For Doug

I picked up a lot of my friends on a technicality.

They weren’t MY friends. Not at first. The Queen and I had moved from New York City to Syracuse. For me, I was back where I grew up after being gone for seven years. I hadn’t stayed connected to a lot of people when I left. So as Aubry and I started building a life in Syracuse, the friends that WE had were mainly the friends that SHE had.

Fine by me. The Queen has excellent taste. She had many wonderful friends who quickly became my wonderful friends.

Doug Montcrieff was one of those friends.

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Civility Lost: The Rise of the Trolls

“Don’t feed the trolls.”

It’s a modern-day-truism. It is as important to navigating the digital frontier of the Web as knowing how to parallel park is to obtaining your driver’s license. (Modern update to the road test rite of passage: the examiner scolded my oldest son when she thought he was looking at the backup camera in the minivan during the parallel parking phase.)

In this Internet Age we have the ability to connect with people on a scale never before imagined. But with great power comes great responsibility, Uncle Ben tells us. (“Don’t be a dick – stop the bad guy!” probably would have also been one worth mentioning to Peter.) And, sadly, it seems that we have failed to rise to the occasion. “Online safety” is another modern addition to the list of topics that parents have to address. Cyberbullying. Cyberstalking. Catfishing. Words that exist – and concepts that we have to wrestle with – in our digital age. The Internet has put information and connections at our fingertips. But for every solution it offers, another new worry seems to spring from this Internet Pandora’s Box.

Well, I danced with the Devil a couple of weeks ago. I fed a troll. Continue reading

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A Page From History

I’ve got an appointment coming up. It’s been 31 years in the making.

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The Gift That (We Should) Keep On Giving

Some new friends gave me a gift last week. It wasn’t my birthday. I wasn’t expecting it.

I wish I could re-gift it to everyone I know.

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The Little Pit Fiend Who Could

The sun was rising above a smoky wasteland. Leather-winged abominations turned lazily in volcanic updrafts. Mindless opportunistic predators, they watched the activities on the pitted plain below. Without warning, a fist-sized Nightwing turned and dropped from the sky towards a seemingly-vulnerable target below. The stony mass next to the twitching red shape erupted with a speed inconsistent with its squat shape. The Nightwing vanished in a single wet bite.

The scorched landscape of Malebolge awakened. A new day had begun in Hell. Continue reading

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