January 14, 2017

This blog is 13 years old today.

If you want to read in chronological order, you'll have to start here, January 14, 2004:
This blog is called Marginalia, because I'm writing from Madison, Wisconsin, and Marginalia is a fictionalized name for Madison that I thought up a long time ago when I seriously believed I would write a fictionalized account of my life in Madison, Wisconsin. There is nothing terribly marginal about Madison, really, but I do like writing in the margins of books, something I once caused a librarian to gasp by saying. Writing in a blog is both less and more permanent than writing in the margin of a book.
If you keep reading, you'll have to read 47,395 posts before you get to this one. Imagine all the transitory matters — big and small — you'd have to get your mind around again to read through these posts — an average of 10 per day for all those days. And — as I've said every year on January 14th — I've written every single day. Never one day without writing. And I'm still going on the intrinsic joy of writing. It's incredibly rewarding to have readers.

It's been great being a law professor for the last 32.5 years. There are many rewards as well as challenges working with colleagues and students, but there is always the element of coercion. You must do your job — obligations continually arise — and the people you interact with are stuck with you. They may like some of it, but they won't like all of it. And there's always a mystery about where the line is between love and tolerance and between tolerance and loathing.

I've withdrawn into the purely voluntary world of blogging. January 12th, the last day of Fall semester and my birthday, was my last day at work. We will see what happens to the blog now with my new dosage of time and freedom. I'm curious to see! I not only have more time and freedom, I have the curiosity to see how the new time and freedom will affect the writing here.

If you don't give a damn, fine! I am weary of inflicting myself on people who may not continually consent to listening to me. I don't like imposing on anyone, and it's not my favorite thing to consume words for which I do not feel an ongoing hunger. How much Supreme Court prose must I drag my eyes across without even the hope of getting to a Scalia opinion? 32.5 years of obligation to slog — 32.5 years of slogligation — is enough.

We're about to get our low-attention-span President, and I will indulge my low-attention-span reading propensities. We will see what happens. So far what has happened, doing only what I love here, is 13 years of 10-post-a-day blogging without a single day's break. It's not as though I'm doggedly plugging away here trying to keep a record going. It's only blogging if it runs on intrinsic reward.

The heart is still beating, and it's one more morning on Althouse. Or as it was for just that first day, Marginalia.

93 comments:

MayBee said...

Congratulations!! A teenager!

tim maguire said...

Congratulations! I wonder, if I went back to the beginning and started reading, how far I'd get before seeing the first post I recognized. Probably within the first year.

I tried starting a blog when blogspot first started (around 2002), but couldn't keep it up. Every day for 13 years is an amazing record.

Jon Ryan said...

Congratulations on your retirement Ann. I have been reading your posts since 2006. A fellow Wisononite, your posts are succinct and inciteful. I wish you the best of luck in your new endeavors, whatever they may be.

Jon Ryan said...

And apparently I can't spell

Quayle said...

Althouse for SCOTUS.
Let the imposition flourish!

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

It will be interesting to read what direction you go.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

You're one of the greats, ma'am, and I was alerted to your work within weeks (probably days) of your beginning by Joe Katzman [Winds of Change], and I've made pretty much daily stops ever since.

Your polyvalence is delightful -- I shall confess to envying Meade's privilege of actually living with you -- but I especially appreciate the legal commentary. Please don't stop. My grandfather practiced law for 66 years, 28 of 'em as a judge, and your legal postings bring me right back to so many wonderful family discussions of the law (three of my uncles became attorneys as well) and its impact on ordinary daily life.

Future Law students at UW won't even know what they're missing. Time to begin work on your memoirs.

Laslo Spatula said...

"... and Marginalia is a fictionalized name for Madison that I thought up a long time ago when I seriously believed I would write a fictionalized account of my life in Madison, Wisconsin..."

Speaking as one who has never been to Madison, your writing and photographs on this blog have created a city that is as distinct and peculiar in my mind as any city I have come across in fiction.

Snowy blue views through the window before dawn, woozy flowers in the garden in spring, aging protesters, a prickly mayor, a sanitary napkin on the sidewalk, a toy robot on a table, the burning down of the The Hazelnut Café...

The details you present make this Madison yours. Sometimes what is written in the margins lingers more than the words printed on the page.

Thank you, Althouse.

