Relics from the Boneyards

CMS and blogware

There was a season, long ago, when I started multiple blogs at MovableType, Typescript, Serendipity, Drupal, Blogger, Bloxsom, and some very very early versions of WordPress! Some of these still function, others can be read (only in part) via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. But most are dead and inaccessible, as are most of your 15+year-old blogs…unless you still own the database and are willing and able to painstakingly reconstruct your old site.

WordPress is the winner and perennial champeen in the blogware/CMS stakes, no doubt about it. However, 15-16-17 years ago it was about as secure as a papier-mâché bank vault. That’s one of the reasons why there are so many security plugins for it today.

Updates to PHP versions constitute the main reason old WP sites no longer work. For a few years you might have been able to view your old 2005 site, but with a lot of database and program errors logged at the top of the screen. Now you probably can’t see it at all. Your URL simply gives you a blank.

Coming across old blog posts might therefore be a rare treat. From a version 1.2 WordPress site set up in early 2005:

From a simple Blogspot site a few years later, 2010. Being from Blogger, and therefore not self-hosted, this site is still functional:

That’s Ella King Torrey in the photo. I think she’d recently died.

Moving on, these old MovableType blogs (early 2005) still work for some reason:

Serendipity, or Sy9, was one of the many also-rans in the blogware survey of 2005. It was just prominent enough for me to read about and install. Down near the beginning there, I x’ed out somebody’s surname because the late, lamented Sharlene Spingler did a Google search and found him there. Doubly embarrassing for me, because in addition to discussing his mutilated foot and life, I included a photo of him with his demipod. Ouch.

It appears I followed up that Serendipity blog with a new one in 2014, at almost the same address: :

These old versions of Sy9, both v1.7.8, still work although Serendipity’s PHP versions are now 7 and 8. I suppose this is due to the simplicity of the platform, and the lack of plugins, which are what makes WordPress fall down, usually.

Picture Post 14


FILE — This March 18, 2010 file photo shows the main entrance of the American embassy in Paris. At least five drones flew over the Eiffel Tower, the U.S. Embassy and other Paris landmarks overnight, authorities said Tuesday Feb. 24, 2015, in the most audacious of several mysterious drone overflights around France in recent months. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)



This portrait of F. Scott Fitzgerald was done in 1925, back when things were going well for the young writer. “Everything was golden for him early on,” says writer Stewart O’Nan, “and then things started going against him … it’s a spiral


Picture Post 13


(Original Caption) 10/17/1957-New York, New York- Actress Elizabeth Taylor stands on a specially built platform to cut up this 17-foot-tall, 1,000-pound cake with television blue icing at the gala party given to her by her husband, Mike Todd, in Madison Square Garden. The one candle represents the first anniversary of the premiere of the movie “Around the World in 80 Days,” made by Todd. Guests were flown in from as far away as Europe and Australia to swell the numbers at the party to 18,000. The tab for the party was covered by the fee for the 90-minute television broadcast.

(Original Caption) 10/17/1957-New York, New York- Actress, Elizabeth Taylor, stands on a specially built platform to cut up this 17-foot-tall, 1,000-pound cake with television blue icing at the gala party given to her by her husband, Mike Todd in Madison Square Garden. The one candle represents the first anniversary of the premiere of the movie, “Around the World in 80 Days,” made by Todd. Guests were flown in from as far away as Europe and Australia to swell the numbers at the party to 18,000. The tab for the party was covered by the fee for the 90-minute television broadcast.

IT’S IN THE BAG!, (aka THE FIFTH CHAIR), Fred Allen, Jack Benny, Don Ameche, William Bendix, Victor Moore, Jerry Colonna, Rudy Vallee, Robert Benchley, Binnie Barnes, 1945


Nolan K Bushnell and Chuck E. Cheese in December 1978.

