Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The 2023 Jon Swift Roundup

The annual compilation of the best of the blogs as chosen by the bloggers themselves.  Posted by Vagabond Scholar.

Welcome to the 2023 edition! It’s been an interesting year.

This tradition was started by the late Jon Swift/Al Weisel, who left behind some excellent satire, but was also a nice guy and a strong supporter of small blogs.

The late Lance Mannion provided the definitive description of our endeavor:

Our late and much missed comrade in blogging, journalist and writer Al Weisel, revered and admired across the bandwidth as the “reasonable conservative” blogger Modest Jon Swift, was a champion of the lesser known and little known bloggers working tirelessly in the shadows . . .One of his projects was a year-end Blogger Round Up. Al/Jon asked bloggers far and wide, famous and in- and not at all, to submit a link to their favorite post of the past twelve months and then he sorted, compiled, blurbed, hyperlinked and posted them on his popular blog. His round-ups presented readers with a huge banquet table of links to work many of has had missed the first time around and brought those bloggers traffic and, more important, new readers they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed.

It may not have been the most heroic endeavor, but it was kind and generous and a lot of us owe our continued presence in the blogging biz to Al.

Take a stroll through the list.Take a stroll through the list. It’s an eclectic and interesting collection of thoughts and deeds.

My contribution this year was about the Twenty Years anniversary of this blog.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Quiet Week

My school is closed for the Thanksgiving holiday this week, and so I will be home doing things I would normally do when I’m at work: writing and crosswords.  Except this morning AT&T is coming over to fix my phone lines — yes, I still have a landline — and then get back to work on my new play.

I’ll be around here, too, after spending yesterday at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and a car show.  I didn’t get much time to stroll around other than judging cars for the beauty contest, but I still managed to remind myself of this beautiful spot in the middle of Miami (technically, it’s in Coral Gables).

Lily pond at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Twenty Years

As I remember it, it was a Saturday.  I was living in an apartment in a part of Miami called Country Walk.  I had been following a number of blogs, including one run called Dohiyi Mir by N Todd Pritsky, who, at the time, lived in Vermont.  He was insightful, funny, and I enjoyed commenting on it.  He and other bloggers such as Josh Marshall and Ezra Klein were making sense of the crazy world of 2003.  So I decided it was my turn, and via Blogger, I came up with a name for the blog and a blog-nym that I had been using when I commented on other blogs: Mustang Bobby, the nickname of Bobby Cramer, a character in one of my novels.  And that Saturday afternoon of November 8, 2003, I signed on with my little Toshiba laptop.

A lot has happened in twenty years. I live in a different place in Miami, I am on my third computer since the Toshiba, and I retired from my job with Miami-Dade County Public Schools four years ago.  I have written fifty-five plays — some even produced — and had seven scripts published by Next Stage Press, and finished the novel Bobby Cramer.  Yet I still have the antique Pontiac station wagon, I’m on my second Mustang since then, and I still go to car shows.  Back then we were all outraged by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and were counting down the days to the next election in a year when at long last sanity would be returned to America.  Barack Obama was still a community organizer in Chicago and Trump was still a huckster ripping off the foolish and the weak.  [Insert the obligatory sigh.]  But there was a lot to write about, and I did my best to keep up.

As far as I can tell, I haven’t missed a day of blogging since then except when I was rudely interrupted by a couple of hurricanes and power outages.  I will be the first to admit that over the last few years I’ve tended toward cutting-and-pasting articles that I find interesting.  I suppose I could be called lazy, but I’d like to think that I’m honoring those whose writing and insight I admire.  I enjoy finding interesting pieces of music for “A Little Night Music,” and I am happy to keep up with the Sunday Doonesbury strip.  I will try to keep up with our fight for democracy here in Florida — Ron DeSantis is term-limited, but I’m not — and I’ll keep you up with my playwriting.  I’ve parted company with the William Inge Theatre Festival, but I’ll take you along to other festivals and theatres, including Valdez, Alaska, assuming I get invited back.

