Many people (not here) see blogging as a thing of the past; most of the regular ones I was reading back in the early to mid 2000s have fallen silent or just vanished. Insert whatever theory you have.

This one keeps going, no let up since it’s start in 2003.

Here is but one small reason why. Here is what a blog does that Facebook/twitter et al, which are only focused in the “now” part of the stream, because a permalink persists, and is discoverable. And it’s personal, not laden with ads or data scraping.

In 2011 I visited by cousins David and Lorrie at their home in Laramie, Wyoming. I can tell many stories about why my cousins, their loving and adventurous spirits, have always been a bright part of my life. When their car rolled in front of our family home, them on the way to some cross country driving trip, it was like having a festival of color and story.

And among my favorite stories was how Lorrie grey up in the old time carnival, part of a high diving act that her how family did, how her dad, Billy Outten was a diving champion, and the funny story how they discovered only at the theater that a MovieTone clip of him was used in the movie The Right Stuff (the internet has failed in locating said clip, gotta watch the movie).

The internet provides few shreds of Billy Outten, from a 2011 online New Jersey newspaper article In Another Time > Doo-wop a part of long history of local entertainment:

Billy Outten, who billed himself as “the human comet” was the 1935 AAU national diving champion and he decided to capitalize on that by starting a comedy diving act with his wife and uncles. But the promoters wanted excitement more than humor, so Outten changed it by plunging 115 feet into a pool covered with burning fuel. A clip of his feat was used in the movie “The Right Stuff.”

Lorrie said his other act was lighting his pants on fire and diving into a small pool. Fire diving.

I tried to get Lorrie to redo her youthful diving pose.

She also demonstrated some “carney” talk, all captured in a blog post that has a permanent web address (as long as I or my domain is alive) at

Tonight, for the third time since publishing, a person who knew her family has sought out information on th outtens, found my blog, and left a comment hoping to reach Cousin Lorrie:

I’m reading this and crying. I stumbled across your blog in the process of looking up information on my Uncle Bill and Aunt Kay. We would get to see their family, when they performed at Clementon Lake Park. Uncle Bill, Aunt Kay, Lorrie, Barbara Lee and Carolyn would sometimes be able to come to our tiny little row house in Philly. My memories of them were the kindest, funniest and most loving family that you would ever want to meet. I’ll be honest and say that I was so jealous of my cousin Carolyn’s swimming abilities that I almost drowned trying to prove that I could swim as well as her. At one time I had Lorrie and David’s address in Laramie, but have lost it since we moved. If there is any way to pass along our email, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

So, among the ruins of the internet, the mire of “fake news” and surveillance phishing and scamming and adtech… comes this. A tiny, tiny tiny, not so amazing story of connection.

This keeps me going.

And this will not happen inside the blue fortress. Maybe it does, but not free of its tentacles.

Get out of the shackles of social media. Light up that blog.

It’s a long, beautiful soaring dive that results in unexpected, delightful surprises. Who would not want that?

A photo of a photo of Billy Outten diving at the 1935 AAU Diving Championships he won – I took this photo in my cousin Lorrie’s house in 2011.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Your Right Stuff movie clip has a parallel for Peter. He appears in Jack Nicholson’s Drive He Said handcuffed and sitting on a UO curb during an anti war demonstration. Another movie not easily located…

  2. Excellent post Alan, I will be sharing this and the video that I created for you for “stories of connection” later today with educators here in Jalisco.

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