Is there anybody out there?

July 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm (Icepick)


UPDATE: An interesting thing happened to one of the bigger blogging sites recently. In recent months there had been growing tension between Professor Ann Althouse and her commenting community. I’m not going to go into details, but eventually Althouse decided to blow up her commenting community, and shut down comments altogether.

This was upsetting for many of the commenters. A lot of people have invested a lot of their time and emotions there over the years. A few of us took to heart the suggestion that we start our own blogs as replacements. One of those spin-offs has now become the “go-to” site for a lot of Althouse commenters, and is doing a pretty brisk business at the moment. The site was originally called “Lem’s Learning Levity” but has changed its name (possibly temporarily) to “Comment Home“. It is an explicit effort to preserve a chunk of the old community, and Lem has now added several co-bloggers from the old Althouse commentariat.

I sympathize with this effort. Ultimately it is through Althouse that I came to have two friends, Amba and reader_Iam, and my own blogs and to co-blog here from time to time. So I’m very pleased to see this take off. So consider this an open invitation to those of you not already there, to join the Althouse Refugee Movement as we create a new online community. And it IS a community for commenters (though lurkers are always welcome, of course), so feel free to join the fray.


  1. amba12 said,

    School’s out!

    Actually school’s in for me. I got to New York Thursday evening after a grueling solo drive (the drive part was grueling, the oases I stayed in were welcoming) and started a long Feldenkrais training segment the next day. While in Chapel Hill I got a clean bill of health; all spring I’ve basically been having a health scare that turned out to be a complete false alarm (a harmless condition that somewhat ominously mimicked a harmful one). So I’m getting re-used to not living under a possibly cartoon sword.

    If you post, they will come . . . out of the woodwork. Try it!

  2. Icepick said,

    I shall. I feel a great urge to WRITE at the moment. And not any one thing, but a great many things. Whether or not I get the time for any of it is another thing entirely!

    I think I will add the rest in the body of the post as an update. Other than that I am happy to hear that the health scare was a mere triviality, which I believe I had already told you.

    Oh, and how did the lunch go the other day with L and the one-time blogger C? I would have loved to have been there for that one!

  3. mockturtle said,

    ‘Way, ‘way out there. ;-)

  4. chickelit said,

    Lurking in the woodwork

  5. lehg said,

    Is this a Pink Floyd reference?

  6. lehg said,

    That part of the quick visit had to be postponed. Which is more than OK, actually, because we three are now going to plan a trip specifically for a meet-up without the time constraints and deadline cutoffs and logistical issues. Better yet!

    Meanwhile, we had a lovely time with Annie (I love how she and DH interact and get on so well; she so gets him and he admires the hell out of her), and I’m sure that DH and I and C and his DW will be having dinner or doing something again even before then. All good, with more t.k.

  7. Icepick said,

    Lurking in the woodwork

    Yeah, I know where you’ve been lurking!

    Is this a Pink Floyd reference?

    Wasn’t supposed to be until I had typed it out, and then I realized that it was. Just checking in with the old crew.

  8. Icepick said,

    Some of chickelit’s work from over at the other place I mentioned:

    In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, Make us your slaves, but feed us blog.

    ― The Brothers Karmazov


  9. lehg said,

    I just don’t want to comment about that, at all, ‘Pick. Not here. Not there. Not there, there, there or there either. [Etc.] I do not. Other people can do what they want, wherever, online. That’s their choice. I have made mine. I have opted out of the online as much I can–from never once emailing or otherwise attempting to comment at one (at one extreme, so to speak) to requesting to be dropped from approved access to another (at another extreme, so to speak) to posting a couple-so YouTube vids at a “compromise-ish” one to express a few observations on my way out after a very brief sojourn, which toe-dipping totally affirmed my visceral recoiling from engaging at all, from the git-go.

    I’ve said more than I wanted or even intended to say about this, but I’m providing a snapshot of where I am on the topic because you brought it up and there’s at least a scant handful of lurkers here who might–and I grant, only might–be curious as well.

    Now that I have, I repeat–“I just don’t want to comment about that, at all, ‘Pick. Not here. Not there. Not there, there, there or there either. [Etc.] I do not. Other people can do what they want, wherever, online. That’s their choice. I have made mine. I have opted out of the online as much I can… .”

    As I will continue to do with regard to any place/site where that subject which I am determined to leave behind and discuss not on line becomes a topic that cannot be resisted by either posters or commenters at or on any given place/site.

    It’s just not for me, and I don’t want it.

  10. lehg said,

    More succinctly:

    I’m at the point where I’d prefer no place at all to being stuck in any old space: Eras pass, and when they do, better to move on, is what I have been learning from life.

  11. Icepick said,

    There’s an effort being made to leave it behind. There are those on both sides of the matter that can’t stay away from it. Mostly I am leaving the reason for THE BREAKUP and all that mess behind. There’s a chance to continue with something good, and I actually think they’re off to a decent start. The question will be (as it always is), “Can they keep it up?” And by “they” I mean the commenters as well as those posting. Time will tell, and then it will make dust of us all.

