To Err Is Human…

January 10th, 2014 20 Comments

computer cartoon

…to really screw things up, you need a computer.

A mistake was made. My website was being inundated with robo-responses, so many of them that it was clogging up the system and, in some way I don’t understand, that meant subscribers to this website weren’t getting the notices they had requested. (They still won’t, for other reasons, but we’re still working on it.) Apparently it also meant there was a potential for hacking (both my computer and subscribers’) and, in short, something had to be done. We tried to do that something, but unfortunately someone hit the wrong key at the wrong time with the result that three years’ worth of my work was wiped out. All the blogs as well as all the profiles and short stories were deleted in a way that meant they could not be retrieved. Gone. Vanished. Vaporized.

Needless to say, this kind of knocked me back on my heels. I have rough drafts of most of the stuff, but the difference between my rough drafts and the final product I actually post is considerable, and that doesn’t take any photographs or illustrations into account. Is this the end of Western Civilization as we know it? Hardly. Is it the end of the American Literary Tradition? Nope, it sure ain’t, Sparky. (Though based on much of the crap ballyhooed by the New York Times and other self-proclaimed arbiters of taste, we can safely say the American literary tradition has been moribund for at least the last ten years.) But it does mean I have to start over with a more or less blank slate. I simply do not have either the time or the energy to go back through everything and do it all over again. (And would it be worthwhile, I hear myself cry, would it have been worth it, after all, would it have been worthwhile, after the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets, after the novels and the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—and this and so much more… No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be…)

Unfortunately for those of you kind enough to follow this blog regularly, there is going to be a period of repetition. There are certain pieces I wish to restore, and there is at least one piece I have to restore to honor a commitment to the person about whom I wrote. This is all going to take a while, so if those of you kind enough to pay regular visits to my website wish to go on vacation (Barbados is nice this time of year) I will understand.

My apologies.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Rule No. 1. Always have a back-up of your files. I do feel sorry for you however. I can’t imagine what it is like to loss all of your work like that. Didn’t you just get a new computer? I can not believe that you were already hacked. That happened a couple of times on our computer and it was a mess to clean up. I had to have my daughter come and fix the computer.

    We life in Michigan so going to Barbados sound like a fine idea right now. However, we don’t have the money for that. It was actually colder in Detroit one day and it was in the South Pole. Maybe the penguins would like it here.

  2. Anonymous says:

    To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.
    We don’t know one millionth of one percent about anything.
    Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    A computer makes as many mistakes in two seconds as 20 men working 20 years make.

    – See more at:

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dr. Caligari’s Come-back: A bad sector disk error occurs only after you’ve done several hours of work without performing a backup.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hello JP,

    thanks for this detailed information.
    It´s such a pity that so much is lost. I´m very sorry about it. Hopefully you can save as much as possible. But I do understand this is going to occupy you for a while and I will have to wait for your next blog.
    I will miss it.
    Please don´t pressurize yourself and take the time you need.

    Chin up!


  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh !!!! Comme vous devez être déçu !!!! Tant de travail et de temps passé sur votre blog !!!!!
    Pour nous, lecteurs, nous avons eu un choc en pensant que vous aviez eu un accident !!!!!!
    Tout ce qui est matériel est remplaçable et avec un peu de chance, vous retrouverez peut-être un jour une sauvegarde de votre blog.
    Pour ma part, je n’ai pas envie d’aller en Bardane. Mes petits voyages en Europe me conviennent bien et me laissent le temps de visiter régulièrement votre blog avec bonheur. C’est une façon virtuelle de voyager et je l’espère encore pendant quelques temps……..
    Courage !!!!!! (J’espère que je ne perturbe pas votre site avec mes messages !!!!)

  6. Anonymous says:

    I will join you in beating up on your computer or computer ‘geek’ you work with. I now use two calendars, one on the computer and an old fashioned paper one. That way when the computer goes south I still know where I have to be and when. I also used to have all my notices of bills due come to my computer, until it broke down and I didn’t know what was due when. Love technology! Oh, do remember to back up your computer weekly, daily, monthly, whatever works for you.

  7. Anonymous says:


    I’m so sorry this has happened. Twice a year I have to write reports for my class. If I have 30 students, my reports can sometimes reach about 10 000 words. I once had an ancient laptop crash the night before my reports were due to my supervisor. I rang the company and they talked me through restoring windows only to find that every file I had ever added was gone…. Including my reports. After about an hour of sobbing uncontrollably I sat down to see what else I could do…. In the end I found a more recent system restore marker that got me about 9/10 of my reports back and all my previous files.

    I’m sure your computer “guy” has tried that ….. I’m not very computer minded either…. But…

    Just a little food for thought ….
    I use an ipad…. A somewhat small screen…. Sometimes I will copy and paste things I want to read to a document file so I can manipulate the text to make it easier to read…. Or so I can read it off line.
    I respect your copyright and always delete the file later…..

    I also once used your description of a hospital waiting room as a writing lesson…. I think I may have that on my school computer….

