Category Archives: blog housekeeping

Paranoia Pt 1

……………………………Pages………Hits………Bandwidth

ph Philippines ph…… 13,847.. 14,925…. 296.13 MB

us United States us… 6,761…. 12,671….. 436.29 MB

cn China cn…………….. 2,858….. 2,872….. 13.08 MB

Looking at my blog stats this morning put this frosting on the cake of my thoughts about paranoia. a subject occasionally touched in this blog. Its been sort of a lifelong nuisance nipping at my heels. My son is inclined to think there was a conspiracy behind JFK’s assassination. I think the only conspiracy was the rush to hide the intelligence services ineptitude in hiding their role in keeping track of assassin Oswald. But that’s OK. He gave up on social sciences long ago so he’s welcome to whatever theories about politics he wants.

So, about these stats.

These are the top locations that viewers of my blog are hailing from. They don’t necessarily represent human eyes. For instance I can think of no good reason many people in the Philippines would visit my blog other than by accident. Most of the numbers “pages” and “hits” represent Internet robots searching for whatever they have been programmed to take note of. Perhaps the Philippines has lots of servers for clients all over the world. I think the stats from the US represent a much closer tie to my actual readers most of whom presumably come from Duluth. As for China…….

Well, I haven’t forgotten recent posts about the books I’ve been reading about China. They have emphasized what I’ve heard in the news. China does a very thorough job of scrubbing things out of the Internet that they don’t want chinese citizens to read and chief among these would be any mention of the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident. Well, if the Chinese paranoia police are anything like the Trumpista’s hope to be, able to spot any anti-americanism on Muslim’s Internet connections they may have already noted my visa application to visit China and paired it to my blog. I doubt that they have……..yet……..but who knows.

If I was a Syrian wishing to get a green card to the US I’d be out of luck. As a tourist wishing to spend some of my Greenbacks sailing down the Yangtze, well maybe the Chinese would let me in.

I’ve got a meeting in half an hour to deal with paranoia in Duluth……lets see if I can get a start on paranoia #2 before I have to leave.

Aborting the €™’s

I did it. If you put the nonsense symbols, €™, into my search function only three posts pop up – uh, four now including this one. I had to spend close to thirty hours laboriously removing them. How many I removed I can’t be sure. An off the cuff guess? There might have been an average of 8 of the nasty little bugs on each of the 900 some posts I attacked. That would be about 7,200 such abortions. I also got rid of a near equal number of similar nonsense symbols.

This is something I’ve been meaning to do for five or six years. A lot of early posts of mine, that reflect my thinking, were often unreadable. The posts I wrote about the thinking of a fellow named Russ Young ten years ago are one example. Mr. Young wrote confidently that folks like me would go to hell because we condoned the murder of tens of millions of innocents. The issue was abortion. At the time I was about to mount a campaign for Congress as an independent candidate and I wanted to pursue the implications of his thinking for potential voters to consider.

Those old posts had become particularly garbled because, in addition to €™, I had used an unusual font “verdana” that my wordsoft ap lost the ability to translate into readable English. What I had written was obscured by hundreds of digitalized ghosts that sprouted between my words like an epidemic of dandilions on a front lawn. Today, Mr. Young has a president in the oval office that reflects his thinking on abortion as Mr. Young expressed it a decade ago. That doesn’t mean that Mr. Young hasn’t changed his mind on the issue or decided that there are other important issues that undermine his support of President Trump. Today those posts are an historical artifact of 2006.

Even then, abortion had been politicized beyond comprehension. I never understood why, other than for politics, the national teacher’s union (the NEA) championed abortion rights. They certainly were’t speaking for all teachers. By the same token, I took a dim view of Nixon Era Republicans, who gave us Roe v Wade, suddenly joining forces with the Catholic church to appoint a pro-life Supreme Court. They were being every bit as spiritually hollow and political as the teacher’s unions.

There are silver linings. Just as the election of Trump has awakened a lot of moderates to action, the issue of abortion helped bridge a century of distrust and resentment between protestant and Catholic churches. There are still dark clouds as well. After making sure lots of fetuses made it to the delivery room the richest nation on Earth now has a massive epidemic of childhood poverty. I have never doubted where the blame should be placed for this sorry condition.

