, in a very real sense, when a weblog adopts as its mantra the realm of the political or cultural coin, it sets its sights higher than the rest, if only in wanting to effectively communicate the opinions and perceptions of its author. Should the author in question undertake the daunting task of wishing to change the hearts and minds of his or her readers, however imperceptibly, perhaps it is in the means in which that effort is undertaken that provides the best possible chance of success, not simply the expectation that the collection of the works of like-minded individuals represents either instruction or argument in and of itself.

Here we get into the realm of intention. I've never seen myself as a force for social or political or cultural change; I do this blog because I consider it part of the ongoing process of defining my self, and if someone's opinion (or, for that matter, mine) gets altered somewhere along the way, well, these things happen. By Anderson's definitions, I am destined to be less successful than other bloggers, but the blog future he sees is stronger of purpose, more goal-oriented, than today's rather random, even haphazard, mix. And he may be right; with any revolution, even one as minor as this, there is bound to be some kind of shakeout. Still, I'm just contrarian enough to think that some of us who stand at odd angles to the prevailing winds will still be standing five years from now.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:50 PM)
28 April 2003
Three little words

New Bill Whittle.

That's all you need to know. Get ye thence and learn.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:58 AM)
Past imperfect

Nineteen years in a row I'd predicted the Playboy Playmate of the Year, and nineteen years in a row my prediction was wrong.

As always, I post my selection in early January, and as usual, the PMOY is announced in the June issue. Did I bring my batting average up to a slightly less embarrassing .050 this year?

Yeah, right.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:04 PM)
29 April 2003
The thirty-second Carnival

And no, that doesn't mean you can read it in thirty seconds; the Carnival of the Vanities is meant to be lingered over, digested, and appreciated.

This week's aggregation of the Best of the Blogs (plus, inexplicably, something by me) is brought to you by David "Clubbeaux" Sims. As always, it's something you don't want to miss.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:58 PM)
2 May 2003
Even fuller disclosure

I am, and always have been, partial to anonymous donations, but in view of the fact that recipient (and Major Babe) Susanna Cornett has openly declared me "ever generous in word and deed", let the following be stipulated:

This contribution was hard money. Plastic, yes, but still hard. As such, it's subject to disclosure, though the remaining provisions of McCain-Feingold don't seem to apply.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:04 PM)
3 May 2003
We're not dead yet

With the wrath of the mighty Entertainment Industry arrayed against it, you'd think that Boycott Hollywood might have quietly disappeared into the night by now.

It hasn't happened. As Lisa S. notes:

[A]bout 8pm [Thursday] night, I was, all of the sudden, able to download my boycott-hollywood.us email and the site started loading for me - with no slow load issues that I had experienced earlier in the day. I was also able to update my information at Dotster - - whereas earlier in the day, yesterday, my ability to update information there was 'suspended'.

Contact from Dotster with an explanation of what the hell is going on would be a nice thing. But, no word as of yet. I'm not sure what this means - - if the site stays up? Or if it's still scheduled to be taken down? I wish I knew - - however, for now, it seems, we are still here so I just wanted to fire off a note of thank you to everyone who has been supporting this site over this whole William Morris fiasco (oh, I haven't heard from them either).

Meanwhile, back at the agency, it might have gone something like this:

"You sicced the lawyers on them?"

"Absolutely. It's what we pay them for."

"You freaking feeb! Don't you realize that every goddamn blog from here to Latvia is gonna rake our asses over the coals for this? And if the blogs are doing it, sooner or later the real media are gonna jump us."

"We can take it."

"Like hell we can. It's gonna read like this: 'The William Morris Agency, which represents entertainment giants like —' and that's it, because everyone they list as a client is gonna fire us and go sign with someone else who isn't in the newspaper."

"We'll sue."

"Get over it. We're toast. Jim Wiatt is gonna come downstairs, and he's gonna say, 'The William Morris Agency has a solid, unblemished reputation going back over a hundred years. And we're going to keep it that way.' And next week you and I will be working at goddamn Fatburger."

Hollywood: home of the happy ending. We hope.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:30 AM)
5 May 2003
Lisa S. revs up Cam

Cam Edwards, the morning man at KTOK (and one of our regular readers here), interviewed Lisa S. of Boycott Hollywood this morning.

Lisa was happy to announce that traffic has picked up considerably since the legal action to shut her down — 2.6 million visitors since Thursday morning — and that their move to a new registrar (and a new host) will open up multiple domains which presumably will point to the main site.

Further developments as they happen.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:25 AM)
7 May 2003
Thirty-three and a turn

This week's Carnival of the Vanities is hosted by Common Sense & Wonder, and it's brought to you with an image map that demonstrates far more of the latter than the former.

But what the hell. It's something new, and it's something creative, and it deserves somewhere between 2.2 and 2.7 cheers for breathing some new life into an old (33 weeks, by blog standards, is almost antediluvian) format. And they did provide a text link, for the benefit of old farts, the mouseover-challenged, and Lynx users.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:52 PM)
10 May 2003
From the desk of Hilbert Sushi

Kevin McGehee has been pondering that left-wing mantra, "Bush Is Hitler", and its inexplicable appeal to people who really should know better.

In an effort to find hidden nuance, I shifted into Heavy Anagram Mode, and came up with the following:

RUSH IS BLITHE — well, we knew that.

HUSH I BRISTLE — Rumsfeld's job, or maybe Frank J.'s.

THRUSH IS BILE — presumably a reference to Maureen Dowd.

HIS LUSH TRIBE — of course, the twins.

HIS BLUE SHIRT — for use in Blue states, I assume.

THE BLUISH IRS — well, they certainly make me blue.

LET HIS HUBRIS — a long way away, I think.

SHRUB IS LITHE — he's practically a gymnast, compared to some of the pols.

IS SLITHER HUB — paid for by Venomous Kate.

RELISH HIS BTU — Iraqi oil production must be making a comeback.

All kinds of possibilities here. It's a shame most of them will be overlooked.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:13 AM)
14 May 2003
But are the Amish complaining?

Ho-hum. Another day, another blogger bashing Laurence Simon. Not that Mr Simon gives a flying fish, particularly, but I am constantly amazed at the amount of vitriolic vapor farted in his general direction. I mean, it's not like he's hiding out in Oklahoma to duck a quorum call or anything.

(Disclosure: I receive no traffic from ATS and expect no changes as a result of this posting.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:43 AM)
You've got Carnival

For the thirty-fourth consecutive week without a reported fatality, the Carnival of the Vanities continues apace, this time hosted by The Inscrutable American. If you're new to blogging and want to see a sampling of the best, or if you've done this for ages and want to see where all your traffic went, this is your first stop.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:54 PM)
17 May 2003
Epater les blogeois!

So saith Professor Reynolds, after reading (via the BBC) about the coining of the neologism "blogeoisie" to describe the class of people who take part in this odd activity called blogging.

Of course, my handful of regular readers will have seen it here way back in April.

April 2002, that is.

* * * * * * * * * *

Update, 10:30 pm: Reynolds has updated his original item with the following:

The Beeb appears to be behind the curve here: the term turns out to be over a year old. On the other hand, I don't remember seeing it before.

He's never been here; of course he doesn't remember seeing it.

And isn't it a kick in the patoot? When I finally get an Instalanche of sorts, it's to something that isn't even in the blog. When I switched over to MT last year, I entertained (briefly) the idea of incorporating the Vent items as a category within MT. Maybe I should have.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:00 PM)
19 May 2003
World's smallest Instalanche

As of this writing, this blogeoisie business has snagged me a whole 53 hits from Glenn Reynolds.

Evidently this cause isn't as célèbre as I might have thought.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:04 AM)
Nobody's business but the seals'

I spend way too much time wondering what life would be like if I could drag myself away from the 9-to-5 routine (which, in practice, is more like 6:45 to 5) and go do something incredible. Or even something credible, fercryingoutloud.

David "Clubbeaux" Sims wastes no time wondering. He's packing up the clan and moving to historic (and gorgeous) Antalya, in the Turkish Republic.

Normally I mutter things under my breath like "Lucky bastard," but this isn't at all a matter of luck; it's simply something he wants to do, and do it he will.

He'll still be blogging for a while, until the logistics get complicated, and he may resume once the family gets settled. In the meantime, I wish him well, and wish I could conceal my envy just a little bit better.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:22 PM)
20 May 2003
What a day for a day trade

After six weeks or so of Blogshares, I'm starting to understand the day-trader mindset. I don't really have sufficient greed to make it work to maximum efficiency, but constantly tweaking the portfolio does seem to produce worthwhile returns; I'm averaging about eight or nine transactions a day (yes, Virginia, I'm a paying customer), and I make funny money on almost every one of them.

Now if I just could figure out some way to make my 401(k) work this well....

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:25 AM)
Perfect 36

Can it be thirty-six weeks since Bigwig brought forth upon this earth the very first Carnival of the Vanities?

(Well, actually, no, it can't; see Ravenwood's first comment below. In the absence of a good excuse, I'm going to claim that I had Susanna on my mind when I thought up the title.)

This week's roundup of the Best of the Blogs is brought to you by cut on the bias, and I'd recommend it highly even if there were something of mine in it.

(Oh, wait: there is.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:00 PM)
25 May 2003
#include <std_disclaimer.h>

I just want you to know that I had nothing to do with this.

This either.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:48 AM)
26 May 2003
Who's in charge here?

Most of the Blogosphere™ conforms to the standard of "My blog, my rules," and most people don't have a problem with that.

For those who do, Katherine the Venomous has compiled a list of Twenty Warnings About Reading Her Blog. (Actually, it looks like eleven to me, but hey, it's her blog.) The bottom line:

This is my blog. I will blog about whatever I feel like blogging about. If it offends you, find a different blog.

Words to live (or at least type) by.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:59 PM)
Early-summer harvest

A few choice bits of text found this evening, for your dancing and dining pleasure.

The Baseball Crank has figured out things in Paris and Berlin:

If you think about it, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder are the Al D'Amato and Gray Davis of Europe. Chirac, like D'Amato, is a machine politician who's gotten away with being a little bit cheesy and a little bit sleazy by dint of boatloads of chutzpah and a talent for finding opponents who self-destruct in divisive battles with extremists and third-party candidates.

Schroeder, like Davis, is a hack with no redeeming virtues, neither liked nor respected even by his supporters; like Davis, his main skills are demonizing foreign opponents (Bush, Enron) and lying about the budget.

Jay Solo (26 May, 10:24 am) has some thoughts on the word "universal":

This is fine as a movie studio name. This is fine for suffrage and literacy.

When they start whipping out "universal" and pairing it with "healthcare," that gets scary.

Finally, Kevin Holtsberry says that Annika Sorenstam, despite not making the second-round cut, still scores on the positive side of the balance sheet:

[T]he Colonial got what it wanted: the sports world's attention for a few days. And they even did it without Tiger Woods, not a bad deal.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:44 PM)
28 May 2003
It's Carnival time once more

At some point in the last two weeks, I lost count, and I have no idea which weekly edition of the Carnival of the Vanities is current*, but it doesn't matter so much, because the Carnival is in the capable hands of Dean Esmay, whose entire life has been leading up to this moment. As always, the Carnival features the best bloggage of the last seven days, as selected by the bloggers themselves, and their track record is pretty darn good.

*It's 36, you yutz.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:19 AM)
3 June 2003
Sneed's Feed and Seed

Formerly Chuck's.

"The filthiest joke ever broadcast on network TV," says Lileks, and of course it's true — I remember watching the episode of The Simpsons in which it appeared, staring in disbelief, rewinding the tape just a smidgen, and staring in disbelief again, followed by "Oh. My. GOD." It was another ten minutes before I could resume viewing.

Lileks is also talking about refurbished gas stations this morning, which reminds me of a former Oklahoma City quasi-landmark that started out as a Texaco or something and was transmogrified in the Seventies into "Pumps Bar and Grill", a tony (to the extent possible) restaurant with the remarkable slogan "Premium Food at Regular Prices." And I don't remember ever having to tell the wait staff to get the lead out, either.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:32 AM)
Mark your calendars

In just over a year — specifically, on 13 June 2004 — Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen will be eighteen, or, to use the technical term, "legal".

And McGehee still won't have any nude pictures of them.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:50 PM)
4 June 2003
We got your Carnival right here

Well, actually, Drumwaster has it right here (at 7:33 am 4 June, if Blogspot permalinks perform to their usual standard). As always, the Carnival of the Vanities, now at 37 weeks and indisputably viable, is the Best of Blogdom from the past seven days, made more so this week by the fact that none of it was written by me.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:16 AM)
5 June 2003
Howell at the moon

Howell Raines, executive editor of The New York Times, and Gerald Boyd, managing editor, have resigned.

Does this herald actual improvements coming to the Times, or just another dye job for the Gray Lady? We shall see.

Meanwhile, Wizbang wonders if the Blogosphere? will get any credit for it:

I'm sure there will be much back slapping amongst the blogs who were all over the controversy, but much as in the case of Trent Lott, the blogosphere may get credit for building a groundswell but "old" media will take the head(s) for their trophy case.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:16 AM)
6 June 2003
In the sweet buy and buy

The OkiePundit has announced (4 June, 11:32 pm) that in the wake of new FCC deregulation, he will seek to sell his blog to Clear Channel.

Little does he know that once he does, the new BlogTracking™ software developed by Clear Channel will make it possible for "his" posts to be actually entered by some guy in San Antonio.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:55 PM)
No carrier detected

As an old-line IT guy, I don't even bother to look up when someone mentions, say, flashing a BIOS.

Then I saw what Michele was going through with her modem:

Please, I admonished it. Please work.

It just winked and winked. I think it laughed. In fact, I know it laughed.

Until finally:

Maybe you could just flash me or something?

Excuse me?

Hey, modems have needs, too. Come on, show me your tits.

No wonder I never have any luck with comm devices.

But one question remains: would this technique have worked for Susanna?

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:20 PM)
7 June 2003
Really sensible specification

The always-inventive Kevin Aylward has a suggestion for the next generation of RSS distribution:

What I'm looking for in a next generation news reader is an advanced level of filters, view, and rules. One analogy that comes to mind is the Outlook rules engine. I would like to be able to have multiple views of my RSS space: one view with all the subscribed feeds; another view that shows all posts that meet certain key word matches; another view that is a combination of rules, etc. For rules I'm thinking things like:

Show all post from InstaPundit.com from today + any post from these 4 blogs about the Times scandal + the Asshated Celebrities category from Rachel Lucas.

I could go for that. In fact, I think I could go for that very rule, so long as the Times scandal still smolders.

And of course, once more of us use RSS daily, as we likely would if we had tools like that, more of us would clean up our generic RSS templates. :)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:37 PM)
9 June 2003
Know thine audience

The Elder at Fraters Libertas tries to assuage the frustration in the ranks of their readers:

Next I must apologize to Scott from Oklahoma City and all the other lonely, sexually deprived, thirty something men out there surfing the net in their underwear at 2:20am in the morning (recent market surveys indicate this segment compromises approximately 93% of our readership) who found the link promising Linda Carter's breasts broken last Friday.

I wish to state for the record that (1) it has been ten years since I could legitimately call myself "thirty-something" and (2) it is very difficult to imagine any circumstances under which I would be wearing underwear at 2:20 am.

Oh, and he did fix the link.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:56 AM)
The $80,000 question

Michele wonders about Andrew Sullivan's semiannual "pledge weeks":

I could entertain you as much as Sullivan can and for a far lot less in the wallet department. I have boobs, Andrew doesn't. I have personal stories about love, lust and drugs. Andrew doesn't. Andrew gets linked all the time by major media, so his blog is nice and professional. I never get linked by major media so I can be dirty and nasty and downright rude, making for much more fun content-wise.

I think Mr Sullivan is capable of rudeness, but he seems to resist it most of the time.

Still, if AndrewSullivan.com is worth 80 large twice a year, surely Michele deserves some huge sum in her own right, and she shouldn't have to bare her body to get it. (Not that I'll complain in the slightest should she decide to do so.)

Regular readers will note that I do not have a tip jar and do not plan to install one. There are three factors involved here:

  1. I have comparatively little traffic and generate no excess-bandwidth bills;
  2. Other bloggers have far greater needs than I;
  3. I'd be almost as embarrassed by receiving a gift as I would be by not receiving one.

And no, I don't have $80,000 in my PayPal account; at the moment, it's somewhere south of $80.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:08 PM)
10 June 2003
Return of the Invisible Man

Well, somebody must be posting those no-name entries at Silflay Hraka.

(I think Bigwig accidentally zapped himself into a different visual reality after repeated immersion in Apache documentation, but I can't prove it.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:35 AM)
11 June 2003
Our chief weapon is vanity

This week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities is hosted by Overtaken by Events; amongst its diverse elements you will find more than sixty examples of blogdom at its best. (No, I'm not in it this week.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:55 AM)
14 June 2003
Flying fickle finger of fame

Jim Treacher wants to know:

Why does everybody on the Internet think they're famous?

I mean, even Glenn [Reynolds], who's one of the most popular bloggers and the first guy they contact for every newspaper article and TV news story about blogs, isn't as well-known as a guest star in the second 15 minutes of a WB sitcom. Not a slam on Glenn; that's just the way it is.

Note to everybody in the sphere o' blogs: You are not famous. Do not assume anybody knows who you are.

Not to worry. Hardly anyone knows who I am, either within the blogeoisie or without. Probably safer that way in the long run.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:03 AM)
15 June 2003
The Naked WMD

It's time, they say, to find those Weapons of Mass Destruction® once and for all.

And surely this is the man for the job.

(Muchas gracias: Patrick Nielsen Hayden.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:33 AM)
17 June 2003
Take the pledge

It appears Kevin McGehee has already reached his fund-raising goal, all $8.00 of it.

I had previously dropped some odd sum in his tip jar, but since he's now over the top, I figure the least I can do is to give him a good start toward his next eight bucks. And if there's anything I'm good at doing, it's the least.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:50 AM)
18 June 2003
Tracking the elusive Expert

Susanna Cornett examines the process by which Those Other Media locate experts to consult, a process which lately is beginning to include the browsing of blogs. And at some point she said this:

I think newspapers shortchange themselves by not knowing more about their own journalists, who are natural resources for a media outlet. For example, with my educational emphasis on criminal justice, I'd be a natural to cover crime, law enforcement and other such topics. But I'm also a quilter, a cross-stitcher, an avid reader of romances, mysteries, sci fi, fantasy and cooking magazines, and a pretty decent Southern cook. I have a pretty good working knowledge of the Bible, I know something about what it's like to move from a rural area to a dense urban setting, I negotiated by myself for my first new car, and I love Bluegrass music. None of those things are evident from my professional qualifications. But all of those areas might be covered in the pages of the local newspaper, and while I wouldn't necessarily want or be asked to cover any of them I would be a very good resource for a journalist writing on any of them.

And after reading that for the second time, it dawned on me that this same list could make for a fairly compelling personal ad as well.

Not to suggest anything; I'm just saying.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:06 AM)
If it's Wednesday, this must be Carnival

And of course it is. This week's edition of the Carnival of the Vanities is presented by Real Women Online under the direction of Shanti. If you haven't caught on yet, this is the compendium of the Best of the Blogs for the past seven days, and it's always worth reading.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:35 AM)
21 June 2003
A Muggle at heart

No, I didn't go stand in line at Barnyard and Ignoble to enjoy the dubious privilege of buying Yet Another Harry Potter Book on its first day of release. In fact, I can think of a number of books by bloggers that would be of far greater interest to me. A sampling:

And no doubt there are many, many more.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:31 AM)
22 June 2003
It's only words

And words are all I have to take your heart away, or some such absurd romantic nonsense that happens to be absolutely correct.

Brothers Gibb aside, Bryan's Lyric-a-Day Melee™ at Arguing with signposts... resumes tomorrow with its eleventh installment, an item contributed by yours truly.

(Update, 5 pm: I had posted a little contest here, but having received no entries with five hours to go, I decided to pull it. Oh, well.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:10 PM)
23 June 2003
Trying out that lyric wax

As mentioned yesterday, it's my day in the Lyric-a-Day Melee™ at Arguing with signposts. So far (I'm the 11th in the box), it's been a wildly-eclectic bunch, and I did my part to make it more so.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:10 AM)
24 June 2003
Caution: graphic content

I thought about it, shrugged, then thought about it some more, and finally: "Well, why the hell not?"

I mean, I may be older than God, or at least older than God's kid brother, but I make no secret of the fact that I wander into the comic shop on a semi-regular basis, and I always end up buying something.

So why not a blog about comics?

[Insert Reynolds-like "Indeed" here]

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:46 AM)
25 June 2003
The Carnival turns 40

And admits to it, which is remarkable in itself.

Adam, your friendly Single Guy in the South, has undertaken to bring you this latest edition of the Carnival of the Vanities, cruising the back roads of blogdom in search of the finest postings of the week.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:59 AM)
28 June 2003
Awash in punditry

It would be even more inevitable were it true: Internet Pundit Fantasy Camp.

(Muchas gracias: Doc Searls.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:55 PM)
29 June 2003
Somehow I'm not surprised

At the suggestion of DavidMSC, I betook myself to BlogMatcher, a Googlesque-looking page that purports to find "other blogs that appear to discuss similar topics." Okay, fair enough. They found 1081 (!) blogs that met their criteria, so the least I could do is look at the Top Ten, and wouldn't you know it, my Top Ten includes nine blogs:

[fanfare]

10. VodkaPundit
  9. Quit That!
  8. DailyPundit
  7. Quidnunc
  6. cut on the bias
  5. cut on the bias (again!)
  4. How Appealing
  3. On the Third Hand
  2. No Watermelons Allowed
  1. Silflay Hraka

The duplication, of course, occurs because of minor differences in the URL. And who would have thought I'd draw two blogs starting with Q?

Two obvious observations:

  • I seem to be in pretty good company here;
  • I really should try to be nicer to Susanna Cornett.

(Dave? You were #13.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:31 PM)
1 July 2003
Libel by linkage?

Apparently some of that free-speech stuff in the First Amendment does apply to blogs.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that bloggers and listserv operators are not responsible for potentially-libelous material which they reproduce but do not originate, an extension of existing law which insulates ISPs from liability for material which passes through their gateways.

Pertinent to the situation is this statement by EFF legal eagle Cindy Cohn:

One-way news publications have editors and fact-checkers, and they're not just selling information — they're selling reliability. But on blogs or e-mail lists, people aren't necessarily selling anything, they're just engaging in speech. That freedom of speech wouldn't exist if you were held liable for every piece of information you cut, paste and forward.

I will resist the temptation to suggest that some of those "one-way" publications are doing a better job of selling reliability than others — and that some of us down here in blogland perform the fact-checking function as a matter of course.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:44 AM)
Carnival XLI

"She's forty-one and her daddy still calls her baby...."

Well, okay, Delta Dawn, what's that Web page you've got on? Why, it's the Carnival of the Vanities, the continuing Quality Assortment from bloggers far and wide, hosted this week by Amish Tech Support.

I think I qualify as "wide".

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:22 PM)
4 July 2003
Suitable for framing

"What we really need today," mused J. Random Blogreader, "is a Bill Whittle essay on the Fourth of July."

And we got it, too.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:59 PM)
A gesture toward standards

I'm fiddling around with the layout, with the intention of eventually killing the table layout on the front page; it works well enough, I suppose, but sooner or later the W3C is going to whack our peepees for using such antiquated coding, and it's time I got my CSS up to speed. Not that this is exactly speedy, mind you.

If this page looks worse than usual, please advise.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:31 PM)
5 July 2003
A working vacation, sort of

Mark W. Anderson writes The American Sentimentalist, one of the better-written (I think) blogs on the left side of the political spectrum, and he's announced that he won't be writing it quite so often in the future: he's decided to spend more time on his novel Cover Up the Moon.

Judging by the bits and pieces of fiction he's posted in recent months, I'm thinking this could be quite a good story indeed, and I wish him well as he readjusts his schedule.

For myself, I've been curious about what bloggers wrote when they weren't blogging, so I'm looking forward to Mr Anderson's novel. As precedent, I've acquired all of James Lileks' previous books, and I just bought a copy of John Scalzi's online novel Agent to the Stars. As time permits — and the budgetary black hole I'm going into for World Tour '03 exerts less gravitational pull — I'll be looking at more.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:07 PM)
6 July 2003
All the old familiar feces

The top of the blogroll at Quit That reads: "90% Crap Guaranteed".

Of course, some people think this figure is too low.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:02 PM)
7 July 2003
Echolalia dentata

Once upon a time, the resolutely-fearless Susanna Cornett took a stab at duplicating the styles of some of the Bigger Names in blogdom, and as I recall, she did frighteningly well at it. In between grins, I, a Smaller Name, took comfort in the knowledge that my styleless style was essentially unduplicatable.

And if you've read this site for more than a week, you know the next line is "Of course, I was wrong." But the, um, stylist channeling me isn't a blogger; it's Dan Snierson at Entertainment Weekly, posing a list of Stupid Questions to Carson Daly. (Does this mean I have a future at the house that Jeff Jarvis built? Probably not. But I'm going to watch the referrer logs for <ew.com> just the same.) I swear, this sounds so much like me it's scary, especially since there's no reason to assume that Snierson has ever read so much as a sentence of mine.

Anyway, here's what Dan the Man asked the TRLster:

In "The Real Slim Shady," Eminem raps, "Christina Aguilera better switch me chairs/So I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst," because he wants to hear you two argue over who Christina, um, serviced first. This is kind of an uncomfortable question, but have you ever, you know, sat next to Fred Durst?

Daly, sensibly, declined to answer. And maybe I might have said "whom Christina serviced first," if only because English teachers are known to read this blog. I have no idea whether English teachers read Entertainment Weekly.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:58 PM)
8 July 2003
The answer is 42

Two questions come immediately to mind. One, of course, was put on indefinite hold while the supercomputer known as Earth was destroyed by a Vogon Constructor Fleet to make way for a new hyperspace bypass.

The other is "Which Carnival of the Vanities is it this week?" This week, incidentally, it's being hosted at Winds of Change, and as always, it's the best of the week's bloggage in one handy package, a feat akin to doing six impossible things before breakfast. Don't miss it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:33 PM)
9 July 2003
Something old, something new

Operation Oklahoma Freedom isn't a blog; what it is, says its anonymous Webmaster, is a "project designed to alert Oklahoma to its overly conservative, backward, oppressive, freedom robbing ways." Um, okay, if you say so.

Meanwhile, Lynn Sislo seems to have untangled herself from the Web Host From Hell and is back at the old stand.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:16 PM)
10 July 2003
But I'm just so upset

Words of wisdom from Geoffrey's Dog Snot Diaries:

If you get SO emotionally distraught over what happens on your blog that you feel you must shut your blog down, then blogging is definately not for you. You need to get outside more and experience real life. Shutting down your blog is the best thing you could do for yourself.

I would definitely agree. I mean, if you're going to stand here emotionally naked for months at a time, it's kind of pointless to complain when somebody actually sees something.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:06 AM)
11 July 2003
The price of popularity

Andrea Harris is getting hit hard by the bean bandwidth counters:

I just got a notification from my web administrator that this site is pulling 1 GB of bandwidth per day. My account allows 3 GB per month — I can't afford this sort of thing. I will probably be moving the site soon, but even the plan I found only allows a little under 15 GB of bandwidth usage a month.

The plan I'm on allows 25 GB, but it's pricey, at least compared to the deals wangled by those bloggers who are not Glenn Reynolds. And it seems more so in view of the fact that most days I pull 50 MB or thereabouts, which means it takes about three weeks to suck a gigabyte through the Dustbury pipe.

There ought to be some sort of Bandwidth Exchange, whereby those of us with (perhaps temporary) surplus capacity can pass it on to those in a bind. It would make life easier for a lot of people.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:30 AM)
On the greebling edge

Everybody (well, everybody who uses Movable Type, anyway) talks about TypePad.

But only Dave, pivot man of the Axis of Greeblie, actually does something about it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:32 PM)
13 July 2003
For lo, Spoons hath returned

And with good reason:

Well, I reckon I still have a lot to say, and stopping people on the street to listen to my rants is just not efficient.

That's Spoons, always cutting, or slicing, or whatever, to the heart of the matter.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:17 PM)
26 July 2003
Ping-a-ding-ding

For some reason I think is probably unrelated to the World Tour, I am having a great deal of problems getting through to weblogs.com with update pings. If you're relying on them to let you know when I've posted something new, you're probably missing something.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:50 PM)
29 July 2003
Community outreach

The ad text itself was nothing especially remarkable:

Be a part of the St Louis Blogging Community · Join in forum discussions · Meet new friends at the blogger get-togethers · Become part of the ever-growing blogger community

What makes this ad for stlbloggers.com unusual is that it appeared, not online somewhere, but in print: specifically, in last Wednesday's edition of the Riverfront Times, the St Louis alt-weekly. There's also an ad by their hosting firm, bloghorn.com, which describes the experience as "hot and exciting like frying bacon in the nude," a situation sort of familiar to some of us.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:39 PM)
2 August 2003
Where all roads are toll roads

If you think my World Tour is a bit limited in its scope, wait until you see Tom Daschle's.

(And how, I'd like to know, does one focus a motor trip around the issue of health care?)

(Update, 9:45 am: The Emperor has cast Imperial aspersions upon Daschle's trip and blog. Hilarity ensues.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:16 AM)
A second opinion

The World Tour is over, but that doesn't mean it's going away quietly.

Last Sunday, you'll remember, I wrote about landing in Delaware and meeting up with Fritz Schranck. Now as a general rule, I don't go out of my way to make myself look like an idiot — sometimes, it just comes naturally — so I didn't go into a whole lot of detail regarding my failure to negotiate the foibles of the First State; if you want the really gory details, well, you'll have to go to Fritz.

Maybe I need a "warts and all" category.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:45 PM)
6 August 2003
Carnival XLVI

I rather think the crew from Across the Atlantic were wishing and hoping and thinking and praying they'd get to do Carnival #42, because they're just awash in Hitchhiker's stuff.

Still, even in the #46 slot, it's nice to see that they didn't let it (or Max Quordlepleen) go to waste, and anyway, the Carnival of the Vanities remains the first (and still the initial) weekly roundup of the Best of the Blogs, so you need to read it even if the sight of Eccentrica Galumbitts, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon VI, leaves you as cold as Marvin's shiny metal keister.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:07 PM)
We pass the savings on to you

I haven't priced the British edition of Elle lately, and thanks to Kevin at Wizbang, I don't have to.

(Note: A number of comments to this post have been removed due to some seriously inappropriate content, for which I alone am to blame.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:29 PM)
8 August 2003
A milestone of sorts

Consider this:

I'm surprised I'm still doing this two years later.

Glenn Reynolds didn't say that, but it is the second anniversary of InstaPundit, and really, it doesn't seem possible: two whole years?

The Prof obligingly provides a link to his first posts. Historical continuity, y'know.

Oh, that pull quote? That was from me, under similar chronological circumstances.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:02 AM)
9 August 2003
Unexpected traffic

The number of readers dropped off considerably during the World Tour, something I hadn't been expecting — the regulars stuck by, but occasionals who rely on pings were presumably let down by the lower volume thereof — but I got a spike yesterday, from, of all places, The Bitch Girls.

Would this be called a "Bitchalanche?" Maybe. I do know that almost 20 percent of yesterday's visitors came from this entry by the self-described Bitter Bitch, to whom I am profoundly (and perhaps even profanely) grateful. I usually don't do this well with the freaking Carnival.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:49 AM)
10 August 2003
The leftmost digit moves

I truly hate to blow my own horn, but since no one is going to do it for me, let this be the official announcement of the 300,000th visitor to this site.

Despite two different URLs and two different counter services over seven years, the count from Day One (9 April 1996) is continuous; number 200,000 arrived on 9 December 2002.

Things would seem to be picking up, albeit slowly. And, of course, 300,000 is a slow week for the likes of InstaPundit, but what the hell.

The person identified as #300,000 in the records, should you be curious, came from IP 198.81.26.143, which appears to be an AOL address; what drove him here at 12:33 this morning was this About.com page about Chuck Woolery which links to this Single File item. The counter, while it does pick up that page, doesn't display the count, so he will never know. Not that he'd be likely to care.

Of course, I have no life: I stayed up to watch.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:47 AM)
11 August 2003
Roll another one

It began, apparently, with this observation from Jeff "Alphecca" Soyer:

I've made it no secret here that I am a link whore and I am trying to "grow" Alphecca. If you are a blogger — please consider adding Alphecca to your blogroll and quickly emailing me so I can do the same for you. It keeps you in my "radar" and I really appreciate it. Don't be shy or stuck-up. All I want is to dominate the world...

But... BUT... If you're one of these silly people who have seperate blogrolls for folks such as, "Always read," "Sometimes read," and "Never read but I'll link to them anyway" then please know that I think that's tacky and especially if I'm appearing in the, "Only read when I'm totally fucking bored" category and I'm not likely to rush any support for you and your blog. If you don't like Alphecca, fine. I can deal with that. But please don't list me as some "also ran" with the implication that you don't give a hoot about me. Because that just insures that I probably won't give a hoot about you either.

I understand his impatience with weird blogroll divisions — I find some of them utterly incomprehensible — but some of them seem eminently justified. Spoons, for instance, divides his up into "Everyday", "Occasionals", and "The Other Side"; not all of us say so, but I suspect most of us have similar divisions in the back of our minds, if not coded into our templates. Of the hundred or so items on my blogroll, maybe twelve or fourteen get read every day, owing to the tedious necessity of having to earn a living, which requires the allocation of a finite (and sometimes, it seems, infinite) number of hours away from the Blogosphere™.

Still, I like my alphabetical arrangement, even if it's a lot more arbitrary than it seems: Dean's World is listed as "Dean", not as "Esmay", but Dr. Weevil duly shows up in the W's. It is indeed a pain in the neck to maintain, especially for someone who keeps changing the name of the blog. (Yes, Mr. Duck, I'm talking to you.) But so far, no one has complained about it, which must be reckoned a Good Thing.

And none of this really addresses Alphecca's subtext, which is "How do I get on the blogroll?" I have no hard-and-fast rules; I used to say "If I read you five times, the fifth time you go on," but there are lots of people I have read more than five times who haven't been added yet. Then there's the curious case of Acidman, whom I dropped when he announced he was going on hiatus — knowing Acidman, I'm sure it was actually a loatus — and forgot to reinstate when he returned.

Of course, if you want to get to the top of my blogroll, you might want to identify yourself as, say, Aardvark A. Aarhus.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:54 PM)
12 August 2003
It figures

So I'm reading someone's tale of angst regarding her hosting service, and she's calling for recommendations, and I duly put in a plug for the fine folks who host this site, with the following caveat:

"...they had some issues with [Movable Type] earlier this year that took a while to resolve...."

My conscience was clean.

Then, of course, I posted the entry just prior to this one, and the server errored out. Easy recovery, but bad timing, guys.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:44 AM)
13 August 2003
Carnival XLVII

Acting on the reasonable assumption that if one Republican babe is good, two must be better, the women of Right We Are! have put their heads together and come up with this week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities, the best of the blogs in one fell swoop, the forty-seventh incarnation thereof since the Decree of Bigwig.

As always, it's a must.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:14 PM)
"A Musical Gift For You"

McGehee channeling Fine Young Cannibals?

I wouldn't have thought it possible, but this is both raw and cooked.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:53 PM)
14 August 2003
An exercise in sexism and objectification

Which, of course, is more than enough justification right there.

Matt Moore of The Blog of the Century of the Week, having discovered that nothing rolls the meter faster than dubious polls, is conducting the Second Annual Sexiest Female Blogger competition.

Last year, you may remember, I nominated Susanna Cornett for this lofty position; she is still speaking to me as of this writing, but I'm not at all certain I want to go through this sort of thing again.

What's that you say? Sexiest Male Blogger competition? Well, ganders are equal under the Sauce Laws. And the number of people who would vote for me can be counted on the fingers of no hands, so I don't really have to worry about it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:26 AM)
19 August 2003
Are you a boy or are you a girl?

Alexandra at Out of Lascaux, on gender-related differences in writing:

Although I am still convinced that a woman's fiction writing is very different from a man's, I am finding that there is little difference between male and female bloggers. There are aggressive and militant women, and gentle and sensitive men. Very often, the only way to tell the difference is when they mention spouses or they have a picture on their site. Well, a name helps too, but not always.

Has anyone found a difference that we can point to?

I haven't, but Moshe Koppel, Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of Technology, apparently have. Their findings can now be tested in (more or less) realtime with Bookblog's Gender Genie.

I fed the Genie three items from this very blog, and it tagged two as male, one as female. A respectable batting average, though the algorithm claims an accuracy of 80 percent — and it does suggest that I probably should not try to pass myself off as a woman.

(Swiped from 601am)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:55 PM)
Carnival 48, Bengals 0

This week, Outside the Beltway presents the Carnival of the Vanities, the first (and still the earliest) weekly roundup of the Best of the Blogs. James Joyner has chosen a football theme, and in keeping with same, I have submitted an entry which is listed under "Offensive Throwbacks".

Well, okay, it isn't really, but it could have been.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:42 PM)
20 August 2003
Who's responsible?

And now for something completely different: a new Bill Whittle essay.

Any link to Bill comes with its own marching orders: "What are you doing here? Go read. It's better than anything else you'll see this week."

And it always is.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:10 PM)
21 August 2003
Taking stock

If a blog lasts a year, it's a safe bet that the blogger will have something to say about it on the first anniversary. Usually it's no big deal, but sometimes it gets seriously introspective. Costa Tsiokos at The Critical 'I' demonstrates:

After one year, the end result — and to a certain extent, this blog is still evolving, so perhaps characterizing it as an "end result" is a bit inaccurate — hasn't been quite what I envisioned.

For one, I haven't dwelled on a great deal of deep personal stuff, mainly because I've felt rather awkward in doing so in this format. Partly, that's because I know my writing here is going out to a group of strangers, and while that can be a liberating feeling in one sense, in another it's inhibiting. I mean, no offense, but I don't know you people. From what I've gathered, my offline friends and family read this blog only occasionally, if at all, so it's not like I'm going to write a whole lot for an infrequent audience. Plus, I'm sure anything of that nature will be appreciated much more coming from me "live", i.e. not on a website.

No offense taken. I've dredged up some seriously painful stuff over the years, but there are some boundaries I haven't dared to cross, partly because I'm not comfortable with what lies beyond, partly because I can't imagine any of my handful of regular readers being the slightest bit interested. And as it happens, hardly any of my relatives qualify as regular readers, which is probably a Good Thing.

To continue with Costa:

I've found that, for myself, the blog format just doesn't lend itself particularly well to long-form essay writing. I'm not saying you can't write a lengthy, well-structured piece on anything you care to — fiction, opinion, commentary, reminscences, etc. But for some reason, I can't, not on this blog. It could be due to something as simple as the layout, the font, the background colors. It could be that, as has often been suggested, content on the web isn't meant to be presented or consumed in traditional long form, but rather as shorter, bite-sized morsels — and for the most part, that's the type of stuff I offer up on this site every day.

There is, I think, some resistance to really long blog articles, which explains why so many of them end with a link reading "Continued..." On the other hand, getting the first few words in an RSS feed frustrates some readers, who want the whole ball of wax at one fell swoop. (And believe me, if there's enough wax, I'll swoop and fall.)

I don't want to make this sound like a total drag. Overall, I'm satisfied with what I've done here. I like that I've made myself stick to a daily writing schedule; that the writing is not always top-calibre is beside the point. It's rarely ever a chore; in fact, I'm more often frustrated that I can't write more here. So, I think I've gained something useful out of this.

I think I could say that myself, though probably not as clearly or as eloquently.

Here's to another year of The Critical 'I'.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:39 AM)
23 August 2003
A life of MTness

As this site begins its second year powered by Movable Type, I've polished up the stylesheet a smidgen and cleared up a blemish or two — and probably induced further coding zits somewhere else that won't be caught right away. A handful of entries from the previous week were imported and their dates changed to match the original hand-coded system, but the very first MT-only posting is this one, a year ago today.

For those curious about the underpinnings: this is the third MT install — I went from 2.21 to 2.51 to 2.64 — and the MySQL database that runs it all consumes 3.31 megabytes of disk space, including 1474 entries and 2548 comments. (The entire site, with all the subsections and whatever, comes to 45 megabytes.) Current bandwidth usage is about 1.4 gigabytes per month, or about what Glenn Reynolds chews up before lunch each day.

As always, I am amazed that anybody at all comes to read these little screeds of mine, and I thank you for coming.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:09 PM)
27 August 2003
49er exhibition

Carnival of the Vanities #49 is ready, willing, and stuffed full of bloggy goodness, waiting for you at Creative Slips, where it's an Intrepid adventure this week.

So what are you hanging around here for? Get moving.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:04 PM)
28 August 2003
The truth in seventeen
Callipygian? We may wonder all we like; Margi will not say.
Permalink to this item (posted at 6:21 AM)
29 August 2003
Obligatory Lileks quote

It occurs to me that it would be possible to do one of these five days a week — he's that quotable — but while all Lileks lines are wonderful, some are more wonderful than others. This (his links are bumfuzzled, but this is from 29 August) is one of the latter:

The decline in American corporate savvy began the day some school offered a degree in Marketing.

Truer words were ne'er spoken.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:29 AM)
30 August 2003
Does blog advertising work?

I dunno. I don't carry any.

But I did follow a Blogspot ad (it was at Bleeding Brain, if you're curious) this morning to the official site of one of the 128,597 people running for governor of California, a chap named Garrett Gruener, venture capitalist and founder of Ask Jeeves.

Interestingly, Gruener has a TypePad blog, which I suppose he'd rather you read from a popup from his main site than from that link, but at least there's more to it than "Vote for me, I'll set you free."

I guess Gruener's ad worked. Sort of.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:30 AM)
1 September 2003
No outlet

My thanks to the anonymous reader who decided that yesterday's weather rant was worthy of suburban blight's weekly Cul-de-Sac roundup. (Feel free to 'fess up, if you're so inclined.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:14 AM)
Nothing to see here, move along

For some reason, this weekend has brought an inordinately high number of dubious search requests, and while most of them aren't funny enough to submit to Disturbing Search Requests, they're still a few degrees off plumb, and far be it from me to refrain from mocking them.

The one that perplexed me most was olsen twins nude free pictures, for three reasons: (1) to my knowledge, there aren't any nude pictures of the Olsen twins, not even at blogoSFERICS; (2) if there were, it's highly unlikely this guy (it's gotta be a guy) would be able to get them for free, what with the legal angles and all; (3) I was the 187th hit for this string, which meant that he went through a hell of a lot of them. The vast majority of the higher placings, of course, went to porn sites, which will tell you they have any damn thing imaginable — Lithuanian choir girls, Thai farm animals, Dr. Laura's discarded sandals — if they can get you to click in just once. I honestly don't know how McGehee puts up with this.

Then there was pictures of guys with Peyronie's disease, which strikes me as seriously, um, twisted. Bent, even.

(Which reminds me: Danish pianist Bent Fabricius-Bjerre, his name mercifully truncated to "Bent Fabric", won a Grammy in 1962 for his not-exactly-rollicking piano recording of "Alley Cat"; it's about time we were favored with a decent Greatest Hits compilation for the fellow. They could call it Get Bent.)

Finally, there is hillary clinton thighs, presumably a weighty subject, but not one I wish to discuss around lunchtime, if you know what I mean.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:34 PM)
3 September 2003
Whose SQL is it anyway?

A sad tale, told by RoninCyberpunk:

Visiting my site recently would show you a default Apache page. Not something of my choice. And as it appears I might have lost my entire blog let this be a lesson to you all.

Go back up your blog.
Do it for the children.

I'm serious folks, I'm facing possibly losing 4 months of my blog's contents. Don't put yourself through that sort of stress.

Very good advice, and — wait a minute, there are children reading this thing?

I mean, it's a safe bet I'll never be missed if this site goes down, but I can't believe I have underage readers. (Some days, I can't believe I have readers.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:27 AM)
Carnival Five-O

The fiftieth edition of Carnival of the Vanities is hosted by Rhetorica, which has chosen to take that first word in the title literally, much to the amusement of sinister dwarves like, well, me.

As always, the Carnival features the best bloggage of the preceding seven days, the vast majority of which is written by someone other than me. There's lots of great stuff; the best advice I can give is "Read 'em, Dano."

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:05 AM)
And half a million of the other

Back in the Pleistocene era, when there was still fresh lint in Rebecca's pocket, there was a very distinct line between the online diarist and the blogger. Over the years, at least partly due to sloppy people like me, the line has been blurred somewhat. But there are still some distinctions, as Wendy at Pound observes:

Online diarists are the drama club at your high school. They feel that what they're doing is either art or therapy.

Whereas:

Webloggers, on the other hand, are the yearbook staff. They feel that what they're doing is really important and also might get them into a better college.

No wonder I have so much trouble finding a definition for myself: I couldn't get into either of those groups.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:48 PM)
5 September 2003
Depart, O cursed clue!

I'm not sure if I'm being trolled, or if I've simply been visited by someone who shouldn't be allowed into cyberspace for safety reasons.

Here's the comment in question, unedited for content or anything else:

dear sir, i am not able to find anything specific information which i alway's try to get to no about indian school's and soem other kind of information by using google..it's a nice surf but it alway's has information which relates mainly on american and other developed countries and nothing specific about ther underdeveloped countries.....so i would like to conclude if you can include the specicfic information i tihnk it's your job as you run this net ..well waiting to her from you sir.... honesty is the best policy.

This comment was attached to an April article on credit cards, which is obviously a topic far removed from this individual's interests.

The visitor's IP address traces back to Jaipur, which perhaps explains the "indian school's" bit.

Still: "you run this net"? I run this net? I may run this domain, but my influence over the rest of the Internet is somewhere between infinitesimal and nil and declining all the time.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:31 PM)
7 September 2003
Passing vandals

A group known as PsychoPhobia has apparently hacked into Cam Edwards' Web site and replaced his index page with the usual modest braggadocio. His archives are apparently still intact — I was able to reach this page which I had previously linked, and all the items within a day or so of its posting — but they've snagged the top of the directory.

(Update, 7:15 pm: He's back up and running.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:08 PM)
8 September 2003
Sac time

The suburban blight Cul-de-Sac is up for another Monday round, and once again, something from this particular dead-end was deemed worthy of inclusion. (Thank you, Kelley.) All sorts of neat stuff turned up this week, a lot of which I (and presumably you) really need to read.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:34 AM)
11 September 2003
Playing solitaire 'til dawn

That's the only excuse I can think of for failing to post the link to Carnival of the Vanities #51, hosted by Admiral Quixote and guaranteed to be shipshape.

Now hear this: get over there and read.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:09 PM)
12 September 2003
Fish tales

All right, who wants to see David's cod piece?

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:15 PM)
14 September 2003
Blogging 101

I've been at this a long time, though not that long; obviously I've never fisked a Spiro Agnew speech, never fact-checked Edward R. Murrow's ass. And it would never occur to me to give advice on how to do it, since I'm not persuaded that I do it all that well.

Fortunately for the newbies of the world, Saint Paul has no qualms about leaping into this particular breach, and his advice, generally, is quite good: both "asshat" and "idiotarian" are so two years ago, I'd agree, and, well, how can you argue with this?

Devote lots of posts to shameless boasting about your own accomplishments and meaningful experiences. If necessary, feel free to exaggerate, misrepresent, and outright lie. You're the expert on you and it's very hard to get Fisked based on a post about the gourmet dinner you prepared last night for your drop dead gorgeous girlfriend. Don't be afraid of appearing arrogant. Readers want to be associated with the best and brightest. Who do you think they'd rather tell their friends is their favorite blogger, some guy who can analyze Howard Dean's position on health care reform, or some guy who can analyze Howard Dean's position on health care reform AND is the undisputed master of the pan flute?

"So far as I can tell, he wants Dick Cheney to pay everyone's medical bills," Zamfir sniffed, and under the table, Sophia kicked me in the shins for inviting the guy in the first place on a night when she was hoping for something more, um, one on one, if you know what I mean.

This, incidentally, is the specific blogger Saint Paul sought to instruct.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:40 PM)
15 September 2003
All day and all of the blight

The one thing you can count on every Monday morning (well, apart from an inability to drag oneself out of bed) is a fresh batch of bloggery from Kelley's suburban blight Cul-de-Sac. I honestly don't know how she has the patience to sort through all this stuff, but I'm glad she does.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:29 AM)
Dewey? You bet we do

S. Y. Affolee proposes the classification of blogs for archival purposes, using the Dewey Decimal System.

There are, of course, arguments for and against this particular usage:

I can see this appealing to people who want a sense of order in the hodgepodge that is the web. In a way, searching a blog by number is a lot more civilized than googling random terms. But the question is, do I really want to be a number? I think it's okay for uber-organizers to use this to manage links but I would not want the sidebar of my blog to read "041.920" like the bookspines in a real library.

A quarter of my traffic comes from those "random terms", but I'm inclined to like this idea, assuming the classification system beyond the decimal point is sufficiently flexible to allow for enough variables — though I don't want to see nine or ten decimal places if it's at all avoidable.

(Before you ask: The series 040-049 is not in use in the current version of the Dewey; news media and publishing presently occupy the 070s, though I suspect some of the occupants will object to sharing that space with bloggers.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:14 PM)
16 September 2003
Off the shelf

Spitbull has some further thoughts on this Dewey Decimal business:

I'm in favor of the basic idea, though I wonder whether the DDS would be the most appropriate classification system for such an endeavor; a system specifically tailored to blogs might be more useful. I also think the much more natural unit of classification would be the post, not the blog; witness the increasing number of blogs that provide topical access to their archives alongside the more traditional date-based method.

Or, as Movable Type has it, "categories", some of which are easy to, um, categorize. I think pretty much everyone has figured out that Overmodulation here contains radio-related items, though Almost Yogurt and Dyssynergy are decidedly murky, and deliberately so.

One argument in favor of Dewey is that its use automagically elevates the blog to the status of a Classifiable Resource — though inevitably some such resources will be more easily classifiable, and likely more useful, than others. The correlation between "classifiable" and "useful" is undetermined as yet.

Spitbull also has a kind word or two for this site, noting that the OAQ File "rivals Episode 17 of Ulysses in its catechetical exhaustiveness," which might even be true, though I recall no instance of dining without having removed my hat.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:59 AM)
A feeble attempt at thunder theft

The Professor notes that he has received 25 million page views and is about to receive his twenty-millionth visitor, which is of course cause for celebration.

I mention this because at 1.25 page views per visit, he's trailing me; for the period 3/22/99 to ten minutes ago, I'm averaging 1.52.

Yeah, I know, pathetic, but there aren't too many brass rings dangling this low.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:38 AM)
17 September 2003
52 pickup

The Carnival of the Vanities has come full circle: for its first anniversary, it's back in the hands of its inventor.

So get ye to Silflay Hraka and see what Bigwig hath wrought.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:38 AM)
Opprobrium addiction

Saint Paul, last mentioned here giving advice to blogging newbies, has expanded on his theme of outmoded terms of contumely; as I observed, "asshat" and "idiotarian" are so two years ago.

Not that they aren't still useful words, but being on the cutting edge demands fresh insults, and Saint Paul wants them:

I'd like to hear YOUR suggestions for the next great zinger of the blogosphere. A concise combination of words that encapsulate everything that's wrong with the Left, while at the same time being highly insulting, vicious, and mildly obscene. Since that's the tone of the emails I typically get anyway, I predict no shortage of great suggestions.

Write him at saintpaul at earthlink.net, and tell him dustbury.com sent you.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:58 AM)
18 September 2003
We want your linkage, badly

Over at Mutated Monkeys, Beth is grumbling about some strange email excrescence:

"I am contacting you about cross linking. I am interested in mutatedmonkeys.com because it looks like it's relevant to a site that I am the link manager for. The site is about downloadable ringtones, logos and games for mobile phones."

The letter came from Link Builder, which apparently combs through potential websites that rank high in search engines for certain keywords that their clients' sites are focused on. Then they send out emails, offering to 'trade links'.

I think this is hilarious. Both because I've been posting so much about my saga of choosing a mobile phone that I'm getting offers from commercial sites, who are suffering under the misconception I'm important enough to bother with. And because someone out there has the job title of Link Manager.

To me, it looks like one of those indiscriminate let's-throw-something-against-the-wall-and-see-if-anything-sticks plans that is only the tiniest hemidemisemiquaver more respectable than pure spam. The only way this could be more ridiculous is if this "link manager" from Link Builder went after, say, Dog Snot Diaries, claiming to represent a site interested in canine health.

Oh, wait, she did.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:30 PM)
19 September 2003
Faint light, heavy bushel

For about twelve hours this year, I had an extra sidebar item called "Testimonials", which included quotes from actual readers of this site, most of them at least somewhat favorable. During the brief period "Testimonials" was active, the comments posted to the blog by other actual readers underwent a sea change: somehow the Surly knob got turned up to 11. Wondering if the brief braggadocio had somehow contributed to the attitude shift, I pulled it off the site, and sure enough, things calmed down.

