Five years, and counting…

Next Monday, The Great Whatsit will celebrate its fifth birthday. It all began back on Monday, Jan. 23, 2006, with Bryan Waterman‘s post, “On Broadway.”

In the five years of our existence, we’ve had 1,579 posts and 18,456 comments. We’ve had fabulous bloggers come and go – miss you, BW, Dorothy Gale, Cedric, Rogan, E. Tan, Jeremy, Annie Walker, et. al! We’ve seen the waxing and waning of commenters such as Cynthia, Natasha, Marleyfan and the courageous Jane, who for a while fulfilled her pledge to comment every single day. We gave birth to Literacy H. Dogfight and introduced Biscuits to the lexicon. In younger, headier days, we had the energy to name our favorite posts of the year, the Whatsies.

On this notable occasion, let us take a look back at some of the posts that touched, provoked and moved us over the years.

There is, of course, the infamous “My Left Hand,” T-Wag’s heartfelt ode to the joys of marriage, which prompted a firestorm of debate among the Whatsiterati, many of whom had yet to meet each other in person.

There was Strip Maul, a pseudonymous post about the pleasures(?) of strip clubs… Intervention Prevention, a meditation on alcohol (ab)use… The War on Easter, an “expletive-laced, un-Christian, anti-Easter tirade that may strike some sensitive readers as blasphemous and mean.”

We’ve had posts that resulted in family feuds, angry students and fired-up stalkers. We’ve had Thursday Open Threads, Monday photos, and numerous playlists. We’ve had endless discussions about TGW itself, and inside-baseball posts about our relationships to each other.

One of my favorite pastimes, when I have the time, is to check out the “From the Archives” link on the right-hand sidebar of the site. The depth and breadth of posts never fails to astonish. Some of my favorites posts from over the years include:

Pandora’s For You, Twenty Years Later.

Dorothy Gale’s Budaghers.

Swells’s Talk Yurty To Me.

Stella’s ruminations on Imposture and Stranger Behavior…. Rachel’s moving reminiscence of Happycakes… Farrell’s Ten Things to Remember When Chasing Down a Burglar… Andrew’s The Day My Office Stood Still… Jeremy’s Not in My Nature… Trixie’s home renovation photo essays

Scotty’s beautiful ode to his father, which I can’t find on the site right now. Can anyone help?

T-Wag’s To Live and Ride in LA… J-Man’s I Wish I Had a River… Rogan’s Crack House Diaries… Bryan’s Five Years On: The Things I Can’t Forget

Dave’s innumerable thoughtful, well-argued essays on pressing political, economic and social matters, each of which costs me more brain cells to read than it did for for him to write. Plus, his occasional lighter fare, such as A Trip to Spa Castle.

And so on and so forth, forever.

Five years is a good run. What are your favorite TGW memories?

27 responses to “Five years, and counting…”

  1. Literacy H. Dogfight says:

    Here’s to five more!

  2. Nice! My first TGW memory is of Bryan’s 2008 post about Hart Crane’s ode to the Brooklyn Bridge. That’s how I wound up around here…

  3. Oh excellent, I like a “best of” post because I’ve only been reading a year and change, and the only classic post I have already been pointed to is “My Left Hand” (which mostly makes me think: if you guys call this a flame war, you must really, really like each other.) My day at work is ruined! Hooray!

  4. AWB says:

    I was thinking the same thing, Smearcase. I keep forgetting that some parts of the internet are not very mean at all.

    Your picks are great, LP! I’d read some of them before, but others were new to me.

    Happy anniversary, friends!

  5. Tim says:

    Wow, looking at that photo I can’t believe my left hand was ever that young and vibrant.

    Thanks for the reminder of all our great and fun times down through the years, LP. I second Literacy: to five more years!

  6. PB says:

    For me it is images or phrases or ideas that hover and stay with me: LP in Russia, Bryan interviewing Sam Amidon, Dorothy on the highway, Rachel as gumby skating in and out of books (I love that image), anybody visiting another country, Lane’s crazy-ass comments, faithful commenters like Marleyfan and Modesto, Stella at the seashore, Farrell’s and Trixies yearly mix and on and on and on.