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

Coleridge has a series called Marginalia, available from Princeton University Press in many volumes. I have the first three. The tricky part is not paying retail for them.

Michael K said...

I have been blogging for nine years but not every day. I began when Cathy Seipp died as I had been an active participant in her blog for years.

I trust you will not let me down.

As far as presidents, we exchange a "short attention span" for low energy. I hope for improvement.

whitney said...

Your blog is one of my favorites. I only discovered it a few years ago so I may go back into the archives when I have the time. I enjoy your clarity and thoughtfulness and the overall calmness of the discourse. I'm very glad you have giving up that other job so you can devote more time to this one :). Many more years!

traditionalguy said...

Slogligation is not a word. It won't pass spell check. Now, go out and slog the amazing world.

Bob said...

Poe wrote a series of marginalia, as well.

Happy anniversary to the Althouse blog!

David said...

Ohhhh, let's all act like teenagers (as usual).

Curious George said...

Happy Blogiversary! If you ever quit do one of those Lou Gehrig speeches with the echos.

David said...

Congratulations and thanks also.

John Borell said...

Been reading every post, every day, for most of those years.

This is the blog I'll miss the most when it ends.

AprilApple said...

Happy blog-day/birthday/retirement.

We're about to get our low-attention-span President, and I will indulge my low-attention-span reading propensities.

Perfect for short/low attention span me.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Congratulations! Writing every day for 13 years is one hell of an accomplishment. Incredibly prolific. This longtime reader thanks you.

MaxedOutMama said...

Slogligation!!! A word which tells its own tale.

AJ Lynch said...

Meade buy Althouse a Guinness today because I said so. Heh. And because she belongs in their record book.

traditionalguy said...

Life as a Her-story. The original monks were so Holy they took to sitting on top of something out in the desert. And curious people went out to hear their unique opinions, and left them some food or something on their portal...and then the Universities finally evolved to a Professor and her students...and then the internet made the Professor world famous.

Ann Althouse said...

"Time to begin work on your memoirs...."

Long before I started writing this blog, I thought about writing a memoir. I was into memoirs — "Liar's Club," that kind of thing. But the blog has vastly overrun my interest in memoirs. I'm so into writing very much in the present moment. I like the spontaneity and the forward motion. And a memoir — even if you make it the fictionalized version that the first blog post talks about — must necessarily intrude on the privacy of others. How could I do that to my sons? I know very much what it feels like, because my first husband was and is a novelist. In fact, I have a manuscript, which I have never sought to publish, called "My Life as a Fictional Character." I ran across it as I was clearing out my office. I stopped what I was doing and read it straight through — 200 pages. I'm somewhat interested in seeing what I might do with material like that, but if you take a sidetrack you never find out what was up ahead on the road you were on.

Charlie said...

Keep on keepin' on, Ann.

FredwinaD said...

Wow, congratulations! I've been reading you a very long time, but I can't remember exactly how long. It was before you and Meade hooked up. I think I was introduced to you by Instapundit, which I've been reading since the beginning. You have always been my first or second click of the day. I don't always agree with you (I often do), but I love the way you think about things. I also love your commenters - they amuse me and inform me. Your constant curiosity is inspiring. I rarely comment (I'm pretty shy online), but I want to tell you congrats and that I truly admire your work here. I hope you keep on keeping on for many more years!

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks for you comment, Laslo. I like the details you picked out:

"Snowy blue views through the window before dawn, woozy flowers in the garden in spring, aging protesters, a prickly mayor, a sanitary napkin on the sidewalk, a toy robot on a table, the burning down of the The Hazelnut Café..."

Here's the post about the Hazelnut Café.

I've always gone on this idea of my location in "Marginalia," which I've often called "my remote outpost."

Does that mean we need to stay here? I've been looking at real estate listings in other remote outposts. Meade and I could go anywhere. The "prickly major" spends our tax money with abandon and I just wrote a property tax check for over $17,000!

Mary Beth said...

January 12th, the last day of Fall semester and my birthday, was my last day at work.
?

David said...

Ohhhh, let's all act like teenagers (as usual).

1/14/17, 7:11 AM


He says, with a belittling comment so typical of a certain type of teenager.

info@ysb said...

Congrats! It's been fun to ride along.

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

congratulations! I've been following you most of that time, and have really enjoyed, and benefited from, your independent voice and cruel neutrality

CStanley said...

