The 80s were the decade of family for me: I settled into a mutually comfortable marriage with Vicki, and we had the two children we wanted, both girls. It is moderately difficult for me to write about them (for the same reason fish have trouble writing about water), but it is no exaggeration to say my family made my life worth living. I enjoyed every minute of fatherhood. I was advised to: “always enjoy the age they are, don’t spend time anticipating the next age.” I feel confident I followed that advice to the letter. My daughters were, and continue to be, one of the greatest sources of joy in my life.
This was the decade when I tasted one of my childhood dreams. I was a west-coast reporter writing, first about minicomputers, then mainframe computers. Despite having poured water on my youthful dream of television, I still mentioned it occasionally. A PR woman I knew heard that The Computer Chronicles, a weekly PBS program, was looking for a software reviewer. It came down to me and Esther Dyson, and I came across better on camera. For eight years, I lived my dream of appearing on national television. I was no Art Linkletter; mostly I sat in a chair and wore funny hats while doing software reviews. But TV is TV.
Sometimes, I co-hosted the show (check it out at the Internet Archive). And eventually came to realize that I had made the right choice in going into print. Less work, more money, more time at home (for years, I was CMP’s single WFH employee, out of a staff of 1,000). I never missed a teacher conference, play or soccer game.
I started out sending stories to headquarters in Manhasset, NY on a rotating drum fax machine that required a human being on the other end to feed in sheets of thermal paper. “Read it fast, before it turns brown.” I also bought my first pair of blue jeans in decades. Lots of joy. Very little contemplation and gratitude.
The column to the right on this blog contains permanent content, most of which has appeared at one time or another in the main body. I’ve decided to include a reminder.
- David Strom's Web Informant
David Strom offers IT industry news and analysis.
I have frequently plugged the amazing website Semi-Rad. Brendan Leonard promotes his 11-year-old blog with a weekly email you can subscribe to at the bottom of almost any page by clicking “Subscribe to the Semi-Rad email newsletter,” which he calls the Friday Inspiration. I can’t recall a week without at least one amazing link. Recently, there were two:
A hearty round of applause described by its poster as “This is literally the funniest thing I have seen in 2 years.”
And, a link to the story of ketchup: When Every Ketchup But One Went Extinct - Gastro Obscura. If you’ve known me for a long time (password―open-mouth ketchup bottle; you know who you are), you’ll know ketchup is near and dear to my heart.
Back in the dark ages of the Internet, I was a regular contributor to Topfive.com, which later became Humorlab, which later became defunct. I regularly submitted items with “Lambada” or “Macarena” in them. They have ALMOST all disappeared down the memory hole, but here’s one from November 2005:
The Top 16 Surprises in the New “Star Trek”
Kirk and Spock first met during the Academy’s mandatory Macarena training.
(Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA) Honorable Mention
June 13, 2005
The Top 16 Phrases Not to Use in First-Date Dinner Conversation (Part II)
June 9, 2005
16> "at the last 'Star Trek' convention"
15> "stupid disclosure law requires me to"
14> "my resurrection after three days"
13> "bitches who insist on child support"
12> "after the aliens probed me"
11> "when *I'm* produce manager"
10> "trumped-up child-molestation charges"
9> "my lambada teacher"
8> "every single episode of 'Gilmore Girls' -- twice!"
7> "now look, little missy"
6> "my former pimps"
5> "Humane Society restraining order"
4> "ignorant Scientology-bashers"
3> "made entirely of boogers"
2> "your Chicken McGrill"
and Topfive.com's Number 1 Phrase Not to Use in First-Date Dinner Conversation...
1> "my soundproof dungeo-- er, basement"
[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2005 by Chris White ]
Selected from 187 submissions from 66 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Martin Bredeck, Hybla Valley, VA -- 1 (13th #1)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 9, 16
The bad old days, as recorded by my friend and colleague, the late expatriate American journalist Larry King in February 2012
Just occurred to me that on my home PC I have any number of communications packages -- well, two -- and that I have access to an electronic-mail service that provides an X.400 gateway for cross-service messaging, even if the service would prefer not to tell you about it, and also that on my desk were some disks that held files which you had sent via that same gateway, which perforce contained the information necessary for me to construct an address the gateway would recognize, and therefore, I can fool around on the electronic superhighway we keep hearing so much chatter about.
One day, somebody is going to have to let the public know the electronic superhighway is already pretty much built, but the on and off ramps are either non-existent or full of potholes and the wreckage of vehicles that couldn't negotiate the curves, and that to get to the on ramps, you have to drive down a one-lane road through an industrial wasteland in the digital equivalent of New Jersey. My metaphor may have gone astray somewhere, but you get the idea.
Anyway, I intend to get MCI Mail one day soon, thereby eliminating the need for all this motoring around the countryside. Until then, let me know if you got this message. Larry By the way, my ESLink mailbox number is 62056243. In case you're as negligent as I am in actually writing down and saving that kind of thing.