Who or What turned you on to The Dope?

I had a lava lamp in college. The first wave of popularity for the things had died down years before, so in 1985 it was rather a curiosity. One summer a friend sent me a care package with, among other things, a newspaper cutout ofthis article. Which was nice, because the globe part of the gizmo had finally died and the address at the bottom of the article allowed me to purchase a replacement (they were still hard to find back then).

“The Straight Dope?” I queried of my friend later in the year. Later I had the full set of books and was on my way to understanding everything in the universe that mattered. Curiously, nobody else I’ve ever talked to about *The Straight Dope * has ever heard of it. Which makes some sense, I only know 2 people from Chicago: said friend and another who moved to The Big Easy when he was 7.

A year or so ago I looked up The Straight Dope in the web. Just to see if it was there. Here I am.

So. How did you hear about it? What got you hooked? And how did you end up getting involved with the board?

I stumbled upon a link to the “If LotR Had Been Written By Someone Else!?” thread (back when it was only 7 pages and 300 or so posts long).

About 20 years ago, there was an L. A. Reader, which was, I now assume, affiliated with the Chicago Reader. It was a weekly free paper that would typically have a couple of interesting articles, information about available entertainment options, and good movie reviews. I read all that, but the two things I looked forward to more than anything else were Life in Hell and The Straight Dope. The paper dissappeared about 15 years ago, and I missed the Dope most. Binky books were easy to find, but Cecil books were not. When we got our first Internet connection back in the mid-to-late-nineties, we made a list of all the things we would search for on the Web. The Straight Dope was one of them. And by gosh if it wasn’t right there. It’s been on my Favorites list ever since.

I lurked the SDMB off and on for years, and finally decided that here was the largest collection of bright, funny people I was likely to find. So I decided to subscribe.

I somehow stumbled onto a thread that had a post about a guy who fell asleep on his arm, it fell asleep too, and he woke up without feeling in it and freaked out. Incidentally, I recently saw almost the exact same post, but by a new user. ??
I’ve never lived in Chicago, and don’t think I’d ever heard of the Chicago Reader. I’ve always read the paper- I guess none of them carried Cecil’s column.

Since I live in northern Illinois I became aware of the Straight Dope column through the newspaper, lo these many years ago. I was hooked, especially since I was working as a reference librarian at the time, looking up all kinds of weird, fascinating stuff for a living. The mix of hardminded fact and pissant attitude was a killer.
I bought all the books, then got my Cecil fix through the web site.
It’s embarrassing, but I didn’t even notice the message boards until re-reading one of the books. Checked them out and then was REALLY hooked. A whole slew of bright, hilarious, opinionated, seriously sideways people. Bliss!

It was a stinking hot day in the Cisco lab in 10th grade and a classmate had a website up that he pointed out. I read the article and thought it was funny.

That website was straightdope.com.

I swear I learned more that summer than I did the entire preceeding school year.

I was researching a long-burning question of mine. Everyone who knew me had been asked “What is the name for the type of writing used on ambulances, the kind that reads normally in your mirror?” For many years people said “I think I’ve heard of a term for that, but I don’t know what it is.” I posted that question here almost a year ago and got a valid response within a day. I was hooked like a crack addict instantly.

Rectography was the answer BTW.

[indent][indent][indent][indent][indent][indent]:smiley: [sup]I have no damn idea.[/sup][/indent][/indent][/indent][/indent][/indent][/indent]

Great! The subliminals are working.

I was visiting a Zelda video game fansite. I was checking out the person’s offsite links page, and one of them was The Straight Dope.

Back when I lived in Hawaii, the local, weekly, free newspaper carried The Straight Dope and, like Rufus Xavier, I got hooked. When I moved back east, I needed a Cecil Adams fix and a birthday present for my little brother, so I bought one of the books. Eventually, I bought all of the books. I noticed the exchanges from the messageboard at the ends of the chapters in one of them, and this looked like a fun bunch of people. I found my way to the website, stumbled on to the message board, took a head-first plunch into a debate on religion in GD, if I recall, registered, proposed marriage to Polycarp, I think, and haven’t come up for air since.

I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned and how much I’ve laughed.

Thank you!

A little something that might interest you can be found here.

Enjoy! :slight_smile:

There was an article in a Reader’s Disgest about The Straight Doper and Unca Cecil. I saved the issue, thinking he sounded interesting. When I came upon the first book years later, I bought it and put the article in it.

When we got the Internet at work, I found the site.

Thanks! Sheesh…and it’s not even a very old thread. :smack: but how would you search for that?

I like urban legends. The collecting and debunking of them, that is. About.com had a collection of urban legend hits that included Cecil’s column on whether AIDS was man-made. I was hooked. Started reading it weekly. When threadspotting started up, I followed the links. Got hooked on the boards. Lurked until I could hold my silence no more. 800-odd posts later, here I am.

David Feldman referenced the column in one of the Imponderables books I devoured from the time I was about 10 on. Then, when I got this newfangled innernet thing, I thought, “Hey… what was that thing…?”

The rest, as they say, is history.


Last century, when this board was on AOL, a link to the SDMB came up on the AOL welcome screen. I’ve been here ever since. The join dates on posts don’t reflect membership during the AOL days.

Actually I just searched for threads started by me in this forum with more than 40 posts (because generally my threads sink to bottom like… well, I’m not feeling witty today) and there it was. But you really had no way of knowing that, did you? :slight_smile:

It’s the same story with me. I’ve been reading the columns since the AOL days. One day in summer 1999, I saw one of the first “Threadspotter” links (how to kill evil Nazi groundhogs) and followed it to the forums, where I lurked for four years before registering.