Friday, August 24, 2007

Welcome / First Post!

Pseudonymous speech is great (and, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation routinely points out, worth preserving). Oddly enough, my first couple of posts will refer, at least tangentially, first to Lewis Carroll, and later, to George Orwell -- respectively, pseudonyms for Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and for Eric Arthur Blair.

My intention is to publish pseudonymously, although I do not expect to enjoy nearly as much success as Fake Steve Jobs in keeping my "secret identity" private for any period of time. At least it will be interesting to see how long it takes before some busy-body actually invests the (admittedly modest) time and effort it will take to "unmask" the author.

The Lewis Carroll reference, of course, relates to the title of this blog, which is inspired (albeit for different reasons) by the same chapter of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Project Gutenberg Etext 11 - I love Project Gutenberg), that propelled Grace Slick on an adventure of her own. (For readers who are a little younger, perhaps Trinity's "Follow the white rabbit" message, from the Matrix, and the white rabbit tattoo, will serve as allusions to Carroll's work that are a little more familiar than Jefferson Airplane). I've always assumed that The Who also made a musical allusion to the Caterpillar's first question, but I've never been quite certain about that . . . .

The full text of the poem Father William, as recited by Alice to the Caterpillar, can be found at the end of this post. In the meantime, the inspiration for this blog (in part, a "blawg," but hardly devoted exclusively to legal subjects), is this stanza:
  `In my youth,' said his father, `I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.'
Fully intending to publish a Web-log site, using the name "Father William," I secured several Internet addresses to publish it, months ago (in some instances, years ago). Then other things came up and (fortunately for all of you, perhaps) nothing really got done until today. Better late than never, I suppose. Come to think of it, I also suppose that means anyone keeping historic DNS and "Whois" data (such as the guy who initiated the "save iridium" movement) may already have the means to identify this site's author. Thus, any semblance of real pseudonymity is out the window, even if I secure a "private" registration at this point. C'est la vie.

The ultimate intention, for this site, is to migrate the whole kit and caboodle (or at least the content) to a private server running Moveable Type, but for now Blogger will do just fine. Some stories are so worth telling, that it just makes sense to have a place to publish them, and in this case I'm tired of waiting to find the free time to set up a server, just in order to accomplish the real objective -- which is to share ideas with others.

Here's the full text of "You are Old, Father William" (courtesy of Project Gutenberg and of >limited Times for copyrights<, both here and in Great Britain -- at least until the inmates manage to secure enough pull in the asylum, to change the rules):

`Repeat, "YOU ARE OLD, FATHER WILLIAM,"' said the Caterpillar.

Alice folded her hands, and began:--

`You are old, Father William,' the young man said,
`And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head--
Do you think, at your age, it is right?'

`In my youth,' Father William replied to his son,
`I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.'

`You are old,' said the youth, `as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door--
Pray, what is the reason of that?'

`In my youth,' said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
`I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment--one shilling the box--
Allow me to sell you a couple?'

`You are old,' said the youth, `and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak--
Pray how did you manage to do it?'

`In my youth,' said his father, `I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.'

`You are old,' said the youth, `one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose--
What made you so awfully clever?'

`I have answered three questions, and that is enough,'
Said his father; `don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!'

No comments: