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  •  » Death Of A SysOp: Bill Whitehouse AKA Choad 1954-2020

#1 2020-06-20 22:58:59

Bill has passed away after fighting some recent severe and sudden health problems.  As far as I can piece it together, it appears he went to bed on May 29th and did not survive the night.  For now, this system is on autopilot but to those of you who enjoy this great archive of "Ye Random And Perverse" scatology I suggest that if you're ever going to get serious about sucking down the graphics collections, now is the time.  I'm hoping I can find some admin passwords among his effects but if I don't, this plane is just going to keep running until the first pigeon hits the intake. 

For now, this site is Bills only likely monument.  He cared a great deal for many of you, and I hope you'll keep his memory.  That's the only memorial any of us ever get that really means anything, isn't it?

https://i.imgur.com/nke2MXr.jpg

Last edited by monkeyboy (2020-06-20 23:09:53)

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#2 2020-06-21 00:08:31

Gonna miss him. Monkeyboy, thanks for letting us know. Hope you find some passwords.

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#3 2020-06-21 01:32:34

Ah fuck.  I am so sorry to read this. Did he top himself?
Dusty.

Last edited by SpacePuppy (2020-06-21 01:38:05)

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#4 2020-06-21 02:11:42

SpacePuppy wrote:

Did he top himself?

Nah.  He was fighting but weak and in pain, being just a few days out of the hospital.  He still had plans and work undone, and no evidence of self-topping was seen.  Now, it -is- at least possible that he knew damned well he needed to call 911 and didn't do it for being completely determined not to go back to hospital, but that's a different neighborhood from Suicide, though it does also start with S... I think he was as surprised to have solved the Great Mystery as anyone could be.  The last time we spoke he volunteered that he was finally going to quit smoking, and was asking about how I got back in relative good shape after my heart surgery... if he'd been ready to check out we'd have been talking about different stuff.  Like the damned admin passwords...

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#5 2020-06-21 02:19:29

Well fuck.

LATER: Looks like Choad turned off all my banners but left me with Czar powers, well well. There won't be many more like Bill.
I'm really sorry to hear this news, it's the end of an era.

Last edited by Tall Paul (2020-06-21 02:23:52)

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#6 2020-06-21 03:20:40

I'm very sorry to hear of Bill's passing.  He created a wonderful place for a schlub like me to find the truly amazing and awful places on the WWW.  Along the way, I learned a lot about how to be an articulate, educated asshole, arguing with some of the finest and best-prepared assholes the internet has to offer.

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#7 2020-06-21 03:25:24

Gleaned the following from his posts:

-non-judgmental
-dignified
-sharp intellect
-pragmatic
-dare i say "kind"

This news darkened nineteen hours of daylight i was enjoying...somewhat diminishing innate misanthropy.

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#8 2020-06-21 07:26:23

I have not posted in here in many years, but Bill and I kept in touch via email.  My last email from him was on April 2, dropping me a link to some context here.

His spidey sense was certainly tingling.

I will certainly miss him.  Ps, I too, appear to have admin powers.  Let me know if I can help.  I'm best reached on email.

Roger

Last edited by Roger_That (2020-06-21 07:28:35)

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#9 2020-06-21 14:37:10

Wow, that's a shame.  He certainly put a lot into making this an interesting site.

monkeyboy wrote:

For now, this site is Bills only likely monument.

I know Bill had done ghostwriting and worked some on fiction.  He struck me as the kind of guy to have a couple of novels tucked away.  Have you found anything like that, monkeyboy?

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#10 2020-06-21 16:13:17

I'd wondered for a while why he was conspicuous by his absence.  I'll miss him, we shared many interests and had somewhat the same sense of humor.  I prefer to think that, in the end, Makepeace finally got him.

choad wrote:

My family settled this misbegotten swamp 300 years ago and ran it, more or less, until the middle 1970s. Its street names double as a family tree. One relatively recent interloper, AD Makepeace, now owns 65% of it's landmass, mostly in cranberry bogs, and is eager to develop, sell off and get out.

Cranberries are history, at least here. That was apparent to my own family in 1959 when cranberries were the nation's first ever coast to coast pesticide poisoned produce recall, three years before Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring".

It's taken Makepeace most of the last 20 years to capture our municipal government - because they're fucking inept - but they've finally bought every last one of our public officials and it's full speed ahead. The people they've hired for this are thugs.

