Forward Slash and Burn

This is a rever­sal. Brick is all about the new. Live in the present, look toward the future. Dwell just a lit­tle on what’s past.

But the URL from which it sprang,, has been neglected. Oh, I tell myself, it’s an archive. It works well enough. Fast-loading, a ref­er­ence for me when I am writ­ing far from my files at home. Per­haps occa­sional read­ers of Brick head back there to see ear­lier work.

Usu­ally I think these old essays get opened because of obscure search key­words peo­ple type into Google. As for me when I have reviewed its con­tents, it looks like a pile of junk. This past spring, how­ever, I dived in, to ensure I wasn’t repeat­ing myself in a new Brick, and saw lots of good writ­ing, good orga­ni­za­tion and even wit. Amid only a few clunkers.

Log­i­cal enough. “Leave well enough alone,” my late Uncle Al Pol­lock was fond of say­ing. The web­site that appears before the for­ward slash,, is an archive of some five dozen columns I wrote for news­pa­pers, real newspapers. home page 2002-2011The web­site looks like it was built in 2002, because it was. Pure html code, not a lick of CSS, which was not wide­spread yet (if not in com­mon use, it wouldn’t work for most people’s com­put­ers). No frames or other bells and whis­tles, though. I always liked a clean look. The yel­low legal-pad image indi­cated my pref­er­ence for writ­ing long­hand. Almost 10 years later, though, and you can almost see the edges curl­ing from rot and smell the mildew.

Facts belie the logic. Ana­lyt­ics indi­cate all sorts of peo­ple go there and open the sup­pos­edly great­est hits of  my late ‘80s-early ‘90s news­pa­per columns, col­lec­tively called Mirthol­ogy, and my 1/1999–9/2001 news­pa­per columns col­lec­tively called Loose Leaves.  Plus a few guest columns. These two stand­ing heds indi­cate my goals, humor in the first and mixed top­ics for the latter.

For­get all the muckety-mucks I’ve had to deal with and work under for decades:

My copy doesn’t suck.

Maybe if the par­lor in which the columns are dis­played was spruced up — paint the walls, wash the win­dows — my morale would improve and I’d write more in Brick.

But my “free time” through­out 2011, until June 26, was too busy for the mind­set I need for visual work and cod­ing. I did have a few design ideas, but nei­ther time nor energy to fid­dle them up. Then the annual colum­nists con­fer­ence — where I played a daily, con­sum­ing (though sec­ondary) plan­ning role — adjourned. from 2011The Web rework is done. The curio cab­i­nets and shelv­ing are ready.

Even though my old columns through unbi­ased eyes — your eyes — surely are uneven, they deserve being seen in a dis­play case, not stuck in a card­board box on a high, dusty shelf.

Hear­ing a week ago that car­toon­ist Vic Harville had retired as car­toon­ist for Stephens Media as of July 1 was the final impe­tus to com­plete the redesign of Mirthol­ogy: A Loose Leaflet. Vic illus­trated sev­eral Mirthol­ogy columns, as did John Deer­ing. Cici David­son drew numer­ous sketches that ran with the col­umn. After hours of search­ing, I found many of the orig­i­nal “boards” in an over­size manila enve­lope in that very box on a truly high, dusty shelf last weekend.

Those works are head­ing for a scan­ner and even­tual upload­ing to I want to show off the art of my long­time friends.

Mean­while, I am work­ing on new columns here in Brick, the web­site that fol­lows the for­ward slash of The Mirthol­o­gist is proud of the past, but he will not move back there. Onward.



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