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November 09, 2010

Thoughts on Leaving Blogging

Marc Ambinder is quitting blogging. He has some thoughts on the medium and the effect it has had on traditional journalism:

My experience has not been unique, but it has spanned the life of this newly evolved species of reporter. I've had some time to think about what effect doing this day and night has had on the practice of journalism, on the quality of news-gathering and dissemination, and on the people who do it. I've written quite often on the first two subjects and participated in many discussions about them. All I will say here is that the mere fact that online reporters feel they must participate in endless discussions about these subjects is something new, a consequence of the medium, and is one reason why it can be so exhausting to do primarily web journalism. The feedback loop is relentless, punishing and is predicated on the assumption that the reporter's motivation is wrong. Unfortunately, the standard for defining oneself as a web journalist depends upon establishing a certain credibility with a particular audience of critics. Responding to complaints about content and structure and bias is part of the way one establishes that credibility.

Really good print journalism is ego-free. By that I do not mean that the writer has no skin in the game, or that the writer lacks a perspective, or even that the writer does not write from a perspective. What I mean is that the writer is able to let the story and the reporting process, to the highest possible extent, unfold without a reporter's insecurities or parochial concerns intervening. Blogging is an ego-intensive process. Even in straight news stories, the format always requires you to put yourself into narrative. You are expected to not only have a point of view and reveal it, but be confident that it is the correct point of view. There is nothing wrong with this. As much as a writer can fabricate a detachment, or a "view from nowhere," as Jay Rosen has put it, the writer can also also fabricate a view from somewhere. You can't really be a reporter without it. I don't care whether people know how I feel about particular political issues; it's no secret where I stand on gay marriage, or on the science of climate change, and I wouldn't have it any other way. What I hope I will find refreshing about the change of formats is that I will no longer be compelled to turn every piece of prose into a personal, conclusive argument, to try and fit it into a coherent framework that belongs to a web-based personality called "Marc Ambinder" that people read because it's "Marc Ambinder," rather than because it's good or interesting.

What I find so remarkable about Ambinder's farewell to blogging is his determination to shoehorn blogging into a definition that doesn't fit. To him, reporting seems to be more a matter of identity than of conviction or focus. At the risk of making an offensive analogy, in these hands journalism bids fair to follow religion down the path of Things That Used to Matter But Have Become Largely Pro Forma. These days, many of us aren't Catholic or Episcopalian because we intend to be bound by the will of God, but because being vaguely spiritual (albeit in some New Age-y fashion that doesn't require obedience to confining biblical teachings that are, like, so five minutes ago) allows us to don the mantle of moral legitimacy. "I believe in some-amorphous-thing-to-be-defined ... umm... later", but somehow this makes me different - better - than folks who don't believe.

Likewise we know reporting when we see it because it's done by reporters (even when they're really doing is opining). And because we all know that reporters are dedicated professionals, blogging is different - more legitimate, more objective, more moral - when they do it. I'm not sure where that leaves the rest of us. You know, the ones who are just trying to make sense of it all?

The thing is, I don't know too many bloggers who think what they do is reporting. Journalists seem almost obsessed by the idea that blogging has upstaged traditional journalism, but I've never been able to figure out exactly what bloggers offer that can even hope to replace news reporting? If the news media disappeared tomorrow, could blogging take its place? Who and what would we link to? Comment upon? Discuss? The vast majority of bloggers begin each day by pointing to news items that interest them. The best ones add commentary or context. Some go on to compare and contrast related news items, fact check, present independent research in confirmation or rebuttal or simply throw a contentious topic out for discussion and debate. But most of us don't report.

Journalists seem determined to set up a false dichotomy in which news reporting proceeds from a noble desire to convey facts and truth in an objective fashion while blogging clings to it like a tapeworm, burying all those lovely facts and truth in mountains of ego driven, partisan blather.

I don't know what I meant to accomplish when I first visited a site called ScrappleFace in March of 2003. I think mostly I felt a sense that the attention bill was overdue; that America was at war and I knew little or nothing about the events that had led us to that pass because I'd been too busy living my life to pay attention to the news. It seemed remote; unconnected to my life. And then, suddenly, it wasn't any more.

