The United States Begs To Differ

In an article called STEP IN TIME Where Mary Poppins cast are now – from tragic death at 21 to £35m fortune and moving cameo in film reboot, the Daily Star asserts:

IT may be 58 years since he high-kicked across the roofs of London to Chim Chim Cher-ee but Mary Poppins star Dick Van Dyke hasn’t forgotten his most iconic role.

C’mon, man. More iconic than Rob Petrie (from The Dick Van Dyke Show, you damned kids)? Not even more iconic than Dr. Sloan (from Diagnosis: Murder)? I think not.

Tied, at best, with Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. You know, that one guy in that one kid’s movie you saw a couple of times. Not more iconic than something you might have seen dozens or hundreds of times on television or DVDs.

Maybe it’s iconic in Britain since it takes place in Britain.

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On The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss (2010)

Book coverI picked this book up on the dollar side of the Friends of the Library Book Sale this spring, and it’s the first of the courses/audio books I got that weekend that I loaded into the CD player in my main truck. It’s only three CDs, about 3.5 hours total, so I did not have to displace anything in the CD changer (which had three spots open).

Ferris is probably best known for The 4-Hour Work Week which he then turned into a little bit of a franchise–this book is one of several with similar titles, and it deals with exercise, diet, sex, and such things.

The sections, basically, deal with those things in that order. The first, exercise, explains how to get the most out of a minimalist exercise program. Basically, do a small set of exercises to failure, fewer exercises than even Rippletoe advocates, and then take plenty of time off to recover. The second section on diet talks a lot about body chemistry and includes supplements and whatnot. The third section deals with sex, mainly how to please a woman, and to be honest, it was a bit squicky, but I’ll get to that in depth. He also talks briefly about life extension strategies, like caloric restriction, but rightfully rejects this as impeding the quality of life for mere quantity.

So Ferris does a lot of research on the topics he writes on and then tries them out himself. So when it comes to the exercise, over the course of a couple of years, he tries various approaches and measures his body mass index and stuff. When it comes to supplements, he tries a variety of regimens and diets and self-reports that he has his blood tested frequently for various effects and markers. And when it comes to sex–well.

All right, when it comes to sex, he talks about how few women achieve orgasm, and then he attends a couple of training sessions or seminars involving actual sexual contact between the instructors, where you can actually get very close to the naughty bits to see exactly what they’re doing. Which is, in a word, weird. The tips Ferriss learns in the sex section, I’m pleased to say I already knew. Because I have had a sexual partner for a long time, and we communicate. I suppose you need this sort of abstraction if you’re changing partners quickly and don’t have the time to understand and explore with a single person. But as the section was targeted at pleasing women pretty exclusively, one must assume something about the target audience. That it’s young men, not middle-aged old folk like me (although Ferriss himself is only a couple years younger than I am).

So, what did I take away from the audio book?

  • When working out, remember to work to the point of exhaustion. I think he favors the 5×5 weight approach, which is five reps and then add five pounds for the next set, and do five sets. Maybe that makes it 5x5x5. I had been working sets of 10, but I was not exhausting the muscles. Now, I might not hit five sets, but I get to the point where I can’t lift all the way up, and I hold it at that position until I can’t any more. Of course, this is not an exercise for barbells you’re under if you lack a spotter. But I’ll try that for a while; I have heard about it from other sources as well, so the audiobook is only reinforcing other information.
  • Both this book and Mike Cernovich’s Gorilla Mindset extoll the virtues of cold showers, so I’ve started turning the temperature down in the shower after washing and shaving. Also, when I started listening to this book, I was getting ready for the annual “Pool is open in April” plunge into some cold water, and I wanted to minimize the chances of it killing me this year. The water in our pool has not really cleared, so I didn’t have to take the plunge before the Summer switched turned to on, but I’ve kept turning the water cold because of a couple things mentioned in the book: Specifically, that cold helps burn calories faster while working out (the shower is not exactly working out, but the body needs to spend to heat for that minute or so) and because something in Ferriss’s research indicated that cold on the neck produces a fat burning response. And, frankly, I have gone through a period of eating a lot of sandwiches recently, and I could use a little extra burn.

So that”s it. Basically, two things. But, still, not bad for a couple hours of interesting.

Note that my youngest listened to parts of the chapters on diet, and asked as he was getting out of the car, “This diet is supposed to make you shredded? I’m not going to do it.”

Me, either, kid. I’d rather eat what I want and work some of it off than try to make like a professional body builder.

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Local News Bits

  • U.S. Senate Poll: Greitens leads Republican candidates ahead of August primary for Mo.; Kunce leads Democratic ticket

    The media is trying to make Greitens happen. This poll was commissioned by television stations, and the company conducting the poll has a spotty reputation when it comes to predicting actual winners.

  • Pierce City, Mo. could have a ‘mass exodus’ of police officers:

    Pierce City officers say they plan to resign over concerns they have with the policies of the newly elected mayor. On Tuesday, Mayor Edward Golubski spoke with KY3 but declined to go on camera. The Mayor said he feels blindsided by the issue. He said he wants the best for the city and is happy to help work with the police to ease their concerns.

    “It’s going to be a mass exodus,” Pierce City Officer Chris Hutson said. “Most, if not all of the police officers will be leaving soon.”

    Chris Hutson has been a Pierce City officer for two years. And he has been a part of law enforcement for ten years. Hutson said he is now resigning entirely.

    ”I would be very concerned as to why it’s happening and what’s going to happen to the city,” Hutson said.

    He said it starts with concerns over several of Mayor Golubski’s policies.

    ”He attempted to relieve the chief of his duties and appoint someone that was not only not qualified, but her moral compass is so messed up that it’s unreal,” Hutson said.

    The fact that the news story does not delve into the nature of the policies nor the person to be appointed chief of police, instead focusing on police abandoning their positions, makes one wonder what those policies are. One can speculate, though.

    Although, to be honest, it might not be Soros dipping into small towns but rather someone wanting to promote a relative or significant other. However, the “journalists” don’t dig into the reasons.

    Maybe, if Pierce City runs out of police force, they can deploy their tanks (just kidding, they’re National Guard tanks, but I like linking to that old post).

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Know the Difference!

Somehow, lately, I’ve been getting into Japanese jazz, so allow me to help you not make the big mistakes.

For example, Hiromi is a jazz pianist with clear classical influences:

Note to self: There’s a Blue Note in Tokyo? I shall have to add that to my travel plans.

Harumo plays the saxophone, sometimes with Tokyo Groove Jyoshi, but sometimes independently:

Hiroshima is an American band with many members who were Japanese-American or Japanese and who get a lot of play on WSIE:

I have mentioned once or twice before my favorite Hiroshima song is “311”.

If you’re keeping score as I am, know that I own several Hiroshima albums on CD and vinyl and two Hiromi CDs. But I only have the one Tokyo Groove Jyoshi EP upon which Harumo appears–she does not seem to have any albums or EPs of her own available yet.

(Further public service posts explain the differences between Nazes and Misa/Maysa and also Misia and Messa; only two of these are Japanese.)

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No Library? Pass.

Magnificent $5.2M mansion for sale in Missouri’s wealthiest suburb:

With a population of 361 residents, Huntleigh is one of the least-populated municipalities in St. Louis County. But it’s the wealthiest suburb in all of Missouri.

Tucked between Ladue, Frontenac, Kirkwood, and Warson Woods, you could drive past Huntleigh along S. Lindbergh Boulevard and not realize it. Despite a total land area of less than a square mile, sprawling landscapes are a way of life in Huntleigh.

Yeah, I know about Huntleigh. I set the better part of a book there. I once passed down Lindbergh in the middle 1990s and saw the sign for the municipality between Ladue and Frontenac and looked at it on a map. “That’s where the rich people live,” I told my then-girlfriend, a West County girl who is probably now, twenty-five years on, worth millions.

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On the Radio

Gentle reader, I have accepted the opportunity to be part of the Nielsen’s radio survey.

As you might know, gentle reader, I am one of the few people left in the world (and no longer perhaps the only person under 50) who listens to broadcast radio (as well as streaming, as we will see).

