Oh Wait, Now I’m in Trouble


I thought I had one more day left in the March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing and I was getting all ready to work on acetylcholinesterase versus a topic I hadn’t picked yet. I was sure about the acetylcholinesterase, though. I bet you know why, too. It’s because it does such great stuff with neurotransmission. And also I swear I read somewhere that there’s this neat medical mystery where the body produces a lot of acetylcholinesterase. More than you’d think. Like, I don’t know how much acetylcholinesterase you figure the body makes in a day, but more than that. And it gets rid of it too, and the thing I remember reading said we aren’t sure exactly how the body makes and disposes of so much of the stuff. Only maybe it wasn’t acetylcholinesterase, but some other neurotransmitter instead? Or neurotransmitter-related chemical? Anyway I can’t find it and I can’t think of how to go searching for it without DuckDuckGo concluding there’s something wrong with me. And I thought bringing it up as a pairwise contest was my best bet to have someone tell me what I was talking about and whether whatever I read this in was even the slightest bit correct. And now that chance is lost, at least until next March. Too bad!

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: The Last Matchup: The letter G vs Bodies


The letter G

The Case For: Its design, especially the lowercase, in typefaces where it’s two ovals connected by a descender? Just gorgeous.

The Case Against: Creeping in on consonant work that ‘J’ could be doing.

Bodies

The Case For: Allow one to experience comforting showers, large bowls of brothy soup, putting on new socks, and having petting-zoo animals lick your cheek.

The Case Against: Pretty much everything else.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: The Final Pairing: Boxes vs Land


Boxes

The Case For: Low-cost way to create the Halloween costume of “kid wearing boxes, I don’t know, maybe they’re a robot or a washing machine or something”.

The Case Against: Otherwise just a mechanism to turn piles of things into rectangular piles of things.

Land

The Case For: Best way to finish an airplane ride.

The Case Against: Without continuous tending will spontaneously morph into strip malls.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: The Final Pairing: HTML’s span element vs Pizzicato


HTML’s span element

The Case For: Span, short for ‘spaniel’, lets you add a dog to any web page.

The Case Against: Semantic confusion as this adds any kind of dog, not just spaniels.

Pizzicato

The Case For: Thoroughly fun sound to hear and one of music’s beautiful words to say.

The Case Against: When you’re nine years old and taking violin lessons it hurts your fingers to do.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: The Last Quartet: Trivia vs $20,090


Trivia

The Case For: Is no better way to know what company Hi from Hi and Lois works for.

The Case Against: Really aren’t any bars or restaurants hosting trivia nights that have a deep enough menu to support going back for a whole season.

$20,090

The Case For: You don’t know anyone whose life wouldn’t be considerably improved for years if they got an unexpected twenty thousand and ninety dollars, like, today.

The Case Against: Still, just think how much even better twenty thousand, one hundred and fifteen dollars would be.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: The Last Quartet: Old Couches vs Viscosity


Old Couches

The Case For: Are at peace with sitting in weird poses on them.

The Case Against: Feeling of helplessness about the cushion that’s worn down because you always sit on it being right next to the mint-condition cushion that nobody ever sits on.

Viscosity

The Case For: Keeps every beverage from having the same mouth feel.

The Case Against: Is part of how the entropic heat-death of the universe happens, although you can say that about everything really.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: The Last Quartet: Pangaea vs Beethoven


Pangaea

The Case For: Turns out to be just the most recent supercontinent, not the only one, and they’re looking at making supercontinents again, and isn’t that cool?

The Case Against: Nerds used to say how they would put a “Pangaea Reunification Front” on their desk to make HR send out a memo about not posting political stuff and we were expected to pretend we believed that happened.

Beethoven

The Case For: Has a crater on Mercury named for him.

The Case Against: Only wrote the one opera, which is only one more than I’ve written, and I can’t even write music.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: The Last Quartet: Dinosaurs vs Quadrilaterals


We’re finally through sixteen March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing matchups! We’ve reached the stage of The Last Quartet! Got your bets in for who will win?

Dinosaurs

The Case For: Holding up really well to the burden of being the only thing that everybody would like to hear a cool fact about, like, right now.

The Case Against: There’s people trying to tell us T Rexes were just like chickens and that’s not doing T Rexes or chickens any good.

Quadrilaterals

The Case For: Most important part of geometry that also sounds like a muscle group.

The Case Against: Word sounds like you’re too good for rhombuses.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Merism vs Blue Jeans


Merism

The Case For: Is the technical name for phrases where you match up opposites to refer to all of a thing, like, “high and low” or “big and small” or “young and old”.

The Case Against: Now that you know that it will never be asked at your Jeopardy! tryout.

Blue Jeans

The Case For: If you wear a pair of them enough they get very comfortable.

The Case Against: There are other genres of pants that are comfortable right away when you buy them.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Sesquicentennials vs Protocols


Sesquicentennials

The Case For: Good compromise between centennials and bicentennials.

The Case Against: Does nothing to prepare you for the sestercentennial-versus-semiquincentennial debate, although you do have a hundred years to worry about it.

Protocols

The Case For: Are an essential period for the development of adequate cols.

The Case Against: The cool things are always going against them.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Hegelian Synthesis vs the United States of America


Hegelian Synthesis

The Case For: I mean, what else are you going to do with your thesis and antithesis?

The Case Against: Still seems like there should be a new direction to take things, though.

