Searching for something.

There are stats nerds on this here internet, but I am not one of them. Every so often I run across a blogger who uses their stats program and its tracking powers to hunt down and punish readers who have displeased them in some way — posting IP numbers, sometimes names, in one case contacting some poor shlub’s boss to complain (he had displeased the blogger from a work computer) — but I can’t do that. I even feel bad (sometimes) about blocking Dwight; I ran across a few of his comments while hunting down some old posts, and it reminded me he was once just an occasionally sharp-tongued guy who simply disagreed with most of us, before he became a nasty old troll.

I believe we all have enough forces of evil tracking our every move and dollar spent. We don’t need another. Also, most of the crap displayed on my Google Analytics dashboard is over my head, and I don’t want to bother learning about it.

There is one facet that never fails to amuse, however: the search terms that bring readers here.

Once, early in this blog’s life, I got a nice note from a teacher in Los Angeles. I’d gone through a rough day at work with a knuckle-dragging boss and was feeling lost in self-pity and self-doubt — I’m going to DIE in this awful place, I just KNOW it — when I opened her e-mail. She told me how much she loved the blog, and confessed to having used passages from it in a writing class (my heart, it soared!), and closed by telling me how she found me. She’d been searching “puu-puu platter” and came across something I’d written about Polynesian restaurants.

It was a miracle, I thought, suddenly grasping the truth: I was living in a world without editors, but with search engines. Boss Hairy Knuckles couldn’t hold me back in a world ruled by the Google.

As frequently happens, it didn’t quite work out that way. The Google could hold us both back — and most of the other journalists we knew — by torpedoing our industry below the waterline. But for a writer who always felt misunderstood in Allen County, Indiana, finding readers from around the world was something of a thrill. Still is.

While I never write with search terms in mind, I like to think our discussions here are electic and wide-ranging, small-c catholic in the best sense of the word. You’ll find all sorts of arcane words and phrases batted around here; let’s take a look at a few:

** My name is the first and second most-searched term here in the past month, but guess what numero tres is? Cane rat bouillon, dropped in the comments once by our very own Coozledad, in a discussion we had earlier in the summer about lousy restaurant food. It accounted for 224 visits, and what’s even more amusing is that cane rat bouillon searchers spent three minutes on the site and visited 1.3 pages. Welcome, cane-ratters.

** No. 4 is fort wayne mediawatch, and fuck those guys. The last time I expressed that opinion, they got all huffy and rattled their wee plastic swords and threatened that if I didn’t stop saying mean things about them, they would write about me on their two new blogs, Why We Hate Nancy Nall and That Stupid Bitch, Nancy Nall. Both are empty, so no link, and besides, why should I drive traffic to them? Let ’em whore for it like everyone else. Moving on:

** cokie roberts interesting nancy nall, which appears to be an accidental collision of those words in the comments somewhere; I haven’t written about Cokie in forever.

** No. 8 is the full Fresian name of our own Connie, whose last name I will obscure so it doesn’t come up in yet another search. The entry was one where we discussed our unusual names.

** No. 16: free crack. Heh. Sorry, folks.

** No. 19: For the first 16 years of my life, no one ever misspelled my last name. Then one of my friends started calling me Null, and that was that. It obviously unleashed a demon.

After about 25 or so, the searches fall to single digits — of searchers, that is, be they human or ‘bot. Still, the things they’re looking for! Queen Noor plastic surgery and jon meacham tiresome fool (he’s the editor of Newsweek), smashed tits and death of the adverb, drug-seeking behavior and spook beckman.

Every so often I get these community-college catalogs offering various one-off classes. I’ve changed my mind; I’d take one called The Thorough Appreciation of Google Analytics. Someone, please offer one.

OK, that’s it for today, then. Oh no, one bit of bloggage. Fisticuffs at the Washington Post! Platform-agnostic shit content-management system bullshit… I love it:

Posted at 10:44 am in Media, Same ol' same ol' |

73 responses to “Searching for something.”

  1. coozledad said on November 5, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Here are a couple of days of stats from my site. They’re remarkably consistent:
    Search Views
    dogs slipped disc 2
    why do i only get strong erections in th 1
    chicken paprika -foodista -site:allrecip 1
    erect cock 1
    Search Engine Terms

    These are terms people used to find your blog.


    Search Views
    morning erection 2
    testis banding by wife 1
    almostfemale 1
    banding my boyfriend’s scrotum 1
    treadle sewing machine 1

    The only thing missing here really is the constant search for “erect mule cock”
    There’s a market for everything.

