Like a Spider Might Do It
I reflect on a http://petridish.net outage.
Thursday, 2004-11-25 | Classic Gin, MASH, On the Internet
A certain episode of MASH comes to mind. It's an episode called 'The Abduction of Margaret Houlihan.'
In this episode, Margaret leaves camp late one night in a mad rush to assist in the delivery of a baby. She leaves in such a hurry that she only manages to tell Klinger (who is on guard duty and thus out and about during the wee hours) before departing the camp. Klinger, however, is so exhausted that he forgets to tell anyone else in the camp before he hits the sack. Consequently, Radar assumes that Major Houlihan has been abducted--a perfectly natural assumption given that the Major, a stickler for discipline, missed morning duty and hasn't been seen or heard all morning.
Shenanigans ensue and Margaret eventually returns to hoorays and huzzahs in the nick of time; the deranged Colonel Flagg is called in to find the missing Major and wants to land paratroopers and launch missiles in order to flush out the alleged kidnappers. There is a moment in this episode that I think illustrates my feelings about Petridish.net and how it's been down for close to a week now.
After he first reports the kidnapping to Colonel Potter etc., Radar is on the phone with his friend Sparky--Sparky never appears on the show and we never hear his voice, but Radar frequently speaks with him. Radar's one-sided conversations with Sparky are often used to demonstrate how Radar interacts with simple, naive and gentle people like himself. Since we mostly see Radar acting opposite sophisticated and world-wise doctors, we don't really get any idea how he carries on when he's comfortable and not befuddled by the speed at which the one-liners zoom over his head unless he's on the phone with Sparky.
Nevertheless, in one particularly poignant and revealing exchange with Sparky, Radar says 'I mean it's spooky; if a full-sized person like Major Houlihan can just disappear, imagine what might happen to my rabbit!'
If Henry's website, the nearly ubiquitous Petridish, which is a sprawling archive and collection of an almost inconceivable amount of stored information can just disappear, imagine what might happen to DemonGin.org?