Now, gone for good. See you later. Not. Some asshole just destroyed blues ballad and I don't have the energy to fight it. Tom Parmenter, once Ortolan88, but no more. Ortolan88 (talk) 17:25, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I just deleted my watchlist. The sorcerer's apprentice bit was killing me. I am falling way off in my interest in contributing to Wikipedia after 6000-plus edits because I don't like the current atmosphere very much. In addition to the usual trollery, there's the institutionalized trollery of arbitrarily stamping articles with downgrades and whines, and the absurd belief that anything that someone wrote in a book is superior to so-called "original research". Well, almost all of my 6000 contributions are original research by this definition and I take some pleasure in knowing that there's no way the Pecksniffs can find them all. I guess I just liked it better when there were only a couple of hundred real contributors and the self-appointed bureaucrats hadn't found it yet. Best of luck to you all, but it just isn't fun any more. I won't be doing anything much here, markup fixes, identifying 12-bar blues, but that's about it, except for looking stuff up and correcting the odd error here and there, using primarily original research. 17:56, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
PS -- I leave my user page as it was, for what it's worth, but I'm sure that wiki-rot has spoiled a lot of things I worked on.
After all, the cultivated person's first duty is to be always prepared to rewrite the encyclopedia.--Umberto Eco
Note: After contributing to the Wikipedia with great enthusiasm for a year, I took a break starting 02:08 Mar 23, 2003 (UTC). Now I'm back. Ortolan88 19:05, 1 Aug 2004 (UTC) (Then I went away again for several months because I don't like getting angry, but now I'm back, mostly putting in commas and fixing italics, and following up on my favorite musicians.)
While I was away, I finally got my blog going, so visit me at Desperado blog. The blog is a continuation of Internet communications efforts I began in 1978.
It will be interesting to go through all these links to see what has survived more than a year of inattention on my part, but I'll tell you right now I'm putting the football stuff back in my hometown article.
There's an article about Wikipedia mentioning me in the Boston Globe West section September 28, 2006: "Answering Wikipedia's call to fill in the blanks" (free for now), but you'll have to go to the hard copy to see the pix.
I'm pretty happy with my contributions to these entries, many started by others, some where I put a few lines that please me for some reason, some substantially original. (I haven't gone back over this, but there has been some serious loss of content from some of these efforts over the years while I sulked in my tent.)
- Language: A, an; The; William Strunk Jr. and The Elements of Style, bits of E.B. White, stuck in brief descriptions and examples for almost everything in the list under punctuation, setting off a flurry of improvements by others in both content and linking; English plural, which I started and others truly went to town on, and Talk:English plural, in which I entertain myself; eh, mostly; antonym, new word for old thing; homonym, from my adult literacy tutoring; which led to polysemy and hyponym; SAT college entrance test, a prime shuck; interjection (Wow!); contributed simile, contributed to metaphor;
- Popular Culture: My personal favorite of all the pages I've worked on, Tom and Jerry, which includes first pair of that name and a great Frank Zappa story; the second paragraph of the article on Monty Python SPAM Sketch wherein it is revealed why SPAM is funny to Brits; Touch of Evil, the last of the B-movies; Slim Pickens and his brother Easy Pickens; Slim and Easy led me to clown, which I jump-started with the aid of Danny, including a description of the incredibly brave and resourceful rodeo clown; Harry Paget Flashman, everybody's favorite coward; Three Little Pigs, mostly in the fairy-tale part; Edgar Bergen, lip-moving ventriloquist; Herbert Morrison, Hindenburg disaster broadcaster, interesting details; stewardess;
- Music: My as yet incomplete musings about the first rock and roll record have so far led me to Ike Turner, a key figure, a/k/a Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (The latter was my first consolidation since two articles on a nonexistent band was too much, now morphed into "Rocket 88". ) and of course Chuck Berry and Bill Haley and his Comets; Here's Minneapolis's own Prince with the completely reasonable story behind that "unpronounceable glyph"; The Who, whom I saw live many times; Soul music (which could use some other contributors); Big Joe Turner, the Boss of the Blues (if I were on a desert island, I'd be glad to have ten Joe Turner albums); Jethro Tull (agriculturist), the seed drill man (the band makes my teeth hurt); Bo Diddley; "Love is Strange", I love the strange convergences connected with this song; lullaby (What's with this down will come baby stuff!); Joe King Oliver; Louis Armstrong (Satchmo) wherein I peer over the NPOV edge; started Original Dixieland Jass Band; Dizzy Gillespie; W.C. Handy and "Saint Louis Blues"; something nice about Desi Arnaz and Carmen Miranda; Castanets, a nice, clean entry; stuff about US music with a Latin influence in Latin American music, includes the "Spanish tinge" story; Maracas; Jimmie Rodgers, "the singing brakeman" only, that other guy does nothing for me; Grand Ole Opry; Colonel Bogey March, including the (R-rated) lyrics which Tarquin, who is bolder than me, added to the article where I had confined them to the talk page, but then I wrote Hitler has only got one ball with many variants and fascinating factoids, but all the variants were temporarily driven out by a fatuous interpretation of copyright, see the talk page for the whole sad story; mouthpiece, since greatly improved by others at my instigation; wah-wah, which involved some entertaining research; kazoo, symbol of American democracy; contributed to jug band, skiffle music, and rent party; First rock and roll record, record producer, rock and roll anthem, roots of rap music; John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful; power trio; contributions of "Oh, Pretty Woman" to copyright law; beefed up teen idol; XERF, legendary Mexican radio; additions to Professor Longhair and jazz guitar; Top 40; hit parade; boogie woogie; Link Wray; Champion Jack Dupree, Lester Melrose, great producer, petty crook; Screaming Jay Hawkins, a truly great singer, trapped in a coffin; Route 66; Highway 61;
- Politics and worse: Strategic bombing and the Strategic bombing survey (Europe), which I arrived at via Dr. Strangelove; bit at the end of Maria Theresa of Austria about the busty monarch's afterlife on the Maria Theresa dollar; section on how the Jehovah's Witnesses have fought to protect our freedoms under the First Amendment (which I quit to avoid a troll war, but I'll be back);
- Literature:Robert Louis Stevenson; Ford Madox Ford, Karel Capek; very slowly cranking up on Huckleberry Finn which was mostly about racism when I got there; picaresque novel, branching from previous; Farceur Georges Feydeau, which I wrote because I stuck a line in Fawlty Towers making a comparison; Literary technique, including many entries referenced from there (picaresque novel. word play, pastiche, satire, bits of parody); Samuel Richardson, horrible old phony; made sure that E. E. Cummings was known by his rightful, capitalized name; wrote cacotopia and contributed a little on dystopia and utopia; autobiographical novel; word play; Rafael Sabatini, who composed one of my mottoes, "He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad";
- Public Services: Wikipedia:1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, a how-to on using the grand old encyclopedia as a source, along with 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, a tribute to the book itself; first draft of the Wikipedia:Manual of Style; first mentioned the idea of the village pump; started Wikipedia:Guide to Layout; opened Wikipedia:Browser notes; suggested the erstwhile Wikipedia Militia redub itself the Volunteer Fire Department; Wikipedia:No offensive usernames contributor;
- Above and beyond the rambot: I coined the word and also added substantially to the articles on Newton, Massachusetts, my home, Valdosta, Georgia, my home town and the high school football capital of the world, Moody Air Force Base, where I mention the beloved Miss Peaches and her immortal "Callin' Moody Field"; and Cedar Key, Florida, where I stayed overnight and was served gruel for breakfast; identified the namesake of Deaf Smith County, Texas;Habersham County, Georgia and Hall County, Georgia, wherein I quote Sidney Lanier's "Song of the Chattahoochee", about the river that starts there:
- OUT of the hills of Habersham,
- Down the valleys of Hall,
- I hurry amain to reach the plain,
- Run the rapid and leap the fall,
- Split at the rock and together again
- On to the musical history of Macon, Georgia and West Memphis, Arkansas; more poetry, why lovely villages on plains are named Auburn; Whitehall, Michigan; Magoffin County, Kentucky, birthplace of Larry Flynt; Lebanon, Pennsylvania; Waltham, Massachusetts; Erick, Oklahoma, my prize catch so far; an entertaining enccounter with a GFDL absolutist (that is, troll, just as in the Hitler incident) in Talk:Oregon City, Oregon; Ferriday, Louisiana, three piano-playing fools from there; Florence, Alabama; Orange Park, Florida, where my father was born and his father went broke; Winslow, Arizona (guess what); Enterprise, Alabama and its boll weevil statue; Lithonia, Georgia, birthplace of Brenda Lee; Stone Mountain, Georgia, the next little town over, home of the as yet unarticled Stone Mountain; Del Rio, Texas, home of XERF; Canton, Mississippi; Bogalusa, Louisiana; Zanesville, Ohio, hometown of Zane Grey;