Congrats and thank you.

One thing I just realized while reading your explanation of Marginalia, and Laslo's comment, is that a part of me always wanted to live in a university town (while another part knows I'm turned off by the progressive vibes.) It wasn't meant to be for me and hubs, but to some extent I experience it vicariously through your blog.

MayBee said...

That's beautiful, Lazlo.

(I, too, am a fan of the robot. It now even has an emoji!)

Ann Althouse said...

Don't be shy, FredwinaD.

Ambrose said...

Congratulations and thank you. The blog is always informative and interesting.

Laslo Spatula said...

" In fact, I have a manuscript, which I have never sought to publish, called "My Life as a Fictional Character."..."

Thirteen years, and we just find this out now?

What else is hidden away?

Or is this blog even you?

Perhaps you have created a fictional Althouse that writes this blog, and the real Althouse is taking notes for an epic masterpiece on the Construct of Identity.

To be called "Marginalia."

That will be published under another name.

You will deny it, of course.

It is all making sense now.

I am Laslo.

Anonymous said...

I began reading your blog either in law school or shortly after, somewhere in the 2005-2007 range. I've marveled over the years at how much of your writing I've read. Probably close to ever post since then. I recommend you constantly to others. Somehow you bring both a weightiness and a lightness to your analysis of news and politics. You're not a conservative, but you're one of the few non-conservatives I know who takes conservative ideas seriously. I love your eye for the weird, and the absurd, and the strangeness and fun of the English language.

In case you ever wonder about your readership, I'm a former Big Firm litigator turned stay-at-home mother to three (Jessica - remember me?). I live in Nashville now.

Hoping you keep going with blogging for many years to come! There's no one else like you. Thank you.

SayAahh said...

Came here from the Blogfather.
Been a reader and an admirer from the earliest days.
A 'thank you' is an insufficient expression for my gratitude.

DimeStoreDave said...

I've been here every day since Bush's second campaign. Originally, I stopped in to see why Insty kept linking to you, and while I still enjoy Insty, you have become my must read. Thank you for that, and congratulations.

ngtrains said...

Congratulations - both on the anniversary of the blog and for your birthday

My birthday was yesterday - Friday the 13th. Fortunately, I was actually born on a Tuesday.

so we are 'near twins -0 except I'm about 15 years older.

got my MS at Madison in 1962.

so Happy Birthday
ted

Michael K said...

I'm somewhat interested in seeing what I might do with material like that, but if you take a sidetrack you never find out what was up ahead on the road you were on.

I wrote a memoir that took me about 20 years to go back to and finish. I added an explanation of many of the things we did then and what we would do differently now. It's on Amazon, and people are buying it.

Not that I could retire on the income but a little shows up.

Johnathan Birks said...

You've garnered 13 years - congrats! And thanks for your work.

wild chicken said...

Oh I hope you keep blogging, Ann. I would really miss it. Never got over losing Cathy Seipp.

Anyway I found after I retired, that the less I do, the less I want to do. So I learned a new trade and started working all over again like I was 18.

But you have more options than I.

RAS743 said...

Keep going, don't stop. Honest, clearly thought political commentary from a liberal is a rare thing, and your posts always have seemed to me to be a sincere effort to get at the truth.

roesch/voltaire said...

I've read your blog and commented on and off over the years and have found you, and your posters, interesting, funny and infuriating but a good measure of skeptical right wing views. Congratulations

dbp said...

I started my blog later in the same year you started. I am not nearly as prolific, my output is only 1/34th as many posts and mine are probably shorter. I just noticed from looking up these figures that a post in the first month, when I just learned how to attach images, contains the picture which remains my profile picture.

Thanks for the years of interesting reading, I look forward to seeing the direction you go with this thing. My bet is that a move to a new physical location would be great blog material. I still remember the NYC visiting professor era fondly. The only mar to that was (and this is only an impression which I cannot back up with any evidence) you seemed lonely. A future move would have Meade along and everything is better when you do it with someone you enjoy having by your side.

Canvasback said...

Keep on keeping on Anne! Read you for years, first thing each morning and I've just retired from being a partner in a Midwest law firm.

Rob said...

Your blog is a must-read every day. Life would be less fun and interesting without it. So thank you for all you do.

MadisonMan said...