I have been tasked to log time in a radio diary that lists radio stations I’ve listened to during the day.

Strangely, and sadly, this is a bit of an underrepresented radio listening period for me. As you might recall, I just bought a stack of audiobooks and audio courses at the Friends of the Library Book Sale two weeks ago, so most of my listening time in the car, maybe an hour a day or more on those days when I get into the car, are given over to listening to the lectures. Which is just as well, as I tend to flip amongst 3 radio stations during morning drive time (avoiding zoo radio) and 6 stations in the afternoons/evenings, which would be a bear to track.

So far, WSIE streaming from Edwardsville, Illinois, is the clear winner, as I listen to that whilst I’m at my desk many days when I’m not testing file uploads, which eat up the bandwidth at Nogglestead, in which case I listen to Tokyo Groove Jyoshi over and over (some of the YouTube videos are 30 minute or 60 minute live videos, so they eat up desk time). Strangely, YouTube plays better than online streams while I’m doing the uploading. At any rate, I have logged something like 16 hours a week for WSIE and 1 for KQRA, the hard rock station, so far.

The survey runs Thursday through Wednesday, one single week. It just missed my listening to KOMG, the country station I can pick up in my lawnmowing hearing protection that I wore whilst mowing the lawn last Wednesday.

Also, as I was not at my desk in the evening hours on Sunday, I did not switch over to KCSM, the Bay Area’s Jazz Station, for streaming jazz when WSIE plays the Conversation on Race (Spoiler Alert: It’s Whitey’s Fault) program. Sometimes, when I switch over to KCSM on Sunday nights, I’ll end up listening to it on Monday as well.

I’ve got two days left, and it looks like a couple more hours of WSIE to log. They’ve provided log books for the entire family, but aside from entering an hour of KQRA for the youngest, trapped in the car with me for an hour, it’s I did not listen to the radio today checkmarks for everyone.

Which further makes me feel like an anachronism in my own time.

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Albert Pujols did something Sunday that he hadn’t done in his previous 2,987 regular season career games – he took the mound.

With the Cardinals safely ahead of San Francisco 15-2 and looking to save the arms of the pitching staff, Pujols was called on to toe the rubber in the top of the ninth. It marked the first time in his 22-year MLB career that he’d pitched in a game.

His stats were memed as follows:

As I like to point out, and did on Facebook, he’s worse than José Oquendo, whose ERA was 12.00 with six innings pitched in three games.

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Good Book Hunting, Saturday, May 14, 2022: ABC Books

ABC Books had another book signing, which certainly must make it the destination for authors looking to promote their work in Springfield. As my beautiful wife convinced me that I need not buy Wendy’s or Starbucks gift cards for the Republic High School teacher thank-you cards and that ABC Books is not that far from Republic (no farther than it is from Nogglestead), so I had gift cards to buy as well as a signed book.

I did not get that much, but I was just there two weeks ago.

I got:

  • Official Targuek Poomse Series. This looks to be a set of forms which are required for becoming a black belt in the U.S. West Coast Taekwondo Association. Our school did forms for a couple of cycles a couple years ago, but the students did not take to it, so we dropped it. Which is just as well–I was one of the students who did not grok it. To get good at forms, you have to practice them a lot.
  • Volume III of The Westminster Tanner-McMurrin Lectures on the History and Philosophy of Religion. This has two lectures by Jaroslav Pelikan, “Jesus, Not Caesar: The Religious World View of Thomas Garrigue Masaryk” and “The Spiritual Foundations of Czech and Slovak Culture”. As you know, gentle reader, I read some individual lecture books from time to time to feel smart. They’re short and they’re heady, but not generally more than you would find in the New Oxford Review or First Things.
  • The Grieving Light: Finding the Light in your Darkness of Grief by the signing author Randi Knight. It’s a thin volume which I expect I will compare to Stephanie Dalla Rosa’s Love’s Legacy when I read it between children’s books, men’s adventure books, and science fiction short stories this summer.

