People I have loved, known or admired
  Timothy Brown is, among other things, a Unix whiz, a science-fiction buff, a connoisseur of alternate spices (darn that sodium!), and a Sunday-school teacher of the Baptist persuasion. And he's helped to prop up my sagging self for twenty years now. I really can't thank him enough, and this doesn't even begin to start. In the summer of '98, he finally tied the knot with the woman of his dreams. Some guys have all the luck.  

Forrest J. "Frosty" Troy and his wife Helen (natch) put together The Oklahoma Observer, a semi-monthly tabloid-sized paper which serves by default as the conscience of Oklahoma, a characteristic not often found in the state's politicians or its press. The Observer's impact goes far beyond its smallish 7,500 circulation; anyone with political clout in this state reads the Observer, whether they want to admit it or not. The paper's politics might be considered a shade to the left, depending on whether you believe Newt Gingrich is some sort of centrist, but it doesn't seem to affect what gets printed; I did a piece a few years ago critical of something written by that liberal icon Ralph Nader, and got as much space as Nader's original.  

  Regular readers, assuming such exist, will note that I have, in fact, two children, hurtling toward adulthood at warp speed. And if anyone knows about being adult and warped, c'est moi, so I have the satisfaction of knowing that Rebecca and Russell did inherit something from me other than bad hair. No matter. These are great kids, just as difficult as anyone else's, but apparently with their heads screwed on straight. I wouldn't trade either of them for a Mercedes-Benz M-series stuffed with computer components. And to their mom, the former Carolyn Ann Wooten - thanks.  

  Way too many people seem to assume conservatism and lacking a sense of humor go together like, well, Strom Thurmond and fossils. And if you had to judge by the average GOP Congressional newbie, you'd have to assume that way too many people were right. The cure for the common conservative is P. J. O'Rourke, former misguiding light of the National Lampoon and presently our most gifted political (and, occasionally, automotive) essayist. Log off this instant and go buy one of P.J.'s books. Hell, go buy all of them. If you don't have any, start with Republican Party Reptile (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987). Most recently reaching my desk was something called Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut, a collection of P. J. polemics hitherto gone uncollected, including his major claim to net.fame - the speech he gave at the opening of a Cato Institute facility in 1993.  

Penn Jillette is, of course, the taller half of Penn and Teller, and through the fall of 1994, he was also a columnist for PC/Computing magazine, which has since lost its slash and some of its direction. As the anti-Siegfried and Roy, P&T perform a valuable service, but what has always impressed me most is their ability to cut to the chase, even before you know anyone is going to be running. Since leaving PC/C, for reasons which perhaps will never be known, Penn has done a few acting jobs - he had a recurring role on the ABC sitcom Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, starring the implausibly-beautiful Melissa Joan Hart - and written some trenchant social commentary, and if there's any kind of social commentary we don't get enough of these days, it's the trenchant variety. Teller, quiet on the set and perhaps a tad less quiet in person, shows up from time to time on NPR - just in case you thought he really couldn't talk. Come to think of it, Teller has shown up on the Sabrina series too, though they didn't give him any lines. The Simpsons, however, gave lines to both Penn and Teller.  

  Elsewhere in this site, there is a small page devoted to musician/composer Carolyne Mas, more or less intended as a placeholder until her official site went up in 1998. Shortly before that, we had a long talk about a lot of things, some of which were actually musical, and she played for me some of her recordings I hadn't heard yet, but of all the things I heard, I think what I may remember most strongly in the future is simply that while not everything in her career has gone exactly the way she might have hoped, she's doing what she loves, and she wouldn't have it any other way. We should all be so fortunate.  

The No Comment area on this site, were I so inclined, could easily have been filled up by remarks by Harlan Ellison, the master of speculative fiction who somehow managed to get to the Pantheon of SF without ever losing his enfant terrible status. While I dearly love his stories, I find even more resonance in his commentaries, be they focused on SF itself, on television (his late-Sixties television essays, subsequently collected in The Glass Teat and The Other Glass Teat, are arguably the most cogent things said about the medium since McLuhan decided it was cool), or what passes for culture these days. Long may he kvell.  

  Is there truly someone for everyone? I have my doubts. The demographics certainly don't work out that way, and neither do the patterns of this unreasonable facsimile of a life that I lead. There is little question that I brought most of this barren existence upon myself, and there is no reason to think I'll be able to drag myself out of it anytime soon. Yet persons with even less to recommend them than I have - I am told there are such - routinely make connections that often lead to, if not bliss, at least some form of contentment. Could this ever happen to me? Stay tuned.  

  And at the very least, I ought to mention the late Leo Rosten, from whose 1970 book I swiped the title of this page, and who taught me that there's something to Yiddish that ought not to be confined to the Borscht Belt. When "mensch" makes it into the English dictionary at last, there really ought to be a picture of Leo Rosten right next to it.
Last update: 6 February 2000
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