  12. TT Burnett said,

    Very well said, Icepick. I was thinking of posting something similar here, but you have done a more prompt and better job.

  13. karen said,

    Again- i get here late and am left convused… confused, i mean(my finger slipped).
    I should have said convulsed:0).

    Lehg- u are an enigma. Wrapped in something yummy, i’m sure.
    I’m sorry to here all that went on @Althouse, i usually read the comment threads there to get the views and compare to my own, like here. Only difference being, i voice myself here. It’s home.

    I still haven’t gotten my internet back yet. Maybe it’s better as i feel i’m very tired this Summer- a lot of rain and a lot of work. Other than that- please let the gift of gab grab you all… it’s nice to have nothing to say, for once:0).

  14. kngfish said,

    Karen you say nothing more graciously than most of us say something.

  15. LouiseM said,

    I put this elsewhere, but it fits here as well. From the wiki:

    Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions

    The aftermath following the closing of comments at Althouse has included everything from Anger to Withdrawal, with X to include unknown factors, along with list crossings, Y to cover questions that have come up, and Z to signify the end of something that for many involved a bond leading to the experience of loss and grief.

    (Convused, Confused, Convulsed falls under C)

  16. lehg said,

    Wow. Helluva thing you said/reference you made, Karen. I got it. That whole enigma-wrapped thing. Low blow, and cheap reference, and did you think I wouldn’t get it?

    Wish Randy was still alive. He got both you and me, and he never resorted to the nasty about it.

    Given that he’s not, I’ll just walk away.

  17. mockturtle said,


  18. karen said,


    typical that i would offend and not even know how or why…
    must be a gift to bring out nastiness in just about everyone, i guess. I even had a priest throw his cat across the room because it was on his desk. He’s no longer a priest.

    Randy may have known you– i have no idea who you even are, maybe i once did, but when people change their handles…

    I was referring to your #9 comment, which made perfect sense to most here, probably- but, was a mystery to me.

    Hope life treats you well, Lehg. I believe– not that it matters– that you do deserve all goodness. No compromise necessary.

    I miss Randy, too.

  19. Icepick said,

    I confess I have no idea what’s going on here.

  20. chickelit said,

    Just nod if you can hear me.

    I have become uncomfortably stumm.

  21. Donna B. said,

    The thing that irritates me about Althouse is that she still ends many of her posts with a question that invites comments. I used to read the comments until someone else answered with “my” answer or if no on did (very rare), I would answer… sometimes.

    I’ve read her blog for years now, but never compulsively and I never got involved in (hell, I didn’t even understand) the comment “fights” or whatever ya wanna call them.

    What I learned is that while she can write about the different sides of an argument, she cannot admit that a position she has taken is wrong. She will swear she never took a certain position and will use her language ability to “prove” she didn’t… but she will never admit she was mistaken.

    Anyway, while I admit that my enjoyment of her blog is diminished by closing the comments, I have no desire to join those commenters elsewhere.

  22. amba12 said,

    I’ll bet Karen knows the “riddle, enigma” quote without knowing its source — my own condition till I Googled it just now. I must have known once, but, ominously for the state of my brain (as someone who spent most of two decades in the shadow of the Soviet Union), I couldn’t place it.

    I don’t know what most anyone is talking about here, because I mostly stopped reading Althouse, and totally stopped reading the comments, long ago. I like Ann, but I just got weary of the “scene.” And more importantly, I’d found my friends and didn’t need to go over there to meet them anymore. And I got to like meeting friends “in the flesh” even better than meeting anyone online. (The geeks called real life “meatspace” for a while. Could one also call it “out of the flesh”?) I wish to hell I’d met Randy.

  23. chickelit said,

    Flesh Fantasy

    Real estate vs. intellectual property. Both have metes and bounds, deeds and claims defined them; one is finite (they aren’t making anymore of it!), while the other is seemingly infinite. And then there’s the Word becoming flesh. I feel trapped and torn.

  24. amba12 said,

    “They aren’t making any more of it”: well, if you watched them residentializing and gentrifying old slum, light-industry, railyard, port, and warehouse neighborhoods in major cities, you might amend that. The High Line created a whole lot of real estate that didn’t exist before, in terms of value. Detroit is a black hole of potential, imploded real estate.

  25. chickelit said,

    I don’t know what most anyone is talking about here, because I mostly stopped reading Althouse, and totally stopped reading the comments, long ago.

    Unless somebody hacked your account, you got the last word in as a commenter on one of the posts that set people off: link

    I mocked Althouse’s pedantic scold style which she only reserved for people whom she truly despised.

  26. Icepick said,

    For the record, I haven’t like democracy since I was old enough to understand what it really was.

  27. Icepick said,

    And the Supreme Court rulings actually invalidated two democratic results: DOMA and the California amendment defining marriage.