As I brought my oldest along, bribed with the promise of lunch, he, too, sought some books. He has become interested in politics and sought copies of Common Sense and Second Treatise on Government by Locke, but these are hard to come by in used book stores. So he bought a collection of tales called The Shore Ghosts and Other Stories of New Jersey by Larona Homer and Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. A couple of weeks ago, I bought the lad a copy of Confess, Fletch because he liked the film enough to re-watch it, but he has not picked up that book. But he wants to try a Russian novel? We will see how far he gets. I mean, I need a real running start at the thick ones. Given my recent reading discipline, you should not expect to see The Brothers Karamazov reviewed here any time soon.

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The Unspoken Profession

Katie Berry of Housewife How-Tos posted this meme on Facebook:

Which may be true, but one profession is not represented on the meme: Produce clerk.

I frustrate my beautiful wife because I can always open produce bags on the first try because I have lots of experience.

As I have probably mentioned, working as a produce clerk in college is also where I learned to juggle using the bruised fruits, from apples to cantaloupes, that we’d culled from the shelf and were planning to sell in marked down packages. I’ve noticed that produce departments don’t tend to have the little cello-wrapped trays with marked down produce any more. Perhaps I’m shopping in higher-end stores than I worked in. Come to think of it, that is likely the case.

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How to mix books into your home décor.

As you might guess, gentle reader, we don’t have much room at Nogglestead for décor because of all the books.

You might also assume that, when shopping for a home as we have done from time to time over the past couple of decades, we give series consideration to interior wall space where we can put our bookshelves. An open floor plan is not for us.

But if you’re a bibliophile, do not click the link and read about interior designers talking about books as mere objects of color and texture and not, you know, books.

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On Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001) and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

Book coverBook coverI picked up Cradle of Life spending a gift certificate at Relics a couple months ago; I knew it was the second, so I was pleased to see that the library book sale had the first one so that I could watch them in order. Not that it’s required; they’re episodic and the second does not have anything to do with the first.

So. The first comes the year after Jolie’s Oscar-winning performance in Girl, Interrupted which I had mentally placed smack in the middle of the 1990s, but not exactly. Lara Croft, if you’re too young to know, was a video game character in a couple of dungeon crawl video games. There was some controversy amongst the controversy crowd because she was well endowed. To be honest, I never played the games.

In Tomb Raider, Lara has to finish her father’s last quest, to find a triangle that controls time to prevent it from falling into the hands of bad guys who will use it in a ritual that they can only try once every five thousand years. Croft has to trot the globe to prevent them and raid various tombs.

In The Cradle of Life, Lara has to find and locate the mystical place where life arrived on earth before a bio-weapons developer can find it to open Pandora’s box, unleashing an incurable plague to wipe out humanity to rebuild it in his image. Croft has to trot the globe, including the Mediterranean, the mountains of China, and eventually the savannah in Africa. She scuba dives, she flies in a wing suit, and she navigates a cave with weird gravity. Although I read the novelization of the film in 2008, I did not remember the plot, although now I again know what character might have been overdeveloped for a stunning reversal.

As the game was a scrolling platformer, the movies recreate a little bit of that with climbing and jumping from thing-to-thing sequences. However, the plots and set pieces all seem kind of derivative of other things. I mean, a triangle that controls time? That’s from several Nintendo games. The crazy cave? I saw that in Labyrinth. So part of the enjoyment of it, perhaps intentionally, is figuring out what it’s mashing up.

But 2000 or so is the time when the action movies started to look really cartoony or video gamy, ainna? As I explained to my beautiful wife, this film pales compared to late 20th century films like the early Indiana Jones films, Firewalker, or Romancing the Stone. Those were shot with real sets with real people in them. Around 2000, the CGI got good enough and cheap enough that films started looking flat. I guess it won’t bother kids these days who spend most of their lives tethered to a screen somewhere; they might just expect movies to look like video games. Especially, one reckons, movies based on video games.

So there are worse video game movies out there–I mean, I did make my friends see Wing Commander in the theatres specifically because it received the lowest rating I’d ever seen on Mr. Showbiz–but this is not a pair I will watch over and over. Given my extensive and growing media library, I don’t have much time to revisit films these days anyway. I’m not in a trailer park with only Showtime for my daily amusement any more.