Now I'm wondering if maybe I should put it back, just to see what happens.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:25 AM)
21 September 2003
Ban won't wear off

It's fairly uncommon for me to block an IP from this site; in fact, last night marks only the third time I've had to do such a thing.

The IP in question - 65.64.48.85 - belongs to a DSL customer of SBC in Tulsa. He took grave offense at my suggestion that the individual accused of shooting up Sallisaw last fall might not have been the most, um, trustworthy and inoffensive of folks, and posted two comments of approximately middle-school invective level, each with a different (and presumably fabricated) email address.

Were I really bothered, I'd take it up with SBC, though "I hope you burn in hell," one of the kinder things he said, really doesn't constitute a threat. Instead, I have excised the comments and posted this summary for the benefit of all.

And just incidentally, this happened within two hours of reinstating the Testimonials section on the sidebar, though there's no reason to think the offender actually saw it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:58 AM)
22 September 2003
Your carry-on Blight Bag

Every week, I wonder: "Will Kelley pick something of mine for the Cul-de-Sac?"

And then, when I get my answer, I wonder: "How come she picked that?"

Oh, well. One should never sneer at a link freely given, and I'm not about to start here.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:33 AM)
24 September 2003
Fall into the Carnival

The equinox may pass unnoticed, but the Carnival of the Vanities rolls into its second year with lots of goodies, this week courtesy of Pathetic Earthlings.

Fifty-three weeks! And the juggernaut shows no sign of slowing down, either.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:20 AM)
26 September 2003
Let there be beaming

The CrabAppleLane Blog in Bush, Louisiana has selected this humble site as its Blog of the Day, which answers the question "Do I actually have any readers in Louisiana?"

As always, I'm grateful for any participation at all.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:35 AM)
29 September 2003
By the dawn's early Blight

So proudly we hail Kelley's Monday-morning Cul de Sac, which once again proves that there's no limit to what you can do if you can get by with no actual sleep on a Sunday night.

I don't know how she does it, I really don't.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:29 AM)
30 September 2003
The filter that never falters

Discover, the Walt Disney science magazine — nowhere nearly as scholarly as Scientific American, but less inclined to go off on political tangents — has redesigned its Web site to be less irritating.

But you're still going to have to wait a while for the November dead-tree issue to be reproduced thereupon, so I'll give you part of a paragraph from the Emerging Technology column by Steven Johnson, in which he discusses the miracle of Technorati:

It's...an ongoing exchange between the top-down approach of traditional journalism and the bottom-up approach of the Web: Professional writers and editors generate the stories, and the Web's vast audience decides which ones deserve our attention. And this approach may well result in the best of all possible journalistic worlds.

Once in a while, a piece by a non-professional (in the sense of "not getting paid for this") rises to the top of the Technorati stack, but for most people — most non-bloggers, anyway — Technorati's major virtue is its huge capacity for effective filtration, something the untouched-by-human-hands Google News doesn't do quite so well.

I don't think this particular article, all by itself, is going to break Technorati, or blogging in general, into the Media Big Time, but if I pick up a visitor or two from among Discover's 900,000 readers, I'm not about to complain.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:38 PM)
At least it isn't Klingon

File this under I for Inevitable:

A blog written in Esperanto.

That's the last time I whine about XML.

(Dankegon: Dave at Better Living Through Blogging, who speaks it like a native.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:04 PM)
Carnival 54, where are you?

This time around, it's at Dodgeblogium (atomic weight 216.22.32.247, or thereabouts), and as always, it's the weekly compendium of the finest examples of the bloggers' craft, with an occasional sprinkling of Lovecraft.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:31 PM)
2 October 2003
Lake-effect snow job

What with my side careers in wholesale soft drinks and well thermometers going nowhere, it's probably time for me to get out of Cleveland once and for all.

No, I didn't know I was there either.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:29 AM)
Got milf?

Traffic has been up substantially lately, and of course, it's not due to the scintillating quality of anything I've written; it's the incessant Googling for the video of "Stacy's Mom" by Fountains of Wayne, which was mentioned in passing here.

As of the last time I looked, I was #14 among 4990 hits, and since all the places that are actually streaming this video are ranked higher, I have to assume that the searchers are looking for a slightly-illicit non-streamed version to add to their collections.

In case this doesn't describe you, dear visitor, the pertinent official FoW/S-Curve Records site is here.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:12 AM)
Unvectored cogitations

No way am I going to argue with Wendy M.:

I really think it's high time we purged the following words from blog titles, subtitles, tag lines and slogans: "musings," "rantings," "blatherings," "meanderings," "ponderings," "thoughts" (when "random"), "snippets," and, for Christ's sake, "tidbits."

Maybe a title filter inside Movable Type: "Are you sure you want to use this description? It is already in use on [insert random number here] blogs." Or maybe weblogs.com can search for the string and refuse a ping from an offending blog.

This is too meta for me, I think.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:17 PM)
3 October 2003
For a limited time only

If you, like me, suspected that Strain was capable of more than Sketches, here's a short story that he's going to leave posted for, he says, "24 hours or so."

You're done here anyway. Go read David. He's worth it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:06 PM)
4 October 2003
Got to roll me

By any reasonable estimation, this is one of the less-important outposts in blogdom, so no one is exactly champing at the bit to get onto my blogroll, which is notable for its high level of diversity and its low level of consistency. This is, I reckon, a Good Thing, since I don't have to write blistering articles about people clamoring to get in or sort-of-patient explanations of the rules of inclusion.

Still, self-referential navel-gazing is at the very heart (well, actually, somewhat below) of blogging, so I may as well reveal just how it is that people get on the left side (formerly the right side, and it may be again next time I redesign) of the front page.

There aren't any hard and fast rules, really. I do try to reciprocate when I catch an incoming link, but I always seem to be a couple of months behind in catching them, and besides, it's not like there's some Meta-Law of Symmetry governing blogroll links. Many of the sites listed, I was reading before I went to a daily blog format in the summer of '00; they're carried over from the old now-defunct separate links page. In general, if you're listed, it means only that I make a conscious effort to read your stuff once in a while; if not, it doesn't necessarily mean anything at all.

Exceedingly minor preference points are given to:

  • Persons based in Oklahoma
  • Persons I actually know
    (this overlaps slightly with the above)
  • Persons of the female persuasion who are beautiful, smart, sarcastic and/or funny
    (2 out of 4 impresses; 3 out of 4 dazzles; 4 out of 4 means I'm in deep trouble)
    (this overlaps even more slightly with the above)

I have little faith in the power of email; so far, the main benefit it has brought me is the World's Smallest Instalanche™. This doesn't mean you shouldn't send me things; this does mean that you shouldn't expect anything from so doing.

Beyond that, all you really have to do is be more brilliant than I am — which shouldn't take much effort at all.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:00 PM)
5 October 2003
It's all in the title

Actually, it's probably not all in the title, but watching me muddle through in French is something I recommend only to the deeply sadistic among you.

Still, it's a great title for a blog: Mes amis, mes amours, mes emmerdes...

Covers all the bases, you might say. And besides, I'm predisposed to like anything that seems to be based on a song by Charles Aznavour.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:34 AM)
Racked with indecision

The first Boobiethon was last year, and I ignored it, thinking it was silly. And maybe it was. Yet it raised over a thousand dollars for breast-cancer research — perhaps not an enormous sum considering all the work that needs to be done, but if you check any bucket, you'll realize that it's filled with individual drops.

So I resolved to pay attention to version 2.0 this year, and as of this morning donations were over four grand. Which, of course, begs the question: how many of those donations would have come in were the site not, um, busting out with photos?

Given what I've seen of the Blogathons and other charity projects, I think most of them probably would have come in anyway; bloggers, when they can afford to be, are a generous bunch. Still, the incentives provided may have tilted a few people into kicking in a few extra bucks, and the tantalizing prospect of hotter photos for higher donations....

I agonized over that for a few minutes while checking my PayPal balance, and in the end, it was Johnny Carson who made the decision for me. One evening, Dolly Parton, bless her, was on the show, and in the midst of something unrelated, Carson quipped, "I'd give a year's pay for a peek under there." Dolly laughed as only a Southern girl can, and I was reminded that there have been many times during my life when I've thought things like this, and the rest was easy.

But when someone organizes a similar benefit for prostate-cancer research — well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:43 AM)
A sort of Sunday drive

Just some of the things I read this weekend:

There otter be a law:
If you're thinking about bringing home Ring of Bright Water for the kids with the expectation that it will be sweet and innocuous — well, Surlybird suggests you think again.

Stealth linkage:
Rammer infers the existence of a new breed of popup ad that is launched when you click a link in the window in front of it, and blames lax IE security defaults for its proliferation.

Too sweet and innocent:
Donna remembers Donny Osmond fondly. Maybe too fondly.

Where have all the readers gone?
At Fresh Bilge, Alan ponders whether 'tis better to plug away at a single topic, to wander all over the place, or to aim Somewhere In Between.

Whizzing in the revenue stream:
Ravenwood reports on a Nashville man who was busted for flashing his lights to warn approaching traffic of a speed trap.

What are under the bridge?
"Why can't I get any intelligent trolls?" wonders Geoffrey.

This is not necessarily going to be a regular feature — at least, not one that's regularly scheduled.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:31 PM)
6 October 2003
Damned lies and statistics

The research company Perseus has gazed upon the face of the blogosphere, and likes it not much.

The Perseus report, as described in The Register, says that over 90 percent of bloggers are under thirty, and more than half are teenagers. Which means the typical blog — well, read it yourself:

[It] is written by a teenage girl who uses it twice a month to update her friends and classmates on happenings in her life.

On reflection, apart from the update schedule, this sounds rather more like my site than I'd care to admit.

Of 2.7 million blogs surveyed, one million had but a single post and then were presumably abandoned; the average blog is updated every two weeks.

I have to wonder, though: if Perseus actually looked at 2.7 million blogs, and one of those blogs was InstaPundit, which is updated approximately every 53.6 seconds, the vast majority of personal sites must be even worse than they report.

Of course, no report from Perseus is complete without commentary from Medusa, but that will have to wait.

(Update, 2 pm: A summary of the Perseus report is available here. It states up front that the blogs evaluated were all hosted by services specializing in same — specifically, Blog-City, BlogSpot, Diaryland, LiveJournal, Pitas, TypePad, Weblogger and Xanga — which means that no blog on its own domain was included in the survey. No wonder the results seem skewed. See also Xrlq's comments below.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:49 AM)
8 October 2003
It's double-nickel time

Shanti's got Carnival of the Vanities #55 at Dancing with Dogs, and you're welcome to partake of all the goodies therein.

Yes, even you, Sammy.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:30 PM)
9 October 2003
What he said

Frank (not to be confused with Frank J. or Dr. Frank or TV's Frank) considers yours truly to be an activist.

Activist? Moi? Do I look opinionated? The color scheme of this blog is beige on beige, fercrissake.

On the other hand, I have to give the guy credit for pointing me towards the most gorgeous picture extant of Emmylou Harris.

Call it a wash. (You want hot wax, it's a dollar extra.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:51 PM)
12 October 2003
Come on back and do the Sac-roiliac

After a brief period of recreating a universe in her own image, Kelley is back for one last burst of Cul de Sac-tion before venturing into the Land of the Frequently Lei'd, and to tell you the truth, I still don't know how she finds all this stuff, or all the time it takes to write it up. Maybe it's a gift from the gods; maybe it's Maybelline. Perhaps we'll never know.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:30 AM)
Topping off

Robyn has posted the final totals for the 2003 Boobie-Thon, and they are awe-inspiring: $7045 from 169 donors, an average of $41.69 each, a heck of a lot of money considering how small and insignificant we're supposed to be down here in blogland. Pulling five digits next year should be a piece of cake.

Some of the photographs are awe-inspiring as well, but that's a different issue entirely.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:41 PM)
14 October 2003
Cool Ranch Buffy

Someone got to this site today searching for "sarah michelle gellar without dressing".

I dunno. Now, Alyson Hannigan with a simple vinaigrette....

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:23 PM)
15 October 2003
Truth in Carnival advertising

The 56th edition of Carnival of the Vanities is hosted by Priorities and Frivolities, and if ever two words summed up blogdom, those two do.

Our man Boomshock has put it all together for you, so get over there and read the good stuff.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:50 AM)
A word of thanks

Arnab Nandi isn't exactly a household name, but his handiwork is all over the Blogosphere™; it was Arnab who invented BlogSnob, the tiny text ad that gives you a random link to another blog.

Eventually, like so many such ventures, it got to be a full-time job and then some, and finally Arnab has decided to anoint a successor: Kalsey Consulting Group, which operates the TextAd exchange, will assume responsibility for BlogSnob.

I don't know how many new readers I got by way of BlogSnob; I do know that I discovered many new blogs from clicking on the random ads, and I'm grateful to Arnab for creating this little service and sticking with it long enough to make it work correctly.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:41 AM)
16 October 2003
Everybody's getting into the act

The Daily Oklahoman, through its NewsOK.com site (jointly operated with KWTV), has started a blog.

Robb Hibbard's obligatory quip-as-tagline ("Figures of speech & speech about figures"): pretty good.

The complete and utter lack of individual-item permalinks: pretty bad.

Oh, well. They'll learn. And it's not like a dearth of permalinks has hurt kausfiles. [Since when do you read kausfiles?-ed. Oh, shut up.]

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:19 PM)
19 October 2003
Five easy theses

By now, El Tigre has been at this long enough to be able to draw some conclusions, and of course he has:

1. The lower your daily visitation rate, the easier it is to make your daily average.

This is true; when I see the seven-day average poking above 500 or so, I start wondering how much of a fall I'm going to take on a day like today when I'll be lucky to hit 350.

2. Very few people agree with everything posted on InstaPundit and even fewer agree with anything posted on your blog.

As the saying goes, if two people agree on everything, one of them is superfluous. And I don't worry about the occasional polite disagreement, even the occasional impolite disagreement; it's not like anyone is going to reach through the screen and thwap me upside the head.

3. Unless you have unlimited bandwidth in accordance with your server contract, there is such a thing as getting too many visits to your blog.

I don't have unlimited bandwidth, but if I had a whole month of the busiest day I ever had, I wouldn't exceed the quantity I'm paying for. (This begs the question: "Why are you paying so much?" The answer: I bought this package on the basis of disk space, and even now, after three years of daily bloggage, said bloggage occupies only a small fraction of the total disk space used. There is a lot of non-blog material at this domain.)

4. You get more visitors to your blog if you have breasts, and even more if you have breasts and post a picture of them at some time.

I am reasonably certain that no one is interested in any of my 2000 parts.

5. Bloggin' is fun, and although I haven't had sex in quite awhile, I am almost sure that sex is still more fun than bloggin'.

Having never experienced a day when both activities took place, I don't think I'm ready to issue a comprehensive opinion on this subject.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:04 AM)
21 October 2003
57 varieties

Eric Berlin brings something new to this week's Carnival of the Vanities: dactyls.

And he didn't exactly waltz through it, either; the strain, it appears, was so great that he's going to give up blogging. In the meantime, enjoy another batch of blogdom's best.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:28 PM)
22 October 2003
Babes in blogland

For about a week, James Joyner has been responding to a perceived demand by offering a supply of links to pictures of Women Who Blog.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. On the other hand, I do tend to worry about things like, well, whether the quality of the news as I perceive it is at all dependent upon the appearance of the person delivering it. In the best of all possible worlds, perhaps it would not matter, but I've never been within screaming distance of the best of all possible worlds, and I have what I consider to be too short an attention span anyway.

And I do strive for some semblance of sanity: there are only so many supermodels, after all, and their position at the top of the desirability pyramid is mostly undeserved, and does anyone really care what Laetitia Casta has to say about the North Korean nuclear situation? And I've certainly never dropped a blog off my roll for reasons of appearance, unless it was the appearance of the blog itself. But I'm no less susceptible to human frailty than the next guy, and I have to ask myself occasionally, "Would I pay less attention to [fill in name of blog] if [fill in name of blogger] weren't so damn cute?"

Ultimately, perhaps, this boils down to the old joke slogan: "Don't be a sexist. Chicks hate that." If I'm going to be hated, I'd rather it was for my dubious politics or my lack of common sense, not for my tendency to stare.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:22 PM)
26 October 2003
Sculpted prose

Remind me to send Robb Hibberd a list of Oklahoma blogs; apparently the only one he's read is this one. (Sunday, 1:01 am)

On the other hand, give the guy 2.5 cheers for predicting a Cowboy upset in the Bedlam Series, not because I think he's right or anything, but because going against the grain ought to be rewarded once in a while.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:27 AM)
Better stuff

Incidentally, if you're just arriving here from Tropiary — and, as of this writing, it's a safe bet you're not — drop what you're reading and see Anna's photo-essay on Saturday's batch of protests in D.C.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:50 AM)
27 October 2003
Sac transit glorious monday

Kelley's Cul-de-Sac is even easier to recommend this week, since (1) it's a little bit shorter and (2) there's nothing of mine to clutter it up.

Get it while it's a brand new bag.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:51 PM)
29 October 2003
We'll always have Carnival

Well, maybe not always, but the Carnival of the Vanities, the original weekly blog roundup, is still around, and this week it's at Who Censored Blogger Rabbit?

This is, I think, edition number 58, but it looks more like, um, 419.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:55 AM)
30 October 2003
Blog post title of the month

While McGehee likes this one, my own personal favorite is this item at Hit & Run, by Julian Sanchez: Suits and the Suing Suers who File Them.

Even if you think the title is lame, you should read it anyway. And if you don't, here's the tempest brewing in this particular teapot: Atrios has been threatened with a lawsuit by a contributor to National Review Online who shall not be named (or linked) here.

The commenters at Eschaton have, shall we say, given this matter the seriousness it deserves.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:15 PM)
Scare package

The guys and ghouls of the Fright Club at Blogcritics (oops, sorry, I forgot, you do not talk about Fright Club) have put together an assemblage of horrifying films, books and whatnot, just in time for Halloween. The list is extensive enough to insure that something therein will scare the pants off you. (Offer not valid if you're not wearing pants.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:48 PM)
31 October 2003
How I know I'm on the D-list

Much of blogdom is playing with the infamous Gender Genie, as plugged not-so-enthusiastically by InstaPundit this week.

Of course, you read about it here in August.

Maybe I should stop this blogging and start that record store.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:55 AM)
1 November 2003
Accentuate the positive

Our man Rust, who has been blogging for some time now under the title Conservatives Suck, has slid a new nameplate into place: you can now reach him at Liberals Are Really Swell.

The URL is exactly the same as before, but hey, you can't have everything.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:35 AM)
3 November 2003
Letting the whine breathe

I can't possibly say this any better than Andrea did, and what she said was this:

See troll post obnoxious comment on website he or she doesn't agree with. See troll get cyberkicked in the virtual nads. See troll tattle to site's webhost. See troll make fool of self when it is revealed that the author of the website he/she complained about is also one of the webhosts.

And, just to make it interesting — and to serve as a general warning to those who might transgress in the future — said webhost's extension of her official disclaimer:

I have the right to do whatever I want to with what you write [on my site], whether I agree with you or not. I can post your damn IP if I want to as well. It's not like I'm telling people that you live on 200 Oak Street Loserville, PA....second house on the right...yellow fence. Anyone with a little net sense knows that you there are a million sites out there where you can post an IP and find the location of it.

Nicely done, Gennie. And thank you, Andrea.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:52 AM)
4 November 2003
This side of closure

Following up a couple of items from the past few days:

That hyperexpensive copy of Jubilee 5104 has disappeared from eBay without explanation; the seller's Web site says nothing either.

And to finish off this item: it appears Atrios will not be sued after all.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:39 PM)
5 November 2003
Carnival. Because it's time.

And with that sound bite, we direct you to Carnival of the Vanities #59, presented with the usual explosive flair by your friends at Wizbang!

Read it. I'm in there somewhere, but read it anyway.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:00 AM)
7 November 2003
Your friendly neighborhood Snarko agent

Back in the day, Nike (I think) was quite insistent about Bo. Bo knows football; Bo knows track; Bo knows sportswear.

Kate knows snark. And she's a hell of a lot better looking than Bo.

You know what to do next.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:27 PM)
9 November 2003
What a load

This site's index page, not including the graphics scattered hither and yon, averages about 115 kilobytes, a figure which a few years ago would have invited scorn and derision and whatnot from your Web Experts because it made for such long load times that people would just give up and go look at something else.

Blogdom is, of course, heavy on the verbiage, and broadband is now affordable by (some) mere mortals, but I've been doing this for a long time now and old habits are hard to break; I've thrown out two or three semi-nifty templates for excessive size. What I want to know, I suppose, is this: Does it really matter anymore? Are there blogs you won't read because they take too damn long to load? You don't have to name names, unless you really, really want to.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:18 AM)
12 November 2003
Going like sixty

The 60th edition of Carnival of the Vanities comes to you from the general vicinity of Georgetown. (Yeah, yeah, I know; where's George?) Your host this week is Dead Ends, and if you live near the District, you'll get more of the in-jokes than I did. :)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:44 PM)
And you can dance to it

What Moira Breen wants, among other things, is this:

I was wishing for a ruthlessly efficient way to grade political/cultural blogs, such that no link to a no-'count writer would be followed, and the discovery of worthwhile new poli/culti blogs would be facilitated. As Fleck put it, a way to sort out the adults from the feces-flingers, site unseen.

And the criteria for the grading?

I have noted that good blogs, no matter which way they swing, share a "tone" that contrasts with the distinct tones of both stupid-left and stupid-right blogs. It is not at all a matter of the worthwhile blogs being always moderate, calm, all sweetness and light, and lacking in strongly expressed opinion. Rather, it strikes me this way: the less worthwhile a lefty blog is, the more it takes on a recognizable tone of foot-stamping shrill petulance; the vapid righty blog will tend more and more to blustering thuggishness. (My hat is off to those geniuses who contrive to be shrilly thuggish and blusteringly petulant all at once.)

I must be living up to my rep as both centrist and genius; I've never seen anyone else quite so facile at melding petulance and thuggery.

Or something like that. I'm not sure the tone she wants is easily quantifiable; the general ineptitude of the more-specialized Gender Genie makes me wonder whether we can expect any kind of accuracy from a mere algorithm (not to be confused with "Al Gore rhythm," a form of syncopation that demands Dramamine). Still, it would be nice to be able to dial into the index page — or the RSS feed! — and get a quick readout between 35 and 98 as to whether it's safe to proceed.

Anything with more than ten bytes of StUdLy CaPs, of course, is automatically relegated to the bottom of any conceivable ranking.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:25 PM)
14 November 2003
Immovable type

Eloise at Spitbull is predicting that Microsoft will integrate blogging tools into some future version of Internet Explorer.

Into some version of Windows, maybe; Microsoft has already said that they will no longer be developing standalone versions of IE. And I'm sort of hoping she's wrong.

What would Windows blogging tools be like? Probably something like this:

  • All posts must be composed in Word.

  • You'd have to ping microsoft.com with a registration code before the program would send pings to blo.gs or to weblogs.com.

  • Any build error would generate a Blue Screen of Death and require a reboot.

  • The comment-spam filter would randomly block Safari and Opera users.

  • Windows Media Player would automatically delink any linked mp3 files.

  • Microsoft.com would wind up on the TTLB Ecosystem as the Highest Being, Dammit.

  • The built-in spellchecker will have issues with the word "Unix".

  • There will be a new security "upgrade" every other Tuesday.

  • Each member of a group blog would have to pay for a separate license.

  • A rogue email will be able to infect your templates.

On the upside, complaints about Blogger and Blogspot should diminish markedly.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:09 PM)
15 November 2003
Lowlife bottom-feeders

Xrlq (pronounced "Xrlq") is serious. I know this because his first post about Infotel Publications was in his Consumer Issues category — and for his second post, he'd invented a whole new category: Scum.

Now of course, search-engine queries being so often sloppily worded, someone searching for the combination of "scum" and, say, "lowlife bottom-feeders" may well come up with a page about Infotel Publications. This does not necessarily imply that the person writing the page actually thinks that Infotel Publications is scum and/or lowlife bottom-feeders, unless the page contains a line to this effect:

"Infotel Publications is scum and/or lowlife bottom-feeders."

Moral: Always choose your search terms carefully.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:46 PM)
16 November 2003
Simple twists of fate

Anyone who uses Site Meter knows that its referral reports can sometimes (read: usually) be quirky, and once in a while something evolves into a near-fledged mystery.

I have a reader in (I think) Iowa, a subscriber to Mediacom; I'm not going to give out the IP address on general principle. (Oddly, feeding it to a NetGeo server turns up a location in New Jersey, where Mediacom has no subscribers; I attribute this to NetGeo's reading an entire Class A network as being in one location.) This reader runs a Linux box with the KDE Konqueror browser, which handles the Site Meter script in an unexpected manner: it feeds me the last page read before mine, whether that page links to me or not. Often as not, it doesn't, which is what tipped me off in the first place — how come I'm getting referrals from people who don't have links to me?

So the Mystery Reader runs down his list of bookmarks, or whatever they are called in Konqueror, and whatever he read before he read me that day, I end up reading, just out of curiosity. A strange circle on the surface of the Blogosphere™, to be sure.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:40 AM)
17 November 2003
Because everyone needs a little Sac time

Kelley's Cul-de-Sac at suburban blight gives you this week a listing of Slightly Lesser-Known Blogs You Oughta Be Reading, from A to Z. And, this being Kelley after all, you get, not a mere twenty-six links, but twenty-nine. Would that everyone were so generous.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:20 PM)
18 November 2003
Je ne blog pas

You have to figure that a consonant-riddled monosyllable like "blog" — especially an English consonant-riddled monosyllable like "blog" — wouldn't sit well with the French.

I don't know whether there's any official commentary on the subject, but I did spend some time poking around the French counterpart to Blogger, which is called Joueb.com, and it turns out that the derivation of "joueb" is not a whole lot different from that of "blog":

Un joueb (contraction de journal web) est un site web ou des informations sont publiees frequemment. Elles sont le plus souvent presentees par ordre chronologique et par categories.

Note: joueb est notre traduction du mot anglais blog (contraction de weblog).

At least "web" figures into both of them. And it's "our translation"; they didn't wait for a decree from l'Académie Française, presumably sent by courriel.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:34 AM)
19 November 2003
Carnival (revisited)

God says to Abraham, Go read the blogs
Abe says Man, you must be in a fog
God says So? Abe say What?
God says, You gotta see what they got
And some is serious, some is downright fun
Abe says, Where is all this done?
Says God, it's at Carnival 61.

(Your host this week is Peaktalk; my apologies this week to Mr. Zimmerman.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:43 AM)
24 November 2003
Quoth the server: "404"

I'm usually careful enough of a typist to avoid making blatantly stupid errors, but "usually" is a long way from "always," so once in a while I get dope-slapped by someone's 404 page.

And if it's a good 404 page, I don't mind.

Much.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:53 AM)
26 November 2003
Where were you for 62?

Actually, I was on a buying binge, but I still managed to find time to stop in at Carnival of the Vanities #62, hosted this week by the always-outspoken Setting the World to Rights.

Lots of stuff, and lots of commentary to accompany it. As always, you don't want to miss it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:58 PM)
1 December 2003
Negative cash flow

It appears that Blogshares is dead, and with it the $630 million in funny money I'd accumulated. As of the first of November, the last time the standings were published, I was ranked 219th out of about twelve thousand players.

It was fun, and certainly worth the $15 a year, but I'm sure the creator is happy to have this particular monkey off his back; some things are more trouble than they are worth.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:41 PM)
2 December 2003
Block-level information

Via Batesline.com comes word of a blog — powered by Movable Type, no less — run by a neighborhood association in Tulsa.

Our own NA has its own little site, which is pretty good for what it is, but I wouldn't mind seeing us go in this direction as a supplement to the existing site. Maybe I'll pitch the idea in January.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:46 AM)
3 December 2003
Oh, what a night

It's not late December, but it's #63.

Yep. It's Wednesday, so it must be time for a Carnival of the Vanities link, and Week 63 is hosted by those sterling folks at Begging to Differ.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:22 AM)
6 December 2003
Concession stand

If you pay any attention to the Academy Awards at all, you've probably noticed that the presenters no longer begin their announcements with "And the winner is...." I assume that this revision was done to assuage the feelings of the 80 percent or so of nominees to whom the Oscar® does not go, the folks who shrug, fake a smile, and say "It's an honor just to be nominated."

The 2003 Weblog Awards, presented at Wizbang!, are a far cry from that Hollywood stuff, and the ratio of losers to winners is going to be a lot higher than 4:1. Still, the dynamics are much the same.

I must point out here that there are at least seventeen blogs nominated in the Large Mammal category which are better than mine, and as a person of conscience, I must urge you to vote for one of them. (The others, I haven't read.) And when I finish with something like two votes out of ten thousand, I plan to shrug, fake a smile, and announce: "It's an honor just to be nominated."

Because, well, it is.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:15 PM)
How now, frown noun?

Bruce has been hitting the thesaurus again:

workers.pawns.cogs.serfs.peons.smurfs.

To which I say:

Hey! What about us drones?

(I just looked at that string again, and for one fleeting moment I thought I was looking at a Usenet newsgroup name. Look for the debut of alt.workers.pawns.cogs.serfs.peons.smurfs, coming to a server near you.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:07 PM)
10 December 2003
Will you still need it?

Will you still feed it?

'Cause it's sixty-four.

That's right, buoys and gulls, it's the 64th edition of Carnival of the Vanities, hosted this week by Signal + Noise, and it's proof positive that the Carnival, even today, still has legs.

Six of them, in fact.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:57 AM)
11 December 2003
The return of Blogshares

It's a long way from being ready for prime time — pages are served the same day, if you're lucky, and God forbid you should want a complete page of your portfolio — but at least it's back, and they returned to their most recent backup, which I'm pleased to report missed my last day of transactions, in which I lost a bundle of B$.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:27 PM)
15 December 2003
To borrow a phrase...

...it's an honor just to be nominated.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:55 AM)
17 December 2003
Carnival '65

Not at all ready for retirement, the Carnival of the Vanities turns 65 this week at Drumwaster's Rants, and as always, it's the pick of the litter, the cream of the crop, the best of the blogs for the preceding seven days, made more so by the fact that there's no submission from yours truly.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:07 AM)
22 December 2003
14 minutes and counting

But in the meantime, I got a small plug from the neighborhood association newsletter, which inexplicably characterizes this here "blog" (complete with scare quotes) as "pretty darned entertaining."

If you've come here from reading said newsletter and are wondering just where the entertainment value is, you're not the only one.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:22 PM)
24 December 2003
Three wise men and then some

Winds of Change hosts the new edition of Carnival of the Vanities, and the Christmas spirit hath descended upon it from on high.

This week, get your blogging kicks from Carnival #66.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:06 AM)
30 December 2003
This way to the horizon

I just bought the next year's worth of bandwidth, so barring unexpected events (like getting a life), you can probably expect more of the same in 2004.

Incidentally, site traffic for 2003 is up 70 percent from 2002 — about 170,000 visitors so far this year — and should this pattern hold next year (and should I receive the same amount of inattention from, say, The Professor), I shouldn't have to shell out any additional bucks along the way.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:40 AM)
31 December 2003
The last Carnival of the year

Carnival of the Vanities #67 is hosted this week by Hypocrisy and Hypotheses, and it's just the thing to read while you wait for that damn ball to drop.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:26 AM)
1 January 2004
My name is Charles H., and I blog

I figure, any quiz that can draw both Venomous Kate and James Joyner demands my attention.

So: Are You A Blogaholic?

The average score at the moment I took this test was 42.9 out of 100; I scored, um, 64, which means:

51 through 80 percent: You are a dedicated weblogger. You post frequently because you enjoy weblogging a lot, yet you still manage to have a social life. You're the best kind of weblogger. Way to go!

Uh, what is this "social life" of which they speak?

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:28 PM)
2 January 2004
Hey, hey, ho, ho, these 15 have got to go

Should anyone be curious, these are the names I have picked for the Amish Tech Support Dead Pool for 2004:

  • Olivia de Havilland
  • King Fahd
  • Valery Giscard d'Estaing
  • Michael Jackson
  • Stephen King
  • Frank Lautenberg
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Howard Metzenbaum
  • Keith Richards
  • Ariel Sharon
  • Al Sharpton
  • Edward Shevardnadze
  • Sargent Shriver
  • Anna Nicole Smith
  • Boris Yeltsin

Last year, I scored for exactly one pick: David Brinkley.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:25 AM)
4 January 2004
Blogging in the abstract?

The newspaper blog is no longer a novelty. This does not necessarily portend a massive rush to commercially-operated blogs: some businesses don't really lend themselves to bloggage. (Of course, if someone does come up with, say, martysshellstation.com, please send me a link.)

There are, however, quite a few real-estate blogs. Which makes sense, in a way; while most of us do business with them fairly rarely, the business that we do is immensely complicated and incredibly expensive, so to the extent that they're reaching out to us, they're doing us something of a favor by assisting us with our research. Of course, this is just icing on the commercial cake — the motivation, first and foremost, is to build their own businesses — but I'll happily take any crumbs I'm thrown that will help me with my side of the deal.

(Inspired by The Great Team, an agency in the O.C. that both sells houses and blogs, and which admits to having read this assortment of screeds at least once.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:55 AM)
Madness, yet there is method

I haven't submitted anything to the BlogMadness competition, on the basis that my below-average material sucks, and my above-average material...um, sucks less.

Then again, few authors (if I may borrow the term for a moment) are the best judges of their own work, so if you happen to think that something I posted in 2003 was worthwhile, leave a comment here or in email, and if there should be anything resembling a consensus between now and the 20th, I will duly submit the recommended piece.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:15 PM)
7 January 2004
A new year of Carnival

The first Carnival of the Vanities for 2004 is hosted by American Realpolitik. This 68th edition continues the tradition of bringing you the best of the blogs for the past week, and even though I have an item in there this week, don't let that stop you from reading.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:36 AM)
8 January 2004
Awash in schwag

We got merchandise, by gum.

Arriving through the slender slot in the door: Bigwig's ingenious campaign sticker, telling the world what he (and I) think of the Democrats' favorite son of 1972 2004.

And stuffed under the welcome mat, to the extent that a ten-inch cube can be stuffed under anything flat: Brother Dave's Better Living Through Blogging mug, in the charmingly-retro distaff version.

I feel indescribably rich, in a budget-minded sort of way.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:13 PM)
11 January 2004
The Perl of the Clark campaign

Wesley Clark's campaign staff have developed, or commissioned, or otherwise come up with, a ClarkBot, which scans Feedster's RSS search engine every day looking for references to the General and then posts them to a section of the campaign blog. It's picked up pretty much everything I've ever said about the man, and if you're blogging and have an RSS feed, likely everything you've ever said about him either. The bot doesn't attempt to pass judgment on whether the comment is favorable or not; it simply reproduces the item and posts a link.

At the bottom of the page is this useful advice:

Please use this as a resource for rapid response to attacks on Clark, and leave some encouraging comments at bloggers who support Clark. As always, be civil even to those critics of the General who are not civil themselves.

Seems reasonable to me.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:33 PM)
14 January 2004
None so fine as 69

This was as clean a slogan as we could come up with for my high-school graduating class, which was, indeed, the class of '69.

In the meantime, I'm happy to exhume the phrase for Carnival of the Vanities #69, brought to you nine minutes at a time by Snooze Button Dreams, incorporating the Best of the Blogs, plus something of mine to level the playing field.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:36 AM)
Snooze-a-lanche?

Carnival #69 from Snooze Button Dreams is sending a fairly huge number of people to this site, startling in view of the lame attempt at humor I submitted for inclusion this week.

If you've just arrived here and the offending item has scrolled away, this is the drone you're looking for.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:09 PM)
A completely unique experience

Well, okay, it wasn't that unique, but Rammer and I bent a couple of brewskis and bemoaned the sad state of Damn Near Everything this evening, which meant that we had to do some rather speedy bemoaning.

I don't think he quite grasps the Oklahoma Zeitgeist just yet, but then hardly do I, and I've been here thirty years or so. Still, it was good to see the guy, and being a long way from home, he may well have thought it was good to be seen.

We'll have to do this again sometime.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:29 PM)
18 January 2004
Words to blog by

Christy at Digital Nirvana follows, she says, the Bushido Way of the Blogger:

Mental discipline (heck, love is a mental discipline by the way). Blog everyday. Be one with the written word. Honor and respect other blogger's ideas. Self-control. Truth and sincerity. Karma. I didn't name this blog Digital Nirvana without those precepts in mind.

My ultimate goal as a blogger is not to get as many hits as possible, be linked to a million weblogs out there or God forbid, ram my ideas down people's throats. My primary motivation is self-enlightenment and introspection. I believe the words that I write reflect my essence and my soul and many times I've faltered by going down to my lesser, baser instincts. I can just diss other weblogs and be a self-righteous blogger and I'll have instant material on my blog. But then, the creation of blogging has a higher purpose. That is to test one's truths and dogma in a marketplace of ideas. It is bloody exercise wherein you face the gritty realism of being rejected for your views, beliefs, and/or lack of wit or style. It's a cruel blog jungle out there. Other people will just cut you off if you don't fit their idea of a perfect world. Now you see your link now you don't. The old cliche still holds. You can never please everybody not even in blogosphere.

I don't know. Sometimes exercising one's lesser, baser instincts can be good fun, good catharsis, and even good blogging, though I don't think anyone this side of [fill in name of your personal bête noire in blogdom] can pull it off on a regular basis.

It is, however, true that this very situation was anticipated thirty-odd years ago. In the words of the late Eric Hilliard Nelson: "You can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself." I'm not about to claim that every last one of the three hundred thousand or so words I've tossed up on screen is a keeper, but I'd like to think that they were a reasonable approximation of what I was thinking at the time they were written. To that extent, I suppose, I'm pleased with the results of these ninety-three months.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:48 AM)
Insert pMachine joke here

Something called BlogSex is looking for participants.

They're advertising on some sites. I spotted them at BlogShares and at BlogChalking, where they're making the following pitch:

Whether you are practicing abstinence or are experiencing nymphomania BlogSex.com is the perfect activity for you.

I submit that if you're experiencing nymphomania, you're not going to get a hell of a lot of typing done.

With a minor amount of Googlage, I was able to turn up the following:

BlogTV™ announces the BlogSex™ network. And no it is not a porn site. The coming BlogSex™ entertainment portal is a hip, sexy Web community offering an online meeting place for both bloggers and non-bloggers alike looking to meet and/or hook up with members of the same and/or opposite sex.

The upcoming BlogSex™ portal will integrate the intimacy of blogs, racy authors, curious readers, and personal ads into a unique community unlike any other service available today.

Members will be able to participate in ménage blogs (group blogs) on diverse topics. From ChristianBlogs.com to QueerBlogs.com the BlogSex™ network will offer a fresh, risqué online service to the diverse blogosphere.

BlogSex.com, a premium BlogTV™ channel, will launch one week before Valentines Day.

Given the flurry of blog weddings in recent months, I'm really not convinced we need this thing; I mean, if you're putting your heart on the screen already, what's the point of doing it again somewhere else?

And right before Valentine's Day? Talk about your cruel and unusual punishments.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:39 AM)
Let her dance

One piece you simply must read today: Dean Esmay pays tribute — beautifully — to the very first woman in his life.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:11 AM)
19 January 2004
A Sac from out of the blue

Kelley's been so incredibly busy lately that it seems almost impossible she could squeeze anything more complicated than going to the bathroom into her schedule.

Still, impossible things do happen, and here's an impromptu Cul de Sac for a Monday afternoon, full of fresh bloggy goodness and, yes, twice as absorbent as the cheaper stuff.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:24 PM)
21 January 2004
An enterprising Carnival

This week's Carnival of the Vanities, edition #70, is presented by PoliBlog with an eye toward providing infinite diversity in, well, a whole lot of combinations. (Dammit, Steven, I'm a blogger, not a flack.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:16 PM)
27 January 2004
It's a flood, I tell you

Yesterday's gratuitous mention of an unclad anchorperson garnered four hundred or so hits via Blogdex, pushing the daily total to 1,020, almost twice the daily average around here and the third-highest total ever.

Undoubtedly there's a lesson to be learned here.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:35 AM)
28 January 2004
Carnival seventy-one

Seventy-one, you'll remember, is sixty-nine with two...uh, never mind. Forget I said it. Instead, go read this week's Carnival of the Vanities, hosted by Sean Hackbarth's The American Mind, the original (and still the greatest) weekly roundup of bloggy goodness, made even greater this week by a total absence of stuff by me.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:12 PM)
1 February 2004
L'affaire Wonkette

First there was the original post (which this morning I can't seem to find for some reason), and then The Professor was all over it:

Wonkette has so infuriated the Rittenhouse Review that it's adopting a "choose me or choose her!" approach. ("If you link to 'Wonkette' through your blogroll you cannot and will not enjoy, for what that might be worth, a link from The Rittenhouse Review.") Is that wise?

Of course, in line with the Law of Unintended Consequences, this brought Wonkette cascades of additional linkage.

But what's most amusing about this is that Ana Marie Cox, who puts together all this stuff, is at least as far left as James Capozzola himself; in a radio interview for WAMU [requires RealAudio], she reveals that she actually voted for Nader in '00 — not that it matters a whole lot, since she lives in D.C. and all.

I note that Capozzola has switched his endorsement this year from Kucinich to Kerry; there's still time for most of you to order new bumper stickers.

(Update, 2 February, 4:15 pm: If you've come here from Jeff Jarvis' BuzzMachine, you can find the original of Capozzola's post, snatched from Google's cache, at this link.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:59 AM)
Thoroughly stratified

If you saw this at the Axis of Greeblie and wondered why I haven't done a similar list, wonder no more.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:49 PM)
3 February 2004
Play me or trade me

This evening, this very site was the #1 Most Traded on BlogShares, with 20 transactions in the past 24 hours.

Didn't make a dime on the deal, of course.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:35 PM)
4 February 2004
Well, I like 72 myself

A perfectly cromulent Carnival of the Vanities is up for your reading pleasure at Pete's A Perfectly Cromulent Blog, and while I'm not in a position to judge cromulence levels, I can assure you that once again, the Carnival features the best of last week's bloggage in a single, link-ridden page.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:59 AM)
10 February 2004
HREFed up like a deuce

Have you ever sent someone an email asking for a link back to your site?

Lynn's thinking runs something like this:

Asking for a link seems rather bold, though certainly not totally unacceptable, so if you're going to ask for a link it seems to me that you should show that you actually know something about the blog you're requesting a link from and express some interest.

It's never occurred to me to ask for linkage; usually I insinuate myself into someone's consciousness by loading up his comment section. (I once emailed a blogger about something or other, and she wrote back wanting to know how come I didn't plug my own site in said email; apparently she thought it was standard operating procedure, and maybe it is.)

Once in a while, I'll get a request of this sort; I do try to look at any URL that's sent to me, and if I find something worthwhile, I'll usually give it a plug, though getting on my blogroll is seldom (never say "never") instantaneous and rarely likely to result in increased traffic unless you're pulling something like five hits a week and three of them are yours.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:38 AM)
11 February 2004
Carnival time once more

Seventy-three men sailed up
From the San Francisco bay
Rolled off of their ship
And here's what they had to say:

Well, okay, they didn't say anything about the Carnival of the Vanities, now playing this week at On the Third Hand, but if they had, they might have mentioned that for the 73rd time, it's the best of the week's bloggage for your inspection, so ride, Captain.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:32 AM)
Just a quick mote

Alex Beam is still apparently doing a slow burn over being roasted by bloggers:

What is that whooshing sound that you hear? It is all the hot air escaping from the self-styled "blogosphere." The blogosphere is the alternative reality Internet world, supposedly populated by vast communities of keyboard tappers linked by the World Wide Web. This campaign season, for the first time, the blogosphere had its own presidential candidate: Howard Dean.

Actually, it's not "self-styled'; it was Bill Quick's idea.

And if Beam thinks that Blogdom Assembled somehow embraced Dean to a greater extent than did Democrats voting in the primaries — which is to say, hardly at all — he needs to fire the person he hired to read blogs to him. (I hear kuro5hin has a couple of prospects.)

(Muchas gracias: ronbailey.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:57 PM)
14 February 2004
Unpopularity contest

Last year I was bemused to be on the receiving end of the World's Smallest Instalanche: while others linked by the Professor bask in hundreds, even thousands, of visits, the best I could do was fifty-three.

Yesterday I was surprised to discover that an item posted here had been rejected by Fark. (If you're curious, it was the one about the death of Weekly World News editor Eddie Clontz.) I know this because all links submitted to Fark are posted at their premium service, TotalFark, and as of this morning twenty-two TotalFarkers have dropped by.

I keep telling myself that I'm happier at the top of the D-list than I would be at the bottom of the A-list, but I'm not quite sure I believe me yet.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:41 AM)
18 February 2004
And even more Vanities

Not to be confused with "Teenage Lament '74", Four Right Wing Wackos are proud to present Carnival of the Vanities #74, with dozens of this past week's best blog items, plus one from me.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:30 PM)
19 February 2004
A minor millstone

Uh, make that milestone.

Tomorrow this site will get visitor number 400,000.

Will it be you?

(Update, 3:19 pm, 20 February: If you're the IE5.0/Mac user at 204.87.68.252, somewhere in the Mountain time zone, you're the one.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:04 PM)
22 February 2004
Heated debate

When your vantage point becomes increasingly blogocentric, as mine seems to have of late — one reason I still write those Vent pieces is to remind myself that there is something beyond the daily grind — we tend to forget that there are still other forms of discussion out there.

A fellow named Sean wrote me to plug something called Volconvo, a squoze-down term derived from "volcano" and "conversation", which isn't a blog at all, but one of those script-driven message boards (specifically, an Invision Power Board). I gave it a once-over, and mercifully, it's generally sane and by all appearances effectively moderated — I didn't see anything that reminded me of Freepers in full drool or the tortured illogic of the Democratic Underground, and apparently Mike Godwin got the day off.

Sean writes that he's "trying to make a difference, ever so slowly." I'd say that he's got the right idea.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:09 AM)
25 February 2004
Carnivals are forever

Seventy-five Carnivals of the Vanities have now made it down Main Street, and this week's edition is hosted by Da Goddess, along with a subtle reminder: blogging, like so much else in life, requires a certain amount of support.

Don't miss it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:41 AM)
26 February 2004
Dig deep

If you've ever felt the need to send me a buck or two to cover my ever-expanding expenses — well, forget about me and send it to Dean and Rosemary, wouldja please?

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:24 PM)
3 March 2004
When it all unwinds

Serenity says she's broken, and she may be understating the case.

Please read her story, and help her if you can, and remember: a kind word and a dollar is worth slightly more than a kind word alone.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:31 AM)
4 March 2004
Spirit of 76

Seventy-six weeks of Carnival of the Vanities, even.

The ever-resourceful Andrew Ian Dodge is your host this week for the finest blogdom (in its own humble estimation) has to offer, with an assist from someone else with three names: Howard Philips Lovecraft.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:52 AM)
5 March 2004
Swickey business

Mike Swickey has been around a while — he's run a political links page since before the turn of the century — but this week he's shifting focus a bit, adding more local content (he's down the street from me, give or take 28 miles) and more timely stuff.

So welcome swickey.com, and let's see what happens.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:26 AM)
Cross delinkage

I covered the Rittenhouse/Wonkette dustup a month ago, and I rather thought that was the end of it.

But Keith Berry reports otherwise:

A couple weeks after L'affaire Wonkette, I linked to Wonkette and (Poof!) the Berry's World link on The Rittenhouse Review was gone. I'd like to be able to report that my link was removed because of a lack of space and not because [James] Capozzola is a small, petty and cheap little man. However, as repeated e-mails to The Rittenhouse Review have gone unanswered, I simply can't say.

Glenn Reynolds adds:

To be fair, as far as I know there's no actual evidence that he's cheap.

Heh.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:19 AM)
6 March 2004
It scrolls for thee

Bruce reports that scrolling this page is a slow process. I have been so far unable to replicate the situation he's experiencing, even on a low-speed dialup. Is anyone else having similar problems with this page?

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:03 AM)
11 March 2004
Karn Evil 77

You know the drill:

This is the song that never ends
it just goes on and on my friends
some people started singing it not knowing what it was
and they continued singing it forever just because....

Oh, wait. Wrong never-ending presentation.

Anyway, this week's Carnival of the Vanities is brought to you by Aaron, he who Rants and who Slays Liberals, and it's the extended version of the best of blogdom, including (yes!) an actual item from here. See it now, while it's still legal.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:33 AM)
14 March 2004
Another dead tree heard from

Vanity Fair has always seemed just slightly out of sync, its coverage of events inevitably shaped by the need to drop the right names, its coverage of names inscrutable to the max. It should surprise no one that James Wolcott's four pages on blogdom ("The Laptop Brigade", April '04), its subject matter inextricably a combination of both names and events, would wind up a hash of half-truths, occasionally punctuated by quarter-truths.

Consider this pronouncement on the Way of the Blogroll:

No blog can be an island unto itself. Visitors vote with their mouse clicks, and the vitality of a blog site derives from the rising number of hits it receives — the return visits. The higher the hit count, the heavier the hit traffic; the heavier the hit traffic, the larger the popularity; the larger the popularity, the greater the love. This is why there is no graver act than to remove a site from one's blog roll, eliminating the link. It can be a haughty kiss-off or a sad rebuke; either way, it's public notice that you no longer wish to be associated with this louse. By thy links shall they know thee, and the fact that neo-liberal blogger Mickey Kaus (Kausfiles at Slate) links to both Lucianne Goldberg, the right-wing Broom-Hilda of Monica Lewinsky infamy, whose comments section teems like a cauldron with racist, homophobic hate speech, and Ann Coulter, the She-Wolf of Sigma Chi, is evidence to his foes not of the Mickster's catholicity but of his scaly lizardry.

Links taken from a current Kausfiles.

Let's assume that Wolcott is correct and Mickey Kaus does, in fact, have foes. (He doesn't bother to list any; he just presumes they exist.) Why would they — why would anybody saner than James Capozzola — care about who's on whose blogroll? To most of us, the gravitas of a public delinking is right up there with the disappointment we suffer when we pop open a can of Pillsbury's biscuits and are not immediately greeted by the Doughboy.

And Wolcott probably doesn't read either Lucianne or Ann, either, inasmuch as he has a palpable distaste for any suggestion that the Administration's Middle East policy might have some semblance of merit:

Honest, confused souls could disagree over the case for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. It was the ugly rhetoric, fathead hubris, and might-makes-right triumphalism that repulsed. Warbloggers hunkered into B-grade versions of the ideological buccaneers in the neoconservative camp. Punk-ass laptop Richard Perles, they excoriated dissenters as wimps, appeasers and traitors, peddled every xenophobic stereotype (the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys," etc.) and brushed aside the plight of the Palestinians with brusque indifference or outright contempt. And the warbloggers behaved like they owned the legacy and sorrow of September 11, as if only they understood How Everything Changed and those who disagreed had goldfish bowls on their heads.

Put me down for "outright contempt," and if the Palestinians decide to act like a people capable of self-rule instead of like a pack of rejects from a road-company version of Lord of the Flies, I'll consider upgrading to "brusque indifference."

As for the first line quoted — well, I don't think Wolcott's confused, anyway.

Still, if you have to have a picture of the man behind Daily Kos, this is your issue of V.F.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:51 PM)
16 March 2004
Play it at 78

Imagine how fast you'll get through Carnival of the Vanities #78, this week's collection of bloggy goodness hosted by the legendary Patterico, featuring dozens of articles you might have missed. There's even one from me, which doesn't seem to have impaired the overall quality. I hope.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:28 AM)
Unplanned downtime

If you sat and glared at a blank page during the 90 minutes or so this site was down this afternoon (roughly 1:55 to 3:25 Central), well, for once it wasn't my fault. The server farm in L.A. went into full meltdown, and they're checking the logs to see if they can pick up a whiff of a Distributed Denial of Service attack.

Not that anyone would attack me, necessarily, but it doesn't take that much to bring down my site and the 50,000 others they host.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:26 PM)
17 March 2004
Mark Cuban, blogger

One of the joys of blogging is the opportunity to score points against what we see as bias or inaccuracy or simple cluelessness in Big Media.

And while said joy does trickle down to us insignificant D-list bloggers — nobody will ever accuse me of being influential — I rather suspect that the bigger boys on the block are enjoying their newfound clout even more.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, thinks big. And he's ready to take on Big Media too, as witness this entry:

Sports reporting has turned into a confused business. You would think that with the net, everyone would recognize that a "scoop" doesn't quite have the value that it did back in the days when the new stuff came with the morning paper. Today, every scoop gets posted to the paper website first, so the paper can prove they broke the story. It's seen and reported on and immediately world-wide within minutes afterwards. That doesn't stop reporters from focusing first and foremost on "breaking scoops". Not stories. Scoops. Anything you think you know that the other guys don't. The joy of getting the props for getting the story on the site before the other guy.