If I started to say thanks to everyone who has been a part of this journey, I’d go on for a very long time.  But I have to say thanks to my brother, CLW, who has been my back-end genius, getting the blog into the current format and guiding me through several server changes.  Without him, I’d still be on Blogger.  And then there are those who turned to me as a contributor, most notably Melissa McEwan of the late and much-missed Shakesville.  I learned so much from her: how to be a better writer, but more importantly, how to be a better human being.  Hugs, my Friend.  And of course N Todd, who I found out several years into this journey that once he was my parents’ paperboy in Perrysburg, Ohio.  We are all one small world.  But most of all, I thank you, Dear Readers.

I’ll end this with two thoughts, the first from F. Scott Fitzgerald:  “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” And the second from Josiah Bartlet: “What’s next?”

Monday, March 20, 2023

Spring Break

I get the week off, like the rest of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.  Unlike this kid, I’m not going anywhere.

That photo was taken in March 1968 at Aspen Highlands. I was fifteen. I know it was 1968 because I’m wearing dorky horn-rimmed glasses that I only wore for that one year.

Spring skiing was an annual thing in those days.  But one year we went to Jamaica because my brother had broken his leg, and I was bit by the tropical bug. I got rid of my skis and cold-weather gear when I moved back to Florida in 2001 and haven’t looked back.

I’ll be on a spring break schedule here, too.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The 2022 Jon Swift Roundup

The annual compilation of the best of the blogs as chosen by the bloggers themselves.  Posted by Vagabond Scholar.

Welcome to the 2022 edition! It’s been an interesting year for elections and investigations, among other things.

This tradition was started by the late Jon Swift/Al Weisel, who left behind some excellent satire, but was also a nice guy and a strong supporter of small blogs.

The late Lance Mannion provided the definitive description of our endeavor:

Our late and much missed comrade in blogging, journalist and writer Al Weisel, revered and admired across the bandwidth as the “reasonable conservative” blogger Modest Jon Swift, was a champion of the lesser known and little known bloggers working tirelessly in the shadows . . .

One of his projects was a year-end Blogger Round Up. Al/Jon asked bloggers far and wide, famous and in- and not at all, to submit a link to their favorite post of the past twelve months and then he sorted, compiled, blurbed, hyperlinked and posted them on his popular blog. His round-ups presented readers with a huge banquet table of links to work many of has had missed the first time around and brought those bloggers traffic and, more important, new readers they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed.

It may not have been the most heroic endeavor, but it was kind and generous and a lot of us owe our continued presence in the blogging biz to Al.

Take a stroll through the list.  It’s an eclectic and interesting collection of thoughts and deeds.

My contribution this year was my tribute to my mother, Nancy Levis Williams.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Over And Out, Twitter

I deleted both of my Twitter accounts: the one connected to this blog and the one for my playwriting.  I rarely used it, it seemed redundant, and lately I’ve been attracting followers who seem to be women from Asia with gravity-defying breasts.  And Ted Cruz.

Funny how everyone said Twitter would be the death of blogging.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Nineteen Years

I almost forgot…

On this date — November 8, 2003, this little blog started barking and woofing.

It’s been a ride, and while I’ve cut back on some of the rants and snarls, I still look forward to perusing the news for things to say or share.  I will miss the contributions of my mom — Faithful Correspondent — but in her feisty spirit, I’m not giving up.  I’ll quote what she wrote me and my siblings after our father died in May 2020:

Please keep his memory enshrined by going forward as he would have you do . . . giving back and making sure that wherever you are you’re not just sitting, but marching.

We will, Mom.  What’s next?

Monday, June 6, 2022

We’ve Moved

You, dear reader, would not have noticed it because it happened without so much as a blip, but on Saturday this whole blog — all 30,000 posts and attachments and pictures going back to 2003 — was picked up and moved lock, stock, and pixel to a new host.  We are now on FastComet, based in San Francisco but with tech support teams scattered throughout the world.  But no matter where they are, they got it done in a matter of hours.  Compared to the last time we moved, it was in an instant.