The United States of America

The Case For: Population and land-area leader compared to other generically-named countries like the United Kingdom, South Africa, the Central African Republic, and the United Provinces of the Netherlands.

The Case Against: Everything in the country needs you to fill out a form and yet with all that practice nobody’s any good at bureaucracy.

Statistics March: How Much People Want Me To Explain Comic Strips To Them


For most of March I put a lot of time into the Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing, an ill-defined matchup of items. I figure to do four more of these, so there can be sixteen pairs, which I only just now realize is half the number of first-round contests in the actual March Madness. Well, too late now. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed doing these a lot. It’s fun thinking of good Dadaist pairs, and coming up with two quick jokes on the topics has felt like a good exercise. It’s been a relief, too; as sometimes happens, the tightness of the format makes it easier to write.

Ah, but does anybody else like it? And from looking over WordPress’s statistics, the evidence is people kind of tolerate it. The system records me as having had 4,985 page views in March. This reinforces how I should hit refresh from a private-browsing account fifteen more times each month. This is below my twelve-month running mean, for the months leading up to March 2022, of 5,259.0 views in a month. It’s also a second straight month of decline. However, it is above the twelve-month median, which was 4,585 page views.

There were 2,888 unique visitors, which again is below the twelve-month running mean of 3,087.3 visitors. But it’s also above the running median of 2,616.5. This is all consistent with a slow rise in popularity, muddled by January 2022 having been an unusually popular month around here. That popularity was likely spurred by Mary Worth, which teased us all with the prospect of Wilbur Weston dying in a cruise ship accident. Well, tomorrow I expect to recap Mary Worth again, but sorry to say, Wilbur Weston won’t be dead for it.

Bar chart of two and a half years' worth of monthly readership figures. After a peak in April 2021 the months have been hovering around 4500 views per month, without strong direction one way or another. After a local peak in January 2022 readership has declined month-to-month, but stayed above the typical figure for the past year.
Of course the story comics give me a lot of readership, but I am wondering what’s going to happen when I run out of those 1960s King Features Popeye cartoons. And what’ll I review after that? Cartoons people like, instead? … Probably not that.

Still, I can always find something more ambiguous in the data. There were 140 likes given here, in March, which is below both the mean of 153.8 an the median of 154.5. And there were 26 comments given, which is great compared to my mathematics blog. But it’s less than half the usual, where the mean was 60.3 and the median 56.3. This despite the head-to-head nature of the Pairwise Brackety Contest. I’d have imagined that would inspire jumping on to the joke. I always fear that my jokes are too closed, but I also don’t know another way to write.


Here are the five most popular posts from March. There were a couple posts from before March even more popular, mostly people who wanted the goings-on in Judge Parker explained. We’ll get there soon enough.

And my plan for this month’s plot recaps for story comics is these strips, in this order:

This is a pretty high concentration of the strips people really want to know about. I’ve thought some about rearranging the strips to spread the popular things out, but I’m not sure that I could do much better. Dick Tracy hasn’t been a huge attention-getter lately, but it has some hot streaks, you know?


Mercator-style map of the world, with the United States in dark red and most of the New World, western Europe, South and Pacific Rim Asia, Australia, and New Zealand in a more uniform pink.
Hey, it’s an inverse map of the Non-Aligned Movement countries!

There were 81 countries, or things like countries, sending me readers in March. That’s down from 90. Thirteen of them were single-view countries. That’s down from 24. Here’s the roster:

Country Readers
United States 3,466
Canada 207
Brazil 180
India 165
United Kingdom 146
Australia 101
Germany 68
Italy 66
Philippines 58
Hungary 38
Spain 32
Sweden 27
Denmark 20
Egypt 20
France 19
Singapore 19
European Union 18
Finland 18
Ireland 18
Czech Republic 17
Nigeria 17
Mexico 14
Norway 13
Austria 11
Saudi Arabia 11
Japan 10
Kenya 10
Belgium 9
South Africa 9
Malaysia 8
Netherlands 8
Taiwan 8
Hong Kong SAR China 7
Indonesia 7
Jamaica 7
Poland 7
Serbia 7
Turkey 7
Greece 6
Macedonia 6
New Zealand 6
Thailand 6
Ecuador 5
United Arab Emirates 5
El Salvador 4
Guatemala 4
Peru 4
South Korea 4
Argentina 3
Bulgaria 3
Colombia 3
Malawi 3
Mauritius 3
Papua New Guinea 3
Switzerland 3
Costa Rica 2
Croatia 2
Estonia 2
Israel 2
Lebanon 2
Pakistan 2
Portugal 2
Puerto Rico 2
Romania 2
Russia 2
Slovenia 2
Sri Lanka 2
Vietnam 2
Albania 1 (*)
Belarus 1
China 1
Curaçao 1
Ghana 1 (*)
Gibraltar 1
Latvia 1
Morocco 1
Nepal 1
Oman 1 (*)
Palestinian Territories 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1
Yemen 1

Albania, Ghana, and Oman were single-view countries in February also. No countries are on a three-month streak for sending me single views. I’m surprised to have two views from Russia as I would think they had other things on their mind than whatever the heck Wilbur Weston’s problem is. Maybe they needed the break.


WordPress calculates that I published 15,472 words in March, an average posting of 499.1 words. This gives me a year-to-date total of 49,841 words published, and an average post length of 554 words.

