General: May 2005 Archives

Lost in transit?


If you attempted to send email to blog at batesline dot com last week (specifically May 16-23), your message may not have arrived. I was tinkering with the filter configuration, and apparently dialed it up a bit high, as I've heard from a few people that they sent me something that never showed up in the inbox. I've undone the tinkering, so if you had something important to tell me, please give it another try. Thanks.

(Bumped this entry's date to keep it at the top.)

Goodbye, cool Thurl

| | Comments (1)

Thurl Ravenscroft, he of the deep, deep voice that sold billions of Frosted Flakes, died Sunday, age 91. You may not know the name, but the voice is instantly recognizable. You've heard him as Tony the Tiger, and you've heard him sing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!" Over at the Internet Movie Database, you'll find an incomplete list of his lengthy and largely uncredited career doing voice work for cartoons, movies, television, and even Disneyland rides.

All Things Thurl is a comprehensive fan website that features RealAudio clips -- on this page, you'll find Thurl's group, the Mellomen, singing "Zorro" and other Disney theme songs.

Another page on All Things Thurl features his solo recordings. Click on that link, and you can listen to Thurl sing "The Old Rugged Cross" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."

His voice will be missed.

The last few days


Thanks for your patience during my extended absence. I'm fine, just busier than ever with my new job.

The biggest difference between my old job and the new one is that in the old job, there would be 50 people working together on a project extending over the course of a year -- deadline pressure existed, but wasn't an every day occurrence -- while in the new job, tasks are created with a short fuse, and the buck stops with me.

I added a state to the list of those I've visited (only eight more to go) with my first business trip for my new job. The boss didn't think I needed a rental car, and strictly speaking he was right. The local manager was able to pick me up and drop me off at the hotel and take me around for lunch and dinner. The town was small enough that I could get around on my own two feet -- about two miles from the hotel on the interstate to our facility in an old retail building downtown. The main drag connecting the two had the usual assortment of fast food outlets, a Wal-Mart, and The Mall (only one in town, no need for a descriptive name). There were sidewalks the whole distance, which isn't always the case in this part of the country.

One unpleasant thing about walking where 99% of the people are driving is getting catcalls from yoofs in passing vehicles. I never can quite make out what they're saying, but I'm guessing it isn't complimentary. One time I thought I heard "Looking good!" from a pickup full of young women, but that may have been an auditory hallucination.

The first night in town I walked the four miles into town and back out, just to see the town and enjoy the cool evening. The second night I needed a longer Ethernet cable to connect one of the computers to the facility network, so after getting some work done at the hotel, I walked to Wal-Mart, picked up the cable, then trudged on to the facility. I began to notice a burning sensation in my Achilles tendons. After installing the cable, and getting a bite to eat, I started to walk back, but thought better of it when I passed the office for the local cab company. I called the number on the door; the driver came out and drove me the two miles back to the hotel for $6.

That pain revealed another difference between the old job and the new. At the old job, if I got bored or antsy sitting in my cube, I'd take a walk around the sprawling manufacturing plant. If I really needed to blow off steam, I could walk the half-mile circuit around the greenbelt that runs through the industrial park. Over the last four weeks, I haven't done any walking like that -- thus the pain in my under-used calves and Achilles tendons.

It would have been nice to give my aches and pains a rest, but I had to make my way through the Denver airport, and once home it was off to a church father-son campout. My eight-year-old was there already, spending the afternoon riding his bike on the trails. I arrived just in time for the bonfire, roasting marshmallows, and singing. We sang some clever scout song parodies, including "Ghost Chickens in the Sky" with its haunting refrain of "Bok, bok, bok bok!" We sang some praise choruses, and there was a devotional talk on the vastness of space and the greatness of God. We had good sleeping weather. The temperature cooled off, the skies were mostly clear -- in recent years, the event featured a tornado warning and a flood. Pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast, another devotional (about Ehud from the book of Judges), then an obstacle relay involving barrels, wheelbarrows, kayaks, bicycles, and running. I gave my aching tendons as much rest as possible and took pictures. My son was one of the kayakers and got stuck a couple of times on half-sunk logs, but before long he got the hang of paddling and steering, and after lunch we both paddled around the pond for a while. It was my son's first campout, and my first campout in a couple of decades, and we both had a great time.

I returned home to an inbox full of tasks that absolutely had to be done by Monday morning. I'm writing this as I'm waiting for some number-crunching to complete.

I'll be on the air in the morning with Elvis Polo on 1170 KFAQ from 5:30 to 7:30 -- he's filling in for Michael DelGiorno and Gwen Freeman, who have the day off. Blogging will continue to be light for the forseeable future, but I will do my best to post something every day. I have plenty to say, but not much time for saying it.

Service interruption


The new job and family events have not been leaving me with much time for the Internet, and the situation is likely to persist until late Sunday evening, so don't expect a BatesLine update until Monday morning. Check out the blogroll for good reading elsewhere.

No news tonight


Sorry again for the lack of posting, but I've had some other matters to deal with this evening. I'll be talking about local issues tomorrow morning at 6:40 a.m. on 1170 KFAQ with Michael DelGiorno and Gwen Freeman -- I'm sure we'll review the District 5 election, the appointment of Alan Jackere as City Attorney, and anything else of note from the last week.

In the meantime, I encourage you to catch up with other Tulsa blogs, like Tulsa Topics, Homeowners for Fair Zoning, Roemerman on Record, and Blog of No Significance.

I'd encourage you to read MeeCiteeWurkor, too, but he's having technical difficulties and writes that his blog will be down for about a week. I'll let you know when he's back up and running.