So, why did we move?  Well, for several reasons, but the most important one is that the genuine brains behind all of this, my brother CLW, is getting out of the hosting business so he can concentrate on his own client services and management training.  So after some discussion via e-mail and a look at some services, I chose FastComet.  I won’t bore you with all the technical details, but it was very simple from my end, and with CLW’s guidance, we had everything up and running in time to post Saturday’s “A Little Night Music.”

This is the third platform for the blog.  It started out on Blogger, and then after the redesign with WordPress about eight years ago, moved to another service whose name I have forgotten, and then to Amazon Web Service for the last five years or so.  AWS was more reliable — or so I’m told — but rather complex and expensive.  In the time since we moved there, web hosting has gotten a lot less complicated, at least from the user’s point of view, and the transition that used to take days now happens instantly.  The only thing that kept BBWW from moving in ten seconds was the size of the blog itself.

Not that it matters now, but when CLW told me that he was pulling the plug on AWS, I thought about pulling the curtain on this blog.  After all, almost nineteen years is an eon in blog years, and frankly I felt I was running on fumes the last couple of years.  But I also thought that I still might have some things to say, and in the climate we’re in, my little voice, not to mention car pictures and shameless self-promotion of my playwriting, was still worth hearing.

So, you’re stuck with me for now.  And as Jed Bartlet says, “What’s next?”

Monday, May 16, 2022

Sick Day

Along with catching the last live performance of The Sugar Ridge Rag yesterday, I need to rest up.

I’ll be back tomorrow.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Home Again

After three delays due to heavy weather in Dallas (and three gate changes and one flight change), I got to Miami at 2:25 a.m. and walked in the door at home as the clock chimed 3:00 a.m.

Things will be a little slow today.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Spring Break

The schools where I work part-time are on spring break, and so am I.  That’s good, because I have things to do.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Jon Swift Memorial Roundup 2021

It’s time for the annual look at the best posts of bloggers as chosen by the bloggers themselves. In the words of Lance Mannion:

Our late and much missed comrade in blogging, journalist and writer Al Weisel, revered and admired across the bandwidth as the “reasonable conservative” blogger Modest Jon Swift, was a champion of the lesser known and little known bloggers working tirelessly in the shadows…

One of his projects was a year-end Blogger Round Up. Al/Jon asked bloggers far and wide, famous and in- and not at all, to submit a link to their favorite post of the past twelve months and then he sorted, compiled, blurbed, hyperlinked and posted them on his popular blog. His round-ups presented readers with a huge banquet table of links to work many of has had missed the first time around and brought those bloggers traffic and, more important, new readers they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed.

My submission for this year was my post in August, “Not Just Sitting, But Marching.”  It was in tribute to my father on his 95th birthday and the day of his ashes internment in Michigan.  The title comes from an e-mail my mother sent to her children the morning Dad died in May 2020.

“I want you to know, if you don’t already, that your father adored all of you, alone or together. He was so proud of you, how you’ve conducted yourselves as grown-ups, and how you’ve kept close to him even as the miles kept us apart. You were his greatest accomplishment, truth be told. All individuals in your chosen paths, but contributors to your communities in your own ways. Please keep his memory enshrined by going forward as he would have you do… giving back and making sure that wherever you are you’re not just sitting, but marching.”

I hope you will give all the other blogs on the list a good read and perhaps find some new friends… as well as me.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Winter Break

As of today, I’m on winter break from my part-time jobs until Monday, January 3.  I’ll be around — no travel plans this year — but I’ve got a lot of reading to catch up on as well as preparing for the production of “The Sugar Ridge Rag” at the LAB Theater Project in Tampa in April and working on my paper for the 39th annual William Inge Festival.  At least those are my plans.