They've paid a small fortune to deep six any unfavorable news and needless to say, they don't like me much. In fact, I can't claim a single trusted friend in this town. One way or another, my days here are numbered.

Keep it under your hats, ok? And if you're checking obits, bear in mind I'm the oldest of four and named after my loathsome old man, now 88, on life support and not expected to live another week.

Blah... Nasty, huh?

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#11 2020-06-21 17:13:32

I went looking for an obituary and found an article about him disrupting a local town meeting by taking pictures until they called the cops. 

I haven't been in great touch, and perhaps I was due a bit of a shock to remind me not to procrastinate.  I miss knowing he was out there hate-glaring at the state of journalism and fighting city hall.

Also, it appears his father died a few days before he did.

Thank you, Monkeyboy, for keeping us in the loop.

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#12 2020-06-21 19:22:45

Roger_That wrote:

I too, appear to have admin powers.

Roger

A somewhat alarming number of people including myself have "admin" privs on the forum software, the admin priv that I lack is the access to the hosted server itself.  I know it's on a virtual machine somewhere but I haven't bothered to find out exactly what provider, reasoning that without passwords it doesn't matter at the moment.  I may do some pruning of the forum admins to remove privs from those who haven't logged on in a few years, but there's no sense hurrying that either when I don't even know when the next payment is due.  At this point I don't know if the site will get shut down for non-payment in 10 minutes, 10 weeks or 10 months, and I can't repair or back up the databases, reboot, patch, update or edit any damned thing on the virtual server, all the little stuff that keeps a stack running.  Like I said in another message, if anyone likes the graphics you've been looking at for years here... download it all damn soon, because as of right now the first thing that tips this little house of cards over will be non-fixable unless I find the keys to the kingdom.

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#13 2020-06-21 20:43:12

Fear not, I cannot imagine having the time to use any of the admin powers Choad left me with.  I have known him since and before the beginning of high street, so would never mess with the site or his legacy.

Best of luck finding the admin passwords and keeping things moving along.  I hope this place survives much much longer.

Roger

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#14 2020-06-21 21:19:23

I'm not worried about any of the members with admin privs mucking up the site, you've all been here quite a long time with none of that.  I'm a little worried about the fact he's got a few tens too many admins, some of whom probably haven't been around in a while, it's just bad practice.  PC's get sold, printouts get forgotten, Post-its get read by the wrong jackass, etc. But none of that matters when the "pilot" is deceased and the cockpit door is locked, so to speak.  If this was a United flight we'd all be screaming for mama, hollering for the liquor cart and calling baby jesus on our smarty phones.

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#15 2020-06-21 21:49:22

I am sorry to hear of Choad's passing. Cruel and later High Street helped me relieve stress at an earlier time in my life. Saying outrageous things and pissing off people anonymously made it possible for me to maintain a mask of relative calm in my everyday life.

I regret that I haven't stopped by or been in touch for several years. I hope Choad's transition event was swift with little to no pain or distress.

Good luck in finding the server info and passwords; I only had moderator powers because my online persona pissed off so many people. Given the glee with which we tormented each other and visitors, I wasn't willing to be forthcoming about my identity or life back then;  I imagine this was also a factor in my not being granted administrator status.

Rest in peace Choad. Enjoy your stay in Valhalla for your battles against corruption. May you have a good reincarnation.

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#16 2020-06-21 22:19:51

Does anyone have a link for an Obit?

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#17 2020-06-21 22:41:06

Wasn't Scotty doing a lot of the backend work for Choad?

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#18 2020-06-21 22:47:01

SpacePuppy wrote:

Does anyone have a link for an Obit?

Bill would have had to write it himself, and as far as I know he never got a round tuit.  Kept telling him to order a few boxes...

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#19 2020-06-21 22:49:59

Emmeran wrote:

Wasn't Scotty doing a lot of the backend work for Choad?

I know someone did a lot of dev work on the site PHP but I have no idea exactly who.  Would Scotty be his username?  He'd probably be The Man as long as the passwords haven't changed.

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#20 2020-06-22 01:05:45

monkeyboy wrote:

Emmeran wrote:

Wasn't Scotty doing a lot of the backend work for Choad?

I know someone did a lot of dev work on the site PHP but I have no idea exactly who.  Would Scotty be his username?  He'd probably be The Man as long as the passwords haven't changed.