If I had to explain why I showed up all those years, it was to answer a question: what does it all mean? Certainly there is an ego affirming aspect to blogging. If you do it long enough, readers say kind things to you and that feels good. They also say perfectly awful things to you: things that make you want to crawl under the covers and never come out. On balance the back and forth has been a good thing. It has toughened my skin more than a bit, made me less cocksure, less glib, less convinced of my own ineffable wisdom.

I said earlier that I didn't know what I intended to do when I began blogging. But I do know what blogging became: a way to stay in touch with people I like and - in some cases - came to love. A way to make sense of the incomprehensible. A conversation with a group of people I wish I were lucky enough to know in real life. People who are interesting. And intelligent. And funny.

I'm always a bit mystified when bloggers describe blogging as ego driven because if you have a comments section, the very first thing you discover is that it was never about you or your opinions. It's about the conversation.

Thank you all for making VC a fun place to wake up to every morning. You all, for me, are what blogging is all about. Bit by bit you made this former housewife and tech wench smarter, more thoughtful, better informed. Which is not the same as being smart, thoughtful, or informed.

But it's progress, no es verdad?

After the Valour IT fund raiser is over on Nov. 11th, VC will go the way of so many blogs. Carrie and Cassy have done an outstanding job of leading the Marine team this year and I hope you'll take a moment to thank them when this is all over.

I always resisted putting up a PayPal link here but if you've found any value in anything you've read here over the years, please consider making a donation to Valour IT. Those are the folks who make conversations like this possible.

Posted by Cassandra at November 9, 2010 03:24 AM

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Comments

One word - sabbatical.

Posted by: Greta at November 9, 2010 08:15 AM

Not this time :)

It's all coming down, but I'll wait until Valour IT is over.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 9, 2010 08:33 AM

I don't want to see you go. But maybe that's just me being selfish.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at November 9, 2010 09:54 AM

What Miss Ladybug said. Although no maybe about it for me. There's too much of value here, too much learning available.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E hines at November 9, 2010 11:41 AM

We'll keep the pilot light lit if -- no, when -- you feel the urge to start cooking again.

*polishing trivet*

Posted by: BillT at November 9, 2010 12:28 PM

Miss Ladybug (who needs hugs, too; go there) has it right.

I'll miss you, ma'am, for more reasons than I care to count (and the rest of you here, too.) You've built a special community here, Cassandra, and we have been blessed by it, and you.

From the bottom of an old Jarhead's heart, "MOST very well done, Ma'am. Thank you."

Posted by: htom at November 9, 2010 12:49 PM

You all will never know how much your friendship and the gift of your conversation, wit, and company has meant to me over the years. I wouldn't even know where to start.

When things get too close, words tend to fail me. Now is one of those times.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 9, 2010 01:04 PM

It has been a pleasure reading your work over the last few years. As has been said by better people than me, everything has it's time in the sun.

Brava!

Good fortune to you and yours.

Posted by: Allen at November 9, 2010 01:42 PM

Looks like I'll just have to harass you (and Bill, and Carrie, and Sly) on email instead of here.

Bummer.

I'll miss you.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at November 9, 2010 02:02 PM

I read you far more than I comment. I will deeply miss you should you leave.

Posted by: levi from queens at November 9, 2010 03:32 PM

You are wonderful, Cass--thank you.

Posted by: Rick at November 9, 2010 04:00 PM

You have a wonderful blog and a wonderful set of commenters, Cassandra, and I hope at a minimum you leave the existing posts up for archival and linkage purposes. (But I *really* hope you'll just take a break and eventually continue...)

Posted by: david foster at November 9, 2010 05:19 PM

As has been said by better people than me, everything has it's time in the sun.

Amen, Allen.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 9, 2010 08:04 PM

*GAH* *GAH* *GAH*

Don't _do_ that, ma'am!