Between the marriage of Agent 99 and Maxwell Smart and the start of April I’ve published 3,346 things in this blog. They’ve drawn 5,052 comments over the course of 285,472 page views from 163,332 unique visitors.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, I can’t stop you. I can help you a little bit, though. The RSS feed for essays is at this link, and if you need an RSS reader and can’t find one anywhere, try getting a free Dreamwidth account. You can add RSS feeds to your Reading page there. If you’ve got a WordPress account, you can click the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button at the upper right corner of this page. There’s also a box to have posts e-mailed you as they happen, and before I can edit my typos. I feel awful about that, but I’ve tried copy-editing my posts before they go up, and there’s still errors even in stuff I fixed years ago. I have no explanation for this phenomenon.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Sycophants vs 24-bit Computing


Sycophants

The Case For: Word turns out to mean “people who tell you where the figs are”.

The Case Against: Is not related the word meaning “people who tell you where the unhealthy elephants are”.

24-bit Computing

The Case For: Represents signed integers of up to 8,388,607 in a single word.

The Case Against: Most implementations are really 16-bit and they just leave the other eight bits in the junk drawer.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Godzilla vs The Yukawa Potential


Godzilla

The Case For: Deft, seamless artistic blend of gods and Nilla wafers.

The Case Against: Too whiny anymore to stomp on the pointy skyscrapers around the financial district.

The Yukawa Potential

The Case For: Is so, so good at describing pairwise particle interactions mediated by either a massless or a massed particle.

The Case Against: Is not the name of any noteworthy prog rock band or album.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Conventions vs Pop Philosophy


Conventions

The Case For: Allow fans to live the dream of spending several days happy surrounded by people whose names are printed clearly on badges they can glance at quickly so they always know who they’re talking to.

The Case Against: Might also be for work.

Pop Philosophy

The Case For: Helps the lay public discover what’s hard about questions like “how do we know a thing is true” or “what does it mean to say something is a good action” or “is this a well-defined question”.

The Case Against: Which nerds plunder for source material to make tabletop roleplaying games about trolley-based murder engines.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Hair vs UCLA


Hair

The Case For: Combines the traits of being dead, growing, and generally considered attractive.

The Case Against: I know I’ve seen the musical on TCM like twice and the only scenes I remember from it are, I believe, actually dim recollections of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

UCLA

The Case For: Generously donated name to Thundarr the Barbarian’s friend, the Mok.

The Case Against: Selfishly refused to grant honorary degree to Ted Knight’s character on Too Close For Comfort even though he drew comic books about a space cow? Was that it? Maybe it was a comic strip? He had a puppet he used to draw, I know that, even though that doesn’t seem like a good way to draw except in a publicity photo.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Carols vs Rural Free Delivery


Carols

The Case For: Really nailed a kind of music for Christmas.

The Case Against: Hasn’t been a good April Fool’s Day Carol in, like, forever.

Rural Free Delivery

The Case For: Greatly reduced the cost of delivering rural areas to one other.

The Case Against: Sending cities to one another remains a money pit.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: The Gregorian Calendar vs Traditions


The Gregorian Calendar

The Case For: Makes every kid named “Greg” feel very special when they’re five or six years old and learn about it.

The Case Against: Not only did not have a year 0, also did not have a year 1, 2, 6, 28, or 118.

Traditions

The Case For: Brings to the confusing modern world the sense that when you were a kid, you did this thins you didn’t know why because that’s what everyone said you were supposed to do.

The Case Against: Were invented in 1893 to sell more nationalism.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Throw Pillows vs Hair Dryers


Throw Pillows

The Case For: Imperative case sets clear expectations for how to interact with pillows.

The Case Against: You run out of pillows unless someone’s throwing them back at you.

Hair Dryers

The Case For: Fits the sweet spot between Hair Drys and Hair Dryests.

The Case Against: Dries one fingernail’s width of your hair per minute.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Shampoo vs Vowel Mergers


Shampoo

The Case For: One of the few substances that comes in aquamarine that society encourages you to touch.

The Case Against: Lather does not behave as animated cartoons have encouraged us to believe.

Vowel Mergers

The Case For: Teaches you which of your friends don’t know how to pronounce “Mary” correctly.

The Case Against: They get all huffy however many times you explain this to them.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Third Place vs Balls


Third

The Case For: Is the second place of second place.

The Case Against: Is the zeroth place of fourth place.

Balls

The Case For: Are the most egg-like of sports equipment.

The Case Against: There exist minimum and maximum sizes of balls for any regulation sports.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Contrast vs Feet


Contrast

The Case For: Is an elegant, simple expression originally meaning “with [ con ] trast [ trast ]”.

The Case Against: The word blocks the formation of the word “contrest”, which would describe something being the most contr.

Feet

The Case For: Invaluable to poets both as a way to describe meter and also a familiar body part to rhyme with “Pete”.

The Case Against: In science-fiction or archaeology thriller movies are always setting off ancient traps that cause loud action sequences.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Mauve vs Commercial Passenger Air Travel


Mauve

The Case For: One of the most nearly remembered hues in the -AU-E color group.

The Case Against: We gave mauve a whole decade and it gave us the Panic of 1893, the Lattimer Massacre, and the death of Vice President Garret A Hobart.

Commercial Passenger Air Travel

The Case For: Makes possible the dream of a person having breakfast from a Wawa in Bordentown, New Jersey, and lunch at a Hot Head Burritos in Groveport, Ohio.

