Category Archives: Thoughts

Forgiver and Forgivee

I start with the provocative thesis that the act of forgiving is egotistical.

A bit of background is in order. 

Let us first establish the meaning of the words in the title of this essay:

The Forgiver is the one who has something to forgive, and
the Forgivee is the one to whom forgiveness is granted because he is alleged to have done something to Forgiver that should warrant forgiving.

There are two levels to this business of forgiveness. The first is ‘granting pardon‘ to somebody who has done wrong. This “granting of pardon” should only be done if asked for and we are not obligated to forgive if there is no remorse that he as the perpetrator has done wrong. Dwayne, a wrangler turned YouTube celebrity-philosopher argues that point very succinctly.

The second element of forgiving concerns only the Forgiver, the Forgivee does not even have a role. This might be recognized in Jesus’ famous last words “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” At first glance, this seems to contradict the idea, that forgiveness should be only granted if asked for, and those Romans who nailed Jesus to the cross certainly did not ask for forgiveness. 

In my interpretation, how the Forgiver sees himself is essential. Does he see himself as a victim or is he above and beyond being harmed? Jesus was not a victim, God is not a victim, so there is nothing even there to forgive. 

Only if somebody does FEEL like a victim, even for something as mundane as being short-changed at the store, or somebody not waiting their turn in line at Starbucks, could make him BE a victim and demand an apology.

It is always our choice what we are and what effect we allow others to have on us. Looking for an apology is a sure sign that we allowed the perpetrator to turn us into a victim. I must strongly state that I don’t like to be a victim and I do not allow others to turn me into one. I do not disagree with Dwayne that forgiveness should only be granted if asked for, but for your own sake, demand an apology only to help the Forgivee become a more valuable member of society, and not because you “deserve” that  “I’m sorry”.

My conclusion is to recognize that, if I feel that I have to forgive somebody for something, I already went off the rails.

Forgiving in itself, or the realization that no forgiving is due is thus very egotistical, as it makes me more free – and that, in turn, makes it so much easier to “Love Thy Neigbor as Thyself”.

Good Advice – Bad Advice

Some of the following tips and tricks might be useful – but some are kind of criminal…

