The first non-story commentary to appear in the newsletter:
Interest in the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet impact on Jupiter was so intense that people couldn't get enough of it -- despite lukewarm media coverage of the once-in-a-dozen-lifetimes event.
True Joins the Web
Nearly a year old, This is True didn't even have a web site until this week.
The First Hundred
This week Jordan becomes the 100th country (that I know of) on my distribution list.
Happy Birthday, Hal!
Take a moment on Sunday to send your best wishes to the HAL 9000 computer, which was supposedly brought to consciousness on January 12, 1997 in Urbana, Illinois.
Another Myth Dispelled
This is Not an Emergency: I've had quite a few hysterical people send me an 'urgent' notice that "we" "must" flood the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in order to make it known that we do not want to allow the telephone companies to be able to charge by the minute for Internet access.
We Made It!
When I was a kid, I would sometimes wonder if I'd live to see the 21st Century. I'm not particularly old, so it wasn't a question of dying of old age first, but rather that I grew up in 1960s Los Angeles, with all the anxiety that entailed. This was an era of "duck and cover" drills in elementary schools, borne of the somewhat laughable thought that everything would be fine if you got under a desk during an "atomic war".
(Heh! When I hit 'Save' on this entry, there was a net.burp and, for the first time ever, I got a duplicate post. Figures it would happen with that title, eh? :-)
Sometimes I delight in finding two or three weird stories in a short amount of time, and running them all together in the same issue. It happens more often than you might think (especially if you're not a Premium subscriber, and don't see all the stories).
Other times, the stories come out a couple of weeks apart. Such is the case this month, with two extraordinarily similar stories -- except for their outcomes.
Honorary Unsubscribe Choices
Two weeks ago I ran out of time to research and write the Honorary Unsubscribe -- and then forgot to note that in the issue. The H.U. runs the following Monday in the Premium edition, and I had time to research it over the weekend, so there was an H.U. entry that week -- free edition readers just didn't see it. But it's in the archive, if you like to keep track of such things. To catch up see Hans Beck.
Herb Caen: Master of the Three Dots
This story is what got me started on remembering Herb Caen — it's from True's 17 May 2009 issue:
OK, I'm a crank. I like Facebook. I really do. But one of the things I hate about it is how all up-in-arms people get about nothing. Today, I got Yet Another "invitation" to join a group to protest Facebook's plans to start charging for using the service -- the variant I got was "NO! I WILL NOT PAY $3.99/MONTH TO USE FACEBOOK STARTING JULY 9, 2010! JOIN." Again.
Everyone Talks About the Weather
Everyone talks about the weather, but I only write about it when it's really weird!
Florida: Officially the Weirdest
Some interesting statistical analysis on True story locations from Premium subscriber Mark in (yep!) Florida:
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
It was Labor Day in the U.S. on Monday, and I was laboring. Not just to get the Premium edition out, but I put it together sitting at the Labor Day rodeo here in Ridgway, Colorado.
The Very, VERY Beginning
My buddy "Jawn" from my NASA days is one of those natural social networkers. I don't mean on Facebook, I mean in real life, and throughout his whole life. Several of his friends are on a mailing list together; I know them all in Real Life myself, and they're all great guys. One, Hy, sent out a joke to the group today about men and power tools (on Jumbo Joke here).
Ask Me Anything
A reader thought I should go on Reddit and do an AMA, or "Ask Me Anything" event. I do have a Reddit account, but I've been far from active there, and I'm a bit dubious that I'm known there. It'd be pretty icky to do an AMA and not have anyone show up.
But after pondering it for several months, I thought I'd do an AMA outside of Reddit, and invite the Premium subscribers to ask the questions. It was set up using an online survey site so that it would be easy to make it anonymous (but questioners were allowed to leave their names if they wished), and promised to answer the most interesting questions in my blog.
Burbank, California: My Home Town
How Cool is my home town (Burbank, Calif.)? Sure, “Beautiful Downtown Burbank” is where Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was taped, but it was also (from 1928) the headquarters city of Lockheed Aircraft Co., and that was apparently reflected in the city seal.