Haven't read more than the first sentence or so, but I thought we were losing you again!

Posted by: Foxfier at November 9, 2010 09:17 PM

:^( We are losing you.

Posted by: Foxfier at November 9, 2010 09:33 PM

Oh, Cass, no. I'll miss you terribly.

Posted by: Elise at November 9, 2010 10:31 PM

I quickly grew tired of the political discourse on my own blog; so many others were doing it so much better than I did...yourself particularly included. However, I have a wide variety of interests, consequently it was a simple enough matter to segue into other things. Of course, every now and again, I still post something political. Anyway, how about contemplating alternatives to just disappearing completely from the "blogsphere"? At any rate, you and all of your commentators can most certainly offer your thoughts at my blog whenever the mood strikes. (And I've actually posted something new, which happens approximately as often as the moon is full, although not necessarily coinciding with that celestial event)

Stay in touch!!!

Posted by: camojack at November 10, 2010 04:08 AM

You all aren't losing me, but it is time for me to move on.

I wish that I were a more balanced person, but the truth is that I'm very much an all or nothing type. When I love, I love unreservedly and when I commit to something I go at it with my whole heart. It just isn't in me to do this part time. I feel (and feelings aren't always rational, but they aren't any less real for all that) that I've been letting a lot of folks down lately. For a long time I've felt guilty about the job I've been doing here, and that needs to stop.

I don't really know what I'm going to do, but I do know that I need time to re-evaluate and refocus my efforts.

I look forward to having the time to visit some of your sites and bore you all senseless with my random comments :) The biggest thing that has kept me going here was that I didn't want to lose the friends I've made, and that I knew how much I would miss all of you.

But there are so many wonderful writers and blogs out there to explore. It's time for me to move over to the passenger's seat :p

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2010 08:52 AM

Your friends will benefit from your leaving the page up, even if you disable comments and stop adding to it. Some of us will want to return to older discussions from time to time, as new problems remind us of older ones and we look back to those earlier discussions for insight. (To phrase it in more selfish terms, you'll break half the links in my archives; and I can easily imagine wanting to cite something from those discussions, as they have been highly influential in my thinking on certain questions.)

Posted by: Grim at November 10, 2010 09:05 AM

I will give that serious consideration, Grim.

When I quit in 2007 I did not intend to return, but left a good part of my site up at the request of my friends. It was too "easy" to reverse my decision then and that's why I want to delete the site entirely.

The truth is that I have already deleted a lot of older posts but they could be uploaded again if needed. Let me think on it. I promise that I will consider your (and David's) counsel.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2010 09:27 AM

I concur with Grim. Even if you do chose to leave blogging forever, I'd hate even more for VC to go away completely. I, too, have linked to your posts. Also, just last night, I followed a link from I think it was an NRO author who joined the Marine Team late in the game who had linked to one of your Valour-IT posts from last year. What you have shared over the years, IHMO, it too valuable to lose...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at November 10, 2010 09:41 AM

I'll third (or fourth) that: I'd hate to lose your archives. Not just for the links I've made to it in my blog but because of all my mental bookmarks: Okay, when I'm ready to think/write/read about that topic, remember to go back and review what Cassandra said about it.

At the same time, I do understand the magnetic force of leaving the blog up. Perhaps you could ask someone you trust to password it - and not give you the password. :+)

Posted by: Elise at November 10, 2010 10:19 AM

Oh great... now you people expect me to exercise self control??? :p

I will think about it. I promise.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2010 10:49 AM

The marmoset stays, though, right?

Posted by: BillT at November 10, 2010 10:57 AM

If you give Bill the password, and he changes it so you have to ask for it, he'll be the one having to exercise control.

Posted by: htom at November 10, 2010 11:20 AM

A day without a Stuffed Marmoset is like a day without... umm... something.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2010 11:20 AM

Keep in mind that you're talking self control to a woman who nearly posted a photo of herself vamping in a wig and a skin tight, zebra striped dress...