    Perhaps other readers had other reasons for keeping copies of certain posts….

    What about emails? Have you emailed people drafts…. Or maybe readers may have emailed bit of your work to friends…

    Hard copies? Perhaps some avid fan out there likes to print your writing to read later….

    You also said you recently got a new computer….. Trashed the old one yet?

    I’m sure you have thought of a lot of this….. Just wanted to see if I could get the gears grinding towards a, or many, solutions.
    Kathy W

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear Mr Parker,
      I’m one of your fans that enjoy this blog very much. I’ve saved all the pieces that you’ve wrote as Documents on my Kingsoft Writer program. I’ll be happy to email it to you. Thanks for this blog and for entertaining me for the past 29 years.
      Best wishes
      Lauraine from Mossel Bay, South Africa

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am certain that you have tried everything you can and perhaps have even hired an “expert.” Just think about how computer forensic experts are able to get files, searches, etc from even partially demolished computers at crime scenes. Are you absolutely certain your can’t be retrieved? Who did the transfer of files/programs and such from your old computer to your new one? Could they possibly have a backup? Even in their temporary files? My own experience has been that when I think somethings are lost…they actually were not. You have my sympathy regardless for all the technology headaches you have been enduring. Best wishes for a speedy recovery…burst of energy and inspiration!!


  9. Anonymous says:

    I think every one has lost information on the computer at one time or another. I have never lost as much as you have. One time I was typing something on the computer and the computer decided to up-date itself. I did not ask the computer to do this and I don’t remember hitting any key that would up-date the computer. I had nearly finished and the computer shut itself down and I lost what I was typing. I was not happy and I felt like cursing the computer out. However, it was not a lot of stuff that was lost and I just had to start over.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Have you tried the on-line “Wayback Machine” to see if they preserved any of the old versions of your site and blog?

  11. Anonymous says:

    okay wordpress runs on MYSQL, database and in that database all entries are saved. If your computer guru or whoever set up this page can access it, you could get entries back. Also this page is a great ressource to get things back (copy/paste)

    If you need my help (I am great at getting things work as before) write me it’s kihei at

    Good luck

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree with Tanja. Your service provider for your page should have backups that are made periodically. I use BlueHost for my web hosting, and I can go back and restore my blog from backed up files my service provider keeps for up to a month…if I remember correctly. Might be longer.

      I had something similar happen to what happened to you, and got slammed with spammers. I went back and restored a back up file that Bluehost had made, reloaded my blog and only lost one posting. Then I went back and made the changes needed to keep the spammers away.

      Good luck!

      TD Bauer

  12. Anonymous says:

    JP sorry this happened! Glad to see you back up again.

    Tena French Halifax Nova Scotia Canada

  13. Anonymous says:

    Did you host your website locally? Meaning, who is your service provider? In my office we have several brand websites that we maintain and each site has a host provider. (not our company) With luck, your host/service provider may have a “mirror site” of your site on THEIR backup. That is often done so that if one their servers were to go down, they have your site mirrored on another server to insure no down time. Did that make any sense?

    It may be a long shot, but I hope you can find some bits and pieces that way.

    Also- if you are lucky enough to be on a Mac, (as all creatives should be – kidding)use TimeMachine to automatically backup everything. It is seamless. If not, don’t forget all the new PC cloud-based publishing. Keep both local files and things on your cloud.

    I can’t tell you how many times i have eliminated my own hard work. (in my case, packaging graphics)It is heart-wrenching. So sorry. Often, recreating is faster than the first time, and sometimes gets better than the original, but it is an awful thing to experience.


  14. Anonymous says:

    Maybe you should ask your dog if he can help you with computer work? As our Minnie, see photo 😉

    No, jokes aside, I wanted to cheer you up just a little.The readers of your website appreciate your work and it would be a real pity and sad if this would now be lost.I think I know how you feel. I am a hobby photographer and I have a few years ago many of my photos (which were stored on the computer) lost by a computer virus.Some say those are just photos.But for me, this is my work I like to do and I hang with passion on every photo.

    I hope you will still find a way to save a lot of what you have written in the past few years.


  15. Anonymous says:

    Simon’s Cat-Cat and mouse.

    Watch while simon’s cat unplugs the computer and cause him to loss his work.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hello JP,

    you said “All the blogs as well as all the profiles and short stories were deleted in a way that meant they could not be retrieved. Gone. Vanished. Vaporized.”
    Well I couldn´t find the profiles and the short stories but browsing the internet at least I found a little of your blog. Did you know that publishes your blog as well? Sorry, of course you did. I could retrieve all the blogs back until Octobre 2012 with all the pictures but without the comments. This is the link:
    Well, I don´t know if the formats match but I hope to be helpful.

    Best wishes

  17. Anonymous says:

    Copy and paste as a last resort:

    Nothing is ever truly gone on the internet. I own an IT company, and also do web development, if you want help, I would certainly have a look, free of course. I probably owe someone somewhere for all the hours of Simon & Simon I have watched…

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