table of contents
Collected editorials


Fly fishing

The trouble with flyfishing is that sometimes you inadvertently cast to the wrong place and a fish grabs the hook. It helps if you only use a sinker and omit the fly and the hook; however a really determined fish will swallow the sinker.

The anomalies of love

There are poems, books, even people that are loved, not because they stand high in some scale of merit, but because they are loved.

No credit for Richard

In late June I got a call from the local bank. This was a mystery to me because I was quite certain that my account was comfortably distant from being overdrawn. Why else, after all, would a bank call you?

However the purpose of the call was something much more exotic. I keep a credit card from my local bank. By my request it has a low limit; I use it for small miscellaneous purchases. It seems, they informed me, that my card may have been compromised. Not “was”, mind you, but “may have been”. The bank and I agreed to close the card and that they would send me a new one.

I have no idea what happened. I never use the card for internet purchases – I am moderately paranoid about such things. I suppose some minor purchase passed through the electronic gates of some merchant processing center where it was duly harvested by the resident trojan horse. More precisely, where it may have been harvested. This, though, is but speculation. For all I know the secret service may have intercepted a message to the alien’s mother ship.

In any event it’s a novel experience. I may have been compromised in the past, but never like this.

Vices and virtues

Sincerity is a vice and hypocrisy is a virtue. The profession of virtue is a social necessity; the practice of it a human impossibility. It is hypocrisy that allows us to say what we must say and do what we must do. Sincerity is admirable in small quantities and dangerous in large, a good servant and a poor master.

Not a blogger

A while ago a chap writing under the name J.G. wrote and asked for permission to reprint a bit of not so fawning commentary that I had written about Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It seems that upon the occasion of Susan Sontag’s death Jerry had written a eulogy that might be summarized as “Good riddance to bad rubbish.” J.G. took exception to Pournelle’s comment and wanted to slice, dice, and skewer him. An admirable desire on his part, I might add.

I generously granted him permission (it was kind of him to ask – I can’t imagine what I would have done if he hadn’t asked) and he used it in one of his rants. er, essays in one of his blogs.

For those of my readers who aren’t up-to-date on the latest tech fad, blog is short for weblog. Weblogs are on-line diaries that use special software that makes it easy to maintain and update your blog. Some blogs are innocuous enough, being personal nattering about the weather, the state of the garden, travelogues, the love life of the blogger’s cat, and such like. Some bloggers like to express opinions about company politics, a choice of topic often viewed with alarm by their employers. And then there are rants. People blather on obsessively about the damnedest things. Particularly politics. They ought to do one of those egg commercials about politics – you know, the ones where they show you an egg and say “this is your brain” and then they show you a pan of burnt scrambled eggs and say “this is your brain on politics”.

J.G. is into politics. That’s all right. It is his blog, and it is a free universe after all. Well, it’s not really free, but it’s cheap. Think of the universe as a construction job performed by deities that always shop at Walmart. Be that as it may I take no exception to the use he made of my words. There is, however, a small matter that has wounded me, to wit, he referred to me as “blogger Richard Harter”.

Ahem. I AM NOT A BLOGGER. Mind you, I have nothing against bloggers. Why, some of my best friends are bloggers. However my web site is not a blog, either by format or intent. By the standards of the internet and the world wide web I am an antediluvian. I was there before google and yahoo and, Ghu help us, blogs and bloggers. My site is what it is and I object to it being misrepresented by internet Johny Come Latelies.


Trash of the ages

There is quite a bit of, ah, stuff in this issue. Expect this trend to continue. I’m cleaning out the files, so to speak, and moving my not so immortal prose on to the internet.

This page was last updated July 1, 2005.
It was reformatted and moved October 16, 2006

table of contents
Collected editorials