Fortunately, for once my warped sense of humor was overruled by the realization that my ego probably couldn't handle the snark that was sure to follow :p

Speaking of self control, I wish you all could smell the pulled pork slow cooking in my kitchen. The aroma is maddening!

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2010 11:45 AM

I have felt this coming on for some time. Back in the winter you mentioned leaving. I think, though, it is good thing. You will never know what you have done for me, so just let me say this and then scuttle off back under my rock:

During the initial days of the Engineer's deployment, and then the Axis of Weasels at TOB, what I thought about the Interwebs was a sense of community. The Founders, I think, would have been pleased, and most assuredly I would have been reading TJ and Ben Franklin the most.

I learned so much from you and everyone that I read in cyberspace.

Then, when the day from hell happened, I could not focus, or continue. Even having a laptop of my own wasn't enough. There was a hole, and I slowly filled it with family and their needs.
Three months after his death, I was able to talk about it.

Villainous Company has been very much a part of the healing process for me. I looked again at the people who were making comments, and they had something I lacked. Education, and experience.
Time to move out of the comfort zone even more, and go back to school.

This time, though, I kept it a secret from my family until this past summer, when our father passed away. They were stunned that I didn't have that much more to finish. I didn't dwell on the reasons for going back, only that I knew Jonathan would want it.

So, VC, and Missy Cass, y'all helped me grow the helk up.

P.S. Cassandra, you remind me of Susan St. James.
She is drop dead gorgeous, and a pretty decent human being to boot. Just like you.

I have three more classes before I graduate, and I want to thank you all very much for putting up with me.

You have more ahead than behind. You have grandmotherhood, retirement, many things to look forward to. I wish you all the very best life has to offer. You have earned it.

Carolyn

Posted by: Cricket at November 10, 2010 11:19 PM

I will miss you. {{{Hugs}}}

Posted by: Oh Hell at November 11, 2010 12:20 AM

Add me to the "please leave it up" group. The idea of not being able to swing by and just read (which is mostly what I do anyway...even when you are blogging) makes me sad and, really, after everything else that is kicking my ass these days, I am not ready to handle.

Yes, I am pulling the guilt card.

My life is kicking my ass right now so I am not fighting fair with anyone. You included. Please consider Grim's request.

However, should you choose not to leave this site up, I will still love you. I'll be cranky but I'll still love you.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at November 11, 2010 03:42 AM

Cassandra, my preference is that you leave the site up, even if inactive. My heart concern for you, however, is that if you leave it up in this way you won't rest--I think you need to rest. I have come to love you as a dear friend in the thoughts you have shared with us--I cannot adequately thank you for your labor of love. So, follow your best instincts--I utterly trust you (as do all your readers, I would guess).

I would have loved to have seen the picture.

Rick

Posted by: Rick at November 11, 2010 06:59 AM

I too, would respectfully request that you leave it up for a while; I am still reading and rereading things you have written because you possessed the ability to analyze and present your case in an orderly and clear fashion.

You didn't tell us what to think; you taught us how to think.

One of your most moving essays is the tribute to Lydia Estelle Bravo. I read that whenever I get...well, let's just say that it is comforting.

I cry every time I read it, but I know that she, and others you have written about, will not be forgotten.

Posted by: Carolyn at November 11, 2010 08:02 AM

I will put everything back this morning.

I honestly didn't think it would make any difference, but I would never refuse friends.

Oh, and no fair making me cry before I've even had my first cup of coffee, guys :)

Posted by: Cassandra at November 11, 2010 08:29 AM

ahem. You still possess the ability to analyze, but I use it in the past tense.

Now, as I posted on my FB wall, I have a snark-filled rant coming on. This has to do with matters of National Security.

What, might you ask, could that be?

*clears throat*

The price of condensed cream of mushroom soup in the commissary.

I kid you not. In my yearly buying sprees at DeCA, I would get two cases of the delectabe mushroom-flavored Devil Drool (that is what the Young Man calls it) to use in making cheater casseroles. You know, when you are exhausted from doing mundane things like herding children and cats, and just can't whip up a bechamel sauce from scratch.

