Also Here’s One of My Dumber Giggles for the Week


So, when I write up these Mary Worth plot recaps I copy out the dubious inspirational quotes first. And to do that I start by copying the last quote from the previous plot recap. And then I delete most of the words from that quote, so I can start typing a new one in just by double-clicking on the one word and typing. This week, this resulted in my getting this ominous declaration from the creator of one of the most beloved comic strips of all time:

Screenshot of a text editor showing a dozen lines all reading ``Don't.'', attributed to Charles Schulz, and given different dates.
I’m sure Charles Schulz said “don’t” at some point in his life, I just suppose it probably wasn’t at one-week intervals like this.

It feels weirdly threatening, like he’s worried I’m thinking about drawing Snoopy’s nephew Stretch or something.

Statistics May: Finland Doesn’t Love Me Anymore, But …


The subject line gives it away, unless I change the subject line. Another Blog, Meanwhile saw the readership from Finland return to what seems like a normal level after April’s big spike. Without that, and without the number of people looking for my Paas Easter Egg color pictures, the monthly readership figures are more normal.

They’re also lower. There were, according to WordPress, 4,378 page views here in May. That’s a great number compared to, say, 2019. But it’s a fair bit below the running mean of 5,078.5 views per month for the twelve months running up to May. And the running median, less vulnerable to weird fluctuations, of 4,585 views per month. There were 2,501 recorded unique visitors, below the running mean of 2,736.5 and running median of 2,616.5. Not too much lower, though.

Bar chart of two and a half years' worth of monthly readership figures. After a peak in April 2021 the months hovering around 4500 views per month, without strong direction one way or another, until a new peak emerged in April 2022.
I know the plot shows 2,500, but I went back and double-checked, and someone snuck in between when I took this screen shot and when the month ended, by Universal Time, one minute later. So it can happen!

There were 188 likes given in May, a greater number than any month since May 2021 somehow. It’s well above the running mean of 154.3 and running median of 154.5 likes in a month. (And not all these likes went to things published in May.) There were 43 comments, below the mean of 56.3 and median of 53, but still a respectable number as I make these things out to be.

My most popular posts of May were the usual mix of me talking about comic strips or cartoons, with a dose of old-time radio and me generally complaining mixed in:

My most popular piece of original comic writing was In Which I Am Terror-Stricken, culmination of a set of second thoughts I had about the thing I devoted most of March and April to.

But, as mentioned, it’s the story strip plot recaps that bring so many readers here. My plan for the coming month is to cover these strips, on these dates:

As ever, this is subject to change as breaking news warrants.

75 countries sent me page views in May, down from April’s 81. 17 of them were single-view countries, the same number as in April. Here’s the roster of those countries, and take a look at the big exciting news for one of them. Do you spot it? I’ll let you know after the strangely popular table of countries.

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. For a change of pace, Greenland is in pink also, reflecting some readership there.
Not surprised Bangladesh hasn’t been reading me. They’ve got bigger problems. I assume, anyway. I don’t know but it seems fair to suppose all the other countries out there have bigger problems than would be helped by reading me.
Country Readers
United States 3,073
United Kingdom 171
India 157
Canada 125
Germany 90
Australia 72
Philippines 51
Brazil 41
Thailand 36
El Salvador 35
Italy 35
Nigeria 32
France 28
Spain 26
Finland 24
South Africa 24
Ireland 22
Sweden 22
Netherlands 21
Singapore 19
Austria 17
Vietnam 17
Malaysia 16
Romania 16
Peru 15
Argentina 12
Japan 11
Colombia 9
Czech Republic 9
Hong Kong SAR China 9
New Zealand 9
Mexico 8
Portugal 8
Norway 7
Denmark 6
Ecuador 6
Greece 6
Switzerland 6
Indonesia 5
Nepal 5
Pakistan 5
Poland 5
European Union 4
Mauritania 4
Russia 4
Saudi Arabia 4
Turkey 4
Venezuela 4
Belgium 3
Chile 3
Croatia 3
Cyprus 3
South Korea 3
United Arab Emirates 3
Bangladesh 2
Jamaica 2
Kenya 2
Puerto Rico 2
Bulgaria 1
Cambodia 1
Egypt 1
Greenland 1
Guatemala 1
Hungary 1
Israel 1
Kazakhstan 1 (*)
Kuwait 1
Lesotho 1
Malta 1
Montenegro 1 (*)
Oman 1
Palestinian Territories 1
Qatar 1 (*)
Serbia 1 (*)
Slovenia 1

Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Qatar, and Serbia sent me a single page view in April also. There’s no countries to have sent me a single page view three months running now. But did you notice it? That’s right, I got me a reader in Greenland! Woo-hoo!