The Case Against: Entire industry was created as a gimmick to teach people what to do when their ears pop and all side benefits were coincidence.

March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing: Bruce Springsteen vs Sandwiches


So, I’m aware that this is the season for putting things up against other things. And heck, I can think of things. So, here’s my first-ever March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing. I panicked when I was filling out the forms for bracket contest names. Sorry.

Bruce Springsteen

The Case For: All-time classic songs like Born in the USA and Born to Run, plus other non-birth-related songs.

The Case Against: Though he was born in the USA, his strengths are singing and songwriting. His running is nothing of note.

Sandwiches

The Case For: For over 25 years now the most convenient way to keep hot meatballs in your hand.

The Case Against: Hasn’t been a good sandwich song in the Top 40 in months.

We Probably Shouldn’t Waste Too Much Time, Is What I’m Thinking


Don’t get me wrong, I’m as excited as everyone else was by Two’s Day. I’m just stuck thinking how much work it’s going to be getting ready for the 33rd of March, 3033 to be on a Threesday. I suppose we don’t have to worry about it right this minute, but, you know how fast and hard deadlines hit these days.

Statistics March: How March 2021 Treated My Humor Blog


These reviews of my readership are always popular, somehow. And they don’t take serious work to write. Why, then, does it take me later and later in the month to actually post them? To the point that by next year I’m going to to slip a whole month behind? That’s a good question and it gets right to the heart of the matter, which is, I don’t know.

March was a busy month here. I can account for some of it. With Easter approaching people wanted help telling which was the pink Paas tablet. And one comic strip got cancelled and another got pulled from dozens of newspapers. That always brings some interest. That doesn’t seem like enough, though. There were 6,078 page views here in March, which is the third-highest readership I have on record. In comparison, in the twelve months leading up to March, the mean number of views was 4,984.3. The median was a relatively paltry 4,628.5.

Bar chart of monthly readership for two and a half years. The last several months have been at considerable highs, with March 2021 a peak above several months of declining but still-high readership.
Upgrade for even more stats, you say? Hmmm. I do like more. This is a strong appeal.

The number of unique viewers also came in high. WordPress tells me there were 3,593 of them in March. The twelve-month running mean was only 2,947.0, and the median 2,701.5. It was even a chatty month. There were 128 likes given, compared to a mean of 103.9 and median of 102.5 for the twelve months prior. And an enormous 76 comments given, compared to a mean of 38.2 and median of 38.5. That’s the greatest number of comments I’ve had since November 2018, and as ever, I have no idea how that happened.

The most popular March-posted things this past month were what you’d expect: a lot of comic strip talk. Here’s the top five.

My most popular Statistics Saturday piece from March was Papal Regnal Numbers Over Time, 1900 – Present. I’m glad this is a popular chart because it graphs something that needs no graph and then makes a very silly interpolation.

I haven’t decided what to post for long-form pieces once Venus For Dummies is exhausted. I’m inclined toward another MiSTing, though. I do plan to continue the comic strip plot summaries. What I expect to do in the weeks ahead is:

Gasoline Alley by the way seems to have finally started its centennial of Skeezix. I don’t know why it started this months behind the actual day. Maybe it matched some important date besides Skeezix’s first appearance.


World map with the United States in deepest red, and much of the Americas, Europe, South Asia, and the Pacific Rim countries in a more uniform pink. A handful of African countries are also in pink.There were 89 countries or country-like entities sending me readers in March. Which ones? Here’s the always well-liked roster:

Country Readers
United States 4,693
Canada 205
United Kingdom 132
Germany 131
India 129
Australia 126
Philippines 50
Italy 46
South Africa 40
Finland 39
Brazil 36
Malaysia 33
Spain 29
France 26
Mexico 21
Norway 20
Indonesia 17
Iceland 13
Ireland 13
Japan 13
New Zealand 13
Puerto Rico 12
Hong Kong SAR China 11
Kenya 11
Denmark 10
Netherlands 10
Romania 10
Sweden 10
United Arab Emirates 10
Argentina 8
Hungary 8
Macedonia 8
Israel 7
Singapore 7
South Korea 7
Belgium 5
Colombia 5
Sri Lanka 5
Switzerland 5
Turkey 5
Ecuador 4
Egypt 4
Jamaica 4
Nigeria 4
Russia 4
Austria 3
Bangladesh 3
European Union 3
Greece 3
Mauritius 3
Morocco 3
Namibia 3
Poland 3
Saudi Arabia 3
Taiwan 3
Thailand 3
Trinidad & Tobago 3
Ukraine 3
Bosnia & Herzegovina 2
Cambodia 2
Cameroon 2
Kuwait 2
Lebanon 2
Montenegro 2
Pakistan 2
Peru 2
Vietnam 2
Åland Islands 1
Bahamas 1
Bahrain 1
Barbados 1
Botswana 1
Bulgaria 1 (*)
China 1
Cyprus 1
Ethiopia 1
Guadeloupe 1
Guam 1 (*)
Guatemala 1
Guyana 1
Lithuania 1
Malta 1
Oman 1
Slovakia 1
Slovenia 1
Somalia 1
Tunisia 1
Uganda 1
Venezuela 1

There were 22 single-view countries. Bulgaria and Guam were the only ones to be single-view countries in February also. No country is on a three-month or longer streak.