So the blogging will be light and variable… pretty much as it has been for a while.  But I’ll be back to note the Winter Solstice on Tuesday, my usual holiday musings, and my annual year-end wrap-up and forecast.  So please keep checking in.  You never know when I might post something.

Until then, though, enjoy the time off if you have it, with your family if you have it, and stay healthy and safe.

 

Monday, November 8, 2021

Eighteen Years

Today marks the eighteenth anniversary of the start of this blog.  And if the counter is correct, this is the 30,798th post.

I’m told that in terms of life expectancy of blogs, eighteen years is like an eon; a lot of blogs have come and gone since I started, and even blogging itself is somewhat of a dinosaur: everyone now has Twitter and Instagram and Tik-Tock or whatever the newest form of social media there is.  (The blog does have a Twitter account — @BobbbyBBWW — but I don’t feed it.)  But here I am, still poking away on this old-fashioned form, the equivalent of an Underwood typewriter in a voice-to-text world.

A lot has happened since that Saturday afternoon in November 2003 when I put up the first post, and a lot has changed, including my blogging habits.  Where I once had a minimum of three or more posts a day mostly dedicated to politics and that sort of silliness, now I’m down to one or two a day, and they’re not breaking news.  That’s because it’s reflecting my semi-retired state, content to relax a little and reflect on things that may not be headline news, but more a comment on this intriguing human condition we find ourselves in, not unlike the plays that I write or the characters who observe it.

I still try to do my best not to bore you.  I may not rant like some of my friends; I may not have deep insight and or in-depth research on the topic of the day.  I would rather let others do the work and I’ll bring them to your attention.  Rather than be the drunk guy at the end of the bar carrying on about socialism, I’d rather be the one sitting on the back porch on a quiet summer evening listening to the night sounds with perhaps a baseball game on the radio from inside the house.

So that said, let me add my thanks to you who stop by here and take a look.  There aren’t a lot of you — according to Stats Counter, I average about 200 hits a day — but I value your attention and your friendship, and with good luck and good health, we’ll do this again in another year, and a year after that, and so on.  And so on.

Peace.

PS: Thank you, WaterGirl, at Balloon Juice for your kind post noting the occasion and your generosity in support of the blog and my writing.  Fellow Juicers: welcome!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Half The Life Of A Fruit Fly

From the Washington Post:

Former president Donald Trump’s blog, celebrated by advisers as a “beacon of freedom” that would keep him relevant in an online world he once dominated, is dead. It was 29 days old.

Upset by reports from The Washington Post and other outlets highlighting its measly readership and concerns that it could detract from a social media platform he wants to launch later this year, Trump ordered his team Tuesday to put the blog out of its misery, advisers said.

On its last day, the site received just 1,500 shares or comments on Facebook and Twitter — a staggering drop for someone whose every tweet once garnered hundreds of thousands of reactions.

Blogging takes time, preparation, and thought. Good bloggers — those who believe they owe something to the readers — try to inform, educate, perhaps entertain along the way, and contribute to society. Even if it’s about cars, mumbletypeg, or theatre, it should be a voice, not a blaring fart-horn. From what little I’ve seen of what TFG put out, he did none of that, plus he begged for money and exhorted his readers to buy more of his crap. (Yes, this blog has a Donate button and a link to merchandise through Cafe Press, but I’ve never demanded that my readers use them. Nor will I.) As the Quakers might say, speak — or in this case, blog — only if you can improve the silence.

Frankly, I’m surprised that his “beacon of freedom” lasted as long as it did. He has the attention span of a fruit fly, so it’s fitting, I suppose, that in blogging terms, his had the half the life span of Drosophila melanogaster, which is 50 days. (See, you learned something here.)

Meanwhile, today marks 6,417 days in the life span of this blog. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

DeSantis DeCraven

Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis thinks he can control the internet.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who is positioning himself for reelection next year, signed legislation on Monday at Florida International University in Miami that aims to crack down on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon out of concern that they are conspiring against conservatives and their free speech.

