Train of Thought

So, I see Ms. K.‘s post about this video:

And a little later, I’m recollecting a conversation about raising cattle with a friend, and I thought I’d ask him if he’d been in the FFA, which leads me to think of this song:

And so I think, you know self-directing machines are going to hit the farms first, where they can go along in their laser-and-GPS-guided finery to handle the time-consuming chores of farming with far less insurance liability concerns. Just imagine when this becomes mainstream, at least as mainstream as farming is, and automated farm machines can work day and night on ever larger farms. Great swaths of land will really become food farms, and it’ll squeeze out the family farmers most likely.

Will the prices go down for commodity foods (but remain high for the locovore organic artisan stuff), or will it put Google in charge of our food supply?

Regardless, I’m getting my robot insurance before that, too, is nationalized.

Further Dumpster Diving

Forget the Wayback Machine, here at MfBJN, you get the full experience of my Web presence from across the years.

In addition to The Cynic Express(ed), I’ve added the following sites for your amusement:

  • My old AOL Web page which is not as cool as Ms. K’s, it does the complete text of a couple of short stores, a couple of essays, and my two chapbooks Unrequited and Deep Blue Shadows. Also, student, you can see that my preference for dark backgrounds and light text goes back almost twenty years. But it’s gotten better.
  • Toht or Not, ca. 2003, which was hosted on Geocities. I’m only a Compuserve short of the complete collection of old timey Internet presences, gentle reader. And long time readers might recognize the images therein reappeared in my blog series from 2006-2007 Ask Dr. Creepy. As you know, my predilection for a fedora and trench coat goes back twenty years, but I look slightly less creepy now. Or older, which might make me less creepy. Who knows?

I wrote the AOL Web sites on an old AMD 2/66 and uploaded them to AOL. And I’ve backed them up and copied them over every time I’ve gotten a new computer for the last fifteen years. So you’re seeing them in the original, although I admit I corrected some typos in the hard-coded links as I updated them. I was not a software tester in 1998, so I was just happy to have something on the Internet.

Maybe someday I’ll share with you old message threads from BBSes that I’ve saved off or the hundreds of pages of emails my beautiful wife and I exchanged between the times we were simply two USENET readers with a common interest and the time she moved to St. Louis.

Because I’m a pack rat, and that goes for digital, too.

The Rest of A Story

Back in 2010, I did a little throwaway bit about a courier company that helped an elderly woman avoid being taken in by a scam. The story itself was on, and it mostly focused on the Arizona company trying to bilk the old woman out of $15,000.

Me, I just wondered how the courier knew what he was delivering.

And so I made that little post, playing in my head to the paranoia schtick I toss around on here from time to time (I don’t actually eat my shredded documents, you know) and a bit of the-newspaper-is-leaving-some-of-the-story-out bit.

The owner of the courier company contacted me to explain the rest of the story, and I’ve appended it to the original post. The part of the story the St. Louis Post-Dispatch blogger didn’t cover is as interesting as what he did.

Check it out.

Wherein Life Imitates Frank J. Before Frank J.

Revealed: How the U.S. planned to blow up the MOON with a nuclear bomb to win Cold War bragging rights over Soviet Union:

It may sound like a plot straight out of a science fiction novel, but a U.S. mission to blow up the moon with a nuke was very real in the 1950s.

At the height of the space race, the U.S. considered detonating an atom bomb on the moon as a display of America’s Cold War muscle.

The secret project, innocuously titled ‘A Study of Lunar Research Flights’ and nicknamed ‘Project A119,’ was never carried out.

. . . .

Under the scenario, a missile carrying a small nuclear device was to be launched from an undisclosed location and travel 238,000 miles to the moon, where it would be detonated upon impact.

The headline is a bit misleading, as the plan was to detonate a single atom bomb, not to destroy the moon.

But this secret now revealed makes me wonder how good Frank J.’s sources are, as he wrote the famous essay A Realistic Plan for World Peace a.k.a Nuke the Moon:

Now the world will be pretty convinced that America is frick’n nuts and just looking for a fight, but we need to really ingrain it into everyone’s conscious so that no one will ever even contemplate crossing us. This requires making good use of our nukes. I know, nukes can kill millions of people, but they sure aren’t doing anyone any good just sitting around. I mean, how many years has it been since we last dropped a bomb on someone? No one even thinks we’ll actually use one now. Of course, using nukes shouldn’t be done haphazardly; all uses have to be well planned out because the explosions are so cool looking that we’ll want to give the press plenty of notice so they can get pictures of the mushroom cloud from all sorts of different angles. But what to nuke? Well, usually the idea is populated cities, but, by the beliefs of my morally superior religion, killing is wrong. So why can’t we be more creative than nuking people. My idea is to nuke the moon; just say we thought we saw moon people or something. There is no one actually there to kill (unless we time it poorly) and everyone in the world could see the results. And all the other countries would exclaim, “Holy @$#%! They are nuking the moon! America has gone insane! I better go eat at McDonald’s before they think I don’t like them.”

Yeah, we all thought Frank J. was crazy or just being humorous. It makes you wonder what else Frank J. has the inside dope on. Is or ever was Glenn Reynolds a puppy-blender?

(Link via Ace’s place.)

UPDATE: It looks like fellow old-timer Stephen Green got here first.

Paperback Readers

I’ve added a couple bits to the sidebar for pulp fans like me. Well, it is for me, since I’ll be using them, but they’re good reads for paperback lovers:

That ought to hold you between my silly little book reports.

Wither the Live Bloggers?

So the Republican National Convention has started up, not so much that one would notice from the live blogging going on.

Vodkapundit? Nothing.

Ace? Open threads, not Blog It Live action.

Instapundit? No notices of other bloggers live blogging it.

I see a lot of open threads on my usual haunts, but no live blogging.

What could account for this?

Has the medium grown up? Have the bloggers grown up? Or is it that the people who would usually treat the elections as a spectator sport deserving of traffic-driving instant commentary think that this election is vitally important and are out there working on the election?

If that’s the case, it bodes ill for the forces of complacency and stay-at-home-on-November-26.

The Stages of Aging on the Internet

The stages of Internet Aging:

  1. You’re young, and you read the hip sites like Fark and watch the Internet memes as they emerge.
  2. You’re middle-aged, and you see Internet memes going on all around you and recognize them as memes, but you have to read Know Your Meme to understand the source. When you reach this age, you often refer to formerly hip sites as “hip,” not knowing whether they’re still hip or not because you don’t visit them any more.
  3. You damn kids, get offa my blog!

I’m, thankfully, only middle-aged in Internet years (I had to visit KYM yesterday to try to glean the reasoning or source behind ERMAHGERD, and I couldn’t find any sense in it), although my blog’s traffic numbers might indicate I’d reached level 3 and succeeded.

Also, note that I have owned the domain names from a time when I was in stage 1 and thought we’d start something like a KYM site for parents to understand their damn kids. None of the above stages say anything about not being lazy.

UPDATE: See also the stages of aging in celebrity news appreciation courtesy Tam K.

Also, note the tipping point in one’s music appreciation as demonstrated by the content of one’s musical library. At some point, and not some point when one’s body sags anywhere, that one will discover that more of the artists in his or her musical library are dead, many of old age and not drug overdoses or suicide at 28, than are alive. I’ve passed that tipping point already.

Glenn Reynolds: The Paul Harvey of the Internet

Ladies and gentlemen, Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, is the Paul Harvey of the Internet.

Now, I realize that many of you who have all the answers have all those answers because you’re not old enough to have the answer to who Paul Harvey was. You can click to Wikipedia, but I’ll summarize it for you: Paul Harvey was a syndicated radio broadcaster whose little programs appeared on a pile of stations. Your grandparents probably trusted him more than each other. He carried quirky offbeat stories interspersed with commercial pitches for national products, and his “The Rest of the Story” segments told you interesting trivia, real or not, about celebrities and famous people.

This comparison occurred to me after I ordered something that Instapundit mentions a lot, and I thought it was a worthwhile purchase because of the good testimonials and endorsement I found there.

So how is Instapundit like Paul Harvey?

  • Paul Harvey was everywhere. When I traveled from Wisconsin to Missouri to visit family, the same voice that was on the radio in Milwaukee was on the radio in St. Louis at the same time each day. This was before the real rise of AM syndicated talkers, so it was a big deal. And Instapundit is everywhere there’s an Internet connection.
  • Paul Harvey aggregated news from various sources. He didn’t do original reporting; he just scoured the wire services for interesting tidbits and reported those. Like Instapundit does with the news and the blogosphere.
  • Paul Harvey came on several times a day. Of course, if you read Instapundit, you read it several times a day, too.
  • Paul Harvey had his trademarks. His voice and delivery were distinct, and he had a number of phrases he sprinkled into his broadcasts. Instapundit? Heh. Indeed.. ‘Nuff said.
  • Paul Harvey pitched products. During his broadcasts, Paul Harvey had a series of drop-in advertisements for a series of national advertisers, and he placed them smoothly before going on. Instapundit talks about various consumer goods, deals on Amazon, and books mailed to him. Although he’s not compensated by the people whose product he discusses, he does get some dinero from Amazon if people buy through his site. So he talks about what he likes and packs it with testimonials from other readers. And, crikey, if I’m not taken to purchase some of those things.

So he’s not exactly Paul Harvey, but even though it’s a similar set of wires and tubes, the Internet is not the radio.

But, as I said, the analogy came to me as I bought this book Instapundit was mentioning, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It.

Other blogs mention things and have ads and stuff, but I ignore most of it. But if it’s on Instapundit with testimonials and it’s something I’m looking for, I remember it. Sometimes I remember it when it becomes something I need to look for (which explains the Midland WR300 weather radio in my bedroom).

(Unrelated, sort of: This post by Instapundit from almost 10 years ago.)

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers. If you’re in IT, you might like my blog QA Hates You. Don’t forget my novel John Donnelly’s Gold, about which Professor Reynolds said, “IN THE MAIL:”, is available for 99 cents on Kindle and in paperback.

Another Retread

Given how many years of Web logging I have going on here, it’s only fair that I mine it for material now and then. That’s spread to, where I’ve reposted an essay called “Morale Spy” that first appeared on MfBJN five years ago.

I only mention this because it’s a good piece, and I know that even my “long time readers” only go back two years or so.