WordPress figures I posted 18,611 words in March, my fewest for any one month this year. It’s an average of 600.4 words per posting in March, which is what happens when I don’t write up so many Popeye cartoons. I’m at 59,055 words for the whole year, so far, an average of 656 words per posting in 2021.

Between the Broadway debut of The Male Animal (9th of January, 1940, at the Cort) and the start of April 2021 (1st of April, 2021) I’ve posted 2,981 things here, says WordPress. These have drawn 223,457 views from 126,975 unique visitors.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, you’re being kind. You can add my posts to your RSS reader. If you don’t have an RSS reader, you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Then add any RSS feed to your reading page through https://www.dreamwidth.org/feeds/ or through https://www.livejournal.com/syn. If you’re on WordPress already, you should be able to use the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button to add it to your Reader page. And if you want you can have posts sent to you by e-mail, using the link underneath “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile”.

Statistics March: How March 2020 Treated My Humor Blog, At Least


They say that in times of crisis, keeping up routines is a good thing. That’s why I’ve moved the What’s Going On In series from posting late Sunday to posting late Tuesday: I don’t know what I’m doing. Also this lets me handle the Sunday-only strips more gracefully. Still, I do want to look at what kinds of things get read around here, and how much, and this is my first really good chance for that. So here’s a quick review of what my readership was like, according to WordPress, which I keep going ahead and trusting even when I don’t like the results. This is known as integrity or being too lazy to do something else.

Bar chart showing a little over two years' worth of monthly readership figures; after three depressed months the readership is back up again.
Yeah so I was at home at 8 pm Eastern Time on the 31st of March so I could take this snapshot at exactly the moment to have April not appear. Frankly, I would rather have been out messing around playing pinball at the hipster bar two blocks over.

So, three months of a slump seems to have passed. There were 3,963 page views in March, comfortably above even the twelve-month running average of 3,605.3 views per month. These came from a logged 2,385 unique visitors, which is also a fair bit high of the 2,083.3 running average. That’s all looking good from my perspective. The number of likes was flat, though, the same 75 as in February. This is a fair bit below the average of 131.5. This suggests a great fall-off in reader engagement. But then the number of comments rose to 30, its greatest number in over a year, and well above the twelve-month average of 16.1.

Pro-rating things per post gives a similar story. There were 127.8 views per posting for March, above the average 118.3. There were 76.9 unique visitors per posting, up from 68.4 as an average. Only 2.4 likes per posting, below the twelve-month average of 4.3. But 1.0 comments per posting, way above the 0.5 average. April is already looking nicely chatty, too. Now that I’ve said that I can watch comments shrivel up and die, apart from people upset about Mark Trail.

I am, as ever, not joking about Mark Trail. The most popular five essays last month were:

My most popular long-form essay last month was In Which I Am Very Petty About This Covid-19 Business, the first of what’s turning out to be a series of me rambling about my minor neuroses. It implies that I’ve finally figured out my niche, and it’s complaining about myself.

There really is no official word on what the deal is with James Allen and Mark Trail recently. I shared my best information, which is to say rumor and conjecture, and intend to post if I hear anything.

What else do I intend to post? In the comic strip plot recap lineup, these things, over the coming month:

These are subject to change in case of breaking news or something that demands my attention or whatever other chaos breaks out in the world.

484 posts got at least one page view in March, well up from February’s 401. 302 of them got more than one view, up from 245. 75 of them got at least ten views, compared to 56 in February.

Mercator-style map of the world; the United States is in darkest red. Most of the Americas, Europe, Russia, and Pacific and South Asia is in pink; little of Africa is.
Someday I will get a reader in Greenland and I won’t know what to do with it. … Hi, Greenland! I’m sure you have someone where who could read me!

73 countries sent me any viewers in March, right about February’s 71. 20 of them were single-view countries, close enough to February’s 18. Herees the full roster:

Country Readers
United States 3,030
India 161
Canada 121
United Kingdom 90
Philippines 68
Germany 50
Australia 38
South Africa 35
Brazil 34
Sweden 24
Spain 23
Papua New Guinea 21
France 17
Thailand 15
Finland 14
Switzerland 14
Italy 13
Portugal 13
New Zealand 11
Argentina 10
Netherlands 10
Romania 10
Denmark 9
Ireland 9
Norway 8
Pakistan 8
China 7
European Union 6
Singapore 5
Taiwan 5
Belgium 4
El Salvador 4
Japan 4
Kenya 4
Colombia 3
Croatia 3
Dominican Republic 3
Hong Kong SAR China 3
Indonesia 3
Malaysia 3
Poland 3
Russia 3
South Korea 3
Ukraine 3
American Samoa 2
Austria 2
Greece 2
Honduras 2
Jamaica 2
Mexico 2
Saudi Arabia 2
Sri Lanka 2
Zambia 2
Bangladesh 1
Belize 1
Chile 1
Ecuador 1
Egypt 1
Estonia 1
Iceland 1
Israel 1
Jordan 1
Kuwait 1 (*)
Lebanon 1 (*)
Nigeria 1
Peru 1 (*)
Puerto Rico 1
Serbia 1
Somalia 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1 (**)
Turkey 1
United Arab Emirates 1 (*)
Zimbabwe 1

Kuwait, Lebanon, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates were single-view countries in February also. Trinidad & Tobago has been on a single-view streak for three months now.