When I was around it was Square doing the heavy lifting.

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#21 2020-06-22 04:50:44

I am so sorry to learn that Bill has shuffled off the coil.  He was a very gentle soul.  He may have taken the keys with him when he drove off the cliff, I don't know.  I just hope he comes in for a soft landing.

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#22 2020-06-22 09:10:53

I am without words.

They will come later. I communicated directly with Bill each season passing and found him to be as kind a soul as he appeared to all of you. He was a smart and interesting character, beset by all the flaws and obstacles unique to him but that we all must face in part. With incredible stories from observing others he might tell you.

I am nearby and will be passing Wareham Wednesday. If it is at all useful for me to assist gaining physical access and search of his digital files I would be willing to try to make the arrangements.

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#23 2020-06-22 11:51:43

If I remember correctly, Scotty would have been the correct user name.  That's about all I can verify.

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#24 2020-06-22 12:06:03

Found this little article online and it gave me a laugh.  I believe Bill was behind the warehamobserver.com website for a period of time:

https://wareham.theweektoday.com/node/425?cid=2650754

Last edited by Roger_That (2020-06-22 12:06:32)

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#25 2020-06-22 17:09:25

Aww, shit. Ain't this the maraschino cherry on the shit sundae?

For better or worse, this site has been my corner local for many years and Bill sure was the right kind of crank to run it. I'll tip one for the my homie tonight for sure.

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#26 2020-06-22 17:41:01

Roger_That wrote:

If I remember correctly, Scotty would have been the correct user name.  That's about all I can verify.

As in "Why Scotty Likes Redheads..."?  I checked the User DB, there's only Scotty.

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#27 2020-06-22 19:24:24

Does Opsec still post here?  I thought he and Bill were pretty close at one time.  I think he also helped with site duties at one point.  Just a thought.

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#28 2020-06-22 19:28:32

That should be it. I have old direct email addresses and phone of his, I will see if still live.

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#29 2020-06-22 19:30:16

Johnny_Rotten wrote:

I am nearby and will be passing Wareham Wednesday. If it is at all useful for me to assist gaining physical access and search of his digital files I would be willing to try to make the arrangements.

With a little research, I found what seems to be a current address for Bill if you want it.

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#30 2020-06-23 16:41:19

Just heard the sad news. The dark humored Internet lost a titan. Bill took the corpse of my site and used it as fertilizer, like the country where political prisoners were planted under saplings of what is today a majestic tree-lined thoroughfare.

I just found out I'm an admin here too! Damn. I'm a poor choice. I've already run so many sites into the ground.

I am poking around to see if I can figure out what company hosts this. The nameservers are on linode.com, so that's a likely candidate.

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#31 2020-06-23 16:58:39

It's hosted on Linode. I spoke to a customer support rep there hoping to pay for a month of hosting to make sure this stays online long enough for a new admin. They said I could do that if somebody has the last 6 digits of the card he used to pay for the account and the name or company name used on that payment.

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#32 2020-06-23 18:46:03

Jesus Christ it's like a drunken Irish Wake.  All we need now is to prop Bill up in the corner with a cigar or pipe in one hand, and a pint in the other.  At least it is a home coming for him now. 

Has anyone found a picture of Bill yet, besides his penis pic?  But then, that would do as well.

Dusty.

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#33 2020-06-23 19:02:55

rcade wrote:

It's hosted on Linode. I spoke to a customer support rep there hoping to pay for a month of hosting to make sure this stays online long enough for a new admin. They said I could do that if somebody has the last 6 digits of the card he used to pay for the account and the name or company name used on that payment.

What is the nut?  Easily paid for if it isn't on auto-pay.

Money fixes everything.  Sadly be prepared to push them on  death policy .

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#34 2020-06-23 19:11:01

SpacePuppy wrote:

Jesus Christ it's like a drunken Irish Wake.  All we need now is to prop Bill up in the corner with a cigar or pipe in one hand, and a pint in the other.  At least it is a home coming for him now. 

Has anyone found a picture of Bill yet, besides his penis pic?  But then, that would do as well.

Dusty.

Maybe we could prop him up in a glass enclosure like Jeremy Bentham at the University college of London.  The problem would be picking the right spot for him.