Barbara Woodhouse 1989 South Wales Evening Post

Six nurses modelling new uniforms, which will be on show at the London Nursing Exhibition at Seymour Hall, London, 13th October 1969. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Best Years of Our Lives?

memory, Uncategorized

An ongoing scratchpad about my awful life. Which years were worst? Which best?

2020 *** Looking up. A little work with Census. A little stim. City closed down. Bizarre circumstance. Financial anxiety eases.

2019 **  Empty year. Two pieces in SD Reader, one big long reject. ‘Translation’ job turns out to be a scam. Job from TempAlt @ $17 in November falls to pieces. I bottom out on credit-card debt, nearly default on WF Visa.

2018 **  Try and fail to get temp work. Walk off a bad temp job downtown in January. My funds run out but Brian takes up the rent. The HP PC just fails. One trip: to DC in Jan for Paul Nehlen fundraiser. Pointless fiasco. Adam Parfrey dies, I do Zoo piece for SD Reader. A few pieces for ST.

2017 **     Some economic comfort; pension payout & SS. Little work. Think I’ll be a translator like Cushing. Mainly drinking, FB, and travel. To Seattle in May and August for NW Forum. To Matt & Anna’s for Inauguration & party in January, to Richard Spencer’s in Alexandria in December. Johnny wake, Moki tiff in March, NYAC set-to at Christmas. My last NY Forum.

2016 ***     RHT fiasco, brief AA, some unemployment, apply for SS, the high of Taylor Swift and Trump. NY Forums, end of Double R Ranch.

2015 ****   Writing, conferences, real work at PRH briefly, then short bad jobs. Jan.
2014 ***     Same as ’13 till July. Collier Island. Then writing for AmRen and CC.
2013 *       Listless, unmotivated, shitty job interviews, living on unemployment.
2012 *       Tina through the year. Drop out of half-maras. DDP giving me hard time. 1st in Corp Challenge. Blow up and get fired, I’m too stupid to go away to rehab. Go to running camp instead. Anxiety through the year.
2011 ***      Full-time hire but failing athletically. Penn Relays. 1st in Corp Challenge. Bad tri training. First and only sprint triathlon. Beginning of tina period.
2010 **      Schewe, DraftFCB, Gary Lucas, AmexPub.
2009 *        Elisa Perks fiasco, GreenGap fiasco, terrible CDM job. Drop out of NYCM.
2008 ***    Layoff and Millrose Games in Jan. Clermont-Ferrand, Paris, London, Boston, Spokane, Portland. Flash classes.Terrible McAllister job. Drop out of NYCM.
2007 ****    Boston Mara, Riccione, Corp Challenge, CPTC benefit at The Space, Frank Shorter. Bye to Sonnekson.
2006 ****    Lots of road and track and xc. Work with Chris Yerkes. Portland ME.
2005 *****  Paris, first mara; also, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. CPTC. Work promotion.
2004 ****    Down to my thinnest, late ’03 to ’06
2003 ***      Don’t really recall much specifically. Teen Time. Seriously diet. Drawing cartoons for Colin.
2002 **       Lots of travel to London and Paris but I realize I am fat. Uncomfortable meetup with Boylan in April.
2001 **       9/11 brings some excitement but I am not succeeding at writing.
2000 **       England and then Paris for the first time. Sonnekson.
1999 *         Australia, Falmouth, Nantucket but the difficulties with Moki. My share in Hoboken. That trip with Dee and Jimmy to NE Penn. Work is enjoyable.
1998 ****     Move to Moki’s in January, difficulties with Laura, trip to California, later trip to Mississippi. SSB/Citi job for the next ten years.
1997 **        Seattle temp jobs: Midcom, C+B, the Blue Cross disaster. Graham piece in Punch. Nice visits to Vancouver and New Westminster. Nice trip to SD for storage, Laura panicking with truck. Public Storage in Burien. I go back to LA/SD, see Colin and Hulsys. Some Qualcomm work for Colin.
1996 **        Very difficult. London and Laura. R Fiore, R Mussolini in March. Murray Hancock. To Seattle. A few published pieces.
1995 ***      Job security for a while at CTS. Twist my ankle wear a boot. That Jay guy.
1994 *          Life pretty much craters because of GN, IHR, Laura, money runs out. Then we work hard at shitty jobs atthe end and I get sick.
1993 **        London. Simon Hoggart. Brighton, Tony Hancock. Persecution at the Reader. Holman gives me the boot. I start GN. Laura thinks it is a substitute for real work. Bluehnbach, Fred Koch.
1992 *          Reader relaunch party in January. Roger Hedgecock. Briefly give up drinking. Aftermath of Mary disaster, rebound to Laura and move to OB. I fuck up on City Lights stories, fall out with Matt. Depressing Donner Party clock. Cover story on McKinnon. Visit to Seattle in November? Bad year, all in all.
1991 ***      Bipolar year par excellence. Begin with move to SD and drop out of law school. Sickness unto death. The Flame. Decide to move back to NYC while you can. Start Prozac. Visit Glenn and Tani in March. Back in SD, all is well. Nice lez girls in Carlsbad. My confession. Abe Opincar. Jim Holman. Mary Lang. Matt Potter. I am suddenly a star, high on SSRIs. Crash end of summer, check myself into Mesa Vista Nov 2 (?). No trip to Paris.

