Mistakes were made.

Well! Turns out this blog is a year old! I’m a bit stunned really, as blogging was once a thing I was fairly certain I would never do. Well, you know the old adage: Never say fairly certain never.

I’ve been pleased to discover that I’m mostly capable of sticking to a schedule of daily posting, and I’ve been very pleased to watch my readership grow as the year has gone by (there was even a thrilling spike during the flotilla fracas, which was really cool, in a weird, surrealistic way). And I have really enjoyed the writing. It’s a good thing, writing.

What I’ve been less than pleased about has been the things I got really wrong. The mistakes. The misreadings. The “I know this is going to happen nao” followed by a not so much. If you rifle through my archives, you’ll discover that I generally endeavor to correct mistakes or offer updates as I go along, but that’s harder to do when the mistake was such a big error in judgment that you can only see it in retrospect…. So, in honor of my first anniversary, I address errors of this nature, and present to you the first installment of:

Mistakes Were Made


  1. Well, first of all, I have clearly not figured out how to lift pictures off the internet in a way that is always legal, or ethical, or actually functional. Because pictures occasionally just disappear. Terribly sorry about that! Nothing like saying “Just look at this, will you?” and — naught. (For instance, here – the sign in question is that bright red British one, circa WWII, that reads “Keep Calm and Carry On.” But it’s just plain — poof! — disappeared).
  2. I do not Tweet.” Not technically a mistake, as I didn’t at the time, but at the time, I also knew I never would. BWA-haha-haha-haha!
  3. I really, really want a netbook and can’t afford one – wahhhh!” Literally the first time I actually used a netbook — literally within seconds — I realized how miserable I would have been with one. Tiny keyboard! Tiny, tiny keyboard! Big, mannish hands — and a tiny, tiny keyboard! Phew. Bullet – dodged.
  4. Iran’s history is about to change because of this one really significant death! Keep you eyes and ears peeled!” As happens with me on occasion, the post-election uprising in Iran moved me so deeply that I forgot to separate my hopes from the facts. My hopes were informed by the facts, but not by all of them (such as, for instance, the profound power of the Revolutionary Guard). Yeah, so, though I told my children (tearily) to pay attention to the pictures of hundreds of thousands — millions? — of people in the streets, that they were seeing history and would remember these days — I was wrong. Sadly, unfortunately, tragically, wrong.
  5. OMeffingG, Israel is going to launch another war in Gaza!!” It certainly seemed that way for a few days, and I take some comfort in the fact that I wasn’t the only one who thought so, but yeah. I was a little too certain of my reasoning — a little too certain, really, of my fatalism. Given a choice between assuming the worst of the Israeli government, and thinking “hey, maybe it’s not quite as bad as I feared!” I tend to err on the side of the former (which is probably not much wiser than erring on the side of the latter).
  6. I have the feeling that the arrival of the Rachel Corrie, and the Israeli reaction to it, and the world’s reaction to Israel’s reaction to it, is going to prove very significant.” Yeah, not so much. See above comment re: Iran and my occasional confusion of “hope” with “fact.”
  7. I am forever linking in my Israel/Palestine posts to background material (“Israel/Palestine: The basics” , “Israel/Palestine peace advocacy – places to start” and “Israel/Palestine – a reading list” ) — and somehow fucking it up. I occasionally sweep through and correct the broken links, but then a week later I discover another one. Or two. Very, very annoying. Again: Terribly sorry!

Ah, being wrong. What fun! One is, it turns out, very small indeed.

The view of Earth from Mars, photographed by Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, March 8, 2004. Photo courtesy of NASA Flickr.


Update: Intrepid commenter dmf links below to an interview with Kathryn Schultz, author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error — fascinating, fascinating stuff! Well worth the listen, and I am off to order the book. Money quote, from a discussion of science and how science moves forward: “Being wrong is actually an engine of the advancement of knowledge.”



  1. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

    — Carl Sagan

  2. Paul in KY

     /  June 28, 2010

    Congrats on your 1 year aniversary. Hope you have many more of them.

  3. A super year!

  4. Priapus_D

     /  June 28, 2010

    Congratulations on reaching such a milestone. Wish you more success to reach more achievements! happy blogversary!

  5. Congrats. I love dropping by and reading your blog when you link to it over at BJ. Here’s to an even stronger sophomore year.

  6. Happy Aniversary.

    Failures and mistakes are how we learn not to turn the oven up to 5000 degrees when baking cookies. Indeed, we are a very small part of a vast world, but it is in the mistakes that we learn. I’m happy you celebrated a year, and learned a lot. Congratulations.

    As TNC’s writing about Grant shows often those who have failed greatly have more knowledge. I don’t mean to imply that your blog is a failure. I think it’s great, but I think the “Mistakes were made” is more of a “things I learned category” than an “Oh My God I burned the cake category”

    Congrats again blogging is hard work, and you do a great job. I hope you have many more.

  7. Coming to this milestone post a bit late, but definitely want to say congratulations!

    I’m torn about the tweeting. I made a lot of good Twitter friends, but it was very annoying to keep up with them, and most of the things I want to say take time to develop. I gave up Twitter to focus on the blog, but I do miss Twitter as a promotional tool and as a way of getting in touch with readers who were looking to be inspired. There were some really thoughtful people on Twitter when I was on.