CompuServe was, for many computer users in the 1980s, a bright vision of the connected future. You could send electronic mail to a correspondent, who would receive it practically instantly,  or at least the next time he connected to the service, which might be weeks from now, since the connection was quite expensive. You could post messages in discussion groups where other like-minded individuals, which is to say individuals with no lives in the real world, could read them and debate them endlessly. You could download new software that would make your computer do wonderful and exciting things like converting from pounds to kilograms.

And CompuServe is still there. You can find an “About CompuServe” page on the site, where you will learn that the latest version of CompuServe, Version 7, adds “Support for the latest Windows operating system, Windows XP, for greater compatibility.” This will come as good news for those who were wondering whether the time had yet come to upgrade from Windows Me. Yes, the time has come. You will like XP much better.

The CompuServe site is a fascinating time capsule, taking us back to the early days of the century, when it might still be imagined that the Internet could be a kind of added-value option for an on-line service from 1969. What makes the experience all the more surreal is that the site carries today’s news, presented in the same format it might have appeared in back in 2001.


Devil King Kun cover promo

The most astonishing adventure in the history of the Internet is now the most astonishing adventure in the history of paper and glue. Devil King Kun, the tale of globe-spanning intrigue, danger, and repeated plunges from precipices that gripped the world by the throat and shook it for all of September, is now a paperback book of 230 pages, small enough to carry on the streetcar but big enough to throw at the dog. Order the book from Amazon now, or request it from your favorite bookseller. Order a crate of the things and give them out instead of candy this Halloween, and watch the angelic smiles light up the faces of the little demons at your door. As always, Dr. Boli has painstakingly hand-crafted every single letter in the book, a service no other author of rip-roaring adventure stories can offer you.

Devil King Kun page 71


Fall is a season during which weather may occur at any time. Protect your family by getting ready for these fall weather hazards:

Drizzle can occur whenever the weather is too indolent to produce rain at full scale, and meteorological indolence is a common condition during the fall season. Drizzle can cause dampness, which can be exacerbated by chilly autumn temperatures until you catch your death of cold. If drizzle is forecast for your area, honestly, it’s not even worth getting out of bed.

Falling leaves occur with increasing frequency as the season matures. One falling leaf can completely obscure your vision if it falls on your face, causing you to walk off a cliff and fall onto a shed full of high explosives, such as are commonly built at the bottoms of cliffs. Furthermore, colored leaves attract children, and we all know that children bring a myriad of hazards with them. Be safe. When you see leaves changing color, your best course is to stay inside until mid-December.

Scattered clouds may obscure and reveal the sun alternately, producing tremendous fluctuations in light levels that negatively impact visibility, causing you to lose your way and walk into a bad neighborhood where you will be robbed and beaten to death. When you see fluffy white clouds in the sky, retreat to a sturdy room in the basement, or an interior room on the lower level if you have no basement.

Frost may coat pumpkins and other hazardous vegetation with a deceptively attractive sparkle, obscuring their true nefarious intentions. Don’t be fooled. When you see frost on the windowpane, pull the blanket over your eyes.

Pleasant temperatures and sunny days can encourage you to venture out of doors, where you may be hit by a streetcar. Do not be seduced by the transient delights of autumn. Lock your doors and stay inside.


On this day in 1066, William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings and imposed a greatly enlarged vocabulary on the unwilling Saxons.


On this day in 1231, the Holy See officially established the Holy Inquisition throughout the Holy Roman Empire, and everything was just as holy as all get out.