1990 ****   Pleasant till the last few months, when the jimjams kick in. Nantucket. Finish up with S/E Marketing. Temp work at NY Fed and RJR, later MSG. See Tony Randall whistling merrily in the RJR doorway during a sudden rain squall. To Fire Island (Robt Moses State Beach) with Dr John. Videocam. Mark Ludington. Move to 226 E 26. I find new owners for my ferrets. Trip to Santa Fe and SD, Santa Barbara, San Fran, drive back to SF via Flagstaff, Arizona. Rent First Ave apt in SD.Terrible falling out with Mars girl, after I meet up with her in Old Town. That terrible Cynthia MacAdams (is she dead yet?). Sad packing up from 226 at end of Dec.


Picture Post 12


UNITED KINGDOM – CIRCA 1950: The British Diplomat And Spy Donald Duart Maclean With His Wife Melinda Marling And His Two Sons Ronald And Fergus In The 50’S. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

Spying, pic: 17th September 1951, Mrs Melinda MacLean the wife of British diplomat Donald MacLean (Donald MacLean was a spy for the Russians) is pictured at Northolt Airport with her 3 month old daughter Melinda and son Fergus on arrival from Nice, Donald MacLean had at this time been missing for 3 months (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Polish film director Roman Polanski and American actress Sharon Tate (1943 – 1969) at their wedding. She was subsequently murdered by members of Charles Manson’s pseudo-religious sect The Family. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 20: Sharon Tate And Roman Polanski’S Wedding, In 1969 (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

American-born Melinda MacLean rides in a car with her mother and newly born daughter (both hidden behind a blanket) as they leave hospital, London, England, June 28, 1951. A little over a month earlier, MacLean’s husband, British diplomat Donald MacLean had vanished under mysterious circumstances–it later transpired that he had been a Soviet agent and had defected to Russia. (Express Newspaprers/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Picture Post 11


Anthony Haden-Guest, Geordie Greig, Ghislaine Maxwell==BREAKFAST WITH LUCIAN by Geordie Greig==Private Residence, NYC==October 21, 2013==©Patrick McMullan==Photo – Paul Bruinooge/ ==

Picture Post 10


Tuna, Pea, and Brown Rice Casserole Recipe – 1125 Easy-Fold Bike Stand

Stuff I Forget: The Sequel


Looking at my Stuff I Forget lists from 2017, I was mildly astonished that I was having trouble recalling any of that stuff. It was all too obvious. Maybe writing these slips-of-mind down inoculates them against slippage for all time. I suspect however that my mental fuzziness was temporary, and due to overindulgence in spirits.

