Tales from the (sort-of resurrected) inbox 

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Though email was created in the early 1970s, it remained the rather exclusive domain of pioneering techies until the early-to-mid 1990s, when it was rolled out as a feature by early commercial internet service providers.

While it's hard to imagine how we managed without it, I do have foggy recollections of having to fax—look it up—my early columns to Pique. Someone, probably Bob Barnett, would take them off the fax machine, groan at my misuse of Canadian spellings since I was still figuring out where exactly an extra "u" went in Canadian spelling, and transcribe them into whatever primitive software they were using. If nothing else, that process gave me cover since it was always a toss-up whether I'd misspelled a word or it got snafued in the transcription.

This trip down memory lane was brought home recently, compliments of Telus, when their third-party cloudraker nuked my webmail. Last week's column was sent by carrier pigeon or spoken into a phone, I can't remember which.

But working, as they said, 24/7, Telus did manage to resurrect my address book a few hours ago. For that, I am grateful. I don't know how I would have even begun to remember whose email address I had, let alone recreate them. They will, I hope, securely reside in Outlook on my computer, not the cloud, whatever that is.

Of course, every email older than early August, every one in the saved folders, tells the story of what they'll be doing 24/7 in the future. They all read more or less the same: "Missing Blob for item xxxxx." I don't know if that's twisted humour, cloud-speak or just Telus' shorthand for email content but I'm going to start calling all emails blobs.

Which brings us to this week's remaining instalment of Tales From the Inbox. Again, my apologies for paraphrasing, but some of what I'm recalling has no more detail than a blob has definition, so I'm working from memory, whatever memory I have left after the abuses of youth.

GD:

Aren't you just a little embarrassed about taking bribe money from Turdeau? Now that he's paying off media with federal money, don't you feel beholden to print only positive things about him?

Unfunded Taxpayer

Dear UT:

Bribe money? I wish. I'm guessing you're referring to the $595 million the government "pledged" late last year to help news organizations deal with the digital disruption. As far as I know, that is going, in part, to non-profit news organizations... which is many of them at this point. If Pique's owners aren't making a profit, no one's told me. Since they still pay me—I know, you think I do this for the thrill of it—I'm guessing they're making a profit.

Oh, and if you think I only say nice things about Junior, you either need glasses or you need to brush up on your reading skills. The only way I'll stop taking shots at him is if he appoints me to the Senate.

Hey Max:

Where have all the trolls gone? What happened to the comments? I miss them. Especially the ones calling you out as a crypto liberal, commie, hatemonger. S'matter, they hurt your feelings, so you got them blocked?

Papa Smurf

Dear PS:

Sticks and stones...Oddly enough, I asked the same question of the people who run Pique. I also wondered where all the trolls had gone. I thought maybe they'd gotten new hobbies, fell in love, stole a new bike, found religion, discovered humanity or just moved on to greener pastures.

Then I found out the protocol for comments had changed and people had to log in through a Facebook account. I'm not sure why that had any effect since I always presumed any Facebook profile they had was also cloaked in pseudonyms and cute cartoon faces.

But it seems many of them—although I always thought they were written by the same person using different cute names—were sufficiently put off by this change to slip back under their rocks. It reminded me of a time, years ago, when I thought Facebook might be an avenue of information instead of the cesspool of hate and lies it became, I actually blocked someone who was so out to lunch he just pissed off everyone and destroyed interesting threads. He vanished from my universe and, for just a brief moment, I felt god-like. Then I felt guilty and unblocked him.

You see, I kind of like trolls. I believe the light of day is the best bleach to fade and expose their beliefs. So, yeah, I miss the trolls. I actually prefer hearing from people who disagree with me. Don't get me wrong. I like hearing from the ones who agree, but I enjoy a spirited disagreement.

The good news is, one of them is kind enough to email me and remind me there is at least one person out there who believes I'm a, "crypto liberal global communist caliphate George Soros loving fake news propagandaist (sic)." Somehow though, it lacks the same punch coming from an email address with what appears to be a real name as opposed to something cute and made up. Nonetheless, always nice to get fan mail from loyal readers.

GD:

I was shocked this week to read your column. No, it wasn't the shock of reading you apologize to realtors, although that was shocking. It was reading you saying, "I'm likely voting Green." Really? Mr. Strategic Voting is going Green? Explain yourself.

Shocked

Dear Shocked:

Hmmm...I was hoping I could just slip that one past you. Strategic voting was vital last time around since I would have done anything to get rid of Mr. Harper.

But I'm not sure that will be necessary this time. Chuckles Scheer is having trouble firing up the Conservative base with his half-baked policy announcements and his homophobic absences are doing a good job reminding liberal folks what it is they distrust about the party. As well, Mr. Bernier is doing a pretty good job of siphoning off the nationalists, populists and pure laine Canadians who might have voted for the Conservatives but love the anti-immigrant platform, while Mr. Singh is managing to drive many NDP voters toward the Liberals.

That seems like a good start toward a Liberal minority and, frankly, I'd get off on seeing 'Liz'beth May hold the balance of power. Just call me a cockeyed optimist.

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