Statistics Saturday: The Ides Of April, This Century


Times I Have Been Ready To Inform Someone In Casual Conversation That The 15th Is Not The Ides Of April, The 13th Is 17
Times The Conversation Has Ever Come Remotely Near This Topic 0
Times A Comic Strip I Read Has Used This As The Base For A Joke 2
Times I Noticed In Time To Comment On This In A Timely Fashion 0

Plus is the 15th even the Income Tax Filing Deadline in the United States anymore? It seems like it’s always bumped to like the 18th of April or the 44th of May or the 216th of Freaking October anymore. I don’t know. And yeah, the ides are the 13th day of a 30-day month, plus February, and anyway the Romans listed days as counting down to the next big calendar event day, so that the 15th of April would be “17 Kalend May”, which everyone understood to be part of April, not May, and also they sometimes slipped an extra month in between the 24th and the 25th of February. This is why the Emperor Vespasian was never able to get his programmers’ database software to handle dates correctly. Neither can we.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose another point while wait, that thing in the Chocolate Swamp is named Gloppy? Also there’s a Chocolate Swamp in Candy-Land? We thought it was the Molasses Swamp? Or are there multiple swamps? Did it change? What is this? What are things? What is changing? Why?

135

From The April 2016 Scraps File


Bits from my scrap file that I couldn’t use in April 2016. Free to good home. No pedigree available on metaphors. Papers available upon request but don’t ask me to whom.

When I say it makes my hair look “good”, I mean it looks good enough for me. By “enough” I mean there’s room for obvious improvement. By “improvement” I mean a general bettering-ness of things. By “me” I mean the same old person I meant last time, only a little older. — Cut because I could swear it’s a Robert Benchley thing and while I would get away with it, I would know. And by “know” I mean “know”. By “I” I mean “me”, but in a different case.

seeming like it might be — Man, again I have this cropping up everywhere. I’m not even trying to write it, it just appears.

And then the label on the pumpkin can says “Good to connect! Visit us at LibbysPumpkin.com”. — Cut from the pumpkin can label because E M Forster rose from his grave to warn me that this was not even in the slightest what he meant. “It’s a can of pumpkin innards,” he said, “What could you possibly have to talk to anyone about that? There is no elaboration possible! Pumpkin innards are a complete explanation of themselves!” On hearing this, the ghosts of René Magritte and Alfred Korzybski got a heated quarrel going about whether a pumpkin was a sufficient representation of a pumpkin. They’ve been going at this since last Saturday and I would say I’m sorry to have got the whole thing started. Except that as a side effect Forster and the ghost of Marshall McLuhan have been watching my Arrested Development DVDs. You wouldn’t think that’s the kind of show someone could riff on, Mystery Science Theater 3000-style. They don’t, not exactly. But their commenting’s got pretty sharp stuff anyway. Also the ghost of Korzybski has been in the dining room giving those “I’ve got my eyes on you” fingers to our picture of Immanuel Kant.

Nutmeg was supposedly so powerful it could bring things back to life, which makes it weird they’d use it to cover the taste of rotted meat. Would you want a slab of rotten mutton or whatever they ate in the 16th century coming back to life? But I understand scholars don’t believe Europeans were covering the taste of rotted meat anymore anyway. That makes more sense to me. Spices needed years to get from the East Indies to, say, Sheffield. Animals were right there. It’s much more plausible if Europeans used fresh meat to cover up the taste of rotted spices. — Cut from that time-in-New-Jersey essay because I’m not sure where I got that bit about nutmeg curing death. I’m pretty sure I read it in Giles Milton’s Nathaniel’s Nutmeg: Something Something Or Other Something Spice That I Just Bet You Changed The World but I don’t know where my copy is. And maybe Giles was having a little giggle with us all. If anyone knows him please ask and let’s find out. Also I really thought that time-in-New-Jersey post would get more interest from the standards-enthusiast community here. Go figure.

But then a fantastic arrogance has always been your truest métier. — Cut from that letter I’m still working on to that estranged friend because I am getting to wonder what exactly I ever got out of that friendship.

Ghostbusters became a thoroughly enjoyed icon of pop culture despite the warning that it was a years-in-development labor of love by Dan Aykroyd. — Snipped when I remembered there are already plenty of opinions about Ghostbusters on the Internet and that doesn’t mean I have to have one too.

Cartoon Characters That Have Been Caught In Giant Snowballs Rolling Down Mountains. — Cut from a potential Statistics Saturday post when I realized I couldn’t name all that many. There’s ThunderCat Lion-O, of course. Also Betty Boop. But after that? I would guess it’s happened to Bugs Bunny. And probably on Hanna-Barbera’s 1960s series Character Who’s Got One Catchphrase And A Bow Tie And That Will Have To Do For 17 Episodes. I guess Breezly and Sneezly. But that’s not a list. That’s a partially baked idea and there’s no sign that the Magritte-Korzybski quarrel will heat it well enough to finish.

Statistics Saturday: April Fool’s Day, By Content


Maybe 1% pranks; 4% the 'Find The Mistakes' episode of The Price Is Right, and the rest is people complaining that someone went and played a prank, or maybe was just thinking about it.
Although, yeah, Gmail, what were you thinking?

But you can understand people being angry at April Fool’s Day, what with the Internet being flooded with dubious news stories, jokes in questionable taste, ill-considered surprise changes in web sites, and causes for phony outrage, only we know ahead of time the day’s going to be full of them.

What I Couldn’t Write In March 2016


Pieces from March’s scraps file. All text free to a needy author that can use it. Better luck with it than I had.

seeming like it might be — cut from like ten essays this past month because it doesn’t mean anything. It just slows down moving from the start to the end of the sentence. I don’t ever have any reason to put that in somewhere. I just type a while and look up and there it is and I have to eradicate it. This is some kind of grammatical zebra mussel. I would just leave it in a trash bin, on fire, but if you really want it go wild. Sorry. The rest of the scraps are more promising. Don’t take this one.

So I admit to being torn about National Haiku Pedantry Month coming up this April. We need to get some discipline back into the art form. Right now it’s just what people use for comic verse when they aren’t up to writing a limerick. But then we have thirty whole days of having to pretend we approve of haiku pedants. Some of these people are fine, pointing out that there are actual syllable counts and it’s not just a short-long-short line thing. But then there’s the guy you know who’s going to leap up on a desk, shaking a yardstick around, and hollering, “It’s not just syllable count! You need nature imagery and a cutting word! Where is the cutting word in this? Well?” And you just know he goes home to sulk that all he can find are yardsticks around when it would just make his day to get a meter stick. A haiku pedant like that isn’t going to pass up a good fight with the Pun Control Squad. You know them. They admit there might be such a thing as a pretty good, amusing pun, but they haven’t seen one. And they’re going to take action. — Cut because, of course, National Haiku Pedantry Month is November.

very — cut from about forty posts this past month because I don’t even like having it there. It’s just too easy to make my minimum word count. Also I guess I have a minimum word count even though all my popular posts are two paragraphs long and comment on a picture from the store.

So we trust that we have commutivity and that there’s a multiplicative identity within the collection of elements. And that if the product of two things is zero then at least one is zero. I know that sounds crazy, like specifying that a triangle has to also not be a square. But this can happen, and let me show you how. — Cut from my essay about Dedekind Domains because I realized I wasn’t even halfway toward saying all the rules one of these things had to meet and oh good grief this is why people hate mathematics.

You in your spectacle of arrogance, incapable of imagining that someone other than you might ever need something that isn’t “the chance to gaze in adoration at your alleged magnificence” — Cut from a draft letter to an estranged friend I’ve been trying to reconcile with even though it’s seeming like it might be hard to figure out why, exactly.