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  2. Randy said on November 5, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Smashed Tits, Death Of The Adverb…

    Possible band names? I think they’re up there with Nancy’s earlier suggestion: Makeshift Memorial.

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  3. brian stouder said on November 5, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Who doesn’t like Jon Meacham?

    yadda yadda yadda – I loved his Andy Jackson book – etc, etc

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  4. Lex said on November 5, 2009 at 11:43 am

    My hardy perennials:

    — “on the run” (duh)
    — Thomas cake (Thomas the Tank Engine: popular on kids’ birthday cakes)
    — “Harry Potter” cake (ditto)
    — “raise a child up in the way he should go” (and several other Bible-verse fragments)
    — “im in ur computer”
    — carolina girls “hot to trot” (I titled a post that once — it was a deconstruction of the lyrics to NC’s official state song — and it has been the gift from the pr0n surfers that keeps on giving)
    — “lucky duckies” “wall street journal” (info here for those unfamiliar with the reference.)

    Recent crop-ups:
    — “how to fail with dignity”
    — Since I posted recently on Bernard Wasserstein’s essay on Hannah Arendt, I’ve been getting several hits a day from people searching on various combinations of Wasserstein, Arendt and Times (of London, where the thing originally ran).
    — Ken Lewis (outgoing Bank of America CEO)
    — “a four-year-old’s mind”

    I need to speak to my biographer about that last one.

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  5. MarkH said on November 5, 2009 at 11:55 am

    SPOOK BECKMAN??!! Get out!

    Actually, Brian, I don’t care for Jon Meacham…

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  6. John said on November 5, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    My second cousin, Nancy Ann Nall, married Terrence Null. So she became, Nancy Nall Null.

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  7. nancy said on November 5, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Perhaps I need to clarify: Those “ands” in the third-to-last graf are not Boolean, i.e., no one was linking Spook Beckman to drug-seeking behavior. I threw the ands in to make the sentence more, y’know, musical.

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  8. coozledad said on November 5, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Lex: Ever read Wasserstein’s book about Shanghai in the thirties? I’m trying to remember the name of the White Russian torturer who worked for the Imperial Army. The OSS gave him a job on our side after the war.

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  9. Sue said on November 5, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    I came to Nancy’s site through Eric Zorn’s blog, a nice straight line from one interesting writer to another. A few months ago Eric posted the (work) email address of someone who had threatened him. I imagine that resulted in a lively time for the guy who made the threat.

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  10. Jolene said on November 5, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I just noticed that the time stamp on Sue’s message says 12:09 PM, but it’s only 12:08 PM. What’s up w/ that?

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  11. MarkH said on November 5, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Actually, I wasn’t making that Spook-seeking-drugs connection, Nance. Seeing Spook’s name on your site just shook me a little. And, that WAS a little musical (the line, not Spook).

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  12. Julie said on November 5, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I am sorry to hear you felt misunderstood in Allen County, but then I also understand why you were! I live in AC and love your blog. My Dad, who is 83, was a big fan. He still quotes you. When we talk about some outrageous thing, he will say, “like Nancy Nall says, is this a great country or what?” Keep up the good work!

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  13. nancy said on November 5, 2009 at 1:29 pm


    Please don’t tell your dad I didn’t coin that one. Let him keep his illusions.


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  14. crinoidgirl said on November 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    The story of Ford Beckman, Spook’s son:

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  15. Julie Robinson said on November 5, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    That was a different Julie, but we share that opinion!

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  16. Rana said on November 5, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    You know that now you’ve added those strings to one of your posts, your blog’s significance in the search engine’s going to go up, right?

    So, to confuse it a bit, here are my top ten:

    1. functional depression
    2. ravens for sale
    3. frogs and ravens
    4. politics with a small p
    5. small p politics
    6. bibulus sempronius
    7. disadvantages of existentialism
    8. how many data points make a trend
    9. how to not be bitter
    10. pitchers of frogs

    Other amusing one-off-ers:

    pitchers of frogs grokking
    sand box and wierd sayings
    short gap between ribs and hips
    slicker than owl snot sayings
    the pool’s in but the patio ain’t dry
    what dissolves rat trap glue
    where to find plastic ravens
    prime number shitting bear
    full bore linear panic mcmanus
    how to keep earwigs out of the house
    “men’s chest hair” and “pictures” (gotta love the random quotation marks around “pictures”)
    2 rats fucking in a wool sock
    can frogs get bird flu
    frogs which dont care about their child independent
    description and observation of good porch in the house
    how to scare children talking about spider, frog legs and eyeball

    There are a lot of bitter, depressed people out there who are really concerned about being short-waisted, keeping frogs and earwigs out of their houses, and who want to buy ravens, is all I can say.