WordPress figures I posted 17,161 words in May, my second-most for any month this year. That’s 553.6 words per posting in May, although my average for the year remains 552 words per posting. Between the start of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the start of June, I’ve posted 3,407 things to this blog. They’ve drawn 298,200 views from 168,914 visitors.

And I’m happy to have readers, regular or sporadic. The easiest way to read me regularly is to add the RSS feed for essays to whatever your reader is. If you don’t have an RSS reader, you can get one by signing up for a free account at Dreamdwith or Livejournal and put them on your Reading page. If you’ve got a WordPress account, you can click on the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button on the upper right corner of this or any page. If you’ve got an e-mail account, you can use the box beneath that to get posts sent you as they’re published. To read sporadically, carry on with whatever you’ve been doing. It’ll probably work out all right. Thank you.

Statistics April: What Does Everybody In Finland Want With Me?


It’s rare, but now and then this blog gets noticed. Usually it’s someone more popular than me linking to one of the images from my story strip recaps. So, turns out the 10th of April was one of those days. More mysterious is that it was someone in Finland doing it: that day I got 3,405 page views, a number that’s not far off my usual monthly total. This all came from 109 unique visitors, a figure that’s on the high side, but not outrageously so.

Also baffling is I can’t figure what everyone in Finland was looking at. I don’t mean literally everyone in Finland; Finland has a population of something like 5,500,000 people and 3,405 page views isn’t enough. Even if we suppose each page view was shared by a thousand people that’s still only about three-fifths of the population. But it’s still a lot all at once. It wasn’t any of my posts, so it must have been an image. But which one? So if you were one of the three-fifths of the Finland population who looked at something from my blog on this past 10th of April, could you leave a comment? I’m just curious what everyone was looking for.

The effect, anyway, is to give me a weird, distorted readership spike in time to replace the one in April 2021 that’s been distorting my twelve-month running averages. WordPress logged 8,350 page views around here, the second-greatest monthly total on my record. As you’d expect that’s well above the 5,167.9 running mean and 4,585 running median. If we take the Finland spike out, the month turns out to be close to the twelve-month running mean. WordPress figures there were 3,090 unique visitors, which is close to in line with the running mean of 3,028.5 and running median of 2,616.5 visitors.

Bar chart of two and a half years' worth of monthly readership figures. After a peak in April 2021 the months hovering around 4500 views per month, without strong direction one way or another, until a new peak emerged in April 2022.
I’d have liked to have got this screen grab at the moment when April 2022 ended, by WordPress’s clock, but I was doing things that involved not staring at a computer to watch for one particular second of the month. I know, I don’t know what I was thinking.

Likes and comments continue to dwindle out of existence. There were 133 likes given to things in April, and 42 comments. The mean for the twelve months leading up to April was 154.8 likes and 56.1 comments. The median was 154.5 likes and 53 comments.


So here’s the five most popular posts from April. Stuff from earlier than April was more popular than even the top position, yes. But you don’t need to know that around Easter people find my post about which Paas tablets are which color egg. I am annoyed that the color gnomon I used — the Coke Zero can — got redesigned, though.

This is the first time in ages I remember my most popular thing not being comic strip news. That’s sure to change for May, since my schedule for story comic recaps is:

I’m aware people really, really want to see The Phantom die already. Again, though, Man Who Cannot Die.


So even though Finland sent me like 3,250 more page views than usual in a month, it still wasn’t the country to send me the greatest number of page views. The United States was, as it ever is. Here’s the roster of readership by country.