So, about Angelina Jolie.

Continue reading “On Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001) and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)”

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I saw this, what, tweet? at Knuckledraggin:

And I had to correct the Internet, again.

  • The Geo Metro was first available in 1989.
  • By the middle 1980s, the 8-Track player was no longer the thing in cars. All of my cars from the era had cassette players.
  • I was finta say that “Smooth Jazz” is a recent coinage for what we called “easy listening” in the 1980s, but I might be anachronistic here myself as I only heard the term applied to a radio station in St. Louis in the early part of this century. Wikipedia and All Music put its origins earlier, but I’m not sure if the term was applied and I just didn’t know it. Although the All Music entry looks like a snapshot of my record shelves.
  • Although I did not have a Geo Metro (I did, however, have a Geo Storm for a couple of years), I did have a 1984 Mustang with a balky carb that was hard to start, especially in the cold (and it was only my daily driver from like January to May in 1997). My friend Walter, who that spring painted my face up for Mardi Gras, said, “Give it seven and pray to Heaven.” Because I would pump the gas roughly seven times to prime it; any fewer would be too little, and any more might flood it.

Sorry, I think we wandered a bit from correcting the Internet into personal reminiscences. But that is the way of the blog, ainna?

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Book Report: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (1877, 1954)

Book coverThis volume is part of the mid-20th-century Nelson Doubleday Children’s Classics series (as were Hans Brinker and Heidi). As I have previously mentioned, I bought these books before I had kids and missed the chance to read them to my boys when they were young enough to be interested in children’s books. So I’m working through the volumes in the set since I read Hans Brinker for the 2022 Winter Reading Challenge.

I could have read this book for the Winter Reading Challenge as well as it had a category of non-human main character. I thought this book would be one of boy or girl and his or her horse books that were quite the rage for a while. Also on television–I remember Fury in syndication, and My Friend Flicka somewhere. I know when my aunt gave us her kids’ books that we got a couple of entries in mystery series along with kid and dog or kid and horse books. I never got into the genre when I was younger. I lived in the city, man; I could not imagine having a horse of my own.

But this book is told from the horse’s point of view. Black Beauty, the horse, although he later becomes known by different names, starts out with his mother romping in a pasture. He’s sold to nice aristocrats and enjoys his younger years, but when the wife takes ill, he’s sold to another set of aristocrats who favor a bit that pulls the horse’s head up (the book rails on this bit a lot), and then he ends up getting sold into different sets of circumstances and manual, or equine, labor, from pulling a cab to pulling freight and finally ending up an older horse sold at a down-market horse fair to a farm looking for a cheap horse, and he’s reunited with a groom from the olden days and lives happily ever after.

So it’s got a bit of a be-kind-to-your-horses message to it that must have been ahead of its time. But for its brevity–it’s 124 pages–it took me a while to get through it because I’m not much of a horse person, and the novelty of it being nominally from the horse’s perspective was not enough to draw me along when the prose really didn’t.

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Of Course, I Don’t Have To Tell Friar….

He has already read this John Kass column: What Would Royko Do?

Kass points out that today’s news media would not support Royko’s style, and I agree.

But the media landscape has changed, too. When Royko was working, the metropolitan daily was a big deal, giving one a chance at a mass audience. Syndication would net a bigger national audience. Television appearances might follow.

But now, the printed (or written word, more to the point) landscape has fragmented. Newspapers have faded in circulation and reach, but they’ve fired their old and grizzled and expensive columnists, replacing them with the same twenty-year-old know-nothings that write the news. Columnists like John Kass and Steve Pokin have gone independent or work for smaller outfits now.

So many different conditions have changed that mean we won’t see the likes of Royko, or Kass for that matter, again.