Happy Birthday! I really enjoy your point of view and have for years. I'll keep reading what you post. Maybe I'll even start using the portal -- if I ever shop at Amazon.

If I were to just drop off a bottle of booze at your house anonymously some day -- front door or back porch? :)

Bay Area Guy said...

Thank you for this great Blog, Althouse! It's great because you genuinely believe in the free exchange of ideas.

In addition, I still hold that when you & Meade visited and reported on all the Scott Walker protests, it was the best investigative journalism on the planet.

Paco Wové said...

"Perhaps you have created a fictional Althouse that writes this blog,"

Not only that, but all the comments (except yours) are Althouse's work, as well.

Pugsley the Pug said...

Ann - Congratulations on your 13 years as a "Blogress". I have enjoyed reading your blog and occasionally adding my two bits since I saw a reference to your blog being linked on James Taranto's Best of the Web a decade ago. What caught my eye way back when was Taranto mentioning that you were a UW Law Professor (I live an hour northeast of your hometown of the "Emerald City" up Hwy 151) and that Taranto referred to you in that post and subsequent posts as a "Blogress". I hope that you keep blogging for years to come. Finally, enjoy your retirement from UW - you have earned it!

Darrell said...

I thought I've been coming here pretty much since the beginning. But I am sure I went to "Althouse." When did you change the name? Congratulations on your achievement! I don't always agree with you, but I always find you interesting.

Leslie Graves said...

Of the many things I deeply appreciate about your writing, the most important one is that you seem to be able to simultaneously really care about things while also having some distance...often an amused distance...from them. It's liked amused stoicism for people who can't stop caring.

Pete said...

Congrats, Althouse. Quite an achievement. (Scanned the comments and no mention of how this blog helped snag you a husband. That seems worth noting.)

Mr. D said...

I don't comment that much here, but I read you every day. It takes real discipline to stare down the blank screen and I greatly admire what you've built. Thank you.

Flat Tire said...

Thank you. This blog has been the start of my day for many years.

glenn said...

Congratulations on your retirement. I hope you are ready.

Georgia Lawyer said...

This is one small town lawyer/judge who faithfully reads Althouse every day. Please don't let retirement get in the way of your wonderful blog.

Sheridan said...

I read your blog every day though I stopped commenting years ago. What draws me here is the breadth of the topics you address and the perspicacity and nuance of your writing. Please, keep the blog going but take steps to write a novel. You have enough material to create a series of books. And I might even access the Amazon portal to buy them. Cheers.

Jim Grey said...

Congratulations on 13! I admire your discipline and your ability to quickly convert thinking into posts. You keep writing and I'll keep reaading.

FWBuff said...

Congratulations and thank you, Althouse! The intrinsic joy that you find through blogging shines through in your work. Your blog s a vital part of my day.

And happy belated birthday!

Mike Rophone said...

Congratulations, happy blog anniversary, and happy belated birthday! I am one of the many who have enjoyed your blog and the wide variety of topics you write about. Yours was the first that I saw that included cafe posts. I hope you continue love and enjoy writing your blog for years, while we enjoy the growth of this wonderful gift you've created for those of us lucky enough to come across it on the Internet.

AJ Ford said...

Congratulations Ann.

Henry said...

Congratulations. Your blog has been probably my only must-read take on the news over the last 13 years. Others wear their honors out, but Althouse is always alive.

Bill said...

Love the rigor of your thinking -- it's very inspiring.

Congrats!

Bruce Gee said...

The Cal Ripken of bloggers. Congratulations. I don’t post much but have gotten into the habit of reading your blog daily. One of my recurring thoughts upon reading one of your posts in, “Ummm. Let’s see what her commenters do with THIS!” So compliments also to most of your commenters. I do have names I skip over, having tired of their rants. But surprisingly many are very educational.

A warning regarding the Cal Ripken rep: he was once a very decent short stop, but over time he really will be remembered for one, maybe two things: that long unbroken games-played streak of 2, 632; and the fact that he brother and his Dad played and managed on the same team with him for a period of time. What isn’t really remembered is the quality of his play, which was…steady. Don’t settle for “steady”, kiddo. And beware of the temptation to overblog.

Best wishes to you in your golden years.

YoungHegelian said...

Congratulations! I truly admire & envy your discipline.

And profound thanks for giving us, the motley crew of weirdos who are your commenteriat, a place to hash it all out. My day would be a lot more boring without this virtual space in my life.