  28. Icepick said,

    Yeah, chick, that was the post when it really started coming apart. Calling people losers and then asking them for money was really tacky. It went downhill from there fast. AA’s husband’s behavior has been completely reprehensible, putting him the class of commenters previously reserved for M. Knowing that AA approves of M’s behavior puts her in that category as well. Two very nasty people.

  29. chickelit said,

    @Icepick: If TT is correct about his experiment described elsewhere, you and I should try not to bring M’s wrath here and stick to facts as closely as possible. And as others readers here have indicated, they just don’t want to talk about it. But otherwise, carry on.

  30. mockturtle said,

    And the Supreme Court rulings actually invalidated two democratic results: DOMA and the California amendment defining marriage.

    Ah, yes. Legislation from the bench. Maybe we had better go back to elementary Civics class the re-learn the functions of government and what ‘checks and balances’ means.

  31. mockturtle said,

    BTW, I find the overturn of the California amendment more troubling than the DOMA decision because it is another example of the diminishing sovereignty of states. I fear that, as in Roe v. Wade, the Court will decide for all states.

  32. Icepick said,

    MT, they effectively overturned the California amendment, but technically they refused just said the people bringing the case had no standing to protest the lower court decisions.

    What I find interesting is that SCOTUS said that the Federal government doesn’t have the authority to define marriage for the states, and that the states don’t have the authority to decide the issues for themselves either. Which leaves????

  33. Icepick said,

    chick, I’ll stand by my comment above. I’ve pretty much said it elsewhere.

    And HERE _I_ have the authority to delete comments. No bullshit will be tolerated.

    Which is to say, “Nice to be home!”

  34. mockturtle said,

    Nice to have you ‘home’, Ice! ;-)

  35. mockturtle said,

    Another example of the Feds overreaching their authority happened here in WA day before yesterday when several legitimate medical marijuana stores were raided by the DEA, all their products confiscated. The voters of WA legitimized the recreational use of marijuana in the last election. Medical use was already legal. It almost seems that the Feds are trying to protect the drug lords to the South and their dominance of the market. :-\

  36. chickelit said,

    @Icepick: to clarify my comment #29, by “M” I did not mean the loathsome “Mary” but rather M-e-a-d-e who I gather has taken to responding to every Google alert he gets with ferocious trolling.

  37. Icepick said,

    chick, I understood you meant Leisure Suit Larry. I referenced both him and Loathsome.

  38. Icepick said,

    And MT, I saw that story and just decided to skip it. The federal government is particularly nasty now, just like the men and women that run it, and I don’t currently need more examples. Though soon, perhaps….

  39. karen said,

    Do any of you remember Meade when he used to visit Ambivablog??
    I do… and i always thought him decent and thoughtful.
    Must be that i missed those threads?

    I just always liked my one-phrase reactions to her posts and it would have been cool to have written them down-

  40. amba12 said,

    you got the last word in as a commenter on one of the posts that set people off:

    Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Once in a blue moon I’d fly by, dip into the comments — there were like 500 of them, maybe I skimmed 10, so I probably didn’t know what I was talking about — and fire off some drive-by remark and immediately forget all about it. I did not qualify as part of the conversation.

  41. amba12 said,

    Yeah, Meade was a nice guy once. What he is now I have no idea — I’m out of the loop. While visiting lehg, however, we were talking about this and I realized that having the evil one come over and infect this place was one of the reasons I largely stopped blogging. It was like weed killer.

  42. amba12 said,

    Sincerity and self-disclosure were particular attractants.

  43. lehg said,

    I hope that I am not speaking out of place here, Annie, but I do want to make clear that the weed-killing evil one whom we discussed was [ we all know who the vilest is, and to whom she was most vile] . I don’t later, or ever, want that reference to be misconstrued, or used, as referring to [a guy or a gal]. With all love, Annie, if you look at your 9:09, it’s possible to misinterpret it, and–well, I’m just enough paranoid to not want to risk that.

    Sincerity and self-disclosure were particular attractants.

    Yes, indeed.

  44. lehg said,

    I realized that having the evil one come over and infect this place was one of the reasons I largely stopped blogging.

    The only thing worse than seeing it happen at the time and believing that was so (and then thinking maybe I was crazy) was hearing what you said, in real life, and seeing your face when you spoke that aloud.

    :,,, /

  45. lehg said,

    Karen: I am sorry for the way I reacted. I am sorry for what I said. Above all–because I was just flat-out nasty, no excuse possible, in bringing up Randy–I apologize for being such a bitch. I could have just pointed out what I found so offensive. Yet, I did not. (Annie did, in such a gentle way, and with enormous understanding;–but she should not have to have done; I should have.)

    I was wrong in a whole number of ways in how I treated you here: full stop. I am sorry, and I hope you will forgive me.

  46. karen said,

    It’s ok, lehg.
    It’s all good.

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