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  17. annie said on November 5, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I found Nancy’s site thru a long ago Romenesko link about Bob Greene. Does that make me one of the earliest readers? At the time I was working at a newspaper (tho not as a journalist). I used to check Romenesko regularly back when newspaper news had any significance for the world.

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  18. 4dbirds said on November 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I think I also found Nancy during the Bob Greene period.

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  19. Deborah said on November 5, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I found Nancy through Lance Mannion, I found Lance Mannion through James Woolcot, I found James Woolcot through By Neddie Jingo, I have no recollection of how I found Neddie, by chance I think.

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  20. Laura Lippman said on November 5, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I believe I found this blog with a Boolean search that combined an ex-boss’s name and the term “cheese-eater.”

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  21. Jolene said on November 5, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Huh, I was trying to remember how I found my way here too, and now that I see Lance Mannion’s name, I think that must be it. How I found him, I have no idea.

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  22. Jolene said on November 5, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Another thing to add to the “things that make me feel old” file: Today is the 40th anniversary of the launch of Sesame Street. As is the case w/ most things I learn these days, this info came to me courtesy of Google. Pretty impressive to think about how many kids have learned things from the Muppets over all those years.

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  23. Dorothy said on November 5, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    We really have been hanging around each other for far too long, because all of these remembrances of how we found Nancy sound awfully familiar to me.

    I found her by Googling “Irish Travelers” because there was a story in the news about 5 years ago. And I can’t remember exactly what it was. When I just tried to replicate that search, I went back about 8 or 9 pages for Google results, and could no longer find a link to Nancy.

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  24. moe99 said on November 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I found Nancy when she exposed that horrible Bush appointee (whose name I have thankfully forgotten) who plagiarized his columns.

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  25. Rana said on November 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I’m pretty sure I came here first because my fiancé kept reading me bits of your writing and the comments. I think he found you through Lance.

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  26. Lex said on November 5, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    cooz: You talking about “Secret War in Shanghai”? I have not. I’d like to.

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  27. Lex said on November 5, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    And for the record, I no longer remember how I found NN.c, but I did find that it’s a small world indeed when the managing editor at my paper ended up as the editor of her paper in Fort Wayne. (I believe our hostess would rather forget that period of her life.)

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  28. Kriesa said on November 5, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I’ve been lurking for a few months. I think that this is my first post. This is catty, but I found Nancy’s blog through a Google search for “why do I hate James Lileks now?”

    I’d been a regular reader of his blog, but got increasingly turned off until I stopped reading completely a few years ago. I decided to re-test the waters there recently, and found that he was even more unreadable than I’d remembered. Hence, my Google search.

    Nancy’s was by far the most satisfying hit, and I’ve stuck around. I really enjoy the discussions here. Plus, I grew up in MI, so it’s neat to get updates on what’s happening in my old home state.

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  29. nancy said on November 5, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Welcome to the surfacing lurkers. And Lex, your terse summation of what we could expect under your former m.e. turned out to be dead-on. I’d hire you as a reporter any day.

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  30. jcburns said on November 5, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    I found Nancy in the OU Post newsroom when I looked up to see who was making such witty wisecracks. And, wow, reading about Spook Beckman and his middleaged wouldbe painterly son makes me feel like I’ve been doing peyote.

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  31. Watson said on November 5, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Okay, I’ll delurk as well — like Kriesa, I found Nancy through some Lileks-hating link and fell swiftly, deeply in crush with our proprietress and (most of) y’all here in the comments section. I freelance, so the smart kibitzing that goes on here is an excellent antidote to the long stretches of time I spend by myself. And my family’s from Detroit, so the dispatches from MI interest me, too.

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  32. brian stouder said on November 5, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I’ve been a Nancy Nall/Telling Tales reader for something like one score and seven years (give or take), dating back to when her newspaper column was Tuesday, Thursday (maybe Friday?) and TOPPED OFF with (the most-like NN.c) open-form Saturday one, which featured comments and arguments from cranks like me, who – in those days – had to scrawl something onto actual paper and then put a postage stamp onto an envelope, and then drop the thing into a mail box, in the hopes that the USPS would deliver it to Fort Wayne Newspapers on Main Street in a timely enough fashion that it might possibly be granted an inning on Saturday…or not!