    I drift, I come back, I miss weeks, I catch up, I just can’t quit you guys.

  7. J-Man says:

    I love that through TGW I’ve gotten to meet such a smart, funny, clever, artistic, great, and also, fabulous, group of people. You guys are thee best, and I am the luckiest one!

  8. lane says:


  9. Rachel Berkowitz says:

    I remember really liking thispost from AWB. (By the way, AWB, we still haven’t met, but I could SWEAR I saw you last Sunday morning as my airport shuttle pulled away, walking down the street on the corner of the Westin in downtown L.A. At least it looked like the same AWB from that crazy New Year’s Eve Skype session!)

    Definitely PB, The Bowie Factor.

    Dave, Junk.

    Jeremy, A Cry For Help. (It’s time for an update, JZ! Are you watching Breaking Bad? Did anyone else check out Caprica?)

    So many more. E. Tan’s urbanification. Cedric’s patient reports. Lisa’s entire oeuvre.

  10. Tim says:

    After I commented earlier, I went back and read a bunch of old posts (in some cases, for the bajillionth time).

    I have four, wait, *five* words:


    Scratch that, it *is* four words:


  11. lane says:

    god u know what? our accrross the street neighbor and very good family friend runs the mla conference. he’s like the head guy directing all the sessions and stuff. it’s funny to think of that GW intersection. he’d love tgw. and you’d all really like him. KS he’s like an old DB. like ten years older than all us. anyway, GREAT POST LISA!

  12. LP says:

    4: AWB, I was remiss in not giving you a shout-out in the post as the latest, greatest addition to our blogroll. So glad you’re here.

    6: Leave it to Pandora to offer up the most lyrical reminiscence of posts past: images and phrases, very nice!

    9: Ooh, all excellent posts. So fun to go back and reread.

    More, more!

  13. Literacy H. Dogfight says:


  14. Dave says:

    That was an amazing post, definitely. I just came across this yesterday, speaking of wild animals falling from cliffs. (Warning: Shows eagles killing mountain goats.)

  15. Jeremy says:

    Aw, I loved this post! And, wow, 5 years. Seriously. Wow.

    (And, Rachel, it’s funny you should mention Breaking Bad–the girl and I just finished watching the 3rd season just a few weeks ago. Totally addicted. And sad we have to wait until summer for more. (Haven’t watched Caprica, but I’ve watched a whole slew of other shows. Maybe an updated TV post is in order, primarily to get some more good recommends… And, oh, sorry I missed you here in LA. My bad!)

  16. A White Bear says:

    Rachel, it quite possibly was! I was definitely buzzing around LA then.

    LP, aw, thanks! I’m glad to be here too.

  17. Stella says:

    I love us! We’re like a sweet old married couple, with a couple of dozen in the marriage. Write on!

  18. lane says:


  19. Rachel says:

    For God’s sake, someone help this man embed links! I remember the post he’s referencing, but I can’t find it.

  20. A White Bear says:

    Do you mean this one, Lane? It’s pretty funny.

  21. LP says:

    Ha! I totally forgot I posted that. Wow.

  22. lane says:

    im not trying to embed links, ms. cranky pants? . . . lol

    i’m commenting on lisa’s brilliant nod to the Monday Photo phormat in the essay above.

    and celebrating her choice of scotty’s pic, and scotty’s pic itself, and . . . scotty i guess. for pickin’ up on the monday photo with his emerald green highrises and his garage lights.

    : )

  23. swells says:

    It’s a good thing I’m still on vacation, because this post has sucked up half my day in the best possible way. Bryan and Jen have already both made me cry again thanks to LP’s links. The comments on the Haiku post were such a nostalgic trip. This is the best website EVER. And look how comments are back in the double digits again this week! 2011 is the Year of the Whatsit!

  24. miller says:

    What a great time to visit this site after a fairly long hiatus! Oh how I’ve missed your words, whatsit-ers. This post reminds me of many of my favorite whatsit moments and that I need to to check in with y’all more often.

  25. Tim says: