I’ve known Scott (scooter), Rob (full beard Rob, sadly we’re missing his sidekick Bo, about whom last I heard is tenured in one of the Dakotas), and Dave (sideshow) since they foolishly signed on to get a Ph.D. at the University of Washington. This was long before Paul schooled the world on the economic futility of such endeavours. They followed me in the rough and tumble environment that was UW poll sci, but I took to them quickly. Alcohol helped in that quest. And my one best approbation was affording Watkins the nickname “sideshow”, as it stuck for a while.
When they started the blog, I received an email, so I followed it. I wasn’t new to this internet thing, having written beer reviews for rec. food.drink.beer, and having them on the ‘web’ as early as 1994, as I chatted about this past autumn. Rob and Scott tried to get me on board prior to the 2008 election, but I was either busy, drinking, watching my daughter, or in some ER. Let’s focus on the busy bit as I was chairing my department after all (which probably explains the nascent drinking problem). When I did sign on, it was to be a guest blogger for Rob who was off on some ill advised mission to destroy the air force (I honestly don’t recall what he was up to those two weeks, but that sounds like a high probability endeavour of his). I wrote a handful of posts over those two weeks, and they decided to approach me to be a masthead author here. I had to say yes, as my credit cards were all maxed out and the vast sums of money suddenly flowing my way were appreciated. I do remember telling the guys that I felt like the fan of the band who suddenly got to play bass for them.
I’m still a fan of LGM, and as we’ve added authors since (Charli, SEK, Erik, and Bethany, in particular) I’ve been exposed to different ideas, styles of writing, and people. As our readers know, I’m not part of the blogosphere per se. Yeah, I’ve interacted with Nate Silver when he was pre-NYT and especially when he wrote something boilerplate about the 2010 British elections, about which I took him to task here, and he graciously replied in the NYT. But, I am not part of the entire inside baseball thing that crops up from time to time. I’m a dad first, academic second, and latterly, the data guy for my local party third. But based on my Usenet days, I’d fit right in.
Since, I’ve made an effort to meet our authors during my many travels back to the US (my wife lives in Oregon and I don’t, and I like her a hell of a lot, so I’m there whenever I can be). I have succeeded in meeting both Erik (in Eugene) and Kaufman (in New Orleans, following an epic visit to the LSU ER), and both meets involved not a tame amount of liquor. Both brilliant people FTF. One of my life goals, along with converting one of our Ph.D. students from Tory to Labour, is to find Dave Noon and make sure he’s still alive, and give him brewing tips. I’m thinking both have the same probability of success. I don’t have many regrets in life nor do I really do regret (I should and I guess I do as I’ve been married thrice, and one of my best friends is my first and I’ve got a good relationship with the mother of my daughter), but I do regret not being an omnipresence here. As I said a couple days ago, when things get busy in my life, LGM is one of the first commitments to go. I’m surprised that they still keep me around, to be honest.
I’ve also encountered many people back in the States, in bars, who read LGM (that might be a trend). Writing and blogging comes up, and I humbly point out that I, on occasion, write for some blog. For whom is asked, and I spill it, and with surprising frequency, this one is known. This happened once in Chicago and twice in New York in April. It still astonishes me. Indeed, several of my colleagues in my department read the damn thing to the point where they made me the blog guy. We have one now, but the release of that album won’t happen for a few more weeks.
So as for our commentariat, got to love them. I’m constantly fascinated at the time and effort that our readers expend on dissecting and peer reviewing our contributions (and each others’ comments). I barely have enough time in my life to write for LGM, yet anything I do write, I know if there’s anything I got wrong, it will come out. That’s perhaps the most brilliant part of being part of the LGM team, exposing our sloppy musings to our readers. You guys really make us better.
Here’s to the next ten years.