    Once, during the Dark Ages which descended upon Fort Wayne during the time between when Nance left the good ol’ News-Sentinel and before I rediscovered her on the internet, I was noodling around on a buddy’s website, and followed a link to some sort of blogger-workshop, and (cue the triumphant strings and brass) TA DA!! I found ol’ Nance again! I was so happy to have found her site, that I posted and commented and argued and opinionated – and all with no typewriters! No stamps! No waiting for Saturday!! I was a pig in mud!!

    And then? Ashley Morris – God rest his soul – believed that I was a blithering idiot and/or troll, who was altogether too noisey; and of course, he was right.

    So – to this day, the idea (or struggle!) is to curb my enthusiasm. (and indeed, through this site I discovered the superb Laura Lippman’s writing, but we digress!)

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  33. Julie said on November 5, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    will be our secret…it won’t be his only illusion.

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  34. Peter said on November 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I too came on board thanks to Bob Greene. See, nobody is 100% evil; if it weren’t for that putz, I probably wouldn’t have found this website.

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  35. judybusy said on November 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I found NN.c the old-fashioned way–a friend recommended her while we were having dinner. I don’t know how my friend knew of you, but she’s been a reader forever. I read every day, including many of the comments. Thanks for all the smart stuff here!

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  36. adrianne said on November 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I found Nancy serving up cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches in her printer’s apron during a New Year’s Eve bash in the Fort when I was a young starry-eyed reporters. We’ve been friends ever since!

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  37. Jolene said on November 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    From a Hank Stuever Facebook posting, more on the Allen v. Roig-Franzia scuffle and what it says (and doesn’t say) about what is happening at the Post in these trying days.

    Hank, by the way, has a new post at his blog re an interview in DC’s Metro Weekly. Includes a link to the interview.

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  38. Hexdecimal said on November 5, 2009 at 5:09 pm


    I too have been reading, and watching, Nance since before the first Gulf war. She’s the only journalist who ever made me want to put pen to paper and then send in the result to a newspaper. Or was it crayon to paper? The result was we agreed to disagree, and we decided you get to do the writing and I get to do the reading. It’s been working out perfect ever since…

    As for the watching part, Nance – was it Channel 15 that you did a morning news show as a editorial commentator? I remember that it was usually funny with small talk banter between you and the news person ,and then you read your script, then more small talk. A fun 5 minutes.

    As for how I found NN.C, that AH HA moment is lost. Probably I found it like I do most anything else on the web… I trip over it.


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  39. Julie Robinson said on November 5, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Like Brian, I’m a fan from the beginning of the N-S days when the DH was a part of the Fort Wayne Newspapers family (which it was way back then). Nance, you may not believe it, but you made your escape before the really dark days began.

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  40. Jolene said on November 5, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Bad stuff happening in Texas. Twelve soldiers killed in a shooting at Fort Hood. Many more wounded. Two suspects, also apparently soldiers, in custody. Happened at 1:30 PM CST today. General speaking on MSNBC right now.

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  41. brian stouder said on November 5, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    My brother served at Fort Hood, 30 + years ago.

    My fear – based on no facts yet – is that these shooters thought themselves some sort of latter-day Harpers Ferry/tree of liberty/Texas Secesh revolutionaries.

    People who are just nuts tend to do this all alone; multiple shooters looks, quite simply, like domestic terrorism

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  42. whitebeard said on November 5, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I’m with Moe99, “I found Nancy when she exposed that hor­ri­ble Bush appointee (whose name I have thank­fully for­got­ten) who pla­gia­rized his columns.” BUT I remembered Tim’s name and have followed Nancy every day since, sometimes commenting, mostly chuckling to myself and hoping she picks up a rock and uncovers another scoundrel.

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  43. Beth said on November 5, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Always read “Telling Tales” and believe it or not, I found through the dreaded Mediawatch site. Don’t read that thing much anymore, but read Nancy every day.

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  44. ROgirl said on November 5, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Who the hell is Spook Beckman?

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  45. mark said on November 5, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Right, brian. Just like the Fort Dix Six.

    Other than the fact that it has never been the case, we know that orchestrated attacks on the US military are always domestic, tree of liberty, types. The FBI is probably interviewing Rush Limbaugh right now.

