The short answer: The Vent is a more-or-less-weekly essay, usually 250 to 650 words, on a topic that for some reason demands my attention at the moment it's written.
By "more-or-less-weekly", I mean that there are usually four of them per month, 48 each year. As of the end of 2001, there had been 274 Vents written. At the current rate, and assuming I don't drop dead some time in the interim, Vent #1000 will appear in mid-February 2017, at which time this site will be almost old enough to drink. (Will you still need me, will you still read me, when I'm sixty-four?)
The Vent is the oldest regular feature here. In fact, it's older than the dustbury.com domain itself; Vent #1 was one of the seven original pages when this site was originally hatched in April 1996 as Chez Chaz. A Vent can be on any subject, but given my particular predilections, two topics seem to dominate: politics (US and Oklahoma) and depression (mine).
The series quality level follows the usual bell curve: a few of the Vents strike me as pretty damned good, a few others as absolutely horrible, and the vast majority fall somewhere in between. While the design has been altered a few times, the text of any individual Vent remains unchanged (any external links may have died since the original issue) unless there is a dated Update statement contained therein. This means, of course, that there are undoubtedly a few ideas expressed somewhere along the way that today make me cringe, but that's part of the price of mainta