The legislation, which DeSantis touted as the first of its kind in the nation, would, among other things, make it illegal for large technology companies to remove candidates for office from their platforms in the run-up to an election. It would also make it easier for Florida’s attorney general and individuals to sue “big tech.”

“These platforms have become our public square,” DeSantis said at a lectern with a sign that read “STOP Big Tech Censorship,” noting that “big tech oligarchs” have censored debates about the pandemic and policies that officials put in place to contain the deadly virus, such as lockdowns.

“Silicon Valley is acting as a council of censors; they cancel people when mobs come after somebody. They will pull them down,” he said.

But the measure, which takes effect July 1, is likely to get challenged in court. Critics of the bill, such as Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg, have argued the legislation would compel speech onto private companies, which would violate the companies’ First Amendment rights.

So lawsuits will be filed, the taxpayers will have to foot the bill for defending the indefensible, and DeSantis’s clumsy attempt to become the homegrown version of The Former Guy (hey, we already have one, doofus), and with any luck and sensibility, he will become the Tim Pawlenty of 2024.

And speaking as a blogger in Florida, come and get me, dork.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Thank You, Friend

Yesterday I drove the Pontiac to the supermarket.  As I was crossing the parking lot, a man called out to me and asked if that was my car.  I replied that it was; I’m used to people asking me about it.  But he said he’d seen it on the internet and knew the owner lived in the area, that the owner wrote a blog called Bark Bark Woof Woof, and wanted to someday meet him.  I grinned and said thanks.  He said he’s a reader, never commented, but enjoyed my work.  And then he said that there are a lot more people who agree with what I write.

We talked as we went into the store.  He’s about my age, he works as a carpenter for the school district; we’d met up as he was going in to get his lunch, I think.  He told me his name, but I’m not going to share it because I didn’t tell him I’d write about our meeting.

I know that there are a lot more lurkers here than commenters, but even so, it is very nice to hear from them.  Thank you.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Sunday Reading

What We Got Wrong — Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker on interpreting America’s crisis in democracy.

Readers of “Through the Looking-Glass” may recall the plight of the Bread-and-Butterfly, which, as the Gnat explains to Alice, can live only on weak tea with cream in it. “Supposing it couldn’t find any?” Alice asks. “Then it would die, of course,” the Gnat answers. “That must happen very often,” Alice reflects. “It always happens,” the Gnat admits, dolefully.

How the Bread-and-Butterfly survives, given the impossible demands of its diet, is a nice question. Lewis Carroll was in part teasing Darwinian ideas, which depend on a struggle for existence in which, eventually, we all lose—nonexistence being the norm of living things, over time. But the plight of the Bread-and-Butterfly comes to mind, too, when we contemplate what is called, not without reason, America’s crisis of democracy. It always happens. We are told again and again that American democracy is in peril and may even be on its deathbed. Today, after all, a defeated yet deranged President bunkers in the White House contemplating crazy conspiracy theories and perhaps even martial law, with the uneasy consent of his party and the rabid support of his base. We are then told, with equal urgency, that what is wrong, ultimately, is deep, systemic, and Everybody’s Fault. Perhaps there is a crisis of meaning, or of spirit; perhaps it is a crisis caused by the condescension of self-important élites. (In truth, those élites tend to be at least as self-lacerating as they are condescending, as the latest rounds of self-laceration show.)

Lurking behind all of this is a faulty premise—that the descent into authoritarianism is what needs to be explained, when the reality is that . . . it always happens. The default condition of humankind is not to thrive in broadly egalitarian and stable democratic arrangements that get unsettled only when something happens to unsettle them. The default condition of humankind, traced across thousands of years of history, is some sort of autocracy.