    Report (preliminary from CBS) coming in now is that the first and only identified shooter is Major Malik Nadal Hasan, a recent convert to Islam. If true, probably the “Tree of Liberty Mosque.”

    The speed with which your knee jerked is, however, breathtaking.

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  46. crinoidgirl said on November 5, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    The gunman’s been identified as Major Malik Nadal Hasan.

    Please please please don’t let this start a pogrom.

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  47. crinoidgirl said on November 5, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Mark, shut up. Now is not the time. I need to find out if my cousin is OK. I don’t give a crap what ideology or doofusness started this.

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  48. mark said on November 5, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Sorry. It also didn’t strike me as the time for factually baseless speculation attributing the attack to “tree of liberty” types.

    Edit: Didn’t know about your cousin when I posted and I hope he is safe and that you reach him soon. These will be my last words on the subject.

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  49. Dexter said on November 5, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    I don’t give a fuck what they end up calling this, whether some jodied soldier came back to a pregnant wife or girlfriend, some fundamentalist was doing his duty…this was an act of terrorism , true terrorism, and it’s sick. If this wasn’t a one now-dead man show, it’s time to re-start Ellis Unit One.

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  50. crinoidgirl said on November 5, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Yeah, well it’s great to pontificate. I agree that it’s stupid to figure out ahead of time who’s responsible for these awful things that are happening.

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  51. MarkH said on November 5, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    ROgirl, Spook was a well-known, long-time TV and (mostly) radio personality in Columbus. Maybe Nancy or Kirk know how he acquired that moniker, I don’t know. He’s been dead for over 20 years, but was a legend in Central Ohio, worked at nearly every radio station there at one time or another. You either loved him or couldn’t stand him.

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  52. Rana said on November 5, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    There’s Twitter feed on the shootings here:

    (via The Blotter blog at the Austin American-Statesman.)

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  53. joodyb said on November 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    nance, didn’t you want a raven once? or was that a crow? or are they the same? rana, i SO heart your search lists (weeping, bows down as if to kiss your feet).

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  54. Rana said on November 5, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Now, now, joodyb. I hear you can get ravens at Hobby Lobby. (At least, that’s what some of my searchers seem to believe.)

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  55. brian stouder said on November 5, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    The speed with which your knee jerked is, how­ever, breathtaking.

    True, Mark. As you may have noted, I freely admited that my knee jerked as a result of a wave of fear, “based on no facts”, but instead on reports (at that moment) that they had multiple shooters, and took two of them alive.

    A truly horrible story, whatever else we learn

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  56. Hank Stuever said on November 5, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I found Nancy the most sinful way of all: Googling myself. (But it _feels_ so good.) It was years ago.

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  57. joodyb said on November 5, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    see, rana? my mind couldn’t even go there. hence, my gratitude.

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  58. Lex said on November 5, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    [[I’d hire you as a reporter any day.]]

    I appreciate it, Nance. Just sorry y’all couldn’t have been spared.

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  59. Danny said on November 5, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Guys, I’m busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, but who is this Nancy you all found? Hmmm .. name sounds familiar.

    I’ve loved Nancy ever since we’ve been sworn, mortal enemies.

    Brian, I don’t want to jinx it, but Ashley must be pretty proud of a certain professional sports team who is having a very good season (so far). Geaux {blanks}!!!

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  60. brian stouder said on November 5, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Danny, you got that right.

    Say, further to today’s “Searching for something” header, possibly you have already seen this clip, but if not, it’s pretty funny.

    If you fast-forward to 2:35, and pause it, you can see a hidden message that made me laugh out loud!—arnold-schwarzenegger

    I had previously seen an article like this one –

    but Colbert shows us what’s what

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  61. Dexter said on November 5, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Danny, I didn’t know Ashley , just exchanged a couple thoughts with him on The Wire threads, but if he used to be a Saints fan, yes, he would be proud. And unless he was a sports-hater, he would have to be proud of the town’s team .
    When Saints QB Drew Brees played at Purdue, he was great, but people said he was too short, too slow, too weak-armed…on and on. I always said he was going to be an all-pro, because he had an all-encompassing view of the field and he was lightning quick on his pass release and footwork. It was easy for even the casual fan to see he had a chance at greatness, I thought, and now look at him.
    I became convinced when I was at the last Michigan Stadium appearance of Drew Brees. It was pouring down, a cold November rain, and Brees never missed a step, overcame the weather, and did remarkably well.