In Times Past, such specials were advertised on the sites. Now, it is a percentage of the price.
And, HEAVEN FORBID that they tell a Potential Patron the price over the phone. The sky would fall.

So, armed with the necessary proofs of entitlement, I can go in and get the price.

I live 35 farkin' miles away. Oh, and they are a non-profit entity, so that is why they can't tell me the price over the phone.

Somehow, I am not as stunned by this revelation as I was that the post office, as the most heavily regulated privately-owned NGO is a not for profit group but is allowed to get a surplus.

My mind then went into hamster in a wheel overdrive and wondered why government, as a not-for-profit group is not allowed to balance their budget, but is allowed deficit spending, but insists on the loans made to the taxpayers with their money be paid back. Is it to make a profit with the usurious interest they charge?

I have questions.

Posted by: Carolyn at November 11, 2010 09:32 AM

"I would have loved to have seen the picture."

I can remedy that....for the right price.
bwaahaaahaaahaahaaaaaaaaaaa!

*waiting for my email notification to let me know that Mr. DeBille has sent payment...followed immediately by promises of revenge from the Princess (maybe I shouldn't have told her where I live...)*
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at November 11, 2010 10:45 AM

how can you leave? i need to read you. please stay. :)

Posted by: kate at November 11, 2010 02:06 PM

There's nothing I wish I could do more. Really.

I just can't manage putting in 4-5 hours before work every day any more. I think my aging brain and body finally said, "Enough" :(

I will miss you all terribly and hope to see at least some of you other places on the web. I cherish the friendships I've made here at VC more than you guys will ever know - the past few days have been kind of bleak for me (Note to self: 'WAAAAAAAAAAh!!!').

I just can't keep burning the candle at both ends and in the middle too. Not fair to you guys (because the old brain is starting to shut down on me) and not fair to the commitments I've made in Meat Space.

I can't tell you how much you all mean to me because for once I just don't have the words. That doesn't make the way I feel any less real, though.

And Sly... don't you dare :) America does not torture.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 11, 2010 03:41 PM

And Sly... don't you dare :) America does not torture.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 11, 2010 03:41 PM

Yet...

Posted by: Carolyn at November 11, 2010 05:23 PM

Personally speaking, I'm a fan of giving Bill the keys to the blog to remove any temptation to jump back in at a later date.

We all know he can stand up to torture and would never relent. Look at how well he's put up with us thus far.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at November 11, 2010 06:52 PM

I just can't manage putting in 4-5 hours before work every day any more. I think my aging brain and body finally said, "Enough".

I figured it was probably that; it's pretty obvious that you have spent quite a bit of your time (and talent, etc.) here...I stopped doing anywhere near that much work some time ago. That being said, it is quite possible to scale back your efforts, substantially so. I went from several posts per week to (maybe) one a month. You can do it too, if you want to. Your life, your decision. Either way, I will always consider you a dear friend...

Posted by: camojack at November 12, 2010 03:48 AM

Last night, at our monthly Usability Professionals meeting, the guest speaker (Kristina Halverson, CEO of BrainTraffic.com) introduced her talk with a quote that so reminded me of here. From The Elements of User Experience, by Jesse James Garett,

The most important thing most web sites can offer to their users is content that those users will find valuable.
It was not the presentation, or newness, or freshness, or frequency of updates, or (she had a long list) that customers valued; it was actual, usable, content. The content. I suspect that's what drives the calls (to which I'll join) for you to leave the site up, even if you never put up another post. There is so much here so worth re-reading that it should be saved.

That you poured so much of yourself into it shows in the quality of the content. Give Bill or Cricket or HF6 the keys and take a year's sabbatical, at least. Then a vacation or two. Look around. Come back and torment Bill into putting up a post about the joys of being a grandmother and then go away again. Tweek the other bloggers, many of them need it. And thank you, again. Hugs.

Posted by: htom at November 12, 2010 12:24 PM

Carolyn:

No one but *you* deserves the credit for all you have accomplished.