I became a “baby killer” within the Republican Party. I remember a little clutch of clean-living Christian kids snearing that at me as they walked by me at a GOP convention as I sat at a table in the hall bearing “pro-choice” leaflets. It wasn’t much of a leap from that designtion to being called worse than Mao, Stalin and Hitler by the Republican chairman of a House District convention I attended a few years later.

I still have a lot of old posts with other things that I’d like to clean up – I went a couple years without a working “spellcheck” on the blog. (I’m not sure its working now) Cleaning damaged old posts may open me to fresh criticism but it will also allow me to demonstrate that I am not a weather vane.

Blog Housekeeping cont.

For the past few days I’ve been attacking the posts that have such nonsense as these in them: €œ,‘€, –, é, €™, Â

I don’t know how many posts include these nasties that can make old posts unbearable to read. It could be somewhere between 900 and 6,000.

Neither do I fully understand how they intruded themselves into the blog. Some may have entered when my blog’s spellcheck failed and I began typing them up in my computer’s composition software. I wonder if when I brought them back there was some miscommunication between the software of my computer and WordPress software. At any rate I’ve corrected about 200 old posts for which the apostrophe’s were replaced with this: €™. Its taken seven or eight hours and I may have another 700 posts left to remove them from……or more.

I’ve also started checking out the posts in the category “uncategorized.” These happen when I fail to designate a category for a newly written post to be associated with when I push “upload.” I don’t often forget but with nearly 20,000 posts over the past decade it happens.
There might be 200 posts that I’ve forgotten to categorize since 2006. I periodically recategorized them from 2006-2011 but its been about seven years since I last did this.

I’ve put a lot of myself in this blog and every time the Wordsoft folks make changes I’m slow to update the software. In December of 2015 I messed up an update and ignored my blog until I thought my Blog was dead and that I would never be able to add new posts to it. I was in Israel at the time and preoccupied. Four or five years ago I estimated there were 3 million in lincolndemocrat. God knows how many there are now. They take effort to keep orderly.

I am bending my will to make corrections in anticipation of both my run for reelection this fall. I also want to make it more easy for me to search through my post so that I can pick out material I’ve written previously for some of the various books, as yet unwritten, that might speed up my book writing. I’m also correcting typos and misspellings some of which snuck in when my blog’s spellcheck stopped working.

Even this entry along with others in the “Blog Housekeeping” category is part of my record keeping. I feel better knowing there are explanations for why human error keeps creeping into my blog. They have nothing to do with me, of course!

’ Blog Housekeeping

For several years I’ve been greatly annoyed that bugs sneaked into my blog posts. They are punctuation bugs. Maybe you’ve noticed them especially if you’ve followed my search function to older posts. They are especially common from the time I began serving for my third term in 2014. I still don’t know what caused them to replace simple apostrophes and quotation marks.

Its harder to fathom what President’s means than President’s or School Board’s compared to School Board’s.

Over the past couple years I’ve gone back and corrected some of the old posts when I myself linked back to them. But there are about 900 such posts and I used a lot of apostrophes.

I have found a slow and fairly tedious way to correct the mistakes one by one. I’ve spent the last half hour correcting about seven of the exasperating posts. I’ll keep working on it as this blog is my primary means of communicating and Harry’s blog reads so much better than Harry’s blog.

OMG A new check suggests I have 6000 posts with the strange hieroglyphics.

I have always suspected that one botched attempt to fix of this blog turned all those apostrophe’s and quote marks into weird things. Ditto hyphens. 6,000 corrupted pages is almost 1/4th of ten years work. Sheesh!

Shall We Dance?

I figure that I have several audiences of this blog. The one that is preeminent to me is – me. It’s not just the “Harry’s Diary” entries its all of them. I suspect some readers are interested in what I disclose about myself too although I doubt that this is a huge percentage. Interestingly, I know of no family members who read my blog. Another group would be people who are interested to know that is happening in the school district. This may be the largest group. Another group might be folks who have discovered a different voice on the subject of politics in general.

Because I receive so little feedback I just don’t know. I don’t know which audience I have disappointed the mosy by my recent blog drought. As I indicated in recent posts I’m preoccupied with what may very well turn out to be my last meeting with my Uncle. I just haven’t had the concentration to write and edit posts even on subjects of great interest to me. I am setting aside some time tonight and tomorrow morning to blog a little but I can’t guarantee which of my audiences will be pleased. This post is about family.