Fandor said...

Congratulations on your 13th, birthday and retirement. I've enjoyed reading all your stories, comments and those of your followers. It's always enlightening and amusing. I haven't felt the need to comment as of late because your array of wags say it all. Good luck, good health and continued success Ann!

WA-mom said...

Don't give up blogging; our minds would rust without you. But I think you have earned a retirement from watching those Sunday morning panel shows. As you have pointed out, those people don't know anything.

SgtPete said...

Ann, you do good. We love you too. Pete

Carol S said...

Congratulations! I admire your discipline as well. I enjoy reading about Madison, but moving to a new place will give you fresh material to blog about. Last August, I moved from the city I had lived in all my life (55 years) to a smaller city more in a different climate area of my state. This has livened up my Facebook posts as I photograph the stores and sites that capture my interest and post them to show my friends in my home city. I hope you and Meade will have the same quality of experiences if you move.

Best wishes on this new phase of your life.

Leora said...

In three hundred years people may be reading the Althouse blog the way people read Pepys' diaries.

stever said...

13 out of 13 for me!

Guildofcannonballs said...

I am withholding opinion on Althouse for another 13 years, as I have been told what is and what isn't a high bar and I doubt I could reach it, 'specially in the eyes of all the over-achievers round this joint.

rcocean said...

Yes, this is an amazing blog. I don't think I could write one post a day for a year, if you gave me $10,000. The self-discipline is admirable.

Paddy O said...

Happy blogiversary!

Marc Puckett said...

Congratulations indeed, and many thanks. There's a real sense in which I use your blog as 'triage' after I've glanced at the headlines every morning-- some 'news' I'll read of course in any case but often enough I won't bother unless you've noticed this or that. Ad multos annos!

Bill in Pasadena said...

Congrats Ann on your retirement. I love your mix of topics.

First-time commenter

tcrosse said...

Wonderful salon. It has a good beat and you can dance to it.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder when PhD and MS theses will be written about it.

Pianoman said...

Happy Birthday!

Thanks for your blog, Professor -- it's a daily read for me. I'm interested to see where your newfound freedom takes you.

Fabi said...

Happy blog anniversary - thank you for this forum!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Congratulations and thanks.

Saint Croix said...

happy anniversary Althouse!

and no re-runs

amazing

even TV would do a re-run

especially in the summer

Althouse is the Iron Horse

John Christopher said...

Althouse, I've been a daily reader since sometime in 2004. I don't comment much but have learned much and had a fun time reading your words for a long time now. Take a bow.

Freeman Hunt said...

Congratulations on 13!

Kirk Parker said...

Michael K @ 8:08am,

I'm one of those purchasers; I take your book up from time to time in my few spare moments. An awesome journey!



Althouse,

Maybe now that you're not tied down to Madison, you could overcome your travel aversion enough to make a few visits to some outlying areas and arrange some Althouse meetings?


Carol S,

"I moved ... to ... a different climate area of my state. "

Careful with the self-doxxing! Now we know you don't live in Rhode Island, Vermont, or Hawaii.

Peter J Barban said...

I first started following this blog when Instapundit linked to a picture of his dinner with Law Professor Ann Althouse. I don't know what date that was, but I have continued reading ever since.

Old_Pilot said...

Enjoy reading your blog.
Best wishes on your retirement.
As one who has retired twice, I feel qualified to offer comments. Do not retire too young. Having the daily obligations associated with employment provides a sense of mission. After retirement we really understand the meaning of the book of Ecclesiastes.

Sydney said...

"My Life as a Fictional Character" sounds intriguing.

blogtom said...

Congratulations on your long legal career. I hope you find retirements as rewarding as I think you found teaching. Please keep up the blogging ... My day is always enriched by reading your blog. Rev. Tom Holt, retired, United Methodist Church. PS Hope you one day change your opinion on men's shorts!

Lawcruiter said...

David Lat's referrals and - frankly - the so-sweet story of how you and Meade got together - prompted me to take a first look at your blog. Thanks to the best law professor I never had for giving life, in my case, to the saying that you are never too old to learn (and to learn how to think). Wishing you many years!

PianoLessons said...

Love you Althouse.

Keep at this work.

You are really good at it.

bozonomous said...

now that best of the web is gone. You are all we have left