WordPress figures in March I posted 17,019 words. That’s 549 words per posting exactly, a rare decimal-free appearance for that figure. It’s my most verbose of 2020 so far, though. For the year to date I’ve posted 48,878 words, in 90 posts, for an average of 543.09 words per posting. The start of April saw me complete 2,616 posts altogether, drawing 161,530 views from 90,399 unique visitors.

And you could be among them! If you’re reading this, you already are. Unless you’re reading by way of RSS reader, in which case I’ll never know unless you say something to me. But you can also follow by clicking the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button on this page. Or follow me on Twitter as @nebusj, if you’d like. Thank you, however it is you’re doing things.

Statistics 2010s: Ten Things Of The Decade Just Passed


  • August 22. everyone who had a part in this day, give yourselves a fresh round of applause without being unseemly about it.
  • Cheddar II: Cheddiest. From out of Nowhere, Connecticut, 06269, this new flavor, appearing in ouch-y sharp, dangerous in its pointedness, somewhat polyhedral, and mint, has taken over the world of cheese and opened up new avenues in being so much more than the inspirational cheddar that it’s not hard to see why old-fashioned cheddar is expected within the next two years to go the way of the original, almost forgotten ched.
  • once-in-shakespeare.com Where else but this scrappy new start-up can one get a convenient listing of all the words that appear in the canonical plays of William Shakespeare one time? Anyone can produce a list of all the words, just by shaking a collected edition on its side until the pieces fall out, but who’s going to take out the duplicates and grow new authors with them?
  • Raised Flooring. After years of drop-down ceilings being the cliche and overused answer to ways to make a room seem more claustrophobic we have this alternative. Unexpected bonuses include having more things to count while bored, and the improved sense of balance as people try to walk on those bar things from which the floor panels are hung. This will inspire grace in our walking like Groucho Marx if nothing else will.
  • How the English language has no solitary word for the feeling of uncertainty that accompanies thinking that one’s socks are damp when there’s no chance for taking one’s shoes off to check or to change them no matter how much we need a word for exactly this sensation. This single loss has saved millions of dollars and dozens of lines of newspaper type in just the past month. And think of all the people it’s inspired to try to buy less painful shoes. Yes, yes, you can put together a bunch of words to get the same sense across. It’s not the same.
  • Flatware. There is nothing which soothes the desperate need to buy flatware quite like flatware, and we should all be glad the flatware industry exists to satisfy this need. Be warned: much so-called flatware these days is not in fact flat, but extends into a third or even a fourth spatial dimension. If you have no choice but to purchase this imitation flatware do speak to the steamroller operator with whom you’re on good terms — you are on good terms with at least one steamroller operator, aren’t you? — to arrange for the appropriate enflattening.
  • March 10. Nobody’s saying it’s a patch on August 22, but it’s still really good all around and everybody deserves to take a bow for that too.
  • Adverbs. These sentence-stuffers had a great run and it’s a shame that we’re scheduled to lose them if the conversion to Modifiers.6 ever happens. Still, anyone who’s ever had to write to a specified word count has relied on their ability to be added to or removed from sentences and they will be missed, like when someone notices the `a’ or `an’ doesn’t match with the next word anymore.
  • Sriracha Automobiles. For the past fifteen years sriracha has been slipping almost unnoticed into everything, starting with sandwiches, then cooking shows, then books, then consumer electronics, and now into the important industries of Navy ships and personal automobiles. No one may know where sriracha comes from or what it intends, but we can be sure that it’s here and it’s unavoidable, and that with the proper setup it can be used for good or at least to not be so frightening, and that earns it a place on this list.
  • Simple Thermometers. Despite fears no important features of the weather developed into the imaginary and then the complex number plane. So despite the shortages in Complex Thermometers none were needed, except for that stretch in fall where the temperature became one of the principal roots of a heptic polynomial. But for the most part we got along just fine with the old-fashioned thermometers and isn’t that one of the ten things about the decade just finished?

Statistics March: My Humor Blog Had A Ridiculously Nice Month


I like starting months with a look at how popular my humor blog is, since I like to think it is. And I like sharing that with my readers, as part of my plan to keep myself from being too popular. I joke, which is a good sign. As best I can tell, these review posts are at least as popular as everything else I write. I’ll have to just make up a “monthly” review like this sometime when I’m out of ideas.

If you do like my writings, I’m glad to have you as a reader. You can get these pieces to appear in your WordPress reader by using the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button in the upper right corner of the page. Or you can use the RSS feed to get all the page’s content without being tracked. I’m also on Twitter as @Nebusj, for those of you who like being tracked. Now on to how many of you did get tracked in March.

Bar chart of monthly readership for the past two years, roughly. March was abnormally well-read by a great number of unique visitors, and had an average of 1.65 views per visitor.
So it turns out if I hack the URL for the statistics page, changing the ‘startDate’ parameter, I can get an equivalent chart like this for like four and a half years’ worth of months in one page view. Now I’ll need a new excuse for not remembering how to do this a month from now.

It was a well-read month. I credit this to all of March’s comic strip news. People have found I know more about Gasoline Alley than normal mortals do. But here we go. There were 3,565 page views in March 2019. That’s far more than in February, when only 2,428 pages got attention here. And it’s even better than January, when 3,343 pages got viewed. March had my greatest number of page views since April of 2018.

The unique visitor count was astounding, though. There were 2,165 unique visitors, says WordPress. That’s well above February’s 1,429, or January’s 1,830. Indeed, it’s more than any single month in 2018. That is not quite at my all-time record high — the 2,308 unique visitors from November 2015, the final collapse of Apartment 3-G. Also this month I figured out how to get visual representation of more than the last two years’ worth of readership statistics. I might even remember for the start of next month.