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  62. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 5, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    I’m thinking i stumbled into this pub on a stormy night around 1998-99, a bit before Bob Greene’s major self-immolation, when i still attempted the vague half-hearted defense of his smarm on behalf of abused kids. If i try hard, i can still summon up a little appreciation, but his behavior with teenage admirers (& sources) made that not worth the effort.

    It was by way of Amy Welborn’s links that i found NN.C, & how i started reading Amy 3 blog titles ago is a long story of no interest to anyone here that i can imagine. But generally, it started with a theological tie that mixed with a pique of journalistic interest, and was cemented in place by the writing. Good writing is worth a daily look-see; call it a spiritual discipline of sorts. (Full disclosure: i read despite the recurrent Lileks slams, not because of them. Of course, i used to defend Greene, too. But never Mitch. Can’t stand Albom. We all have limits.)

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  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 5, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    PS — somebody’s server clock didn’t reset for DST last Sunday morning.

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  64. Danny said on November 5, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Dexter, I so agree. When the Chargers got rid of Drew, I was actually happy for him. It’s wild how some people who call themselves General Managers don’t really seem to be good judges of talent.

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  65. crazycatlady said on November 6, 2009 at 1:13 am

    I found Nancy’s blog when my husband Beb wouldn’t shut up about her. She said this, she said that, blah, blah ,blah! Nancy, Nancy, NANCY! So I had to read it and I’m hooked. At least he shuts up now…

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  66. alex said on November 6, 2009 at 1:22 am

    I found out about NN.C through NN when I contacted her about a hard copy column she wrote about a comical collision of cultures that were never otherwise supposed to meet. She heard about it from one of the parties, an Amish family. I had heard it from the other, the black drag queen who showed up at the Amish family’s doorstep in a torn dress and one high-heeled shoe in desperate need of first aid and a ride back to town.

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  67. Dave said on November 6, 2009 at 1:34 am

    Found Nancy when we first strayed to Fort Wayne in 1986 and read the N-S. Not sure at all when we first learned of her blog, perhaps it was via the newspaper or, and I dread saying it, the hated mediawatch, doesn’t deserve capitalization.

    Ah, Spook Beckman, I remember being about four years old and a flashy red convertible driving down Main Street, near James Road, between Whitehall and Bexley. My mother said, “Why, that’s Spook Beckman”. Would have been about 1954, at that time, he also had a TV show on channel 6.

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  68. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 6, 2009 at 9:47 am

    So, chief, when did this blog/running column/website go up? I really can’t recall for sure, but i started thinking last night i remembered reading your stuff online pre-1999, but i’m not certain.

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    • nancy said on November 6, 2009 at 9:50 am

      January 14, 2001. Might have been the 17th, but I’m pretty sure it was the 14th. It was my New Year’s resolution: “Try something new,” probably. And may I just say, as I prepare today’s entry, that reading all these comments has been wonderful? You folks really are the best.

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  69. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 6, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I found the date of Greene’s exfoliation as 2002, and it seemed like i’d been reading here for at least six months before that, so it must have been late 2001 or Jan. 2002.

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  70. SimplerDave said on November 6, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    And another vote to the ‘found Nancy through Lance Mannion; found Lance through James Wolcott’ crowd – found Mr Wolcott through a film blog called Mystery Man On Film ( ) sometime in the early-mid 00s. Ah, the interweb…

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  71. Ann said on November 6, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I’m another fan who goes back to the Bob Greene scandal. I never liked him (I remember fondly the Chicago Reader column along the lines of “we read Bob Greene so you don’t have to”) and was happy to wallow in the mud of the scandal a while. Once here I was hooked, like all of us, by the writing.

    It reminds me how many of my favorite blogs are written by professional journalists. Zorn, Ebert, Sullivan, Nall. A single story or topic can draw me in, but it’s the writing that keeps me faithful.

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  72. Mindy said on November 6, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I found Nancy one day after reading her column and wondering if she’d written anything else. The website was so refreshing because it was like finding her pouring a glass of wine after a long day at work and saying what she couldn’t include in the column. There was a counter back then. I remember taking a number around 18,000 (“We are happy to serve you 18,000” it said) and feeling horribly cheated that I’d missed so many posts. Then the Bob Greene rant happened and I’ve been periodically asking for a Greatest Hits file here ever since.

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