Saturday, 09 April 2011


15 Years? You don’t say!

Charles G. Hill tells all:

This site went live on 9 April 1996 with seven pages...

The domain was obtained in March 1999.  At the time, the counter service I was using had recorded 6,444 visits; I then switched to Site Meter, and set the starting number to 6,445.  The count is currently a bit over 2.1 million.
and what’s more...
Originally everything here was hand-coded.
Why, back in my day, we had to write out our posts on Western Union forms, then hand-carry them down to the telegraph office.  In the rain.  Uphill.  In both directions.

Seriously, in any terms (not just “internet years”) 15 years is a long time!  I don’t doubt that among Dustbury’s readers are one or two who weren’t even born when Charles put up his first post. 

15 years is (almost) longer than I’ve been on the internet.[1][2] (I arrived later than many, but in the mid-90s I was trying to build a business, and viewed the internet as a dangerous distraction. (I was right.))  Once online, I spent most of my time hanging around Slashdot[3] and some of the commercial sites; personal spaces like Geocities, AOL, and LiveJournal didn’t interest me.   But 9/11 changed my habits: My search for news that day led to discovering  Instapundit (probably via a Slashdot link), and, through him, the whole world of (what were then called) warbloggers.[4]  Someone along the way pointed me to Dustbury,[5] and I finally got around to adding Charles to my bookmarks on June 1, 2002.[6]

So congratulations and happy anniversary, Charles, and so much for all those whippersnappers who think they’re cool because they’ve been on the web for all of 10 years.

(And as this post turned out to be as much about me as about Charles- but isn’t that the usual way the web works?- I’ve moved most of the personal stuff into the footnotes, and slated the whole thing into the “Geezering” Dept.)

[1]  When I tried to determine a date, the earliest document I could lay my hands on was a July, ’99 printout I made of a web article by Tomi Engdahl about how to use a PC’s parallel port for I/O control.  (That was for a never-really-started project to assemble  some remote-control CD players.)   I know I have some earlier Usenet threads somewhere in the archives...

[2]  Using Netscape something-or-another on a Windows 95 PC, via a 25-(on a good day with the wind behind you)-K dialup pirated from a friend’s Ameritech account.

[3]  I posted there for several years under the nick Old_Grouch, but declined to sign up when they got around to offering memberships (thereby missing the chance for a coveted 3-digit registration number).  The advent of  “moderation” made it increasingly difficult for the non-registered to be heard; I gave up posting there two redesigns ago.

[4]  Where I was gratified to find common ground with such mugged-by-reality former liberals as Bill Quick and (pre Pajamas Media) Roger Simon.

[5]  The details having vanished into the mists of history- and crashed hard drives.

[6]  I finally got myself into the blog business in April of 2007, when Ambient Irony’s Pixy Misa posted an offer of beta subscriptions for a new blogging service called (Get Yer Own Blog here!).  My very first post went up April 10th (“now let's see how much software I can break”), but I consider my real start at blogging came two days later, with a “Dear Diary” post about April weather, followed by my first Review the next day.  (Hey, I need to do more of those...)

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Tuesday, 29 June 2010


Read on...

By The Book  Dept

Via Instapundit, 26 Ways to Prevent Summer Reading.

It’s long been my contention that the best way to eliminate any enjoyment of a book is to make it required reading for high school English.  And the most effective aversion therapy for reading in general is to saddle a kid with a while-you’re-on-summer-vacation read-these-and-report-on-them list.  Ugh.

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Thursday, 13 May 2010


Comfort food

A couple of days back, LabRat put up a post about comfort food which mentioned knothole eggs (a well-remembered specialty of the lamented Blackwood’s Monon Café) and included an intriguing chili recipe (pork-n-beans and cocoa?).  So far her commenters have added family favorites such as fried rice, chicken and flakes, arroz caldo with chicken, fried mush with eggs, and Grandma Sophie’s canned chicken.  Criteria seem to be simple, tasty, and filling, with a helping of childhood memories.

When I was growing up, I was one of those skinny little snots who wouldn’t eat anything, so I don’t have a many childhood “favorite food memories.”  But there are a few. One (recipe is lost in the mists of time) is my mother’s alphabet noodle soup, which began with the leftovers from a bone-in pot roast.  (I’ve come close to duplicating it, but am not quite there yet!)  The other item is not home-made: old-fashioned-full-MSG (i.e., mid-century) mushroom chop suey.  Specifically the midwestern version: Beware of regional variations.  (Think Chicago style, not New York or San Francisco.)  My father used to get it from the Mandarin Inn, and later from Jong Mea (both long gone).  There remain a couple of places in town that come close, although nowadays both use sliced mushrooms... the “tiny” buttons being hard to get.

Nowadays, most of my comfort food “cookery” consists of opening cans, but I have been experimenting with an “everything in the pantry” vegetable beef soup similar to LabRat’s.  (I use pasta in place of rice, and add shredded cheese and fresh mushrooms.)  Simmer all day, serve with fresh-baked bread.  Come grill season I do killer hamburgers (big patty with Parmesan cheese and minced onions folded in; topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and a spoon of thousand island dressing; all on a buttered-and-grilled onion roll.  Oh, with scratch-made french fries and grill-roasted corn.

The only problem today is keeping the weight off.  How times change.

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Thursday, 10 September 2009


I swear, kids these days...

Hey, Roberta!  Dept.

Don’t even know the difference between Mimeograph and Ditto.

(Parent post.)

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Thursday, 22 January 2009


Adventures in technology 1: The ISP

So last Tuesday the Sibling– we were at the Aged P’s place, visiting– says to me, “why don’t you fix the internet so I can check my e-mail.”

Now the Aged P’s “internet” consists of a single Dell.laptop hardwired to a DSL modem via a router.  (His previous.location had wireless, but it also had a CATV-over-IP network, which the present site lacks.)  Aged P himself does practically nothing with the internet– he uses the computer for a daily round of solitaire– but the WS has an e-mail account and does some online shopping.  (There are also some grandkids and Helpful Neighbors who have installed all kinds of music software and stuff, but that’s another story...)  The DSL installation went in since I was last here; it’s the first time I’ve seen it.

Anyhow, a quick examination of things revealed that: Aha!  The modem is not attached to the phone line.  The desk on which the computer sits does have a double phone jack (with both jacks connected to the same line), but for some reason someone had decided that a space less than 6 feet wide needed two telephones, and had disconnected the modem to attach a second one. (The extra “phone” jack on the modem is already occupied by the fax machine.  All clear?)

So I removed the extra phone and reconnected the modem.

Problem solved? [channeling Ed Wynn as the Mad Hatter:]  Don’t lets be silly!


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Sunday, 14 September 2008


Missing birthdays

(With this entry, O.G. introduces the “Geezering” department, featuring Tall Tales of the Distant Past, All be Mostly True (with only Occasional Slight Enhancement for Literary Effect).  Exact dates, places, and dramatis personae may be subject to Lapses Of Memory, and Some Identities may be Obscured in order to Protect the Guilty.)

Roberta X writes:
“Can you hear the reason I did things like miss a friend’s birthday?”
Yep, been there, done that.

In the days when I worked in the movie business (“exhibition” division), one of our company rituals was the monthly lunch to honor any staffers whose birthdays fell during that month.  These lunches involved the owner, the office staff (treasurer, film booker, and secretary), the “birthday people,” and any other miscellaneous employees who wanted to show up.  The birthday folks got free lunch and drinks,


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