I perused the closed-captioning transcript of this episode so that I can say with confidence — cut from a TrekBBS post about Star Trek: Voyager because we were debating a Kes episode and who’s got enough time in their lives for that? Not Kes, obviously. Ha ha! I’ll explain why that’s funny in a footnote [1].

This hoodie makes me feel pretty, oh soooo pretty. — Cut from the back of an index card we were using to keep track of scores at a pinball tournament yesterday. Not sure who wrote it. It’s seeming like it might be one of our friends who had some hard luck on the game Jack-Bot. But he has got a hoodie that’s become a merry in-joke ever since the state championships back in February.

Go off and be happy, insofar as you think that’s wise. — Cut from waving bye to a friend because it does sound kind of Ashleigh Brilliant-ish.

[1] It’s funny because I was trolling for the chance to show off that I know what “peruse” means. The chance never came, and never does.

Statistics April, Concluded


Yesterday’s mutterings about my suspiciously absent audience is enough of that. May started with my blog at 16,472 views total, which isn’t bad at all. The most-read posts of April make for an interesting bunch, to my eye, because … well, here:

  1. Statistics Saturday: Nations of Europe Ordered By Length, which was popular because people like lists of countries, and some folks were wondering just what I was getting at with all this.
  2. Betty Boop: Musical Justice, again not a surprise to me because it’s a weird and rare bit of Betty Boop arcana. This was one of her two live-action appearances.
  3. When We All Stopped Watching Deep Space Nine, a Caption This! item featuring that first-season episode where gamers from the Gamma Quadrant invaded the show. That inspired the question of “Allamaraine, is this worth the trouble of watching?” Fans of the show say yes, it got a lot better after this. Maybe so. Every time I tried watching it was a time-travel nonsense or a Ferengi Comedy Episode and I don’t need either of those in my life, thank you.
  4. Power Challenge Of The Week, drawing on everyone’s giddy delight at insulting Brutalist architecture.
  5. Betty Boop: Dizzy Dishes, another unsurprisingly popular piece because it’s got what’s always credited as the debut of Betty Boop. Betty Boop is more complicated than that, but what interesting thing isn’t?
  6. Betty Boop: Sally Swing, the debut of Betty Boop’s final redesign and the oddly stunted experiment at creating a new Betty for the swing era.

What most intrigues me is that the Betty Boop pieces are never popular the day they come out. The WordPress statistics are pretty clear about that. The number of page views on days when those are posted is lower than that of the day before or after. But they’re fun to write, and they clearly endure. It probably helps that each links logically to others, so they invite archive-binging. My normal major pieces for the week, where I report what I just read and what silly things it makes me think of, don’t.

Well. Now the other popular part, listing countries. The United States as ever sent me the most number of page views, at 585. Canada came in second at 34, the United Kingdom third at 27, and Germany fourth at 22.

A single reader each came from Algeria, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway, the Palestinian Territories, Poland, and South Africa. The repeats from March were Finland and Italy; Italy’s on a three-month streak. India was listed as sending me only two readers, which can’t be right, considering how much I’ve been doing to publicize it the last couple Statistics Saturdays. The “European Union” was also listed as sending me two readers. I don’t know what this designation means, since countries within the European Union are separately listed.

I did, finally, have some interesting search terms the past month. Here’s some:

  • dear penelope, i have been so tied up with work during the last week that i have not had a chance to get near a desk to write to you.
  • math comic strip clipart
  • crazy.bolle.com
  • funny pea soup cartoon
  • funny boss yelling at employees for productivity
  • spiderman newspaper boss
  • yard sale statistics
  • corny jokes about the milky way
  • reverberating voice cartoon
  • the king of jazz delbert cobain
  • math jokes on binomial
  • j. wellington wimpy character

I can understand why some of them would draw people here, but “crazy.bolle.com”? And I confess knowing nothing of Delbert Cobain. The most of what I know about yard sales is that if you are holding one, you should double what you think fair prices on all the things you’re selling, and then cancel the yard sale. You’ll be happier that way.