You were dealt a hand few of us would have been able to play, and yet you faced down misfortune and heartbreak with grace, dignity, and class. I hope you know how very proud we all are of you. You represent the best in the human spirit. Sounds a little corny, but it is true.

It is I who have profited by your example, and for that I will always be grateful.

I'm a bit emotional this week, so I'm going to cut this short before I make an ass of myself. Thank you - all of you - for the kind words. Be assured that I have treasured your friendship and your kindness.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 12, 2010 03:18 PM

Life is change.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 19, 2010 03:08 PM

If This is Goodbye...

My famous last words
Are laying around in tatters
Sounding absurd
Whatever I try
But I love you
And that’s all that really matters
If this is good bye
If this is good bye

Your bright shining sun
Would light up the way before me
You were the one
Made me feel I could fly
And I love you
Whatever is waiting for me
If this is good bye
If this is good bye

Who knows how long we’ve got
Or what we are made out of
Who knows if there’s a plan or not
There is our love
I know there is our love

My famous last words
Could never tell the story
Spinning unheard
In the dark of the sky
But I love you
And this is our glory
If this is good bye
If this is good bye

************

Thanks, Cass.

Thanks for everything.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha, sniffs back a tear at November 30, 2010 01:03 AM

I miss you all so much, Don. Please drop me a line from time to time, if that isn't too much to ask.

FWIW, the feeling is mutual. For so long you all have made every day something to look forward to. I think of you every day and will never forget the joy you brought into my life.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 1, 2010 03:08 PM

Thanks.

Posted by: Eric at December 2, 2010 08:36 AM

Cassandra:

Reading VC over the years was like warming up to my morning coffee and cream on a cold, winter's morning; a way to kick start my day; for my mind to engage and discern; a prophylactic to the mind-numbing, psychic-mugging of a "progressive" multi-media trying to rob me of my traditions and heroes and drive my into cynicism.

Like so many of your readers, I rarely posted, but so enjoyed the mostly "friendly" discourses (even in disagreement) on your blog. I'm amazed that you seemed to have kept the nasties away who can really poison a blog site. Good onya! :^)

Also, I admit to some secretive amusement when some testy snarkers tried to mind-fence with half-your-brain tied behind your back (apologies to RUSH). It was no contest as you sliced and diced (in your civil way) them into retreat.

You have a talent, a real ability to write down your thoughts in a way which engages the reader. I hope while moving on.... you consider writing a book, perhaps, "The BEST of VC". :^) You're too talented a writer to deprive your reader fan base.

Anyway, thanks so much for your heart-felt writings, musings, and analysis. In your way you made me a better person. Wishing you and yours my best.

Your admirer,
Roddy Spencer, Maj (USAF retired)
Tucson, AZ
aka, Ziobuck

Posted by: Ziobuck at December 2, 2010 12:49 PM

You have a talent, a real ability to write down your thoughts in a way which engages the reader. I hope while moving on.... you consider writing a book, perhaps, "The BEST of VC". :^) You're too talented a writer to deprive your reader fan base.
Posted by: Ziobuck at December 2, 2010 12:49 PM

I'll second that emotion!

You might even be able to generate a li'l $$$ while you're at it, a la Scott Ott. ;-)

Posted by: camojack at December 3, 2010 01:32 AM

Sorry for the delayed response. I've tried to comment a few times but I was getting maudlin, so I bailed out.

First of all, thank you for the kind words. I don't always know how to respond, but they are very much appreciated.

re: writing a book. In all these years I can only think of one or two posts that I thought out in advance. Most were written on the spur of the moment with no attempt at editing and consequently they need a lot of work.

I appreciate your kindness as much as your willingness to take them as they were (imperfections and all). I don't really know how to say what's in my mind without it sounding self-pitying and that's not at all how I feel. I am very grateful to you all for being so generous with my ramblings.

Pouring your heart out online, you take a big chance. You all have been unfailingly kind to me all these years. Thank you.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 3, 2010 09:48 PM

I think your most endearing and courageous quality is that you did pour your heart out online. And even though we've never met (and probably never will), I think I know you pretty well after all this time, and I've got to say, I think the Unit is one lucky guy.