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Book Report: In the Valley of Yesterday by Jeane K. Harvey (2020)

Book coverWhen blog and Internet friend Blogodidact mentioned his mother wrote a book, of course I rushed right in and ordered it. Thankfully, his mother was not in a touring production of a Broadway musical or local revival. As I have mentioned, I buy my friends’ (and, apparently, their parents’) books and music, which is about ten bucks a pop. I once supported someone I knew in musical theatre, and tickets for the four of us were $120 or so. So thank goodness for the greater ambition of original works. Of course, I would not say this in real life to the fellow who starred in Jesus Christ Superstar, as his “a pop” has been known to sideline me from martial arts classes for months. But, where was I?

Oh, yes: This book falls right into my wheelhouse of small-town personal and historical memoirs, except that instead of some unknown person writing about growing up in Missouri or the Ozarks, we get stories of growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1930s and 1940s (and beyond a bit). The author’s father is a studio art director, but when Great Depression I hits (I’m numbering them, as I expect Great Depression II: Candlelight Bugaloo to come any day now), he buys some property in the valley, and the family sets up a ranch with small animals to tide them over. So you’ve got stories about managing animals and construction interspersed with celebrities popping in (Alberto Vargas pops over for an artist group paint session, for example). Eventually, the father gets another job with the studios and works on a number of known films with Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, and others. In most of those anecdotes, the celebrities don’t drop by, but we get the stories related from the father’s perspective, sort of.

So I really liked the book because, as I mentioned, it has the flavor of a rural memoir with the injection of the old-time movie business. Which is not to say that I did not tag a couple quibbles, which I did, but I will tuck them under the fold so that only Van and his family have to see them.
Continue reading “Book Report: In the Valley of Yesterday by Jeane K. Harvey (2020)”

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On Old Email Addresses

On LinkedIn, I posted:

So what’s the oldest email you can open up right now?

Something not necessarily in your inbox, but rather in a folder somewhere in your email clients but not in an archive or backup somewhere?

My oldest is apparently December 16, 2002, a response to a query pitching a play to a theatre company in St. Louis.

Which is weird, because I am pretty sure I had the email account before the turn of the century; although an Older label appears, I can’t click it to see emails from before then.

Related: When did you send your first email on the Internet?

It was probably a query for The Courtship of Barbara Holt, and the theatre (in Florissant, not St. Louis proper) was ultimately rejected, of course.

But it got me to thinking of the email addresses I’ve had over the years.

My first “Internet” email address would have been an AOL account. I just tried to log into it, and it fails with an error on AOL’s part, so no digging up emails from the early 1990s. Although I guess I had a Prodigy account in 1990, so perhaps that would count. But I don’t remember sending a lot of emails to that account. And when I was a kid with a modem, the Color Graphics 64 Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes) offered messages between users of the board, but not really the Internet–although I think a plug-in came along later that helped with that. Boards hosted on IBM compatible computers, such as WWIV (World War IV), had the ability to read newsgroups and send email over the Internet, but I don’t know if I ever did. So my first email on the Internet could have come as early as the 1980s, but I can really only pinpoint sending emails in the mid-to-late 1990s, including the ones starting in 1997 I sent to the woman whom I would marry. Via the aforementioned AOL account.

Somewhere around 1998 or 1999, I got a Hotmail account, and it’s in that account that one finds the 2002 email. I am pretty sure I got a Hotmail account because it was more sophisticated than an AOL account at the time. But it has been useful over the decades as an email address to use when ordering things and whatnot where marketing emails are going to come.

When I moved into my first apartment, I switched to a real Internet Service Provider, in this case the one run by the local newspaper, and I had that email address for a couple of years, including the first years in the house at Casinoport. But when I formed my consulting company in 2004, I bought the domain name, set up a Web site, and set up email for the company, and it has been my primary email address since. The archives only go back to summer of 2007, though, as a Thunderbird update or computer change cut off the emails from before.

I dunno what got me to thinking about this last night. But it’s kind of funny. Emails have been a fixture for most of my adult life, and if you count the BBS messages, it goes back to most of my life indeed. And judging from comments on the LinkedIn, some other adults have emails going back decades. Our kids will likely not have that continuity; they have email addresses for school, but their peer communication goes through Discord, WhatsApp, and other ephemeral conduits.

So much informal, and formal, communication is getting lost. One wonders if this will be referred to as a Dark Ages sometime in the future.

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