I will resume the list at number 32, but there may be some duplication here. Asterisk means I went and looked it up.

32. Karen and whatsername, the Jews from Lawrence, LI, father was a judge, Moki is friend to whatsername. 28 Feb 2020. (Pat Burstein, Karen Burstein)

33. Fuss and Feather, the Halls of Montezuma, who was that? 8 Sept 2018. (Winfield Scott)

34. Hamilton Ford, Henderson Ford, what is the movie actor’s name? 1 Sept 2018. (Harrison Ford)

35. Fake bard by James MacPherson, did tales of Cuchalain, big fad in the 1700s. 31 Aug 2018. (Ossian)

36. The Virgin guy. Rick Linter, whatever. 16 June 2018. (Richard Branson)

37. The song used for Merrie Melodies theme. Took a day or two to come to me. The Looney Tunes thing wasn’t any problem. 13 June 2018. (Merrie Melodies tune is “Merrily We Roll Along.” Looney Tunes is “The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down.”)

38.  Big hill part of Paris where Sacre Coeur is…north…name like Montparnasse but other end of town…a little north of Clichy…St Jean Baptiste… Paris Commune started there, there were cannon… name like mount of saints… (Montmartre!* I had to look up Sacre Coeur. A remarkable memory hole.)

39. Head covering Arab men wear in the Levant. 9 June 2018. (Kefayeh)

40. Obama advisor, mulatta born in Iran. 3 Apr 2018.  (Valerie Jarrett)

41. Name of LBJ’s hitman? 2 Apr 2018. (Oh, Mac Wallace.)

[updated 19 May 2020]

42. Who did ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’? (*Charlie Daniels)

43. English poet, novelist (The Mayor of Casterbridge).  (Thomas Hardy)

44. The ‘Tipping Point’ guy. (Malcolm Gladwell*)

45. Lining of your uterus? (endometrium)

46. That big Cal-Neva lake in Northern California. (Tahoe)

47. Who wrote The Servant? Jewish writer, married Antonia Fraser. (Harold Pinter*, yes had to look this up.)

48. The TV sitcom Frasier, what was it a spinoff of? (*Cheers; I never would have remembered that, so this isn’t a real memory lapse.)

49. Frasier’s wife, Lilith? Jewish, she was in the Chicago musical revival. (Bebe Neuwirth, this took a while to come to me.)

50. Christopher Caldwell book? (Age of Entitlement*…I really blanked out, had to look this up.)

51. The odd meat company with the Musketeer name. (D’Artagnan*)

52. London prison with the funny name. (Wormwood Scrubs*)

53. 1960s actress who was in the Smirnoff Mule ads with Woody Allen. (Julie Newmar*)

54. Nice guy who was a friend of Michael S-DeF and came to our brunch on West 29th St around May 1980, and a few weeks later we walked through Alphabet Town. Friend of Elizabeth Ashley. “She doesn’t like women.” (Bob Corpora) I completely blanked out on this one but the name came to me after 5 or 10 minutes.

55. Australian/American actress who was married to Tom Cruise, in this thing with tom cruise  Keeny Randall Kim Stopcock there’s a K in there (*Nicole Kidman).  Seriously, had to look up.

56. County seat of Saratoga. Something springs. (Ballston Spa.)

57. Novelist whose name is like Hart Crane. Maggie, a Girl of the Streets. (*Stephen Crane)

58. Juvenile actress 1940, wisecracker, Philadelphia Story, Babes on Broadway (Ginny Weidlin? No, Ginny *Weidler).

59. Dennis… actor who was in Easy Rider, Blue Velvet, Rebel Without a Cause, Giant? (something about something that clamps shut) was married to that Jewish actress in Three Women. (Dennis Hopper. But he was never married to Janice Rule and I don’t know why I thought that, or was sure she was Jewish.)

