- Five Cities that Ruled the World: How Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York Shaped Global History by Douglas Wilson: Excellent
- The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro: A well-crafted thematic tale, certainly worth reading
- Hickory Wind: The Life and Times of Gram Parsons by Be Fong-Torres: A snappy, interesting account of the life of a talented but short-lived musician
- Basic Moral Philosophy: Robert Holmes: Ugh–too textbookish.
- Fallen Angels by Harold Bloom: Some really perceptive and fascinating literary observations, but often out of touch and gnosticy
- Essays on Political Economy by Frederic Bastiat: I wish more politicians, economists, and pundits would read this!
- Idle Ideals in 1905 by Jerome Jerome: Has its moments
- The Pundit’s Folly by Sinclair Ferguson: A great look at Ecclesiastes and a solid, winsome presentation of the gospel.
“God created a world of beauty in space and time; but he also made us to know him and to live in his presence; he thus sets eternity and a desire for it in our hearts. Consequently, we can never be finally satisfied with anything the world can offer us. Made as God’s image, created for him, we must remain forever dissatisified until we live in fellowship with him and for his glory.”
– Sinclair Ferguson in The Pundit’s Folly
While the 90′s may seem like a long time ago for some, in the broader perspective, I came to the computing world quite late.
My first computer was a 486 system that my brother gave me some time in the early to mid 1990′s (most likely 1993 or 1994). It was running DOS, Win3.1, and OS/2. My introduction to computer literacy was mainly driven by my desire to figure out how to run games on the system. I don’t remember all of the games, but two in particular were Spear of Destiny (a spin-off of of the shooter Wolfenstein) and NHL 93 (and EA Sports hockey game). With this motivation to learn about the computer, I quickly picked up new things.
On the grand scale of computing history, this was before e-mail caught up with postal mail in volume, right around when Red Hat Linux was introduced, right around when Mosaic released their web browser, and a few years before Apple had a product called “Mac OS”.
It wasn’t too long before I was introduced to the more social aspects of the computing subculture. A friend introduced me to the concept of Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) and I quickly became hooked to that too. The best way to describe the BBS scene is perhaps as a localized Internet. A BBS was a little system that someone would run from their home and you could dial into it. A whole subculture developed. A BBS would usually have functionality to chat, post messages, upload/download files, play games, etc.
Again, I must stress that I was a later-comer on the BBS scene. When I entered it, the BBS scene was probably somewhere slightly past its prime and starting its decline (or, according to some, already well into it’s decline). My first modem was technically a 2400 baud modem, but that device was so quirky that I never really did much with it. So very soon I jumped up to a 14.4 modem, which seemed fast at the time but is really unbelievably slow.
I called a bunch of BBS systems, possibly around 100 or more. Many friendships formed through this medium, although they were probably not completely deep. I was pretty much a regular on the scene until 1999, when the scene had already pretty much died out. Where there were once hundreds of BBS’ in the Windsor area, at that point there were only 5 or 10. Though I never really ran a full-time BBS, I was quite involved in the scene. I ran a couple of part time BBS’ and was co-sysop (assistant admin) of at least 3 boards. I was co-sysop of Champagne’s Island, Genesis, and Eternal Dreams. I called many a number of system and was thoroughly immersed in the underground BBS scene.
For those interested, here are some of the BBS’ I called besides the ones that have already been mentioned: The Dynamite BBS, Windsor Footnote, Windsor Download, Czar’s Land, The Beacon, Second Sinister, Windsor ITC, Body Count BBS, The Abyss, Limbo BBS, Purple Haze, The Outhouse, The Kombatant, and The Swamp.
Just as things in the BBS scene began to fade away, I ran a low-resolution (ANSI/ASCII) art group which had five releases (one of which was released in my absence after I disappeared from the scene). There are so many other memories, aspects to this, much of which is probably not very well preserved or accessible. For all the efforts to relive the past, such as the BBS Documentary, there are still large black holes in the records. Much of this past, even from the early to mid 1990′s, has simply disappeared off the map, so to speak. It might be a good thing in some ways, and a bad thing in others ways. Some of it here will return back here and there, but for the most part it is gone for good. It seems enough hard drives have died or been erased and memories forgotten in order for much of this socio-cultural history to disappear. And anything that is unearthed will be a small sliver of the whole narrative of what went on.
While “cyberspace” certainly has evolved since then, many things for the better, there’s clearly something different now, and, I think, something lost. But as a whole, I don’t think I’d go backwards if I could. Technological change changes us, and nostalgia aside, we are not the same sort of people that enjoyed in the BBS scene back in the 80′s and 90′s.
1534 – Canada is discovered by Jacques Cartier
1653 – Oliver Cromwell disolves the Rump Parliament
1718 – Missionary David Brainerd is born
1889 – Adolph Hitler is born
1923 – Latin Jazz musician Tito Puente is born
1961 – The US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba fails
“What we now need to do is to inquire in what way the principle of redemptively mediate revelation of the standard of ethics appeared in the time of the Old Testament. In answer to this question we naturally tend to think at once of the Decalogue. We often speak of God’s revealing himself in the Old Testament through the law and in the New Testament through the gospel. There is much truth in this contrast, but as it stands it is misleading. In the first place, it is misleading because God did not make his standard known to man by law only in the Old Testament. In the second place, the law in the Old Testament cannot be contrasted to grace in any absolute way, because it is itself a part of the covenant of grace. We should be clear on both points if we wish to see the relations of things correctly.”
– Cornelius Van Til in “Christian Theistic Ethics,” Vol 3 of “In Defense of the Faith,” den Dulk Christian Foundation, 1974, pp. 143, 144
(HT: Libertarian Christians)