One of the mostly positive results of the advent of the Internet is that the world is indeed a smaller place. Every now and again, I will check to see how many hits this blog is getting. I am always intrigued by who seems to be reading it and where they are from. The blog is read regularly by a journalist in Las Vegas, two or three law firms in Florida, somebody in New York, an intern in Seattle, somebody who works for the State Legislature here, the list goes on. There's some guy in Texas who reads this blog who also somehow knows my real name. I know this because the ISP has been googling me and my initials. And yes, your gut instinct is correct. He is up to no good. But I'm pretty sure I know who he is and I know why he is doing so interested in little old me. It's cool.
I have become friendly with some of the readers who have written me e-mail about stuff that gets posted up here. One of them is an anesthesiologist somewhere in Texas. One is a dot.com entrepreneur type in Atlanta. The late great local media critic Floaty, who disappeared without a trace, presumably after being outed by his employer, used to check in from time to time. I have corresponded with a woman in Alabama who used to, turns out,babysit my friend who lives in Chicago a hundred years ago. Is that amazing or what? One of my favorite "only on the Internet" experiences was when I started getting correspondence from a woman who was dancing at one of our local strip joints at the time. She now works for Social Services in another state.
She's been writing me again. Is this a great country or what?
I have been following the bloggers back in Louisiana since Katrina. You can see which ones in the "Society of Friends" below at the right side of the page. One of my favorites that I never got around to linking was "Ashley Morris-the blog" which you can find here . Morris was a character the likes of which New Orleans has attracted since there has been a Crescent City. He was a completely outsized personality who was a tireless and vociferous supporter of New Orleans and the New Orleans Saints. He loved the city so much that he commuted once a week to Chicago where he had a tenured teaching position at DePaul to which I gathered he and his family fled during Katrina.
His blog is not exactly what you would call the best writing in the blogosphere. But then again he never claimed to be Voltaire. But like Voltaire he was a polemicist who railed, often in the bluest of language at the Federal Government, the crooked politicians, Saints who opted for free agency and other special targets of his wrath. Subtle he was not.
You will note that I have been referring to him in the past tense. Ashley was found dead in a hotel room in Florida last week where he had gone to settle some pressing family business. One of the locals down there wrote me about him. He was a big guy who liked to eat and New Orleans is not exactly the place to be if you are on a restrictive diet. Like a lot of big guys he was on a lot of medication. My friend was guessing it was a Heath Ledger thing. Maybe Ashley just fucked up.
He loved life. He loved his wife and his 3 small children. I am assured he didn't do himself in.
So why do I even care? It's not like I actually knew him.
Maybe it was because even though he struck me as slightly-no-way obsessed with New Orleans and NOLA food. And a person that describes a restaurant as not being sufficiently adventurous when the most exotic item is "pork cheeks.' No lie. He ate that shit. And critiqued it. Scroll down from the jump above and see for yourself. It's the post about he and his wife's anniversary dinner.
There's a weird thing that passes for familiarity out here on the Net. You read these blogs and kinda get to know the authors. Jill is a neurosurgery resident whose peers seem to be a bunch of juvenile assholes. Kimberly is awaiting results from the bar. Muleboy seems to have a lot of time on his hands. "Right Hand Thief" seems to be perpetually angry. But then again so does "Death By Inches."
And Ashley Morris is dead.
I can't say that I knew him in the traditional sense of having an actual flesh and blood relationship with him. But I knew a lot about him and I saw the world through his eyes whenever I walked around in his blog. And I know he left behind a wife and 3 small children.
And so, yeah. I was saddened by the news.
The news about a guy I only knew when I turned on the computer.
Oh, brave new world that has such people in it!