- Rescued from the Votes for deletion death row: Hans Selye, discoverer of stress; Arts and Crafts Movement, Mouthpiece, Ununennium, which led to boilerplate entries on the rest of the undiscovered Unun elements, which were immediately hopped up by Vicki Rosenzweig; Camp (style); Undocumented feature; Big Joe Turner; William Gaines, founder of MAD magazine (later expatiated on EC Comics and Max Gaines as well); the interesting social impact of the sleeping car, threatened with death row but never actually there; Super, they said it couldn't be done; read all about mountain bike bog snorkeling in peat bog; lightning rod; Uppsala Astronomical Observatory; ab- and -oid, two fine *fixes (and not dictionary entries, never were);
- Removed from Most Wanted list: Copra, NTIA Manual of Regulations and Procedures for Federal Radio Frequency Management, Chicago Tribune, Soul music, Patricia Hearst, sausage,
- Quirky Links: W.C. Handy to synthetic polymer; Agatha Christie to thallium; Muddy Waters to Bo Diddley and David Bowie; Clown and Intellectual property;
- Favorite etymological discovery: Brace is R-rated, Bracket is X-rated. I stick OED and other etymologies in all sorts of articles; the one for Contract bridge is kind of neat;
I try to keep my entries concise, but I'm a sucker for an illuminating anecdote. I've added this and that to hundreds of articles, frequently etymologies or unexpected aspects. I lurk in Talk pages where I have no particular right to be and try to speak up for the hapless reader. I also started a crusade to add one-liners, dates, and such to entries on what I call "naked lists", those dreary endless lists of unidentified people, places, or things that infest the Wikipedia. See List of novelists, for example, where most one-liners are by other folks. I got the idea from List of battles. See Talk:List of famous operas for a brief manifesto. See Talk:List of novelists to gauge how hopeless this crusade is against Yeatsian "passionate intensity". Sometimes I lose a little enthusiasm for this crusade, but I keep doing it. List of famous cemeteries has been fun.
I enjoy adding a little bit to an entry and then taunting someone else into doing the job right with provocative summary comments. I also like fixing links and adding links and sticking summaries in near the top of entries. I did all that with Julius Caesar which other people have vastly improved. I also like the three paragraphs on tactics that I added to Coup d'etat. I only put a few words in Uncle Tom, but someone wrote it after I almost, but not quite flatly, wrote that Louis Armstrong was not one. On the other hand, I managed to torpedo an ugly prejudiced article on white trash and turn it into something like an encyclopedia article. Following this dismal theme, I wrote yid while rival sects clashed on the talk page, and also contributed earlier to nigger as well as to some stuff about the First amendment in Jehovah's Witnesses and term of disparagement. I've also worked on blackface where I introduced the concept of audio blackface to an astounded talk page audience of one.
I'm a writer by birth, trade, and inclination. I have been writing for publication since 1957 and have earned my living by my pen since 1962. I started as a police reporter and political reporter and newspaper rewrite man in Chicago. See City News Bureau of Chicago and Chicago's American for tales of those absurd, brave days. Since then I have worked as magazine writer, an academic ghostwriter at Washington University and Harvard, and technical writer for DEC, Symbolics, Apple, and Atria Software.
As a technical jack-of-all-trades, I developed numerous schemes for online and printed documentation as well as helping design user interfaces and a couple of markup languages. I also managed groups of tech writers, software engineers, training developers, and sysadmins. I have also written rock and roll songs and advertisements and an unpublished novel about Richard Nixon. I started the Desperado mailing list in 1978, one of the oldest mailing lists on the Internet. There was an article about it in Wired Magazine. I have just finished a book on language purism and English usage which I am flogging. I've been married more than 40 years and have two sons and three granddaughters.
Mail me: Parmenter
Post scriptum: After forgetting any number of boring AIM user names based on various pieces of my straight name and numerous three-digit numbers, I invented a nom de guerre that no one else would ever have. The ortolan is a bird the French eat whole with napkins over their heads to hold in the said-to-be wonderful aroma of the grease-gushing bird body, and 88 is in memory of Dr. John's boast after a particularly spectacular piano run, "dat's what dey call radiatin' on de eighty-eight".
- Il ne faut jamais
- faire les choses à moitié
- Jacques Prevert, from a children's poem about a bird devoured whole by a cat.
Hi Ortolan88, I hope you stop by occasionally to see if anyone's written on your talk page. You might be interested to read Le Testament français (Dreams of My Russian Summers) by Andrei Makine, which discusses ortolan eating! Best wishes and sorry you left. It's really not so bad. You should come back. Oh! I forgot to mention that supposedly ortolans were the last meal of François Mitterand (] [[User:Evangeline|Evangeline]). (talk) 07:41, 1 January 2010 (UTC)