Richard Harter’s World
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What this site is about and other lies

This website is dedicated to the proposition that all people are created irretrievable, that they are naturally endowed, and to the last word, however belated. It is best viewed with a bottle of scotch.

It isn’t hot; it isn’t cool; it’s, well, it’s sort of tepid, a cross between an e-zine and an intellectual rubbish heap. Somewhere in this site is something that you will read and agree with; somewhere there is something that horrify you; and in more than one place you will shake your head and ask “What in the hell was all of that about?”

In this page I explain all about this site and why it exists and what it is good for and whether it is approved by the FDA. (It isn’t.)

What is it about?

I am, I will have you understand, a man with a fertile mind, made fertile by the liberal application and use of organic fertilizers, a man with many interests and few principles. Here is a sampler, gateways into some of those interests. Select one of these or read further if you want descriptions.

Evolution, creationism, and crackpots:
This is my origins page. It has essays and links on evolution, creationism, and related topics.

Science Fiction Fandom:
This page is all about SF, SF fanzines, and SF fandom. Herein you will find twenty year old trash that reads just as well now as it did then. Don’t tell your mother about this page.

Dinosaurs and paleontology:
This page is, surprise, surprise, all about dinosaurs and paleontology. Mostly it hasn’t been written but there’s some stuff there.

Piltdown Man’s home page:
This is a meaty page on the Piltdown man hoax. It covers the history of the hoax, how the forgery was done, and all of the theories on whodunit. With lots of references it’s a web resource.

Gender Issues:
This page was supposed to to cover gender issues from the perspective of years of following them on the internet. It has some links to gender issues and resources pages. Mostly it is gender wars humor. Read it to find out who Nancy Johnson was.

Volley Ball
This is a personal essay about becoming a volley ball bum after turning 40.

Mathematics and Computers:
Right now this page is a holding point for some links to odds and ends. Eventually I am going to transcribe some papers and essays into web pages. When I do this comment will change. Check the pretty picture.

Collected Bits of Nonsense:
This is my humor page. Over the years I have collected amusing bits of nonsense. This page has links to them. There are also links to some offbeat essays I have written.

Collected Writings:
This page contains links to collected essays wherein I expound goodness and wisdom to the salivating masses. You may gain the lore of many things therein. It has also has links to other writings too diverse and too disreputable to describe.

Religion and Philosophy:
Herein I wax philosophic about matters religious and philosophic. Many of these essays appear else where, particularly on my humor page under the listing “bizarre essays”.

Senseless Acts Of Literature:
This is a small salon where various flights of literary fancy have gathered to sip wine, consume endless brie, and capture the odd thought.

My personal home page;
My personal home page has biographical data and a lot of stuff about various interests. It’s worth taking a look at — I’m an interesting person.

People who never were:
This page lists of the home pages of non-existent people and institutions that populate my web pages.

Corporate connections:
This page has connections to companies I have founded or otherwise have connections with.

Collected recipes:
Er, yes, we have recipes. You may not find all of these in your Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Over the years I have written a number of short stories. Some of them are actually readable.

Harters on the web:
There are Harters all over the place. Some of them have web pages. Some of those web pages are listed here.

Does anybody read this stuff?

Apparently they do. At least I think they do – sometimes I get the feeling that the only “people” reading the internet are search engines. According to statistics that Earthlink provides my pages currently (2007) get about 1.7 million visitors a year. Granted that a lot of those are repeat customers but that still a lot eye tracks on my pages.

Of course, some pages get more traffic than others. From time to time one page or another will get an absurd amount of traffic, usually because some much more popular site will have a link to one of my pages. Some pages are used in university courses as standard references, e.g, the Piltdown Man pages – weep for the educational system. Some are used in university courses by gullible students who are both unscrupulous and careless in their research. For such as they, the results can be unfortunate. And some just catch people’s fancy one way or another. Here is a medly of popular pages:

A bit of history – Genesis

I started it in March of 1996 for a couple of reasons. One was professional — I wanted to keep up with changes in the computing field and the world wide web is the latest hot thing. The other was that I wanted to move my amateur publishing efforts from the print media to this new media. Off and on for many years I had published fanzines, small amateur press publications vaguely related to the Science Fiction world.

My last fanzine. a personalzine called Personal Notes, was dedicated to the fine art of nattering about this and that and the other thing, nominally about science fiction but really about anything that happened to strike my fancy. That was a long ago; the last issue appeared in 1978.

In the 80’s and early 90’s my life was consumed by my software company; I had no time for hobbies such as personal journalism. I never quite forgot, however; I always was sure that I would resume publishing Personal Notes someday. Finally, after 18 years, I “retired” and got some free time. In 1996 I revive little fanzine, only this time in the form a web site, under the happy illusion that a web site would be just the ticket, a new improved electronic version of my old magazine.

More history – Three Stages

Like Gaul, the history of this site can be divided into three parts, the Concord years, the transition years, and the Deborah years. Not surprisingly, these correspond different stages in my life.

The Concord years ran roughly from 1996-1999. It took a while for the site’s format to settle down – it wasn’t until 1998 that it became a monthly e-zine. In some respects this was the most creative era. By far the bulk of the fiction and poetry was written in that period. One reason for this is that I had both plenty of free time and many coffee shops where I could spend that time. In my experience composition is best done in a coffee shop. Also, I was reprinting “The Best of Richard”, that being the better written and more interesting things I had written in fanzines over the years.

The transition years were from 2000-2002; they were a major transition in my life and, to a lesser extent, in the web site as well. In my personal life I moved from Concord to Highmore in stages, and became my mother’s agent in her final years. In the web site I did some interesting things – the reincarnation cycle was created then as were the “Calamity Jane Austin” pages – but the production of fiction and poetry gradually trailed off.

The Deborah Rinehart years run from 2002 to present. Deborah is responsible for a good deal of happiness in my life; she is also responsible for a major change in the web site. She likes to read the editorials. Ever since we started going together the editorials have come out once a month like clockwork. Not only that, they are longer and (perhaps) more entertaining. She also likes the letter column. For some reason I can’t quite fathom she is less interested in the articles on computer science. There is, perhaps, less new original material than before (other than editorials) but I have made up for it by mining the past.

Even I don’t know for sure what it is about; this I do know – it isn’t a site for the masses. It started out in the late twentieth century as a web based version of the olde curiosity shoppe. Since then it has accreted stuff and turned into a slum city of the mind.