Yes, MZ has a good reason for silence

ByteStorLet me jump in here with a short personal note from your GetReligion crew.

If it seems that the Divine Mrs. MZ has been quiet for a few days, there is a good reason for that. On Friday, someone broke into the Hemingways’ apartment — along with several others in the building — and stole all kinds of things, not the least of which was Mollie’s laptop computer.

Now the key here is that not only did they steal her laptop. Whoever did this (are there anti-Lutheran hate groups?) stole all of her computer equipment. He, she or it stole the whole shooting match. Not only did she lose the laptop containing the text and reseach for her forthcoming book on how America’s public language on religion keeps changing, but the thief also took the system in which all of this was backed up.

Mollie does have a text, but this is a serious setback. On top of that, Mollie has been called for jury duty. We hope she can get back online soon, because she is missed.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Jeffrey Weiss

    A terrible blow for Mollie. But if I can inject an admonition here, a reminder to the rest of us:
    Not only back up, but us current tech to backup the most valuable backups.
    There’s an ad in Dallas for 1G flashdrives for $10. A gig can hold, conservatively, about a bazillion words. Certainly enough text for most of our purposes.
    My most precious bit of data is my constantly-updated phonelist (which I keep on one long Word file. I don’t need no stinkin’ Outlook…heh)
    I send it home about twice a month.
    So it’s on my harddrive there.
    And on my large backup, a Firewire-conection 40G about the size of a deck of cards that I keep in another room from the computer, and not in an obvious place.
    And on my laptop.
    *And* on a flashdrive that stays with me at all times. Anybody who doesn’t use a flashdrive for key backups these days, given how cheap they are, is missing a good bet.
    Paranoid? Paranoids have enemies, too…1:-{)>

  • Paul Barnes

    You just gave yourself away Mr. Weiss. Now I know where to look…

  • The Right Reverend Rabbi Judah

    That hurts just reading about it. Please pass on some words of encouragement.

    As for the computer stuff, it still might turn up. The cops might find it, or try the local pawn shops. You never know.

  • Dominic Glisinski

    Obviously, with the current cheapness of electronics, it was the “words” – content – the thieves were after. No criminal worth his salt would risk his neck for a laptop and an armful of techy paraphernalia, at least not in my view. Hopefully there were no financial tidbits stashed away on there? My sympathies.

  • Jeffrey Weiss

    Dear Paul: “Not in an obvious place.” And if you ever saw my room, you’d know that’s not much of a clue. Even Inspector Clouseau would have you in cuffs before you ever finished sorting through my, er, stuff…1:-{)>

  • dpulliam

    I have had some experience covering lost data (see here) and unfortunately, a laptop can get a criminal a quick tidy amount of cash these days depending on what he is looking for. Most of these thieves, who are often kids, are looking for enough stuff to sell at the pawn shop and get a hit on whatever drug they are on.

  • Charlie

    This is my worst nightmare, and probably many of us these days would say the same thing. Besides backing up on an external hard drive, I also back up all of my creative materials on the web in one of the many online backup servers now cheaply available.

    My deepest sympathies to Mollie.

  • Michael

    This is the kind of thing that gives every writer the cold-sweats.

    Most of these thieves, who are often kids, are looking for enough stuff to sell at the pawn shop and get a hit on whatever drug they are on.

    Absolutely. They aren’t at all interested in my World music and Amy Grant music library :) Even a $100 on the street is worthwhile to someome looking to get a hit of drugs.

  • tmatt


    You keep your telephone numbers in giant WORD files? You do that too?

    Let me guess. You started doing this because they were all on mainframe files at a newspaper and that was the easiest place to paste some giant text files?

  • Kizmet

    [runs to back up files in Yahoo's My Briefcase]

    Sympathies to Mollie, and prayers that her belongings will be returned speedily.

  • shenmede

    Mollie, you have my sympathies, too, on the off-hand chance that helps any.

    Is this doing an article on forgiveness the hard way, or what?

  • saint

    My sympathy to Mollie and her husband. It’s not just the loss of stuff that’s hard to get over, but the invasion of one’s home.

  • Jeffrey Weiss

    Bingo on how my word file started.
    It’s stayed that way because it’s the easiest and most efficient way for me to keep those numbers. Since a Word file is completely searchable, I make sure I put enough key words with each listing. The one thing that Outlook will do that my method won’t is provide an instant sub-list. But the serendipity of spotting an expert I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise while scrolling makes up for that, for me.

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  • Jeremy Lott

    Sorry to hear, Mollie.

  • Maureen

    Mollie and her computer stuff will be in my prayers. (Paging St. Anthony….)

    Btw, if Mollie has a wireless modem on anything, it might be worth seeing if said modem is up and running. Stuff has been traced that way before. Ditto for stolen cellphones.