There were 176 likes given to various pages here in March. That’s better than February’s 156, in line with January’s 183, and really back to the 165-to-180 range that I was in most of 2018. So that all seems good. Where things did drop was in comments. There were 24 comments given around here in march, down from February’s 34 and January’s 70. It was the slowest month for chatting around here since October 2017. Hm.

I always say that what people want around here is comic strip news. Here’s the five most popular articles from March. They are so much comic strip news. If I were smart, I’d just do comic strip talk, but I keep going on trying to do at least some original writing too. It’s hard resisting what your audience is making clear are your strengths, but I’ll do it. The top articles in March:

Of stuff that isn’t just me writing about other things? The most popular piece I had was Statistics Saturday: The Months Of The Year In Reverse Alphabetical Order. I don’t know. It’s always the weird little trifles that get to be long-lasting. I have the fear someone’s taking this list seriously. I mean, it’s correct, if you figured out the joke, but I don’t say what the joke is so are people understanding that the order is not what any normal person would mean by “reverse alphabetical order”? It was my most popular non-comic-strip piece last month too.

The most popular long-form piece that I wrote and that wasn’t about other people’s work was Everything There Is To Say About Grinding Coffee Beans. I’m glad to offer something of use into the world. We have gotten a replacement for our broken coffee grinder. I hope this settles the rampant speculation about why I had this essay to share.

Also if WordPress has this right, there were 420 separate pages that got at least a single view this month. Huh. I never thought to look at this figure before, so I don’t know whether it’s representative. I’ve had 2,250 posts in total, as of the start of April, for what that’s worth.

There were — all right, a certain number of you are going to think I’m making this up. There were 69 countries sending me page views in March. There, yes. I swear I didn’t make up these numbers and I’ll share the raw data with anyone who wants to look them over. I admit to telling hack jokes sometimes, but not like that.

Mercator-style map of the world with the United States colored in dark red, and most of the Americas, Western Europe, Russia, and Southeast Asia in a more uniform pink.
Again, I don’t find it mysterious that Africa for the most part doesn’t care what I’m writing about Mary Worth. I’m honestly more curious that Nigeria shows any interest in my writing. And, like, Bangladesh? I worry that whatever my Bangladesh readers were looking for, they got to this page by accident. I hope it wasn’t anything important they wanted.

Anyway, here’s the countries roster.

Country Readers
United States 2,646
India 147
Canada 100
United Kingdom 98
Australia 85
Brazil 42
Hong Kong SAR China 41
Spain 38
Philippines 35
Norway 32
Germany 25
Sweden 20
Italy 18
Mexico 15
Belgium 14
Turkey 14
France 12
Denmark 11
Argentina 9
Finland 9
South Africa 8
Japan 7
United Arab Emirates 7
American Samoa 6
Ireland 6
Malaysia 6
New Zealand 6
Peru 6
Taiwan 6
Trinidad & Tobago 6
Netherlands 5
South Korea 5
Indonesia 4
Portugal 4
Singapore 4
Switzerland 4
Thailand 4
Dominican Republic 3
Guatemala 3
Iraq 3
Jamaica 3
Nepal 3
Nigeria 3
Puerto Rico 3
Romania 3
Russia 3
Ukraine 3
Bangladesh 2
Greece 2
Israel 2
Mongolia 2
Pakistan 2
Poland 2
Uruguay 2
Vietnam 2
Bermuda 1
Bolivia 1
Bulgaria 1
Colombia 1
Cyprus 1
Czech Republic 1
European Union 1
Honduras 1
Hungary 1 (*)
Lebanon 1
Lithuania 1
Saudi Arabia 1
Serbia 1 (**)
Slovenia 1 (*)

Anyway there were 65 countries sending readers in February and 68 in January. There were 19 single-reader countries in January, 15 in February, and 14 in March. Hungary and Slovenia were single-reader countries last month, and Serbia has been one for three months running now.

I should share my story strip plot recap schedule. This is subject to change if a comic strip has some big event, and I realize I need to hurry up writing about it while people still want to know anything about, say, Judge Parker. But my planned schedule is:

And all my story strip plot recaps should appear at this link. If one’s missing, it’s because I tagged something wrong.

In all I posted 18,577 words here in March. This brought me, as mentioned, to a total of 2,250 posts. There were 117,868 page views from a total 65,179 unique visitors as of the start of April. There’ve been 141 total comments, for an average of 1.6 comments per post, in 2019. That’s holding at the start of March’s average. There’ve been 491 likes in total, for an average of 5.5 likes per posting. That, too, is the same as the start of March’s average. I’ve posted a total of 90 things in 2019 up to this post, and 53,903 words in total. That’s an average of 599 words per post, which is exactly what my average words-per-post was at the start of March. So it’s lucky I posted that thing meant to bring my average-words-per-post count down. Also but goodness six hundred words is a lot to write on the average day. I should be more careful. 1,423 words.

Statistics March: As Apocalypse 3-G Disappears From My Monthly Stats Report


November 2015 was a great time for that part of me that’s interested in being read. Thanks to the passingly insulting intervention of Joe Blevins at The Onion’s AV Club I got 4,528 page views in one month as people wanted to know my thoughts about the end of Apartment 3-G. That readership peak has now disappeared from the normal monthly page view report. It’s still on the slightly secret one you can get at by using the old statistics page, but that’ll be gone next month. I have to put away past glories and content myself with present ones, as if we had glories in 2018.