Their grab for glory is my continuous nuisance. It gets really old getting pestered about transactional items. It's amazing how many emails I get: are you going to make a trade, did you make a trade, who are you going to trade? Who are you going to sign? Questions they all know I won't answer because the minute we do something, we are going to release it to the world in a press release. Yet the reporters hold out hope that maybe, just maybe, they can catch a deal or something else just before it happens — and luck turns into a scoop. Scoops make the bosses happy.

Mark, ol' pal, here's the one thing you need to know: as a blogger, you can make your own scoops. Eliminate the middleman, so to speak.

(I have a feeling he's gonna like this.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:05 AM)
18 March 2004
We report, you recoil

Q:  What's the deal with Wonkette's skirt? I mean, is that starch, or what?

A:  It's an aerodynamic effect. Wonkette works in the District of Columbia, surrounded by officials both elected and unelected; it should be no surprise that some of them would try to blow smoke up her ass.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:26 AM)
19 March 2004
Mr Edwards goes to Washington

The Top Five reasons Cam Edwards is moving to D.C.:

5. Fond childhood memories of Hasbro's Junior Policy Wonk kit

4. Wanted to see if it was possible to be a leading Oklahoma blogger without, y'know, actually being in Oklahoma

3. Heard that darn near anyone could get elected Mayor of the District

2. Flooded with guilt after taking all that money from Clear Channel

1. Robin Meyers will be a thousand miles away

It won't be the same without you, Cam. Fare thee well.

(Update: Added a Robin Meyers link.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:36 AM)
24 March 2004
This week at the Carnival

And it's week #79, which means Bigwig's baby is now over 18 months.

Pete's Encyclopeteia (doncha just love it?) is hosting this edition, which, as always, is jam-packed full of bloggy goodness, and might even have had something from me had I remembered to send something in, which I didn't.

Take it away, Pete.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:46 PM)
26 March 2004
BEechwood 4-5789

Yours truly has a guest spot today at The Dawn Patrol, which I used to wax nostalgic about old two-letter telephone exchanges.

(If you're reading this in London, make that old three-letter telephone exchanges. And if you're not reading this in London, and you're wondering, as do some readers, "Why do you know this?" — I have a small collection of vintage Radio London jingles, one of which solicits advertising for the station at MAYfair 5361.)

Yeah, I know: nobody would call Jenny at UNiversity 7-5309. Or would they?

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:27 PM)
29 March 2004
Spanners in the works

There's been no announcement yet, but something wrenchingly terrible apparently happened down on the server farm early this morning; pretty much everything has been nonfunctional at this end.

As the bumper sticker says, "Feces transpire."

Update, 1:30 pm: The announcement is out:

This morning we experienced a router failure that took down our network from approximately 2am - 10am PST. The cause of the failure is unknown at this time, but it appears to be hardware related. The backup router failed to take over the responsibilities of the failed primary router, resulting in a network brownout. We are further investigating both of these issues at the moment.

A fragile thing, this Web.

Update, 30 March, 4:00 pm: They've identified the culprit(s), and their hardware failure was precipitated by a distributed denial-of-service attack which apparently knew how to kill two routers. Dowingba publishes the final message sent to users — no need to repeat it here — and offers commentary of his own.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:06 AM)
Twice blessed

Sometimes all you can do is stand back and admire something from a distance.

I mean, is this an embarrassment of riches or what? Lileks takes on Monty Python's Life of Brian, and Susanna Cornett discusses The Passion of the Christ. It's better than double dessert.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:29 PM)
How to post like me

[Name of blogger] thinks such-and-such about this:

[Generic content]

I tend to (dis)agree, as follows:

[First point, if any]

[Second point, if any]

Smartassed remark for conclusion.

(Via [site I found linking to site linked])

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:04 PM)
30 March 2004
Around the blogs in 80 weeks

Once again, it's time for the Carnival of the Vanities, week #80, special April Fools's Edition, hosted by Eric Berlin. In keeping with the spirit of the first of April, fully twenty percent of the entries are completely and utterly bogus, and what's worse, one of the remainders is by me.

There's yet another innovation from Eric: all the links are processed through SnipURL, which shortens those endless URLs — and, not incidentally, makes it a lot harder to spot the fakes. Devilishly ingenious, this Berlin fellow.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:29 PM)
2 April 2004
Name that domicile

I have no reason to think I provided any inspiration, but Steve Gigl has decided to name his house.

And, with the ratio of fireplaces to chimneys an inexplicable 3:2, Chimneyhenge hews to a certain perverse sort of logic, don't you think?

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:25 PM)
7 April 2004
Doing the 81

For some of us, the 81 is a dance, dictated by Terpsichore of Philadelphia to Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and sung, way back in 1964, by Candy and the Kisses.

For you regular folks, who might wear tennis shoes or an occasional python boot, it's the 81st edition of Carnival of the Vanities, presented this week by Ross White's Leaking Pure White Noise.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:37 AM)
9 April 2004
Two cubed

"The average eight-year-old," it says here, is "explosive, excitable, dramatic, and inquisitive."

And that's just the beginning. Eight-year-olds tend to be:

  • Exuberant
  • Eager for praise
  • Observers of adult behavior
  • In high gear
  • Pleased with group learning
  • Analytical — evaluate while learning
  • Imaginative
  • Caught trying to determine limits
  • Talkative
  • Able to see humor
  • Rule bound

All these things you can look for on this very site over the next 365 days: today it's eight years old.

(And looking for them, I hasten to add, doesn't mean you'll find them.)

Update: There's a time line, sort of, in the current Vent.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:02 AM)
11 April 2004
You are what you link

From the blog of Congressman Brad Carson (D-OK 2), currently running for the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Don Nickles:

Today, some of you may have seen the story in the Tulsa World about weblogs (blogs) and some of the controversial things that people say on them. Now, the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee has sent out a press release bashing me for linking to various sites.

Let me say this: about half the sites I link to are conservative, about half are liberal. They are all interesting reading.

Along this line, I will recommend the following reading material too. For the NRSC's benefit, I will note their political affiliation. Further note to NRSC followers, PLEASE don't read anything that you might disagree with, no matter how brilliantly written.

Heh.

This might have carried more weight had not the Carson people sent out an email whine about it, which Bill Quick reprinted:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, in an attempt to censor open dialogue amongst 2004 voters, issued an attack release on United States Senate Candidate Congressman Brad Carson of Oklahoma this week.... The NRSC release entitled, "Brad Carson: A-Blogging He Will Go" attacks the Democratic candidate saying:

"On Brad Carson's Campaign Blog, The Candidate Personally Recommends His Supporters Visit The Websites Of Radicals" (Brad DeLong, Daily Kos, Juan Cole)

"CARSON GUIDES GUESTS TO HIS BLOG TO SEARCH OUT BRAD DELONG, A LEFT WING BERKELEY PROFESSOR WHO ADVOCATES THE IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT BUSH"

Observes Quick:

I certainly never would have guessed, two and a half years ago, when I started Daily Pundit... that in such a short time we would see national political figures and parties slamming each other for the blogs they chose to advertise on, or link on their blogroll. Although I'd submit that a blogroll link is intrinsically more of a recommendation than an advertising buy.

Two and a half years ago, a link didn't have any intrinsic value, really; now that blog advertising is a reality, and a fairly lucrative one for some bloggers, one's blogroll is apparently now fair game.

I may have to start working up a disclaimer of sorts.

Oh, and "LEFT WING BERKELEY PROFESSOR" has been circled and sent to the Department of Redundancy Department.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:07 PM)
12 April 2004
Down to Topic Z

Srah has been blogging for almost two and a half years, and she wonders if maybe the well is running dry:

How do I still have things to talk about? How can one person have so many pointless memories and experiences that she doesn't eventually run out of things to talk about or just start telling the same story over and over again?

And more importantly, why are you people still here? The end will come some day, won't it? Is there a limit to memory and human experience? Do you want to be there when it all starts to go downhill?

And miss a train wreck? Never. Why, I might want to blog about it.

Slightly more seriously: I've been known to repeat myself — what's more, I've been known to repeat myself — but it's always a new day every morning, even if it sucks just as badly as the previous [fill in number of consecutive sucky days]. Besides, think of the nasty mail you'll get if you don't post anything.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:53 PM)
13 April 2004
Learning experiences

It's been an instructive day in blogdom. Just today, I've learned:

And they say I'm wasting my time with this blog stuff.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:33 PM)
Carnival 82

Boi from Troy brings you the Carnival of the Vanities, live from beautiful downtown West Hollywood. Not only do you get a tour of blogdom's finest, but BfT shows you some of the sights of that mysterious land between L.A. and Beverly Hills, where Sunset became the Strip. It's a place of endless fascination, but then, so is the blogosphere. (And I have an entry this week, but read it anyway.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:50 PM)
15 April 2004
Understatement of the year

Perhaps of the century, at least so far:

I think I've done more good than harm here.

I never doubted it for a moment.

Thank you, Michele.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:59 PM)
19 April 2004
Back into the Sac

We know this much:

Kelley read at least 170 blogs to come up with a new edition of the Cul-de-Sac.

Dedication greater than this hath no one — at least, no one who claims to have a life.

(And thanks for stopping by.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:47 AM)
20 April 2004
Your two cents' worth

Which would actually cost you two cents, or some other relatively small sum, in this scheme by Roger L. Simon:

I am thinking about adding a nominal — two dollars a month or ten dollars a year, something like that — charge for the use of comments on here. What I mean is that my initial blog posts would remain open as they are now, but you would have to pay the fee to view or to add to the comments, which I would also participate in, as I do now. This would all be done by a simple (I hope) and anonymous registration process.

My primary reason is obviously to make some money out of something that is now taking a far greater amount of my professional time than I had ever anticipated. But adding this small fee might also (he tells himself) help elevate and preserve the already remarkably high level of discourse in the comments by discouraging trolls, racists, etc. As you might imagine, blocking these people is time-consuming, not to say depressing.

Movable Type 3.0 is expected to have a comments-registration function; it would be no particular trick, I suspect, to add, say, a PayPal button to the template.

Of course, if there were some way to charge trolls, racists, and most especially spammers, and let everyone else be, that might be even better, but this presumably would exceed the capability of a mere Perl script.

And there are a few people who visit here whom I'd gladly pay if I thought it might increase their participation.

(Via Stephen Green, who sensibly observes: "I'd hate to drive off those people who lend some valuable insights into issues where I'm woefully ignorant.")

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:57 PM)
21 April 2004
Carnival 83

Anastasia (a great name) at Southern Musings (also a great name) hosts the eighty-third version (without a fatality) of Carnival of the Vanities, your weekly guide to the best of the blogs, and so on, and so on, and scooby-dooby-doo, so what are you waiting for?

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:39 PM)
22 April 2004
In the Spirit of things

By now somewhere you've read about Spirit of America, a nonprofit organization that backs up the efforts of our troops to spread good will in places that are sorely in need of it.

In an effort to make this interesting, three loose (possibly even unraveled) coalitions of bloggers are competing to secure your gift in their name, and promising the moon if only you'll click. So far, however, only the Baseball Crank promises something even more amazing than that.

No, I won't spoil it for you here. And remember, it's for the best of causes.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:29 AM)
23 April 2004
Making the two-TrackBacked beast

This week in Vent #386, the final word on John Hawkins' Desert Island Desiderata, and why everyone is dumping on the Hot Abercrombie Chick.

It's the final word, not because it's definitive or anything, but because I'd really like to shove these topics back into the footlocker and go on to something else.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:31 AM)
26 April 2004
On the slow side

It's a whole new server farm, which means I'll actually have to bring out the digital combines and stuff, which won't leave me an enormous amount of time to fill up space here today.

You have been warned.

(Update: Mirabile dictu, most of this stuff seems to be working, and the stuff that isn't working is stuff someone else has to fix. Life is good.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:31 AM)
I tell you, it's a talent

As though the World's Smallest Instalanche™ wasn't tribute enough, today I get traffic from Lileks without actually being linked by Lileks. (No, I won't explain it; it's pretty clear once you read the Bleat in question. This is the page referenced by reference, so to speak.)

Now if I could just draw some unwarranted attention from [fill in name of female blogger] — but no, let's not get silly here.

(With thanks to Dan Lovejoy, who tipped me off.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:02 AM)
28 April 2004
Eighty-four

Not the lumber firm, or anything Orwellian; it's Carnival of the Vanities #84, assembled by Trudy at WOLves for your dining and dancing (okay, reading) pleasure.

No lumber. Really.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:59 PM)
4 May 2004
Suppository sombreros

In terms of terms of opprobrium, one of the most useful is the vernacular term for a certain bodily orifice possessed by all and viewed negatively by most. Use of this term, like the object whose name it borrowed, is pretty universal; George W. Bush once used it to describe a New York Times reporter.

Eventually some people tired of the term — let's face it, the word gets lots of use — and variations were tried; arguably the most successful was "asshat," popularized by, among others, Rachel Lucas and Fark. Not only did it share a substantial number of letters with its parent, but it managed to evoke a chuckle or two even as it vilified the person to whom it was applied.

But now even "asshat" is being gentrified. Laura at Oddly Normal has described certain minions of the Nanny State as "rectal milliners, the lot of them," and just yesterday, Robert Prather at Insults Unpunished said of Ted Koppel: "Add him to the list of those wearing rectal chapeaus."

Who knows where this derrière derby will end?

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:04 AM)
Eighty-five

When George Burns was 85, he said something to the effect that he was expecting to live forever: "Very few people," he said, "die after age eighty-five."

George, alas, is gone, but the Carnival of the Vanities, now in episode #85, is still at it. This week, the Carnival is hosted by Thief's Den, and bloggy goodness shines through every strand. Or something like that.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:46 PM)
7 May 2004
Mug shot

If you wandered back to Rachel Lucas' place and noticed that she was sold out of her classic "Imagine No Liberals" coffee cup —

Well, I got two. Nyah.

Of course, what's important is not that she's out of cups, but that she's (almost) back at the blog, just the way we'd always hoped.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:19 AM)
9 May 2004
Speed is of the essence

But not too much speed, evidently.

The previous item linked back to two TypePad blogs; TrackBacks were duly sent to both. Only one got through, and this curt missive appeared in the log:

You are posting Trackbacks too quickly. Please try again in a couple of minutes.

By "a couple," they mean "four or five," because trying again in two minutes generated the same response.

Of course, weblogs.com will refuse a ping from this entry because it's within half an hour of the last one.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:00 AM)
11 May 2004
Sausage firsthand

Blogdom is, of course, thrilled that the Democratic National Convention will grant press credentials to bloggers, and indeed this strikes me as a step forward.

But get this: blogger Michael Bates will be at the Republican National Convention — as a delegate.

He'll probably break no hot stories (like you'd expect any from a convention), but the off-camera stuff, the writing of the platform and the adoption of the rules for the next campaign, likely matters more.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:11 AM)
12 May 2004
Eighty-sixed

Confessions of a Political Junkie (now there's a title) is happy to present Carnival of the Vanities #86, this week's summation of all that is good and blogworthy, and so on, and so on, and scooby-dooby-doo. (Different strokes for different folks, as they say.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:55 PM)
15 May 2004
Raw data

Since Movable Type 3.0 is proving to be more controversial than anyone expected, I'm providing, as background information, some of my own site statistics. How you use them is entirely up to you. The first three items include MT database entries only.

Total entries: 2,644
Total comments: 5,206
MySQL disk space used: 6.37 MB
Total disk space used: 72.49 MB
Average visitors per day: 690
Average bandwidth per month: 2.7 GB

Interestingly, I've been on the receiving end of five pings today, which is a record for the site. I have no idea why.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:40 PM)
16 May 2004
Where's that Lomotil plug-in?

McGehee's comments are broken, owing to a UCV* issue with Movable Type 3.0.

Greg Hlatky would deem this a boon:

[T]his poor little blog has not had and will not have comments available. How shall I put it? It's like inviting a bunch of strangers into your house and having them raid your refrigerator. Is my bandwidth to be consumed by every passing stranger who has diarrhea of the keyboard (to use my lovely bride's felicitous phrase)? Just look at some of the nut-cases and obsessive commenters on other blogs and you may understand, while still not approve, my stance.

Not to mention the people who want to sell you low-cost, misspelled drugs.

*Unprecedentedly Crappy Version

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:21 PM)
17 May 2004
Old Media vs. New

If you're an Old Media person given to really idiotic statements, you'll get clever, pointed rebukes like this and like this and like this and like this.

Now me, I'm presumably one of those New Media types, if only because I've never made a dime on the dead-tree market, and for my idiotic statements, the best I can get is this. (And what's more, there are lapses in the truth therein; the only time I have a "high, squeaky voice" is during karaoke sessions, and then only when I'm singing outside the three and a half notes that comprise my natural range.)

Oh, well. You can't have everything.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:02 AM)
18 May 2004
Rolling over the counter

As of this writing, Robert Prather's Site Meter is sitting at 476,658. If at all possible, he'd like to push it to the half-million mark by next Wednesday, the second birthday of his blog. You can help by clicking here.

(Aw, go ahead. You've already given me my increment for the day. Maybe in a couple of months I'll reach 476,658 myself.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:02 AM)
19 May 2004
All new for '87

Ed Brayton's Dispatches from the Culture Wars hosts Carnival of the Vanities #87, yet another in the longest-running Best of Bloggage series, and culturally, Ed's treated this one with careful but blatant minimalism. (Bless you, Ed.)

As always, it's worth your time and clicks. (Even my submission.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:26 AM)
20 May 2004
His eye is on the sparrow

And apparently on Juliette as well.

(Muchas gracias: McGehee.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:55 AM)
21 May 2004
Things I learned today

As Roseanne Roseannadanna was wont to say, it's always something:

All in all, a fairly informative sort of day, although I probably could have done without discovering that my 50-foot extension cord is twenty-nine feet, six inches long.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:16 PM)
22 May 2004
Ne plus ultra

What are you doing here? There's a new Bill Whittle essay, and it's better than anything he's ever written.

Except, of course, for its second half.

I'll quote you half a paragraph, but by the time it's over, you'd better be over at Bill's reading the whole thing:

Sam Houston was a deeply flawed man, but he had thick skin and that in itself goes a long way when you are planning deep. Sam Houston didn't give a tinker's damn about Glory or Honor. Sam Houston wanted Texas. Like the equally wily and patient George Washington before him, Sam Houston wanted to win. And they did win. And that is why there will be no major metropolitan area named Kerry.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:47 PM)
There are FOUR lights!

But there are five types of blogs, says Soggy Pigeon.

And, of course, there are weird mutant strains as well. I see this place as mostly #3 (Personal) with an overlay of #1 (Whine/Bitch/Complain).

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:36 PM)
25 May 2004
Rocket "88"

According to some (Sam Phillips included), the first rock and roll record, issued in 1951 and credited to Jackie Brenston and his Dixie Cats (actually Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm, for whom Brenston usually played sax). Credits aside, this was a car song — about an Oldsmobile, in fact.

Oldsmobile is no more, alas, but 88 lives on: Carnival of the Vanities #88, hosted by Spot On this week, gives you a fast read on the best of the blogs, and after all, fast was what that original Rocket 88 was all about.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:46 AM)
27 May 2004
Blog vs. Blog

One thing about Joe Scarborough: his tastes are eclectic. Consider this list of his favorite blogs:

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY's favorite blogs include Wonkette.com and Gawker, of course, InstaPundit, Dawn Patrol, AndrewSullivan, and the ArmedProphet.

A diverse bunch indeed; in fact, you can't get much different than Wonkette and the Dawn Patrol. Which means it's time for another Contrast and Compare session.

Blogger:
   Wonkette:  Attractive young woman, relatively height-challenged
   The Dawn Patrol:  Attractive young woman, relatively height-challenged

Media mogul who pays the bills:
   Wonkette:  Nick Denton
   The Dawn Patrol:  Rupert Murdoch

TTLB Ecosystem standing:
   Wonkette:  Playful Primate
   The Dawn Patrol:  Flappy Bird

Number of posts weekly:
   Wonkette:  20-25
   The Dawn Patrol:  10-15

References to C. S. Lewis:
   Wonkette:  None
   The Dawn Patrol:  Occasional

Number of penis jokes:
   Wonkette:  Approaching infinity
   The Dawn Patrol:  One

Times I read daily:
   Wonkette:  Twice
   The Dawn Patrol:  Twice

I could go on, but obviously I have.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:46 AM)
29 May 2004
Blog droppings

One advantage of being me (and believe me, I look hard for such) is that not only can I link to good stuff other people have written on their sites, but I can link to good stuff I have written on their sites.

The Proprietor at coffeegrounds did a nice piece this past week about the importance of trees, which ended with a paragraph about poet Joyce Kilmer, which prompted me to exhume a quip from a couple of World Tours ago. It borders on giggleworthy.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:22 AM)
2 June 2004
Eighty-niner

In Oklahoma parlance, an Eighty-Niner is someone who was actually on hand for the Land Run on 22 April 1889, which resulted in the founding of Oklahoma City. More recently, the name was applied to the city's minor-league baseball club, which is now known as the RedHawks.

And blogwise, the 89er is the 89th edition of Carnival of the Vanities, hosted this week by Read My Lips, seven days' worth of superior bloggage in a single handy package. Even if it is in Texas.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:47 PM)
4 June 2004
Things I learned today (2)

Every day is a learning experience, or ought to be, and here's what I'm finding out:

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:48 AM)
6 June 2004
Welcome to Life. Here's your eraser.

I know this feeling — well, some of it, anyway — all too well:

I'd like to remove the entries that refer to men I've dated — to take away nearly every one of them, in fact. It's hard to look at the photos of me happy on the arm of someone special and think about how much I miss that feeling. But I can't do it — at least, not now, when I'm not dating anyone. It's too much like tearing pages out of a diary. More than that, it feels dishonest, even Communist — like rewriting the history books.

There are no entries here which deal with women I've dated, because there are no such women, at least since this site opened in 1996. But there are plenty of items which for one reason or another make me cringe: really badly-argued premises, bathetic whining, desperate attempts at bandwagon-jumping. Were I anxious to make a good impression, I'd scythe away the lot of them.

But I don't. I can't. For better or for worse, this is the document of my existence, the one reference work by which I measure what progress (if any) I have made, and stripping it of things which might embarrass me will inevitably reduce its usefulness in conducting those measurements. Of more than three thousand pages that have accumulated on this site over eight years, I have deleted a total of four, and those four not only had essentially no redeeming social value whatever but could have made life difficult for other people as well.

And if by some fluke I do actually date someone, I'll post about it. Just don't hold your breath waiting.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:51 PM)
9 June 2004
Days of our lives

An observation by Justin Katz, posted as a comment to this item:

Not long before I discovered blogging, it occurred to me that future biographers will have a rough time. As much as all of our transactions are documented (somewhere), there isn't much by way of personality flavor. Writing about Moby Dick in college, I read through hundreds of pages of Melville's personal letters, and sometimes, buried in a laundry list, would be some indication of his personality.

I think blogs will more than answer that gap.

To some extent, yes. Unfortunately, I wasn't blogging in, say, 1960, and while I made a couple of fitful starts at a journal (don't you dare call it a "diary," even if it is) during the Sixties, nothing much remains; I am left to reconstruct those days from unreliable memory and unrelated ephemera.

It would be nice to have something like this.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:41 AM)
10 June 2004
Going like ninety

It's the 90th edition of Carnival of the Vanities, this week hosted by Ambient Irony, and, well, it could be verse. Miss it at your peril.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:05 AM)
11 June 2004
Powered by MaaloxType 2.64

Erica is baffled again:

I don't know what the hell kind of dream I was just having, but whatever it was made me think I could relieve some intestinal gas by deleting trackbacks.

Under the circumstances, the least I can do for her is send her one for testing purposes.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:03 PM)
12 June 2004
Revolutionary gonad

(For Steve Gigl, by request)

Somewhere in a tube Fallopian
Is an ovum meant for me
Which will share my dreams utopian
And a chromosome or three

Revolutionary gonad
We are up against the walls
As our leader is created
Between uterus and balls

Oh, my views are quite contrarian
And thus subject to attack
But they can't be called lapsarian
Since they haven't left the sack

Revolutionary gonad
Our positions will take guts
And the source of all our power
Well, it's right here in the nuts

There's a certain similarity
As you go from his to hers
You need not invert polarity
When this wondrous thing occurs

Revolutionary gonad
Hanging low and waiting here
Hoping someday for insertion
Let those passages be clear

File under: "How much is that doggerel in the window?"

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:06 PM)
15 June 2004
Taste takes a holiday

Saturday would have been Anne Frank's 75th birthday.

And what better birthday present can you give yourself than your very own LiveJournal?

(Via Better Living Through Blogging; Dave, we're both gonna burn in hell for just mentioning this thing.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:55 PM)
16 June 2004
Things I learned today (3)

And a day without learning is like a day without sunshine, or something.

"And so it goes." — Nick Lowe

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:00 AM)
Carnival #91

This week's edition of the Carnival of the Vanities is brought to you by Jessica's Well, the leading blog in the Midland-Odessa-Monahans Metroplex, and by now you should already be clicking on the link to see what's there.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:06 AM)
18 June 2004
Not entirely a monologue

Seventeen months ago, I posted this:

As of this week, dustbury.com in its Movable Type incarnation (which began in late August 2002) is actually averaging (slightly) more than 1.0 comments per post.

For the very first time today, the average is now two comments per post.

Which doesn't sound like much, but considering that there are nearly 2,800 posts in this 34-month-old database, that's a hell of a lot of comments. (About 150 comments that were deemed spam have been deleted, along with a handful of duplicates; these are not included in the total.)

For those keeping score, it was Myria who actually struck the magic number. I thank her, as I thank you all. I suspect that seventeen months from now, I might be up to three comments per post.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:01 PM)
22 June 2004
How many of you are in the quartet?

This is just a marker, and what it's marking is the conclusion of four years of daily bloggage. (The site itself, of course, began way back in 1996, when file sizes were measured in trilobytes, but the very first of the daily updates was on 23 June 2000.)

Pertinent passage from that first posting:

[W]hile it has been relatively well-received during the four years of its existence, by which is meant that no one has sent me any live explosives just yet, the possibility of stagnation constantly lurks and occasionally even looms.

Burnout, of course, is a standard worry in blogdom, and some of my regular reads have gone on hiatus for lengths to be determined; I haven't gotten to that point yet, but considering I've worked nearly fourteen years at 42nd and Treadmill, I'm obviously a glutton for punishment.

Am I better off now than I was four years ago? Definitely. Am I a better writer than I was four years ago? I have no idea. Still, while I've got my doubts about that whole practice-makes-perfect meme — I mean, nobody's perfect, right? — I'm staying in practice, just in case.

See you at the beginning of Year Five, some time tomorrow.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:53 PM)
23 June 2004
Seek, and ye shall flounder

Two search-engine queries, slightly off-kilter, from this morning's statistics.

The saner one was this one for "girls with great legs". I am, of course, a major admirer of such, and some women meeting this general description (you know who you are) do read this page, but I have to assume the poor fellow was looking for photos, which he didn't find.

The one I find harder to figure was this one for irbesartan hydrochlorothiazide cannabis. The first two-thirds of this represent the high-zoot combo pill I take for my blood pressure; that last, of course, is more of a, um, populist pharamceutical. Was the searcher looking for contraindications? Here's the original context:

I'd bet a month's supply of Avalide™ (irbesartan/hydrochlorothiazide) — $37.50 (Canadian) in Saskatchewan, $58.79 (US) down the street at Eckerd's — that if the likes of Bristol Myers Squibb owned a patent on cannabis, this drug case [medical marijuana] would never have made it to the Supreme Court.

On the other hand, I'd rather read these than the endless trolling for variations on the theme of mary kate olsen + anorexic. Then again, as Defamer says, "Saddest of all in this troubling Olsen chapter is that from now on, Ashley will henceforth be known as the Fat Twin."

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:17 PM)
24 June 2004
Carnival 92

What would a week be without the Carnival of the Vanities?

Don't ask. This time around, your basic Single Southern Guy plays host to blogdom's first and fiercest weekly showcase, and guess what? There's even a contest.

Off with you now. There's reading to be done.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:33 PM)
25 June 2004
Quasiprotometabloggery

Blogging is motivated by a "narcissistic impulse," says Musickna at Heronwater, which ultimately manages to justify itself:

[P]erhaps that is reason to go public. Mirror gazing is lonely by nature. To be acknowledged, even negatively, is to break out. But I realise that this is not really what I want. What I want is to establish a record of my thoughts from time to time, and by writing here I develop a conceit that I am somehow more important here than I would be simply writing into a private journal.

This is a conceit that thus far has managed to elude me, and possibly some others: despite, say, BlogStreet's assurance that my own little Box O'Brouhaha is somewhere around the 454th most influential, it's a rare raindrop indeed who feels any responsibility for the flood.

Besides, blogdom suffers from cookie-cutter syndrome:

Most writings I read in blogs are striking in their sameness. There is very little originality, certainly in blogs emanating from comfortable middle-class Western homes (where most computers are to be found), regardless of the age, occupation or political persuasion of the writer.

I defy anyone to find any originality on this site.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:48 AM)
26 June 2004
A vague hint of dislike

What Andrea Harris thinks of Michael Moore:

I hate that smug, pompous, smarmy, ruin-the-Oscars, grandstanding, knowitall hypocrite with the heat of a thousand nuclear reactors all on overload. If a comet hit the earth and killed thousands of millions of people and caused a ten-year sunless winter that finished off every last living thing on the surface of the planet, that would be okay, because at least Moore would bite it. That is how much I hate this man.

And yet somehow we're not dating. :)

Incidentally, the section quoted above is, by a considerable margin, the mildest thing she had to say; some workplaces might consider the full text Not Safe.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:56 AM)
30 June 2004
Carnival 93

It's a special Capitol Hill Edition of Carnival of the Vanities, brought to you this week by quasi in rem, and powered entirely by various Google® technologies. The best of the blogs awaits.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:27 PM)
4 July 2004
Things I learned today (4)

And after all, learning is the most enjoyable part of living, or so I've heard.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:56 PM)
7 July 2004
And a brief timeout...

...to let you know that the Carnival of the Vanities goes on without me, and the 94th edition is hosted by democrats give conservatives indigestion, and there's lots of good stuff to read while you wait to see what happened when I ran into Dave.

Besides, the just-shy-of-extortionate rate I'm paying for this room includes a connection to the hotel LAN, so I may as well do something with it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:22 PM)
14 July 2004
Ninety-five

Interstate 95, so far, is my least favorite thoroughfare in the Eisenhower system: it's not especially thorough, particularly around the Delaware River, and the fare will eat you alive.

Conversely, Carnival of the Vanities #95, brought to you by Josh Cohen's d-42.com, has redeeming social value and your weekly minimum requirement of bloggy goodness, all rolled into one. Tell 'em Tom Sawyer sent you.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:33 PM)
19 July 2004
Not so damn smart

I don't have a whole lot of faith in software-filtration systems, and here is Exhibit F. To this article at Fragments from Floyd, I attempted to post the following comment:

I've used the CA product for several years; results were satisfactory enough that 42nd and Treadmill, on my recommendation, installed it on all the corporate boxes under a site license.

The firewall that comes packaged with the EZ Armor package, incidentally, is a rebranded ZoneAlarm.

The comment was rejected with the following curt missive:

Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content.

Please correct the error in the form below, then press POST to post your comment.

Emphasis in the original.

I have no idea exactly what Fred's using to keep down the spammers, but it's obviously turned up too high. (It won't take a ping for this, either, for the same reason.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:47 PM)
21 July 2004
96 tears

If you parted with exactly one drop of lachrymal fluid for every edition of the Carnival of the Vanities, you'd be up to ninety-six.

And Carnival #96 is now up at Soundfury, with the sort of theme one used to see only every four years or so. As always, it's the best of blogdom in a single handy package, suitable for framing or for sneaking out of the conference room in one's socks.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:59 AM)
24 July 2004
Half a million served

At just before 12:13 this afternoon, this site recorded its 500,000th visitor, from an SBC IP (216.63.148.113) apparently in north Texas. Scarily enough, 'twas someone who has it bookmarked.

Five months and four days for the last hundred thousand. This won't impress anyone on the A- or B-lists, who can score that many in mere hours, but down here amongst the more modest life forms, it borders on Actual Accomplishment.

As always, I thank all of you who have helped to run up that otherwise-meaningless number.

(Update, 9:40 pm: For a more meaningful number, see The Spoons Experience, which reached 500,000 today.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:32 PM)
27 July 2004
Blatant plugola

Incidentally, if you're not reading Cheney W. Halliburton Kevin McGehee, you're missing out on some first-class snark; the man delivers political observations, cultural commentary, musical interludes — everything, in fact, except nude photos of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

If McGehee's not on your blogroll, your blogroll is incomplete.

(I think this is blatant enough; don't you?)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:44 AM)
28 July 2004
The old 97

Not a wreck at all, but the 97th edition of Carnival of the Vanities, presented this week by Jeff Doolittle with an eye toward the past. Your weekly roundup of bloggage deluxe is only a click away.

(Disclosure: I actually have something in the Carnival this week.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:20 PM)
30 July 2004
Izzypundit

The history of blogging is long and complex and filled with gaps of varying duration; I know I've thought about it and wondered, "Surely there must be something between Samuel Pepys in January 1660 and Glenn Reynolds in May 2001."

(Actually, I was blogging almost a year before the Professor, but my impact on the Blogosphere™ is essentially nil.)

But if I really wanted to identify a Missing Link (sorry), I could just bounce over to Coffeegrounds, where The Prop makes a good case for I. F. Stone as the first of our modern pundits — even if he did update only once a week.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:08 AM)
1 August 2004
A brief position paper

"Take a stand," said Dave, and so I did.

(This is twice I've ripped off a topic of Dave's in a single week. Hmmm....)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:12 PM)
4 August 2004
Hey, 98.0

Not to be confused with 98.6, but still, it's good to have it back again, "it" being the Carnival of the Vanities, presented this week by Seldom Sober in cooperation with the Office of National Blog Control Policy. ("This is your brain on blogs. Any questions?")

As always, it's worth reading, even if there's something of mine in the mix.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:29 AM)
9 August 2004
From the Department of Low Expectations

While I get an occasional attaboy for this site design, I feel compelled to point out that it's simple and uncluttered because that's about the extent of my design abilities; there is no shortage of people who can produce really excellent yet still highly-readable pages, but I'm not one of them.

On the other hand, try as I may, I can't seem to muck it up as badly as Microsoft. Here's Phil Ringnalda on the new MSN blogs:

The HTML is, of course, execrable. The one possible way they could have gotten some approving buzz from tech bloggers was to use extremely clean (X)HTML, but given the apparent total lack of a corporate culture believing that code is poetry, at least when it comes to HTML, there was little hope of that. It might be possible to persuade Microsoft tools to produce valid HTML, but judging by what mostly comes out of them, they must think of HTML as a hot dog factory, where nobody in their right mind would ever look inside.

Having seen some of the hash that emerges from FrontPage, I'm afraid even to look at this stuff.

And, of course, there's this:

To the surprise of exactly nobody, when I clicked the signup URL in Firefox, I was told to get a better browser. Instead, I switched to Internet Explorer.

What, precisely, is IE better than? Lynx?

I'm still on a relatively old (2.64) version of Movable Type. I think I'll stay put.

(Via Dowingba)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:23 AM)
11 August 2004
You take one down and pass it around

Ninety-nine Carnivals of the Vanities on the Web.

This week's edition is presented by The Smallest Minority with the obligatory Suitable Theme; as always, it's your quick-and-easy guide to last week's best blogging.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:26 AM)
13 August 2004
So this is Christmas

Huh? What? It isn't?

Well, would one of you be so kind as to inform young Johnny Kerry?

A lot of people have a stake in the outcome.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:29 AM)
18 August 2004
One Hundred Weeks of Carnival

Which is not a novel by Gabriel Gárcia Márquez, but the duration of the remarkably-persistent Carnival of the Vanities, in a special 100th Anniversary Celebración at Fringe. Bloggy goodness and beads — what more could you want?

(Note: Link seems to be sporadic; try here and scroll if you get a blank page.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:39 AM)
19 August 2004
A uniform approach

Jeff Quinton, the Backcountry Conservative, is compiling a list of bloggers who are serving or have served in the US military, and I rather suspect there are a lot more of us out there.

If you're just tuning in, well, I'm not inclined to go scan my DD 214 just now, but I did serve in the Army from 1972 through 1975, with three years of mostly-inactive Reserve time ending in 1978. (If anyone cares, I trained as a 71B — clerk-typist — but wound up in the then-new MOS of 75C: personnel management specialist. Yes, friends, I was geeky even in fatigues.)

If you blog and you'd like to be on the list, send Jeff Quinton (who was in the S.C. Army National Guard) a Trackback to his post.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:04 PM)
23 August 2004
Toward a far, far better world

Joshua Claybourn is back for just a moment. Then again, all of us are here for just a moment in the grand scheme of things; please spend some of your time reading about the last few moments of Joshua's mother before she took her place in the sky.

And welcome back, JC.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:54 AM)
Operational necessity

Originally, Strengthen the Good was going to focus on "micro-charities": "charitable opportunities that are simple, personal, non-bureaucratic [and] inspiring."

That was before Hurricane Charley.

While there will undoubtedly be small causes to come, the immediate need is for big, big help.

And you can be part of it. The Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, in a Florida town that was lucky enough to miss the worst of Charley, has promised to match any contributions to its special Charley relief fund up to $100,000.

If you have friends or family in Florida, or even if you don't, please think about joining in.

(Muchas gracias: Michele at A Small Victory.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:18 PM)
24 August 2004
Meanwhile, Lucifer's doubled the ice order

Saith the Professor:

Over 260,000 pageviews yesterday, which is a new record, I believe. Now if I could just get a dollar for each one. . . .

I'd be quite content with a mere dime for each of the 900 I got.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:31 AM)
25 August 2004
Reservoir blog

Can this possibly be Quentin Tarantino's blog?

Roger Avary, Tarantino's cowriter on Pulp Fiction, doesn't think so:

Quentin would never in a gazillion years use the term "editing suite" and then know or care enough to guide someone to specific P2P client software. He's retarded when it comes to things like that, and simply doesn't care.

And there's always this issue:

[D]oes anyone really think that if QT did have a blog that [he would] host it on Blogspot?

I dunno. I figured he might be, um, retarded when it came to things like that.

(Via Defamer)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:06 AM)
26 August 2004
101st in a series

It's the Back-to-School Edition of Carnival of the Vanities, presented by Martin Lindeskog's EGO blog — and, well, it's EGO, it should be capitalized, right?

Once again, a week's worthy of high-grade bloggage in a single source. You can't beat that with a laser pointer.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:33 AM)
31 August 2004
Things I learned today (5)

Or within the past couple of days, anyway.

And, of course, the quest for knowledge goes ever on.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:31 AM)
Temporary insanity

My main-page template was thoroughly hosed today; until such time as I can restore the old one, this will have to do. My apologies.

If you've come here from MichelleMalkin.com, this is the piece from which she quoted. (And thanks for coming.)

(Update, 6:10 pm: I think we're back to normal. Of course, I could be wrong.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:06 PM)
1 September 2004
Local boy makes good

Yes, that's Tulsa's very own Michael Bates appearing in Gawker with a gorgeous New York babe.

Icing on the cake? Said New York babe is the one and only Dawn Eden.

The man is obviously living right.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:00 PM)
2 September 2004
Flying high in the F-102

This little darb by Convair was "the world's first supersonic all-weather jet interceptor," nothing you'd willingly mess with.

Not necessarily more down to earth is Carnival of the Vanities #102, dedicated to the cosmonauts of Mir, a wondrous vehicle that more often than not seemed like a Trabant in space.

Our thanks to Blogo Slovo for going to this much trouble to bring the week's best bloggage within easy reach.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:28 PM)
6 September 2004
Alas, poor bloggers

This is, I regret to say, what happens when Dave throws out a weird idea for public consumption.

At least I didn't clutter up his site with it.

   To blog, or not to blog: that is the question:
   Whether 'tis nobler on the site to suffer
   The sneers and insults of outrageous trollage,
   Or to take arms against a sea of comments
   And by deleting end them? To blog: to write;
   No more; and by "no more" to say we end
   The head-ache and the thousand horrid spams
   The Net is curs'd with, 'tis a constipation
   Devoutly to be flush'd. To write, to blog;
   To blog: perchance with links: ay, there's the catch;
   For in this sphere of blogs what links may come
   When we have posted that which we think best,
   Still give us pain; there's the respect
   We never get for porting heart to screen;
   For who would bear the emails from the proud,
   The meter stuck, the readership ungrowing,
   The pain of poorly-written prose, the fact
   That Instapundit knows not who we are,
   That N.Z. Bear considers us a worm,
   When we ourselves might our quietus make
   With a blank template? who would once endure,
   To grunt and sweat on every single day,
   To turn out e'en a paragraph or two,
   Though undiscover'd it must needs remain,
   To answer every comment, good or ill,
   And somehow to forget the ones who read
   Though their existence never be revealed?
   Inertia doth make bloggers of us all;
   And thus the art form that we know as writing
   Is covered o'er with arcane codes of markup,
   And writers who might someday be remembered
   Will this way, be they lucky, merely Googled,
   And lose the fame deserved. — Soft you now!
   An actual Trackback! Though I am not worthy,
   My traffic is augmented.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:19 PM)
8 September 2004
Approaching the Terrible Twos

Next week, in fact. But for now, the Carnival of the Vanities is still in week #103, hosted for the second time by Pete Holiday's Encyclopeteia. (If you're keeping score, first time was #79.)

The second-anniversary edition will return to Silflay Hraka; in the meantime, you've got seven whole days to read all this good stuff, plus something of mine that was thrown in for tragic relief.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:58 AM)
9 September 2004
Vaguely Onionesque

This guy has a future, albeit fuzzy:

When 20 year old Eric James started blogging from his mother's basement he had high expectations. Since he first began nearly three months ago he has been blogging with steadfast regularity in hopes of sharing his views, opinions, and writing with others. "I wanted everyone to see my blog and think, that's really cool," James said. But after blogging for three months, the uncomfortable reality that no one cares about what he writes on his web page is setting in. "You put your heart and soul into something, and you think it's worthwhile. I guess it just goes to show that you can't expect people to spend their time reading about the things that you yourself may find interesting as an individual," says James. "I just want to make the world a better place."

The three month old site, entitled Pessimism, has yet to accumulate more than 500 page hits, the majority of which come from James' friends whom he regularly reminds to visit the site. James makes sure to keep the 'comment' feature open to anyone who visits the site, yet claims to have received only 2 comments from people he does not know. He has received no emails regarding his page.

I will add only that apparently he has since moved out of his mother's basement and into an environment a tad less hospitable.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:20 AM)
11 September 2004
What happened while I was out

A quick pass through the 'sphere to see what I missed, and apparently it was quite a lot:

  • A movement may be cranking up to recall Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune.

  • Nearly 18 percent of homes in South Carolina are "manufactured housing," formerly known as "mobile homes," formerly known as "trailers."

  • A few people, not a lot, were actually crass enough to whoop and holler during the June 5 A Prairie Home Companion when host Garrison Keillor announced the death of Ronald Reagan. (Keillor himself had only kind words for the Gipper, though this was well before the avuncular Minnesotan suffered an apparent meltdown.)

  • I'm pretty sure that when I was an Army personnel clerk, I had a Times New Roman, or at least Times Roman, typeball for the Selectric I was issued. On the other hand, I don't remember it as being a proportional font, which suggests to me that IBM reworked the typeface just enough to fit it into fixed width; certainly my typewriter wasn't capable of handling proportional fonts.

  • Aaron Hawkins of Uppity-Negro.com died this week.

I've got to quit being sick.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:07 AM)
12 September 2004
PJ and the bare

In regard to that Jonathan Klein crack about the typical blogger being "a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas," I wish to state for the record that I haven't owned any pajamas for approximately thirty-five years.

And that's nothing, compared to this: Beth Donovan isn't even a guy, let alone a pajama owner.

(And apparently she doesn't always sit in her living room, either.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:44 AM)
15 September 2004
Entering the Terrible Twos

That's right, buoys and gulls, the Carnival of the Vanities is two years old, and hosting the little brat this week: its actual parent at Silflay Hraka.

As always, the Carnival features some of the best stuff churned out in the past seven days by your favorite pajama-clad pundits, and now that it's come home again, let us all thank Bigwig for making this event not only possible but inevitable.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:10 AM)
17 September 2004
Things I learned this week

Convalescence has its drawbacks, but it did enable me to catch up on the world around me, so to speak. And here's some of what I discovered:

I feel so much brighter now.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:20 AM)
21 September 2004
The second time around

The Carnival of the Vanities first stopped at The Eleven Day Empire back in January '03 — edition #16. (If you missed it then, now's your chance.)

And after a mere eighty-nine weeks, James DiBenedetto is back again with version #105 of the original weekly Best of the Blogs compendium, and as always, it's worth your time and clicks.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:25 PM)
25 September 2004
It's all about the Brooksies

Apparently my blog d'insignificance has about 38.3 percent of the clout possessed by David Brooks.

(Motivated by Syaffolee)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:57 PM)
27 September 2004
Changing hands

I never understood exactly why Microsoft bankrolled Slate in the first place; Redmond has always aspired to being a content provider, but the e-zine neither generates enormous revenues nor establishes technical standards that can be used elsewhere, and it's unlikely that MSN garners any extra dial-up subscribers just from having Slate under the wings of the butterfly.

Still, Slate has been breaking even, and when Microsoft put it up for sale this summer, I figured one of the dead-tree media would grab it and run it as an annex to its own Web presence. New York Metro.com is now reporting that the DTM in question is the Washington Post Company, though neither MS nor the WaPo will confirm at this time.

Of course, what I want to know is this: will all the old MSN-based links at Slate be changed?

(Update, 1:55 pm: Revised the first line. See comments.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:43 AM)
28 September 2004
Why are we here?

Billmon says the Blogosphere™ has sold out:

Even as it collectively achieves celebrity status for its anti-establishment views, blogging is already being domesticated by its success. What began as a spontaneous eruption of populist creativity is on the verge of being absorbed by the media-industrial complex it claims to despise.

Geez, I wonder why no one sent me the Absorption Memo.

What's happening, of course, is that the marketplace is adjusting, as marketplaces always do: some blogs are on the rise, and others are being eclipsed in the process. Michelle Malkin observes:

In essence, Billmon believes the game is rigged. But in blogging, as in life more generally, there is tremendous opportunity for those inclined to seize it.

It cannot be denied that early bloggers enjoy an advantage over latecomers. A blog that launches today, no matter how good or heavily promoted, will not soon overtake Instapundit or Daily Kos. Yet even the mightiest blog won't retain its position in the "charmed circle" for long if it is running on fumes.

But is the game really rigged? It's all sour grapes, says La Shawn Barber:

I've read entries on new blogs where the writer expressed frustration because of low readership. Are you kidding? As I've said on this blog many times, the primary reason you write must be your interest in or passion for writing. For me it is the very act of writing itself that compels me to post everyday.

It's wonderful having readers and commenters, but that is secondary, believe it or not. New bloggers must be patient and willing to create a niche for themselves. There is plenty of room for all of us, but Insta-Status, most will never reach.

Imagine a perfectly average blog, getting an average number of readers. Now consider: half of the blogs on earth will get fewer readers than that.

"Eighty percent of success," said Woody Allen, "is showing up." I'm here at the top of the D-list (or maybe the middle of the C-list) mostly because I show up. And while I'll never surpass those young upstarts like Reynolds, if I thought I was just wasting my time, I'd shelve this thing faster than you can say "PayPal is evil."

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:35 AM)
29 September 2004
Carnival 106

Just sit right back as Last One Speaks presents the 106th weekly edition of Carnival of the Vanities, the original collection of the best bloggage of the last seven days. There's enough material here for at least a three-hour tour.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:28 AM)
30 September 2004
A first time for everything

Now here's something you don't see every day: a Glenn Reynolds article gets fisked.

Then again, the piece in question was in the Guardian, meaning just on general principle it gets extra attention from the pajama-clad panjandrums of blogdom.

Me, I never tried to fisk anything from the Insta-Man. It would always come out something like this:

Heh.

I assume that he's been waiting to exhale; if so, he probably needn't have held his breath. There's a reason this has been largely ignored by the dead-tree media up to now: it isn't anywhere near the divisive issue he seems to think it is.

Indeed.

Despite this, he assents. But is there anything more exasperating than a blog post whose sole purpose is to agree with another blog post? I mean, really.

Now I'm going to go put on a hat so I can tip it to The Shape of Days.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:33 PM)
1 October 2004
Fighting cancer at the front

It's the Third Annual Blogger Boobie-Thon, an amazing little fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation that last year brought in over $6000. This year's slogan is FIND A CURE OR AND BUST, and in return for your donation, you're entitled to a peek at the racks of some real women (and some actual guys), as distinguished from the artificially-enhanced stuff dispensed by Big Media. A pretty nice quid for your quo, I'd say.

Besides, it's October already. The year's running out and you need one more tax deduction, right? Thought so.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:58 AM)
5 October 2004
We're talking serious archives here

Dynamo Dave Sherman has been doing this for four freaking years, man.

Seems like there ought to be some kind of tenure awarded at this point, doesn't there?

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:29 PM)
Pellet court

This has nothing to do with Anna or with Silflay Hraka.

But, you know, it could.

(Via Fishbucket)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:04 PM)
Got a right to disappear

Evan Williams put it this way:

It's been almost six years now since I started working on what became the company I sold to the company we started talking to two years ago because of the product we launched five years ago.

In other words: having decided that Blogger is in good hands, Ev will sever his ties to Google at the end of this week.

What's he going to do? Not sure:

[W]hile I think I'm likely to start another company sometime, I'm forcing myself to be non-committal at the moment. My goal is to develop some perspective, learn new things, rest, and explore (which, of course, will make me more certain that it will be the right thing if/when I do get around to starting something else). Not that I won't be doing things — I expect to do some "projects." I don't plan to disappear from the web or Internet or blogging (although, I'm not committing to anything, mind you). I still think it's an incredibly exciting time, and we've only scratched the surface. (Duh.)

And has there been a falling-out of some sort? Apparently not:

People often want to imagine a conflict. And, I guess if you consider how often acquisitions go horribly, it's not entirely unreasonable to assume. Unfortunately — I mean fortunately — I can't help fuel any "Google acquires company, kicks out founder" headlines. Google management pretty much let my team and I retain control of Blogger since we got there. For better or for worse, they trusted that we knew what we were doing and attempted to support it without screwing it up. There are always new issues to deal with when you trade your old ones in. But, all in all, they've been awesome. And leaving was entirely my decision. They even offered that I could start something else within the company, if I wanted.

The reason I'm leaving probably comes down to personality more than anything. I've just always been stubbornly independent-minded — even when it wasn't necessarily in my best interest.

Good luck, Ev.

(Tilt of the sombrero to Eric Siegmund.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:42 PM)
6 October 2004
Carnival 107

As the numbers get higher, it gets harder to come up with cute titles for them.

Fortunately, the enterprising souls who host Carnival of the Vanities have no problem making the weekly Best of the Blogs series both readable and visually appealing, and that's certainly true of Beck, who hosts week #107 at Incite for your reading and clicking pleasure.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:34 AM)
The kid stays out of the picture

I am indeed blessed: not only did the Oklahoma Gazette render all my quotes accurately, but mindful of space (or taste) considerations, they snipped out my photo.

Besides, Michael Bates is much better-looking.

(The Gazette puts only a fraction of the complete article online, so you'll have to snag a copy of the dead-tree version to, as the phrase goes, Read The Whole Thing.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:02 PM)
Meanwhile on the A-list

Bill Whittle. Read. Now.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:19 PM)
Welcome, Gazette readers

Surely somebody copied down the URL on page 23.

Incidentally, I told Deborah Benjamin there were two blogs in this state that were far better than mine at political coverage; to her everlasting credit, she talked to both those guys. (Of course, she may have talked to them long before she ever got down to my spot on the list.)

Previous coverage and snarky comments are here.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:41 PM)
8 October 2004
Racking up the numbers

With two days still to go, the 2004 Blogger Boobie-Thon has exceeded last year's total; as of about an hour ago, the total in hand was $7066. (With 140 donors listed, this means that the average donation is right around fifty bucks.)

I'm sure there's some way I can urge you guys to donate without telling you to, um, put your money where your mouth is.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:34 PM)
10 October 2004
Minor enhancement

I've set up a section in the navigation column specifically for The Vent: it contains a link (with number, title and date) of the newest edition, plus a link to the complete index. For those of you who also peek into that area, this will at least tell you up front when the updates occur.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:44 PM)
12 October 2004
The center of the 'sphere

Andrew Sullivan? Not necessarily.

And really, do we even need one? The Professor recommended one of those weekly compendia with "You may find some blogs you like better than this one!" and caught flak for it. His response merits repeating:

Well, I'm not telling people not to visit my blog. But the blogosphere is a big place. Judging from the complaints I get from some readers that I'm not writing enough about stuff they consider important, InstaPundit is not, in fact, a one-size-fits-all blog. And neither are any others! I think it's important for people to find blogs they like. Lots of people come to InstaPundit and read it, and a few other blogs that I link to a lot, and don't venture further into the blogosphere. I try to encourage people to get beyond that because (1) I might not be around forever; and (2) I think those other blogs deserve more traffic, too. The blogosphere is more important than any one blog, and no single blog is everything to everybody, or should try to be.

Having been around forever, or at least comparatively so, I'm a firm believer in spreading the wealth, or the linkage, or whatever it is we cast upon the waters around these parts; while it is literally impossible to read every single blog — there aren't enough hours in a day even to type in the URLs — you don't get the full benefit of the collective wisdom (if that's the term) by sticking to two or three of the brand-name bloggers. That Gazette article last week highlighted four Oklahoma blogs and listed a handful of others, and while I certainly appreciate whatever traffic I got from it, I think it's important to look around for other voices. Bruce and Mike perform a valuable public service by providing linkage to dozens of Oklahoma blogs, and as I said in the Gazette piece, "There's always room for another soapbox." I suspect Glenn Reynolds would agree.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:27 AM)
108

The end of the FM dial (well, actually 107.9), but nowhere near the end of the Carnival of the Vanities, the 108th edition of which is presented by Conservative Dialysis. Waste no time getting there to read it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:36 PM)
15 October 2004
Possible outages?

At least one reader close to home is reporting that this site is coming through piecemeal at best. Admittedly, this is probably appropriate — heaven knows I've had enough half-baked and otherwise incomplete ideas posted here — but I would like to know if anyone else is experiencing more than the usual trouble getting here.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:54 AM)
18 October 2004
The opposite of "nondescript"

We've heard so often for so long that a picture is worth a thousand words that we forget sometimes how vivid a picture can be painted with far fewer words than a thousand.

A reminder, courtesy of Syaffolee:

[O]n Friday, it rained, but by Saturday morning everything looked limpid and sloe-eyed, sort of like a woman who's been sniveling and bawling her eyes out for the past hour and now she looks all red and puffy but her mind is clear. The sky was a swirl of silver-gray trying to be blue but not quite making it, clouds white on top, dark on the bottom, moving west to east fast.

The air itself was brisk, cool but not cold. Wind whipped up any of the stray hairs that escaped from my ponytail. If you took in a deep breath of air, it smelled almost crystalline and sweet. New Hampshire is in the full grip of fall — if you drive down 89, the sky looks like a splotchy, gray-blue layer cake. The road swerves into hills that are carpeted with trees in red and gold. If you happen to be driving behind another car and the wind decides to pick up, the loose leaves from those trees get swept down to the road to mix with the churning wheels. After all that turbulent jostling, the leaves fly out from beneath the car as a shower of sparks — one can imagine that car as a mechanical fairy leaving behind a trail of pixie dust.

Still need a picture? I didn't think so.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:47 AM)
20 October 2004
One hundred nine

This is the second time the Carnival of the Vanities has been hosted by The People's Republic of Seabrook. (The first was way back in February 2003.) But not much has changed between #22 and #109; it's still the original weekly compendium of the best of the blogs, and it's still something you should read, even when something as lame as this is on the menu.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:33 AM)
21 October 2004
Barber's holiday

La Shawn Barber is taking a break.

It's not the traditional blogger burnout, or the boredom that occasionally besets us all. This is something more fundamental:

I need to retreat, evaluate and determine what God has in mind, if anything, for this blog.

I'm not tired of it. I've just had doubts lately about why I'm doing this. Am I glorifying God or myself?

Accordingly, she's turning to the source:

Who, what, where, when and how isn't important, but the anger I feel toward people who misrepresent my statements must be dealt with. I can't blog my way through it; I need to pray my way through it.

I often wonder how well-known people deal with it. Lies are written and uttered about them everyday, and they can't respond and react to every one. It doesn't matter, ultimately. This is between me and God. I've let the blog and other things interfere with my time with him.

I don't claim to know the mind of God, but I'm inclined to think that whatever criticism she's receiving might be considered a test: as a Christian commentator, she knows that she can expect this sort of thing.

Hence the title, with "holiday" in its original sense of "holy day." I wish her well during her period of reflection, and I'm sure she will be back soon.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:34 AM)
26 October 2004
Delayed follow-ups

Some things get shoved onto the back burner around here and eventually disappear behind the backsplash, never to be found again unless I'm browsing the referrer logs and suddenly I'm seized by the shock of recognition — or, alternatively, if someone writes in and asks "So whatever happened to [subject], anyway?"

No credit for guessing which is which.

  • Daniel Fears, then a teenager, had been accused of a shooting spree in Sallisaw two years ago; Fears, now twenty, was convicted on all counts in the Sequoyah County Court. Formal sentencing will be in December; the jury recommended two life sentences without parole for the murders, eight life sentences for shooting with intent to kill, ten years for feloniously pointing a firearm, a life sentence for discharging a firearm with intent to kill and 120 years for the five charges of drive-by shooting.

  • The return of the Yugo has been delayed; Malcolm Bricklin, when last heard from, said that exports to the US from Zastava Motor Works will not begin until 2005.

  • The Tulsa Philharmonic, which disbanded (sorry) in the fall of 2002, is still dead.

  • Then-Representative Leonard Sullivan, one of the prime movers in the effort to get the North Canadian River renamed, got some of his wish granted: the seven-mile stretch closest to downtown is now called the Oklahoma River. Sullivan, incidentally, is now the Oklahoma County assessor.

  • To my knowledge, Susanna Cornett never did come up with a signature lingerie line.

If there's any other topic I started on and didn't finish, please advise.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:33 PM)
27 October 2004
The bonds of earth get surlier

It's called Diary of a Flight Attendant, and that's just what it was — until the airline flew into a tizzy and suspended her.

The suspension, they said, was due to "inappropriate" images.

In case you were wondering, I keep a folder full of really inappropriate images handy, should someone decide to lower the boom on me.

In the meantime, the Queen of the Sky is grounded and could probably use a helping hand, especially if there's a buck or two in the palm thereof.

(Via Fark.)

(Update, 4:05 pm: I bounced this off my boss, who was unimpressed by the action taken by the airline: "Damn airlines need all the advertising they can get.")

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:54 PM)
28 October 2004
Across 110th

And now, a Carnival of the Vanities so big it takes two to host it (though Maddy seems to be doing the heavy lifting): #110 from The Twins Tell the Truth. Your weekly blog compendium contains an assortment of high-quality posts from all around the 'sphere, and something of mine to break the curve. Don't miss it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:33 AM)
1 November 2004
Reporting on Tulsa time

Michael Bates, proprietor of BatesLine, arguably — at least I've so argued — the best (mostly) political blog in Oklahoma, will be live-blogging Soonerland election results at The Command Post. We are indeed fortunate to have coverage of this quality for our little red territory.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:12 PM)
3 November 2004
An impeccable pecking order

Traditional media — at least, a hefty percentage of them — seem to hate bloggers in general. But within blogdom itself, there is an obvious hierarchy, which looks something like this.

(From Random Acts of Reality via Syaffolee.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:28 AM)
Triple One

The 111th edition of Carnival of the Vanities awaits you at Quibbles and Bits, and, well, they stayed up late counting everything. Tune in to see if they have any provisional bloggage.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:58 PM)
5 November 2004
Sit iucundus tibi dies

Apparently there is still no Latin word for "blog".

This strikes me as implausible; I mean, surely the Greeks have a word for it.

(Via Sean Gleeson.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:04 PM)
7 November 2004
Film at eleven dot net

It's called Blogumentary, it's, well, a documentary about blogs, and unlike previous such efforts, it's not devoted to fawning over the A-list. A rough cut was shown at the City Pages Get Real Documentary Film Festival in Minneapolis, and Erica was there:

I thought [filmmaker] Chuck [Olsen] did a pretty good job of capturing the idea of what blogging is and the phenomenon that it's become. The political stuff, the personal stuff, the interaction and the relationships people develop, blogs as a grassroots organizational tool and a communication medium. I recognized a lot of the folks he mentioned and screenshots he showed. It was clever. It was funny. He talked about Plain Layne being a man, Dan Rather and the false documents, Trent Lott's resignation, bloggers getting married, and the Howard Dean campaign, amongst other things.

I wonder if we can get a print here for next year's deadCENTER.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:44 AM)
9 November 2004
Fantastic plastic lover

Michele has debuted I Have That On Vinyl, a place to indulge her nostalgia (and yours) for the pop-culture artifacts that seemingly haunt us all. As the sort of person who owns a Wagner Ring cycle and all of Debbie Deborah Gibson's teen-dream discs, I know exactly (well, to within a couple of blocks anyway) where she's coming from: sometimes our reaction to these things, however many years after the fact, is startling, even scary.

I can see an apologia for the Partridge Family coming on.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:24 AM)
10 November 2004
One hundred twelve

112 is the official emergency telephone number for the European Union.

And 112 is the number of weeks we've had the Carnival of the Vanities, the weekly compendium of high-quality bloggage, which this week is hosted by Let's Try Freedom.

No comparison is intended or implied. (911, apparently, won't be coming up until 2020 or so.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:27 AM)
Eighteen with a Googlebomb

This is just wrong. Somebody got here today by searching for mary kate and ashley nude McGehee.

Then again, it could be worse: he (I assume it's a he, and frighteningly enough, it's from a University of Oklahoma IP) could have been looking for "mary kate and ashley McGehee nude," which no one is prepared to tolerate.

(Oh, and if you're looking for pictures, McGehee doesn't have any.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:49 PM)
12 November 2004
Minor adjustments

Some of the category archives here have grown to a megabyte and more, which is hell on load times and doesn't exactly enhance the rebuild speed. Two of the larger categories, Almost Yogurt and Dyssynergy, underwent a weeding process, and a new category, PEBKAC, was created for computer-related items that used to fall routinely under Dyssynergy.

This isn't going to make a big difference — taking, say, 75 items out of a 600-item archive still leaves that archive fairly huge — but every little bit helps.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:39 AM)
17 November 2004
One thirteen

The 113th edition of Carnival of the Vanities is presented this week by Food Basics, and instead of a theme, there's something remarkable: the actual pitch made by the submitter for each Carnival entry.

Yeah, I know, she did this because she was pressed for time, but I still think it's brilliant.

(Disclosure: I actually sent something this week.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:14 PM)
24 November 2004
Ununquaternium

This is the temporary name of element 114, which, unlike most of the other elements way out in the transuranium range, has a halflife of 30 whole seconds. (By contrast, half of your sample of ununbium, element 112, will be gone in 280 microseconds.)

After 114 weekly editions, I think we can safely say that the Carnival of the Vanities has some serious staying power. This week's edition is hosted by Interested-Participant, and is dedicated to our fighting forces. As always, it's all the blog stuff you missed, and even some you didn't.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:11 AM)
Real-life links

A point to ponder, from Syaffolee:

So I was thinking this morning: What's the degree of separation between bloggers in real life? This is totally disregarding linking and blogrolling. If I read about Blogger X but don't know him/her in real life, how many people do I know in real life who knows that blogger in real life?

It seems to me that the original Stanley Milgram experiments would be no less, and no more, applicable to bloggers than to anyone else; bloggers have a wider circle of people who recognize their names — if they give out their names at all — but I tend to doubt that they actually know more people than average. (Certain A-list bloggers may be exceptions, but their real lives, I suspect, are also exceptional.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:36 AM)
30 November 2004
Wheels within wheels

The collapse of Bloghosts has left rather a large number of blogs out in the cold, including some which I read on a regular basis.

One of these was Marcland, which has now been resuscitated under the name Hubs and Spokes. If you've been looking for Marc, this is where you'll find him.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:08 AM)
1 December 2004
One hundred fifteen

Ashish's Niti hosts Carnival of the Vanities #115, your weekly one-stop compendium of bloggy goodness.

In Sanskrit, a "niti," says Ashish Hanwadikar, incorporates policy, strategy, and vision — which, if you think about it, is quite a proper mission for a blogger.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:11 AM)
3 December 2004
Ballot boxing

Well, I just finished going through the 2004 Weblog Awards, and I am pleased to note that there was at least one blog in each category that I had actually read and could vote for with a clear conscience.

I am somewhat bemused by the fact that only about half a dozen of my choices turned out to be leading their categories.

And I would like to thank everyone who did not nominate me, which is everyone: considering how badly I lost last year, I was grateful not to see my name on the ballot.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:55 AM)
No, no, close that other window

I don't think we're ever going to resolve the thinker/linker dichotomy, at least in my lifetime, but I do wish sometimes I could be as resolute as Serenity is here:

I don't often promote other blogs in my posts because I am vain and greedy and want all the traffic for myself. Why in the hell would I ask you all to leave my beautiful site, with prose so magical they make grown men weep...a talent so incredible, all the girls are jealous of me. Why on G-d's green earth would I do that? I don't.

My prose occasionally make me weep, but that's another issue entirely.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:52 PM)
Not exactly navel-gazing

I have no idea who was first to blog a colonoscopy, but it wasn't James Wolcott, no matter what Gawker may think.

Still, give the Denton Empire credit for knowing the ins and outs of the Blogosphere™:

It just goes to show, blogging's all about looking into your own ass. But be careful: as we dimly recall Nietzsche having said, "When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks into you."

For remembering that quote, I can forgive Gawker for being slightly, um, behind.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:11 PM)
5 December 2004
Let there be plugs

I normally don't toot the horn much for my Web host: while DreamHost has been good to me over the past three years, they're a little pricier than some, and a few of the big Movable Type-based blogs had difficulties with them some years back and moved elsewhere.

Their monthly newsletter, however, contained this remarkable statement:

[W]e've now got a new area of our web panel, "Goodies > WordPress Blog". From there you can install the open-source weblog software WordPress (see http://www.wordpress.org/) at any URL fully-hosted at DreamHost with just one click. It's pretty cool and pretty easy and pretty FREE!

Try it out if you ever wanted to have a weblog but were too crazy to install one yourself.

Translation: They'd like more blogs, but don't want the additional overhead of MT and its endless rebuilds.

(Aside: If you actually do sign up for one of these things, send me a click through the DH logo in the nav column, or drop my URL to the staff. I could use the kickback referral reward.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:37 AM)
6 December 2004
Monday, Monday

Can't trust that day, as I have next to nothing to say. In the interim, here's some of the stuff you should have read already:

Back later.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:00 AM)
8 December 2004
For the 116th time

Vik Rubenfeld's The Big Picture is the host for Carnival of the Vanities #116, your weekly guide to Bloggy Goodness in a single handy page. As always, it's not to be missed.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:36 AM)
9 December 2004
It's a Baldilanche!

The Instalanche™ perhaps isn't what it used to be. For a while, I had the smallest on record; since then, BoiFromTroy has lowered the bar.

Indeed, the combination of both those events wouldn't equal half the traffic I got from an offhand Baldilocks item.

Lesson learned: never underestimate the power of a smart woman with a sense of humor. (I already knew how to suck up.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:15 AM)
I can feel my numbers being crunched

This is Finance Girl.

I dare not hope that some day she'll balance my sheets, but oh, the interest she'll accrue.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:29 PM)
13 December 2004
In case you thought I needed help

9.1.1.

(Via Ryne McClaren.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:29 PM)
15 December 2004
What's happening elsewhere

Since I'm not exactly gathering my own news, I suppose I can play Manual Aggregator (not available for GameCube®) for a little while. Here's some of what's going on:

This ought to hold you for a couple of minutes, anyway.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:27 PM)
Iteration 117

There are two Pryhills, so far as I can tell, but Ace is the one who got stuck with the heavy lifting.

Still, thanks to them both for Carnival of the Vanities #117, the best bloggage of the week in handy, easily-digestible form, and since it's starting to look a lot like Christmas, this week's Carnival is at the mall.

Hey, it's not like you have to look for a parking space, fercryingoutloud. Go ye and read.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:41 PM)
17 December 2004
Die hard with a name change

Personally, I think McGehee was just tired of answering "What does that name mean?"

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:04 AM)
20 December 2004
Imagine my surprise

I didn't send anything to the Carnival of the Capitalists this week, hosted by XTremeBlog, but apparently they found me anyway. (This was the post to which they linked.) It's nice to know that some of this homegrown verbiage found a few additional buyers this week.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:58 AM)
22 December 2004
118

In parts of Italy, it brings you a medical-evacuation team; around blogdom, it's the 118th edition of Carnival of the Vanities, presented for your dancing and dining pleasure by Ravenwood's Universe. (This is Ravenwood's second shot at it, and it's even better than the first.) Bloggy goodness abounds.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:11 AM)
Approaching milestone

Some time tomorrow, visitor #600,000 will arrive, and if past performance is any indication, will leave almost immediately afterward.

(For those keeping score, the half-million mark was reached on the twenty-fourth of June.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:57 PM)
23 December 2004
Tw4z t3h N1t3 B3f0r3 Xm4z

By John Bambenek, based on a possibly-recognizable theme.

(Via the easily-identifiable Dawn Eden.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:33 AM)
Number 600,000

'Twas a New York Roadrunner user (66.108.115.2) at ten seconds before 5:30, Googling for playboy deborah gibson, which brought him here. (Um, the Debster has never actually posed for Hef and friends.)

As predicted yesterday, he left shortly afterwards, presumably unsatisfied. Further comment from me would undoubtedly be superfluous.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:44 PM)
24 December 2004
Passing of the baton

I have definitely learned my lesson this month. Forget about trying to wangle links from the Big Boys of Blogdom; it's far more rewarding to garner traffic from the Glorious Girls.

See this item for prior justification of this generalization. And if you're coming here from Michelle Malkin's place, as 162 of you have done in the last thirty minutes, this is the article she mentioned.

Take that, puppy blender.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:53 AM)
25 December 2004
Ever so slightly spiked

I mean, really:

SiteMeter
All this from a five-word post — and five short words at that — from Michelle Malkin. (The link was to this impertinent observation, which also prompted a Freeper thread.)

I mean, this was a slow day otherwise. Of the 3,080 visitors yesterday, 2,554 came to see that one silly little item. Needless to say, I'm inclined to think that the increased Malkinization of blogdom is a Good Thing.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:33 PM)
28 December 2004
Embedded bliss

In days of old when modems sold and BBSes flourished, one of my postings was given the **** treatment; it turned out that the post didn't pass muster because of the word "nightwatch."

It took me a while to figure it out, and then I promptly forgot about it, only to find Jeff Jarvis dealing with essentially the same issue with the word "socialism":

MT Blacklist prevents the spammer evildoers from posting comments linking to their dubious business endeavors. And so what's wrong with socialism? Well, at its heart, as you can see, socialism is all about erectile dysfunction. The opiate of the masses, indeed.

I'm just grateful I didn't catch this in the middle of Saturday.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:22 PM)
29 December 2004
Here for a while

Well, I just peeled off the bucks for my 2005 hosting fees, buying another 365 days' worth, subject to bandwidth overages, which so far I have managed never to incur.

Yeah, you're stuck with me for another year.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:26 AM)
30 December 2004
119

911 backwards; also, the number of this week's Carnival of the Vanities, presented this week by The Radical Centrist. It's the last one of the year, so go enjoy.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:36 AM)
1 January 2005
It's better than that; they're dead, Jim

Well, okay, they aren't yet, but if they croak off in 2005, they'll score me points in the IFOC Dead Pool.

Inasmuch as I didn't score so much as one freaking point last year, I'm sending most of the same still-undead losers back for another chance. My roster, from oldest to, um, less old:

Sargent Shriver (born 9 January 1915), former Democratic vice-presidential candidate
Olivia de Havilland (born 1 January 1916), actress
Howard Metzenbaum (born 4 June 1917), retired senator from Ohio
Nelson Mandela (born 18 July 1918), first president of post-apartheid South Africa
Andy Rooney (born 14 January 1919), CBS commentator
Nancy Reagan (born 6 July 1921), actress, former First Lady
Fahd bin Abdul Aziz (born 1921?), king of Saudi Arabia *
Frank Lautenberg (born 23 January 1924), senator from New Jersey
Valery Giscard d'Estaing (born 2 February 1926), former president of France
Eduard Shevardnadze (born 25 January 1928), president of Georgia
Ariel Sharon (born 27 February 1928), prime minister of Israel
Boris Yeltsin (born 1 February 1931), former president of Russia
Eric Burdon (born 11 May 1941), British singer
Michael Jackson (born 29 August 1958), erstwhile King of Pop
Anna Nicole Smith (born 28 November 1967), actress and sometime model

*Some sources say 1923.

And if you've seen this thing and wondering if it's legit, please be advised that I won a prize in the '03 pool and received it promptly.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:29 PM)
3 January 2005
Instructions to the novice

I've already posted a template explaining how to post like me.

If your aspirations are higher than that — and if they aren't, what's wrong with you? — here's a really efficient template from Beautiful Atrocities.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:02 PM)
4 January 2005
He's bad, he's nationwide

When I read that notorious Nick Coleman blast at the Power Line guys, I caught one line that gave me pause:

Time magazine's "Blog of the Year" is not run by Boy Scouts. It is the spear of a campaign aimed at making Minnesota into a state most of us won't recognize. Unless you came from Alabama with a keyboard on your knee.

"Nick, my man," said I, "when Susanna sees that, she's gonna tear you a new one."

The ripping starts here.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:37 AM)
5 January 2005
Are you wired for 120?

Edition #120 of Carnival of the Vanities is now playing at Vessel of Honour, dozens of the best blog posts of the last week in one handy compendium.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:05 AM)
Fame and/or fortune

At The Glittering Eye, the "really neat thing" is:

[A] small-fry like me who's only been in operation for about eight months probably gets as much traffic as Glenn [Reynolds] did after his first eight months of operation. That's certainly more than I expected to get when I started out. As far as traffic goes I've already achieved the small goals I set for myself when I began.

Which sounds really neat even to us frustrated damned-to-the-D-list types.

Then there's this:

Blogs are the perfect Horatio Alger universe. If you have the ability and you work hard enough you can achieve your heart's desire.

But there's one more component, which Alger always mentions but which none of the folks who invoke his name ever seem to remember: luck. (There's a whole series of Alger novels under the umbrella title Luck and Pluck.) Keeping your nose to the grindstone is admirable enough, but in an Alger universe, unless the Fates lend a hand, all you're likely to wind up with is a very sharp nose.

[Insert Ragged Dick joke here.]

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:49 PM)
7 January 2005
When things start to SAG

He's (well, I suppose it doesn't have to be a he, but there you go) called The Hollywood Elitist, a term of opprobrium by right-wingers, perhaps of irony by leftists. Which perhaps explains why I am not surprised to find the actual Elitist located somewhere in between:

See, I think that I am a conservative. I like the Constitution and the Bill of Rights just fine. I like the freedom of speech and religion and the press. I like the right to own firearms. I like the right to drink alcohol. I like the right to vote. Is that pinko hippie liberal Hollywood talk? I think not.

Who is the Elitist? I have no idea — although I do know that the Elitist has a Bacon Number of 3, which narrows it down to a mere 421,696 or so people. A star that never was, parking cars and pumping gas? Maybe, maybe not. Let's see how this unfolds.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:34 AM)
Beyond osmosis

Six Apart, producer of Movable Type, is buying LiveJournal, and I don't quite see the fit.

Apophenia nails down the major issue:

Jump inside LJ culture. People who use LJ talk about their LJs, not their blogs. They mock bloggers who want to be pundits, journalists, experts. In essence, they mock the culture of bloggers that use Six Apart's tools. During interviews with LJ/Xanga folks, I've been told that MovableType is for people with no friends, people who just talk to be heard, people who are trying too hard.

Um... okay. But that's not where the merger will founder:

Movable Type is a product; LiveJournal is a community. Six Apart is seen as a community that provides tools, not culture. I suspect that if LJ goes to SA, there will be discontent from LJ users even though the media and blogosphere will hail it as an exceptionally [insert business rhetoric here] deal. Even if Six Apart doesn't change a damn thing, I suspect that LJers will feel wary, unloved and co-opted by The Man. I can't imagine them going anywhere fast but I can't see them being happy either, nor can I see them continuing to contribute economically.

Sort of like being acquired by Microsoft. Maybe we should ask the FoxPro team.

The line between journal and blog has always been slightly squiggly; LJ and MT, in their own ways, have been widening the gap, straightening the line. And I'm not sure anyone outside the actual financial players benefits therefrom.

(Via Swirlspice.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:59 AM)
9 January 2005
Your turn

It occurs to me that despite some of the highest levels of thread drift this side of Usenet, there's never been an actual open-comment thread here.

There is now, and you're soaking in it. I request only that you try to avoid embarrassing yourself (or, well, me), and any truly heinous comments will be expunged with great vigor.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:33 AM)
11 January 2005
A hint of bloggadocio

Mike at Okiedoke updates Martin Niemöller:

They came for the Communists, and I didn't object for I wasn't a Communist;
They came for the Socialists, and I didn't object for I wasn't a Socialist;
They came for the labor leaders, and I didn't object for I wasn't a labor leader;
They came for the Jews, and I didn't object for I wasn't a Jew;
Then they came for the bloggers, and we kicked their ass.

After fact-checking it, of course.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:51 AM)
12 January 2005
Eleven squared

Which is one hundred twenty-one, the number, not of the Beast, but of the Carnival of the Vanities, which this week is being hosted at Multiple Mentality, hence the vague arithmetical reference.

Well, it was either that or [adult swim].

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:03 AM)
14 January 2005
How dare you make fun of us?

Dawn Eden has been a thorn — maybe the thorn — in Planned Parenthood's side for some months now.

I presume now that they and their allies are starting to feel it. After this post, featuring a caption contest for one of NARAL's "I Am Pro-Choice America" posters, somebody at the home office called in the lawyers, and the lawyers called Dawn, and I have to assume that threats were made, since the picture was removed.

Having been on the receiving end of this sort of thing myself, I know how scary it can be. Still — and keep in mind that I am not a lawyer — I think she was within her rights to post it in the first place, especially since she made its origins and her intentions clear.

As Drudge would say, "Developing...."

(Update, 11:40 pm: Dawn has revised her contest and is linking to a photo at NARAL's own site; I've cleaned up some sloppy language at this end, although probably not all of it.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:56 PM)
16 January 2005
The Thin Film Festival

My old friend Bruce takes me and another Oklahoma blogger to task:

Dustbury and Red Dirt Blog frustrate me because both claim to represent a form of aww-shucks common sense that's really just a thin film of apologetics for their own cultural biases; an equal opportunity "They're all rats" form of thinking that allows them to take pot shots at the imaginary demons that are tearing down a idealized vision of society "as it should be."

The suggestion here is that my cultural biases are hidden, albeit poorly. I wasn't aware that they were hidden at all; to me, they seem perfectly obvious. (Still, if you, Gentle Reader, haven't noticed them, please let me know, and I will provide a list.)

As for my idealized version of society as it should be, I really haven't given as much thought to that as I could have, largely because I've long since figured out that society is going to do pretty much what it wants to do without paying a whole lot of attention to me, and those aforementioned cultural biases, which I might describe as "laissez-faire to partly cloudy," would prevent me from taking a more proactive* role to push it in the direction I might desire. I am not, by nature, the crusading type; I do better taking the occasional pot shot from the corner at those pesky rats.

In an earlier paragraph, though, Bruce accuses me of "moments of brilliance." Now that's just uncalled for.


*Jeebus, but I hate that word "proactive."

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:35 AM)
18 January 2005
The ultimate road trip

Come July, I start my fifth annual World Tour. As usual, it won't come close to circumnavigating the world, but 4500 miles in three weeks is nothing to sneer at.

Unless you're Scott and Eileen, who start their road trip in July, and they're not coming back for fifty-two weeks.

Why, you ask?

Two reasons. One, to explore the less-charted areas of America and capture what we find in words, still photography, and moving images. Two, to audition thousands of small American towns for the role of our new hometown. At the end of our trip, we'll choose one of them as the place to start a family.

Makes me want to empty out the old money-market account and go pack.

These two get on the blogroll immediately, simply because I don't want to miss any of this. And if our paths should cross — well, it's too early to make any plans.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:25 PM)
19 January 2005
122nd

An important number in Oklahoma City: it's the major thoroughfare between Hefner Road (otherwise 108th) and Memorial Road (otherwise 136th). I expect one of these days it will be renamed after someone, and I'm reasonably certain it won't be yours truly.

Of course, what you want to hear about is the 122nd edition of Carnival of the Vanities, presented by The People's Republic of Seabrook. This is the third time the Carnival has stopped at this blue outpost in red Texas, and by now you've got to figure they're getting pretty good at it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:14 AM)
22 January 2005
Live from Will's

A couple of bloggers were whooping it up.... oh, wait, wrong saga.

Anyway, about a dozen of us are gathered here guzzling java and trading stories and generally acting like we're old friends.

Which, as of now, we are.

More as the time and the circumstances permit.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:49 PM)
Who could ask for anything more?

A really good day makes up for a number of bad ones or a multitude of indifferent ones. And while it's impossible to plan everything to the last detail and expect it to work out exactly — about a quarter to two, Dawn Eden was supposed to be taking off her clothes in the next room, which didn't actually happen — things went pretty nicely today.

For me, the story began at 9:45, when Michael Bates pulled up to the curb in front of Surlywood. For a guy who just drove in from Tulsa, he was decidedly upbeat, which is always a good thing, and out of the passenger seat pops Dawn, looking tousled and fourteen as ever*, and I've got her all to myself for four whole hours.

If you have to ask what happened next, you don't know either of us very well. It was a search-and-acquire mission of the highest order, conducted on the premises of Happy Days Record Shop at SW 89th and Western. We got away, of course, with stacks of wax. ("One Little Answer" by Sonny Bono on Specialty 733, incidentally, apparently was released in 1973.)

Then to the TapWerks ale house in Bricktown, where Advanced Noshing was the order of the day, and back to Surlywood in not enough time for her to change into something a little dressier [oh, that's what he meant] before venturing off to Will's Coffee for an informal, breezy little Blogger Bash.

A splendid time wasn't necessarily guaranteed for all, but we had one anyway. Tulsa was represented by Don Danz and, of course, Mike Bates. From Lawton came John Owen Butler. "Wild Bill" Kerr joined us from Midwest City, or "MWC" as it's known in the trades. And from the far reaches of OKC, there were Jan the Happy Homemaker, Dwayne "AKA Donny Osmond" Hendrickson (and his lovely wife Barb), Dan Lovejoy, Sean Gleeson, and Brett Thomasson, who bloggeth not, but who has by now written more in the way of comments to blogs than some of us have in actual blogs and could not possibly be left out.

A wholesome group, to be sure. Just look at this if you don't believe me. And while there were no real low points, except for maybe the disappearance of the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile from its temporary lodging on Western Avenue before we could suck up to the management and get pictures of ourselves in front of (or, God forbid, astride) it, arguably the high point was when Dawn sought to demonstrate the Power of Advertising by giving us a taste of the Mister Softee theme music, and half a dozen of us burst into a spirited rendition of the B. C. Clark jingle.

A really good day indeed. To all of you who came down: thank you, and let's do it again some time.

And to Dawn: Surely Tony Romeo wrote something pertinent to this occasion. :)


* Dear Stan Cornyn: I owe you for this phraseology.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:07 PM)
23 January 2005
Never wanting for material

Once you get "So what's a blog, anyway?" out of the way, the next question is usually "What can you put in a blog?"

My stock response runs along the lines of "Just about anything this side of a Publishers Clearing House mailing."

Obviously this response is too limited.

(Via Banana Oil.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:23 PM)
26 January 2005
This is a test

The new Movable Type "nofollow" plug-in is designed to undercut the value of comment spamming by instructing Google to ignore the links contained in comment spam when indexing a post, thereby depriving the spammer of the PageRank benefits he thought he deserved.

With both Yahoo! and MSN on board supporting "nofollow," I figured I'd install this thing, even though I am having relatively little trouble with comment spam. The README supplied with the plug-in, though, threw me a curve:

This plugin is supported on Movable Type 3.x and 2.661. If you are using an older version of Movable Type, we strongly suggest upgrading to the latest release.

I'm running 2.64 here, but I decided to go ahead with the install. So far, it's working correctly; the last comments posted do contain the "nofollow" tag. I don't know what conditions might exist in 2.64 (but not in 2.661 or 3.x) that could cause this code to act up, but I'll be on the lookout for them; please report any behavior you observe that is even weirder than usual.

(Update, 27 January, 10:45 am: Anomaly noted.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:28 AM)
One two three

"Oh, that's how elementary it's going to be," sang ex-Dovell Leonard Borisoff, known far and wide as Len Barry, way back in the pop-music paradise that was 1965.

Forty years later, the Raving Atheist presents Carnival of the Vanities #123, your weekly compendium of all things blogalicious. It's at least as easy as taking candy from a baby, and I won't tell anyone if you say grace before digging in.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:02 PM)
27 January 2005
Following "nofollow"

Tuesday night I installed the "nofollow" plug-in for Movable Type, a routine which blocks participating search engines from indexing the links in comments and TrackBacks, making the efforts of comment spammers even less productive.

The plug-in isn't designed for versions of MT as old as this, so I was watching for anomalies, and I did find one: its placement of the new REL tags affected the appearance of my TrackBack window, though not the content. (Basically, it managed to trap out the CSS DIV used for TrackBack text.) This is exceedingly minor, but exceedingly minor is actually within my capabilities, so I rewrote the template slightly.

Anything else I notice will be passed on, for the benefit of others on this venerable platform.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:47 AM)
29 January 2005
Neither blog nor snob

It was about four months ago that Blogsnob announced that they would be integrating actual paid ads into their text-ad system, which up to then had been used strictly as a blog-promotion device. At the time, I wondered how long it would take for one to show up.

I need wonder no longer. The vast majority of Blogsnob placements I see are still actual ads for blogs, including occasional spots for this one, but today I managed to hit an actual store site through a Blogsnob link.

What's interesting to me is that shortly after the announcement was made, subscribers (and former subscribers) were complaining that paid ads were making up the bulk of the two-place ad block. Maybe my traffic is just so meager that it took this long for me to see a paid ad, though this seems unlikely.

And unlike those former subscribers, I'm not complaining. I've gotten a fair number of referrals from Blogsnob, and I've discovered a few sites worth adding to my read schedule. Besides, the first thing I learned about free lunches is that there ain't no such thing.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:44 AM)
2 February 2005
124

A nice little car by Fiat, or the number of episodes of Carnival of the Vanities, this week hosted by Ken Sain, who's taking a trip down Abbey Road. Seven days of bloggy goodness awaits.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:45 AM)
3 February 2005
The Big Boom

This morning, I made the bald assertion that the single most important day in blogdom was 12 September 2001, that people were so moved by what they saw in the media that they simply had to say something of their own.

I think there might be some support for this premise, but I doubt anyone has any real numbers to produce. What do you think?

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:50 AM)
Overlooked again

Chickenhead.com presents:

The Absolute Bottom 50 Blogs.

Geez, you'd think I wasn't trying or something.

(Poached from Defamer.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:33 AM)
4 February 2005
The bottomless tip jar

The last, I promise, comment on Andrew Sullivan for at least a month.

This is from ninme:

Andrew Sullivan has made $200,000 in one year from his readers. I never read him, and it's too late now because apparently he's taken his cash and gone to Europe (Switzerland on this tour, I wonder?), but every time I heard about these pledge drives, through other blogs, I assumed they were for charity.

I have credit card debts. I figure if he's getting 54087 visits a day and I'm getting around 215, and he's getting $200,000, that means my slice of the pie should be $795.02.

I take checks and money orders.

Come to think of it, $2843.74 would just about pay off my car.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:17 PM)
Besides, it's shorter than "Stribulation"

Dawn Eden is victimized by an alleged journalist to whom "fact-checking" is an available-time option, not a requirement, and McGehee, perhaps with Nick Coleman in mind, dubs the practice "Stribbing."

I dunno if this term will become as widespread as fisking, but I figure the least I can do is help it along.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:01 PM)
6 February 2005
But ours is bigger!

Is it too difficult to come up with a standard 80 x 15 button? For some organizations, yes, says Don Danz, it is too difficult.

What's more, says Don, "I just couldn't sleep at night knowing I had non-standard buttons on my site." I don't sleep especially well myself, but a perfunctory glance at my front page will reveal that non-standard buttons aren't high on my list of insomnia producers. (The only one I made myself, the WordPad logo, is a fright-inducing 130 x 40.) Still, he's in good company; Dave spent a good part of this winter making buttons, or so it seems.

And really, if I ever get around to redoing this front page again — well, there will be some surprises, I'm sure.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:39 PM)
7 February 2005
Jeeves goes shopping

Mary Hodder's Napsterization.org has learned that Ask Jeeves, Inc. is buying the aggregator service Bloglines for a sum as yet undisclosed. Ask Jeeves' own blog already incorporates Bloglines links.

This would seem to be a logical development, following Google's 2003 acquisition of Pyra Labs and Blogger. Still, Step 2, as it has been so often before, remains vague:

  1. Buy into blog stuff
  2. ???
  3. Profit

Not that I have any track record at predicting these things, mind you.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:30 AM)
9 February 2005
The 125th

An eighth of the way to a thousand — and who could have foreseen it?

Surely not Bigwig, who invented the Carnival of the Vanities 125 weeks ago. But here it is just the same, hosted by Coyote Blog, your weekly compendium of blogaliciousness in a handy single-page format.

(Bigwig probably would have frowned on a nonce word like "blogaliciousness," too, but everyone's children go somewhere astray at some point.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:27 AM)
Mistakes were made

R. Alex Whitlock lists ten mistakes made by bloggers. Let's see how many of them we can find right here at dustbury.com:

  1.  Only link to what we've already read and only say what we've already heard. I wouldn't say I never do this, but I try not to bring up a topic unless I actually have something to say about it. On the other hand, if I tell you to go somewhere now and read, it's probably something of Bill Whittle's, in which case you already have and good for you, or you haven't yet and what's taking you so long?

  2.  False modesty. But I have so much to be modest about!

  3.  Clearing the archives. I think I've deleted half a dozen pages in nine years, none of which were part of the daily bloggage. (I did once have a message board, now defunct, but it got little-enough use that I'd say nothing in it has been missed.)

  4.  Become overly concern[ed] with blogging "rules." There are really only three rules: TrackBacks should not be sent unless there's an actual link involved, Glenn Reynolds doesn't need the linkage, and Oliver Willis hasn't earned the linkage.

  5.  Fail to follow basic punctuation rules. Not an issue. On this. Site.

  6.  Substitute slang for ideas. Not an issue. If I substitute anything for ideas, it's bombast.

  7.  Fail to take advantage of 95% of the blogosphere. Yeah, but which 95 percent?

  8.  Become a one-note charlie. I don't think that's a problem around here. By the way, ballot access in this state blows, and I haven't linked to anything of Susanna's in days.

  9.  Decline to put up an "about the author" link. Not that anyone needs to click on this.

10.  Decline to participate in their own comments section. I haven't run an exact count, but I suspect that of the 7800 comments posted so far, at least a quarter (this would be 1950) were from me, and it could be as much as a third.

Based on these criteria, I believe this site rates "Could Be Suckier."

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:26 PM)
10 February 2005
A fairly Gurley approach

This makes two Gawker references in a single day. I expect Nick Denton, Lord of Darkness, will eventually demand tribute.

In the meantime, there's this:

In this week's New York Observer, George Gurley jilts longtime love Ann Coulter for his new dream girl, our old pal Dawn Eden. Reporting on the brouhaha over Eden's firing from The New York Post, Gurley positively swoons.

I thought this was amusing enough to work up a response, left it up for about ninety seconds, then decided that maybe it wasn't. I reformatted it and stuck it up in a Test directory, then passed the link to Dawn herself to gauge her response.

To my amazement, she linked to it.

Now, of course, it's an Official Item, and I can't very well take it down. On the other hand, it doesn't really belong in the Test directory. So I've copied it to the Writings area, where it can be found here; eventually, I'll roll the first one over to the second and no one (save SiteMeter) need be the wiser.

And George? Would it make any difference if I said I saw her first? (I didn't think so.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:03 PM)
12 February 2005
Thou shalt not talk back

Greg Hlatky gets an actual piece of hate mail, and it's about, of all things, his lack of comments:

Why is it that almost every rt. wing blog I visit has no comments areas? Is it because none of you can stand anyone questioning your statements or is it because all of you are self-centered ego trippers that don't give a flying fuck about anyone else's opinions? Or maybe it's because all of you are modeling yourselves like your tin GOD GW Bu$h who also doesn't seem to like anyone questioning his statements or judgment? Or maybe it's because your all so fucking smart you think there's no way you could have it wrong? In any case I find it marginally interesting that you all live in your own little intellectual ghettos. Do the rest of us a favor stay in them.

Signed by one "U. R. Pathetic," who presumably comes from a long Pathetic line himself.

Though this is not technically a "rt. wing" blog, I tend to lean toward the "self-centered ego-tripper" archetype myself. I figure anyone who hasn't figured this out by now is too dumb to read this site, and has gone on to pastures more regularly fertilized.

God help this little troll should he run into someone with less patience than I.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:19 PM)
13 February 2005
The return of Aldahlia

See? Sometimes they do come back from "hiatus."

I did like these paragraphs in her opening statement:

I believe in truth and fairness. I believe that if a corporation is going to be considered a "person" under the law, then it should damn well show some "personal responsibility."

I belive in virtue. Not values. Value indicate numeric worth — it's quantitative language — it's perfect for the kind of person that praises Jesus and votes Caesar. We are not numbers. Despite all efforts by the government, the corporate world, and the television to turn us into just that. And, despite the efforts of those Americans among us that seek to hand over all power to those entities.

Historically, she's always had something interesting to say, and I'm happy to see her back at her soapbox.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:35 AM)
14 February 2005
File under Faux Femmes

You know, this used to be done a lot better in the Good Old Days.

And I should know.

(Tip o' the hair-net to McGehee.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:29 PM)
15 February 2005
With an eye toward the future

Fond as I am of Movable Type 2.64, it's not really a viable blog platform anymore: its spam repellents are inadequate without a phalanx of plug-ins, and as this database gets larger — it's over 10 mb now — it takes longer to accomplish anything that requires a rebuild (which is almost anything).

MT 3.15 permits dynamic pages with PHP, which would presumably require me to learn a smattering of PHP, but nothing I'd consider particularly heinous. This is probably the simplest upgrade path: I've done three MT upgrades before, so it's not something that scares me.

Still, I'm wondering about the competition. If you use something else, please tell me why you think it's better than MT. My major considerations are ease of importation, since I have almost 4000 entries to move, and spam resistance. (Price is really not a consideration; I'm willing to spend what I need to, though the cheapest is likely WordPress, which my host already offers as a freebie.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:04 AM)
Light, meet bushel

I was kind of hoping no one noticed, but no such luck.

Anyway, the MSM came calling at Surlywood, and shot about an hour and a half of video (on a good ol' Betacam) of yours truly acting in a bloggish manner; some small fraction of the footage wound up on the KWTV Morning Show today. Mercifully, they haven't made the video stream available on their Web site.

I have been warned that further snippets may show up in Part 3 of this series, which airs Thursday.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:09 AM)
16 February 2005
126

Has it been a week already? Of course it has. The 126th edition of Carnival of the Vanities is available for your perusal at Soccer Dad.

And remember: no hands!

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:37 AM)
17 February 2005
Spring entrollment

Geez, now even Donna is getting hate mail:

Although you think you are providing people with something to seriously read daily, you are just typing nonsense that you think is "hip and fresh for the modern woman". I think it is hysterical, and something to laugh at you about, so please, type on... "enlighten" us all.

Look, lady, if you want "hip and fresh," you can go download all the Tampax commercials you can stand, and then congratulate yourself on your good taste. I'm aware that you may not have time, what with the pressures and time constraints that come from being the center of the known universe, but hey, it's just a suggestion.

And a kinder one than most people are likely to offer, at that.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:44 AM)
18 February 2005
Return fire

The man of the hour is Ronald D. Coleman, general counsel of the Media Bloggers Association, who has agreed to represent Michael Bates during his dispute with the Tulsa World. A segment of Coleman's letter to World VP John Bair, as quoted on BatesLine:

Why a newspaper with a website would want to prevent Internet users from gaining access to that website, regardless of the referral source, is a question best left to the World Publishing Company's board of directors. But while Mr. Bates's links may be "inappropriate" in the view of your newspaper, Mr. Bair, there is no legal basis whatsoever on which the World may prevent it.

As I told KWTV's Catherine Pegram the other day, we don't seek to replace the mainstream media — only to keep them honest.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:48 AM)
19 February 2005
You can't keep 'em down

After The Ville closed its doors, I wondered if we'd seen the last of Brent.

We haven't.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:21 AM)
She's real sore, my 404

Once and for all, we're going to fix Dan Lovejoy's TrackBacks.

Maybe.

Well, it could happen.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:42 PM)
20 February 2005
The stick stops here

At least this week, since it has devolved upon me to issue the assignment to the Oklahoma Blogger Bash Consortium and One-Hour Photo for the coming six-day period.

A number of different cities are represented by the O.B.B.C./O.H.P., including the three largest in the state (Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Lawton) plus a 'burb or two. For the sake of argument, let's assume that you, the Consortium member, are prepared to address your Mayor and City Council or equivalent municipal governmental body.

What, in your opinion, is the one thing within the existing powers of the Mayor and Council that your city most desperately needs to do?

Papers are due in by 11:59 PM on Friday, 25 February.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:33 PM)
23 February 2005
127

To me, 127 is a size of film, introduced by Kodak way back in 1912 for the Vest Pocket Kodak, not discontinued until 1995.

It's unclear whether the Carnival of the Vanities will last that long, but it's made it through 127 weeks; PunditGuy hosts the original seven-day blog compendium this time around.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:17 AM)
26 February 2005
A gentleman's C, maybe

I have always maintained that this little site belongs on the D-list. High on the D-list, perhaps, but certainly no closer to the Pantheon than that. (Yeah, there's that Ecosystem thing, but I try not to take it too seriously.)

Dave Pollard, on the other hand, sets me right below the B-list; his criterion for inclusion therein specifies 1000 hits per day, and the occasionally-reliable SiteMeter says I have been hanging around the 750-800 mark of late — 1100 or so page views — not including RSS feeds, which up to now I have not been bothering to count.

This development is of course alarming, since if traffic continues to increase, it may portend the necessity of having to act like a B-list blogger, a prospect I find daunting, and would likely find even more so if I actually knew what a B-list blogger acts like.

(Tipped off by the entirely-too-appealing Jacqueline Passey, newly arrived at C level by these same standards.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:58 PM)
27 February 2005
Mirror image

Well, not exactly, but I decided that since all the archives have the content on the left, the main page probably ought to have the content on the left, so I switched the two columns. I can't imagine this being a problem for anyone, but then I am told I am lacking in imagination.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:52 AM)
2 March 2005
Meanwhile in T-town

Michael Bates' ongoing battle against the Tulsa World got three-quarters of a page in this week's Oklahoma Gazette. You'd think this would be an obvious item for their Web site, but it fell through the cracks or something. (But see Update below.)

Ronald Coleman, general counsel for the Media Bloggers Association, characterized the World's outburst as "an incredible emblem of the thick-headedness of old-media monopolies."

World attorney Schaad Titus advances a new notion in this piece: if links by BatesLine or other blogs prompted the reader to shell out the World's regular fees before viewing, that's okay with them. I wish they'd asked him if they were going to cut Bates in on any revenue he might generate if he did this.

And speaking of Schaad Titus, two years ago he and the World pushed for access to a database compiled by the city of Tulsa as part of the settlement of a lawsuit alleging employment discrimination in the Police Department. "It is important for city [residents] to understand what has happened and have them believe the settlement is good for the city, to unite the city rather than divide the city," he said. "If you don't have public access, you'll have no way to understand." There is no record of whether Titus or the World offered to pay the city for database access.

(Update, 3 March, 11:30 am: Here's a link to the Gazette story. My thanks to Editor Rob Collins.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:54 PM)
Two to the eighth

According to Rolf Harris in "Two Buffalos," 128 is enough of those.

But we never get enough of the Carnival of the Vanities. The 128th weekly compendium of bloggage at its best is hosted by Belief Seeking Understanding.

Of course, when I hear 128, I think of this.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:03 PM)
3 March 2005
Where's the Undo key?

The reaction to the flipping of the columns was mostly negative, and the new BlogSnob format didn't fit well with it, so I reset them to the way they were, with the nav stuff on the left and the content, such as it is, on the right. My apologies to those of you who had just gotten used to it in reverse.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:06 PM)
9 March 2005
129

When preceded by the letters LZ, 129 denotes the Hindenburg, the largest airship ever, and worth remembering for reasons other than its tragic demise that day in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, for those of us a bit more earthbound, there's the 129th edition of Carnival of the Vanities, hosted this week by Solomonia, as always incorporating seven days' worth of quality bloggage in a single handy container.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:07 PM)
10 March 2005
Bound to perplex

Breathes there a man with soul so dead, who never to himself has said, "Damn, I oughta write a book"?

Probably not. And it occurs to me that by now, with four thousand and odd blog articles, plus nine years' worth of Vents and various other ephemera on this site, I've already written a book. Maybe two or three.

And if I had the brilliance of a Scott Ott, the style and tenacity of a Dawn Eden, or the sheer verve of any number of people who do this better than I do, I'd think about trying to sell this stuff of mine.

On the other hand, I can't think of any reason why anyone should want to reread it at all, let alone in hard copy.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:57 PM)
Come on down to my bloat, baby

Certified Web wizard Kevin Aylward weighs in on why monthly archives — especially Powerline's — are a bad idea:

With time based archives (like monthly and weekly), each entry is not stored on a separate page, but as part of the whole archive page. In the case of Powerline you now have to load the whole monthly archive page to get to any single article. That's not so bad early in the month, but as content and pictures are added eventually it doesn't load very fast — even for high speed internet users. Dial-up users will get hourglasses instead of content.

The advantage of being one person with nothing to say: my largest single monthly archive, instead of being a Powerlinesque 4 MB, is a mere 240 KB. (This would be January 2005, if you're keeping score.) And I have E-Z-Linq individual archives so you don't have to read through them; the main reason I keep monthly archives at all is for my convenience in looking up stuff, in case I know about when I posted something but not necessarily where.

On the other hand, the categories around here are getting out of hand. Political Science Fiction is up around 1 MB at this writing, and Dyssynergy isn't far behind.

Disk-space limits? Perish the thought. I've used up about 105 MB of the 4800 (yes, Virginia, that's four point eight gig) I'm allotted.

(Update: Kevin Aylward adds: "I'm not picking on Powerline — which happens to be one of my favorite blogs — they just made for a fresh example.")

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:19 PM)
12 March 2005
The dimensions of celebrity

Just in the past twenty-four hours, people have wandered to this site inquiring about Pamela Anderson's bust size (which I understand is variable, but considerable), Debra Messing's bust size (which I understand is consistent, but not huge), and Ann Coulter's height (which probably doesn't matter, since she'll look you in the eye regardless).

In addition to these, there are the usual requests for photos of the following sans clothing: model Michelle Lombardo, KWTV news babe Amy McRee, and, most unexpectedly, Laura Ingraham. What's more, the number of Olsen-twin requests is up as well, though Teri Polo requests seem to be on the wane at last. There are, I'm starting to believe, people who think that there exist nude photos of everyone on earth, and that those photos can and will be found if you dig far enough into Google.

It is circumstances such as these which make me somewhat more grateful for my nonentity status: I would probably be horrified were someone searching for me with these specifications.

(For the record, I'm six feet tall, and if I ever run into Ann Coulter, I'll expect her to tower over me, but then I expect her to be wearing heels, and besides I slouch a bit; and only once, in 1984, before the era of digital cameras and readily-available scanners, have I ever posed for a photograph unclothed, not counting whatever baby pictures may have been shot back in the Eisenhower administration, which were presumably done without my consent anyway.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:50 PM)
13 March 2005
That Online Coalition thing

About 2500 bloggers and readers of blogs have so far signed the Online Coalition's letter to FEC chair Scott Thomas requesting an exemption for blogs to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, aka McCain-Feingold, aka The Incumbents' Preservation Act.

Patterico thinks this is the wrong approach:

[I]n my view, political speech is speech at the core of the First Amendment. Neither the FEC nor any other government agency has any right to regulate it in any way. When my right to engage in such speech is threatened, my impulse is not to seek out a law carving out some exception for my speech. My impulse is to tell those responsible that they can go to hell.

Look at the big picture, folks. This isn't about our precious Internet. It's about the very concept of free speech.

What we're seeing is not a crazy offshoot of campaign finance "reform" legislation. It's a logical consequence of it. Something this important can't be handled by legislation, and left to the whims of lawmakers and regulators. It is a constitutional issue, and affects all free speech.

Which, of course, is absolutely true. Still, there's little to no chance that this measure is going to be scrapped anytime soon, and until such time as it is, I'm thinking that I will have to content myself with wangling an exemption, with the hope that some future Supreme Court will choose to send this law to the dustbin, or that some day there will be more exemptions than provisions and the entire house of cards will come crashing down.

The perfect, as they say, is sometimes the enemy of the good. Right now, I'm settling for the good.

(Regular readers will note that this is the exact opposite of my stance on dating and relationships. The consistent, as they say, is sometimes the enemy of the flexible.)

(Update, 15 March, 3:30 pm: Dan Lovejoy is definitely in agreement with Patterico.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:02 AM)
Weapons of crass extraction

Could there possibly be any catchphrase beaten to death more egregiously than the expansion of WMD?

No, there could not.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:31 PM)
How to annoy Christopher Hanson

A week ago Monday, the Baltimore Sun published an op-ed by Christopher Hanson, professor of journalism at the University of Maryland, which acknowledged the power of blogs but complained that they were no substitute for Big Media. A sample:

A great many bloggers are either too self-absorbed to focus on keeping the public informed or too skewed by ideology to put factual accuracy front and center.

Two words: Dan Rather.

But what really vexed me was his gripe about the seeming frivolity of some of us:

Case in point: "The Dawn Patrol," Manhattanite Dawn Eden's preening report on Dawn Eden, iconoclastic neoconservative "petite powerhouse," illustrated with Dawn Eden glamour photos.

Some of us like our iconoclasts to be sorta glamourous when they can. It's not essential or anything — nobody is on my blogroll on the basis of physical appearance — but what's the harm?

Since this sort of thing apparently disturbs Professor Hanson greatly, I'm collecting glamour shots of bloggers for The Annoy Christopher Hanson Campaign. If you'd like to participate and possibly be singled out for abuse in his next op-ed, feel free.

(Update, 15 March, 2:50 pm: Christopher Hanson responds via email: "I am trying to be annoyed but am actually flattered by the attention.")

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:19 PM)
14 March 2005
Walking my own walk

MoiI must point out here, for the sake of propriety face-retention, that it has been suggested that I provide a shot of myself for the sake of perplexing Dr Hanson, and, well, I don't have any compelling reasons really good excuse to refuse, so, well, here's a relatively recent not all that old shot that I vaguely resemble in a fuzzy sort of way and have used in shrunken form elsewhere as a calling card marginally-convincing form of identification.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:11 PM)
16 March 2005
See 130

Not C-130, which is the Air Force's Hercules aircraft.

Instead, you should see the 130th Carnival of the Vanities, hosted this week by Bird's Eye View, and once again bringing you high-quality bloggage in a single handy digest. As He Who Does Not Need The Linkage might say, you might find a blog you like better than this one.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:58 PM)
They read me, they really read me

I've stayed out of the "Is blogging a boys' club?" discussion stirred up by Steven Levy and abetted largely by Jeff Jarvis, but this piece by Cobb got me thinking:

In the blogosphere there is a real contingency of patronage. I'm not sure that everyone is so eager to say so, but it's real. As real as is the term 'blogosphere' is the term 'blogfather'. Ask any blogger of substance, and if they're honest (and are abetted by a technical clue or two) they'll know which other blogs send them the most traffic. They will also almost surely know who gave them their big break and under which circumstances that occured. There is not a conspiracy of white male bloggers, and I'd guess all of them would be loath to admit any such clubbiness, but all popular bloggers belong to a club and none of them are about to delink anytime soon.

I am neither popular nor possessed of substance — bulk, perhaps — but I do know which other blogs send me the most traffic. Day in, day out, the following (listed alphabetically by first non-article word) show up most often in my referrer logs:

   Baldilocks
   BatesLine
   The Dawn Patrol
   little green footballs
   ScrappleFace
   A Small Victory
   Victory Soap (and previous names)
   Yippie-Ki-Yay! (and previous name)

Four men, four women. (My two largest traffic days ever came from a post by Michelle Malkin, but this was a fluke.) If there's really a "boys' club," no one's given me the Secret Handshake yet. And I don't really have a "blogfather," since I was out here before most of my regular reads; further, to my knowledge, no one sees me in this role.

I must point out that neither ScrappleFace nor LGF has ever linked to any individual article of mine, but I seem to rank somewhere above the middle of their blogrolls, and I have had some email correspondence with Scott Ott.

Oh, and I got pointed to the Cobb article by La Shawn Barber (in lieu of the usual "Via" tag).

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:49 PM)
18 March 2005
With right hand raised

Dear Patterico:

The events of this day perhaps have emboldened me, and it's about time.

I will not be silenced, no matter what the Federal Election Commission or any other government agency throws at me in an attempt to circumvent the First Amendment.

Thank you for sticking to your guns.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:41 PM)
20 March 2005
Begging off

The assignment:

Recall a time when the action/inaction of yourself or others has led, through a series of events, into having a profound effect on your life or others.

So far as I know, I have had no effect on anyone apart from immediate family members, and none of them would likely describe it as "profound."

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:34 AM)
But always two groups

Remember the flap over Linkers vs. Thinkers? It's back, and now there are gender implications (see Comment V):

the main difference i see between male and female bloggers is that (by and large) male bloggers tend to be content aggregators, whereas female bloggers tend to be content providers. with a lot of the male blogs, all the hyper-linking sometimes comes across as a bit of willy-waving — "oh look at me, look at the sources i read." with female blogs, it's more frequently more general, chatty, real even.

Of course, there is a disclaimer attached:

to solve the wild generalisation problem such a sweeping comment creates: some male bloggers write 'female' blogs and some female bloggers write 'male' blogs.

Okay, I'll buy that, provided the quotes are kept in place, though it's ultimately a circular argument. Certainly there's no clear delineation that can be reliably identified by textual analysis, and no one person reads so many blogs that (s)he is capable of making this sort of judgment call and making it stick.

(I could say something about "male bloggers tend to use actual capitalization once in a while," but that isn't universally true either.)

For myself, I still think I am where I was when I wrote my original piece on the subject two years ago: somewhere in between. On the other hand, I must agree that there's an awful lot of, um, willy-waving out there. I assume I'm not doing much of it, because I don't hear a lot of giggling in the background.

(Found at aldahlia.net.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:08 AM)
Think of it as a valve job

Steph Mineart, whose Commonplace Book I have been reading for about six or seven years, is facing open-heart surgery: repairs to the mitral valve and its anchoring.

This is scary, but not likely lethal, and I wish her well as she gets ready to go under the scalpel.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:49 PM)
22 March 2005
The things some people read

With almost seven hours left before midnight, this is the site's fourth-busiest day ever, and there's a good chance it might make it to third. (Christmas Day 2004, I had 2,075 visitors; as of thirty seconds ago, I was at 1,721, and still averaging over 90 an hour.)

And the page everyone is demanding today was written in October 2003. Being the kindly soul I am, I posted an update last night, but hardly anyone has read it. I assume this is because the visitors were looking for something other than mere text.

(Update: Finished the day at 2,040.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:16 PM)
23 March 2005
For the 131st time

The Carnival of the Vanities is upon us, this week through the kind indulgence of CodeBlueBlog. A lot of the good stuff you missed in the last seven days is right here in a handy single-page package.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:11 AM)
25 March 2005
It's never been a boys' club

A reminder from Aldahlia for those still wondering "Where are the women bloggers?":

There are MORE female bloggers out there than male. And, females have been in the blogging business for just as long, despite the claim that "men are more technical and got here first." Usr/bin/girl's blog started when Kottke's did. JenniCam hit the big time around the same time as Matt Drudge. KatGyrl set up the old school font collective before Atrios had even found blogger.com.

I suspect both Drudge and Jenni would wince at being lumped in with the bloggers, but the point is made: the guys didn't blaze this trail alone. Indeed, one of the reasons I started doing this on a daily basis five years ago was sheer admiration for what I was reading at /usr/bin/girl, which is to this day listed on the front-page sidebar under "Inspirations". (Bless you, Zannah. The rest of you, please do not hold this against her.)

And anyone who'd argue that "men are more technical" never saw me trying to fix a MySQL error.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:29 AM)
Blogging the moon landing

Yeah, I know, this was 1969, before the invention of Wi-Fi or even comment spam.

But still: what if?

Matt Barr, the New World Man, shows you what it might have been like.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:38 PM)
27 March 2005
Remembrance of Vents past

If there exists a Blog Intelligentsia, certainly Terry Teachout and Pejman Yousefzadeh are Members in Brilliant Standing, so I was not surprised to find them taking on the fabled Proust Questionnaire, which Proust didn't actually write, but which he was asked to complete at a party for a friend.

A slightly-streamlined version of the Questionnaire appears on the back page of Vanity Fair each month. And if you're wondering when I'm going to get around to it, the answer is August 2002.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:19 AM)
30 March 2005
One thirty-two

The 132nd edition of Carnival of the Vanities, hosted by Eric Berlin, adds something new, and, well, let him describe it:

Like any other week, the Carnival is a madhouse array of postings from all around the blogosphere, submitted by the bloggers themselves. Unlike any other week, your humble Carnival host has also taken it upon himself to make shit up.

Indeed, of the 55 entries on display, eleven are flat-out fakes. Try your luck at spotting them all. (Not open to employees of CBS Worldwide Inc., Viacom, its subsidiaries and assigns.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:06 AM)
Can I pick 'em or what?

The answer, of course, is No.

Regular readers will remember that every year since 1984 I have attempted to pick the Playboy Playmate of the Year, and every year since 1984 I have been completely, utterly, definitively wrong.

Somewhere out there in the great state of Centerfoldia, my secret source — let's call her "Deep Cleavage" — has sent word that once again I have failed.

You know, consistency can get awfully tiring after a couple of decades.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:16 PM)
31 March 2005
Over one million served

Well, not yet, but sometime this afternoon, predicts Site Meter (okay, quit laughing), this humble little wrecking yard of a Web site will serve up page view #1,000,000.

My thanks to the 685,000 visitors so far, some of whom looked at more than one page.

(Update: Okay, very late this afternoon. At 9:41 pm Central Standard — got that? Standard — Time. A Googler from 68.118.249.162 in Worcester, pronounced sort of like Wistuh, Massachusetts.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:49 AM)
1 April 2005
Date exploitation

If you think it's Malkin but it's not....

(Via Cutting to the Chase.)

(Update, 2 April: This being a new date, the fun stuff has been relocated here.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:27 AM)
4 April 2005
The San Francisco threat

The Board of Supervisors in Baghdad-by-the-Bay is contemplating a new city ordinance which would require local bloggers to register with the city Ethics Commission and report all blog-related costs over $1000. The actual ordinance [link requires Adobe Reader] doesn't mention blogs specifically, but its definition of "communications" includes everything transmitted openly over the Internet.

You can imagine what Daily Pundit Bill Quick thinks about this:

My City is known for nutball politicos, but this bit of business ought to be completely beyond the pale. The naked infringement on the First Amendment (not that the Board of Supervisors necessarily considers itself running a city that is actually a part of the United States of America — or one governed by the U.S. Constitution, for that matter) is just another bit of fallout from the unconscionable McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act, which was upheld by the Supreme Court as being constitutional. If the courts then see the necessity of ordering the FEC to regulate the internet, why should not every tinpot city council and board of supervisors do likewise? After all, it serves the cause of campaign finance reform, doesn't it?

And, of course, a blog doesn't have to be in San Francisco to be read in San Francisco, which means that theoretically anyone from Oakland to Oklahoma City to the Okefenokee could fall under the provisions of this bill.

All the more reason, then, to make fun of it now.

(Update, 4:20 pm: Bill Quick spoke with a staffer in the office of one of the Supervisors, and said staffer says that blogs are "specifically exempt." Mr Quick was happy to point out that blogs are not, in fact, mentioned in the text. The vote is tomorrow; he says he'll be there, and I thank him for keeping an eye on the Supervisors.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:14 AM)
5 April 2005
Carnival 133

It's the 133rd Carnival of the Vanities, brought to you this week by Incite, and what's more, brought to you early.

Your weekly compendium of bloggy goodness awaits.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:06 AM)
Kick that enthusiasm to the curb

A reasonable question from Eric Siegmund: "Will there eventually be a Pulitzer Prize for blogging?"

Yes, there will. As with the dead-tree version, it will usually go to the wrong person.

And if there is online voting, expect tremendous amounts of fraud.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:40 PM)
Random shots

Greg Hlatky on Ace's retirement:

Proof, if more proof was needed, that prolific blogging is the enemy of the good.

I've been proving this for years.

Meanwhile in 11D, Laura wonders where the thrill comes from:

There's no money or glory in blogging, so bloggers must be fueled by something else. Like the gotcha moments when they snag major media in errors or bias.

I don't need to do that; I can make my own errors and exhibit my own bias.

And Farrah wants to know:

Wonder where teens got the idea that oral sex really isn't sex?

Um, word of mouth?

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:15 PM)
6 April 2005
Two tales of turnout

A mere 1,543 people turned out for the runoff for the District 2 seat on the Oklahoma City school board yesterday, in which Gail Vines defeated Gary Walker. At my precinct, evidently they had side bets on how many bodies would show up at the polls; somebody was saying "Well, we got our sixty" as I was leaving. (I was #58.)

Meanwhile, 3,430 people (more than ever before) showed up at this Web site yesterday, the vast majority of which were reading this page from the fall of 2003, presumably because the story contained therein ended this week.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:09 AM)
7 April 2005
The over/under

La Shawn Barber obviously isn't afraid of stirring the stew:

1. Who are the top 10 5 overrated bloggers/blogs?

2. Who are the top 10 5 underrated bloggers/blogs?

I could fill up the "overrated" column just with Nick Denton-related stuff, although I must acknowledge that I read most of it on a daily basis, and I retain a residual fondness for the weirdness that is Wonkette, even though her contributions to the national dialogue are, um, dubious at best. (Besides, she has G. Beato spelling her these days, and G. Beato is a genius, even in this context, and despite the fact that I seldom agree with him on anything.) I might make an exception for Defamer, since The Blogger Previously Known As Bunsen sets exactly the right tone for a Hollywood scandal sheet.

Oh, and throw in Andrew Sullivan. He's turned into a one-trick pony, and he doesn't even bother to argue the point coherently anymore.

Of the blogs I think ought to get a lot more traffic than they do (the very definition of "underrated"), I think among the most deserving is Population Statistic, or will be when CT comes back from spring break, or wherever he's been the last week.

Also up-and-coming and, to me at least, consistently interesting: New World Man and Jacqueline Passey.

Feel free to make your own nominations in Comments. Keep in mind that any rating I might receive is overrated by definition.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:29 AM)
9 April 2005
Pease porridge in the pot

Nine years old.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:00 AM)
The ten habits of highly irritating bloggers

According to La Shawn Barber, anyway:

1.  Bloggers who trackback to a post on this blog but fail to link to this blog in their post.

I'm usually pretty good about this, though I've noticed that the blogs using HaloScan are basically immune to MT's "auto-discovery" technique, which is something less than infallible in itself. What chaps my hips is a series of multiple TBs on the same post, especially if I, in my blinkered ignorance, sent them myself.

2.  Online news sites that don't link to blogs mentioned in a story.

3.  High-traffic bloggers who forget to link to my blog or mistakenly link to a different blog in a post where my blog is the subject.

#2 I agree with; on #3, I have to wonder if she'd object so strenuously were it a low-traffic blogger committing these sins of omission.

4.  Bloggers who write long posts about why they have no time to blog.

5.  Bloggers who write about their latest illness, right down to the details of an infection and physical description of a rash.

Um, guilty as charged, especially with regard to #5. (Of course, I'm doing this exercise because I have no time to write anything.)

6.  Commenters who respond to a post without actually reading the whole post, or if they have read it, their comment doesn't reflect it.

7.  People who leave off-topic comments on a post to tell me they just e-mailed me.

8.  Bloggers whose posts are mainly complaints against other bloggers.

I think I generally avoid these particular peccadillos ("peccadilli"?).

9.  Bloggers who don't include any biographical information about themselves. Even if blogging anonymously, you can still supply basic, non-identifying information.

10.  Bloggers who either don't list contact information or make it difficult to find.

Were I any easier to find, I'd probably be on your porch.

I conclude that, at least by LSB's standards, I am moderately irritating at best worst.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:06 PM)
12 April 2005
Number 700,000

At 4:16 and a fraction this afternoon, from a RoadRunner IP in Kansas City (65.26.88.93). Referring page was blocked; whoever it was read three pages in 43 seconds (not bad) and split.

Whoever you are, thank you.

(This means 100,000 visitors since the 23rd of December.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:24 PM)
13 April 2005
We're up to 134

Dr Zen presents the 134th Carnival of the Vanities at yeah whatever, which is a handy phrase for those of us who have had to write basically this same post a hundred and some odd times over.

Anyway, it's a week's worth of superior bloggage in a single handy package, yadda^3, you know the drill. You can skip over this one item from me.

(Update: Some people are less than pleased about it.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:57 PM)
14 April 2005
Silence is golden

As late as this morning, I was contemplating the idea of adding audio clips to this site as an Additional Gee-Whiz Feature, because, after all, I am a guy and I take Gee-Whiz (well, Whiz anyway) very, very seriously.

Andrea Harris shot down that idea, probably for good:

I, and I am sure a lot if not most of the bloggers out there, have a face for radio and a voice for print. I can't stand to hear my own voice on a recording device — I sound like Kermit the Frog with a sinus infection. I held out for years before buying a fucking answering machine. I'm fifty pounds overweight. Why the hell would I think anyone would want to hear or see me?

But the other, and more important (to me anyway) thing is that print is a faster and more efficient way of getting a message across than voice or video. Think about how long it takes to sit and listen to or watch a monologue, and then go read a passage of text containing about the same amount of words. Which was faster? Also, which didn't have someone (say this was an amateur, inexperienced monologist) punctuating his or her speech with pauses and silences of varying length, stutters, stammers, the involuntary "ahs," "ems," and "uh....s" that all but the most experienced public speakers can't entirely eliminate from their conversation.

Mrs. du Toit was good at this. She didn't have her speech interrupted by random noises or unexpected silences; her delivery was smooth, and it didn't at all hurt that she has a voice that will melt zinc. Still, she's the exception: the rest of us (and I sound like Andy Devine's horse trying to do an impression of Rochester) establish the rule.

A certain amount of gratitude (I think she prefers cash) would seem to be in order.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:18 AM)
15 April 2005
Ripped from the very pages

If you asked me to make a list of Things I Will Never Be, probably at the very top would be "fantasy figure"; I can't imagine anyone wasting their time on such a forlorn figment of imagination.

On the other hand, I couldn't imagine myself as a character in fan fiction, even a relatively unimportant one, and yet:

I unfolded a piece of paper I'd retrieved from my pants pocket and tried the first set of numbers on the list: 11-29-98. "Nope. Wrong, Karl." I tried the second: 5-29-74. Nothing. "Too bad, Ken." Then I tried the last combination on the list: A simple: 1-4-5. Again, nothing. "Sorry Karl. Maybe you shoulda used that computer." I thought for a second, pulled out my cell phone, and rang-up a number Karl had given me: "Hello, Mr. Dustbury? How's that wind? Still sweepin' down the plain? Ha, ha! . . . . It isn't? Oh . . . Mr. Dustbury, this is Frank. . . . Francis. . . . Francis Farquhar. . . The Farquhars of Pauls Valley? No. . . I don't think so. . . I'm here at the Command Center. . . Yes, Karl asked me. . . . anyway. . ."

No, it's not Karl Malone or Karl Malden.

(Incidentally, our heroine, contrary to the impression given in the story, is darn near five-foot-two.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:37 PM)
16 April 2005
Things I learned today (6)

After all, one should never run out of things to do and learn.

I haven't done one of these for, like, months.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:00 PM)
17 April 2005
Where's the front of the horse?

TrackBack spammers: can't live with them, can't have them hunted down and killed. (Yet.)

I went through a spate of attacks by these grit-eating, scum-sucking, pencil-neck geeks myself, though I never got fifty at a shot the way Michael Bates did this weekend, or the mass quantities that have befallen cut on the bias and other Blogfodder sites.

Not necessarily apropos of which, Susanna said this earlier:

We're talking about corrections this week in class, and one of the things I always emphasize is that to be rehabilitated, you have to be habilitated in the first place. Supposedly rehabilitation programs are targeted at returning someone to a law-abiding and somewhat societally-functional behavior. The problem is, for a sizeable portion of the prison population, they've never had a law-abiding and societally-functional life to begin with so there's nothing to return to.

I submit that spammers, regardless of the technology used, are emotionally wedded to the concept of getting something for nothing, of riding roughshod over the rights and the property of others; trying to turn them from worthless parasites into useful citizens is likely to be a complete waste of time.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:53 AM)
Double vision

Tim Blair's commentary at timblair.net will be supplemented, for the time being, by the writings of Tim Dunlop. (Although, in fairness, I'd rather deal with Tim & Tim than, say, Ed, Edd n Eddy.)

Lest you think this is some sort of guy thing, while Steph Mineart's in the hospital, A Commonplace Book will be presided o'er by Stephanie K.

Now if I see another Yahmdallah, then I'm going to worry.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:11 AM)
20 April 2005
Carnival #135

The 135th weekly edition of Carnival of the Vanities is up and running at Conservative Dialysis; so far, there are no signs of a counter-Carnival.

Sixty-one items from last week's best bloggage (plus one from me), ready for your inspection.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:31 AM)
21 April 2005
We give you the bird

If you have a browser of a certain age and level of sophistication, at the very left of the URL space in the address bar you'll find a tiny image (16 x 16 pixels) which turns out to be the head of the goldfinch used as part of this site's logo. This is a file called favicon.ico which is dropped into the root directory and which the browser is trained to find. (If you've bookmarked this site — and if you have, what's wrong with you? — you may see the same icon on the bookmark itself.)

Generally, if you see one of these on a site that's not running on Typepad or some similar all-blogs-all-the-time service, it's because the site operator went to a certain amount of trouble to set it up for you.

This is, however, not the case with Progressive Reaction. Says David Fleck:

I want to make it perfectly clear that the weird little icon that is now being displayed next to "Progressive Reaction" in the URL bar, bookmarks, and tabs is being foisted upon us by our hosting company, and that we would never intentionally put such a wussy little — thing on our blog.

So noted.

Maybe Fleck (or Moira Breen) should swipe Jane Galt's icon, which has the virtue of simplicity.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:27 AM)
Spotty performance

So where are all the Blogspot blogs? They started disappearing yesterday, and I haven't seen one since.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:22 AM)
22 April 2005
Quotes of the week

Couldn't decide between them, so you get them both.

First, from Aldahlia:

Jewel — Too old to be totally unaware that the irony is now wearing her.

And also first, from Brian J. Noggle:

I bought a pair of Levi's 404 jeans, but now I can't find them.

There is, in fact, some truth to that LOL business.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:31 AM)
24 April 2005
True D'oh

Apparently what I do here is a laughing matter.

(Um, thanks, Sean.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:38 AM)
Eschewing obfuscation

Thirty-five articles from last week were up on the front page (plus the usual sidebar detritus) when I sent it through this Readability Test, and these are the results:

Total sentences:  1,201
Total words:  8,408
Average words per Sentence:  7.00
Words with 1 Syllable:  5,521
Words with 2 Syllables:  1,659
Words with 3 Syllables:  941
Words with 4 or more Syllables:  287
Percentage of words with three or more syllables:  14.61%
Average Syllables per Word:  1.52
Gunning Fog Index:  8.64
Flesch Reading Ease:  70.84
Flesch-Kincaid Grade:  5.12

Robert Gunning's Fog Index is an estimate of educational accomplishment necessary to wade through this stuff: 8.64 suggests someone in the second semester of 9th grade might be able to decipher it.

The two Flesch scores are derived similarly. The Reading Ease number falls on a descending scale of 100 to 1, where 100 is down below "One state, two state, red state, blue state" and 1 is beyond even an automatic Chomsky generator. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is a conversion of the Reading Ease figure to US grade-school levels; apparently Flesch and/or Kincaid have faith that the sixth-graders can handle this material, even though Gunning thinks it's almost out of middle-school range.

Sudden fear: that a middle-school teacher will actually assign this drivel.

Note: Two years ago, Oscar Jr. applied Flesch-Kincaid to a different set of articles and came up with a Grade Level of 9.6 for this site.

(By way of the highly-readable Acidman.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:05 PM)
26 April 2005
Honey, the marsupials are marauding

Eric Siegmund bids farewell to the TTLB Ecosystem, finding its priorities and his no longer in sync.

Perhaps the Ethel the Frog Ecosystem might provide a closer approximation to what he's looking for — and it's a lot faster than Technorati.

(Via some blog which will probably be deleted by tomorrow anyway.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:31 PM)
Actual fame

Erica debuts on the Minneapolis Metroblog.

(14:59 to go.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:22 PM)
27 April 2005
One hundred thirty-six

For the 136th time, it's the Carnival of the Vanities, this week under the direction of John C. A. Bambenek, and every week your first choice for better bloggage, especially this week since I didn't submit anything.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:34 PM)
29 April 2005
It pays to read the fine print

This little pearl of wisdom is tucked away on Andrea Harris' sidebar:

Increase/decrease text:
Firefox users: Ctrl +/-
Internet Explorer users: download Firefox

Can't argue with that.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:15 AM)
Blogosphere: The Movie

I'm sure this sort of thing has been around once or twice before, but in this specific instance, I'm swiping it from The Daily Bitch:

If you were to make a movie of your favorite blog author (based on what you read there), what actor/actress would you choose to play that author? (you may choose more than one if you like)

Have at it, and keep it at least reasonably clean, 'kay?

Addendum: Syaffolee has some reservations about this exercise:

I mean, a blogger is so individual and representing them with someone who can only pretend to be them seems so insipid.

(Updated at 9:15, 30 April.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:25 AM)
1 May 2005
You were who again?

Paul "Deacon" Mirengoff, on a gap between Real Life and Blog Life:

It's fun to introduce oneself as a blogger for Power Line at events like this. In the various "day jobs" I've held, the reaction when I introduce and identify myself is pretty uniform — a reasonably respectful acknowledgment. As a blogger, by contrast, I almost invariably receive one of two reactions, glowing praise or a look of total incomprehension.

Myself, I'm working on somehow fusing the two.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:50 AM)
3 May 2005
Pajamas in Walden

The Blog of Henry David Thoreau turns out to be fragments of Thoreau's actual journal, ordered by date if not necessarily by year.

Of course, I had to see this to see if it was running Movable Forts and Magazines v.1.0.

(Via Reflections in d minor, and I'm sure Thoreau didn't wear pajamas, but bear with me here.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:26 AM)
Springing forward to the fallback position

It occurred to me at some point this afternoon that I had put up two consecutive posts containing the same phrase: "Now if you'll excuse me..."

Which, now that I think about it, I've used three times before just since the MT installation in 2002, by which time I'd already accumulated six years' worth of clichés on this site.

Heh. I'm beginning to think I need one of those "unoriginal response" jars.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:56 PM)
4 May 2005
137

Which is, of course, the square of the charge of the electron divided by the speed of light times Planck's constant.

And also the number of weeks we've had the Carnival of the Vanities, the 137th version of which is hosted by Fresh Politics. A week's worth of superior bloggage, just in case you missed it the first time around.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:53 PM)
7 May 2005
Let me roll it

I have no idea how long my blogroll is, and I'm not going to count all the entries thereupon to check. (BlogShares lists 181 under "All Outgoing Links," but this includes items that were linked in entries on the front page the last time they spidered the place.) I have no idea how many other blogs have me on their rolls, though I would guess somewhere around, oh, 181 or so.

And no, I don't use Blogrolling or any of those other aggravation aggregation tools: it's strictly manual. The heading on the roll reads "Blogs I read when I can," which means exactly what it says it does: these are blogs I visit on something resembling a regular basis. I am loath to drop anyone simply because of extended silence, so there are a few entries marked "on hiatus," and there is one (Steven Den Beste) who is not coming back but whom I can't bring myself to delink, who is marked "emeritus."

Which is by way of saying that I run this roll, not to score Brownie points with Technorati or to suck up to N. Z. Bear, but simply as a convenience to me. It contains some A-list names, yes, but it also contains a lot of blogs that don't have A-level audiences — yet.

Aldahlia notes that some people find the very concept of blogrolls hurtful, and gives this notion the sort of scorn I think it deserves:

[I]f you honestly think that perma-linking other blogs "hurts" the blog-o-sphere, I can only assume that you are the Athena of the blogging Universe. That you popped out of some server's head, fully-formed, with a worshipping audience ready to comment on your brilliance. Aren't you just special?

The rest of us, however, have to build an audience. And, links are how you do that. And, when I find something new and promising, or someone that I can't believe I missed all this time, or just something cool in general, I'm gonna link them. Because they deserve it.

And, I don't think this call for the withdrawal of blogrolls has anything to do with preventing psychic pain in the world-o-bloggers.

It sounds a whole lot more like, "Well, if I can't play the Pirate Captain, then I'm gonna take my toys and go home. The rest of y'all can just walk the plank."

Why in the world would anyone think something like that?

The general theory is that "I'm not being taken seriously."

"I only have 500, 1000, 2500, etc, hits a day, and that guy gets 50,000 a day for posting material that isn't even any good or fresh or anything, and it's not fair."

God forbid there should be a Committee for Fairness to Bloggers. (Why, someone would put up a Blogspot blog just to fisk its findings.)

This is the second time in recent weeks I've had an excuse to link to Joan Baez's "Time Rag", a semi-hilarious rap (yes!) she did in the late Seventies. (The first was here.) What she said:

I never made the January issue of TIME
And just before I run out of words that rhyme
I really should tell you that deep in my heart
I don't give a damn where I stand on the charts
Not as long as the sun sinks into the west
And that's going to be a pretty serious test.....of time

And yes, my audience has grown, from 6400 over the first three years to about 6400 a week today, but it's not because I've been embraced by the A-list (I haven't) or because I've worked diligently to promote the site (I haven't): it's simply that I turn out rather a lot of words, and sooner or later somebody reads them and finds them somewhat worthy. In other words, there's some truth to that possibly-apocryphal Woody Allen quote about how half/80 percent/90 percent (choose one) of life is just showing up. It's not like I'm anything special, but dammit, I'm here.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:09 PM)
8 May 2005
The unexciting life

A warning from Paul Musgrave:

If bloggers are ever to replace the role of big media institutions as responsible purveyors of information, they're going to have to cover some truly boring stuff, like drainage boards and ethics commissions.

I dunno. I don't seem to have any problems writing about truly boring stuff.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:32 AM)
9 May 2005
Google: the great equalizer

According to the old small-p proverb, "The words you speak today should be soft and tender...for tomorrow you may have to eat them."

With the rise of the Net, you may not even have to wait for tomorrow, and someone will be more than happy to shove them back down your throat.

Scenario: North Dakota high-school senior bashes the yearbook faculty advisor on some Xanga site. Said advisor's daughter discovers the post and reproduces it on her blog, with, um, recommendations to the student.

Just one brief passage:

I'm still so impressed by your assertiveness and your take-charge take-this-spoon-and-shove-it attitude. You'll enjoy your career of supersizing meals for customers.

In a different world, this kid would be painting "Romani ite domum" on the walls of the city. For now, he's just going to be screaming for a sitz bath.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:54 AM)
10 May 2005
How can people be so heartless?

I've only glanced at The Huffington Post, and while I can't say for certain that it's full of crap, I suspect that it's a real dog.

And after reading this post last night from Andrea Harris, perhaps three of them.

[insert "seven separate fools" joke here]

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:10 PM)
11 May 2005
138

Which is twice sixty-nine, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Meanwhile, the 138th Carnival of the Vanities can be seen and enjoyed at Cynical Nation.

In other 138 news, onethirtyeight.com is devoted to the Glenn Danzig era of The Misfits, a fact which deserves an explanation.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:12 PM)
14 May 2005
You dare to criticize us?

Blogger Christophe Grébert is not at all appreciated by the power structure in his home city of Puteaux, France: last year he was arrested for his commentary, but subsequently released, and now he is being sued by the mayor.

He's taking donations via PayPal to help with his legal woes. Somehow, the sheer joy of annoying French officialdom was enough to coax ten euros out of my wallet.

(Via Doc Searls.)

(Update, 10 am, 15 May: M. Grébert wrote to his donors — seventy-eight so far — to thank them for their participation, which gives him great confidence as he faces his showdown with the mayor, scheduled for the 21st of June. At least, that's what I got out of it with my just-above-menu-level French.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:20 PM)
15 May 2005
Welcome to Louavul

It's time for another of Steph Mineart's Big Things trips, where she turns her camera on, well, things that are big.

This time she's in Louisville, a place full of fascination, and plenty of it big. I wish I had some kind of eye for this sort of thing.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:27 PM)
17 May 2005
This is a test

Tulsa's MeeCiteeWurkor wonders if his TrackBack function is working.

Actually, he's kind of hoping it isn't, because if it is, it means he's not writing anything worth linking, or so he thinks.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:27 AM)
18 May 2005
Dustbury à la française

The most interesting thing about this, I thought, was how it rendered the blogroll. La Patrouille d'Aube and Une Petite Victoire have their charms, but I suspect the one I'm going to remember is Ce Blog Est Plein de la Merde.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:00 AM)
139

It's the single most dangerous port on a computer connected to the Internet.

On the other hand, there's no danger involved in reading Carnival of the Vanities #139, presented this week by Commonwealth Conservative, and as always highlighting the best of seven days' worth of bloggage — unless, of course, you find the possibility of opening minds to be potentially hazardous.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:25 AM)
21 May 2005
"Live-blogging" doesn't quite fit

Now this is genuinely creepy: a murder victim blogged the arrival of his killer, his sister's ex-boyfriend, who subsequently hung around and killed the sister as well.

Here's the last entry.

The perp, confronted with the entry, confessed.

(Via Doc Searls.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:23 AM)
22 May 2005
Their gal in cyberspace

Good Thing: Dawn Eden's column for the New York Daily News contains actual URLs to stories of note.

Not-So-Good Thing: The Daily News online editor apparently has yet to figure out how to turn those URLs into actual, clickable links.

Still, it's a step ahead for good ol' dead-tree media, and unlike those other New York papers, the Daily News has yet to make its online readers jump through absurd registration hoops.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:47 AM)
23 May 2005
Hey, read this, will you?

I don't get that many emails from people wanting to call attention to their latest and greatest blog posts, largely because I don't get that much traffic in the first place — currently around 6000 a week, which sounds impressive only if you're getting 600 or 60 or, God forbid, 6 — and I can't imagine someone lying awake at night hoping against hope for an actual, um, Dustalanche.

I do read the ones I get, though, and I probably wind up linking the majority of them, if only because each one I do link is one less item I have to come up with on my own. (And you thought I was prolific! Ha!)

I'm pretty sure, though, I won't get one from Lana at live from the guillotine:

I cannot bring myself to do this. It feels too much like bragging or begging and I do neither. I've emailed exactly two people with a post. The first time it was a solicited type thing, as in email a funny story which tops this, and of course I couldn't resist. The second was an issue I really wanted to address and I emailed it to several people who had more influence than I did so that I could get the message out. That seems modest enough to me; 2 years of blogging and 2 emailed posts.

I think I've sent out five or six myself since the discovery of fire, two of which actually went to the Blogfather himself. (I still wince at this term, since I started before he did; nonetheless, I know my place in the pecking order.) Once or twice I started to write an official Policy on Emailed Links, but I decided it was more trouble than it was worth, and I continue to think so.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:33 AM)
25 May 2005
140

Maison 140 is a boutique hotel (43 rooms) on Lasky (as in Jesse) Drive in Beverly Hills (90212).

Not quite so deluxe, but probably a lot more edifying, is Carnival of the Vanities #140, brought to you this week by Karol at Alarming News, and stuffed to the very walls (or whatever) with bloggy goodness.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:16 PM)
30 May 2005
Random hiss levels

It's "so much noise," says Jeff Brokaw as he folds his tent and steals away into the night:

Bloggers themselves, for the most part, have gotten boring. A good blogger needs at least one of these two things: kick-ass writing talent, or voluminous content. Most bloggers, sad to say, are just not that interesting as writers, or, not that voluminous as content providers. Think about it. If they were, you would only need to read three or four bloggers every day instead of 15 or 20. There are rare exceptions to this, of course. Hog on Ice. Ace of Spades. Orrin Judd. Tony Woodlief, Lileks and American Digest. A few others. But mostly, it's a part time gig, and it shows. Which is OK, I guess, since people do have lives to lead and mortgages to pay. But I really think we are kidding ourselves if we think most of this bilge amounts to anything important, that will stand the test of time.

For some reason, this made me think of American composer Charles Ives, who earned his keep by selling insurance and writing music in his spare time. His "part time gig" won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1947.

I don't think for a moment that anything I've written is much more than pop ephemera, nor do I envision that I could make a living with these words of mine. If anything, I lean toward Thoreau's thinking:

I too had woven a kind of basket of a delicate texture, but I had not made it worth any one's while to buy them. Yet not the less, in my case, did I think it worth my while to weave them, and instead of studying how to make it worth men's while to buy my baskets, I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling them. The life which men praise and regard as successful is but one kind. Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others?

And I don't pretend that I'm in the same league with the favored few: I'll never be as funny as Steve, either as hard-hitting or as whimsical as Lileks, as pointed as Ace. (I am, however, probably as fat as The Fat Guy.)

Still, my lack of accomplishment hasn't driven me out of blogdom yet. In a more orderly world, perhaps it would have. I think Jeff and I just disagree on the actual threshold. And it's been quite a long time since I could get through a day with reading only 15 or 20 blogs.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:20 AM)
31 May 2005
Behind the screens

One of the ongoing projects around here was to clean up the 1800 or so posts which were constructed in such a matter as to take advantage of various Internet Explorer quirks but which looked like hell, or at least like heck, in Firefox and other browsers which hew more closely to the W3C standards book. To my amazement, this is now actually mostly done; anything else that looks like hell is due to my own clumsiness, and not Microsoft's.

While reviewing all these posts, I shuffled some of them into different categories, so if you're wondering why the category counts have been way inconsistent of late, this is why.

And I revised the archives a bit: TrackBacks are now displayed inline, instead of in a pop-up box, on individual-archive pages. (Neither comments nor TrackBacks are displayed on category or monthly archives, which will be taken care of One Of These Days.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:24 AM)
Just don't call it a Carnival

First, the nomenclature:

A cotillion or debutante ball is a formal presentation of young ladies, debutantes, to polite society.

Debutantes are usually recommended by a distinguished committee or sponsored by an established member of society.

Which, you have to admit, sounds traditional. Conservative, even.

Hence The Cotillion, which turns out to be a collection of blog posts by conservative womenfolk. It's genuinely interesting this time around, and what's more, there isn't anything by the likes of me in it.

I assume this will be a weekly event, unless they have to send out engraved invitations or something, and I suspect it will catch on pretty quickly.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:30 AM)
1 June 2005
Parental guidance suggested

Back in the Nineties there was a brief vogue for Web-page ratings using the recommendations of the Recreational Software Advisory Council, which I, contrarian so-and-so that I am, declined to implement:

The short answer is that writing a few lines of PICS code is not going to protect anybody's children. If I thought for a minute that I could summon the forces of the universe by means of the <META> tag, surely I would have accomplished far greater things, or at least far more interesting things, by now.

But that's not really the issue either. While display of the RSACi logo does not officially imply anything, there are people who will take its presence as some sort of moral imprimatur, and its absence as an admission of shame. These people are obviously deeply confused, and I have no great urge to add further to their confusion.

Today, RSACi no longer exists, and if we're concerned about such things, we have to take matters into our own hands. Julie Neidlinger has done so:

Regarding the safety of this site for youngsters (ages 0-18, or those children firmly in the grip of public education or tied to apron strings), no. This blog is NOT SAFE. Parents should not let their children read this blog, despite letting them watch any old crap on TV or on DVD, or despite having children who could curse me into a corner with words I didn't know existed. This is not hypocritical. This is parenting! No. This blog is NOT SAFE!

For one thing, it requires the ability to read, and understand basic English grammar and usage. Getting beyond that tricky catch, sarcasm, contradiction, stating the obvious, hidden meanings, avoidance of bad grammar and spelling, and other written feats of magic are used to convey both simple and complex ideas. Some of these ideas include things that aren't happy thoughts and fuzzy bunnies, such as anger, depression, sadness, psychotic episodes, shame, suicide, movies, stupid people and broccoli. Joy and happiness make an occasional appearance. Every so often a link to a site with similar tough themes is used. USE CAUTION! BE CAREFUL!

Of course, if you introduce broccoli to the fuzzy bunnies ... but I digress.

Anyway, this is a model for the way these things should be done. And, as Frank Zappa once proclaimed on a warning label:

The language and concepts contained therein are GUARANTEED NOT TO CAUSE ETERNAL TORMENT IN THE PLACE WHERE THE GUY WITH THE HORNS AND POINTED STICK CONDUCTS HIS BUSINESS.

Unless, of course, you believe they will.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:27 AM)
Speaking of user guidelines

Xrlq has revised his to reflect the realities of the times.

I suppose it's time to overhaul mine, which have the virtue of inclusiveness, but which aren't even slightly amusing.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:56 AM)
141

As in C-141 Starlifter, which includes A, B and C models. (Obligatory Oklahoma note: The first C-141A was delivered to Tinker AFB in 1964.)

Otherwise, it's the 141st edition of Carnival of the Vanities, presented this week by Blog Business World. Make it your business to read it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:12 PM)
6 June 2005
Rice is nice (that's what they say)

Sean Gleeson's trip into the very heart of the Net begins with a familiar visitor:

"You're looking good, Condi," I said, as she sat on my futon and demurely crossed her legs. "Your peignoir is largely diaphanous." Dang it, I'm always saying what's on my mind. A tragic flaw, like Coriolanus.

Okay, this is hardly the pivotal paragraph, but I'm a sucker for, um, vivid imagery. A comic flaw, like Kasenetz-Katz.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:28 AM)
8 June 2005
142

We tip our cowboy hat here to the late Mr. Frank Gallop, who so sonorously intoned "The Ballad of Irving," the saga of the 142nd fastest gun in the West, a #34 pop hit (on Kapp 745) in 1966.

On an unrelated topic, the 142nd edition of Carnival of the Vanities is galloping your way from The Conservative Edge, a week's worth of superior bloggage that's easier to schlep than a salami.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:30 PM)
9 June 2005
Three quarters of a million

Visitor #750,000 (from 68.33.220.96, allegedly in Baltimore) waltzed in here at five seconds past 8 pm Central, and promptly disappeared into the log.

That's fifty thousand since the 12th of April, not all of whom were wondering what the heck they were doing here. I think.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:13 PM)
10 June 2005
Demotivational research

I don't know how many people have asked me why I do this.

It never occurred to me, though, to ask why they don't.

So: If you don't blog, why not? It's not like you don't know what it is or anything, else you wouldn't be here watching me.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:21 AM)
We got your credo right here

Michele, I understand, loathes Bull Durham, so I am not inclined to quote Kevin Costner's too-often-quoted "I believe" spiel here.

On the other hand, I don't have any problem posting a rewrite of it, and here's a good one from Steph at The Song in My Head:

I believe ... that pizza cheese is the grossest smell on the planet. I believe that pickles are a very close second. I believe that Oklahoma University fans are fair weather fans, and that football is the very core of their very small and inconsiderate universes. I believe that summer is the worst season of them all. I believe that you should just leave me alone when I'm hot. I believe that you'll agree with that once you've been exposed to cranky me. I believe that painting a formerly purple room another color so it looks better as an office is really overrated. I believe purple will just have to do for now. I believe that I have the worst timing on the planet. I believe that the baseball season is not long enough. I believe that the basketball season is way too long. I believe that if people have kids, they should at least make the effort to acknowledge they are there. I believe that vacation cannot come soon enough. I believe that I better get back to work now, or vacation will come way sooner than I had hoped.

And yes, I tried this myself, way back in December 2000.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:20 PM)
14 June 2005
For your consideration

The eleventh item on the Oklahoma Gazette's "The Best of OKC" ballot is "Best blog," a category they didn't even have [link requires Adobe Reader] last year.

Now I've read the Gazette long enough to know that they pull in some extra ads during the issues the ballots are circulated, ads from firms and services hoping you'll remember their names when you complete your ballot, and, if you're really lucky, explaining why you should.

You won't find this sort of thing here, not because I'm a shoo-in, which I'm not, but because for every reason I could think of why you should vote for dustbury.com for Best Blog — well, here are the Top Ten reasons why you shouldn't:

10.  Does anybody understand those damn category names?

  9.  Inadequate coverage of busty lesbian ninja pirates.

  8.  Gets enough free publicity already.

  7.  Lamest post title in the history of blogdom.

  6.  Has the temerity to invent forms of profanity instead of sticking to the tried and true.

  5.  Constantly whining.

  4.  Can't pronounce a simple name like "Xrlq".

  3.  Hardly an inimitable style.

  2.  Still hasn't gotten around to naming She Who Is Not To Be Named.

  1.  750,000 people can so be wrong.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:07 AM)
15 June 2005
On the edge of burnout

What it was like for The Downtown Guy:

Over the past few months, I've seen a couple of frequent visitors start their own blogs with an initial intent of also promoting downtown OKC. I welcomed the effort. Why? So I wouldn't feel so bad if I killed this thing. But one blog went dead, and the other became an excellent example of photo blogging. What I do with words, Luke does with photos.

So for now I persist. But with increased visitor counts, I get increasingly uneasy. I'm just an average guy who watches the big things going on in our town and marvels at what is surely the ongoing fruit of MAPS.

Which would also describe me, though I cover some other topics along the way.

But then there's this:

I'm no longer seeking exposure for this site. I don't want it. It scares me. The counter says I'm about to hit 30,000. That's nothing compared to Charles Hill at www.dustbury.com. He has had something like 750,000 visits. He's a far better blogger than I. Same can be said for Michael Bates at www.batesline.com.

This is at least as much a function of longevity as any other factor: I've been counting for nine whole years, after all. The mere fact that 800-odd IPs show up in my referrer log every 24 hours doesn't necessarily make me a good blogger. (And certainly I'm a lot less focused than The Downtown Guy, who largely sticks to one major topic.) What strength I have comes from my occasionally-demonstrated ability to come up with something interesting.

Then again, if I had to read only one Oklahoma blog — and God forbid I should have to read my own stuff — I'd read BatesLine, simply because it ranges over a lot of topics without ever getting into the realm of the Desperately Silly. But there is room for the specialist alongside the general practitioner, which is why I also read TDG every day. (And Bates reads it too.)

As for "exposure," well, there's no exposure quite like wearing your heart on your screen. All I ever wanted out of this site was a soapbox of my own; I keep going because, well, I like having a soapbox of my own. And this was true when I had only four hundred visitors a day. Or forty. Or four.

Addendum, 11:11 am: La Shawn Barber explains it this way:

When I first started, I had the advantage of being a non-blog reader. My expectations were low. I wanted to start an online journal as a place to rant between the bi-weekly op-eds I used to write and send to newspapers, even if I were the only one reading it.

I didn't know what hits were, didn't know who the popular bloggers were, and I certainly wasn't worried about my own hot air. A blog is the place for your hot air, your own corner of the blogosphere. And if you're a consistent poster and decent writer, readers will come.

I do qualify on at least one of those.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:00 AM)
Share the 143

No, not that. I mean Carnival of the Vanities #143, hosted from deepest Hoboken by the one (I think) and only Mister Snitch, and featuring a week's worth of superior bloggage in a single handy package.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:53 PM)
16 June 2005
Scary juxtaposition

In the tradition of innovation that has marked dustbury.com since its inception (okay, quit laughing, dammit), here's a Caption Contest that's all text.

From this evening on BlogShares:


Screen shot


Keep it at least semi-clean, wouldja please?

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:05 PM)
17 June 2005
File under "Sheesh"

Yes, I said it: Kim Possible is, like, totally hot.

I am, however, obliged to point out, to the guy (I assume) from Louisiana who came searching, and to anyone else who might be wondering, that I have no pictures of Kim Possible with her clothes off.

So there.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:23 AM)
20 June 2005
A little warp, a little woof

How many dogs does it take to change a light bulb?

According to Wendy Cooper, it depends on the breed.

The cat, of course, will talk the dog into it, and then casually point out the broken lampshade when the humanoid comes home.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:30 PM)
22 June 2005
Unadorned, as it were

Matthew, motivated by this post from Miriam, urges that this Friday's postings be done unclothed.

I will, of course, comply, unless I happen to post something from the workplace.

(Suggested by Michele, who is inspiration enough.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:42 AM)
A feline for the good stuff

Well, why shouldn't a cat run the Carnival of the Vanities?

And so we have edition #144, probably assembled in the back room by Laurence Simon, though he's too modest to say so.

And amazingly, I managed to get through this without using the word "gross." (Oops.)

Addendum, 29 June: We regret to note the passing of said cat, who by all accounts was a sterling feline citizen and, more important, a good friend to the resident humans. (Laurence, old fellow, I'm so sorry.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:52 AM)
23 June 2005
For those keeping score

This site was established in 1996; at the time, it really couldn't be considered a blog. Updates were few and far between, except to the series of Vents, which rolled out more or less regularly four times a month. Not bad for a 'zine; not enough for a blog.

Daily bloggage on this site began on this date, five years ago; the first entry, unsurprisingly, was to announce the beginning of daily bloggage.

Comments, incidentally, were implemented in June 2002; Movable Type (then in version 2.21) was installed here in August 2002. (This is the first MT entry; Dave got the first comment, which began, of course, with a remark about comments.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:01 PM)
24 June 2005
Beyond threadbare

Were it not for the roof over my head, I would be skyclad right now. (If that doesn't repel the bulldozers, nothing will.)

As promised, any post I do today that isn't written at work (during breaks, of course) will be written while unclothed. I hasten to point out that this isn't as big a deal as it may seem, since (1) this requires basically no adjustment of my regular routine and (2) rather a lot of people have been doing this all along.

And no, I'm not taking my clothes off in the office. For one thing, there's a server in there, and its temperature preferences take precedence over mine. For another, I have a leather chair.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:22 AM)
26 June 2005
Get looked @

Look@OKC, the Hip or Die section of NewsOK.com, is looking for a few good bloggers.

No, really. Here's the pitch:

Look@OKC is looking for young adults in the Oklahoma City metro area to become trusted bloggers for the community.

We want sports bloggers, local music bloggers, movie bloggers, television bloggers, video game bloggers, night club bloggers, single bloggers, married bloggers, dating bloggers, exercise bloggers, job bloggers, shopping bloggers .... The list goes on.

We might even want bloggers who still live with their parents and refuse to find a real job. Could be interesting . . . who knows?

If you have something interesting to say, and have the commitment to say it on a regular basis, then you might have the ability to become a Look@OKC blogger.

It can't hurt, can it?

Not being a "young" adult, except in comparison to the likes of Methuselah, I don't qualify for this sort of thing, but I'm willing to bet I have a couple of readers who might be interested. If you are, go here and apply.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:42 AM)
27 June 2005
Hardware fasteners as metaphor

"Blogs unbolt door into writer's world" is the title on this Oklahoman article, and maybe it's true to some extent, but I would be remiss if I didn't point out that some of us, far from being unbolted, are perilously close to coming unscrewed.

On the other hand, the reporter did ask good questions, and good answers were generally forthcoming, occasionally even from me, though I wince just slightly at this:

Whether written or digital, journals are a representation of the author. And when the author looks back on past entries, they learn more about themselves.

That is, of course, the editorial "they."

(Tipped off by Dan Lovejoy.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:30 PM)
29 June 2005
Don't stop 'til you get Anuff

What was the greatest Web site of all time?

Yep. And here, ten years later, is the secret history of Suck, one of only three sites I've ever bought in book form.

(Five points if you can guess either of the other two.)

(Via Mr. Mxyzpltk.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:20 PM)
145

It's a record company, although I suspect the name is not a number but a chord progression.

And if it's not that, it's the 145th edition of Carnival of the Vanities, presented this week by Adam Gurri, the SophistPundit, with all the the usual bloggy goodness.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:53 PM)
1 July 2005
TrackBlocked

The verbose (but accidentally so) Jay says he's having trouble with TrackBacks from Movable Type blogs. (He runs Expression Engine.) I'm not sure what to think, but I'm posting this here as a potential test — at least, of MT 2.64, which I still run.

(Incidentally, he wouldn't take one from me.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:27 PM)
7 July 2005
146

In 146, Chinese emperor Han Zhidi was poisoned; he was replaced by Han Huandi. (Hard to keep track of the Han dynasty.)

Closer to home, it's the 146th Carnival of the Vanities, brought to you by Conservative Friends. (Not all my friends are conservative, although when I disclose the amount I spent on this trip, I expect to be lectured on Deficit Attention Disorder.)