Sorry, folks, but I just can't think to write about local stuff this morning. The new job has been demanding a lot of hours, early and late. It doesn't help that the Game Cube is going in the next room. I plan to post a few entries tonight, but in the meantime, check out the some of the blogs in the sidebar to the right.

Best of BatesLine?


When I meet readers of this blog, it always surprises me to learn which entries on BatesLine have made the biggest and most lasting impression. Often it's the stuff I put up for my own amusement, stuff I can't imagine is going to interest anyone else.

I'd like to know what you think. Post a comment or send an e-mail with your favorite BatesLine entry (or two or three, if you can't narrow it down). Thanks.

Today was the second anniversary of BatesLine.

In April 2003, we had just connected to broadband. I had been thinking about getting a domain name so our e-mail addresses could be independent of our ISP. I had also started reading blogs, beginning with National Review's The Corner, then Instapundit and Little Green Footballs. As long as I was finding a host for our domain, I may as well find one that would set up a blog for me. What I had in mind was a place to make note of and comment on news and other interesting things I found on the web, and to make those comments and notes available to friends and family. I did not begin with grand ambitions.

It's instructive to look back over two years' worth of stats. According to awstats, BatesLine had 142 visits from 80 unique IP addresses for the entire month of May 2003. I received absolutely no referrals from other websites in that month.

There's some good stuff in that first month worth of posts, including one of the most frequently accessed BatesLine entries, "Cute Baby Pictures." It's on the first page of Google results for that phrase, although I doubt the many visitors who hit it are looking for images of a half-inch long baby toad or a baby armadillo -- even though they are very cute. Since 99% of you didn't read any of it at the time, it's all new to you, and maybe I'll start rerunning it.

In July and August, BatesLine became the de facto website for the opposition to Vision 2025, and traffic began to climb as radio stations and even the Tulsa Whirled linked to the site. (Do you think I should sue?) I received 2298 visits in August and peaked at 3496 in September -- 833 on September 9 alone, the day of the Vision 2025 vote. It was in the course of this election that BatesLine was first noticed and linked by A-list Oklahoma blogs like Dustbury, OkieDoke, and Reflections in d minor.

It was also in August that I got the world's smallest Instalanche for this article on using WiFi to spur development in downtown Tulsa. (I linked to this Instapundit item, and Glenn updated later with a link back to me.) How small was it? So small that I only just now noticed it -- 24 hits. Compare that to the 10,488 hits from Instapundit in February 2005, linking to my items about the threat letter from the Tulsa Whirled.

The Vision 2025 campaign transformed BatesLine into a blog mainly about local politics. It also began the partnership between BatesLine and KFAQ. Michael DelGiorno, Gwen Freeman, and I had lunch shortly after the vote, and Michael suggested having me on regularly as a Vision 2025 watchdog. As other local issues cropped up -- the 71st and Harvard case in October 2003, city elections at the beginning of 2004 -- that role broadened to include all of city politics. I think I've only missed one Monday morning since we began way back then. Month after month, KFAQ's website is the single biggest referrer to BatesLine.

Traffic climbed steadily over 2004, as BatesLine covered the new City Council majority and offered some first-hand reporting from the Republican National Convention. I also got to know a number of official convention bloggers and New York City-based conservative bloggers -- connections that would come in handy earlier this year. Traffic peaked in October at 15,015 visits, with October 22 the biggest day to date at 3,389 visits, thanks to a link from National Review's The Corner to this item reporting Chris Matthews' claim that George W. Bush is not pro-life.

The threat letter from the Tulsa World dominated February 2005, which has been BatesLine's biggest month to date -- 40,082 visitors, nearly 28,000 in a two-day period. For much of that traffic, I have to thank Ace of Spades (to whom Karol Sheinin introduced me at a New Criterion "Tuesday at Fitz's" in New York City back in late November) for responding to the mass e-mail I sent to nearly every blogger I'd ever met. Ace's entry was picked up by Michelle Malkin, who wrote about it (and hit my tip jar!), and Michelle's entry caught Instapundit's attention. Many others were kind enough to write about the issue, but Ace was the vector by which the story gained international attention.

Kevin McCullough interviewed me on his New York City radio show. CNN's "Inside Politics" mentioned the story three times. Bob Cox of The National Debate and founder of the Media Bloggers Association contacted me, expedited my membership in that organization, and put me in touch with the MBA's General Counsel, Ron Coleman. Ron sent a reply to the Whirled that has yet to receive an answer.

While Instalanches don't last forever, they do allow prospective regular readers to discover a blog for the first time, and I'm sure with each of those bumps in traffic, some Tulsa-area readers found BatesLine for the first time. Traffic has tailed off to about 1300-1500 visits per day -- half-again more than before the Whirled's threats. It had been a bit higher, but I noticed traffic flagged a bit just before Tax Day and hasn't completely recovered.

Everyone of those numbers is a real live human being (except for the search engine bots and the referral spam bots), and I thank you for taking the time to visit, to read, and to tell your friends. Many of you have been kind enough to send encouraging comments by e-mail or to stop me at events to express your appreciation. I'm grateful to those who have dropped a few bucks in the tip jar (the "donate" button on the home page) and to those intelligent advertisers who have chosen BatesLine to deliver your message to an intelligent readership. I've been especially gratified to see several of my readers start blogs of their own. Although this is still a hobby, I do feel an obligation to fill you in on local politics and provide you with some food for thought, and it's nice to know that it matters to you.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the General category from May 2005.

General: April 2005 is the previous archive.

General: June 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]