  • If you want people to stop letting their dog poop on your lawn, don’t put up a “no dogs allowed” sign or a “please pick up your dog’s poop” sign. Put up a “Lawn Recently Treated with Toxic Pesticides”.
  • When I was 16, a friend and I created a website with fake reviews of concerts in the Washington, DC area that we didn’t actually go to. Once we had built it up to our satisfaction, we used it as credentials to gain backstage access to a huge DC area music festival three years in a row.
  • My dad would keep an orange vest and an orange flag in his car when we would go to sporting events. After the game, when the lot was full of angry drunk drivers, even getting someone to let you in was a real pain in the … My dad would have me or my brother jump out with the vest and flag and stop traffic, so he could get in the line. Then we would jump back in the car.
  • Need new tires? Rent a car with the same bolt pattern and swap the wheels.
  • In order to be a good liar, you need to convince everyone that you are a bad liar.
  • If you have to bury a body, do it vertically, satellites look for 6 ft long holes and mark them for investigation, also, bury the body under a dead dog, sniffer dogs will mark that spot and when they dig it up and find the dog, they will mark it as a false positive and move on.
  • When meeting someone, tell them you are twice as far away from them as you actually are, and are willing to meet halfway, I.e. a block away from where you currently are.
  • To dominate someone in a conversation stare at their forehead questionably.
  • I used to keep a cup from McDonald’s in my car at all times and whenever I was driving and wanted some soda I would just walk into any MacDonald’s and refill my cup. I did this for weeks.
  • Want to eavesdrop on someone? AirPods have a “Live Listen” feature that turns your iPhone into a microphone. Leave your phone charging in the room you want to snoop in on and listen in remotely.
  • If you’re stuck on an annoying call, put your phone on airplane mode instead of hanging up. The other person will see “call failed” instead of “call ended”.
  • When I was going to college I would walk over to Whole Foods and get some of their most expensive grass-fed bone-in rib eye steaks from the meat counter. The butcher would wrap them up and slap a price tag on them. If I was getting meat for a BBQ this was sometimes upwards of 200 bucks. Then I would walk over to the bulk grains, put the meat on the scale, and hit print for something like oats. I’d cover the existing label on the meat with my much cheaper oats label, and proceed to self-check-out. It would ask you to scan the Barcode, and then place the item in the basket. Got a bunch of meat for the price of oats.
  • Need a new windshield because yours is cracked? Find a gravel-hauling company, scope out their truck routes, get behind one, and then claim gravel fell off their truck and damaged your windshield.
  • If you’re hungry and it’s between 6 am-8 am you can get free continental breakfast from pretty much any hotel you walk into. It helps if it’s busy.
  • When I know I’m going to be late for something, I’ll call ahead and tell whomever I’m meeting that I was just pulled over for speeding. Thus giving myself an excuse for being late, and demonstrating my commitment to whatever it is I’m late for. It usually works pretty well.
  • When career hunting, flagging Craigslist posts as spam after applying, or taking down flyers for a position (like at a college campus). cuts down on the competition.
  • The clearance rack in the store, I hear those markdown labels can roll right off if you master the technique. They remain quite sticky. You can stick them on top of the standard ticket barcode.
  • If your girlfriend has an annoying friend you want her to stop being friends with, just casually mention how pretty she is.
  • I once got a parking ticket and instead of paying it I dipped it in water, crumpled it up, and had my girlfriend bring it to the police station a week later saying she found it on the street. I went online to see if the citation was still there and it was gone.
  • It’s very awkward to say no. If you go to a fast food place for example and you simply lie and say that there was a Big Mac missing from your order during lunch rush and that your receipt got thrown away with your meal, they’ll give you another one.
  • If you want free parking, find a garage that makes you take a ticket to keep track of how long you’ve been there. When you leave, instead of giving the machine the original ticket you took, go get a new one and give that one to the machine. You’ll only be charged for like 5 minutes of parking, which is usually free.
  • Want free parking near your college campus? Find an older person who lives near campus and doesn’t drive & befriend them.
  • If you have a significant unexplained employment gap that is hurting your resume claim that you were providing full-time end-of-life care for a grandparent (or other older relative).
  • Buy clothes at Goodwill and sell them to Plato’s closet.
  • Call up your TV provider, and tell them you want to stop using them. To keep your business they will offer extra channels. When the channels run out, repeat the process. I have had NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV for 3 years straight now for free.
  • When buying something on Craigslist, I use my spam email to lowball the seller by a lot, then I use my regular email to give a reasonable offer that is still a good amount under the asking price. I almost always have my offer accepted.
  • If you’re renting and make a mark on the wall, change the date on your phone, and take a picture to show it was like that when you moved in.
  • When lying, always include something slightly embarrassing, or something that makes you look bad, as part of your story. It’s not only going to disarm their skepticism (admitting to something embarrassing gives an impression of humility), but even if they remain skeptical, they’ll be left wondering why you would make something up that you’d rather keep secret if it were true.
  • Struggling to write a CV or can’t get a particular job? Post fake job offerings on recruitment websites for that position you’re interested in and watch the CVs/resumes pour in, which you can then copy for your own advantage.
  • Don’t call into work “sick”. Call in saying that you have “family problems”. That’s the end of the discussion.
  • You can take as many mini bottles through TSA as will fit in a quart-sized plastic bag. They are like $1.50 at the liquor store, compared to $7 on the plane, or even save them and refill them at home for even cheaper. Ask the flight attendant for the whole can and a cup of ice. Make sure to mix them in your drink when the flight attendant isn’t looking, as this is against FAA regulations. Put the empty minis back into your bag and not the seat pocket.
  • If you’re doing something you shouldn’t, confidence is key. You can just walk out of a store holding what you stole and be fine if you know how to act (and have a basic knowledge of how the store works.) Bonus: trespass with an orange safety jacket, nobody questions the orange safety jacket.
  • If you ever go to a country concert, wear something that implies you are in the military… you won’t pay for a drink the whole night.
  • Looking to buy a car? Search the obituary for the phone number and call. They could be looking to liquidate assets quickly and sell cheaply.
  • Always book your hotel room with the prefix of Doctor. When the morning crew pre-assigns rooms for that day’s arrivals, they are likely to put you in a nicer room to avoid an unhappy pretentious Doctor gossiping about being next to the elevator.
  • The first trick I learned in the FBI: If you’re on a stakeout and you want someone to stop looking at you or think you’re not looking at them – pick your nose. They immediately turn away and think you’re just some jerk picking his nose.
  • Want to steal something in a secure building? Buy a wheelchair and put crap in your lap (the cardboard boxes for paper reems work well and can be gotten for free). Roll up to the door behind someone and they’ll hold the door for you. No need for a key card.
  • Need flowers for your significant other? Cemeteries have you covered.
  • Put clear skateboard grip tape over your license plates. Yes, people will be able to read it easily, but, cameras that flash (speed cameras) will only get a bright blur.
  • You can pretty much go anywhere in a hospital if you’re carrying delivery food and an invoice.
  • Have a large, “professional-looking” camera. Get a bright vest that says “press” on it. Make an ID. Go to town. Almost free access anywhere.
  • At a crowded bar, and can’t get a seat? Go up to the hottest woman there, and hit on her. She’ll leave in disgust, and you can take her seat.
  • If you swear on automated voice systems, it can get you a human to talk to you instead.
  • If your boss asks you to do a shift on your day off, just tell them that you’re drunk. They can’t legally allow you to come to work if you’re intoxicated.