I may not be playing this month, but the Carnival goes on.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:13 AM)
I admit it

Found at Erica's:

If, as you live your life, you find yourself mentally composing blog entries about it, post this exact same sentence in your weblog.

Been there, doing that.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:21 PM)
13 July 2005
147

I see that and I think of 1:147, which was our local FidoNet network back in the day.

You, however, should think of the 147th Carnival of the Vanities, presented for your reading and clicking pleasure by Wallo World, and occasionally garnished by Famous Movie Quotes, in case you hadn't heard any lately.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:17 PM)
14 July 2005
The stiffest upper lips

The BBC has a roundup of some London blog reaction to the terrorist attacks of 7/7, and some of them are indeed choice. This LiveJournal entry works wonderfully:

We've known for ages that something was going to happen; now it has, and it was conventional, and fairly lame. They did their worst, and they managed to disrupt our transport network and get fatalities in the low double figures. That happens on a fairly regular basis anyway, you twits. What's your next trick — a fiendish weather control device which makes it rain on a bank holiday weekend?

Emphasis in the original. I think Britain is recovering quite nicely, thank you very much.

(Via Jacqueline Passey.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:00 PM)
17 July 2005
Why bother?

This is why Matt bothers:

After three plus years of doing this, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not much of a writer. My average traffic makes that fairly clear. It's okay, though. I genuinely enjoy it. It's a great outlet to talk about things that my friends and/or wife really aren't interested in. I post on the days when I'm motivated, and could care less about the blog when I'm not.

If writing quality were the major criterion, Andrea Harris would be outdrawing Ana Marie Cox.

But I figure Matt's reasons are as good as anyone's, though I do wish he could drag the Mrs. back to the keyboard on a regular basis.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:28 AM)
20 July 2005
148

Usually I can come up with some sort of story to go with this number every week, but 148 is more resistant to this kind of treatment: at best, I can point you toward Montana's medical-marijuana initiative, which appeared on the Big Sky State's ballot last November as I-148 and which passed nearly two to one.

Of course, what you should be reading is Carnival of the Vanities #148, compiled by New World Man and sponsored by the Supreme Court of the United States, a week's worth of good bloggage in a handy package.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:59 AM)
21 July 2005
How to run an honest campaign

I find this approach most admirable. From the front page of PhilandDrew.com:

Please take a few minutes of your bosses time and log onto Okgazette.com and vote Phil, Drew and Kaci too for Best Radio Show and PhilandDrew.com for Best Blog. We know Jack and Ron will probably win their 6th straight award but that doesn't mean we can't try. Plus if we win we get invited to the winners party with free beer and BBQ! In the end that's all we really want!

In today's complex society, there is nothing more important than having your priorities in order, and it is refreshing to see that these guys do.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:00 PM)
22 July 2005
Like the sands of time, and so on

You think this site is old? Kramer Wetzel's Fishing Guide to the Stars has celebrated its tenth birthday.

(Here's the very first entry.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:40 PM)
23 July 2005
Five seeking fabness

OPUBCO's LOOK@OKC has taken on five bloggers, which, if you look at the links, are numbered 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7. I'm not even going to speculate as to what happened to 1 and 4, but I will post some of the things I saw on the surviving pages.

First, from Joel:

I was at Wal-Mart yesterday again. I go in there whenever I am feeling a bit down about myself. Wal-Mart is the best therapeutic device on Earth. Feeling overweight? Walk around Wal-Mart until you see someone so fat they have to use a machine designed specifically for the physically disabled to get around on. Feeling alone? Go to Wal-Mart until you see that strung out meth couple wearing matching, sleeveless, Harley-Davidson shirts and matching flag dew rags. If a toothless, strung out, meth head can find someone, so can you. Feeling inadequate as a parent? Go to Wal-Mart and wait for someone to give their kid good a really good verbal beating.

From Alicia:

I miss groups like Boyz II Men who sang about tenderness, sensuality and satisfaction. I miss soft melodies of romance that taught us that a soul-connection is important. Instead, I hear a man singing (in a very persuasive voice, might I add) about what he wants. He sings about his needs, about his likes, about his satisfaction. He sees; he likes. He likes; he wants. The woman, sadly, is reduced to an object, a conquest, a night of fulfilling his desires.

I like the skin you're in, he sings. Let your panties hit the floor. In a very girl-you-should-feel-so-special-because-I-want-to-sleep-with-you way, the man tells the woman what to do, how to meet his needs with just the movements of her body. Mind and soul are absent.

Sarah and Dwight, married seven years, write The Two-Headed Blog:

Beale Street is a fun place to hang out. Lots of bars, live music, gift shops, and public intoxication. It is what it is. But, it's certainly NOT the Beale Street of W. C. Handy, Memphis Minnie, or Muddy Waters. At best, it's a crossroads of musical history that has been gussied up to be palatable for the masses ... but which also happens to be a pretty cool place to hang out for the night.

Michelle wrote this:

The cool thing about being a parent of more than one kid is that you can see how different your children are. You know that they were born by the same parents and raised the same way, yet their personalities are so different. They have different likes and dislikes. They have different quirks.

And then there's this, from Double Talkin' Jive:

What's a DTR you ask? Come on ... I know you've had one, bet you just don't know it...

DTR = Defining The Relationship.

Most men don't like to have them, most women do. "Let's Talk"... At some point in the duration of a relationship you have to have one. No if's, and's or but's...it's just non avoidable. Has been for me at least.

I had one tonight. It went smoother than expected. I feared it for a while, with her, but overcame it quickly. Now I'm glad I had it. I think things might go smoother in our transition, because of the DTR tonight. Hallelujah!!

I'll keep an eye on these and see what follows. Curiously, only Joel seems to have TrackBacks.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:52 PM)
24 July 2005
Instapundit sells out!

Well, no, not really.

On the other hand, if you've got $145 million to spare, drop him a line.

(Hmmm. Using the same formula, I should be able to get $785,000 for this place. Obviously something's askew somewhere.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:12 AM)
26 July 2005
Popeil's Pocket Googlebomber

The Downtown Guy is fed up with his search-engine traffic:

If I were to take it all to heart, I'd have to conclude the majority of you are either looking for prostitutes in OKC, or are into deviant sex in downtown settings, or are disturbingly obsessed with Star Wars, don't even speak English, still assume Bill Clinton himself ordered the bombing of Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building (and then there's the question of people googling the word "jerking" and somehow ending up here).

I can relate. But then he comes up with this:

For all you looking for the stuff mentioned at the top of this post, quit coming here. What you're really looking for is www.dustbury.com. (also my pick for the Oklahoma Gazette's best blog)

Well, I never. I mean, do I look like I'm disturbingly obsessed with Star Wars?

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:21 AM)
27 July 2005
149

The month I joined the Army, March 1972, Mad magazine published issue #149. (Actually, this is not precisely accurate: the issue is dated March '72, but the Mad publishing schedule back then — every forty-five days, 8 issues per year — was cunningly designed to insure that no issue ever appeared on newsstands during the month printed on its cover.)

Not that you care in 2005, because Carnival of the Vanities #149 is appearing right on time, hosted this week by Pratie Place, and, as always, jam-packed with lots of bloggy goodness. What, you worry?

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:20 AM)
Michael Bates: The Interview

I like the sound of that.

Anyway, old friend (well, he's not that old, but he's certainly a friend) Michael Bates, proprietor of BatesLine, the state's most influential blog, is the subject of this week's cover story in the Urban Tulsa weekly, and I recommend it highly.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:48 AM)
28 July 2005
You can't use that

Sean Gleeson once tried to explain to me the manifest benefits of b2evolution and why it wasn't anywhere nearly as sucky as [fill in name of CMS software used by someone else].

Apparently this same explanation is lost on his Web host, which seems to have shut him down until he switches to something else. I don't know enough about b2evolution to say what the problem is, though I suspect that heavy database usage is what cheesed off the host.

On an impulse, I looked at my own database results at my host. Over the last 30 days, I've had 22,064 connections and 863,048 queries. The rule of thumb at DH is:

The ratio column gives you the number of queries divided by 25 times the number of connects, and is an indicator of whether you're using a disproportionate number of database connections.

A value of 1 is ideal (meaning 1 connect for every 25 queries). Ratios less than one mean you're using less than 25 queries per connection, an indication of either poor connection management or a particularly simple database.

For the thirty days just ended, I have a ratio of 1.565, about 39 queries per connection. I assume I'm still in their good graces for now.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:03 AM)
29 July 2005
I can't type another freaking word

Burnt out on blogging?

Don't be.

(Via Gawker.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:36 PM)
30 July 2005
Fluff and stuff

Not every post here tackles a Big Issue, and not every blogger aspires to (or even admits to aspiring to) shaping the national dialogue.

This does not, however, imply that some, or most, of our efforts are wasted, as Francis W. Porretto points out:

A thesis may be self-evident once it's been articulated and considered, but articulation is the necessary first step. Someone must say it where others can hear.

The seeming ephemerality of our time strikes your Curmudgeon as largely illusory, at least in the intellectual sphere. Ideas are being generated, refined, discussed and discarded as never before in human history. Much chaff is blown away at each stage, but the grain that remains has nutritional value of the kind that endures — and endure it will.

To participate in this cycle is an opportunity a thinking man should not eschew. Indeed, it approaches being a duty.

I will, of course, continue to come up with my quota of discardable ideas.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:01 AM)
3 August 2005
Sesquicentennial

Which is technically inaccurate, since the Carnival of the Vanities is only 150 weeks old, not 150 years.

Still, Internet time seems accelerated to me, and probably to you, which means you ought to hurry to Riding Sun for that 150th edition and get your week's worth of superior bloggage at one fell swoop. Tell them a sesquipedalian sent you.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:31 PM)
4 August 2005
How to deal with plagiarists

Dear Sir or Madam:

An extremely nice writeup on [fill in subject]. In fact, I thought it was nice when I wrote it on [fill in date].

[Link to original]

Thanks for reading....

(This has always worked for me. Your mileage may vary.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:13 PM)
And yet more awards

Yonder cometh the 2005 Okie Blog Awards, put together by Mike at Okiedoke and intended to — well, duh, it's an awards scheme, okay?

Here are the ground rules:

Only Okie bloggers with active Okie blogs at the start of nominations are eligible. "Active" is defined as having at least one blog post during the previous 60 days. An "Okie blog" is defined as having at least one active blog author residing within the state of Oklahoma. All Okie Blog Awards are to be decided only by Okie bloggers. Okiedoke is ineligible for any Okie Blog Awards.

I, of course, make no recommendations, since (1) I would like to create the illusion that I have no bias and (2) most of my readers seem to live in New Jersey. These, however, are the categories:

  • Best Overall Blog
  • Best Political Blog
  • Best Family Blog
  • Best Humor Blog
  • Best Audio Blog
  • Best Blog Layout
  • Best Unusual Blog
  • Best Writing Blog
  • Best Culture Blog
  • Best Inspirational Blog
  • Best Commercial Blog (company sponsored)

At least there's nothing there that sounds like me.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:10 PM)
Dear Kate

I'll just bet it's getting easier to smile every day.

(It has to be tremendously gratifying to see all her friends, even the ones she didn't know, putting their money where her mouth is.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:38 PM)
6 August 2005
This year's Blogathon

(Brief thought: Do you think I could raise any money by promising not to post anything for a whole day?)

I'm signed on as sponsors for the following:

Tomorrow I write checks.

(Update, Sunday: Checks written.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:30 AM)
7 August 2005
An embarrassment of riches

Dawn Eden interviews James Lileks.

Life is good.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:15 AM)
8 August 2005
Easy readers

Lynn has some definite preferences regarding Web design:

Obviously, first of all it must be readable. I have a very strong preference for dark lettering on a light background. Serif or sans-serif? Either one is okay. Serif feels more formal or serious. Excessively large fonts, all bold text, bright colors and too many font colors on one page are very off-putting.

I'm pretty much in agreement on most of these, though obviously I don't put them into practice. Light lettering on a dark background can be done, but I think it requires bumping up the font size to avoid eyestrain. (Probably not this big, though.)

The original template I used when I shifted to Movable Type in the summer of 2003 called for serif fonts (justified, yet!) for text and sans-serif fonts for headings. My present-day style is not quite so consistent.

But is a serif font more "formal" or "serious"? In the context of actual print, I think it is, and I'd have my doubts about a textbook set in a sans-serif font. (My personal correspondence — yes, I occasionally write, or at least type, letters — uses a serif font for the body and for the block with my name; the address information is in a smaller sans-serif font.) I'm not so sure it matters so much on screen, though.

And this is sort of interesting: Car and Driver magazine these days uses a serif font for road tests, but previews are done in sans-serif. Do you think people were having trouble telling them apart?

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:36 PM)
And no virgin jokes, either

Top Ten signs that terrorists have infiltrated the blogosphere:

10.  SixApart provides MT 4 for free to all users.

  9.  Dave Winer starts prophesizing that Allah is the one true god, as opposed to himself.

  8.  Slashdot reports that the latest virus hidden in Blogger blogs actually causes computers to explode.

  7.  Andrew Sullivan outs himself as being straight.

  6.  Osamafanclub.blogspot.com tops the Top 100 at Technorati.

  5.  The BlogHer crowd start claiming that women should get out of the blogosphere and back to the kitchen.

  4.  Podcasts are hacked and substituted with morning prayers.

  3.  Jeff Jarvis reports that the latest London bombings are the work of "God's Children against the oppressors of the West."

  2.  BloggerCon becomes Allah Akhbar Con.

And the Number One sign terrorists have infiltrated the blogosphere:

  1.  Arabic comment spam.

(From BlogHerald by way of Fistful of Fortnights.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:51 PM)
10 August 2005
151

More rum than I know what to do with.

Generic Confusion hosts Carnival of the Vanities #151, which is more great bloggage than I know what to do with.

Go ye, and read.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:06 AM)
Eight hundred thousand

Hmmm. This IP looks familiar.... yep, visitor #800,000 is yours truly, come to check on who visitor #800,000 might be.

We hit 750,000 on the 9th of June, so even if we're going nowhere, we're making pretty good time. (The 700,000 mark was reached in April.)

One million by the 10th anniversary (9 April 2006) now looks not only attainable but inevitable.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:10 PM)
11 August 2005
With this post, I thee wed

And, of course, they're registered at Six Apart.

I'm not quite sure what to think of this, except to marvel at its ingenuity, and maybe to ponder the legalities, which go like this:

The state of Texas has a little known law governing "informal marriage". For a marriage to be legal, we must publicly declare that we consider each other as spouses and this fact be known to other residents of the state of Texas. We got our certificate this afternoon and have now fulfilled the requirements as there's bound to be a Texas resident or two amongst our joint readership. Feel free to witness our marriage here.

Full faith and credit, and all that good stuff.

Congratulations, Kathleen and Eric.

(Via incurable romantic Jacqueline Passey.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:21 AM)
Deriving a benefit from serious sickos

Aldahlia and I were yakking it up last night, and one topic we covered was the incredibly wide variety of search-engine requests that show up in our logs, some of which qualify as unspeakable. (The sheer ingenuity of the world's perverts is something to behold.)

What to do with these things? I send my worst ones to Disturbing Search Requests, where blogdom assembled can mock them at their leisure. Traffic there has diminished of late, probably due to a change of hosts, and I'd be much obliged if you'd give them a look — if you can stand that sort of thing. Rather a large proportion of the entries are, as the phrase goes, Not Safe For Work.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:32 PM)
12 August 2005
When doody calls

Author Jennifer Weiner (In Her Shoes, Good in Bed) is retreating from blogdom for a few days:

Posting will be infrequent for the next week or so, as we are dealing with the nascent stages of toilet training.

Which triggers a question, which Caren Lissner has already asked:

What are you training your toilet to do?

Presumably it's not the Can-Can.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:35 AM)
Bomb blasts of the inexplicable

Don Danz told me Wednesday that I had made it to Blogrolling.com's Hot 500. For no reason I can imagine, it's Friday and I'm still there.

I'd like to thank those of you who added a few seconds to my 15 minutes of net.fame. (And I'd also like to know: what were you thinking?)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:43 PM)
15 August 2005
Futile sputtering

Some schmuck actually dropped this on Andrea Harris:

Remember this: Your words are actions, and you Will pay dearly for them. The web is a public record. Your posts are published. Your ip is public. And you're going to go to far with the wrong person who does a whois search and finds that they just so happen to be very close to where you live ... and that paying you a visit starts to sound like a satisfying idea. I personally wouldn't (no matter how appropriatly ironic I would find the justice) and would advocate against such reactionary vigilantism — but someone will. It's only a matter of time.

Now if you boil this down to the crucial stuff, this is what's left (and I do mean "left"):

"Mommy! This girl is picking on me!"

Because that's all it is. "You're gonna get yours, you big meanie! Not that I would ever stoop to such a thing myself, of course."

It is to laugh.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:24 AM)
17 August 2005
The people have spoken

Congratulations to Phil and Drew (and Kaci, too), winners of Best Blog in the Oklahoma Gazette's Best of OKC competition.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:11 AM)
B2 or not B2

The Gleeson Blogomerate is back up and the archives have been restored.

Remind me, next time I decide to change platforms, to outsource the process.

Of course, some things are better done in-house.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:58 AM)
152

There's not a lot to say about a number like 152, though you'd encounter it if Professor Harold Hill (no relation) decided to double the complement of trombones, and Oklahoma State Highway 152 is the major east/west thoroughfare through Mustang.

But this is just killing time before the main event, which is the 152nd Carnival of the Vanities, presented, with numerical ratings yet, at WILLisms. If it's good blogging from last week and you missed it, here's a second chance.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:42 PM)
21 August 2005
The machine that doesn't go "Ping"

The last entry I posted got back this reply on a ping:

Ping 'http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2' failed: Ping error: Thanks for the ping, however we can only accept one ping every half-hour.

Which makes me wonder, since the entry previous to it had been posted three and a half hours earlier.

Addendum, immediately after posting: It worked this time.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:28 PM)
Way down the list

The Glittering Eye looks at the Top 20 in the TTLB Ecosystem, and offers suggestions for becoming one of same:

[B]e a celebrity academic or journalist and start your blog in 2000 or before. Be outrageous. Attract attention. Throw red meat.

I'm good for two out of four, maybe. But then there's this:

Or, better yet, pick another goal. I don't have any ambitions to break into the Top 100 blogs (or even the Top 500). So I won't be disappointed if I don't make it to the top of the Ecosystem. I write in my blog to garner a bigger audience for my ideas, to express and, consequently, improve my ideas, to improve my writing, to sharpen my mental acuity (I can tell you with confidence that blogging has improved my attention span and sharpness), and for the social aspects of blogging — the fellowship.

I'm still trying to figure out what I'm doing here. As for the Top 500, I'm pretty sure I can forget about it; I finally fell out of Blogrolling.com's Hot 500 after a brief and dizzying stint at #486 or thereabouts.

Meanwhile, as of this writing, I fit into the Eye's graph about this way:

 BlogDate startedLinks Traffic 
993dustbury.comJune 2000 244853Ne'er-do-well

Subject to change, of course. (And yes, this site goes all the way back to 1996, but I am loath to describe its early days as bloglike.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:43 PM)
24 August 2005
153

If you add up the first 17 positive integers, you end up with 153. (This makes it a "triangular" number; you can arrange 153 widgets in an equilateral triangle, and each side will be 17 widgets long.)

Just as straightforward is Carnival of the Vanities #153, hosted this week by Vik Rubenfeld's The Big Picture, an array of the week's best bloggage that awaits your perusal.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:20 PM)
26 August 2005
Read vs. feed

Statistics from my Web host indicate that my XML and RSS feeds are being pulled somewhere upwards of 500 times a day. (Yesterday there were 676; the day before, 615; for the first 25 days of this month, a total of 20,796, which averages out to about 832 a day.) These are readers (maybe; I suspect many are robots of some sort) that aren't being counted by my usual counter: Site Meter doesn't easily lend itself to incorporation into a feed, and I don't want to clutter up the feeds with a lot of counter code anyway.

I guess what I'm asking is "Does this matter?" It's not like I'm hurting for traffic these days, but I'd definitely like a better handle on these numbers beyond mere raw cumulative data.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:10 PM)
27 August 2005
Meanwhile, unleaded is down 5 cents

Tulsa's Matt Galloway continues his search for blog trends, and he seems to have turned up a doozy, connecting anti-Iraq War postings with gasoline prices:

It seems like whenever there's increased buzz about high oil prices, it's followed with a surge of anti-war posts which don't mention oil or gas prices. That's important, so I'm going to say it again — high oil price posts lead anti-war rhetoric post[s] that don't mention oil or gas prices. This is not a huge surprise I guess — but this might indicate that we aren't terribly honest about our anti-war sentiments — maybe not even with ourselves. This seems to suggest that we were all okay with sending our young overseas to die as long as we didn't feel it in our wallet at the pumps. But once that happened, we suddenly develop issues with the war — of course, they are completely unrelated to oil or gas prices.

This may be true of some folks, but there was substantial opposition to the war long before the spike in gas prices.

And I'm thinking there's one more factor involved: the cry of "It's all about the oil!" has proven to be a non-starter in the discussion, odious attempts like this notwithstanding. (Besides, were it just oil, we'd have taken out Hugo Chavez instead of Saddam Hussein; Venezuela is a lot closer, and the food is better.) The price at the pump being an economic issue, it makes more sense to blame the Bush who's nominally in charge of the economy than the Bush who's Commander-in-Chief — keeping in mind, of course, that one must always blame Bush.

But back to Matt's graph:

Now look at the purple line. It represents mentions of Bush, Iraq and oil or gas. I think this line represents the level to which the American people (or at least those posting to blogs) associate Bush's action in Iraq with oil and gas prices. When this line trends up, it's really bad for the Bush administration. Once this line begin its upward trend, people are no longer separating the concepts, they are no longer thinking rationally. I think Matthew's right — we've reached the tipping point on gas prices, but it might also be the tipping point for the Bush administration and American support for the war effort.

This might suggest that rising oil prices are the catalyst for American people turning against Bush's war effort — but we're going to use something else as an excuse.

Think we can get Cindy Sheehan a meeting with the chairman of ExxonMobil?

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:34 AM)
28 August 2005
Statue of limitations

There's a scene in Woody Allen's Annie Hall where Alvy Singer (Allen) has come to Los Angeles, and just about the very first thing he says is "What's with all these awards? They're always giving out awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler."

It's not that I have anything against awards per se — in fact, I hand out a few every year myself — but I've never seen myself as a trophy collector, which is why my enthusiasm for blog awards runs rather tepid at best.

In the past, I would explain it this way: "If I win, I feel undeserving and creeped-out. If I lose, I feel undeserving and creeped-out. What's the upside?"

That said, I have turned in my ballot for the 2005 Okie Blog Awards, and I wish good luck to those for whom I voted, none of whom, per the rules, were me.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:42 AM)
29 August 2005
Some of us never learn

So here's an open thread. Try not to be too obnoxious, wouldja please?

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:34 PM)
31 August 2005
154

The third album by Wire; also, the number of this week's Carnival of the Vanities, hosted by Incite and introduced by Beck, where four dozen of last week's best blog posts are gathered for your inspection and delectation.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:32 PM)
2 September 2005
Because it deserves repeating

From Michele:

Yes, I have questions. I have complaints. I want to know a lot of things about the way this was (or wasn't) handled. As Americans, we deserve to know this, we have the right to know why hospitals weren't evacuated and why this seems like one fuck-up after another. But later. There is so much time for that later. Right now, we should not be stopping our leaders and politicians to answer our questions, we should just let them go do what they are supposed to be doing. Later. There is always later for the second guessing and and accusations and pitchforks and torches. And answers.

We are supposed to, as humans, be compassionate. I've seen some behavior in the past few days that make me doubt that compassion and empathy are inherent in human beings. But there are stories, the good stories, the heart-warming things, the people opening up their hearts and homes and wallets, that make me believe that all the scum of the earth can never outnumber the good.

It's simply that scum gets better press — nothing more.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:25 AM)
3 September 2005
Which we celebrate on Tonsorial Day

The mark of the superior blogger is the ability to get a good story out of the most mundane incident you can possibly imagine.

With that in mind: Jeff gets a haircut.

No, really.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:02 AM)
Tweaks and re-tweaks

Some time between now and early April, when this site celibates celebrates its tenth anniversary, I've got to decide whether I want to stick with my hand-drawn templates, try to draw new ones, or outsource the job to someone with actual talent.

For that matter, I've got to decide what I'm going to do about the mechanisms behind the scenes. I have MT 2.64 pretty well under control, but by now they're up to 3.2, and there's a limit to just how retro I'm willing to remain: while I have far less spammage than I used to, and only a handful of occasional trolls, I'd like to have some more up-to-date tools to deal with those, um, individuals.

On the other hand, just for the hell of it, I installed WordPress on another domain I own, and I will be doing some fiddling with it; WordPress may turn out to be my option of choice for this site as well. At the very least, I figured I should give it a look-see.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:37 PM)
4 September 2005
Top of the heap

What does it take to make the best blog in the state?

Ramblings on politics, film, music, literature, current events, pop culture, what the voices are commanding and any other damned thing that strikes my synapses.

So says Chase McInerney, and the results bear him out.

My congratulations to Chase and his occasional co-bloggers on winning the hearts and minds of Oklahoma's blog community.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:11 AM)
15:07 and creeping upward

Take that, Andy Warhol, and welcome, New York Daily News readers.

Sheesh. How am I supposed to keep a low profile these days?

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:51 PM)
5 September 2005
It's your thing

Do what you wanna do.

By which is meant, I'm busy this morning, so here's another open thread. The last one wasn't abused, so I expect this one should work similarly well.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:59 AM)
That WordPress project

I mentioned earlier that I was messing around with WordPress; while I'm not planning to convert this place — at least, not yet — I did want to familiarize myself with some of its operations and get used to the idea of working in a PHP environment.

What I did, therefore, was tear down an old static page elsewhere that had the graphics from the custom CDs I've burned, which has been sitting there for two or three years, and replaced it with what will eventually be a complete catalog, including track listings, for the forty-odd discs I've produced for around-the-house and motoring use. It will take a while, but the first seven discs are in place, and the others will follow as time permits.

If nothing else, this should help me cut down the number of duplicate tracks on subsequent issues.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:51 PM)
7 September 2005
Extra lash

Been here, done this:

When I review what I've written over the last few years, some of it I really like and I'm very proud of. Some of the rest of it I'm not proud of, and some I'm quite ashamed of. I've always thought of myself as laid back and not inclined to temper, but in recent years I've had to accept that that view is self-delusion. What I do is hold it in and hold it in and hold it in and then spew, often saying more than I meant to or speaking more harshly than I ought. One reason I've not written here in a while is that I'm struggling with a desire to be more measured thwarted by a tendency to fly off. While the rants may be interesting to read sometimes, they're not fun to look back on, especially when my imprudence remains bright and shiny right online for everyone to access in perpetuity.

Unlike Susanna, I haven't taken any time off from the blog. Maybe I should.

But it's probably not going to happen, because if I don't vent here, the places I do vent are apt to be very, very distraught — once the translators arrive, that is.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:21 AM)
BushCo throughout history

Now that everyone knows George W. Bush, without Karl Rove's knowledge, broke into the Dark Lord's chambers and cranked up the weather-control device, thereby causing Hurricane Katrina, it's about time we looked into some other previous "accidents" in which the Bush family had an unsteady hand.

For instance, the Black Plague:

Acting on a dare from drinking buddy Alaster Kennedy, hard partying Barclay Bush releases a boxful of infected English Black Rats in his town's marketplace. This unwittingly caused millions of deaths and forever drove a wedge between the two dynastic political families.

And if you think that's bad, consider this:

After an all night whiskey and cocaine bender, Danny Terrio Bush entertains the early morning crowd at a Manhattan diner with his flashiest drug-induced moves. The eatery's young patrons liked what they saw and by the time Danny awoke two days later, disco had arrived.

That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.

(Borrowed from miriam's ideas.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:42 AM)
155

Carnival is here.
One hundred fifty-five times
I have done this shtick.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:17 PM)
12 September 2005
Why are we here?

Dan Li, graduate student in communications at Marquette, came up with this thesis for her Master's degree: Why Do You Blog: A Uses-and-Gratifications Inquiry into Bloggers' Motivations. I was not one of the respondents to her survey, or this section would surely have come out different:

Seven motivations for blogging emerge in this research: self-documentation, improving writing, self-expression, medium appeal, information, passing time, and socialization. Except for passing time, all the other six motivations were highly approved by bloggers. Most of those motivations are moderately correlated.

In the 179-page document itself is a set of gender variances:

Women tend to write about personal topics while men are more into coverage of public events or remote topics. In terms of particular topics, women write about their interests or hobbies, family and friends, their own creative work, and personal experiences more often than men. Men, on the other hand, are more interested in topics such as technology and science, politics and politicians, and business. Men are more prone to use their own real names for identification while women prefer a more implicit way by using variants of real names or simply pseudonyms. However, women tend to present their own and others' photos on blogs while men are less likely to do the same. In addition, women would like to disclose more personal content than men. Men are more likely to offer in-text links and send trackbacks than women. Women use default templates more frequently while men preferred to modify existing templates or design their own from scratch. Gender gap was also discovered in attitudes towards importance of feedback in the blogosphere. Generally men outnumber women in perception of feedback importance. The only exception is that women value readers' comments more than men. One of the most important intended readers of a female blogger is herself. She would write for friends too. Men focus more on colleagues. Furthermore they would be more likely to suppose anyone could be their reader while women preferred more specified readers.

The higher prevalence of pseudonyms among the females is no surprise, but I wouldn't have guessed that men prefer to futz around with their templates more than women do; women, after all, have designed a rather substantial percentage of the big-name blogs.

(Snagged from Population Statistic; Costa did participate in the Li study.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:24 AM)
Volt tampering

That power outage on the West Coast will be blamed for many things in the next few days, so I'm jumping in now to blame it for the three hours this site, the actual server for which is located in a Los Angeles suburb, was down today. (Power failed about 2:40 pm Central; they were able to keep running for 40-45 minutes on battery backup, but that's all she wrote. First visitor after the outage arrived at 6:21.)

There were a couple of emails asking where the heck I was. I had no idea I was so essential to anyone's entertainment. :)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:08 PM)
13 September 2005
Molasses uphill in February

So goes the SQL server today; I timed one actual update at seven minutes, 54 seconds, which is a bit on the slow side.

I suggest that you leave a comment first, then run to Mickey D's, and by the time you get back it should be finished. (One of mine today didn't finish at all: it crashed into one of Matt's.)

Eventually, this will improve, as the serfs at the server farm identify machines that didn't respond at all well to having their plugs pulled.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:56 PM)
14 September 2005
Now we are three

Barnes and Noble (I think) once issued a bulky book which incorporated three volumes of The MAD Bathroom Companion, under the umbrella title "The Mother Load"; while Volume 1 was undesignated as such, since they presumably didn't know there would be subsequent editions — you have to figure that headlines after Armistice Day didn't read WWI ENDS — the second was tagged "Number Two," followed by "Turd in a Series."

Not that this in any way relates to the Third Anniversary Edition of Carnival of the Vanities, back in its original home at Silflay Hraka, under the tender ministrations (or, at least, minestrone) of Bigwig.

Besides, what would I say about 156, anyway?

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:48 AM)
15 September 2005
Speed issues

The slow system response after the Los Angeles blackout this week seems to have improved somewhat today; it's still not exactly Incredibly Speedy, but I'll take a 45-second update over an eight-minute update anyday.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:42 PM)
16 September 2005
And more graduate work

James Torio wrote his Master's thesis on blogs as a "global conversation." Mr Torio studied advertising design, so his particular focus is on the business end of blogging, the potential for advertising revenue, and the connections between bloggers, as an extension of Stanley Milgram's famed "Small World" (known popularly as "Six Degrees") research.

Interestingly, 45 percent of the blogs surveyed report no revenue, and a further 40 percent earn under $5000 a year; at the far end, four percent claimed to be bringing in over $100,000 a year. No attempt was made to distinguish among ad sales, merch and tip jars.

(Disclosure: I was one of the bloggers surveyed as part of his research. You can count the dollars I've made here on the fingers of no hands.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:21 AM)
18 September 2005
Parry and thrust

Last week Lachlan had a complaint about some aspect of Technorati. In a remarkably short time Dave Sifry, who for all practical purposes is Technorati, had an explanation and an apology posted as a comment.

Yesterday Sean Gleeson dismissed Google's new Blogsearch — "It's Beta, all right," he said — and recommended use of Technorati instead. In a remarkably short time Dave Sifry, who for all practical purposes is Technorati, had a thank-you posted as a comment.

As an old Usenet guy, I knew I'd seen this sort of thing before:

Kibo is, um, well, sort of hard to explain. He was this guy, right, and he used to grep the newsfeed for his name.

Oh, um, "grep" is a UNIX command that searches. So "grepping the newsfeed" means that he knew about any mention of Kibo anywhere on Usenet, and he'd respond. Kibo was everywhere! So he was a full-on Usenet god.

In view of the above, I postulate the following:

Dave Sifry is the new Kibo.

(Not to be confused with the old Kibo.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:35 PM)
21 September 2005
157

It's the number of the New York City carpenters' union local. Also in New York, you'll find The C-Note at 157 Avenue C (at 10th Street).

Not in New York, there's the 157th edition of Carnival of the Vanities, assembled for your perusal by Mark A. Rayner of The Skwib, last week's best blogstuff in a single handy Box O'Links.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:00 AM)
22 September 2005
Only temporarily silenced

Rocketboom screen shot, 9/22Vlogger and deadpan heartthrob Amanda Congdon was apparently attacked in Manhattan last night. I wish her the very best, and hope that the perp (as I do with pretty much all perps) gets what's coming to him plus 50 percent for bad behavior.

(Update, Friday: She's back.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:02 PM)
26 September 2005
Strikeblogging

Sutter Hospitals in the San Francisco area are being struck by the SEIU United Healthcare Workers, and union members are blogging the strike.

The tendency of major corporations in situations like this is to clam up, to refer all questions to a single PR person who subsequently ignores them; Sutter, a large nonprofit, has made a couple of responses to the union, but they're buried at least one level deep on their Web site, and of course they're not taking comments from readers.

I think we can expect to see more of this in future job actions.

(Via Lindsay Beyerstein.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:32 AM)
From the Because I Can files

Apparently one way to get under Chase McInerney's hide is to have no permalinks.

Would a little mood music help?

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:42 PM)
27 September 2005
The ranker the page

"Everybody," says Rocket Jones, "should be #1 for something on Google."

Dan's got top of the page for this.

As for me, my one claim to Numero Uno is for, um, "corksoaking iceholes".

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:00 AM)
The cupboard was bare

So until I can think of something I feel like saying, well, consider it your turn.

This will remain open at least through the weekend, barring catastrophe, an invasion of idiots, or any other event I think justifies shutting off the spigot.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:22 PM)
28 September 2005
Things to do in Denver when you're Bruce

Actually, I've never been to Denver, so I can't make any recommendations to Bruce, who's spending a "sort of vacation" there, except for the grandly-general one of "Have a good time, and see you soon."

Which, now that I think about it, is probably enough, since he's definitely got a grip on the process:

I took a litle drive up and down colorado blvd just to get a better feel for what the city looks like; very interesting.

Eminently sensible, say I.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:07 AM)
29 September 2005
And push a sofa in front of it

The ineffable Page lists individuals who she'd "like to see slapped senseless and locked in a closet until after the recovery efforts are done":

  1. Any celebrity with a pulse — THAT MEANS YOU SEAN PENN AND OPRAH!!!
  2. George Bush
  3. Hillary Clinton
  4. Jesse Jackson
  5. John Edwards
  6. Anyone who works for CNN, Fox News or MSNBC
  7. Several of my coworkers
  8. Howard Stern (Not to be unlocked from closet EVER!)
  9. Ted Kennedy
  10. Geraldo Rivera (Also not to be unlocked from closet EVER!)

You know, some of those people are already senseless.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:15 AM)
158

A weight for a marriage, in pounds, according to John Irving.

And also the number of the Carnival of the Vanities, in a special Avignon edition by Laurence "HWIFOC" Simon, in case you were wondering where the hell it went this week. (Yes, it's out there somewhere, or so I'm told.)

(Addendum: Twice as nice, with a Pisa edition — shouldn't Simon be doing these, under the "Pisa crap" rubric? — from Conservative Cat.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:48 PM)
2 October 2005
Glenn or Glennda?

Harvey imagines, with entirely too much detail if you ask me, how blogdom would change with the arrival — via surgery, one assumes — of the Instapundette.

(Hey, it could be worse. At least he didn't suggest bleaching Oliver Willis. Yet.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:26 PM)
4 October 2005
It could have been

Greg Hlatky is contemplating changing the name of A Dog's Life, a step that one does not take lightly.

I myself have been through this once already: this site was established as Chez Chaz in 1996, and retained that name until the dustbury.com domain was acquired in early 1999. I'd been using "Dustbury, Oklahoma" as a pseudonymous location practically from Day One, and it seemed logical that I should adopt some version of it as a domain.

But you should have seen some of the names I threw away:

  • Girthwatch
  • Fnord Fnocus
  • Instaputz
  • Site Unseen
  • Ghoti
  • Deeply Superficial
  • Henry Fondue
  • 163,216
  • Odi et Amo
  • Fdisk

And some were actually worse.

Addendum: I found my Site Unseen logo buried in the archives.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:21 AM)
Take it out on the templates

What do you do when the pace of life is accelerating faster than you can?

Why, work on the blog, of course:

Because things have been careening down the mountain at such a pace, my brain is dead empty of anything of substance to talk about. At this juncture, it's too delirious from just trying to keeping up to have an independent interesting thought.

In lieu of content, and in need of a procrastination project, I tinkered with the site last night. Wasted three hours or so in a world of my own, oblivious to the various masses clamoring for my attention via to-do lists.

I note that I still haven't begun the Version 9 upgrade. Hmmm....

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:36 AM)
5 October 2005
Dead trees strike back!

This being National Newspaper Week — is there a parade? — there is the requisite quantity of promotional materials to remind us of just how essential the daily paper truly is.

Eric Siegmund happened upon one of them and happily mocks it. Here's the text from the original (which you can see at the above link, or here in PDF format):

Letters to the editor: the Original Web Blog
Every day all across America citizens participate in their community's public discussions and debates by writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. Letters to the editor in the newspaper provide an ideal forum for citizens to exchange ideas and opinions. A way to interact with fellow citizens about the issues of the day.

Eric finds this pitch risible:

[T]he idea that printed letters to the editor "provide an ideal forum for citizens to exchange ideas and opinions" is laughable, especially in comparison to comments-enabled blogs. The editorial control over those printed letters and the absence of real-time dialog makes them far from ideal. (Granted, the same kind of editorial control is theoretically possible in blogs, but the blogospheric feedback mechanism is swift and without pity. Blogs that engage in significant editing of comments will likely find themselves without commenters or readers.)

I am reminded of something Michael Bates said last year about the Tulsa World:

The Whirled, for whatever reason, won't publish letters until the relevant story is good and cold — at least two weeks after the event or story that the letter addresses, long after the story has migrated from their website to their website's archives or from your coffee table to the recycling bin.

As forums (fora?) go, this strikes me as being well short of the "ideal."

One impertinent statistic: Most days that I see it, the Oklahoman runs four or five letters to the editor. Assuming that this is a standard practice at the Black Tower, this means that since August of 2002, they have run about 5,700 letters. During the same period, I have accumulated 11,000 comments.

Now I have to assume that their market share has to be a lot higher than mine; they're the only general-interest daily in town, and I run just one blog among dozens, maybe hundreds. Besides, my comment-to-post ratio, slightly above 2, is distinctly lower than average for this traffic level; there's far more actual dialogue at other blogs.

Besides, "Web Blog" is at least slightly redundant.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:03 AM)
159

Howard Stern no doubt knows this number: FCC Form 159 must accompany all administrative payments to the Federal Communications Commission, which includes fines.

If you'd rather not FCC around, there's the Carnival of the Vanities #159, the latest edition of the soi-disant Best of the Blogs, hosted this week by Technogypsy.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:50 PM)
7 October 2005
Where are all these people coming from?

Traffic has picked up markedly this week, and I can't think of any good reason why. The usual 800-a-day average, after sliding into the middle 700s during the summer, has somehow jumped over 1,000; even Sunday drew 916. I'm not getting any extra linkage that I know about: I'm still ranked just above 3,000th in Technorati, and still in the middle of the TTLB Large Mammal phylum. And while I've had a couple pieces on the Norman splodeydope, arguably the biggest non-basketball story in these parts, I'm hardly leading the way on any of this stuff.

No, I'm not crowding my bandwidth limit or anything. (My host is projecting 8 GB for the month, which is a lot by the standards I'm used to but far from getting into the dreaded Extra-Cost Zone.) But if by some fluke I'm actually doing something right, I'd like to know just what the heck it is.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:00 AM)
8 October 2005
Wretches without ink stains

The News-Journal sort of endorses the Delaware Supreme Court's decision not to force an ISP to reveal the identity of a blog commenter:

Smyrna Councilman Patrick Cahill and his wife, Julia, wanted the court to force Comcast to release the unique Internet identifier of the person who posted criticism on the Delaware State News' weblog. The Cahills claimed the remarks were defamatory, and they wanted the blogger's name in order to pursue a libel lawsuit.

We understand their concern. The remarks were scurrilous. By hiding behind the Internet's anonymity, the author showed an utter lack of backbone.

But freedom of speech would not amount to much if it were only guaranteed for pleasant, flattering talk. The rights of the unsympathetic pamphleteer must be guarded as well, so that everyone's rights will be preserved.

Fritz Schranck points out that the News-Journal editorial is itself unsigned, and adds:

In that respect, perhaps the Supreme Court was also quietly making a point to the state's newspapers, who are sometimes quick to take issue with the court's decisions in other cases.

After all, the old adage that one shouldn't pick a fight with folks who buy their ink by the ton doesn't quite ring so true anymore — not when one can respond quite effectively with just a few thousand pixels.

Text of the ruling in PDF format here.

(Prompted by Lynn S.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:42 AM)
Burqa's law

Traffic percentagesAbout five years ago, there was a little Web toy to generate "glam names"; the name of a friend of mine, fed into the form, was rendered "Nova Hotsex", and that was the name I used for her on this site in those days. Generally speaking, this falls under the heading of No Big Deal. But today, I was looking at the site stats via Analog, which produced the table to your right (which has been edited to remove IPs not pertinent to this piece), and you'll notice an awful lot of IPs in the 212.138 range. A call to a Whois produced the following notation: Part of this IP block has been used for proxy/cache service at the National level in Saudi Arabia. All Saudi Arabia web traffic will come from this IP block. If you experience high volume of traffic from IP in this block it is because your site is very popular/famous of Saudi Arabia community.

This, of course, seemed implausible: what would the Saudis want with this site? So I went back and matched up IPs with referrals, and every last one of them was Googling for "hotsex" and was fed the link to Nova. Perhaps Riyadh has decided that this search string is sinful and is duly punishing the searchers by referring them to me.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:34 PM)
9 October 2005
Show-offs

It's way late at night, I'm sitting here looking at Michele's boobs, and she says:

Aren't all bloggers exhibitionists at heart, anyhow?

And I suppose we are: it's not a function of clothing, or the occasional lack thereof, but the willingness to put ourselves on display, as Cromwell is supposed to have instructed the artist doing his portrait, "warts and everything."

Some blogs deal with the most intensely personal topics you can imagine; others don't come close. I think we set a boundary for ourselves in advance and seldom if ever venture beyond it, though where that boundary actually lies is going to be different for each of us, and what's more, our individual comfort zones seem to be subject to occasional variation. (Once in a while I go back and reread some of my stuff, and "What was I thinking?" isn't at all an uncommon reaction on second sight.)

There's potential for conflict as the boundary comes closer: "Do I cut off the story here, or do I bring in all the gory details?" I usually compromise and bring in some of the gory details, on the dubious basis that if I had cut off the story, I really had no reason to post it, and then I'd be scratching around for something else to write about. (The price I pay to maintain the fiction that I am some sort of prolific writer.)

Still, there's at least a hint of "Look at me!" in almost every post, personal or not, if only because we'd like to think that someone is in fact looking: this is why God, or Dave Smith anyway, invented Site Meter. And I'm not above wording something to make it look like more is going on than there really is.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:46 AM)
12 October 2005
Title I'd wish I'd come up with

Jan the Happy Homemaker, describing the pain and sorrow associated with trees that shed in mass quantities: No Cedar Makes Your Life Easier.

Even got a smile out of Mr. Clean, I'll bet.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:07 PM)
160

The number of acres in a quarter-section; also, the sum of the first eleven primes.

Speaking of which, there's prime bloggage in Carnival of the Vanities #160, hosted this week by Chris Hallquist, the Uncredible Hallq. I believe him.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:29 PM)
14 October 2005
The inevitable Hornets blog

A chap named Billy is blogging as "Hornets Fan" at LOOK@OKC. We know this much: he has season tickets, and he has ten questions he'd like to see answered.

Number 2 looks interesting: "Who will have the most bizarre injury and what will it be?" I think he might be right with his first guess: "Coach [Byron] Scott with turf toe from kicking a chair."

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:23 PM)
18 October 2005
Non-accidental verbosity

Tim Blair, arguably the fastest-driving member of the Pajamas Media (name change pending) Editorial Board, on buying pixels by the barrel:

People wrongly think the benefit of writing online is that you have infinite room to go on, but the true benefit of not being locked into a word count per page is that the writing can be as brief as you can make it. A lot of mainstream journalists could benefit from that. Maureen Dowd, for instance, whose columns I think run to about 850 words, could easily pare her columns down to ten, fifteen or even five words, and that includes the byline.

Assuming two words for the byline, that leaves three words. Were I some sort of quasi-MoDo, I might come up with "I'm so cute!"

Of course, there's always the question of whether my readers might not be better served by a blank page — or by a 404.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:11 PM)
19 October 2005
161

In the year 161, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus became officially co-Emperors of Rome, though Marcus eventually became the dominant figure — siblings, even adopted ones, are sometimes like that — and on Lucius' death became sole Emperor.

I don't know if it's still dominant, but the Carnival of the Vanities is now in its 161st edition. The World According to Nick — Schweitzer, that is — takes its place among the celebrated hosts of the original blog compilation.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:30 AM)
22 October 2005
Now that was weird

TrackBacks from here to TypePad sites have been wonky of late, so for the previous post, I decided to bypass MT's TB routine and use Wizbang's instead.

This is the response I got:

TrackBack error

Okay, I sent that from my desk, and my Web host is in southern California — but why should that matter to TypePad? Linkers to Basil's Blog (see comments) seem to be experiencing the same phenomenon. For now, I'm guessing it's a spam preventative gone horribly wrong.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:16 AM)
25 October 2005
On the Spot

Dear God, LilRed was right: Ed Murray's been reading this stuff again.

If he read it to you, welcome aboard. I question that "one of the most widely read" business: I'm sure it's true, but I'm also sure it's fairly irrelevant.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:53 PM)
26 October 2005
162

According to the Surgeon General, half of all U.S. citizens over the age of 50 will be at risk of osteoporotic fractures by 2020; those of us who don't wish to be, um, boned in this manner will spend megabucks on things like Amgen's AMG-162, which is a RANKL inhibitor.

Inasmuch as I'm already over the age of 50, sufficiently rankled and scarcely inhibited, I will point you instead to Carnival of the Vanities #162, which is hosted by Baboon Pirates. (Now there's a visual.) Your weekly compendium of high-gauge bloggage awaits your click, and thank you, El Capitan.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:41 AM)
Fare thee well

Tonight, save a prayer for MommaBear, just arrived at a far, far better place.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:39 PM)
30 October 2005
Reader visits Surlywood, lives to tell

Actually, so far he's keeping mum about the whole matter, which is probably a Good Thing.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:24 PM)
31 October 2005
Hands across the water (water)

We're so sorry, Uncle Bustard
We're so sorry if we caused your hair to curl
We're so sorry, Uncle Bustard
But there's nothing left to blog, and I believe I'm gonna hurl

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:18 AM)
Finally, a machine that goes "Ping"

TypePad's TrackBack handling is still eccentric (a euphemism for "screwy"), which has motivated Basil (you may remember this) to come up with a solution of his own: move to WordPress.

(Disclosure: I have a WordPress site of my own off to the side.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:00 AM)
1 November 2005
Parentage

While I think this Blog Family Tree is a dandy idea, I'd been having a dickens of a time trying to figure out where, if anywhere, I belonged on this particular structure. Surely I have no blogchildren: if anything, I've discouraged people from this sort of thing. And in my official first blog post, in the summer of 2000, there is no reference to any particular individual who might have provided inspiration to me.

But of all the sites I was reading in the late 1990s, the most pertinent to my own decision to turn this site into a blog, I believe, was #!/usr/bin/girl, run by a "digital anime girl" in Seattle. She's utterly unaware of my existence, I'm sure, but I've always found her stuff endlessly fascinating. If I have a blogparent, it's Zannah, and I am informing the Commissar accordingly.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:19 AM)
Bloggy desiderata

It appears that Lachlan and Bayou will be back, whether or not they're able to recover their archives. (Bayou says, "I can't even get into all that is lost or I might start throwing things around my office," and you can't blame her.)

Assuming that Susanna eventually will be back, and that Michele really isn't returning this time, that leaves one item on my Blog Wish List: that Meryl Yourish becomes swiftly employed (and, if possible, somewhat overpaid).

Addendum, 9:40 am: Chris Muir is helping with the Hire Meryl campaign. Bless you, sir.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:32 AM)
2 November 2005
163

Carnival of the Vanities #163 is up and about, courtesy of Free Money Finance, which has arranged this week's entries in order of arrival, surely an inspired touch.

If you tuned in looking for my usual discussion of the number itself, well, here you go: In 2003, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) introduced HR 163, which would reinstate the draft and, he said, equalize the sacrifices involved in war:

"I truly believe that those who make the decision and those who support the United States going into war would feel more readily the pain that's involved, the sacrifice that's involved, if they thought that the fighting force would include the affluent and those who historically have avoided this great responsibility."

It was, of course, a crock, and Rangel knew it; even he voted against it, which should give you an idea of how much you should trust anything in which he says he truly believes.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:26 AM)
4 November 2005
Of course, he only asked for one

McGehee wants to know why anyone would read his blog.

The Top Ten reasons follow:

  1. Has steadfastly refused to post pictures of the Olsen twins unclad

  2. Posts more of an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article than ajc.com will let you read without giving them a two-page autobiography

  3. Doesn't write essays about the need for people to floss more regularly for good dental health

  4. A couple of my commenters think he's cool

  5. His site has made me about B$1.1 million on BlogShares

  6. Is way higher than I am in the Ecosystem, making it advisable for me to suck up

  7. Did I mention the Olsen twins?

  8. Is nearly as snarky in his posts as he is in his caption-contest entries

  9. Stands firmly for telling Fulton County, Georgia to put a sock in it

And the Number One reason I read McGehee's blog:

  1. It gives me one additional reason to want to buy him a beer

(Assuming, of course, he's allowed to have beer. You never know, these days.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:42 PM)
Moderation in not quite all things

Rocketboom strikes back! Amanda Congdon (be still, my heart) offers some not-overly-dramatized examples of "crap comments" posted to the site. (Migod, she gets some horrid trollage.) Video, of course.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:44 PM)
8 November 2005
Three of diamonds

That's me: a lump of coal under a lot of pressure.

Besides, canasta players will note that this card doesn't meld worth a damn.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:14 AM)
A brighter, shinier Cam

Cam Edwards' Web site is sporting a spiffy new E. Webscapes design. Of course, I'm a sucker for retro-styled microphones; the most contemporary mike I own is thirty years old and won't even fit in a shirt pocket, let alone clip to one. (And yes, it works with the computer, but then the computer is four years old, which is about 147 in dog years.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:19 PM)
9 November 2005
164

In Oklahoma City, the only numbered street that's also a section-line road on both north and south sides. (NW/NE 164th is also Edmond's 15th Street; SW/SE 164th becomes 34th Street on the south side of Moore.)

The 164th edition of Carnival of the Vanities is hosted by John Bambenek, Part-Time Pundit. The original weekly blog compendium just keeps rolling on.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:42 AM)
10 November 2005
Those nutty readers

Traffic at this site is back up over the 1000-a-day mark this week, for no reason I can fathom.

Unless it's because the regulars (whoever they may be) know it's been more than a month since I did a post about squirrels.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:01 AM)
11 November 2005
The FAQing truth

As Jayne Says:

Most "FAQs" are, at best, frequently "anticipated" questions; more frequently, they are points the author wishes to foist upon you.

How true this is.

(Via A Sweet, Familiar Dissonance.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:21 AM)
Condition: stable

Someone asked Jeeves this: How can I find out if my ex-husband is alive if he died before the age of 65?

I'm not Jeeves, or any kind of expert on these matters, but it seems to me that if he died before the age of 65, there's a good chance he's, um, still dead.