60. French chef guy, worked for DeGaulle, ran the HJ industrial kitchen in the early 60s.  (Jacques Pepin)

61. Pointy-nosed French actress, in Chabrol movies. (Isabel Huppert*  but came up with name Sandrine Bonnaire first.)

[updated 9 May 2021]

62. Boomtown Rats Live Aid guy, saw him at the Oriel in ’96, the day he got divorce from Paula Yates. Bob something. (Bob Geldof)

63. Guy in class of ’73…[actually ’74] Scotland enthusiast. Black hair, nose with bulbous tip at end. Wanted to study Scots law. CSP knew him. Perhaps in Morse? (Bill Eakins)

64. Harare. Where is Harare? Capital of some African country, I’m sure. (*formerly Salisbury, Rhodesia, now “Zimbabwe”)

65. French stew with navy beans and sausage or duck confit…in a bowl, what do you call it? (*Cassoulet; had to browse through recipes)

66. Art Nouveau hotel in Asheville, I knew the name when talking to Tom, who was once the only guest. Grove Park Inn? (Yes)

67. Pen-and-ink comic strip (in the Telegraph?) about City Man. By Peattie? Alex? (Yes, and it’s still going.)

68. That Jewish late-life TS who was in the Sea Org. “Hidden: a Gender.” (*Kate Bornstein, found it somewhere.)

69. Ambassador to USSR, married to Marjorie Meriwether Post. (Joseph Davies)

70. Boozy, snobby, English character actor. In Noble House, A Private Function, Alfie. (Denholm Elliott)


Picture Post 9


This continues the series left off in Picture Post 8, right here:

The Submarine Men: Fulton and Holland


Some curious facts about the two submarine inventors, Robert Fulton and John Philip Holland. Both were of Irish background, and both designed their boats specifically to be used against the British. Yet both ended up giving their designs to the British.

John Phillip Holland in later years.

The Clare-born Holland, who went on to found Electric Boat, was actually funded by Fenians in the 1870s-1880s. The plan seems to be that his electric and diesel submarines would sink the Royal Navy.

Instead, he ended up building submarines for the US Navy and the Royal Navy itself.

Many years earlier, Pennsylvania-born Fulton designed his submarines under commission from France’s First Consul, Napoleon Bonaparte. Alas, Napoleon lost interest in Fulton’s undersea boat, the Nautilus, just as he later lost interest in transporting his Grand Armée across the English Channel on Fulton’s steam-powered barges.

So Fulton gave up on France, and went to England. Pitt’s government in the early 1800s didn’t do anything with Fulton’s designs, either; or indeed with any submarine designs for many decades. And Fulton ended up going back to America, where he famously launched steamboats on the Hudson.

Nearly a century later, the United States Navy commissioned its first Holland-built electric submarine, the USS Holland. Not to be outdone, the Royal Navy decided to order one too, and called it the HMS Holland 1. And then Imperial Germany decided it too liked the idea of Holland’s U-boats. So the race was on.

John Philip Holland died in 1914, at the start of the Great War. He thought his undersea boats would end naval warfare, but of course they had the opposite effect.

But while Holland is commemorated as the inventor of the modern submarine, Fulton is almost entirely forgotten in that regard. We all know him as the steamboat man. But he was also an innovative painter, who created the most popular tourist attraction in Paris in the late 1790s: the Panorama painting. This was a illustration inside a huge cylinder, providing a 360-degree view of some part of Paris or its environs.

The first painting was a view of Paris from the Tuileries Palace. The Panorama became the subject of popular songs, and gave Paris a nickname: Paname.

Robert Fulton perished in rather ludicrous circumstances while crossing the frozen Hudson River in 1815 with his good friend Thomas Addis Emmet. The Irish-born Emmet, the richest lawyer in New York City, was probably also the fattest. He fell through the ice. Fulton jumped in to rescue him. Emmet survived, Fulton died of pneumonia.