I wish you both all the happiness in the world, in the future, that undiscovered country. You've both earned it.

Vaya con Dios, always.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at December 4, 2010 10:16 PM

I am saddened to see you have decided to pack it in. I always found your entries here informative and entertaining. I especially appreciated you and others here reaching out to me during my deployment to Iraq and during my wife's illness. Best of luck in the future, and hopefully one day I can actually meet you and the unit in person at the Army Ten Miler ... that is if the unit will grace an "Army" event!

Posted by: Frodo at December 6, 2010 01:52 PM

...even though we've never met (and probably never will), I think I know you pretty well after all this time, and I've got to say, I think the Unit is one lucky guy.

I believe the same to be true of Mrs. Brouhaha, my dear friend. And I wish I'd been able to stop on our way across country all those years ago and meet you. Perhaps someday :)

Frodo:

Again, wish I'd been able to make it when you were in town. Maybe I'll be running in the Army 10 miler next year (that is, if y'all will allow a broken down old Marine wife to participate)! I'm trying to start running again, but don't know if I will get up to 10 miles.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 6, 2010 05:19 PM

Dropping in to say hello. I read the archives from time to time. Lotsa good stuff in there, yanno. I think a book would be good. In all the reading I have done in print media, one glaring item comes to mind. In each story, I am told what to think. Not how. In your blog, you lay out your reasons, and connect the dots in a logical way. You haven't ever insulted our intelligence by telling what to think as much as you have prodded our intelligence by telling us WHY you think a certain way. Didn't we used to call insightful writing like that 'thought-provoking?'

You have provoked me, angered me at situations, amused me, and I became more engaged as I left a comfort zone.
I am not comfortable. I don't want to be. That is one of the first things I realized when I finally got out of that miasma of grief. I never, ever, want to be 'comfortable.' I want to be informed, able to defend my stand, and do it
knowing what it is I am defending, or supporting.

Posted by: Carolyn at December 7, 2010 06:33 AM

We would more then welcome "a broken down old Marine wife"... though I think you are being modest. The team we put together has Army, Air Force and Navy runners, all people who served with me in Iraq when I was deployed, so a Marine wife would complete the set!! :)

Posted by: Frodo at December 7, 2010 12:27 PM

hi... just checking in to see if maybe you changed your mind. miss you.

Posted by: kate at December 8, 2010 01:55 PM

This is sad. I feel like when I was a kid, and we'd go play in an old abandoned farmhouse. I hadn't visited the site in a few months.
Anyway, thank you for the smiles you brought, and the times you made me think. Tell your Hubby that Coasties and Marines always get along because they have a mutual enemy-The Navy! Good night, Cassie. -lm

Posted by: luton at December 21, 2010 10:23 PM

I've only commented once on your blog, sometime this past year. My husband had just come back from a deployment and my daughter was born prematurely. I would read your blog as I was pumping milk at night to feed her through a Gtube. It was a way to keep my brain still engaged when I wanted so badly to sleep.

"In your blog, you lay out your reasons, and connect the dots in a logical way. You haven't ever insulted our intelligence by telling what to think as much as you have prodded our intelligence by telling us WHY you think a certain way"

I couldn't agree more. I'm not very good at articulating my arguements for the things I think and feel politically, but you were able to clarify things in a way that helped me explain my views to the liberals in my life without feeling like an idiot.

I was shocked to come here after a busy month (My husband is deployed again, this time to Afghanistan) and find the blog down. Saddened, but I understand. Your writing is clever, witty, well reasoned, and obviously a lot of your time is invested in it. If you don't mind leaving up your archives... I am still learning and loving your writing.

You have fans here on Parris Island.

Laurie

Posted by: Laurie at December 22, 2010 12:53 AM

My husband is deployed again, this time to Afghanistan.

I hope the time passes swiftly for you, Laurie, and that he will be back in your arms before too long.