(I know this because Jeeves sent her here.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:43 AM)
15 November 2005
It's that time again

The Wizbang! crew presents the 2005 Weblog Awards, and nominations are being taken in a whole bunch of categories.

I note that my site fits into two categories, maybe, and I can think of no reason why it should win either of them.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:22 PM)
16 November 2005
165

It is, of course, early for Chanukah, but the event it celebrates — the revolt by the Maccabees against the Seleucids, which ended in victory and the restoration of Jewish services to the Temple in Jerusalem — took place in 165 BC, and after all, this is the 165th week of the Carnival of the Vanities, which you can examine yourself at The Examining Room of Dr. Charles.

(Note to new readers: I always do stuff like this. Call it a whim.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:11 PM)
18 November 2005
Because there's always something

Jacqueline Passey proposes a new game:

Whip out your handy copy of the DSM-IV, load up your favorite blog(s), and see how many mental and personality disorders you can diagnose!

Geez, I'd have you guys here all day.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:04 AM)
Pry me a river

Eric Siegmund was looking over Google Analytics, and being the cautious soul he is, he also read the fine print. This passage drew his attention:

7. PRIVACY. You will not (and will not allow any third party to) use the Service to track or collect personally identifiable information of Internet users, nor will You (or will You allow any third party to) associate any data gathered from Your website(s) (or such third parties' website(s)) with any personally identifying information from any source as part of Your use (or such third parties' use) of the Service. You will have and abide by an appropriate privacy policy and will comply with all applicable laws relating to the collection of information from visitors to Your websites. You must post a privacy policy and that policy must provide notice of your use of a cookie that collects anonymous traffic data.

He asks, reasonably enough:

I wonder how many bloggers will actually read this provision, let alone create and post a privacy policy for their websites?

Well, I hadn't read that, nor had I planned to use Google Analytics, but I have had a privacy policy for years now. And yes, it does disclose cookie use, though it gives me a bit more latitude with what I can do with the results.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:12 PM)
23 November 2005
To set the record straight

I have no connection with Open Shorts Media or any similarly-named organization.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:06 AM)
Welcome to Dullsville

A VERY LOUD Google query late last night: ARE THERE ANY INTERESTING PEOPLE IN EDMOND, OKLAHOMA?

Edmond has about 80,000 people; if none of them proved to be interesting, that would be interesting in itself, would it not?

(The IP of the searcher traces back to, yes, Edmond. Grade-school essay, maybe? Or just someone bored out of her skull?)

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:37 AM)
166

As in U-166, a German U-boat from World War II which was lost somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico and recently found.

Or as in Carnival of the Vanities #166, presented this week by Don Surber's Pajamas Media, and how he got media in his pajamas I'll never know.

(Update, 11:45 am: Maybe I will know after all.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:11 AM)
24 November 2005
At least we don't have commandments

Well, okay, if you say so: The Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging. Let's see how grievously I have transgressed:

  1. Using Free Blog Hosting Services
  2. Ignoring the Basic Principles of Good Web Site Design and Usability
  3. Being the Jack Of All Trades
  4. Not Posting Regularly
  5. Publishing Badly Written Posts
  6. Spamming and Stealing
  7. Failing to Establish a Personality

Hmmm. Whatever else one might say about DreamHost, they certainly aren't free, so I should be safe on #1.

I have a feeling #2 is going to venture into Jakob Nielsen territory. Here are the Things To Do:

  • Pleasant color combination — i.e., no neon or flashy color
  • Clean layout with plenty of white space
  • Logical navigation system with clearly marked section and subsections
  • Prominent and scannable titles and group labels — i.e., users should be able to quickly read through the headings to understand the content of the page
  • Fast load time — i.e., 5 seconds or less. Any longer and you risk losing your visitor

Well, I have no white space: it conflicts with my "pleasant color combination." On the other hand, this layout is not too far from clean, though it's far from standards-compliant. And if anyone understands all the category names, it's someone other than myself.

As for Jackness (#3), well:

The better thing to do is focus one subject and be the master at it. Start with the subject that you find most interesting and write a few short posts expressing your thought or commenting on something you've read. As your expertise grow, do some research and write longer articles to establish your authority on the subject.

If you are multi-talented and have many things to blog about, create one blog for each subject.

Oddly, the things at which I am the acknowledged master tend not to be things I blog about.

On the question of regularity (#4), this is post #5509 since Movable Type was installed (about twenty, mostly test posts, were deleted), so I'd say I probably produce enough material.

There are a few posts among those five thousand and odd I consider to be, um, constructed not particularly well (#5), but this is one of those eye-of-the-beholder deals. (Nominations for Worst. Post. Ever. are being accepted anyway.)

For the most part, anything I steal I link back to (#6), and I endeavor never to spam.

Then there's #7. "Failing to establish a personality" is a real-world consideration; it is obviously inapplicable to blogdom. (Let's see if anyone believes that.)

On the whole, I think that while I am not likely to burn in hell, I will probably roast for three hours at 350 degrees. And by January, I may think that's an improvement over the weather.

(Stolen Obtained from Fistful of Fortnights.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:05 PM)
25 November 2005
Happy Black Friday

Here's an open thread to kick off the season.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:34 AM)
29 November 2005
NSFW: SFW?

A perfectly reasonable question from the lovely and talented Samantha Burns:

I don't get why, as bloggers, we sometimes put up the warning, "not work safe" for links to naughty or indecent content.

Um ... isn't anything you look at while you're at work "not work safe"? I mean aren't you supposed to be, uh, WORKING?

I have no response to this, except to note that there is "not work safe" and "NOT WORK SAFE", and there is something of a difference.

[Preceding link sort of safe for work, changing to NOT SAFE FOR WORK if ... oh, never mind.]

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:44 PM)
30 November 2005
In answer to a flood of email

Well, okay, two.

Lynn was kind enough to mention the "cool rotating quote thingy" on the sidebar, which is labeled "It is written"; for the curious, this uses a Movable Type plugin called MTRandomLine and a text file full of stuff.

Old-timers will remember that in days of old with sysops bold and broadband not invented, there were offline readers (I used Blue Wave) with cool rotating quote files of their own; the basis for my MTRandomLine file is, indeed, my old Blue Wave tagline file, though I am no longer constrained by the old 74-character (I think) limit, which means that a lot (though not all) of the previously-uncredited quotes are now credited when I can find the credits — and the time.

As it happens, the one item Lynn quoted was one of the longest in the file:

"For a Westerner to trash Western culture is like criticizing our nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere on the grounds that it sometimes gets windy, and besides, Jupiter's is much prettier. You may not realize its advantages until you're trying to breathe liquid methane." — Neal Stephenson

MTRandomLine rotates a new quote onto the page whenever there is a page or comment rebuild. If you see one you like, feel free to swipe it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:34 AM)
Nine hundred thousand

Considering that 800,000 was reached on the 10th of August, my efforts to discourage traffic seem to be failing miserably.

Still looks like a million before the 10th Anniversary (the 9th of April), easy.

For the record, #900,000 (at 9:53 CST) comes from the Milford, N'Hampsha area, searching for "coal in stocking gift" and winding up here.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:54 AM)
167

XM channel 167 is where you'll find Air America Radio.

For the rest of us, File It Under presents Carnival of the Vanities #167, the latest installment of the first (and still the oldest) weekly blog compilation.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:53 PM)
The 7 types of highly effective bloggers

Assuming you define "highly-effective" as "traffic-generating," anyway. Mister Snitch explains:

Not every blogger practicing these distinct styles gets as much traffic as they might like. However, each style has the potential to drive traffic. Other styles of blogging, such as the let's-discuss-what-I-ate-for-lunch style, aren't suited for driving traffic, unless of course you're talking about what Madonna had for lunch. As a rule, navel-gazing gains an audience of one.

Incidentally, Swanson's new Chicken Strips dinner is new only to the extent that it contains fewer strips than its predecessor.

The seven types (see the linked page for full descriptions):

  1. Meme-du-jour bloggers comment on the high-profile ideas of the moment. This type of blogger is usually focused on political issues.

  2. Caterers determine what an audience segment wants to hear, and pursue that theme aggressively.

  3. Nichebloggers, aka localbloggers. The subject is usually something the writer is passionate about, or has special expertise in.

  4. Internet guides, such as Instapundit, create little original material. Their strength is that they are trusted link finders/filters.

  5. The celebrity-blogger is someone whose site traffic comes from fame achieved outside of blogging.

  6. The service blogger performs a service, often to the 'Meme' blogger (see 1).

  7. The long-tail blogger is the rarest of successful breeds. This style requires consistent blogging over a long period of time (hence the rarity in a fairly new medium).

Some blogs, of course, are hybrids: they have characteristics of more than one type, or of types not under consideration here. I see rather a lot of overlap between #3 and #7, for instance, as does Snitch.

(Disclosure: Mister Snitch sent the #7 paragraph to me for review before posting, mostly for statistics verification.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:30 PM)
1 December 2005
Dishonorable mention

Voting has yet to begin in the 2005 Weblog Awards (mercifully, I won't be on any of the ballots), and to be up front about it, I really haven't given much thought to my picks yet.

On the other hand, Beth has proposed Badblog Awards for this year, and I suspect that the decisions to be made won't be quite so difficult.

(Disclosure: I was nominated for one of the WAs; the list of finalists has not been posted, but I have no reason to think I might have made it to the finals.)

(Found at the Cotillion Ball.)

Update, 4 December: It appears I spoke too soon.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:01 AM)
2 December 2005
You need not wonder why

No time left for more-extensive blogging, says Dan Paden:

I marvel at bloggers who can do all this and still keep up with a seemingly endless list of blogs. They are either way smarter than I am (always a possibility!), or way more caffeinated than I am (not likely!), or they are neglecting something they shouldn't. Sleep, perhaps.

D. I have vastly greater experience with high-speed reading than I do with, say, RSS feed aggregators.

However, I don't claim to be keeping up; I'm content to keep from falling behind any further. (I would like to be able to work on the 26-hour Bajoran day, which is actually more compatible with my circadian rhythms than the 24-hour version prevailing here on Sol III, though 28 might be pushing it.)

What brought this on, anyway?

What got me started on this post was an attitude I've perceived — possibly mistakenly — on the part of some bloggers lately, much to the effect that if they encountered error, a particular sort of error, in the blogosphere, they were obligated in some fashion to try to correct it, or at least to respond to it.

I assure Mr Paden that he is not mistaken. (Which is, of course, why I am posting this: to try to correct it, or at least to respond to it.)

Actually, there is a smattering of folks out there just waiting with a Gotcha! the moment you do one of the following:

  • Post something that is not entirely consistent with something you previously posted a long time ago.

  • Utter something at odds with Received Wisdom, as received at their end.

  • Push one of their particular buttons.

Sharp-eyed observers of human behavior, even some of the more myopic ones, will immediately notice that this pattern existed long before blogging, and will no doubt persist long beyond the time when they finally drain the fluid from the jar containing Glenn Reynolds' preserved brain.

But the basic question remains:

So how do you determine what things to blog about? Well, I can't speak for others, but I either blog about what's on my mind right now, or I blog on things that I think will be useful or interesting to the very small circle of readers I have. And even though it sometimes chaps my hide and frosts my soul to do so, I just don't fool with anything else. I ain't got the time.

Remind me to pick up a can of that soul frosting at the supermarket.

Actually, I think this is true of all of us. Nobody writes about everything; we have to pare it down somewhere. If there's a role model here, it's Joe Miller, who boiled his reportorial mission down to four words: "I cover the waterfront."

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:50 AM)
4 December 2005
Reasonably outclassed

To my utter amazement, I'm up for one of those gosh-darn Weblog Awards, in the 1001-1750 (via TTLB) category.

What I find most amusing about this, apart from (1) being nominated in the first place and (2) actually getting to the finals, is the fact that N. Z. Bear tweaked the Ecosystem shortly after the Awards guys looked up all these numbers, and as a result some of the nominees in this category no longer fit into this category; in fact, of the first four I looked at besides my own, three had moved either up or down far enough to escape this range entirely.

Not that this matters, particularly. You have to have some arbitrary benchmark, and as long as it's consistently applied throughout, I have no complaint.

As always with these things, I urge you to read as many of the nominees as possible before casting your votes. (Warning: The voting system assumes you have Macromedia Flash 7 or higher.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:00 PM)
6 December 2005
A tip of the green eyeshade

A shout-out this morning to Geitner Simmons, who, I have only recently learned, is now the Editorial Page Editor of the Omaha World-Herald, and who, as I have known for some time, is a regular reader of this very page.

Mr Simmons has a personal blog, devoted to history, regionalism and culture, called Regions of Mind. If you haven't already, give him a look; he's got an interesting piece this week on how urban sprawl is not a purely-American phenomenon.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:04 AM)
Always first with the least

This item got Farked last night:

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma Transportation Authority engineer is hoping an odd speed limit will get the attention of drivers, and slow them down in construction zones.

Jarry Slaughter has posted speed limit signs of 17 miles per hour at three toll plazas that are under construction at Stroud, Vinita and Afton.

From the last day of World Tour '05, which would be the 19th of July:

[S]ome Roads Scholar working the exits up in the northeast has come up with a new wrinkle: the speed limit just beyond the Afton/Vinita exit from the Will Rogers Turnpike is 17 mph. I guess this is as fast as you can go and still get the attention of Baron von Tollbooth.

Advantage: dustbury.com.

We now return to our usual level of humility.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:15 AM)
7 December 2005
Mysterious visitations

This qualifies as a reasonable question:

I haven't blogged for ::gulp:: four days??

How is it that I don't blog and my stats are up through the roof?

Zen master Mister Snitch! sees it this way:

The secret of blogging is not to blog at all.

For those of us already entangled in the web, perhaps the most rational approach is to keep one finger on the Delete button.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:12 AM)
168

In this area we have both an 84 Lumber store and a Lumber 2 store; I always wondered what would happen if the two firms merged.

Of course, for my current 168 fix, I go to the 168th Carnival of the Vanities, hosted by Denali Flavors, with just that subtle hint of moose.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:21 AM)
8 December 2005
Books of Chronicles

La Shawn Barber, usually seen in her Corner, has put together Fantasy Fiction for Christians, just in time for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; there will also be Harry Potter discussions, and whatever else happens to fit into the format.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:56 AM)
9 December 2005
Blatant Googlebait

Desiree GoodwinPictured here is Desiree Goodwin, fortysomething Harvard librarian, who sued the university charging discrimination: I titled my first post about her "I'm too sexy for my desk". Inasmuch as this is a hot story on job-finding Web sites this week — I've had over 900 hits so far from people looking for, if not her story, certainly her picture — the least I can do is oblige. (Oh, what we won't go through for more traffic.)

My three previous posts about the Goodwin incident are here, here and here.

Addendum: Pertinent quote from her LISNews interview:

I think that the perception that librarians are conservative, homogeneous, and out of touch will be ultimately harmful to us, and if [we] don't change that image we will be left behind as society evolves.

I'm guessing that she means "conservative" as in "mossback," not in its contemporary political context; the American Library Association tends to veer somewhat leftward.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:54 AM)
Cavalcade of Trolls

We've all seen them: exemplars of moral twerpitude who clutter up your comment sections (though usually not mine, for some inscrutable reason) with drivel ranging from arguable to "Arrrgghhh!"

Well, okay, we haven't seen them in the literal sense — only their residue.

But Julie R. Neidlinger, who sees more than most of us, unmasks the miscreants once and for all.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:15 PM)
12 December 2005
Things I learned this weekend

Of course, I'll share.

Thanks to all who contributed to this knowledge expansion.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:14 AM)
The referral which wasn't there

I'm picking up occasional traffic from Talking Points Memo's TPMCafe, from Daily Kos, and from The Washington Monthly, not because they have any particular interest in anything said here, but because Beyond Belief Media, distributor of The God Who Wasn't There, has taken out ads for the film on all three sites, and the text of the ad consists largely of linked quotations from reviews — including the title of mine, which leads it off.

Assuming Beyond Belief continues to use this ad for a while, I should be able to track where they're placing it. I am, of course, not particularly surprised to see that they're going for liberal sites first.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:04 AM)
Nonlinear regression

Well, TTLB reports that I finally dropped below the Large Mammal threshold today. (It was just a matter of time.)

Besides, I look like I have a pouch, so Marsupialhood is probably more appropriate anyway.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:38 AM)
Making life, you know, a little gnarlier

Feed your favorite site (or, duh, this one) through Valley URL at The '80s Server. It is, like, oh my gawd, just totally bitchin'.

(Via the totally studly Fred First.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:39 PM)
13 December 2005
Now with 60 percent more feed

If you subscribe to the dustbury.com RSS feed, you will now get the twenty-four most recent items instead of fifteen.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:58 AM)
14 December 2005
169

Thirteen squared; also, the number of nonequivalent starting hands in Texas Hold'em, and a moderately-scary highway in Tulsa.

It's week #169 for the Carnival of the Vanities, hosted this week by Multiple Mentality, and given a comfortable blanket of Whedon fleece.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:55 AM)
15 December 2005
It was fun while it lasted

There's a new blogad for The God Who Wasn't There, and unlike its predecessor, this one doesn't link back to me, so that brief upsurge of traffic from major liberal blogs has subsided.

Oh, I'll get over it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:20 AM)
It's always post time

Mitch Berg was absolutely flabbergasted:

"The New Lineup" was the 6,000th post on this blog.

What really blows my mind is that my 5,000th post was last May 30th; I've done a thousand in six months.

I need a life, don't I?

I looked at that, and yes, I thought, "Mitch, you need a life," but I was still musing: a thousand entries in six months? Geez, and I thought I was overdoing it.

And then I was foolish enough to count backward 1000 entries of my own, and wound up here.

On the 24th of July.

Which means I've done a thousand entries in less than five months.

Which means, I guess, that however badly Mitch may need a life, I need one 20 percent worse.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:00 AM)
Something's wrong with this picture

News aggregator Topix.net has apparently decided that I am a "news source," which, if nothing else, demonstrates the folly of relying too heavily on algorithms.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:06 PM)
In a camper on a lake

Yeah, that'll be the day.

(Cue the Crickets)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:07 PM)
16 December 2005
Where have all the TypePads gone?

Okay, what's the deal with TypePad? Every TP site I've looked at today has been reset to Saturday morning.

The most likely explanation would seem to be that they crashed big-time and the latest backup they had was from the 10th, but that can't be it, can it?

Update: Well, I was close.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:02 AM)
Fourth from the bottom

Not surprising, really.

Then again, when last I did this sort of thing, I was third from the bottom.

At this rate, I should be a shoo-in for 2031.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:01 AM)
18 December 2005
19 December 2005
From the top shelf

Mister Snitch! is taking nominees for Best Post of 2005 for a special year-end round-up of the 100 best.

Submissions are due by 30 December. Anybody who dares submit anything of mine had better be prepared to explain why.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:00 AM)
20 December 2005
Well, I (almost) never

How Slut-o-Meter works:

Slut-o-meter evaluates the promiscuity of the subject you enter by comparing the number of Google search results with and without "safe-search" enabled. A complete slut would return unsafe results and no safe results. Alternatively, a clean name should produce the same number of safe and unsafe results.

The exact formula is here. Applying it to the mysterious word "dustbury," we obtain promiscuity (as of this writing) of 5.42 percent.

(Via Majikthise, which scores 6.02 percent.)

Addendum, 22 December: Frank Wilson (book-review editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer) would like to know: "What can you make of something that rates Henry James sluttier than Tolstoy and Kerouac?" I figure it was transfixed by The Turn of the Screw.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:01 PM)
21 December 2005
170

Interstate 170 through Baltimore no longer exists: originally intended as a spur from I-70 to downtown, about a mile and a quarter of the road was actually built before plans to bring I-70 into Charm City limits and connect it to I-95 were abandoned. The stretch is now considered part of US 40. (Found at AARoads.com; by coincidence, "AA" is 170 in hex.)

And this is the 170th edition of Carnival of the Vanities, hosted by Ravenwood's Universe just in time for [fill in name of holiday].

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:00 AM)
Climbing the food chain

N.Z. Bear has decided that I'm back among the Large Mammals.

Easy go, easy come, or something like that.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:30 PM)
25 December 2005
The smallest gift of all

A holiday open thread. Let there be tidings of comfort and joy and whatever else fits the scene.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:15 AM)
What a difference a year makes

This week last year:

Christmas week 2004

This week this year:

Christmas week 2005

What's the difference? Last year, there was this.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:57 PM)
26 December 2005
And I haven't moved an inch

One of my complaints from last spring:

GeoURL is back up, now in version 2.0, and if you track this site, you will be told that it is "Near Nichols Hills, OK, United States."

Well, yeah, I suppose that's true — in the grand scheme of things, a mile and a half (the distance from Surlywood to Outabounds) qualifies as "near" — but since I'm actually in Oklahoma City, wouldn't it have made more sense just to have positioned me there?

Was I heard? Now if you track this site, you will be told that it is "Near The Village, OK, United States."

I am actually farther from The Village than I am from Nichols Hills.

(Yes, I checked the longitude/latitude parameters: they're correct.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:18 AM)
27 December 2005
Zilchomania!

They said it wouldn't last.

Ha.

The second weekly Carnival of Nothing has received nothing, says creator Sean Gleeson, from literally thousands of bloggers, testimony to Mr Gleeson's unique (and uniquely clear) vision.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:07 PM)
28 December 2005
Prufereeder wanted

This is the bottom section of an ad being circulated by PajamasMedia; I caught it at Protein Wisdom. Where they meant to link is here; the URL given in the ad leads to a parked / squatted-upon / splogged [choose one] domain. By coincidence, I had a post about this bank last week, which is probably why I noticed this little anomaly in the first place. (Alternate title, rejected partly for reasons of taste, but mostly because I'd used it before: Dyslexia warns without striking.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:09 PM)
171

If you're heading north, exit 171 (Chestnut Ridge Road, northbound only) is the next-to-last exit from the Garden State Parkway; this blog might be written from somewhere nearby.

On a less Jerseycentric note, Carnival of the Vanities #171 is hosted this week by ChickenSoup4TheDamned. I assume it's at least warm.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:30 PM)
30 December 2005
Time to re-up

Just paid the 2006 hosting bill. (The domain is paid for through 2007.)

Apparently I'm going to be here awhile.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:42 AM)
Because... you asked for it!

Andrew "Adam Slushpilitz" Krucoff, guest-editing at Gawker during the slowest news week of the year, put in this earnest request to readers:

Hang tight and please send in tips, including pics of your mom. I haven't the foggiest clue about what's going on with New York, media, or pop culture these days.

Dawn Eden, occasional topic at Gawker, duly forwarded a pic of her mom.

Two observations:

  1. I wish I'd thought of that;
  2. There's a lot to be said for good genes.

(I'm assuming that the photo was not taken during the brief period she lived in Galveston.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:15 AM)
1 January 2006
I'd call it a one-liner

I'd complain about this, but unfortunately, it's exactly my own position on the matter:

FYI — I refuse to use strike-through when I write my articles because I think it's retarded academically inaccurate as a writing style.

And it occurs to me that were there some HTML tag to duplicate the childish^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hinfamous backspacing trick we used to use in 7-Bit Heaven, I'm sure it would have descended into cliché just as quickly.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:43 PM)
5 January 2006
172

I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to the usual trouble of looking up a cute numerical reference, since the newest Carnival of the Vanities, hosted by Harshly Mellow, doesn't bear the usual weekly numeric identifier — although with HM assuming command from the retiring Bigwig, the "Mark II" designation affixed by Zeuswood is certainly legitimate.

That said, let me point you to the Cessna 172 Skyhawk, the most successful light aircraft ever built; after nearly half a century, the Skyhawk is still in production today.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:01 AM)
Prekvetch instruction

Brad Berens, executive editor for iMedia Communications, talks to Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, and one thing he'd like to know is how to tell the Good Blogs from the Bad Blogs:

On the consumer side, the great thing about blogs and blogging is that any thoughtful, engaged citizen with a browser and an internet connection can become a media voice in just a few minutes. On the corporate side, this is great if the citizen is a thoughtful and engaged customer. But the terrible thing about blogs and blogging is that any meathead with a grudge or too much time on his hands can have the same megaphone. Whose job is it to tell the engaged customers from the meatheads?

Joel Johnson John Brownlee, writing for The Consumerist, takes a stab at it:

A certain degree of cynicism when dealing with the promises of faceless corporate hegemonies is needed to actually appreciate their slickness: these aren't things we need, these are things we want, and therein really lies the allure. When companies can afford to launch multi-million dollar advertising complaints to blunt the sharpness of consumer's complaints, it's important we remain all the more persistent and vigilant in our complaints. But omnivorous, purposeful cynicism devours itself. Because of this, theres an odd contradiction: to be effectively cynical about consumerism, one — at heart — has to be a fair and enthusiastic consumer.

The razor's edge of being a critic is whetted on actually having a great deal of fondness of that which you criticize, and I think it's that fondness which separates the "thoughtful, engaged citizen with a browser" from the "meathead with the microphone". So when Berens asks whose job it is in companies today to separate the one from the other, I think it's a dual responsibility: on one hand, companies need to realize the validity of complaints from consumers, but on the other hand, consumers have an even harder task, because they need to introspectively judge the validity of their own complaints.

Five points off for "hegemonies," a word which grates like Dragon Lady nails on a fresh chalkboard, but otherwise this makes sense. The next question: can this premise be extended to political bloggers? Obviously the "fondness" is present: there's a reason for that term "political junkie," after all. And junkies of both political and shopping persuasions have a distinct tendency to conflate needs and wants. The difference? Government, unlike retail, has no particular incentive to be responsive.

Then again, how much has Dell learned from Jeff Jarvis?

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:04 PM)
7 January 2006
Another one fights the rust

Edward announces the end of lactose incompetent:

The curtain will close on this site on January 9th, 2006. That's when the contract with my webhost expires, and I shall not be renewing. I'd like to thank those of you who've stuck with this humble site for over three years and bother reading my assorted ramblings.

I've learned a lot by playing with the blog format, the most essential of which is that I truly have nothing so earth-shattering to say that it must be presented to the world as fast as the words can travel the distance from my brain to my fingertips. There is a joy to savoring one's own words and one's own thoughts, allowing them to ripen and age appropriately before making the decision as to how, and even if, they will be shared with the world. While I am done with blogging, for now, I will never say never again, and I am far from done with writing. The topics brought forth here — spirituality, the role of work in our lifestyles, friendship, the art within our souls, anger at greed and injustice and cruelty, living one's best life and being true to one's own self, are subjects I will continue to explore in both fiction and non-fiction. But in the balance of my life, for all blogging has given me, in the end it has taken me away — away from relationships, away from life's work, away from sky and sun and fresh air, away from true writing.

While my own experience hasn't followed the same pattern, I can understand the need to get away from the blog: its demands are endless, its rewards sporadic, its ultimate importance undetermined. But I believe that writing is no less true, or at least no more untrue, just because it conforms to the blog format: sonnets and screeds, epics and whimsy, stories long, short and really short, all seem to coexist just fine.

The need for speed is another matter. When news runs on a 24-hour cycle, matters of little import are accelerated into a prominence which in the long term they will not deserve: I spent part of this morning rereading my January 2003 archives, and some of the tempests of that time's teapots produce barely a memory bubble today.

I will, of course, look for Edward under his real name on a bound volume; but I will miss the ability to click on him.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:12 PM)
9 January 2006
Those, um, cheap rhetorical devices

Patterico castigates the Los Angeles Times for a chunk of verbal effluvia set in type:

"On its face, the assertion threatens to undermine the fundamental constitutional principle that it is for Congress to write the laws and for the executive to, well, execute them."

It's the "well" in that sentence that gets under my skin. It's right up there with "um" on the annoyance scale.

Which prompted the following comment from reader Harry Arthur:

"Um" and "well" are used as means to condescend to the perceived lesser intellectual capabilities of their readers. It's just more of the same smug, "I'm just so much smarter than you" MSM attitude. I call it the "lecture mode" whereupon they deem to reveal some secret "truth" to we unwashed, backwards rubes out in the hinterlands. Unfortunately for them, "Joe Sixpack" sees right through their smug, self-satisfied, condescending twittery.

Inasmuch as one of the more blatant users of this particular rhetorical device is, um, well, yours truly, I demur. For one thing, I'm hardly "self-satisfied." For another, I have a fair number of readers who strike me as being quite a bit brighter than I am, and hardly any who qualify as "unwashed, backwards rubes." (So far as I know, they at least wash.)

Mostly, when you see "um" on these pages, it's a variation on the also-overused <em> tag; it's a combination of "emphasize this" and, where appropriate, "write your own joke." I have faith enough in my readers to believe that they can, and will. And, well, I think Mr Sixpack (and Mr Arthur, should he read this) would notice this immediately.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:30 PM)
Dustbury: the series

Despite the fact that I live a dull Midwest nonexistence — or would, if I, you know, actually lived in the Midwest — Mister Snitch sees this lack of activity as perfect television-sitcom fodder.

The pitch:

Shows about nothing have taken off before. Plus, his pining for unattainable snarkgoddess Maureen Dowd (a central theme of the show) makes the concept soar. This one's American Splendor meets Sideways, meets Seinfeld. Frequent appearances are made by Janeane Garofalo, playing Charles' archenemy, Maud Newton. Next-door neighbor Sean Gleeson stops by frequently to mooch food, get away from the wife, and involve Charles in crazy get-rich-quick schemes.

I never thought Maud Newton was all that arch. (Sean, in fact, lives more than three miles from me. Then again, so does Maureen Dowd.)

The pilot:

Charles falls in a well, just before the Super Bowl. Rather than spoil the party, the gang lowers him down a laptop and some Cheetos.

"What's with the orange?"

"Oh, I was just adding some highlights to whatzername's hair."

The gimmick here, of course, is that any time someone else is speaking, the screen width >NARROWS< to simulate a blockquote.

I have to assume that this is payback for faithfully watching Parker Lewis Can't Lose all those years. "You're not the Nixon of love!" cried Frank Lemmer.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:47 PM)
10 January 2006
Write what you know

A bad idea, says P. J. O'Rourke:

Creative writing teachers should be purged until every last instructor who has uttered the words "Write what you know" is confined to a labor camp. Please, talented scribblers, write what you don't. The blind guy with the funny little harp who composed The Iliad, how much combat do you think he saw?

Probably none until he tried to collect royalties.

Obviously I need to write more articles on dating.

(With thanks to Agent Bedhead, who caught this before I did.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:18 AM)
11 January 2006
173

In the fall of 1943, according to legend, a US Navy ship was supposedly dematerialized and transported by means unknown from Philadelphia to Norfolk, in something known familiarly as the Philadelphia Experiment. The vessel involved was reported to be the USS Eldridge, DE-173, a Cannon-class destroyer.

If you prefer your 173s a bit more tangible, The Hip and Zen Pen is hosting Carnival of the Vanities #173, the latest installment of the original weekly blog compendium, dozens of great articles (and one of mine) just a click away.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:51 AM)
18 January 2006
Maybe I need a bigger bird

A research team at Carleton University in Ottawa has concluded that the time it takes for a visitor to judge a Web site is no more than 0.05 second.

Yes, really:

The Canadian team showed volunteers glimpses of websites, lasting for only 50 milliseconds. The volunteers then had to rate the websites in terms of their aesthetic appeal.

The researchers found that the speedily formed conclusions closely tallied with opinions of the websites that had been made after much longer periods of examination.

Gitte Lindgaard, lead researcher of the paper, expressed her surprise at the results. "My colleagues believed it would be impossible to really see anything in less than 500 milliseconds."

I think that at the heart of the matter is the template: not the one used to construct the site, but the ones we use for comparison which we keep in the back of our heads. We may not be 100-percent thrilled with our own sites, but we know what we like, and, perhaps more important, what we don't like. Armed with this information, we can judge a site on an aesthetic basis, or on any other basis we can process quickly enough. For instance, if your criteria for rejection include "too many overly-cute titles" and "articles about Maureen Dowd," I expect you'll be gone from here well before those 50 milliseconds are up.

(Via Population Statistic.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:18 AM)
Andrew reports to Colbert

Well, actually, he now answers to Time Warner, but this is a worthy Sullivanism from The Colbert Report:

The only way you can trust anybody who blogs is by following them and making sure they're not full of it all the time. The one sign of a good blogger is that he immediately corrects a mistake. And unlike the New York Times, where they can put all of their millions of mistakes in a little box in the corner every day which you never read, a blogger has to fess up, right there, just like you do every night.

(Found at Gawker.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:10 PM)
174

The 174th weekly edition of the Carnival of the Vanities is now up at Free Money Finance, with seven days' worth of nifty bloggage available for your perusal.

If anyone cares, 174 MHz is the very bottom of the so-called VHF-Hi television spectrum, at least for now: channel 7 runs from 174 to 180 MHz. Legend has it that ABC hurried to snap up channel 7 for its owned-and-operated stations back in the day because they'd heard a rumor that the VHF-Lo segment (54 to 88 MHz, channels 2 through 6) would be reassigned by the FCC, leaving them first on the dial.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:43 PM)
22 January 2006
Prescriptions from on high

Steven Streight, the Blogger Occasionally Known As Vaspers The Grate, has offered up what he calls "slapdash suggestions for improving the Blogosphere 2006" in the hopes of propelling this weird little entity a little farther into its inevitable evolution.

Streight, to his credit, identifies his particular biases right up front:

I am assuming that blog pioneers, innovators, consultants, and authors truly wish to see the blogosphere refined, dignified, and blossoming into new and beneficial forms. Not "anything goes" mutation blogoids that violate user expectations and frustrate the typical reader, but real progress in blog functionality, efficiency, connectivity, syndicated delivery, and interactivity.

"Beneficial," of course, is in the eye of the recipient, and I'm not sure how "typical" my readers are. I'd love to know, though, what Streight considers to be mutant.

This section struck me at an odd angle:

Every blogroll is a new hub in the blogosphere within the web of the internet. Your blogroll acts as a transitory portal for your blog readers, a gateway to recommended blogs and web sites you feel might benefit them in some way.

Blogrolls are an indication of your blog's credibility. One way to assess, evaluate, or judge a blog that is unfamiliar to you is to check the blogroll, who is in it, and who is excluded.

Unless Einstein or Euclid or someone changed the math on me while I wasn't looking, I assume that anyone who isn't on the blogroll is excluded pretty much by definition.

I do admit that when I encounter an unfamiliar blog, I examine its blogroll, although I do try to avoid making too many conclusions based upon what I find therein. (Nothing surprises me more than finding myself on it.) And God forbid anyone should try to determine anything from my blogroll. Kottke used to stick his blogroll under the heading NOT RECOMMENDED AT ALL, which I keep forgetting to rip off.

And herein lies wisdom:

Keep a handy list of titles, blogger names, and URLs of new blogs you want to add to your blogroll. Don't worry if these blogs reciprocate by blogrolling you, because nearly none of them will.

At any given moment, I have four or five under consideration.

On the question of comments, Streight says:

Respond swiftly, politely, and completely to every comment, as much as possible. Some comments need no reply. Most do. Don't leave your commenters hanging, wondering if you even care or pay any attention to other people's opinions and insights.

I think I've done acceptably well in this regard, although as everyone knows by now, I don't actually care about other people's opinions and insights. :)

And this makes sense:

Don't underestimate the power of lurkers. One may suddenly jump out of the shadows and post an astonishing comment, then you never hear from them again.

Well, there was one yesterday I hope I never hear from again. (Don't go looking for it; it's been deleted.)

There's a lot more in Streight's suggestions, though I suspect that the blogger most likely to follow up on all his ideas is the blogger who values, more than anything else, being recognized by Dave Winer.

(With thanks to Doc Searls, whom you should not hold responsible for any of this.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:45 AM)
23 January 2006
Not quite at 15:00 yet

Dear Amanda:

Thanks for the kind words.

(If you're wondering what's up, said kind words — and she really said them — were prompted by my comment to this edition of Rocketboom.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:43 PM)
25 January 2006
Psychotic reaction

Remember Vaspers the Grate? He's now quantified Over-Bloggerization, and identified no fewer than fifteen levels, which are:

  1. Blog Elation.
  2. Blog Confusion.
  3. Blog Comment Ecstasy.
  4. Blog Citation Euphoria.
  5. Blog Conference Inanity.
  6. Blog Clique & Cloister Syndrome.
  7. Blog Myopia & Narcissistic Cathexis.
  8. Blog Hyper-Mania/Melancholia.
  9. Blog Parenthetically Installed as Rehab Superego.
  10. Blog Over-valuation Morbidity.
  11. Blogopathic Reaction Formation.
  12. Blog Ambiguity Crisis.
  13. Blog Replication of Introjected Archaic Object.
    [we have now passed the point of no return, no remedy]
  14. Blog Apotheosis Dissemblancing.
  15. Blog Psychosis — total permanent loss of original pre-blog personality and goals.

I can't really tell if I'm at 4.5 or at 9.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:00 AM)
Checking the chain for pull vectors

Glenn Reynolds at Wonkette?

Gotta be some sort of InstaBot.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:31 AM)
175

The 175th Carnival of the Vanities has appeared at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity; it's the latest edition of the first — and still the oldest — weekly blog compilation.

Paragraph 175 was the section of the German penal code that the Third Reich expanded to wield against homosexual men; persons convicted under 175 wore the infamous pink triangle.

(Does anyone still read these bits of numeric trivia?)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:31 PM)
26 January 2006
At least they're not stuffy

I see plenty of pigeons; I don't believe they are exactly enhanced by fluffiness.

Anyone got any starving grackles?

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:18 AM)
27 January 2006
Within shrieking distance

Last paragraph of this Vent, 1 January 2006:

Playboy will take submissions for a "Women of the Blogosphere" pictorial, which will appear in early 2007. No one you ever heard of will be in it.

Announcement today [probably not safe for work]:

Playboy.com seeks the sexiest women of the MySpace community to pose for a nude Playboy pictorial.

Well, at least it isn't Tripod.

(Via Fark.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:41 PM)
28 January 2006
Yakety yak (do talk back)

There are somewhere around 13,000 comments posted here, which is not a particularly high number by the standards of blogs higher (and by some lower) on the food chain.

I suspect, though, that there are scant few Big Media guys who get this much feedback, as Atrios notes:

A thing which I only came to realize recently is just how little reader feedback most reporters get, even post Al Gore's benevolent gift of the internet. Even reporters/columnists/etc who prominently display their emails get very little reader feedback. I was quite stunned to realize that the amount of reader feedback most reporters get — even now — is about the amount I was getting after I'd only been running this lemonade stand for a couple of months. Bloggers get a huge amount of feedback relative to their readership size, both in comments and in email, and I was shocked to realize that this wasn't something most print journalists experienced.

James Joyner thinks it's simply that things work differently on this side of the Great Scriveners' Divide:

This is indeed an odd thing, presumably just a function of the culture of blogs, where readers come in as equals and expect to participate, versus newspapers, where readers are simply consumers of information passed down from on high. Even though OTB tends not to generate the level of comments as other similarly-trafficked blogs, I still get hundreds of emails every single day. (Every comment posted on the site is instantly emailed to the post author.)

There's only the one post author here, except under unusual circumstances, but I do pull down 30 to 40 site-related emails every day.

Which suggests a question: Would the newspaper and TV-radio guys see themselves as better off if they did get this level of feedback? Or would they throw up their hands in despair and drop all their email in the bit bucket? To Atrios, at least, it's routine:

[E]verybody [in blogdom] deals with the feedback, and anyone with even a modest amount of traffic deals with quite a lot of it.

Of course, we don't have those editors and factcheckers and other forms of insulation, either.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:44 AM)
30 January 2006
What's your name? Have I seen you before?

Salon.com is tilting away from anonymous reader feedback:

[T]hough we give you the option to post letters anonymously, we strongly prefer that you sign them with your real name. First of all, it's a tradition in the world of "letters to the editor." Beyond that, we believe that signed letters and comments tend to reflect more considered thinking — and our decade-long experience with online interaction bears out that belief. We know that some of you might be thinking, "Gee, when future potential employers are Googling my name, do I really want them to see this rant?" Maybe that's simply good motivation to write something that you'll be proud of. If you think you won't want to stand by your letter years from now, you might reconsider whether you want to post it at all.

To put a little more encouragement behind our request that you sign your letters, from now on we'll tilt our Editors' Choices toward letters that come with names attached. (Letters signed with "handles" instead of names are still eligible, but names are preferred.) We might still on occasion highlight letters that are completely anonymous, if there seems to be a logical reason the writers may have chosen to hide their identity. But that will be the exception, not the rule.

Yes, they were thinking about that Washington Post debacle.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:20 AM)
1 February 2006
176

Beck thinks it's 4897, but he lost count somewhere along the way, a feeling I know well.

Anyway, it's the 176th Carnival of the Vanities, a week's worth of high-intensity bloggage, hosted by Incite, and refreshingly free of anything from me.

Numerical trivia: Tulsa's firefighters are members of IAFF Local 176.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:11 AM)
2 February 2006
Top of the heap

The Carnivals, of course, come out weekly, and they are staggeringly popular. But inevitably, they have a short shelf life: the participants strut and fret their paragraphs on the page and are promptly forgotten in seven days.

"Or maybe not," reasoned Mister Snitch as he sought to assemble the Best Blog Posts of 2005, a megacompilation which is, I think, the closest equivalent in blogdom to the Academy Awards.

Seriously. The awards for Best Something-Or-Other Blog, while worthy in their own right, are more like Oscar's Lifetime Achievement Award: it's given for a body of work rather than for any specific individual performance. And the recipients thereof would be the last persons on earth to suggest that everything they did was on the same superlative plane.

Snitch's compilation, by contrast, looked for the best individual performances during the calendar year, the posts which, given the ephemeral nature of this medium, have managed to stand the test of time. Ultimately, he hopes to see the collection, perhaps abridged for space considerations, appear in book form.

Still, one aspect of the Carnivals carries over: I'm happy to point you to the results, and urge you to read as many of them as time permits. (I won't feel hurt if you skip this one.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:18 AM)
3 February 2006
A Friday frolic

Which is by way of saying that I got nothin' much this morning, and feel free (without violating the usual considerations of taste and/or slander) to add something of your own.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:45 AM)
7 February 2006
As others see us

Kinja bills itself as "the weblog guide". It's quirky, but then it is a Nick Denton (Gawker, Wonkette) operation, and this is their pitch:

  • keep up with favorite authors, and friends who blog
  • discover new weblogs
  • save time: scan excerpts before clicking through
  • legible excerpts, rather than a list of headlines, or a garbled search result
  • no knowledge of RSS or syndication standards required
  • no reader application to download, accessible from any computer
  • favorites page easily shared with friends and colleagues

There's a full-screen "card" for each site they list, and a summary card which appears when you search by topic.

I bring this up because someone apparently went looking for this site, and the site card includes some useful info like the site description (which is normally hidden in a META tag), popularity (two stars out of five, which seems high) and posting frequency (43 per week, which also seems high, but which is at least subject to verification; this particular post is, in fact, the 42nd since the first of the month).

Interestingly, the following major topics are listed for this site:

Summary cards for forty-seven "related" sites are attached.

Surprised that I wasn't listed under "drivel," I ran a search for same, and got 44 summary cards, including one for USAToday.com (strange) and one for Michael Moore.com (perhaps not so strange).

Also included: a tool to extract the front page from the Wayback Machine. The earliest one they had was 23 October 1999, which seems fair enough: this domain didn't exist before 1999. (Version 6.037, if you're curious, and it looks awful, even without the graphics.)

I dunno who was looking at this stuff, but the IP traces back to Los Angeles. (Thank you for your interest.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:38 PM)
9 February 2006
177

Now this is synergy of a sort: the Carnival of the Capitalists folks — by which we mean Jay, generally — have undertaken to do this week's Carnival of the Vanities, edition #177.

I used to catch a bus every day outside 177 Meeting Street in Charleston, but that was years ago.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:45 AM)
13 February 2006
Where we were

Actually, we weren't anywhere; a server went south (and given its location on the southern California coast, it would have drowned in the Pacific) about a quarter to six this morning Central time, and was restored to something resembling health an hour ago.

As we used to say back in the day, feces transpire.

Update: The official story from the host:

We've been having intermittent issues with our ns1 name server which caused some sites not to resolve properly. On top of that, an ill-timed power outage at our secondary facility in Palo Alto took out ns2 for three hours this morning. We're working on fixing ns1 and our Palo Alto facility has assured us that everything is good on their end now.

Sometimes even redundancy won't save you. (And neither will redundancy.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:15 AM)
15 February 2006
The behinder I get

This is what I get for reading Jeff Jarvis:

Dave Sifry has some interesting thoughts on what he politely calls the magic middle of the blogosphere — Matt Cutts of Google called it the big butt (between the tiny head and the long tail).

So I read Sifry, and here's his definition of said keister:

At Technorati, we define this to be the bloggers who have from 20-1000 other people linking to them. As the chart above shows, there are about 155,000 people who fit in this group. And what is so interesting to me is how interesting, exciting, informative, and witty these blogs often are.

As of yesterday evening I had, per Technorati, 205 sites linking to me.

Geez. Now people (205 of them, anyway) will be expecting me to be interesting, exciting, informative and/or witty.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:29 AM)
16 February 2006
178

A Financial Revolution hosts the 178th edition of Carnival of the Vanities, the granddaddy of all weekly blogfests.

I was listening to a lot of Bach today, so I'll toss in a mention of Cantata No. 178, "Wo Gott, der Herr, nicht bei uns hält" — "If God, the Lord, is on our side," more or less — written by JSB back in 1724.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:59 PM)
17 February 2006
Release the hounds

The Consumerist is taking votes for Worst American Company; the top vote-getters will presumably go into a runoff to pick the Worst of the Worst.

I have no dog in this particular hunt, though given the particular focus of the Consumerist site, and even though they didn't say so, I think they'd prefer to hear about firms with whom the voters have personal experience. (Just in case you were, say, going to tell all your friends at DU to write in "Halliburton".)

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:19 PM)
22 February 2006
179

It's the 179th consecutive week of the Carnival of the Vanities, and A DC Birding Blog, which is, I understand, a birding blog based in DC, has assumed the responsibility for hosting this week. "At its best," says John, who runs the place, the Carnival "showcases great blog writing from a variety of different subjects and across the ideological spectrum." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Numeric factoid: Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code permits a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation to fully expense some tangible property in the year it is purchased, rather than subject it to the usual depreciation schedule.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:01 AM)
1 March 2006
180

The 180th edition of Carnival of the Vanities is hosted by The Cigar Intelligence Agency, and they've adhered to the traditions of this long-running blogfest. (What, did you think they'd reverse directions or something?)

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:22 PM)
2 March 2006
A cheer for the hometown crew

The Professor mentioned this last night, but I thought I'd bring it up here, since The Oklahoman scored some props.

Jay Rosen's Blue Plate Special has come up with a list of the Best Blogging Papers in the country, naming six honorees and a couple of Honorable Mentions; one of the latter is The Oklahoman's LOOK@OKC blog project.

Of LOOK@OKC, the BPS folks wrote:

Frankly, the quality of writing and observation is not there yet, but an idea is. You can hear it in their invitation at the bottom of the blogging main page.

"Do you have eyes? Do you have ears? Can we borrow them? LOOK@OKC is always looking for young adults in the Oklahoma City metro area to become trusted bloggers for the community. If you have something interesting to say, and have the commitment to say it on a regular basis, then you might have the ability to become a LOOK@OKC blogger. Just fill out the form?"

There's something honorable about that, so the young adults on the Blue Plate Special team thought they should mention it. Especially since seven years ago the Daily Oklahoman was called the worst newspaper in America.

What I'd really like to see next from the Oklahoman is a blog from the editorial staff.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:51 AM)
3 March 2006
We gotta get out of this place

Margi's had enough:

[T]he facts are this: We're busy busy busy around here. I have negative numbers in my bank account. Depressed people don't blog — or at least they don't post anything anyone would want to read. Therefore, paying for running a blog is probably not smart — no matter how much or how little it costs. And there are still blog "trolls" coming around here, looking at the pictures of my sweet, innocent baby. That squicks me out more than I care to admit.

Blogs will never be practical until they can be made squick-resistant.

Go, girl, and be happy. What happens out here on the Old Blog Prairie doesn't matter a hill of beans just now.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:58 PM)
9 March 2006
<snark>

From Expert Texture (read all about it), a proposal for a new tag at the center of a new language:

<snarkup:snark target='href' level="low|medium|high"
tone="even|sarcastic|abrasive|ironic|unhinged"
subtext="none|veiledsuckup|allingoodfun|threatened" >

Defaults for these parameters: level=medium; tone=even; subtext=none.

With 3x5x4=60 different combinations, it should be possible to cover anything from a Maureen Dowd pop-culture reference to [fill in anything by, say, Jeff Goldstein].

</snark>

(Via Doc Searls.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:09 AM)
181

The Global Perspective is your host for the 181st edition of Carnival of the Vanities, the first — and, I remind you, still the oldest — of all the weekly blog compendia.

Volkswagen had a Type 181 vehicle, designed for, and used by, the German military. The 181 was produced for twelve years, and was discontinued in 1980. A few of them were imported to the US in the 1970s, and sold as "The Thing."

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:06 AM)
10 March 2006
Or he could just wait for the spammers

Rotsa ruck: The 1 Billion Comments Project.

(I've been at this for 9 years and 11 months, I've had some form of commenting enabled for approximately half that period, and I've managed to amass only around 14,000 comments.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:18 AM)
12 March 2006
Over one million served

As of 9:09 this morning. The 1,000,000th person through the turnstile got here by way of Beirut (!), trying to find out something about "courtesy kerr dental products, orange, calif.", about which I know from nothing but for which I seem to have the #2 spot in Yahoo!'s database.

Otherwise, my Middle Eastern traffic is way up this week, probably because of this.

For the statisticians in our midst, this is the way they've accumulated:

Thanks to all who participated in the making of this utterly-meaningless milestone.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:45 AM)
All over the place

A few things I picked up, not entirely at random:

What a way to finish a weekend.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:10 PM)
13 March 2006
A po excuse

I had an entry yesterday — specifically, this one — in which I linked to six different sites and sent TrackBacks to five. (I haven't quite figured out how this works on BraveJournal.) Two of the sites were using TypePad, and one of them sent back this message:

In an effort to combat malicious comment posting by scripts, I've enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to po

It ends there. Apparently this is the complete text:

... I've enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.

I'm guessing this is related to comment throttling in later versions of the Movable Type engine. I really don't care, I suppose — there are other ways links can be discovered, and it's not like I'm hard up for recognition — but there ought to be a better way to handle this issue. (I don't believe I've encountered this, for instance, among mu.nu blogs.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:09 AM)
I, Mean Girl

What's scary is that the logic of this proposal is well-nigh impeccable:

If pop culture has taught me one thing in my life, it's that only the opinions of famous people matter. Why else do we let high school dropouts continue to lecture us on foreign affairs?

The fact of the matter is, if a news story breaks about the Guatemalan black market coffee trade, and you just so happen to have a Master's Degree in Guatemalan Coffee Export economics, people will still heed Lindsay Lohan's opinion over yours.

So, if this is the case, why not post as Lindsay Lohan?

It's that simple: change your blogger account to lindsaysopinions.blogspot.com, put one of Ms. Lohan's pictures in your profile, and have at it.

Well, there's one problem, but ...

The only person who will know you aren't actually Lindsay Lohan is Lindsay herself, and she's too busy bringing up her last meal or wrecking her car to pay attention.

Not everyone will fall for your hoax, but if you are convincing enough with your portrayal it should keep you in a steady supply of fanboys to elevate your traffic and potential revenue.

In an era when even respected literary lights can go batshit crazy, this might be just the ticket.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:08 PM)
15 March 2006
182

Sometimes it's easy. I could throw in some reference to Turk 182!, or maybe the band blink-182. (You have to — well, I have to — cut some slack to a band that can put out an album called Enema of the State.)

But what you're here for is the 182nd Carnival of the Vanities, hosted by Forward Biased. Go ye and read.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:30 PM)
17 March 2006
Intruder alert

Winston Rand, who blogs at Nobody Asked, found himself locked out of the premises yesterday by someone identified as "Mr. Black-Code," who made some vague Islamist references and uttered some excessively-cutesy 1337speak. (Whether this means that Mr. B-C is actually an Islamic cracker, or merely wishes to implicate Islamic crackers, is undetermined.)

I doubt much was lost — DreamHost, which hosts that site (and this one), backs up the databases now and then — and Mr. B-C's insertion page has already been ruthlessly excised. (And for all I know, this was done without Winston's having to search for the DreamHost phone number.)

Update, 6:30 pm: He's back. Winston, I mean.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:26 AM)
19 March 2006
All over the place (2)

Just some stuff that drew my attention:

Hey, it beats doing yard work.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:24 PM)
22 March 2006
183

It's the 183rd weekly edition of Carnival of the Vanities, brought to you by BloggerIdol, for those of you who want a whole lot of superior bloggage in a single handy package — and you know who you are.

It's been a few years since I've been to Austin, but I still wince at the thought of driving on 183 North.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:00 PM)
26 March 2006
Ben Domenech's preview

Sean Gleeson can't see the appeal of plagiarism:

What's the appeal there? I could maybe see a reason to plagiarize a research paper, thereby avoiding weeks or months of work. But Domenech was plagiarizing fluffy little humor columns. And movie reviews! Why on God's green earth would anyone even feel the slightest temptation to plagiarize a movie review? Why not just, you know, go see the movie, and then write down what you thought of it?

Imagine you were the Devil, whispering into the ear of a movie critic. Imagine you were trying to tempt him to plagiarize some other critic's review (with some minor alterations) of the latest insipid James Bond film, instead of writing his own opinions. What words would you whisper? "If you use this other critic's review instead of your own, you'll gain ... um ... something. Just think of the ... ah ... stuff, you'll get. Oh, just do it, okay? Please?"

My own explanation was not really persuasive:

As someone who has spewed about a million words onto the landscape over the past ten years, I think it's a combination of fatigue and opportunism.

Scenario: You've stared at the screen for an hour and a half and that last paragraph won't come. You look elsewhere for inspiration, and suddenly, here's some obscure passage which says exactly what you wanted to say.

Anyone else want to give this a try? And no, it's not a political issue: you can find people ripping off other people's material all over the political spectrum, so it's got to be something else.

Disclosure: I originally copied the entirety of Gleeson's article, with no attribution beyond a single link, just to see if anyone would notice. Before hitting the Publish button, I decided that this might not be such a good idea.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:23 AM)
29 March 2006
184

The 184th weekly edition of Carnival of the Vanities hits you Below the Beltway. As always, it's the week's finest bloggage in a single handy package.

There are 184 pins on the usual Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM) used for desktop SDRAM.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:28 AM)
1 April 2006
A voice from the past

Her name was Brittney, she was fourteen years old, and the last time I saw her was at a user-group meeting in the middle 1980s.

Not that I ever forgot the sassy little blonde. For one thing, she was a sassy little blonde, a subspecies that tends to stick in the mind, or at least in my mind anyway; for another, she had already climbed to a level of cynicism that it took me until almost seventeen to reach.

Which doesn't explain how we met in the first place, but this does: I was a somewhere-above-minor player on the local bulletin-board stage, and she was an avid reader and poster (and, briefly, assistant sysop) who seemed to be quite often in sync with my perceived world-weariness, and though obviously she wasn't old enough to be truly world-weary — I was thirtysomething and I don't think I was — we had enough in common to justify occasional social contacts offline. In the company of others in the context of user gatherings and such, I hasten to add, lest you suspect something else might have been going on.

As usual with ad hoc communities of this sort, people drifted in and out all the time, and when she disappeared, rumors flew that she had irritated the parental units once too often and had been packed off to a boarding school / a convent / the French Foreign Legion [choose one]. I put in a perfunctory query or two, but not wishing to appear as though I had some prurient interest in the young lady, I didn't pursue matters much.

That would have been the end of the story, except that last month, she dropped me a line from just across town; she'd been reading this here bloggage, thought the style, such as it is, seemed vaguely familiar, and eventually she put two and two together and came up with me. We traded incredulous emails, and finally decided to meet on neutral territory.

And that was today. My memory for faces is none too good, but I spotted her from forty feet away: she's a little taller, maybe, but I'm pleased to report that "sassy" and "blonde" remain intact. Of course, she's spoken for: her better half reminds me somewhat of me, on those days when I'm more amiable than irascible. But what impressed me most, I think, is the fact that she's made the transition from young wisenheimer to, well, somewhat less young wisenheimer, without losing any of the qualities that made her interesting in the first place, and I'm happy to count her in that section of the world where "readers" and "friends" intersect.

Incidentally, "Brittney" wasn't her real name, nor was she fourteen at the time. Then again, I'm hardly in a position to complain about people putting out disinformation.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:00 PM)
5 April 2006
6 April 2006
The first ten years

(Bumped up from Sunday)

Sunday, this Web site will be ten years old. To give you an idea of the time frame involved, this actual interchange occurred on PBS in 1996:

STEVEN LEVY: This year I think was the first year where pretty much anyone you meet in business was supposed to have an e-mail address. It asked them, what's your e-mail address, instead of asking, do you have an E-mail address?

PAUL SOLMAN: And e-mail is what for those of us who don't know, or those people who don't know?

STEVEN LEVY: It's simply an address in some sort of vaguely obscure computer code which enables you to accept and send out messages electronically. You know, it's actually a very effective and efficient way to communicate with each other.

Or would be, if 90 percent of it wasn't touting worthless penny stocks or drugs of dubious provenance or perversions beyond Kinsey's imagination.

But neither Levy nor Solman anticipated spam; they were busy being amazed at how much things had changed in just a short time, and trying to imagine what might happen in subsequent years. And certainly neither of them paid any attention to what I had begun scribbling over here in an obscure corner of cyberspace, at a time when the Dow was still around 5500, the Ramones were still playing, and The Onion was still just a satirical newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin.

With the official Tenth Anniversary in the offing, I'm soliciting reactions: to the site, to individual writings, to perceived philosophy, to whatever you might think is pertinent. And atypically, I'm not taking them as comments: I don't want the tenth one received, for example, to be affected by the preceding nine. This will be email only, and a representative selection of the reactions received will be posted here next week. Use this link if possible; if you don't want your name used, say so.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:17 AM)
9 April 2006
And I don't even have a hagiograph

I had actually already attended one ad hoc class on Web pages (let's not call it "design") in the spring of 1996 when I got the ridiculous idea that I ought to have a site of my own, inasmuch as I knew a handful of tags and my ISP of the moment was willing to allow me a whole megabyte of space. In a matter of hours, I ground out half a dozen pages and an index linking to them all, plus some homemade graphics which made them look, well, so 1996. Add to this a semi-cute counter, and suddenly I had a Web Presence.

A decade later, I've piled up 171 megabytes of stuff, the counter has gone into seven digits, and said Web Presence has had a wholly-unexpected effect: it's picked up regular readers. Last week I asked those readers to come up with some thoughts on the matter, and here's some of what I got.

Mike Pechar writes:

There is a scene in one of the early James Bond movies(I forget which one) where James is facing death on a platform which is slowly being lowered into a pond full of alligators. It's a drawn-out anxious moment accompanied by suspenseful music as the platform inches downward into the water. Bond, always the hero, extricates himself by racing to safety on the backs of the alligators. Each step touches a different alligator just long enough to move forward. It's a surprising and amusing scene and no alligators get hurt.

That's Dustbury — racing on the backs of alligators and, by the way, older than Google.

As an old fan of Activision's Pitfall, I know from dancing across alligators, or maybe it was crocodiles. (And it was Live and Let Die.)

Winston Rand notes:

Just when I think I've got you figgered out, you prove me wrong. To this day, I would not know whether to tag you as liberal, progressive, conservative, whatever ... so I don't.

[The site is] nice and clean. I like it. Wish I was enough of an html jockey to do mine as well. One thing that does not detract by its absence, but might enhance if present — use an occasional graphic, photo, or whatever, to break up the text. The bird gets boring after a while, but also provides a comfort level of stability, a benchmark, and a "yeah, I know where I am now" response.

[The Vent] may be unique with you. I have not seen it anywhere else. Tremendous idea. I vowed that I would read all of them.

So far as I know, two people have read all of them. I really ought to redo the interface so that you can go through them sequentially, but that's 480 pages to recode, each one manually. (No templates, folks; remember, this started in '96.)

I've had some sort of bird on the front page almost since Day One; I have about a dozen versions in the archives, and a few more I've played with but never actually used. Once I had a bird button made up to identify myself to a visiting reader who had just flown into town. Worked stunningly well.

Jennifer sent this:

What impresses me the most is the finesse and balance you bring to bear, day in and day out. Your posts are always so well-written. Your humor alternates flawlessly between the appropriately wry and the bone dry, and you offer little glimmers of insight into your personality in nearly every entry. You manage to educate and edify without patronizing, which is a rare talent indeed.

I, for one, appreciate the investment you make in sharing your well-trained eye for sussing out the genuine golden nuggets: from the educational and informative to the mundane and interesting, touching every inch of the spectrum in between along the way.

I figure, if I can find something interesting in the mundane (or, 24 hours later, the tuesdane), maybe it's not as mundane as I thought it was in the first place. Few of us find our lives to be one breathtaking thrill after another; if I wrote only about things that really, truly excited me, I might never have filled up that original megabyte.

And Michael Bates contends:

Dustbury is the epitome of a blog — links to an eclectic mix of web content, each accompanied by a well-selected excerpt that entices the reader to click through, followed by a pithy observation, and topped with a clever play on words. Even the category names are inspired. By comparison, other blogs are mere shadows on the wall of a cave.

I am, of course, grateful for the kind words, and somewhat surprised that they were as kind as they are: at the very least, I expected at least a smattering of "I will eat dirt rather than bookmark this," from my original Feedback Form.

There is one new feature for the new decade. You've seen its ancestor before: a "linkblog" which collects items that aren't going to be given a whole post. 3WC imposes a new structure on the linkblog: it provides, for each news item or whatever, a three-word comment and no more. (Hence the name.) These will accumulate on the left side of the index page at indefinite intervals.

To all of you, thanks for coming, and remember: if you don't like what you read, your next visit is free.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:00 AM)
All over the place (3)

Yet another collection of Found Links. How I found them is anybody's guess.

More to come when they get here.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:00 PM)
11 April 2006
Generic post

Though not as generic as this.

(Via the distinctive Jacqueline Passey.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:28 AM)
Title of the week

Fark links to this Fox News story this way:

Rallies across U.S. call for illegal immigrant rights. Rallies for burglar rights, tax evader rights, and drunk driver rights to follow

Oh, and there's an ASININE tag.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:39 AM)
12 April 2006
186

Free Money Finance, which has held successful Carnivals in the past, returns with the 186th edition of Carnival of the Vanities. (They're also giving away books.)

Intel's 80186 processor never quite caught on as a PC CPU, which perhaps explains why it was almost never abbreviated in popular parlance to "186." In subsequent years, you'll remember, we would have 286, 386 and 486 chips; when Intel's rivals started issuing "586" chips, Intel conjured up the five-ish-sounding word "Pentium."

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:46 AM)
13 April 2006
MSN with those Google Yahoos

A Purpose-Driven Post, by Julie R. Neidlinger, and, well, let her explain it:

If Rick Warren can drag American churches into a feel-good standstill covered in a rich coating of "Pick-and-Choose Every Bible Translation Known To Man But Mostly The Message" surrounding a softened purpose center, I can drag this blog to a Google-standstill by creating a post filled solely with the last 13 search terms used to bring people to this site. I mean, they're coming here looking for that.

No higher praise can I give than this: "I wish I'd thought of that."

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:11 AM)
14 April 2006
Who do I have to **** to get a link?

Harvey is asking: "Does it do any good to email high-traffic bloggers?"

In his experience, it's a definite maybe. He wrote to thirty of the Higher Beings with this question:

Someone recently remarked to me that bloggers with high-traffic sites don't read e-mails from — or link to — anyone except other high traffic bloggers. I don't think that's true. I think it's more a matter of having a tactful approach, and I wrote a post saying as much:

http://badexample.mu.nu/archives/166595.php

Now, I'm sure you have other subjects to write about, and if you have no interest in this topic, I understand completely, so there's no need to act on this e-mail at all if you don't want to.

However, it occurs to me that you probably get dozens of annoying "please link this" e-mails every day. Discussing my post would give you a perfect excuse to school your readers on the art of sending you short, on-topic, useful e-mails instead of rambling junk — a topic that would normally be off-theme for your blog.

A reasonable request, I think, and eleven of thirty (a slightly higher percentage than I would have predicted) gave him some kind of response.

It perhaps is presumptuous for me to have anything to say on this subject, since I'm far from a brand name in blogdom — as of yesterday, N. Z. Bear has dropped me back among the possums and such — but I do try to read everything I get that gets through my spam filters, and historically, about half the material that was sent me has ended up in a post of some sort. (This does not include the dizzying variety of mailing lists I seem to be on, a substantial proportion of which I don't remember ever requesting.)

Myself, I seldom suggest topics; I've sent occasional background material to a few of the Major Players, and once in a while one of them has responded. I see this as a useful vector: from smaller to larger. After all, nobody, not even Reynolds and his phalanx of nanobots, can cover everything.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:18 AM)
16 April 2006
No pesky dust-jacket photos, either

MissPenName (not her real name) has picked up the blogging bug:

I began this blog with only books in mind. At the time (a whole 6 months ago) I only read book blogs daily such as Maud Newton and Bookslut. I'm a freelance writer and thought having a blog would motivate me to write every day (because you can tell yourself it's ok to procrastinate, but a possible audience wouldn't be as forgiving) and help me get into the online literary community — the cool kids table at which I so wanted to sit.

But the door opened wider than she had anticipated:

Along the way I've found that the world of books and the rest of the societal fodder for blogs are not that far apart. Book blogs covered free speech cases for journalists. Political blogs can't resist talking about new books written by the left or right. Books, their existence, their ideas, their creators blend into every single facet of life, even if no one realizes it. The Feminine Mystique added fuel to the women's movement (some say kicked it off), which changed everything from a women on the Supreme Court to latch-key kids. The Da Vinci Code has gotten people more interested in religion that 2000 years of church going ever did. Recently Melvin Bragg published a list in the Guardian of the 12 most important books in British history, all of them nonfiction that directly changed society. Because of these books, by Darwin and Wollstonecraft, for instance, the way people lived their everyday lives changed. Books still do, and they're being joined by blogs.

I am a humble blogger. An unknown. I am less than a flee on the blogosphere dog. I know this. But I'm still doing it. I'm still writing. I'm still discovering more about the world, and myself, everytime I log on. I can't separate my devotion to books from my need to know about what happens around me in the world. And for all of this, I just want to be heard. I just want to blog.

I do know this: if I take a day off from here, I'll hear about it. (I even hear about it if the site is temporarily unreachable due to some bizarre twist in network topology.)

And while not all of us have the wherewithal to stock up on new books every single day, we can find new blogstuff every single hour, should we be so inclined. The real danger is that we'll spend so much time reading the blogs that we forget about the stuff we were supposed to be doing in the first place.

But don't let me scare any of you off. Welcome to MissPenName, and may she make a name for herself on many screens for months to come.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:15 AM)
19 April 2006
Those snotty young whippersnappers

The Dover Post ran a feature article on Delaware blogs, a couple of which were familiar to me. This comment about Fritz Schranck's Sneaking Suspicions jumped out at me:

Moderate, reasonable tone throughout that betrays the age of the author.

Inasmuch as said author's age is within twenty-four (or so) hours of my own, it seems to me that it might be in my best interest to do something to avoid appearing moderate and/or reasonable.

Accordingly, here is a list of rude interjections:

  • Goldarnit
  • Crud
  • Dagnabbit
  • Nerts to you
  • Pshaw

Eat 'em and weep.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:58 AM)
22 April 2006
187

It's a common police code for "homicide," and I have to assume that whoever it was who was supposed to run the 187th edition of Carnival of the Vanities must have been killed; I can't think of any other good excuses.

In the meantime, Zeuswood and Stingflower, keepers of the Carnival, have kindly put up a Rescue Edition, to insure the continuity of blogdom's oldest weekly compendium.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:41 PM)
24 April 2006
We got your Hot Air right here

Michelle Malkin's new multimedia venture is called Hot Air, perhaps chosen for its comparative lack of parody potential.

And while I'm always happy to see MM on screen, and while I'm aware that you can't copyright a title, I do wish she'd come up with a name for the video segments other than Vent, which is just so 1996.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:47 PM)
26 April 2006
188

Rule 188 is one of the elementary cellular automaton rules introduced by Stephen Wolfram in 1983 (Wolfram 1983, 2002). It specifies the next color in a cell, depending on its color and its immediate neighbors. This rule is illustrated ...

What?

Oh, yeah. Right. Laurence Simon brings you Episode 188 of the continuing drama Carnival of the Vanities at the always-genteel IMAO outpost. Don't miss it.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:49 AM)
27 April 2006
Backwards ran sentences until reeled the mind

According to Munuvian God Pixy Misa, there is a Law of Conservation of Blogging: "For every blogger, there is an equal and opposite anti-blogger."

I just wonder who's running the Bizarro World version of dustbury.com. (Keep in mind that this bit of Pixy's is a year old, so the Anti-Me presumably is a lot more up-to-date.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:12 PM)
3 May 2006
189

The 1990 Clean Air Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions of some 189 chemicals considered to be toxic.

Not even slightly harmful is the 189th Carnival of the Vanities, hosted this time around by Dodgeblogium with a cameo appearance by Cthulhu. (Okay, maybe he's harmful. Cthulhu, I mean.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:22 AM)
9 May 2006
Watch those standards

Sarah sometimes can't bring herself to post:

I've started several posts, but can't seem to complete any of them. While there's been much in the news lately that interests me, nothing interests me enough to write about it. I have, however, managed to produce several pages' worth of whiny, self-pitying bulls?t. These charming little vignettes of despair started out as posts, but are currently banished to Diary Purgatory while I determine their blog-appropriateness. I can't quite muster up the necessary level of self-indulgence needed to post them.

Is she kidding? Were it not for whiny, self-pitying BS, there'd be maybe 200 blogs instead of 200 million, and Dave Sifry could run Technorati off a Treo.

(I am not, incidentally, volunteering for Poster Child. Though I could.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:37 PM)
10 May 2006
190

In 190 BC, the Romans under Lucius Cornelius Scipio defeated the Seleucids at the Battle of Magnesia, placing Greece under Roman control and no doubt contributing to the Empire's future heartburn.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the calendar, Mark A. Rayner, with the assistance of General Kang, presents Carnival of the Vanities #190, a week's worth of bloggage in a single handy compendium.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:06 AM)
11 May 2006
An expensive avocation, this

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wrote this piece on NBA playoff officiating before the playoffs began, but didn't publish it.

Sunday, an incident at San Antonio: apparently disturbed at the absence of a foul call, Cuban ran onto the court and was ordered back to the bench. Cuban went back to his laptop and posted the article, which contained statements like this:

[T]he NBA has a huge problem. It doesn't view the playoffs as a place where the very best of the best of officials go to work. It views the playoffs as part of a reward system for officials.

The NBA's response? They fined him $100,000 for running onto the court, and another $100,000 for his blog article.

Some people really, really don't like to be criticized.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:03 AM)
And they say I'm having no impact

As of this writing, I am #2 on Google for "irritating bloggers".

(Should this change, here's a screen capture of my lofty position.)

What I'd like to know is this: is "irritating" being used as an adjective (in its capacity as a participle), or as a verb?

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:38 PM)
I've got to admit it's getting better

Exhibit, um, well, not A: Venomous Kate returns with the Letter of the Day.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:45 PM)
16 May 2006
Ol' peckerhead

This site has been added to Blogs with a Face; sensibly, the proprietor thereof has chosen to ignore my personal fizzog, and include instead The Bird™ from the site logo.

Well, they never said it had to be a human face.

(Aside: Huffington is kinda cute at low resolution.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:01 AM)
17 May 2006
191

As of this writing, the United Nations comprises 191 Member States.

Also as of this writing, Carnival of the Vanities #191, hosted by Accidental Verbosity, comprises 41 examples of superior bloggage from the last seven days or so.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:31 PM)
19 May 2006
Ever so slightly suspicious

Twice in two days, I have received basically the same email from two different names at the same domain (pointofimpact.com), and it went like this:

I am looking to purchase 5 text link ads on dustbury.com. Each ad is two to three words in length and can be placed anywhere on your page as long as the ads are visible on the majority of pages on your website. I would be willing to pay for 3 months of advertising up front. Would you be interested?

I responded to the first with "I have no open slots, but thank you for thinking of us," or something to that effect; I blew off the second.

These guys seem legit, or as legit as an operation can be and still use phrases like "leverages its unique capabilities with strategic partners to create new business opportunities", but there's still the question: "Why me?"

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:40 PM)
20 May 2006
Some people are absolutely nuts

For instance:

screenshot

I'll believe this when someone shows up with a check.

(Via Agent Bedhead, with the kindly assistance of John Walkenbach.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:00 PM)
24 May 2006
192

Danforth Road through Edmond is also known as 192nd Street.

(It was either that or "192 is the sum of ten consecutive primes [5 + 7 + 11 + 13 + 17 + 19 + 23 + 29 + 31 + 37]".)

One way or another, the 192nd Carnival of the Vanities is up for your inspection at Blog d'Ellison, and one might say it's especially protein-rich this time around.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:06 PM)
26 May 2006
Moderation in all things

The previous entry generated some seven hundred comments — not here, of course, but at the British Broadcasting Corporation, where they're beta-testing something called "Have Your Say."

The Beeb's comment system is set up for two different levels of moderation, as follows:

1 — Fully Moderated.
This is also known as pre-moderation. Every comment submitted to a fully moderated discussion has to be checked by a BBC moderator before it is published on the site. We try to publish as many comments as we can but unfortunately, due to the volume of comments we receive every day, we cannot guarantee that all comments submitted will be published.

2 — Reactively moderated.
If a discussion is reactively moderated and you are a registered member, your comment will be published directly to the site. However, if you are not a registered member, your comment will still have to be approved by a BBC moderator before it is published. Again, we cannot guarantee that all comments submitted will be published.

Since at some point I expect to be forced into comment moderation by the sheer volume of spammage, I'm hoping to be able to implement some variation on theme #2 in preference to #1, inasmuch as most of the regulars here have generally demonstrated themselves to be trustworthy, and besides, I don't get nearly the traffic that the BBC does.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:21 AM)
28 May 2006
This is a TrackBack test

It is only a test. If this had been an actual TrackBack, it would have pointed to this protein wisdom article.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:15 AM)
29 May 2006
Ban won't wear off (part deux)

Unfortunately, a succession of dubious TrackBacks was starting to wear on me, and in frustration last night I banned rather a lot of IP ranges I'd seen connected to them. (I briefly entertained this idea, but decided against it.)

This means, even more unfortunately, that some of my regular commenters may have been caught in the spam trap. If you suddenly can't respond to anything here, email me (chaz at thisheredomain) and give me your IP address, and I'll defuzz the ban list.

Addendum, 4 June: Acidman is getting the same sort of crap that drove me to upgrading MT.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:55 PM)
30 May 2006
1 June 2006
193

Last week marked the 193rd anniversary of the birth of composer Richard Wagner.

Wagner was a dog person, which means that even if he were still alive he might not have read Catymology, which means that he'd have missed the 193rd edition of Carnival of the Vanities, posted by a cat with occasional assistance by a resident biped.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:00 AM)
3 June 2006
Somebody out there doesn't like me

Actually, I doubt it was animosity toward me specifically, but Ye Olde Web Host reports an attack of the Farging Cyber Vandals this afternoon, which prevented any and all access to this here site.

And if it was animosity toward me specifically, well, you already know what I think, and it extends equally to the horse they rode in on.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:49 PM)
Dear God, what have I done?

Actually, what I've done is jump over a few intervening releases (like almost three years' worth) and installed MovableType 3.2.

There may be some anomalies during the first few days as I discover all the things I did wrong during this two-hour adventure, and comments will be accepted but probably will not immediately appear, as I am trying to establish a baseline for, um, Trusted Commenters. (I am trying to avoid having to send everyone to TypePad if I can help it, but the default comment process in 3.2 is convoluted in the extreme.)

I figure, though, if I moved over an 18-megabyte database with over 6600 posts, and nothing crashed right away, I have some sort of angel looking over my shoulder, and not that dimwit from Capital One either.

Addendum: It's everywhere. Terra Extraneus is going to first-comment moderation to ward off the dirtballs.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:41 PM)
4 June 2006
The morning after the night before

Well, I think we can avoid the vagaries of TypePad. I've found a plugin called EmailWhitelister which checks an incoming email address against a list and automagically approves comments from persons appearing thereupon.

The downside is that for some unrelated reason I'm not getting my usual email notification of comments, which means a possibly-longer wait for those who aren't on the list, which is rather a lot, inasmuch as I tried to do these from memory at one-thirty in the morning, a time when normally I'm hard-pressed to tell you which side of the floor the pillows fell on.

TrackBacks are on again, at least for items within the last eight days, though all of them will go into the holding tank pending inspection.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:37 AM)
5 June 2006
Hear ye, hear ye

With two entries on the subject, surely it's time to nominate swirlspice as the world leader in earwax blogging.

All the rest of you, presumably, are tied for third.

(Second? That would be, um, me.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:18 AM)
6 June 2006
Upgrade update

So far, so good. I've tweaked the spam settings and the WhiteList, and most of the regulars who have reported in are getting through without tripping the moderation alarm. So far, no actual trash comments have appeared; six TrackBacks of dubious origin showed up in the Junk box, three at a time, but never made it to the site. I pronounce this upgrade a success, and to further push my luck, I've deleted the four hundred or so IP addresses I had on my ban list, which may speed up the site a few milliseconds here and there. (Actually, since at least half of the items on that list were not individual IPs, but ranges of IPs, I may have had millions of addresses banned, which of course means nothing in the context of spam.)

MT 3.3 beta is out; I don't think I want to be a guinea pig just now.

One minor functionality change: under 2.64, if you provided an email address but not a URL in your comment header, the comment would appear with the email address linked to the commenter's name. Under this implementation of 3.2, while you still need to provide an email address to get through the WhiteLister, it's no longer linked anywhere; the commenter name, if there's no URL, is provided as bare text only. Next time there's a site rebuild (something I resist greatly), this should apply to all entries, old and new.

Update, 10 pm: The WhiteLister is apparently no longer working. See this.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:30 AM)
So much for that idea

Well, the Whitelister is no longer working; I suspect that it was causing some major server load for the host and they simply blocked it. Until I come up with some alternative, everyone (myself included) will have to wait for the agony of moderation.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:12 PM)
9 June 2006
Coultervation techniques

Most days I get at least some Ann Coulter-related search-engine traffic, mostly due to this and this and this and even this, but it's picked up considerably this week, no doubt due to the arrival of her new book and the inevitable hypefest that accompanied it.

Yesterday was something of a peak. People were asking for her shoe size (I have no idea), her height (Andrea Harris once assured me that Ann's not as tall as I thought), nude photos (got none), and even fake nude photos (got none, and I can't see hauling out Photoshop Elements to do one).

This, too, shall pass; in the meantime, I may as well try to snag a reader or two.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:40 AM)
194

United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. 194, passed near the end of the Arab-Israeli War in 1948, attempted to deal with the situation by establishing a Conciliation Commission and setting forth a list of desiderata.

Speaking of lists, a roster of last week's better bloggage can be seen at Punny Money, which is hosting Carnival of the Vanities #194. Right of return is guaranteed by your browser back button.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:49 AM)
14 June 2006
It's that time again

If you liked the 2005 Okie Blog Awards, and I'm sure at least ten of us did, get ready for the 2006 version — now with eleven categories!

To be nominated, you have to post at least something on your Oklahoma-based blog in the 60 days before nominations open on the 14th of August, which is why it's being mentioned now.

I, of course, expect to lock up the trophy for Least Improved, once I persuade Mike that we actually ought to have such a thing.

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:22 AM)
195

In the early 1950s, Ferrari replaced its successful 166 roadgoing car with two new models using modified versions of the existing Columbo engine. Fewer than 30 195s were produced. (In accordance with standard Ferrari parlance, "195" refers to the individual cylinder volume in cubic centimeters: 195 x 12 = 2340.) The more powerful 212, introduced at the same time, would hang around longer.

"195" also is the number of weeks since the beginning of the Carnival of the Vanities, and Generic Confusion hosts this week's edition, on time and complete despite horrid hardware issues.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:56 AM)
15 June 2006
The kids in the overhaul

Donna makes a decision she characterizes as "impetuous":

I spent $100.00 to have donnaville.com hosted by a new company for the next two years. Instead of an Indian family from Jersey, I am now using surfer dudes in California. Their grasp of English is slightly better. So why the move? I preach to my clients that it is important to have the latest technology yet I was using one of the oldest versions of Movable Type. The version I was using gave me no control over comments or trackbacks and so I was pretty much at the mercy of spammers and trolls.

Which, of course, is a quite-reasonable justification for upgrading MT. (I bit the bullet myself a couple weeks ago, jumping from 2.64 to 3.2.) And while playing Mr. Moderator is not among my favorite things, I can't deny its efficiency: spammage has dropped something like 90 percent from its heights (depths?) in mid-May, and the number of items that got on the site that shouldn't have is hovering right at zero. I suppose I could install TypePad functionality to cut out some of my work, but really, there hasn't been that much of it, and complaints from the field have been conspicuous by their absence. Besides, keeping Schmuckdom Assembled from battering their way into the scripts around here helps to keep the surfer dudes in California who host this site happy.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:03 AM)
Thread count

Gerard Van der Leun, presumably not in his capacity as editor-in-chief for Pajamas Media, is asking bloggers to disclose their preferred sleepwear.

For the most obvious reason, I had to decline. Still, for those who must wear something, this sounds pretty good:

These days what I most like to sleep in are huge men's XXXL cotton t-shirts washed within an inch of their life for premium softness.

If I really thought it would help, I'd go start the washing machine. On the other hand, I'd have to go down a size.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:54 AM)
There's a thrill upon the hill

Specifically, at Jaime's Grill on the Hill, between Hudson and Harvey on Commerce Street, an old-school diner adapted to an uptown storefront, home of the 40-calorie coconut cake. (That's just to look at it, mind you. Eating it is a whole 'nother matter entirely.)

Dr. Jan has been trying to lure me to this place for lunch for months now, a situation complicated by the fact that Jaime closes on Saturdays and work doesn't generally permit during the rest of the week — and, of course, by my legendary fear of fast-talking blondes in the Ed Biz. Today the pieces fell into place for once: I got to meet some of her henchpersons, polished off a Classic American Burger, and even sampled some of that coconut cake. And I was amused to see one of my theories reenacted in Real Life: if you have a Suthun accent, you can only suppress it for so long.

There are few things in life quite as rewarding as good food and good friends. Lucky is he who gets to combine them both.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:19 PM)
16 June 2006
A tradition in the making

Well, they tried it last year, anyway, and nobody seemed particularly embarrassed, so let it be known that this is the 2nd International Co-Ed Nekkid Blogging Day, and while there are some things I have to do today with actual clothes on (shudder), today's posts will not be among them.

Be grateful I don't have a webcam.

Among the participants: Air Force Wife, miriam's ideas, Scribal Terror, Lies and Statistics, Curses and Chrome, Cream of the Crock, is this blog on?, Sereena X, Tinkerty Tonk, Wind Rider, Cowboy Blob.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:06 AM)
17 June 2006
Advice to the new blogger

Courtesy of the inimitable Greg Gutfeld:

The best thing would be to change your name to Ira Blogger. Because then people will write about how cool it is that there's a blogger whose name is Blogger!

The same thing happened with Charles Manson. He got all that press because he killed those people but his name was also, you know, Manson — which is a serial killer's name! Coincidences like that make the front pages.

This is right up there with Lou Gehrig dying of Lou Gehrig's disease. I mean, what are the chances of that?

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:50 PM)
19 June 2006
Watching the meter

Jay's been checking the numbers:

I want to host a domain for my nephew, and I was comparing space available under elhide versus AV. Elhide has this odd problem where it thinks it is out of disk space. I upload large zip files of pictures, 50 mb or so each, four at a time. Deb's father downloads them. I delete them. Rinse, repeat. Last time I deleted them, they didn't release the space, but they are gone. So that account is technically fine, if I have HM support do whatever they have to do to make the disk space counter tally properly, but I also have other stuff going on there that maybe makes me not want to host an extra domain.

So I checked AV and it's so-so on disk space, but instead of almost no bandwidth, we're already at 60% for this month, which puts us on target to almost exactly use the whole deal. But ? I see that in may we used 27.6 GB out of our 23 GB available! See, there's a great thing about Hosting Matters. Another hosting company might have been all over us, looking to collect the extra charge.

The sad thing is that the next plan up includes 28 GB, which would have just covered that. We may have to switch.

We tip our hat to HM, who are generally considered to be among the goodest of the Good Guys.

I run two blogs off this account and park a third domain here: so far this month (my months begin on the 29th) I have managed to burn through 6 GB, which should work out to right at 9 GB for the month. Current disk usage is 210 MB.

What I'm allowed before they crank up the cash register: 51520 MB (50.3 GB) of disk: 1618 GB (1.58 TB) of bandwidth.

Site Meter reports 5970 visitors a week (853 per day) at this domain; I do not run Site Meter at the other blog.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:00 AM)
21 June 2006
The best years have come and gone

This observation from Alan Sullivan took me by surprise:

Four years ago there was much excitement over weblogs. Now the fever has broken, the bubble has deflated — pick your metaphor. Blogs are familiar, routine, even (horrors!) dull. A few blogs have become new media outlets with large, growing audiences. The rest have stagnated, according to various articles and commentators.

I never had this problem; this place has been stagnant for a lot more than a measly four years.

Not that anyone is going away, necessarily:

A decade or two from now, the Y2K period will be recalled as the golden era of blogging, as the Sixties were a golden era of rock. LGF and Kos will still be seething, like the Stones on perpetual tour. Kids will be imitating the classics, forming garage blogs, and occasionally hitting the big time themselves. But their work will be comfortable and derivative, though they will pretend otherwise.

Which, of course, invites the question: If LGF and Kos are the Stones, where do the rest of us fit into the jukebox? I have no problem with Kottke as Dylan, Glenn Reynolds as Neil Diamond, and Power Line as Grand Funk, but I really don't see a slot for myself in the grand scheme, inasmuch as it would require both incredible longevity and minor notoriety at best. Perhaps the archetype here is the late John Fred Gourrier, who started making records in the Fifties, got one humongous hit, and then dropped below the national radar for the rest of his life.

But then I'd have to have one humongous hit, wouldn't I?

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:35 AM)
22 June 2006
196

Take a number. (Please.) Reverse its digits and add the two together. Take the sum, reverse its digits, and add the two together. Lather, rinse, repeat. Eventually you will reach a numeric palindrome, where the digits read the same forwards and backwards. (For instance, 57 becomes palindromic after two iterations: 57 + 75 = 132, 132 + 231 = 363.)

Or, on rare occasions, you won't. Numbers that don't do this are called Lychrel numbers, and the lowest one known is 196.

Not at all low in any sense is the 196th edition of Carnival of the Vanities, hosted by Rethink(IP), and to their credit, they didn't attempt to rethink the formula at all.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:58 AM)
Covering your baseness

Advice from the Universal Donor:

Don't write anything that reveals how small-minded, ignorant or bigoted you are — it will come back and bite you on the ass if you ever pursue a career in politics. You have two options for your racist diatribes:
  • Write stuff like that in a special pink diary with a heart-shaped golden clasp that you can lock with a special key (also heart-shaped) that goes on a delicate chain around your neck. Keep the diary itself under your pillow. Once a week, try spritzing it with your favorite perfume to keep it smelling fresh!
  • Create a special other web page under a pseudonym. If you can't think of a good pseudonym for your alter ego, consult the chart in the footnote below.

Here's the chart. Take a first name from Column A and a last name from Column B:

Bigoted Pseudonym Generator

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:42 AM)
26 June 2006
No way for a story to end

A moment of silence, if you please, for Rob "Acidman" Smith (1952-2006).

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:36 PM)
28 June 2006
197

Charles Darwin would have been 197 years old in 2006, had he lived.

And if he had, he'd probably be impressed that actual ducks are hosting >the Carnival of the Vanities, which is 197 weeks old and still alive. Our thanks to Lil' Duck Duck and all the other ducks in a row.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:02 AM)
3 July 2006
The release of Dong Resin

Mr. Resin has spent much of the past two years as editor of Screenhead, one of the least-viewed of the Nick Denton/Gawker Media bloglike items, and he's saying goodbye at the end of this month:

The fact that Gawker let this go on for twenty-two months with the low ratings I pulled in while doing it says a lot about their general approach to content: it's pretty ballsy to be The Name Brand Blog Hub on the ever-competitive interweb and not mind loss-leading a little with some twit named after cock snot who tends to link to a chalk artist in Madrid like it means something.

He adds in comments:

I'm very bored of this sort of blogging, whatever I do next will go more along the lines of actually creating things rather than pointing to them. I never really intended to do the site for this long, perversely the shitty ratings made me want to keep doing it. If it had been a hit, I'd have left some time ago.

Personally, I think they should let Resin run Sploid when Ken Layne retires/is sacked/tells Denton to perform an anatomical impossibility.

Update, 6:15 pm: Not gonna happen: Denton's going to unload Sploid as well as Screenhead.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:11 PM)
5 July 2006
Whatever floats your bloat

Vaspers the Grate discovers Sturgeon's Law:

The blogosphere has indeed become the "bloatosphere". There are way too many irrelevant, myopic blogs. And 90% or more are pure boring nonsense, trivial chump buckets of slop.

As the blogosphere fills up with more and more worthless blogs, the overall quality and reliability of the blogosphere as a whole declines. I'll credit Seth Godin with advancing this concept about a year or more ago.

Like what happened with FM radio and TV, 55 channels of garbage or mindless mediocrity, the same old sitcoms, the same 30 songs played over and over ad nauseum.

However, I do champion the rise of individual voice against the MSM information hegemony.

Too many blogs? Yes. But I am happy to see even the boring drivel blogs keep at it, ppl expressing whatever, and the public moving more and more to the internet, with some quality, unfiltered, unedited journalism and creative writing.

Some of us glory in our slopbucketedness.

And while the rule around here is to dock five points for saying "hegemony" with a straight face, it's hard to argue with his premise, especially since elsewhere in the piece he describes MySpace as a "foul toilet."

Still, most of us who read this stuff developed filters early on: we've learned to eschew the bad and seek out the good, or at least the less bad.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:55 AM)
198

Back in '73, Dr Gene Sharp put out a three-volume set called The Politics of Nonviolent Action: in the second volume, The Methods of Nonviolent Action, he listed 198 such methods.

Speaking of 198, this is the 198th week of Carnival of the Vanities, this week hosted by The Business of America is Business. A week's worth of bloggage in a single page of links: now that's business.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:41 AM)
7 July 2006
The women of Dustbury

Improbable as that may seem, at least to me, this is the premise (well, a premise) of an actual podcast. (Approximately 27 minutes, and presumably not approved by "Mad Eddie" Finkelstein.)

Update, 9 July: The second edition is up; this link should cover them all.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:12 AM)
12 July 2006
199

Perhaps the bloodiest battle in human history was the Battle of Stalingrad, in which the Soviet Union crushed an invasion by the German Reich, with massive casualties on both sides: estimates range as high as two million. The battle raged on for 199 days, from the summer of 1942 into February 1943.

The Carnival of the Vanities, meanwhile, has raged on for 199 weeks, and The Bull Speaks hosts the newest edition of the original blog carnival. No casualties to report.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:52 AM)
14 July 2006
Looking for Space

Meet CarSpace, which is, well, just about what you think it is: an automotive variation on the MySpace theme, produced by the Edmunds folks.

I should ask them if everyone gets Tom Magliozzi as first friend.

(Disclosure: I have a page at CarSpace, though I've done nothing with it. Yet.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:17 AM)
A sudden pain in the templates

I wandered over to Miss Cellania this morning, and this thing bounced into the middle of the page:

Vague, inchoate threat

"Mad," indeed. Apparently this is what they're talking about.

Update, 16 July: It's been fixed, or something.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:50 PM)
19 July 2006
Two hundred

The first (and still the oldest) of the blog carnivals has made it to 200 weeks, a statistic so startling I don't feel compelled to start this post off with an irrelevancy about the number itself.

Carnival of the Vanities #200 is hosted this week by Accidental Verbosity, and there's a special feature: a memorial to the late Rob "Acidman" Smith, who departed this world in June after compressing 200 years of life, maybe more, into an all-too-short fifty-four.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:41 PM)
22 July 2006
Pour it on

How do you get your miserable Site Meter (or whatever) moving? Content, content, content, says James Joyner:

Unless you're doing Lileks- or Wretchard-length essays, it's almost impossible to get steady traffic without posting 40-50 items a week at minimum. There are just too many sites competing for eyeballs for large numbers of people to make your site a daily stop unless you're giving them something to read when they get there.

People who write quickly, prolifically, and about interesting things at least have a chance of breaking out of the pack. It's not coincidental that most of the top bloggers are college professors, journalists, or self-employed. Unless you have the ability to blog during the day (or the discipline to get up early [and] crank out several posts before going to work a la Ed Morrissey) you're at a distinct disadvantage.

I'm running close to 40 these days; I think it's fair to say that I write quickly and prolifically. ("Interesting," of course, is in the eye of the beholder.) It helps that I can keep two or three post ideas on the brain's back burner more or less indefinitely, and then pop one to the front when I figure out something to say about it, or there's something in the news which it might fit.

And I do often have new posts up before I go to work, but those are usually written the night before and then given a final once-over before publishing the next morning.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:24 AM)
26 July 2006
201

The area code (or, more precisely, the NPA) for parts of northern New Jersey is 201; there's a magazine called (201) published in Bergen County.

A long way from New Jersey, Cait, who presides over Siempre, Cait, has put together the 201st edition of the Carnival of the Vanities, and I suppose you could have fries with that if you asked really really nicely.

And paid for them, of course.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:25 AM)
30 July 2006
She's real fine, my 409

Oh, wait. That's not a 409. It's a 403.

And it's not mine, either, now that I think about it. (I do have a screwy 404 page, though.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:32 PM)
31 July 2006
The way we do the things we do

One of the reasons this site switched from manual coding to Movable Type four years ago was this:

The commenting system has been hiccuping lately, and while I don't get quite as exercised about these outages as others might, I decided it might be a really good time to archive all the June and July comments, lest they be lost for all eternity. If you posted one, it's now on the same page as the archived log entry, indented slightly to reduce illegibility.

Because, you know, my readers have come to expect a consistent level of service, as it were.

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:41 PM)
2 August 2006
202

Almost every trip back East, I find myself on US Highway 202 at some point; I think my favorite section of it is west of Concord, New Hampshire, probably because some of it is considered highly unsafe.

Less of a threat is Carnival of the Vanities #202, hosted by Eteraz, who reminds you that Vanity is Venerable.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:41 PM)
10 August 2006
203

After World War II, the French automotive industry was slow to recover. One of the first new models to be produced was Peugeot's 203, built in Sochaux beginning in 1948. For the first five years, this was the only Peugeot being made; the larger 403 appeared midway through the 1950s, though production of the 203 continued through 1960.

Meanwhile, the 203rd edition of Carnival of the Vanities is being hosted at Humantide, and it's subtitled "Froth Edition," which refers to coffee. I think.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:03 PM)
12 August 2006
Things I learned today (7)

It's an ongoing process, after all.

Information overload point: reached.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:13 AM)
14 August 2006
Let's not always see the same hands

Nominations are now open for the 2006 Okie Blog Awards, and will continue through the end of August; the actual voting begins on the 2nd of September.

What defines an Okie blog? From the rules:

Only Okie bloggers with active Okie blogs at the start of nominations are eligible. "Active" is defined as having at least one blog post during the previous 60 days. An "Okie blog" is defined as having at least one active blog author residing within the state of Oklahoma. All Okie Blog Awards are to be decided only by Okie bloggers.

And Okiedoke, despite being more deserving than some of us (like, well, um, me, for instance), is officially ineligible, since Mike's running the tabulations and wishes to avoid the very hint of scandal, which doesn't necessarily explain why he's not running for a statewide office this year, but could.

There are a dozen categories this year. Get your nominations in soon and avoid an abundance of nagging posts.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:08 PM)
15 August 2006
First, you must submit

The fourth birthday of Carnival of the Vanities will be upon us shortly, and Zeuswood and Stingflower, in their capacities as Primary Carnival Barkers, have introduced new submission guidelines for future editions, lest they become as stale as my lame links to same each and every week.

Or, as Zeuswood says:

My position can be summed up in three words: cut the crap.

Good posts. Timely posts. It's not a linkfest for the sake of a linkfest, shades of trackback parties. Have some respect or you'll kill it.

Laurence Simon, who knows from crap, was not available for comment.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:21 AM)
16 August 2006
204

"Chic and comfortable clothes for every occasion" have been found for thirty years at Opus 204 in Seattle.

Not quite so old, but always chic and occasionally comfortable, is the Carnival of the Vanities, and the 204th edition is hosted this week by Spooky Action. In an especially Spooky move, Mike DeWitt has subdivided the Carnival into five distinct sections, and surely there's one for you.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:32 AM)
Insert coins, no change returned

Jay brings up this chart of major business/economics blogs and their relative influence. In terms of daily visitors, the top such blog is Marginal Revolution, which is the USA Today of bizblogs, in that USA Today is the national newspaper-circulation leader. (No other comparison is made or should be implied. You buy the premise, you buy the bit.) The remainder of the chart places other bizblogs below MR, and based on their traffic compared to MR's, they are matched to a corresponding newspaper. For instance, QandO, with about half the traffic, is paired to a newspaper with half the circulation: the Los Angeles Times.

On this basis, I figured I'd fall somewhere around the level of the Sulphur Times-Democrat in relative clout. But, says Brian Gongol, who compiled this data presumably right off people's Site Meters and such, Marginal Revolution pulls 8307 daily visits, yielding 14370 page views. My own current numbers are 861 and 1194; taking the less-flattering of the two, I get 8.309 percent of the traffic enjoyed (I assume he enjoys it) by Tyler Cowen. Now: what newspaper has 8.309 percent of the circulation of USA Today?

ABC numbers for the period ending 31 March 2006 put USA Today at 2,528,437 copies daily. Doing the math, I wind up at 210,087, which is good for a top-100 finish: behind Investor's Business Daily, number 64, but ahead of two New Jersey papers, the Record in Hackensack and the Asbury Park Press. (I have some problems with the rankings as given here, since papers under a JOA, like the Seattle Times and Post-Intelligencer, are cited as the total of the two; if they deobfuscated the numbers for these pairs, I'd be between zero and three notches lower.)

If I go by visitors, I'm at 10.365 percent of Cowen's; this puts me at 262,066, splitting the difference between the San Jose Mercury News (48th) and the St. Paul Pioneer Press (49th).

Of course, this is just a statistical exercise, valid only for the days for which visitor counts were made available, and ultimately signifying nothing. In terms of Genuine Reader Influence, I probably rank below the Sulphur Times-Democrat (circulation figures not available).

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:08 AM)
17 August 2006
Redmond: home of tools

Microsoft is readying a "blog tool," and Winston is sounding the alarm:

[G]o hide in a dark corner and think ... and become afraid ... very afraid. Close your eyes and envision a future in which all blogs are done through Microsoft's BillyBlog service on their "pay-per-post" plan. All posts and all comments will become the property of Microsoft to do with as they please, including suing my ass for making these comments.

This reminds me of, well, me, circa 2003:

What would Windows blogging tools be like? Probably something like this:
  • All posts must be composed in Word.

  • You'd have to ping microsoft.com with a registration code before the program would send pings to blo.gs or to weblogs.com.

  • Any build error would generate a Blue Screen of Death and require a reboot.

  • The comment-spam filter would randomly block Safari and Opera users.

  • Windows Media Player would automatically delink any linked mp3 files.

  • Microsoft.com would wind up on the TTLB Ecosystem as the Highest Being, Dammit.

  • The built-in spellchecker will have issues with the word "Unix".

  • There will be a new security "upgrade" every other Tuesday.

  • Each member of a group blog would have to pay for a separate license.

  • A rogue email will be able to infect your templates.

On the upside, complaints about Blogger and Blogspot should diminish markedly.

Plus ça change, and all that.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:25 AM)
18 August 2006
We're all OK

In case you thought you were the only one who noticed:

Seriously, what is it about Oklahoma that there are so many, and such interesting, blogs?! I check these three daily as I'm sure many people do (dustbury, numskullery, sweet familiar dissonance) and finally realized that they're all Oklahomans. Sheesh, is there something in the water? the air? the soil??

It's a hundred and five outside. No wonder we're at our keyboards, our tumblers of [fill in name of preferred libation] at our sides, our tongues loosened just enough to tell you things like this.

(Were this January, amend the first sentence to "It's twenty-seven and drizzling outside.")

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:48 PM)
19 August 2006
The evil that men do

Particularly men who want to live off the efforts of others. I saw this in the new Wired this morning, and while most of the tale was familiar, towards the end it took a turn I never would have — but probably should have — expected. From Charles C. Mann's "Spam + Blogs = Trouble":

Blogger and other blog hosting sites now require users to prove they are not spambots before posting comments by identifying a series of distorted letters and numbers. The protection codes are called Captchas, which stands for "completely automated public Turing tests to tell computers and humans apart." In theory, sploggers' autoposting software can't figure out the distorted images, thus reducing the flow of spam. But Captchas also make commenting harder. "It's a big pain for legitimate users," Blogger's [Jason] Goldman says, "and there are many visually impaired people who can't do it at all." (Google recently introduced an audio-based form.) Nor are Captchas completely effective. Sploggers are believed to be hiring squads of low-paid people to type through the tests. "We're seeing Captchas solved in bursts, which suggests they are working in shifts," Goldman says.

Emphasis added. (Could this account for what appears to be a recent upsurge in "work-from-home" schemes?)

I have been reluctant to get into pay-per-click ads on this site, at least partially because of my reservations about the ultimate viability of the concept: if the system is so easily gamed, how long can it survive? (Besides, if someone is so moved by my purple prose to want to support my efforts, there's always actual linkage, or maybe a few cents routed to my PayPal account.) I'd hate to think the whole structure can come tumbling down because of a few people who insist that their lunch be free.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:38 AM)
21 August 2006
Proactive scum

When I switched to Movable Type back in 2002, the system numbered each individual archive, starting with 000001, and assigned a similar series to TrackBacks, though inasmuch as I didn't implement TB until a couple of hundred posts were in place, the numbers for posts and TBs don't match up. None of this presented any particular problem.

Then I popped open the Junk TrackBack folder this morning, and there was a TB to a post I hadn't even published yet. (This one, in fact.) Obviously they were just trying numbers to see what would stick, and of course it didn't actually get onto the site, but this is a definite drawback to the numbering system. Newer versions of MT allow post titles to be worked into URLs, and TB links are named accordingly; I didn't switch over when I installed version 3.2, for the sake of consistency. It would be, I assume, harder for a spammer to anticipate a post title than a post number. (Then again, I've had some fairly predictable post titles over the past four years.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:32 AM)
22 August 2006
In summary

The usual Blogger template has a section called "About Me," and I admit, if I haven't read you before, I will read this first. Second at the latest.

And once in a great while I will encounter something as nifty as this:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I, I took the one strewn with Cheerios and diaper wipes, in a sensible car and pair of old jeans. I wake up next to an adorably hairy computer geek and spend my days wiping snotty noses and admiring crayon drawings. You know what? Life has never been more full of romance than it is right now.

Now if that isn't compelling, I don't know what is.

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:25 PM)
23 August 2006
205

This number probably doesn't mean much to you, unless you live in Alabama, in which case it is (or was) your telephone area code, and really, I don't think anyone will buy the notion that 205 is the atomic weight of the mysterious element dodgeblogium, which has affected Andrew Ian Dodge to the effect that he's now unleashed upon the world the Cthulhu of the Vanities.

Yes. R'lyeh. I am not making this up.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:24 AM)
26 August 2006
All things to everyone? Run, run away

It's hard to disagree with this Lileks perspective on successful bloggage:

If you are very serious about arts criticism, for example, people will come to that. They won't expect laughs, but they will come to that. And if you are hilarious about one aspect of the world and that's all you write about, people will go to that. But if it's just a grim slog everyday to read your acidic sharp little misery about something on the subway, you are going to lose them.

Note to self: Stay off the train.

At the time, Lileks was talking to BBC Radio 4's Mark Savage, who perhaps wasn't sure what he was getting into with this Descent into the Blogosphere™. Quoth he:

I was flying through the airport at Washington when an airport security worker stopped me. The microphone, tape recorder and all the wires in my bag obviously attracted her attention. She asked what they were for, so I explained that I was making a radio series about bloggers.

She pulled a face. There is a perception that bloggers are sad, joyless people in their underwear who sit in front of their computers all day.

Surely not all day. And, well, I don't think I've ever posted anything in my underwear. (The Instant Man admits to one out of three: he is in front of the computer all day, just as some of us suspected.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:35 AM)
28 August 2006
Now that's a Captcha

There have been numerous examples of bloggers who wed, but this is the first time I've seen commenters tying the knot.

Maybe someday I'll get a date via TrackBack. [sigh]

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:13 PM)
30 August 2006
206

According to Gray's Anatomy (not the television series), you have 206 bones.

According to the Carnival of the Vanities, this is week #206, and a return engagement by Lil Duck Duck. It's a major undertaking for a bunch o' ducks, but they've already proven themselves, back around #197, and it's good to see them answering the call once more.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:11 AM)