From The Notebook of Lazarus Long

A human being should be able to

  • change a diaper,
  • plan an invasion,
  • butcher a hog,
  • conn a ship,
  • design a building,
  • write a sonnet,
  • balance accounts,
  • build a wall,
  • set a bone,
  • comfort the dying,
  • take orders,
  • give orders,
  • cooperate,
  • act alone,
  • solve equations,
  • analyze a new problem,
  • pitch manure,
  • program a computer,
  • cook a tasty meal,
  • fight efficiently, and
  • die gallantly.

Specialization is for insects.

Robert A. Heinlein

About Lazarus Long

First appearance Methuselah’s Children
Last appearance To Sail Beyond the Sunset
Created by Robert A. Heinlein
Birth year 1912
Birth place Earth
Ethnicity Caucasian
Known for Oldest member of the human race
Full name Woodrow Wilson Smith
Alias Ernest Gibbons
Captain Aaron Sheffield
“Happy” Daze
Proscribed Prisoner No. 83M2742
Mr. Justice Lenox
Dr. Lafayette ‘Lafe’ Hubert
Corporal Ted Bronson
His Serenity Seraphim the Younger, Supreme High Priest of the One God in All His Aspects and Arbiter Below and Above.
Gender Male
Title Senior
Occupation actor, musician, beggar, farmer, priest, pilot, politician, con artist, gambler, doctor, lawyer, banker, merchant, soldier, electronics technician, mechanic, restaurateur, investor, bordello manager, and slave.
Family Howard families
Children Lapis Lazuli, Lorelei Lee (XX-parity clones), as well as many others unnamed.
Nationality American

 

Ever Wonder

  • Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
  • Why women can’t put on mascara with their mouths closed?
  • Why don’t you ever see the headline “Psychic Wins Lottery”?
  • Why is “abbreviated” such a long word?
  • Why is it that doctors call what they do “practice”?
  • Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
  • Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
  • Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
  • Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?
  • When dog food is new and improved tasting, who tests it?
  • Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
  • Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
  • You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? – Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!
  • Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?
  • Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
  • If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
  • If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

I Think I Finally Found It

(You may listen to the story below, read it – if you can – or emerse yourself completely by listening and reading along…)

In the early 60s (of the last century) my parents bought a little vacation retreat in Spain some 80 kilometers down the coast from Barcelona. My dad really wanted it partially because it was sold as an investment to make money. Looking back, it might have been the leading edge of the wave of today’s timeshares. Mom thought it was a scam and had written off the FIVE-THOUSAND Marks (!) – a huge investment for my parents at that time when the monthly mortgage for their house was one hundred and twenty-seven marks.

But it turned out to be real, and my parents got themselves a ‘bungalow’ 1700 km away from home. That was quite a trip at a time when only Germany had its Autobahn, but there were no other freeways in France and Spain on the way to ‘Torredembarra’ to speak of.

I spend quality time there on several occasions – I considered it my second home. Took my first big love there right after we met and took her there shortly before she dumped me. 