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a44280432601e14c4a69783/5a443abda6525aba075bac4c/5a443ae8a6525aba075bb287/1514421587311/?format=1000w

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#35 2020-06-23 21:40:50

Did Horse Show Up Yet To Pay His Respects?

https://i.redd.it/ay0uztkm1n651.jpg

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#36 2020-06-23 22:02:00

Well, damn. I know I'm not as active or 'in' as most of you guys, but this site (and cruel.com before it) has always been good for a chuckle when I need it. Choad/Bill will be sorely missed.

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#37 2020-06-24 01:16:13

Holy crap.  He had expressed some concerns to me around the time his father died, but I didn't get as much info as monkeyboy.  He was a tremendous gadfly but was always great to me and others who didn't try to screw people over.

I have root access to the server and also the password for the Linode manager.  I don't know if they would let me swap in my credit card info since obviously the names wouldn't match, but will look into it.  In any event, I will download an archive so a copy can be preserved and, if necessary, put up elsewhere.

The part I don't think I can help with is the high-street.org domain name.  Bill mentioned possibly giving me access when he was doing badly but never did.  It expires on September 16, so there is a bit of breathing room.

monkeyboy, and anyone else, feel free to message me here so we can keep this train a-rollin'.  It's the most fitting memorial I can think of.

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#38 2020-06-24 07:00:12

My condolences to Bill's family and friends.  I enjoy visiting H-S. I never realized how much someone's personality come through on a site they've built. I'm sorry to I took H-S for granted. I hope you guys find the keys to the kingdom and keep it going.

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#39 2020-06-24 07:45:31

square wrote:

I have root access to the server and also the password for the Linode manager.  I don't know if they would let me swap in my credit card info since obviously the names wouldn't match, but will look into it.  In any event, I will download an archive so a copy can be preserved and, if necessary, put up elsewhere.

That's good. Linode is likely to let you change the payment name and method when you're logged in. It was only over the phone they needed a matching name I think.

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#40 2020-06-24 07:48:07

square wrote:

I have root access to the server and also the password for the Linode manager.  I don't know if they would let me swap in my credit card info since obviously the names wouldn't match, but will look into it.

Hey Square,

I talked to Rogers yesterday, and he is interested as am I, in helping out with a little bit of cash to keep things running if necessary.  Keep us posted.

Thanks,

RT

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#41 2020-06-24 10:51:47

SpacePuppy wrote:

Jesus Christ it's like a drunken Irish Wake.  All we need now is to prop Bill up in the corner with a cigar or pipe in one hand, and a pint in the other.  At least it is a home coming for him now. 

Has anyone found a picture of Bill yet, besides his penis pic?  But then, that would do as well.

Dusty.

Heh, he would have liked that sentiment, but not held you to actually do it. I think he would appreciate becoming a tree in the garden.

I have some pics. Including a pot he used to piss in, that's a story for another day. I will free up more towards Friday and post some.

And I too will pay what would help keep afloat. I just wish I had done so to give him a year off for even more to spend on his blessed weed butter.

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#42 2020-06-24 13:53:10

https://thumbs2.imgbox.com/82/13/xqqgJBdf_t.jpg

Found a pic of Bill

Last edited by Roger_That (2020-06-24 13:56:08)

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#43 2020-06-24 16:08:17

That sly imp.

Last edited by Johnny_Rotten (2020-06-24 16:10:15)

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#44 2020-06-24 17:32:25

I appreciate your offer very much, RT, JR, and rcade, but the hosting cost is minimal ($5/month) so that's not much of a concern.  The good news is that the process of transferring the site ownership is underway with Linode, so we should be safe.

To keep this topic about Bill and not the technical minutiae, I created a separate topic to discuss admin stuff - if you want to help, please visit there.

Cool, RT, I knew there was a photo Bill (or someone) had posted once when people were sharing their faces.  I also remember him posting a photo of himself and other folks sitting on his roof showing off some kind of radio network link (maybe FidoNet?) back in the '90s (or was it '80s?).  Great stuff.

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#45 2020-06-24 18:19:40

A little search turned up this:

May 14, 1995 : Providence Sunday Journal
Dishing out the data
to keep cyberspace free
By Timothy C. Barmann

If information is money, Sheila Lennon and Bill Whitehouse ought to be rich.

Every day, more than 12 million bytes of computer data stream into their East Side house from a three-foot satellite dish perched on its roof.

