Hi, I’m Mitch Wagner. I started my career as a daily newspaper reporter in the mid-1980s. In 1989, I switched to tech journalism, and knocked around at a number of different publications, including UNIX Today! (the exclamation mark was part of the name), InformationWeek, Computerworld and Light Reading. I do tech journalism for a major cloud platform (no, not that one. No, not that one either). I’m not saying which one it is here because they’ve been very good to me and I don’t want to drag them into anything I might write or post that might offend someone.

I live just outside San Diego with my wife, dog, and three cats. We don’t know why we got so many animals. I’m on the board of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club.

I blog at and I’m also active on Twitter at @mitchwagner, . I have a daily newsletter. I post the same stuff in all those places.

This is my digital garden. What is a digital garden?

Our African safari

A journal of our 25th anniversary trip in June 2019.

We arrive in Africa
I complain like a Karen
At the Okavango Delta in Botswana
Camp Xakanaxa to Leroo La Tau
We learn the local language and speak it badly
Visiting a local village
Tswana language lesson
Spectacular leopard encounter
More photos
Never get tired of the elephants
Visiting a tribal village
Saying goodbye to a new friend

Notes and essays

Obama’s 2020 DNC speech – Obama delivered a 2020 version of FDR’s “day of infamy” speech.. Like FDR, Obama was warning that the US faces a mortal enemy.

Mary Jo Kopechne is remembered today only for having been killed in a car accident on Chappaquiddick Island, with Ted Kennedy driving. She deserves better.

The first movie I saw in a theater – It was “Salt and Pepper,” 1968, a comedy starring Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford.

Interesting items I found in my home office – It’s like an archeological dig in here. I really need to declutter.

Aftermath of rioting here in La Mesa, Calif. – Murals by local artists cover smashed storefronts. Earlier: Looting and arson come close to home (but we’re fine)

Who is Alan Tarica and why does he say I’m an idiot? – If you even mention Mark Twain in passing on the public Internet, you might hear from this kook.

I’ve been drinking a meal replacement shake called Huel for breakfast for months – From April. I’m still drinking Huel for breakfast.

TV, Book & Movies

The Mandalorian – I slept through a lot of it and I’m OK with that. I’m looking forward to sleeping through much of the second season.

Saving Mr. Banks – “The movie is bullshit and propaganda and I loved it anyway and would gladly watch it again.“

“City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert kept me up late reading one night, which is something that rarely happens to me anymore and I love it when it does.

I interviewed fantasy writer Tim Powers in 2014: Tim Powers: Interview With a Secret Historian

A comment about the movie “Man of Steel.” And another

“The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic,” by Mike Duncan – Enjoyable and informative, with parallels for today.

I got briefly addicted to an exploitation horror movie, “Dance of the Dwarfs,” starting Peter Fonda, in the early 80s. It was a ripoff of “The African Queen,” about an uptight, beautiful woman anthropologist who hires a drunk, down-on-his-luck helicopter pilot, played by Fonda, for an expedition into the jungle to find a mythical race of monster dwarves. Or dwarfs. I rewatched it recently. It holds up OK today.


A historical look at Milton Berle’s supposedly giant dick – “Yeah, it’s easy for you to be humble, when you’ve got a thermos in your pants.”

Why America Feels Like a Post-Soviet State – “What drove officials to lie was not so much a desire to conceal the facts from ordinary people as it was a need to supply the leadership with upbeat reports.”

Carl Reiner, Perfect – Steve Martin remembers his friend and collaborator, Carl Reiner. “I’ve known only two perfect people in my life. One is that son of a bitch Martin Short; the other is Carl Reiner.”

Maxine the subway dog is chill and makes many friends.

Guy Fieri Is The Last Unproblematic Food Person – a “deeply non-awful human being.”

Heavily Armed Fans Guard Statue Of Yogi Bear In Case It Turns Out He Supported Confederacy

How to stop Google Calendar from automatically including Google Meet links in meeting invitations. – I quit Google Calendar over this, before reading this article.

New York couple decides to quarantine together after one date – A lovely story.