But if I haven’t hit the peaks of 4,500 readers, I have hit a remarkable consistency: for the third month running there’ve been over 3000 page views here. March 2018 had 3,773 pages viewed, a bit up from February’s 3,695 and close to January’s 3,902. These came from 1,197 unique visitors, down somehow from February’s 1,982 but up from January’s 1,671.

A bar chart showing the 3,773 page views and 1,917 visitors from March 2018, with similar numbers for January and February, and lower numbers for other months going back to May 2016.
What I don’t understand is why my mathematics blog shows figures going back to November 2015 while this only goes to May 2016. There’s something ridiculous going on.

What are people interested in? Apartment 3-G showed me the way. What folks want to know about is comic strips ending. Or, if they’re not ending, at least a recap of what’s going on. The five most popular things around here:

I’m glad to be of use to people. And by the way, it sure looks like Nancy is just being left to rerun strips indefinitely since Guy Gilchrist stepped down. But who knows the future? Maybe Hy Eisman will come on to do new Sundays.

Eventually, yes, stuff that I wrote that was me trying to be funny turns up, although I admit way down the list. My most-read anything from March was My Excuse For Not Being Able To Get Anything Done Today, an exercise in realizing there’s something about my childhood memories that doesn’t quite add up. My most popular long-form piece was February’s Is Ray Davies A Normal Person?. I expected that one to have long legs. Most popular long-form piece from March was How To Know It All which again gratifies me, since that’s one I really loved writing. I mean, I like nearly all my writing, but some pieces just feel closer to my heart. Any time I can nerd-snipe over rules of succession I am a creature of boundless joy.

So past that, what’s reader engagement been like? I feel pretty well engaged with reader Ray Kassinger, of the Housepets! web comic, so that’s something. More quantitatively, there were 241 pages liked in March, up from February’s 207 and January’s 226. So not all the trend is just that there’s more days in March than in February. The number of comments drooped, down to 84 from February’s 121 and January’s 148. But that’s still going fairly well and I’m hoping to answer everything that needed answers soon. It’s been a busy weekend.

75 countries sent me readers in March, again allowing WordPress to decide what is and isn’t a country. That’s up from February’s 70. 25 of them were single-reader countries, up from 18. And here they are:

Country Readers
United States 3,111
Canada 107
United Kingdom 80
India 51
Italy 41
Australia 31
Sweden 24
Brazil 19
Germany 19
France 15
Denmark 13
Philippines 13
Spain 12
Jamaica 11
Norway 11
Romania 11
Indonesia 10
Austria 9
Israel 9
Japan 9
Hong Kong SAR China 8
Poland 8
Portugal 8
South Africa 8
Netherlands 7
New Zealand 7
Turkey 7
Belgium 6
Nigeria 6
Serbia 6
Singapore 6
Ukraine 6
Bangladesh 5
European Union 5
Hungary 5
Ireland 5
Russia 4
Switzerland 4
Colombia 3
Ecuador 3
Finland 3
Pakistan 3
Argentina 2
Bulgaria 2
Czech Republic 2
Dominican Republic 2
Malta 2
Mexico 2
Puerto Rico 2
Uruguay 2
Albania 1
Angola 1
Armenia 1
Azerbaijan 1
Chile 1
Croatia 1 (*)
Estonia 1
Iceland 1
Iraq 1 (*)
Jordan 1
Kenya 1
Kuwait 1 (**)
Kyrgyzstan 1
Latvia 1
Lithuania 1
Madagascar 1
Maldives 1
Moldova 1
Myanmar (Burma) 1 (**)
Nicaragua 1
Paraguay 1
Saudi Arabia 1
Slovakia 1
Slovenia 1
Taiwan 1 (*)

Colombia’s single-reader streak ends after seven months! There were three whole pages viewed from there. (I just know two of those people were skimming without paying attention though.) Croatia, Iraq, and Taiwan are on two-month streaks. Kuwait and Myanmar/Burma are on three-month streaks.

April starts with a logged 80,772 visits, from an admitted 44,439 unique visitors. I’m sorry to have missed number 44,444, who was there sometime April Fool’s Day. The WordPress Insights panel tells me that so far I’ve published 63,923 words (which includes stuff through to the 3rd of April, when I checked this), with 650 likes and 206 total comments since the first of the year. This comes to an average of 2.2 comments per post. At the start of March that was 2.3. At the start of March I got an average 6.9 likes per post. At the start of April that’s smoothed out to 7. The average post around here was, last time I checked my numbers, 711 words. As I check them this time, it’s 687.3 words. Yes, I’m skimping. I’ve been busy.

I can’t offer you the chance to follow Another Blog, Meanwhile by e-mail right now. I got a sudden rush of people with obviously fake names and four-digit suffixes from outlook.com e-mail addresses signing up. I don’t know what this means, but I know it’s something I shouldn’t be encouraging. In the meanwhile you can keep reading this through WordPress Reader, if you have one: use the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button in the upper right corner of the page. If you feel more comfortable adding this to your RSS reader, here’s a link to do it. I understand. RSS does a lot of good for the world. I’m @Nebusj on Twitter, and announce everything I post over there unless WordPress’s auto-publicize thing has broken and I’ve been too busy to deal with that. Thanks for being around.

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