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May 28, 2003
RICK BRAGG'S NEWS BAGBy
Okay, most folks know I'm laid off a bit from my usual digs at the Times. No biggy, I'm not bitter, or disappointed, or psychotic, or vengeful or anything, I mean, I'm not gonna go over there and go postal or anything like that if that's what you're worried about. Forget it. I'm okay. And I'm not drinking too much either, okay? Get the "F" off my back on that one too, mother. I'm fine, okay? And Greyhawk says I can write news here at The Mudville Gazette while I'm checking my connections for something a bit more, ahhh, lucrative, shall we say?
I mean, I don't need the money. I stashed back quite a bit during my run as a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the Paper of Record. Oh yea, I don't need their job. You here me Howell? You Dink! I don't need you, Mr. "Sacrificial lamb", Mr "take one for the team," Mr "we gotta get a white guy, Rick, and you're it.."
Yea, whatever. Anyhow, the only condition on me here is I have to do all my own writing. Which is kind of a bummer since I never learned to type, but what the heck. "I swear on my honor as a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter that this is all my work and no one else is involved! So say I, Rick Bragg!" That good enough for you people?
Now here's the news.
I'll begin at Fox News. What morons! Here's the right-wing biased crap they call news. Someone's faxing letters to a paper in Britain claiming to be Saddam Hussein. They better not be lying, 'cause anyone who puts the wrong name on their work gets fired! Right?
And some of the greatest politicians of our time go to Iowa and Fox News writes this: "Iowa's 2004 Democratic Voters Not Impressed So Far" about it? Yea, no bias there. I'd fire the whole staff if I was in charge. That's an editorial, not news! I can't stand Fox! Changing channels!
World Net Daily: You gotta be kidding me! Every day's version is a hate crime against humanity! I was about to punch my Monitor because Pat Buchanan's face was the first thing I saw, but my mouse hand twitched and I clicked on this: "Poll: Clinton greater than Reagan, Washington" You're damn skippy he was! But would he help a buddy who needs a little work thrown his way? No! According to his secretary he's in the Philippines or somewhere. Probably chasing skank. I might track him down and report on him. How about it Howell? A tell-all on Clinton? (Just kidding...)
Time for a refreshing change. One more Right Wing Redneck news site and I would smash my monitor. USA Today! (I always get a kick out of that name!) there's a fresh anti-American slant I need right about now. Led Zeppelin? Led Zeppelin? I covered these guys for my High School paper! Now Led Zeppelin is releasing new CDs and DVDs? When I clicked on the Amazon Icon it said "Customers who bought Led Zeppelin also bought Viagra, Rogaine, and Preparation H"!
Hey, here's some happy news! "Chandra Levy Buried one Year After Discovery." Hey quick, name that Congressman that killed her? Hah! You couldn't do it. could you? How about this: "Derrick Todd Lee Arrest eases fears of La. women" Tell you what, I don't care, I'm not a woman!
"TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) -- Sony, under pressure to cut costs and roll out hot new products after dismal earnings news, unveiled a game machine on Wednesday, the "PSX," that puts a TV tuner, DVD recorder and game player in a single box."
Hey, I've got a little extra time on my hands, hope it comes out soon. Oh, by the way, the part in italics isn't mine okay? I copied it from the original article. I didn't write any of the articles I've linked to here, okay? I don't want to be accused of putting others words over my name, okay? Moving on..."Bush signs $350 Billion Tax Cut Bill" Well I hope you're all happy starving to death! And he better not have cut unemployment benefits, I'll tell you what...
Okay, my blood pressure is up a bit, and I know I said I wouldn't do this, but I'm going to the Drudge Report now... Hey, a link to Maureen Dowd. You know she used to service me daily in the unisex. Not a bad gal overall, but whenever I spoke with her I got the impression she wasn't listening. So I say "Okay then, repeat what I said" and she only remembered about half of whatever it was. But it's even worse since I got fired it's not even a phone call returned. "Sorry, Bragg, I heard you'd been "downsized", and well, to be honest you couldn't afford it, know what mean?" No I don't know, Maureen. You smirky lttle...Hey! What's this? No, not the girl-friend busting webcam, this:
"HILLARY HAD THREE WRITERS FOR AUTOBIOGRAPHY" You have got to be kidding
Forget it. Tell you what, I'm done for today, it's 4 o'clock somewhere! Time for the Braggster to start the party! Hoo hoo, laid off ain't all bad kids. Hey Howler! Howler! How do you like me telling the world your Christmas Party nickname Howler?
Hehe, you want stories? I got a million of 'em...
FOR THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE, RICK BRAGG REPORTING
Posted by / May 28, 2003 5:34 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
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