The Providence couple are the founders of Radio Free Echomail, a loose coalition of about 50 computer bulletin-board operators throughout New England and as far away as Arizona.

Formed Jan. 1, 1994, RFE shares the electronic mail and public-domain computer programs transmitted to Lennon and Whitehouse's satellite dish.

The dish collects the data that are fed into a small personal computer cobbled together from donated parts, which serves as the group's hub. The data are then passed to other members in about a dozen states by modem and telephone line. Where necessary, the information travels from bulletin board to bulletin board through an elaborate distribution system designed to avoid long-distance calls.

Worldwide hobby

The electronic mail, text files and programs are the lifeblood of a global amateur network called "Fidonet" (as in the dog's name). Formed in 1984, Fidonet is made up of nearly 35,000 bulletin-board operators around the world, most of whom are computer hobbyists, Whitehouse said.

RFE's Fidonet transmission originates in Newport, Tenn., and is beamed to a satellite orbiting in space, then back to satellite receiving dishes all around North America. Other bulletin boards in Rhode Island also receive the Fidonet signal; what's different about the Radio Free Echomail group is that its members don't get any money for their trouble - they pool their skills, time and storage capacities to accomplish what would require a large investment on the part of any one of them.

Instead of making a profit or breaking even by reselling the data to other bulletin boards, Lennon and Whitehouse give it away for free. Any bulletin board can join Radio Free Echomail by pledging to pass the Fidonet files and messages free to their own callers and to other computer bulletin boards. "How are you going to charge for someone's ideas?" he says, referring to the thousands of messages distributed daily by Radio Free Echomail.

In a mission statement posted on their own bulletin board, "Art of the Possible," Whitehouse and Lennon describe it this way: "Access to the electronic town square is a human right."

And they're putting their money where their ideals are. Lennon, a Journal-Bulletin section editor, and Whitehouse, a freelance writer now devoting full time to RFE, paid $659 for the satellite dish system and pay a $40 monthly fee for the service - all out of their own pocket.

Free for all

But Whitehouse said they're not the only ones who contribute to Radio Free Echomail's success. It's a cooperative effort, he said, where the members give of their own resources.

Several boards, for example, act as electronic libraries by storing classic literature texts, operating-system software or missing children photos distributed via Fidonet. Wayne Lisi of Warwick plays a major role in distributing the e-mail and software to other Radio Free Echomail members, and sending RFE's replies back to Fidonet.

The concept behind Radio Free Echomail is not unique. Whitehouse said that a number of other bulletin boards in other states also distribute Fidonet files for free.

Anyone with a computer and a modem can download Radio Free Echomail files and participate in Fidonet's more than 700 discussion topics by connecting to one of the Rhode Island member bulletin boards. (See chart.)

The couple say part of their mission is to curb what they see as a trend - the commercialization of on-line communication.

"This project's loftiest goal," they write, "is to create a beachhead for free public access before a growing telecommunications industry sells our hobby out from under us."

https://thumbs2.imgbox.com/09/a9/76kuVGR4_t.jpg

Last edited by Roger_That (2020-06-24 18:29:03)

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#46 2020-06-25 08:14:00

Roger_That wrote:

https://thumbs2.imgbox.com/82/13/xqqgJBdf_t.jpg

Found a pic of Bill

adieu good soul

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#47 2020-06-25 12:09:10

The couple say part of their mission is to curb what they see as a trend - the commercialization of on-line communication.

"This project's loftiest goal," they write, "is to create a beachhead for free public access before a growing telecommunications industry sells our hobby out from under us."

They fought the good fight, that is true.

I co-ran a fidonet node back in 88 and 89. Those were fun days.

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#48 2020-06-25 13:40:35

GooberMcNutly wrote:

They fought the good fight, that is true.

I co-ran a fidonet node back in 88 and 89. Those were fun days.

I didn't get my node started until '91, I was in base housing on MCAS LTA Tustin, CA. 

Why is Bill holding a basket of flowers while sitting on the roof?

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#49 2020-06-25 17:18:42

Emmeran wrote:

Why is Bill holding a basket of flowers while sitting on the roof?

He is too pleased about something there for that to be a coincidence.

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#50 2020-06-25 17:40:03

Damn it, I hate when friends just step down to the shore one last time and push off alone.

http://high-street.org/uploads/359_20200624_190456.jpg

http://high-street.org/uploads/359_20200624_195603.jpg

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