I have had a marvelous time with my Uncle and his family for the past three days. Tomorrow will be my last before I fly home to Duluth on Saturday. The tone for this mini reunion was set within moments of stepping into Uncle Frank’s home and shaking his hand and launching into some time tested family joshing. He was flat on his back in his new permanent bedroom in the living room. If he wasn’t pleased as punch to see me he is one heck of an actor. I was certainly glad to see him and see him in good spirits.

Here’s what Uncle Frank can see from his Denver apartment.

I came in part to interview my Uncle about family history. So far I’ve taken seven dense pages worth of notes including on a long forbidden topic – his service in Korea. He has also given me some nice anecdotes on the subject of my Grandfather, George Robb. They were neighbors briefly before Frank went off to war.

Now, on to the dance. My cousin Devin shared a memory with me which led to another one from his Mother, my Aunt Shalah. They both told me about my Father’s dancing and reminded me of my experience with Dad on that subject.

1st – Devin took a while to find his way as a young man. After a less than middling public school experience some advisor suggested that he consider veterinary medicine. He likes animals. As a kid he loved the books of Gerald Durrell about that author’s quirky love of animals which blossomed on the Greek Island of Corfu. Some of you will jump and say you have just been watching that story unfold on Public Television.

Devin wrote an admiring letter to Mr. Durrell who ran a private zoo on Britain’s Jerrsey island which is so close to the French coast that the Nazi’s captured and held it all through the 2nd World War. Durrell offered my cousin a job working on the island and, by coincidence, my parents decided to take a European trip with my sister that summer. They added Jersey to their itinerary and after getting the Island tour they took Devin to the French mainland for a little exploration which ended most unexpectedly at a ballroom. Devin told me he was astonished at what an accomplished ballroom dancers my parents were.

2nd – Now I must share the link to a column I wrote long ago about my experience with my Father vis-à-vis dancing http://www.snowbizz.com/Diogenes/NotEudora04/shallwedance.htm You really must read it before continuing to my Aunt’s recollection –

I mean it. Don’t go any further until you follow the link above and read that old reminiscence.

3rd – Finally, Aunt Shalah set me straight. In the late 1940’s Dad came back to Kansas from the navy and enrolled in college. He was as enthusiastic about dancing as he had been in high school. He regularly attended college dances. My Aunt Shalah said that there was a collection of about eight young lady friends who clustered together at these dances where my Father was a regular and avid dancer.

Sadly, none of the young ladies were eager to dance with Dan Welty – a second time. They would warily keep their eyes open for him lest he stride into their midst. Properly alerted some of them would try to make their escape to the powder room. Hiding rarely worked for long.

My Father was universally regarded as a terrible dancer. He would suddenly move in a different direction without advance warning or take two steps where one would have been called for. And he so wanted to dance with every girl. Seldom did the members of this clutch of maidens evade a trip to the ballroom floor with my father.

The significance of this story has little to do with dancing, however. It has everything to do with my current mania for collecting family stories. Its significance? Never rely on a single source in your pursuit of the truth. You may be Trumped.

Homage to Andrew Sullivan

My Buddy sent me a link to a commentary by my all time favorite blogger, Andrew Sullivan, in which he takes oodles and oodles of verbiage to explain among other things how blogging and the Internet became addictive and nearly killed him. I only got through the beginning of it.

I was addicted to Sullivan’s blog almost as severely as he was addicted to publishing it and updating it every half hour for days, and then years on end. It was a brilliant filter of everything that was happening but impossible for any person to sustain and keep their sanity. My favorite thing about it was Sullivan’s willingness, in between bouts of acerbic take downs, to fess up when he was off or even flat out wrong. I try to do that althought on a more modest basis here in Lincolndemocrat.

Unlike Sullivan I never got to the point where I stopped reading books although my guess is even when he gave up reading he still managed to read a lot more books than me. I’m overjoyed if I get ten books (serious books) read in a year. I also take holidays from posting blogs but if they go on too long I do start getting the yips. But breaks are good. My two-month long hiatus around the time of my trip to Jerusalem gave me more time to reflect.

Well, my blog just kicked me off and cost me a couple of paragraphs. I’ve lost the thread. I wrote something about how I do my writing, editing and updating online so that my readers can see blog posts long before they are finished or presentable. I do the same thing when I make snowsculptures in my front yard. Over the course of a couple days they will go from an amorphous white lump to something at least marginally recognizable to passerby.

