Letting the Joke Rest in Peace

ccWaaaay back in the foggy mists of time, I used to run a web site named Cthulhu Coffee. The site is still out there, laying dormant in the darkest wayward corners of the Internet, looking very… HTML3. I stopped updating regularly somewhere in 2003, but for several years after, I kept thinking I’d get back to it. In 2006, I finally said, “Fuck it.” I made a final update, and let it go.

The site was a ton of fun for a few years. The project was a sort of group-effort comedy thing, and about 15 people contributed in some way. We made goofy Internet widgets, posters, movie reviews, pieces of fiction… whatever. If it somehow related to comedy, Cthulhu, or horror, it was fair game.

The inertia of the site fell apart when I no longer had time to manage it. Back then, each page had to be hand coded. Adding a link to a sidebar meant that hundreds of HTML files had to be altered one by one. (Thankfully, Adobe GoLive eventually automated processes like that.) I was the only person who had access to the site itself, so if anyone else wanted to upload content, it was up to me to do the dirty work.

These days, such a group effort would be so much easier. Set up a WordPress site. Give everyone accounts. Everyone gets to add their own content, whenever they want, and all they need to do is type and then hit post.

Every once in a while, the thought haunts me: I could resurrect Cthulhu Coffee so easily. I could probably pull a lot of the same people back into the fold. I know a bunch of new people who would fit in perfectly. All I’d need to do would be to install WordPress on the server I already pay for.

So seductive.

But then I look back at all of it. Yeah, it was good. Yeah, it was really funny at the time. But does any more really need to be said?

I keep thinking of Internet humor, memes in particular. The popular ones are hilarious when they first appear. And then the first variants appear, and a lot of them are hilarious, too. And then the flood happens. A few of the later variants are great, but most of the rest is noise. And then it all fades away. The reason this happens is that you can only carry one joke for so long. At some point, the joke goes into a coma, and all you’re doing is keeping it on life support. At the end, it’s better to stop the CPR and move on.

The funny Cthulhu thing has been done. A lot. By us and by others.

So, I just let the site sit out there. Every once in a while, someone stumbles across it, and e-mails me about something that made them laugh. Not bad for a site so ancient that it still references a webring.

Also, I’m still kind of proud of that blinking eyeball navigation bar.


  1. On a tangent from web hosting, when I read your articles on your site, part of the right hand side is cut off/hidden behind the tweets/blogroll/meta column. This is true even for when I’m typing this comment to you. At a certain point I’m still typing, but I can’t see what I’ve typed. Is this my browser problem or an actual bug on your blog? Thanks! The Luddite

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