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. The exception is Finland, which is almost as dark red as the United States.
Finally, a challenging sphere-of-influence map for Victoria Revolutions players! It’s been ages.
Country Readers
United States 3,768
Finland 3,259
United Kingdom 197
Canada 157
India 150
Australia 113
Germany 79
Brazil 58
Sweden 45
Philippines 42
Singapore 37
France 36
Kenya 23
Italy 22
South Africa 21
Colombia 19
Nigeria 19
Denmark 17
Spain 16
Ireland 15
El Salvador 14
Chile 13
Mexico 10
Romania 10
Malaysia 9
United Arab Emirates 9
Czech Republic 8
Peru 8
Taiwan 8
Ecuador 7
Egypt 7
Hong Kong SAR China 7
Netherlands 7
Norway 7
Russia 7
Poland 6
Saudi Arabia 6
Austria 5
Belgium 5
European Union 5
Pakistan 5
South Korea 5
Switzerland 5
Thailand 5
Argentina 4
Bangladesh 4
Costa Rica 4
Jamaica 4
Japan 4
Lebanon 4
New Zealand 4
Bulgaria 3
Greece 3
Iraq 3
Jordan 3
Kuwait 3
Latvia 3
Ukraine 3
Vietnam 3
Hungary 2
Indonesia 2
Israel 2
Kosovo 2
Portugal 2
Bahrain 1
China 1 (*)
Cyprus 1
Dominican Republic 1
Guadeloupe 1
Guinea 1
Honduras 1
Kazakhstan 1
Mauritius 1
Montenegro 1
Morocco 1
Namibia 1
Nepal 1 (*)
Qatar 1
Serbia 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1 (*)
Venezuela 1

That’s 81 countries altogether, same as March, with 17 of them single-view countries. That’s up from March’s 13. China, Nepal, and Trinidad & Tobago are the only countries to have also sent a single page view in March. No countries are on a three-month streak. I am surprised to have seven page views from Russia, and three from Ukraine. I would have thought people in both countries have anything else to think about than my nonsense.


WordPress figures I published 16,407 words in April, which is almost suspiciously in line with the rest of the year. It’s the great formalism of that March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing, must be. That and my decision to stop listing every single incident in the story strips in favor of summarizing plots. This all brings me to 66,248 words published for the year, and an average of 552 words per posting.

Between the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the start of May, I’ve published 3,376 posts here. They’ve gathered 293,822 page views from 166,414 unique visitors, although have left most of those gathering dust in the linen closet.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, please be one. The RSS feed for essays is at this link, and if you need an RSS reader sign up for 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 as they’re published and before I can edit my typos. Thank you for being here and here’s hoping this is a good month ahead.

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.

Statistics February: How Much Less People Are Interested in Me When Wilbur Weston’s Not On-Screen


There is no getting around it: people really, really want to follow Wilbur Weston dying. Since my last Mary Worth plot recap, he has not died. He didn’t even get a round of people to start slapping him and never stop, the way he deserved. And with that, my readership has dropped again. So let’s take a look at the specifics.

January 2022 was my most popular month in almost a year. February 2022 was almost suspicious in its averageness. WordPress recorded 5,411 page views here. For the twelve months from February 2021 through January 2022, the mean was 5,206.3 page views and the median 4,585. There were 3,012 unique visitors, down from January again. But the twelve-month running mean was 3,067.9 unique visitors. The median was 2,616.5 visitors. So really this suggests a month with more readers than average, and looking at the graph suggests that.

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, with a sharp rise in January 2022 and drop for February.
Mm. Hmm. Hm. How wrong would it be to offer Tony DePaul cash in exchange for having Mozz write up the death of Wilbur Weston? Bear in mind things have been a little tight and I could only go up to $37.25.

The number of likes continued its ongoing decline, to a mere 151 over the month. But the twelve-month running average was 149.7 likes, and the median 149, so, what more could I want? Comments I don’t answer? I got 52 of them (counting my answers), below the running mean of 59.1 and running median of 56.5.

What were the popular things from February? Comic strip talk, obviously. What people wanted to see was Wilbur Weston die, fairly enough. Or to hear whether it’s just them or has Comics Kingdom screwed up its web site. It’s not you. Just go ahead and assume, for all time, that Comics Kingdom has messed something up. So here’s the five most popular things from February and see if you can work out what the readers want to see:

My most popular piece that was not based on comic strips? That would be In Which I Am Looking for a Peer Reviewer and reveal that I’m spending my days watching Buzzr instead of doing anything else. I’m sorry, but Celebrity Whew! is a crackling good watch. Also, I believe I have worked out a scenario in which a contestant on Card Sharks could run out of cards, but I want to confirm my reasoning before publishing my results.