BTW Sullivan’s commentary was interspersed with famous paintings like the one above tinkered with to place cell phones in them. Yup, life is a constant barrage of mind numbing data. Ah for the good old days with just three networks with television news. We may even, in some measure, have been better informed back then with less data. At least Republicans and Democrats could still intermarry.

Gotta go. My cell phone just made a noise.

Mummies

Dear Readers,

There is a movie out based on a book I haven’t read. Its about the relationship between Thomas Wolfe, a protean American writer I’ve never read, and his editor Max Perkins. Its called Genius. It’s based on a book that sounds more interesting than the only review of the movie I’ve read leads me to believe the movie will be.

I am a little envious of Wolfe having an editor. I crank out a lot of verbs and adjectives myself. I tossed in protean in the first sentence here without quite having its proper definition in my head. I was thinking it meant copious and grandiose but its closer to ever changing and fluid. Sadly, I am my own editor. And since coming back from Israel in January I’ve attempted to be a more careful editor working hard to stamp out typos and lazily constructed sentences.

That may be part of the reason I’ve slowed my output in the past week. It could also be that a recent controversy has blown over or that its summer or that I want to attend to other writing projects or that a week ago running across the name Bancroft in the Meacham book on Andrew Jackson pulled me into a a search for more history books that I have since ordered online. Reading is a great way to escape from writing while also putting ideas for blog posts in my head. Whatever combination of reasons I’m leaving to take my grandsons to the Minnesota Science Museum in fifteen minuets (never trust spell check) to see the exhibition on Mummies. So, sorry. I’ve got nothing for you and those recent posts I started will just have to sit unattended to until I get back.

When I do resume maybe I will tell you how not to use the herbicide Roundup. Please close your eyes when driving past my front yard.

78 visitors spent over an hour reading this blog…

…over the past five days! Oh, the wonder of my blog stats. Wish it could tell me who you were……No – never mind. I don’t want to know.

And if they read Necroscopy 4 I apologize. I still haven’t worked up the grit to proof read its 2000 plus words.

The stakes are, or at least were, so high I have tried to clean up my posts rather than race through them willy nilly. My new office is a disaster area with small piles of paper everywhere each representing some line of thought or research I’ve been trying to keep touch with as I’ve flitted from topic to topic. I’ll file them eventually. Fortunately, Claudia is out of town looking after her Father so my days are free….except for grandparenting, and hauling bags of leaves to the WLSSD compost site and who knows what else.

I joked on “Just the Facts” with PAC TV personality, Marci Stromgren, that my blog has ten times the number of words Tolstoy’s War and Peace has. BTW – I’ll link to that video later today. That way you will see the oddball behind Lincolndemocrat’s words in the flesh, video flesh anyway. I sum up much of what I’ve been writing here in an hour-long, free-wheeling interview. It will be blather from the mouth rather than from my fingers. Sorry I didn’t comb my hair. Who do I think I am? Art Johnston!

Correction on last post

In the previous post I mentioned that Rep. Erik Simonson was flying in to St. Louis with Denfeld principal Sconniers to root for the Denfeld Robotic’s Team. Wrong! It’s the Activities Director, Tom Pearson, who is flying in with the Principal. That makes more sense.

I don’t always wait in the blog to pass on information I find interesting. This is one of the drawbacks to instant communication. Rather than erase the traces of my mistakes I prefer to highlight them to keep me humble. That way I don’t have to gush too much about my human frailty.

Perhaps the opposite of my tact is the one employed by veteran School Board commentator Loren Martell who anguishes about his mistakes when he makes them in the Duluth Reader. BTW. I like that about Loren.

In a column a couple weeks ago he wrote that Board Chair Annie Harala was a teacher employed by the Duluth Schools. I was the one to tell him it wasn’t so and he damn near withered away on me he was so distraught.

Here is his apology in the subsequent column. Its a doozey:

Striving for accuracy and eating crow Continue reading

“Damn but I am paranoid. I will fess up on my blog pronto.”

The quote above come from me. I just texted it to Superintendent Gronseth. It is about the first post in the Fallout series which was completely inaccurate. I’m keeping it where it is as proof that I am sometimes a more flawed than reliable guide. If you check that post out now you will see that it begins with the following Note:

NOTE. THIS EMAIL IS WRONG. IT REFLECTS MY FERVID IMAGININGS. THE SUPERINTENDENT JUST GOT WORD OF IT AND SENT ME A “LOL” TEXT SAYING THE MEETING WAS TO PLAN FOR OUR UPCOMING SUMMIT ON MULCH. I WILL LEAVE THIS POST UP AS A DEMONSTRATION OF BOTH MY FAILINGS AS A JOURNALIST AND TO KEEP ME HUMBLE AND MY READERS FOREWARNED ABOUT MY LIMITATIONS AS A TRUTH TELLER.