Then I took my next big love, occasionally she was a bit jealous because she was not the first one there with me, but it all turned out OK because the last ever trip to Spain, before we left Europe altogether for a new adventure in the new world, was with her as my wife. It was a surprise visit to my parents who now spend several months at a time in a better climate than the one in the middle of Germany.

My wife and I had gotten caught up in a cult in the good old US of A. My entanglement only lasted about a year, but it cost me my marriage and the poor wife is still in there as far as I know. Escaping the cult, with my tail between my legs, I went home to my parents – at least I wanted to, but when I was just breaking all the bridges with the cult behind me I received a letter (yes, that was a thing) from my parents, that they were about to get on the way to Spain. 

So, no going back to my parents! The alternative was to go to the parents-in-law, who still loved me and whom I still loved, and who were probably were not quite aware of the circumstances that had developed in California.

Just getting out of a cult, finances were rather tight, but to my credit, I have to say that I never was one of those cult members who immediately gave everything to the guru. I still had my Ford LTD station wagon, safely (or so I thought) parked in the public parking of the cult, and I had maintained my own bank account with some green-bucks. Still, I got the cheapest flight to Europe. $225 on People Express to Amsterdam. All went well getting into Shiphol, but I had not considered that there would be a problem to rent a car to cross the border from Holland to Germany. The only viable solution I found was to take a Lufthansa flight from Shiphol to Hannover, about 330 km for nearly the same price as the flight from LA to Amsterdam. 

In Hannover, I could rent a car and so I finally arrived at my in-laws, disillusioned by the cult, with many broken dreams, without my wife, and a really bad case of athletes foot from the cult’s community showers.

During the three weeks it took me to bring back my feet to good health, I built myself up emotionally, started to make plans for the future, and got ready to finally visit my parents.

In Bielefeld, I got on the train to Spain – on the Train to Spain – hmm, that rhymes!

Flying was not really an option, as at that time – the later part of the 80s – cheap city-to-city flights had not been invented, and Lufthansa to Barcelona would have strained my resources too much. So, it was two days of rocking and shaking trains, only sometimes with a seat all for myself, but also sometimes curling up on my suitcase in the gangway connection between two cars, in an attempt to get some shut-eye.

After many different trains at many different railway stations, I finally got off at the train station in Torredembarra, Spain. I invested a few Pesetas for a taxi ride to my parents’ bungalow. I only knew how to get there but did not know any address, so I had to tell the driver, left here, then right, then left again, and so on. I really never knew the official address of the house, but it had a number – later photos indicated that it was something like 35 II, and the street something like ‘Clara del Sol’. But my Spanish was good enough for ‘a la izquierda’ and ‘a la derecha’.

It was quite some surprise – they imagined me in California, in fact, had sent a letter there a few weeks ago, and waiting for an answer, and there this guy gets out of a cab in front of their house in a little cul-de-sac.

And that should be my last time in Spain in that little bungalow. Eventually, I made it back to California and rebuild my life, something that might deserve a few other stories.

A few years after these events, my parents sold the little house but some good memories stayed with me. With the advent of Google Maps and street view, I tried a few times to re-trace my way from the train station to our little sanctuary, but there were so many changes that I did not recognize the area anymore and just could not find that little cul-de-sac.

Until – yesterday! A little village a bit off the coast, and as such mostly left alone by tourists in the initial waves of German vacationers, had been our place of choice for shopping for groceries and wine. Pobla de Montornes itself was also unrecognizable for me on Street View, but the road connecting Pobla and Torredembarra was there and not likely changed during the last forty years, so I – virtually – drove this road from Pobla down towards the coast. I knew that I had to take a turn left to get to our little street, but all the streets going left looked unfamiliar, and I had tried in the past to just follow them but always had ended up in completely unfamiliar territory.

Again – until yesterday! I must have dismissed that left turn-off previously, but following it this time, things looked more familiar. And – suddenly – I stood in front of ‘our bungalow’. Sure, a garage had been added, the fence had been upgraded, the street number had changed, and vegetation was totally different, but it was undoubtedly ‘our house’.

The Google car even caught an older couple in the yard, which could have been my parents, but aren’t. Should they have been reborn, they would be much younger, and I don’t think they would go back to the place that made them work really hard initially.

