Since it’s a new month and all that, let me look back at how successful it was in terms of being read. According to WordPress for January 2014, I had 337 views — up from 301 in December 2013 — but only 153 unique visitors — down from 168 — which has this silver lining: the number of pages each visitor looked at, on average, rose from 1.79 to 2.20. That’s heartening, because I like to think they’re not just reading the spaces and the paragraph breaks, as there’s not enough of that to be a fifth of a page. There’ve ben only two months where I had a higher views-per-visitor ratio, and this puts me even with February 2013, when I started, which is about what I should have expected.
Anyway, the most popular articles of the past thirty days haven’t included any of the silent movies or S J Perelman bits, which is a bit heartening. The top of them — there was a four-way tie for fourth place — comes to:
- Poising For Success, for which I might have accidentally optimized my search engineness.
- Giving The People What They Want, my yielding to the fact that Kinks allusions and lists of countries are well-liked, and you all thought I was kidding.
- I Dance Horribly, a confession.
- Unbeknownst, about a word I thought had fallen out of use, and which hasn’t, and boy do people like reading about that fact.
- Why It Is Known As Frontier Airlines, which is probably popular because I was venting my frustration at the airline.
- The Mysteries Of Modern Recording, about trying to figure out how this weird Hanna-Barbera record could have existed.
- Statistics Saturday, again, giving in to how lists of stuff are popular and see if they’re not.
The countries sending me the most readers this time around were the United States (261), Canada (19), and the United Kingdom (11). There were only five countries sending me a lone reader: Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates. None of them were on the roster of single-visitor countries last time, so I’m working my way through the world, eventually. I should get souvenirs.
It didn’t make the monthly top roster, but for a short while this week How I Started Consulting was one of the top-articles-of-the-last-day (or however it is they judge the things on the sidebar there), and I looked at it and realized I had forgotten it entirely and was pretty amused by the thing, so let me throw that in as something I liked and maybe you will too if you haven’t seen it already.
I’m starting from the premise that you just can’t say “unbeknownst” anymore, not without sounding at least a little arch and like you’re making fun of the people who use words like “unbeknownst” without meaning to sound a little arch and like they’re making fun of (I’m sorry, I have to call this sentence off because of the recursion error). Anyway, if you’re not willing to give me that premise we’re just not going to get anywhere.
The thing is that “unbeknownst” was a perfectly good word, usable for all sorts of conditions when the beknownsting of things was aptly described as un-, and now it isn’t. At some point the comical uses of the word so overwhelmed the serious uses that the word had to be given up as part of the usable non-humorous vocabulary.
So that means there’s someone out there who was the last person to use “unbeknownst” without meaning it archly, and without expecting the audience to hear it a little archly, and given that arch uses of the word had to be on the rise then I wonder: was this last-serious-use of the word something the writer knew was going on, or was it unbeknownst to her? But if it was beknownst to her, doesn’t that keep it from being a legitimate use? Even a little bitty bit? Or did she refuse to think about that lest she lose the spot of last-legitimate-user to whoever used it just before she did?
To sum up, worrying about this nonsense is why I got like two hours of sleep last night.
The North American Council on Poetic Quality has issued the following guidelines of words that can no longer be used in consumer- or industrial-grade poetry. Exemptions will be applied for cause. The Council also reminds all that National Haiku Pedantry Month starts the first of November, so be ready to help them enforce the rules about cutting words and nature imagery by leaping up on desks and shaking golf clubs about while insisting it’s everyone else on the Internet that has the issue and they should go write limericks instead.
O: as a particulate extrapolation that fills in those little bits where it feels the sentence hasn’t quite got started yet, the word-letter “O” has suffered from extreme overuse and fatigue, bringing the population of the word-letters to the brink of extinction. Therefore the word-letter “E” is to take its place, as the stocks of this are much more robust and have a tendency to get into the garage if not thinned out some. Use with abandon, the long E only.
I see from the Institute for General Wordiness that “pusillanimous” has been added to the official collection of Words That May As Well Not Mean Anything, Because Nobody Uses Them Enough To Remember What They Do mean. I’m a little offended because I remember the word very well, as it was one of my favorites in the 7th grade vocabulary sheets that gave us words to learn how to spell and to define, and I was very good in those. Pusillanimous means, I believe, quarrelsome and unpleasant but not quite so much as the March 2011 inductee “lugubrious” does. Anyway, it’s a perfectly “vibrissae” day outside so I’m going to watch the lawn instead of worrying about it.
I mean words, not the lawn. I have people to worry about the lawn for me.