America itself has never had a particularly settled commitment to democratic, rational government. At a high point of national prosperity, long before manufacturing fell away or economic anxiety gripped the Middle West—in an era when “silos” referred only to grain or missiles and information came from three sober networks, and when fewer flew over flyover country—a similar set of paranoid beliefs filled American minds and came perilously close to taking power. As this magazine’s political writer Richard Rovere documented in a beautifully sardonic 1965 collection, “The Goldwater Caper,” a sizable group of people believed things as fully fantastical as the Trumpite belief in voting machines rerouted by dead Venezuelan socialists. The intellectual forces behind Goldwater’s sudden rise thought that Eisenhower and J.F.K. were agents, wittingly or otherwise, of the Communist conspiracy, and that American democracy was in a death match with enemies within as much as without. (Goldwater was, political genealogists will note, a ferocious admirer and defender of Joe McCarthy, whose counsel in all things conspiratorial was Roy Cohn, Donald Trump’s mentor.)

Goldwater was a less personally malevolent figure than Trump, and, yes, he lost his 1964 Presidential bid. But, in sweeping the Deep South, he set a victorious neo-Confederate pattern for the next four decades of American politics, including the so-called Reagan revolution. Nor were his forces naïvely libertarian. At the time, Goldwater’s ghostwriter Brent Bozell spoke approvingly of Franco’s post-Fascist Spain as spiritually far superior to decadent America, much as the highbrow Trumpites talk of the Christian regimes of Putin and Orbán.

The interesting question is not what causes autocracy (not to mention the conspiratorial thinking that feeds it) but what has ever suspended it. We constantly create post-hoc explanations for the ascent of the irrational. The Weimar inflation caused the rise of Hitler, we say; the impoverishment of Tsarism caused the Bolshevik Revolution. In fact, the inflation was over in Germany long before Hitler rose, and Lenin came to power not in anything that resembled a revolution—which had happened already under the leadership of far more pluralistic politicians—but in a coup d’état by a militant minority. Force of personality, opportunity, sheer accident: these were much more decisive than some neat formula of suffering in, autocracy out.

Donald Trump came to power not because of an overwhelming wave of popular sentiment—he lost his two elections by a cumulative ten million votes—but because of an orphaned electoral system left on our doorstep by an exhausted Constitutional Convention. It’s true that our diagnoses, however dubious as explanations, still point to real maladies. Certainly there are all sorts of reasons for reducing economic inequality. But Trump’s power was not rooted in economic interests, and his approval rating among his followers was the same when things were going well as it is now, when they’re going badly. Then, too, some of the blandest occupants of the Oval Office were lofted there during previous peaks of inequality.

The way to shore up American democracy is to shore up American democracy—that is, to strengthen liberal institutions, in ways that are unglamorously specific and discouragingly minute. The task here is not so much to peer into our souls as to reduce the enormous democratic deficits under which the country labors, most notably an electoral landscape in which farmland tilts to power while city blocks are flattened. This means remedying manipulative redistricting while reforming the Electoral College and the Senate. Some of these things won’t be achievable, but all are worth pursuing—with the knowledge that, even if every box on our wonkish wish list were checked, no set-it-and-forget-it solution to democratic fragility would stand revealed. The only way to stave off another Trump is to recognize that it always happens. The temptation of anti-democratic cult politics is forever with us, and so is the work of fending it off.

The rule of law, the protection of rights, and the procedures of civil governance are not fixed foundations, shaken by events, but practices and habits, constantly threatened, frequently renewable. “A republic if you can keep it,” Benjamin Franklin said. Keeping a republic is a matter not of preserving it like pickles but of working it like dough—which sounds like something you’d serve alongside very weak tea. But it is the essential diet to feed our democracy if we are to make what always happens, for a little while longer, happily unhappen.

The Jon Swift Annual Roundup — The best posts of the year, chosen by the bloggers themselves, compiled by Batocchio at Vagabond Scholar.

Welcome to the 2020 edition. This year was much, much more eventful than most of us would have liked.

