35th Anniversary of the Men on the Moon

I heard a mention on the news this morning that this is the 35th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first walk on the Moon.
I was 11, living in the small town of Garrett, Indiana. I had probably read so much about the LEM and Apollo 11 that I could have taken them apart and put them back together blindfolded. And so had my friends.
There are black-and-white memories. We watched on a small black-and-white TV because the experts said that you should use a black-and-white TV if you wanted to take Polaroid pictures when Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon. I found a couple of those pictures a few years ago. They were blurry as hell, but I knew exactly what was happening in the picture, just like like I clearly see my daughter in the sonogram and all you see is gray shapes.
And I also, maybe more so, have the outdoor memories. Leaving the TV and walking out in the backyard and joining all the neighbors and probably everybody else who could get a view of the moon, and just looking at it, probably bugging one of my brothers to share the binoculars, hoping to catch just the chance metallic gleam off a a spacesuit or space ship.
There are probably a few of my friends who are starting to think about now, oh-oh, he’s heading toward some Babylon 5 thing again.
It was a big vision that most everybody shared. I wonder how much time we all spent growing up planning to work in the space program.
It didn’t turn out that way. Talking about going to Mars seems like another tawdry political trick, a trial balloon floated, and cast aside.
Yes, dammit, I’m going for the Babylon 5 thing. Here it is:
“Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you’ll get ten different answers, but there’s one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won’t just take us. It’ll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu, Einstein, Morobuto, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars.”
Anyway, a nice memory for the day. That, and my other Apollo 11 connection. Probably within a year or so after Apollo 11 returned, Neil Armstrong was doing a tour of th lodges of the fraternal order of the elks(?), eagles(?) – I can’t remember which now. But my granddad was tending bar when he arrived. I believe that they spent the afternoon talking. Neil Armstrong gave my granddad some special swizzle sticks that his local lodge had printed up specially to commemorate the moon landing so that Granddad could give them to my brothers and me. That was cool.

Wow! Thanks for the Great Reaction to The Blawg Channel

I was busy today. That’s why I haven’t replied to your emails. And, no, I’m not saying that blogging about Damien Pagan and “vita triptych drub” is more important than responding to your email.
I didn’t fully comprehend until launching The Blawg Channel how neatly the concept of “fast prototyping” dovetailed with that great line “Ready, fire, aim.”
However, I’m a little overwhelmed by the great response we’ve gotten today.
[Memo to New Bloggers: You have to be ready to have a real audience from your first posting. Don’t even think about trying a “testing 1, 2, 3″ post. ]
We might have to release in the future some of our emails trying to work out the small details and decisions you never fully think about in advance. To our credit, even with a group of four lawyers, we’ve at least resisted bringing up the “is it The Blawg Channel or just Blawg Channel” question, an almost primevally instinctive lawyer question. Go ahead and laugh about it – but what do you write in when you’re filling out a form or ordering coffee mugs with the name on them? You see, the practice of law is not quite as easy as some people believe.
But we’re working on the details. Expect to see more announcements soon, or maybe soonish.

Who is Damien Pagan and what does “vita triptych drub” mean?

And why is he emailing me about it?
Maybe it’s just me, but didn’t everything about email, including spam, seem so much simpler just a few years ago, in the days before spam filters?
Think about this: what if the cold callers had to resort to saying phrases like “vita triptych drub” as soon as you picked up the phone just to get the chance to offer fantastic mortgage rates to you? It’d be disturbing and it’s disturbing to see in your inbox too.
Perhaps, worst of all, maybe now I need to think about using subject lines like “vita triptych drub” to make sure my emails get through, instead of calling to make sure that important email arrives.
But, you know what, Damien Pagan – in a few days I’m going to rank higher in Google for searches on “Damien Pagan” and “vita tritych drub” than you ever will. I guess I get the last laugh.

The Blawg Channel Opens the Door to the Next Stage of Legal Blogging

I don’t know if it was because I was back in my old hometown, historically a railroad town, a few weeks ago, but the lyrics of some of the great “train songs” keep running through my head. Sometimes it’s Springsteen’s “Land of Hope and Dreams,” but a lot of the time it’s Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” which Springsteen’s song obviously honors.
It goes like this:
“People get ready there’s a train comin’
You don’t need no baggage, just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
You don’t need no ticket, just thank the lord.”
Of course, in my mind it got a little garbled (I’m not crazy enough to think that I can improve on Curtis Mayfield):
People get ready,
There’s a train a-comin’.
Don’t need no ticket,
Just climb on board.
But I get the gist of it – the part about climbing on board.
I’ve been thinking about those lyrics and that image as I’ve been talking with three of the smartest and coolest people I’ve met in the blawg world about what we might do together and what we might be able to build in this little piece of the blog world.
The first round of talking is done, but there’s a bigger and broader conversation to come. The talks have taken on a first form and that became live tonight.
People get ready, the Blawg Channel’s comin’. You know the rest.
Take a look here. And there’s a feed. Subscribed!

My Breathless Article about News Aggregators and Newsfeeds from 2003

While I was having some fun taunting Foley & Lardner in my last post about missing a great website opportunity by failing to post an article by one of its lawyers that had gotten a lot of Internet exposure, I was reminded of a few failings of my own in that regard.
Not that I don’t have good excuses – I have a solo practice and I’m in the middle of a wholesale revision and redesign of my website. The latter excuse, as many will attest, covers a world of sins.
However, I published a gushing article last year about news aggregators and newsfeeds that got pulled behind a members-only wall a while back and I’ve been remiss in not making it freely available in its original form on my website.
It’s a little dated here and there, but I’m still a huge FeedDemon fan, and most of it still works well. The article was my attempt to put into as plain of language as I could what was happening with news aggregators and feeds, how they worked in a non-technical sense, how you could use them to help you take control of the information washing over you, and more. In short, I tried to write about why I found feeds and aggregation to be so damned exciting and important.
Nothing that’s happened in the last 10 months (other than comment spam, of course) has tempered my enthusiasm. I’d say that my enthusiasm has continued to grow.
So, I wanted to get this article back out there to help convert the unconverted.
It’s called – “Life-Altering Technology – News Aggregators and Newsfeeds” – I hope you find it helpful. It’s probably the article I’ve written in the last years that was the most fun for me to write.