My schedule for the story comic plot recaps, for the coming month, is this:

All of that is subject to breaking news, of course. But all the story strip plot recaps are at this link, if you want to be sure you miss none of them.

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.
Also coincidentally a map of the telegraph-connected world as of 1872.

There were fully 90 countries sending me readers in February, up from January’s figure. 24 of them were single-view countries, a substantial jump percentage-wise from January’s 17. Here’s the roster of those figures:

Country Readers
United States 4,219
India 195
Canada 144
United Kingdom 123
Australia 78
Germany 62
Philippines 56
Brazil 49
Sweden 41
Italy 28
Spain 26
Finland 25
Mexico 24
Japan 21
Ireland 18
Turkey 18
Colombia 15
France 15
Russia 15
Egypt 13
Nigeria 13
Belgium 10
Poland 10
Saudi Arabia 9
Argentina 8
Norway 7
Vietnam 7
Costa Rica 6
Singapore 6
Switzerland 6
Uruguay 6
Bulgaria 5
Ecuador 5
Greece 5
Malaysia 5
New Zealand 5
Thailand 5
Barbados 4
Cyprus 4
Czech Republic 4
Hong Kong SAR China 4
Indonesia 4
Netherlands 4
Pakistan 4
Peru 4
Puerto Rico 4
South Africa 4
Guatemala 3
Portugal 3
Romania 3
Slovakia 3
U.S. Virgin Islands 3
United Arab Emirates 3
Austria 2
Azerbaijan 2
Denmark 2
Israel 2
Kenya 2
Kuwait 2
Luxembourg 2
Macedonia 2
Malta 2
Mongolia 2
South Korea 2
Taiwan 2
Venezuela 2
Albania 1
American Samoa 1
Anguilla 1
Bangladesh 1
Belize 1
Bolivia 1
Bosnia & Herzegovina 1
Brunei 1
Cambodia 1
Cameroon 1
Cuba 1
Estonia 1 (*)
Ethiopia 1
European Union 1
Ghana 1
Hungary 1
Lebanon 1
Libya 1
Myanmar (Burma) 1
Oman 1
Papua New Guinea 1
Paraguay 1
Slovenia 1
Ukraine 1

Estonia was the only country to send me a single page view in January also. There’s no countries on a three-month streak of reading me as slightly as possible.


WordPress figures that I published 16,171 words in February. That’s an average of 577.5 words per posting, both figures down from January but not by much. The average to date this year dropped from 587 words per post to 583.

Between the launch of Voyager 2 in 1977 and the start of March there were 3,315 posts in this blog, which drew a total of 200,487 views from 160,436 unique visitors. And they drew 5,026 comments altogether. I don’t know which one was the 5,000th. I also don’t know if that counts the ‘Pending’ ones that I’m pretty sure are spam but can’t bring myself to delete. Also a couple from people who wanted to give me a not-for-publication comment or correction.

If you’d like to be a commenter, please say something. If you’d like to be a reader, please read. The RSS feed for my essays is this link. Or you can click the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button at the upper-right corner of this page, and get it in your WordPress reader. You can also use the subscription box to get posts e-mailed to you in that narrow window between my scheduled post and my first round of typo corrections. I don’t do anything with your e-mails besides have WordPress send out posts, but I can’t say anything about what WordPress does with them. Sorry.

Statistics January: Nearly 7,000 People Wanted To See Wilbur Weston Die


One hates to be morbid. But it’s hard not to notice how many people come visit my blog here because they suspect a comic strip character is going to die. The Phantom’s projected death has brought hundreds of page views around here in recent months. Wilbur Weston falling from a cruise ship to wash ashore on an unknown island? That’s brought even more. It also looks like somebody on Facebonk mentioned me in some way that made people curious. So that’s all pleasant enough for me. Not so good for Wilbur.

My readership jumped considerably in January, rising to 6,892 page views from 3,853 unique visitors, as WordPress counts things. That’s well above the twelve-month running mean for January through December 2021, which was 5,055.4 page views per month from 3,004.7 unique visitors. It’s also well above the running median of 4,585 page views from 2,616.5 unique visitors. This will all die down as Wilbur Weston does not.

