Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
A New Year's present
Jonal entry 1084 | January 8 2009
A year ago this week, Frank Charney sent me a post that led to the major innovation in the Nanty Glo Home Page last year. It was a link to two newsreel clips about two Kentucky Derby races in which Blacklick Valley's legendary jockey Bill Hartack rode the winning horses. One of the clips was on YouTube, which uses a highly sophisticated and complicated programming system, the intricacies of which a self-trained amateur webmaster like me could not hope to crack. But the other newsreel clip was on a Kentucky Derby website that was much simpler, much more like the Nanty Glo site, and its simplicity encouraged me to try reverse-engineering the page on which the clip was posted, hoping to find the key to running longer videos using streaming technology and thus enabling us to run such videos on the Home Page.
I persevered and cracked the code, and those two videos became the first "longer" videos ever webcasted through this page. Before finding that "key," the most we could put on the Home Page were clips of no more than three minutes. The Derby clips were about 10 minutes each, and they run without a glitch. So quickly after this success Judy Rose and I began putting together a library of longer movies and I renamed our fledgling "movie clips page" GloTube. Last month, I even added a video of a sermon I gave in 1988 that runs more than a half hour (and yes, that's an overly-long sermon) which no one has had any problem running.
A year after that breakthrough, I made another this week, also working on something I promised to do on Frank Charney's behalf, though he was unaware I was doing it at this time. In July, Frank posted a profile of Dominick Gelotte, Nanty Glo's long-time burgess (mayor) and a justice of the peace who had previously been an organizer for the United Mine Workers, in which background his reputation has seemed to grow since his death in 1974 (a Google search for Dominick Gelotte produces over 300 page hits, including some of the references on our pages, but not Frank's profile). So Mr. Gelotte is definitely one of Nanty Glo's most famous former nearly lifetime residents (he was born in Italy and was, according to one of those web pages, originally known as Domenico Gigliotti). I thanked Frank for his exceptionally good profile and told him I would add it to the profiles of outstanding Nanty Glo residents of the past that are indexed on the Front Page. Cursor over "Nanty Glo" on the left navigation column on the page, then scan down to "Profiles" and his will be seen at the end of the list, as the most recent one added.
The "breakthrough" this week is a new kind of index. When I was looking for Frank's article, the Google search did not locate it. So, using an assortment of tidbits of information I've collected over the years on how to find obscure items, I found it in a few minutes more research. But doing so revealed to me that it would be feasible to create an index of the whole year's Postcards, which I subsequently did. It lists all of last year's Postcards by Frank, Judy Rose, and myself on the left column, and clicking on the links in that column displays the pages in the wider, right column or window.
It's the same index format we've used for years for the Forum Letters index and the Jonals index, except that those are always updated "manually," one by one, when each item is added to the database. The navigation column on this new Postcards index was created for the whole past year in just a few minutes. Admittedly, the links are not very descriptive, but the way the index is set up enables users to scroll through virtually the whole index of about 120 articles in a few minutes, to find what they're looking for. Click here to check it out, and let me know what you think of this. See how long it takes you to find Frank's article about Dominick Gelotte.
For years I've wanted to have an index to this, the major repository of Home Page pages, but the fact that creating my own Jonals index took up a whole Christmas break vacation of my time a few years back, and I knew what I was looking for in my own pages, made me dismiss the idea as not feasible. I won't try to explain how this index was created (only a webmaster could follow it), but it was simple enough that I'm now hoping to do the same for all the previous years of Postcards.
The slow progress of justice
A judge in a small city was hearing a drunk-driving case and the defendant, who had both a record and a reputation for driving under the influence, demanded a jury trial.
It was nearly 4:00 p.m. and getting a jury would take time, so the judge called a recess and went out in the hall looking to impanel anyone available for jury duty. He found a dozen lawyers in the main lobby and told them that they were a jury. The lawyers thought this would be a novel experience and so followed the judge back to the courtroom.
The trial was over in about 10 minutes and it was very clear that the defendant was guilty. The jury went into the jury room, the judge started getting ready to go home, and everyne waited. After nearly three hours, the judge was totally out of patience and sent the bailiff into the jury room to see what was holding up the verdict.
When the bailiff returned, the judge said, "Well, do they have a verdict yet?"
The bailiff shook his head and said, "Verdict? They're still doing nominating speeches for the foreman's position!"