The first time I posted this I had a typo in the title. Instead of the word “blog” I typed “blot.” I’m sure many will agree that this may have been a more accurate term to use.

Repairing the Board’s wounded reputation

I just watched the first half of Ken Burns biopic on Jackie Robinson on PBS. It is a reminder of the world I was born into in 1950. I’ll catch the second half tomorrow which will show us how when he came out swinging for Civil Rights he put a dent in his fan base. It reminds me of Lilly who occasionally babysat me and who took care of my Grandfather after he was widowed. They would argue baseball and the Brooklyn Dodgers was her team even though she lived in Topeka, Kansas. When I looked up the “Lilly” link I discovered a mess. All of my 12,000 posts were altered when my blog was repaired. Now instead of apostrophe’s and quotation marks the nonsense symbols – “ – have taken their place. I just spent five minutes replacing about 60 punctuation marks in the Lilly post but that leaves me 10,999 more posts to correct. Times five minutes each that would take me about 1000 hours or 25 weeks of 40 hour weeks. I pray there will be a simpler solution. I’d much rather keep writing new posts than fixing old ones.

As I was saying I saw the Robinson biopic and it was good. Its second half begins tomorrow.

I thought I would publish one last post tonight. I just checked the Trib’s Facebook page again to see if the numbers had changed on the Sandstad/Oswald columns. I caught heck from Editor Chuck Frederick last summer when I wondered if he let his leanings affect his editorial coverage. I certainly can’t complain about the last editorial his paper published urging the School Board to set aside the policy in our path to sell Central to the Duluth Public Schools Academy. But I couldn’t help but notice that Chuck “liked” Nora Sandstad’s op ed piece but not Alanna Oswald’s.

It was striking what readers wrote in regarding Member Sandstad’s piece. I read through about thirty comments and I didn’t find a single one that was positive. Nora did get over 20 likes on them, including Mr. Frederick’s, but I didn’t see any one defend Nora’s point of view.

I think the school board seriously erred by cutting off community comment and dialogue so quickly and abruptly with a lot of misinformation still hanging out their in the air. This will have serious negative repercussions and it has been a publicity goldmine for Edison. It the latest in steps taken to curb Edison that have backfired.

I’m strongly tempted to bring this up once again to the School Board before the end of April when Edison’s contractors begin pouring massive amounts of money into paving over Snowflake. There is still time for us to reconsider.

Ki boots on the ground

My buddy noted the misspelling in the last post of kibbutz and chided me for not knowing better because I had just been in Israel. He sent me a link to the definition of the word I meant to use kibitz.

Meanwhile Claudia asked me if I took a picture of the road we meandered down from the top of the Mount of Olives into the Kidron Valley which was the route Jesus took on Palm Sunday into Jerusalem. She wanted it to take to her Sunday School class. I printed it out for her:

The Reader seems to have turned down by offer to post columns about my trip to Israel so I may get them off my chest here eventually. If so, they will only show up sporadically while I upload posts on a dozen other subjects simultaneously.

Blog Puzzles

What the hell happened to Lincolndemocrat? Search me. I’m only the author of the site for the past ten years. Last I knew I punched a wrong button or something at a time just before Christmas of 2016 when I was overwhelmed with projects. Christmas is always busy in itself but I was tiptoeing in my blog careful not to alienate a new set of School Board members. The previous ones had censured me the year before. Furthermore, I was trying to clean up the most cluttered office space in months having let it get out of hand in the summer when I was busily engaged in making sure the elections for the new school board didn’t leave me in more political quicksand. Besides, I had utterly ignored preparing for a huge trip the previous six months to Israel. I would be leaving in two weeks time and futzing around figuring out how to fix a damn website (blog in this case) was not high on my priority list. I am a world class technophobe.

So, deciding that my being frozen out of my website must be sort of the equivalent of a lightning strike by a hard ass but benevolent God (like that scene at the beginning of the movie Sergeant York) warning me that the temptation to write about the school board would just cause problems with my new colleagues I decided I’d fix the blog when I got back from Israel a month later. Big mistake.

When I got around to calling tech support they told me a big “oops!” had taken place with files that were jettisoned weeks after the boo boo first showed up. It was too late to do anything about bringing them back to life. They weren’t very good about telling an old technophobe what they were doing but apparently they were “working on it.”

Well, they “fixed it” but I could no longer figure out how to get in to the site to add posts. Furthermore, all the visible navigation that took you to different categories of posts was gone as was the month by month list of entries going back to 2006 when the blog started. Worse yet, the search button that I used nearly every day to find old posts to link to to explain my thoughts of the past was nowhere to be seen. I don’t know if they will ever come back. When I was in Israel I came to an understanding with myself that this might be a “this too will pass” event. The blog might just die and all its ten year’s worth of content, my diary really, would be lost in the Internet ether forever.

Then I discovered that nothing had been lost on the blog. While I waited for tech to fix the bug (if they were doing anything at all) I would start a new blog no one knew about – just in case. I have been posting to it for about a week. I called it lincolndemocrat2. Yeah, that’s a link to it. But when you go there you will see the URL is more cumbersome. It ends in wordpress.com and not just dot com.

I love one thing about it in particular. I was able to put the profile of Lincoln back in it. It once graced the original lincolndemocrat but I removed it eight years ago and could never figure out how to put it back. I told you I was a technophobe or a techno-dope in this case.

This morning with three or four posts in my head bursting to escape (It was 3AM when I crawled out of bed) I discovered a mouse hole that got me to this post creating page on my poor old bandaged lincoldemocrat original. I will be holding my breath when I push “publish” to see if it shows up. Depending on what happens I might continue or abandon this original blog page. Or I might write at both……although that seems foolish. I am hoping I can restore the old blog’s (this one’s) navigation links. If I could do that and put Lincoln’s profile back on this site it would be heavenly. Please, please, please, God. I know I’m an agnostic but I could use a bolt of lightning right now.

Oh, and I got all but one of those puzzles put together except for the one with the sea turtles. I’ll do it next Christmas. I got a 1000 piece Wizard of Oz puzzle from my family for Christmas. I put that one together instead. You know I love the Wiz.

Oh, Oh, Cool! It looks like there is a way to search the original. I googled lincolndemocrat with some of the post title’s words in it. http://lincolndemocrat.com/?s=a+star+for+mom and it pops up first along with other posts that mention stars and moms.

Uh, God. No guarantees about my looming believer status but this is a very good start.

Wild Swans and Mao and AWWWWWWW my old website is down

Claudia and I finished a weighty biography tonight, Wild Swans. We apparently acquired it in February but only began reading it May 29th. Today’s July 9th so we managed to get it done in six weeks. I’ve just attempted to add the book to my lifetime reading list on my old blog snowbizz.com. It appears that the blog is no longer working. This page and the snow sculpting page are about the only parts of the once vast site that I kept updating. For ten years the website was my life although it was eventually eclipsed by Lincolndemocrat. I suppose I can go back to the wayback machine if I really want to review it. Maybe it can be fixed but I’ve let dozens up software upgrades go by without keeping the old site up to date. I’d hoped to have it survive me but I don’t think I have it in me to rebuild it. At the moment the homepage is still up but I haven’t found any internal links that work.

Well, that deflates me and my will to say something about the wonderful book that Wild Swans is. It had twelve million copies sold by 2003 so I’m a late reader. It was finished in the early 1990’s. It can only be read in China underground or that was the case as of 2003 when its author penned its brief afterward.

It was a wonderful character study and, although our situation in Duluth doesn’t come close to the extreme, of Maoist China, I kept running into a lot of parallels with our little ongoing sagas.

and some welcome literary criticism

Regarding this 1400 word post one of my new corespondents offered me some literary criticism. I was delighted. It was the first literary analysis of my blog ever and probably the first I’ve gotten on any of my writing since high school.

I was taken by a sentence in one of your posts recently. When I went to find it, I believe it was changed to: “I just think they are blinded by their self righteousness.” I believe the former was, “They are blinded by the knowledge of their own goodness.” I liked the latter. It is lyrical and comes across as profound but not pretentious.