In order to never ever lose that location, I put it on the internet, because nothing ever gets lost on the internet.

Karin and yours truly visiting the parents in Clara – mid 80s
Plantation Owners – early 80s
Then Clara del Sol 35 II – now Carrer de Fortuny 9 – early 80s
Yours Truly – end 70s
Yours truly in 1974 during a 2-month stay
What a difference a few years of working makes – Late 60s
‘The Bungalow’ at the time of purchase – mid 60s

Kurt Vonnegut’s Commencement Address

(A little gem I found in the couch cushions of my hard drive)…

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’98:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much
possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts, and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Become a Better Blogger

Sometimes you run into bits and pieces of wisdom, you really can’t – or shouldn’t – live without. The ten points below will definitely make a better writer.

HOW TO WRITE GOOD

pen and paper

1. Avoid Alliteration. Always.

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. Avoid cliches like the plague. They’re old hat.

4. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

5. Be more or less specific.

6. Writers should never generalize.

VII: Be consistent!

8. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; It’s highly superfluous.

9. Who needs rhetorical questions?

10. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

Attitude is Everything

The following story was written by Francie Baltazar-Schwartz and I re-discovered it in my ‘nice-stuff’ folder. I thought it might be better out here on the web than in the crevices of my computer. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, ‘Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.’ I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining, or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.”

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.

“Yes, it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line:
It’s your choice how you live life.”

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?”

I declined to see his wounds but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.

Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, ‘He’s a dead man.’ “I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breathe and yelled, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laughter, I told them. ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

You have 2 choices now:

  1. save or delete this mail from your mail box.
  2. forward it to anyone you care about.

Hope you will choose choice 2.

In the beginning, there was NewCiv

There was a time when there were no blogs.

Yes, really!

There were internet providers – the first one for me was, if I remember correctly, Primenet – from which you could get a few MB of space for your own website. That was at a time when you often saw the notice “This site best viewed with Netscape Navigator” on these very web pages. Even though Al Gore had invented the internet he had not yet given us good guidelines on how to consistently access it with predictable results. It was sweet anarchy.

Newciv.org broke into this climate. This was a simple Intel (probably) 386 computer with a modem as a connection to that World Wide Web. Hardly any private person could afford a permanent internet connection, so a dial-up line had to do. With an automatic re-dial when the connection was lost and a repeated access to some page at the provider in order to avoid being hung up due to non-activity.

Flemming had written a whole suite of software that ran the New Civilization Network but I encountered that server initially in Max’s office. It was exciting, there you had this computer to which all of the outside worlds had access, could create accounts, and could communicate.

Part of the software suite was blogging software, and did we blog!

Flemming – obviously – had the very first post. And believe it or not, it is still there:

http://ming.tv/flemming2.php/__show_article/_a000010-000001.htm

Article _a000010-000001.htm – there sure was room for expansion. The reason this blog is still working perfectly is that Flemming kept the domain ming.tv pointing to his blog on the NewCiv server. Some of us had our own domains pointing to our blogs. Max Sandor’s was the Sandorian Grove – sandorian.us. Mine was zensory.com – for whatever reason – I guess it was a cool domain name. Max’s domain was later repurposed and eventually went away when Max went on to greener pastures.

But if you know the internal structure of NewCiv – as Flemming does – that blog is still there, even with many broken links due to the fact that sandorian.us does not exist any longer: http://www4.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v245/__show_log/

My zensory.com first turned into a WordPress blog – on my own server in a data center, obviously connected to some faster backbone. It needs to be said, that at that time, the NewCiv server was co-located in a data center as well, not requiring a dial-up connection to the internet any longer.

Still, my old blog is also still up and running, even though I had to ask Flemming for it’s URL: http://www4.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v286/__show_log/

Flooded with sweet nostalgia, I looked over that old blog and noticed the blog roll (blogs that I followed) in the sidebar. The one that caught my attention was Don To Earth – at that time he was touted as the oldest blogger. His blog was hosted on Blogspot, a free-for-all open blog. The nice thing about those free platforms is that they don’t go away. Not like a privately hosted blog that goes away when the person paying for it every month finds better things to do and leaves this realm (as, inevitably, this blog will go away when I do).

So, yes, I could look up Don!