I miss all of you - especially at this time of year. Thanks for giving me a reason to get up and write for so long.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 22, 2010 12:18 PM

So, like, can't we have a family reunion or something? Yanno, sing Slim Whitman carols aroung the Yule Log while downing virtual Hot Toddys? It's Christmastime ferchissakes.

Posted by: spd rdr at December 22, 2010 01:53 PM

Sing away, mr rdr :)

Posted by: Cassandra at December 22, 2010 04:10 PM

Thank you, Princess.

Ok everybody! Let's hear it!

Merry Christmas!

Posted by: spd rdr at December 23, 2010 09:50 AM

Posted by: spd rdr at December 23, 2010 09:55 AM

I was yodeling as loudly as I can. Didn't you hear me? :p

Posted by: Cassandra at December 23, 2010 01:46 PM

I did notice a disturbance in The Force, but I put it down to the general existence of cats.

Egg nog anyone?

Posted by: spd rdr at December 23, 2010 03:07 PM

Obviously I need to break out the tactical nukes...

Posted by: Cassandra at December 23, 2010 03:59 PM

Tactical nucoollear Christmas bombs is it?
Well, then, This. Means. WAR!!!!

Posted by: spd rdr at December 23, 2010 05:22 PM

That was cruel ... so cruel :p

Posted by: Cassandra at December 24, 2010 07:27 AM

Speaking of eggnog...

Posted by: Cassandra at December 24, 2010 07:32 AM

And what would Christmas be without lawyers!

Um... cookie anyone??

Posted by: spd rdr at December 24, 2010 10:47 AM

WHY???? :)

Merry Christmas, spd.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 24, 2010 12:05 PM

Merry Christmas, Princess.

And warm wishes* to the entire Villainous Company.

Posted by: spd rdr at December 24, 2010 01:41 PM

I'm waiting for tomorrow's bread to rise, and looked in. I have had a strange year, and come out alive, discovering that I am blessed with caring, loving, wife, family, neighbors, friends ("real" and "virtual"), near and far. Thank you, each and every one of you; may you have the merriest of Christmases and a prosperous and happy New Year.


Laurie, I pray your husband will return to you safe and well.


Cassandra, you've made a special place here. I hope your journey is better for you, and more fun, than you hoped it would be.

Posted by: htom at December 24, 2010 11:29 PM

Merry Christmas to you all.

A family reunion with Slim Whitman and him yodeling 'Leaves and Passes?'

I am so there.

Posted by: Carolyn at December 28, 2010 12:42 AM

Ok, I've got to link Lou & Peter Berryman's Double Yodel.

Posted by: htom at December 28, 2010 06:06 PM

OMG... that is hysterical! :)

Thanks for the laugh, htom!

Posted by: Cassandra at December 29, 2010 01:52 PM

It is a joy to see them in performance, perhaps the American version of the British Flanders and Swann. There's more of them on the internet, and in real life, although they don't get to the east coast very often; their website has their touring schedule, CDs, ... glad they gave you a good laugh.

Posted by: htom at January 2, 2011 04:20 PM

Well, I've missed this, haven't I?

It is sort of like losing the woman you love to someone else, and then coming back many years later and finding she is gone for good. No chance of forgiveness. No reconciliation. Just finality.

Your writing is superb. Your tributes, amazingly inspirational. I cherish the favorite posts section you've left up.

I wish I could see the photos of Sausage again. He looks like my dog, whom I had to give away when I moved to Canada. And she acted just as he did. I miss her....

The words you wrote about military spouses fit my wife to a T. And I let her down worse than anyone I ever let down.

I hope you can leave these up for a really long time. I love rummaging through your best work, and the feeling that the people I used to work for and work with are still the most noble on the face of the Earth. And your spousal unit is still one lucky guy, madame.

God Bless.

Subsunk

Posted by: Subsunk at January 10, 2011 04:10 PM

Subsunk:

I don't know how to repay the gift of your kindness but it is appreciated, even if undeserved.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 10, 2011 10:30 PM

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