I explained that I have gotten into the habit of editing my posts immediately after posting them. I do this knowing that I’ll find typos a little more easily looking directly on the blog. I don’t worry about bad mistakes or poor word choice when I do this late into the evening because only the Ukrainians or Australians are reading at that time of the night. Even during the day I don’t worry about it too much. To me its like letting folks watch me sculpt my snow sculptures. I don’t mind if they see them in the process of construction. There is always the possibility that they will copy an unpolished text and spread it around but I haven’t worried about that as much as perhaps I should.

I just checked to see if I could find an earlier version of this post. My blog software does periodic saves during my writing but there was no evidence of my putative earlier sentence. Its quite likely that is how I first put it. I agree that the preferred language is more straightforward and less hackneyed. As for poetic……that may have been an accident on my part.

If I did switch to harping about “Self righteousness” that’s probably because its a phrase that everyone is familiar with whereas “goodness” seems a little more childlike. I guess I opted for old fart wording to sound more sophisticated. That doesn’t say much for sophistication does it?

“Where this blog is headed” revisited – plus a little piss and vinegar

Lincoln democrat is 108 months old minus a week or two. This is its 12,830th post. Its the diary I share with whoever is prurient or curious enough to see what I’m pontificating about at any given point in my life. It is not quite a diary but I throw enough personal stuff in to make sure my readers can see the sinew and bones that make me frail and foible prone like any other human.

I’ve commented on the retirement of the Sullivan blog recently. I’m not sure when I first ran across it but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t about the time of 9/11. I cautiously supported George Bush in his invasion of Iraq and I suspect that support was built in large part on the thinking of Andrew Sullivan the gay wunderkind of the conservative movement. Like Sullivan I ended up realizing what a mistake George Bush made. Sullivan’s hanging all his thoughts out in the public as he changed his mind was a stellar example to me of a kind of public humility I could identify with.

If you look down the column on the right you will see that my blog began in March of 2006 and wasted little time in linking to Andrew Sullivan’s blog. I did so first in my nineteenth post. Like many old hyperlinks it is no longer active so I’d have to search through Sullivan’s archives to find it now.

I also linked to Sullivan’s blog in 2008 in a post that caught me just as I was ending my run of 100 biweekly columns in Duluth’s tabloid the Reader Weekly. That was my 1,289th post titled “Where this blog is headed.” I was ending my regular column for the Reader (without pay) and beginning a second campaign for Congress as an Independent candidate. I would end up getting far fewer votes the second time around than in 1992 when I garnered 7% of the Eighth Congressional District vote as the “Perot Choice” candidate.

That I did so poorly was in part my sudden preoccupation with an ancient story going back to the Congressional election of 1974. I was visiting my Mother in a St. Paul memory care unit every two weeks and spent part of my visiting day at the Minnesota Historical Museum researching that old bit of Duluth history. That’s not the best way to conduct a campaign for Congress.

Since then I’ve been caught up in what the Reader Weekly’s readers have voted Duluth’s worst boondoggle in eight successive Worst of the Northland votes. Continue reading

Retiring Bloggers

My Buddy sent me an email recently that I took to be dancing on the grave of my only serious blog addiction. Andrew Sullivan is planning on retiring. I hope he hands the reigns over to his crew and keeps some sort of remote executive function because I’ll miss his blog if it retires with him.

My last post included a link to one of his posts on the loss of citizen participation that seems to follow the loss of local papers. (I had the wrong link for a while but just corrected it)

My Buddy asked me:

But will Harry’s blog ever end? Will he ever get tired?

To which I replied:

Harry gets distracted periodically but mine is a lot less high maintenance. [than Sullivan’s blog]

I find a lot of great things on the Daily Dish offered up by a host of smart people with all the lurkers and dim wits sidelined so that they don’t muck up a good conversation. Here’s a post one of them offered up on a subject I am quite keen on – the inanity of the GOP (not that lots of Democrats aren’t inane too Buddy. In fact I’ll have something to report on local leftish politics shortly regarding my meeting on Saturday)

A Memory confirmed for me …

…not for our recent Chairman.

Art Johnston and I have a similar problem. We never seem to throw anything away. The clear evidence of Art’s overflowing documentation is his office. Its got boxes of stuff all over the floor. That is a problem for me too but I have been in the habit of taking stuff up to my attic when I start feeling like one of the characters out of that television series about hoarders.

