Category Archives: Random

Dowden’s Ordinary Park

There’s a park in Clarksburg called “Dowden’s Ordinary Park.”

It turns out to be an historical site and an “ordinary” is pretty much a normal, every day inn. This one was on an important trail between Frederick and Georgetown (In 1755, General Braddock stayed there on his way to the battle at Fort Duquesne)

This leaves me wondering though. If this was an “ordinary”, what was going on at the other inns? Do you suppose it involved dinosaurs?

Google cannot decide

Looking for a download link, I did a Google search for “emacs“. To my amusement, Google asked, “Do you mean vi?”

Screenshot of the results of a Google search for "emacs".  Google asks, "Do you mean vi?"

Emacs and vi both have die-hards among their users, so this could be a somewhat contentious suggestion.

But wait, what if you search for vi? Yep, Google asks, “Do you mean emacs“?

Screenshot of the results of a Google search for "vi".  Google asks, "Do you mean emacs?"

(For completeness, I’ll note that what’s generally distributed as “vi” is actually a lookalike called “vim.”)

Slash and Axl

I’m not really what you would call a huge fan of Guns N’ Roses. Nothing against them, just not my music and I doubt I could name more than one of their songs (even then, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually heard “Sweet Child O’ Mine”).

Pretty much the main thing I know about the group is that two of its members are Slash and Axl.

The other thing I know is this:

If you do a Google search for Slash, you’ll be presented with a large number of pages about the guitarist. (As an aside, his interview on Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me was quite a bit more entertaining than one might expect from the rocker stereotype; a good lesson in not judging a book by its cover band.)

On the other hand, if you do a Google search for Axl, you’ll be presented with a similarly large number of pages for a B-movie about a boy and his robotic dog. (Definitely a “popcorn” movie; I enjoyed it, but I’m glad I didn’t pay to see it in the theater.)

Hunt Valley Inn Flashback

The Hunt Valley Inn (most recently a Delta Hotels by Marriott property) is permanently closing on Monday. Yesterday the Shore Leave and Farpoint conventions held a farewell event to say goodbye to the hotel which had been host to both events for most of the past 40-plus years.

It was a nostalgia-filled day, mostly spent reminiscing about past conventions and memories associated with the hotel. Memories such as the time we all got snowed in during the 2003 Farpoint, the Hunt Valley Stargate, and more. One of my own memories is from 2006 when Shore Leave 28 guest Kent McCord and his wife took me on a tour of the new Hunt Valley Wegmans (it turned out they’d been going there for breakfast all weekend).

One topic that came up several times was the time Marriott imposed their “standard” corporate look on the hotel, without regard for whether it would actually fit in. The Hunt Valley Inn was built in 1969 by the McCormick company and the building’s design reflected the area’s history. But as quickly became apparent, a design that might be OK in a recently designed building with neutral wallpaper and ballroom-sized foyers, might not be well-suited to dark brick and less sprawling areas.

I don’t recall the exact reason for being there (it likely involved the Farpoint committee meeting with the hotel staff), but I happened to visit the hotel in December of 2005, when the renovations were just getting started. I took a few photos.

Keyboard Cat

The Register reports a VA hospital in Kansas had its IT systems knocked offline because a cat jumped on someone’s keyboard. I’ve certainly heard of cats being blamed for typos (and had the parrot do similar), so I’m left wondering whether any of my feline-affiliated friends have experienced this level of cat-astrophe.

A cat typing on a computer keyboard, wearing a hoodie; it's face is partially obscured.
The Register: VA hospital’s IT snafu blamed on cat’s keyboard surfing

(Images generated with AI via