Courtney Conklin Knapp, the bloggers’ muse, offers up this link on The Eternal Shame of Your First Online Handle.  It reminds me of my personal favorite storage space for unwanted reputations:  USENET.  USENET was the earliest internet social network consisting of mostly-unmoderated discussion groups on just about any topic you can think of.

Did you know that Google has archived all of USENET and provided a search interface through its own Google Groups?  Talk about eternal shame.  Look around your department for your geekiest 40-something colleague and chances are he has a USENET trail and it may not be pretty.

I’ll leave it up to you to find the dirty laundry, but while we are here, a few notable (and perfectly respectable) USENET trails for your amusement.  You can probably guess who posted this to the group rec.sport.soccer in 1997:

I am a professor of economics doing a study of penalty kicks in soccer.  Does anyone know where I might find data on whether a kicker goes to the right or the left on a penalty kick, or whether the goalie dives right  or left?

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

But can you guess who posted this to rec.music.collecting.vinyl in 1996?

Dear Readers:

I am looking for an LP copy of Night by Night, an obscure
issue by Harry Nilsson, or the soundrack to The World’s
Greatest Lover, which he also did, or other Nilsson rarities
(I do have Flash Harry, however).

CD copies are fine as well, although I do not think they exist.

Hint:  he apparently frequented the groups soc.culture.haiti, rec.music.classical.recordings, and rec.sport.basketball.pro and he also posted this to rec.arts.movies.current-films in 1998.

Of all 1998 American movies, which are some prominent examples of movies with foreign non-American directors?  An example of a French director would be especially useful. Any assistance would be most appreciated…I am aware of Peter Weir (an Australian) directing The Truman Show, any other examples?

His full USENET trail is here, but guess before you look!

I implore you not to look at mine, and instead browse the trails of people that really matter like Hal Varian (he was writing a lot about pricing the Internet!), Sergey Brin (he seemed to be having trouble getting DOOM to run on his 486DX), Mark Zuckerberg (not much on his mind apparently)  and Austan Goolsbee.

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