This tradition was started by the late Jon Swift/Al Weisel, who left behind some excellent satire, but was also a nice guy and a strong supporter of small blogs. As usual, I’ll quote Lance Mannion, who nicely explains:

Our late and much missed comrade in blogging, journalist and writer Al Weisel, revered and admired across the bandwidth as the “reasonable conservative” blogger Modest Jon Swift, was a champion of the lesser known and little known bloggers working tirelessly in the shadows . . .One of his projects was a year-end Blogger Round Up. Al/Jon asked bloggers far and wide, famous and in- and not at all, to submit a link to their favorite post of the past twelve months and then he sorted, compiled, blurbed, hyperlinked and posted them on his popular blog. His round-ups presented readers with a huge banquet table of links to work many of has had missed the first time around and brought those bloggers traffic and, more important, new readers they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed.

It may not have been the most heroic endeavor, but it was kind and generous and a lot of us owe our continued presence in the blogging biz to Al.

It was not hard for me to make my selection: it was the tribute to my father the morning that he died, May 25, 2020.  I hope that you will read through the other selections, which cover everything from the pandemic to the election and far beyond.

Doonesbury — What’s in a name.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Seventeen Years

It was a very different time when I sat down at my computer in my little apartment on November 8, 2003, and wrote the first post on Bark Bark Woof Woof. I was a year into my job with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, my daily driver was a 1995 Mustang GT convertible, the Pontiac was in retirement, my playwriting was unknown to all but a few dear friends, and I was incensed at the venality, criminality, and careless warmongering of George W. Bush.

This is what it looked like five months in:

Ah, those were the days.

Today I’m retired from M-DCPS, my daily driver is a 2007 Mustang, the Pontiac has been restored and going to car shows (and winning on occasion), my plays have been performed all over the country and overseas, they’re now being published by Smith Scripts, George W. Bush is no longer the worst president in the history of the country, and we just got rid of the one that was.

Since that Saturday afternoon, I’ve written 29,955 posts, including this one. I’ve made an effort to post something every day, missing a few due to weather and internet issues, but finding something to say or observe or just put up for the fun of it. I’ve made friends along the way; shared their joys and losses, learned a great deal about a lot of things, and on rare occasions been noticed by people who are worth being noticed by. I’ve posted in a lot of different places: three different homes here in Miami, numerous hotels from New York for my off-off-Broadway opening to Alaska, the homes of friends and family, and even internationally (Canada). I’ve shared a lot of personal stories, pictures of the family, and my own losses. After all, that’s what blogging was all about then, and in this rapidly-changing world, what it still is. And they said it wouldn’t last.

Thank you, dear reader, for coming here whenever you do and seeing what I’ve put up, and for those of you who comment, a sincere thanks for your support, your guidance, your corrections, and your indulgence. I’ve gotten to know many of you in real life and I truly appreciate your friendship and support.  You were here for the good times — my New York opening — and the sad times.  Thank you.

I’d also like to thank my brother CLW for the amazing work he’s done over the years in his technical advice, support, and commiseration in keeping this effort afloat. He’s been the designer and engineer in the move from Blogger to WordPress and from ASO to AWS. Despite the fact that we could not live further apart in the contiguous United States, he’s a lot closer than ever before. Thank you, my brother.

So, as I said back at the beginning, Here Goes. We’ve got a lot to do — a country to save, a Pulitzer to win (okay, I’ll settle for a Tony) — and with a little more time on my hands, I’ll ask the same question President Jed Bartlet asked: What’s next?

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The New Machine

The new computer arrived Saturday afternoon, and within less than 24 hours, Flat Rate Geek here in Miami had migrated everything over without a hitch except for me remembering I had to download new drivers for the printer and camera.  It’s blazing fast, quiet — I had gotten used to the fan spooling up when I opened Firefox — and it’s a bit smaller than the old one.

As before, I have a wireless keyboard and mouse, which makes it convenient to use, and a nice big monitor for my old eyes.

The one thing it won’t do it make my writing any better. That’s up to me.