Email is an interesting thing. It is so very easy to type up an email to someone, yet very few people ever respond when they read something they like or disagree with. Wright’s Law tells me that for every email I receive, there are 156 people who agree with the emailer, but who are just too
lazy busy to write. My sense of honesty forces me to explain that Wright’s Law is expressed as, “42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot,” that it is named for comedian Steven Wright, and that so far, all statistics referred to in this article have been made up. But I felt it was about time to answer some of my emails in a very public way.
“What is the best email you’ve ever received?”
The funniest email I have received in a long time came during the height of the recent Terri Schiavo brouhaha. This pithy gem was only six words long. The meat of the message was the succinct “F*** YOU!” that is the staple of genteel and well-educated pundits throughout the English-speaking world. But what cracked me up was the automatic signature at the end of the message: “Have a great day!” A word of advice to future ranters — don’t dilute your hatred with well wishes. It’s a bit schizophrenic.
“Why do you call yourself Captain Midnight? Are you a real captain? Is your last name really Midnight?”
These questions are addressed in my about me page, but I’ll answer them again here. No, I’m not really named “Captain Midnight,” any more than my wife is really named “The Pirate King.” Believe me, that would look strange on a marriage license, except in Massachusetts. But I do have some captain’s bars from my fighter-pilot father, if that counts for anything. I have used this pseudonym for nearly 15 years; I first borrowed it from the Robert A. Heinlein novel The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. The protagonist of the story sometimes refers to himself as “Captain Midnight,” and my favorite quote comes from page 107 in my copy of the book: “Captain Midnight, undaunted as usual, knew just what to do.”
“Would you write up your views on [some issue]?”
Maybe. Someday. This isn’t your typical blog with multiple small postings each day about whatever strikes my fancy. Instead, I write about stuff that moves me, and my basic goal is to write at least 1,000 words on my chosen subject. [Eh, I've since skipped that requirement -- Captain Midnight] I’m not the speediest of typists, so these articles can take a bit to crank out, especially if I’m called away on some other task. At any given time I have a half-dozen topics that have been buzzing in my head for a while, and one of them will come to the forefront and demand to be released. This often means that I am not in the vanguard of a breaking story, but then I’m not a journalist in the classic “Stop the presses!” sense. I’m merely an opinionated person who thinks that both of the people who read this site would appreciate my take on certain issues. Or should appreciate my take. I told you I was opinionated.
“What are your favorite blogs?”
There isn’t enough time to read all the work of people I would really like to read. I’d have to quit both sleeping and working if I even wanted to begin keeping up with all the good writing that’s out on the Internet. Since I believe in Sturgeon’s Law that “90% of everything is crud,” it is important to avoid the crud whenever possible. The amazing thing to me is how many really good blogs exist; of course, that means a huge amount of crud must be out there as well. Here is a listing of sites that I visit daily to check for new material, in alphabetical order:
There are many others that I will visit once a week or so, but they are too numerous to list here.
“Could you send me some cool links, please?”
Sure. Here you go.
“What is your favorite joke?”
Again, honesty requires me to confess that no one has ever written to ask for my favorite joke, but I wanted to pad this past a thousand words and end with a laugh, so here goes:
There once was a field full of carrots. It was an old field, and it wasn’t so tasty to the carrots any more. One day, a carrot noticed that the field on the other side of the road had been freshly plowed and fertilized. He wiggled out of his hole and hopped across the road to the new field, where he planted himself. Bliss! He waved and called his friends over to the new field.
Thus began the massive carrot migration. Then one day, a carrot was hit by a passing car as he was hopping across the road. His friends rushed his mangled body to the nearest hospital where the finest carrot doctor in the land worked for hours repairing the young carrot. It was touch and go, but finally the head surgeon came out of the operating room to announce that he had both good news and bad news for the anxious family.
“The good news is that he will live. The bad news is that he’ll be a vegetable for the rest of his life.”