Actually, resistant as I am to tossing things out, I’ve been slowly and steadily cleaning out my attic for ten years or more. I probably got started about the time I fell off the School Board in 2004. It didn’t take me long, however, to begin accumulating at about the same rate I was tossing old stuff out. I’ve kept documents from my many races thinking they might made an interesting book about what drives a “perennial candidate” as the Trib’s editors are wont to call me. In my case its a story about how a “liberal” Republican coped with the two or three decades of purges that culled moderates from the party. That I landed in such infertile GOP soil as Duluth at the same time is another part of my ridiculous life.

Then In 2006 I caught wind of one of Minnesota’s biggest political scandals that had as its epicenter Duluth. I have a closet’s worth of documentation on that. A couple weeks ago I ran across someone who remembered two years worth of blog posts threatening to get that book written. She wondered if I ever managed it. No, I told her, but its too good a story for me to abandon. Its still qeued up waiting to land.

I set it on the shelf however, for another local scandal of sorts – the Red Plan. Once again I found myself threatening to write a tell all…..or at least one side of a tell all since the other side seemed to burn all its documents. Kevin Rupp was probably helpful with the lighter fluid.

Now I’ve got another book about the District’s educational politics in mind. Its one of a succession of books I’ve had in mind to write about the Duluth Public School experience. I think I have to write this same post once a year so I hope my long time readers will forgive me.

I plan on having my attic remodeled into an office some time in the next couple months. I need a space of sufficient size to put my stuff in some sort of orderly confusion if I’m ever going to finish any of my books.

One helpful item I have is my blog. Over the last several days of blog silence I’ve been going to that Wayback site that preserved most of the diary entries I lost a few years back. I’ve been printing them out and putting them in a three-ring binder. Unlike my blog entries diary entries were one-time compilations usually written at the end of a day. I didn’t write them every day and I only kept the School Board diary going for nine months. (It later morphed into a Politician’s Diary which had a short half-hearted life) I quit writing about the School Board because they stirred up a few of my fellow members who didn’t like me putting any spin back on their top serves.

Oh, there was one diary entry that wasn’t captured by the Wayback Machine. I only found a tantalizing reference to it in the page I set up for the year 2000″s May entries. It included the first paragraph of each day’s entry over the month. I titled the May 23rd entry “Missing Cues” for reasons that without the entire text are unclear. But this was the first paragraph:

Dear School Board Diary, The local section of the paper detailed a libel suit which our previous Superintendent Mark Myles is bringing against Al Netland, the President of AFSCME. Al had written a column over a year ago accusing Mark of benefiting financially from his association with the Edison Schools. It wasn’t true. Having had my own run ins with Al over the truth I didn’t have much sympathy for the union boss…

I’ve been looking for this information since last year’s MSBA convention.

At the end of that conference in an all too brief friendly period I got a ride back to Duluth with Chair Miernicki and Bill Westholm. Several future posts may include snippets of the conversations we had in the car. One of them involved this story. Mike was waxing eloquent on District history and speaking with great authority.

It may have been prompted by riffing on what Dr. Dixon might have gotten out of the Red Plan. Mike told us that Mark Myles left the Superintendency to collect an Edison paycheck. I’m not sure if I bothered to correct the Chairman or not. I might not have. But it was proof that Al’s damage had taken hold of at least one credulous teacher. I’m sure it was first spread around by Frank Wanner.

I devoted a fruitless day searching out the real story after my ride with Mike but I couldn’t recall the year. Now, with the help of the Wayback Machine, I had the month and year at hand and was able to go through my twenty year news clipping file. I quickly found both the story referenced in my diary and how it was settled in September of the same year.

In May Netland pooh poohed the suit, “This is nothing new,” he said at the story’s conclusion. However, Myles was paid to drop his suit and also got a fulsome apology from David Holwerk the then publisher of the Tribune.

BTW – I used to copy stories from the Trib’s early webpage back during this period and placed them on my webpage so that I could link to them from my web Diary. (The Trib only kept their stories on the web for about seven days) Holwerk, sent me a letter prompted by the Trib’s attorney’s telling me they owned the copyright and telling me to remove them from my website. I ignored the request for a year or so because the web was still in its infancy and I wasn’t convinced that I was doing the Trib any damage even though they clearly owned the copyright. When I finally did remove a couple year’s worth of stories, a sizable task, I managed to lose the diary posts too. Until the Wayback Machine I thought they were all lost forever.

This is proof that there is some truth to the claim by the fellow who alerted me to the Wayback Machine last year when I lamented the loss of all my early diary entries: “The Internet never forgets.” It turns out the Web has a memory almost as good as mine.