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, with a sudden new spike upward in January 2022.
I don’t feel bad about missing 7,000 by 108 page views like this. If I had missed by eight, now, that I’d be fuming about until I remembered absolutely anything else going on these days.

The things suggesting engagement were up, but not much. There were 158 likes given in January, compared to a running mean of 148.4 and running median of 141.5. There were 59 comments, compared to a running mean of 58.2 and running median of 52.5. And some of that was passing messages on to people. Well, it’s all content, say people who write algorithms instead of read.

My most popular post in January was this past October’s Mary Worth plot recap, because it asked how Wilbur Weston could be so incompetent. By far. It was almost twice as popular as the second-place finisher. My most popular posts from January were also Wilbur-centered. And the rest? Here’s the five most popular things published this past month:

It does all suggest that people know what they like from me, and it’s me talking about comic strips. Sometimes without even complaining about them. Granted, yes, it’s fun and funny to complain about the trivial. Anyway, TCM (United States feed) is showing Please Don’t Eat The Daisies this Sunday, and I might catch that again. Among original, non-comic-strip writing Statistics Saturday: Gifts Given for Squirrel Appreciation Day This Year was my most popular thing this past month.

Still, I’d be quite the fool to drop my story strip plot recaps. All the story strip recaps should be gathered here. And my plan for the next couple weeks is to cover:

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.
So if I’m reading this map right, Alaska is strawberry-flavored. Can somebody go and lick it for me?

Once again 80 countries or country-like entities sent me page views. 17 of them were single-view countries, down from December’s 18. Here’s the roster:

Country Readers
United States 5,059
India 239
Canada 238
United Kingdom 191
Australia 131
Bulgaria 116
Japan 82
Brazil 63
Finland 57
Germany 57
Sweden 56
Philippines 51
Italy 48
Austria 36
France 33
Ireland 30
Spain 29
Thailand 28
Portugal 24
Denmark 18
New Zealand 17
Singapore 17
Egypt 14
Romania 13
Argentina 12
Indonesia 12
Israel 11
Netherlands 11
South Africa 11
Turkey 11
Hong Kong SAR China 10
Macedonia 10
Malaysia 8
Peru 8
Venezuela 8
Nigeria 7
Belgium 6
Mauritius 6
Mexico 6
Norway 6
Poland 6
Taiwan 6
Costa Rica 5
Ecuador 5
Greece 5
South Korea 5
Switzerland 5
European Union 4
Hungary 4
Lithuania 4
Pakistan 4
China 3
Croatia 3
Czech Republic 3
Puerto Rico 3
Saudi Arabia 3
Trinidad & Tobago 3
Ukraine 3
Bangladesh 2
Chile 2
Russia 2
Serbia 2
United Arab Emirates 2
Barbados 1
Colombia 1
Estonia 1
Guadeloupe 1 (*)
Iraq 1
Jamaica 1
Kosovo 1
Kuwait 1
Luxembourg 1
Mongolia 1
Namibia 1
Panama 1
Sri Lanka 1
St. Lucia 1
Uganda 1
Uruguay 1
Vietnam 1 (*)

Guadeloupe and Vietnam were the only single-view countries on a two-month streak. Nobody’s on a three-month single-view streak.


WordPress figures that I published 18,198 words in December. (I reused a bunch of words, though.) This puts me at an average 587 words per posting this year, though I expect that figure to change. I’m not going to do the work needed to keep it constant.

Between the debut of short-lived game show Whew! and the start of February I’ve published 3,287 things to this blog. They’ve drawn a total 275,048 views from 157,401 unique visitors, they figure. And, for what it’s worth, a total of 4,974 comments. This suggests lucky comment #5,000 might come to the blog this month. It’s going to be people asking why Wilbur Weston isn’t dead.

If you’re looking to be a reader there’s nothing you need to do but read. If you’d like to use your RSS reader to get posts, here’s the feed. If you want to subscribe, there’s the ‘Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile’ button at the upper-right corner of this and every post. And just beneath that is a box to have posts e-mailed to you. I don’t do anything with that e-mail address except send posts. I can’t say what WordPress does with your address. Leave them in the junk drawer with a promise to do something about them soon, is what I would do with them.

Statistics 2021: At Last, How The Old Year Liked Me Writing About _The Phantom_


I have not been avoiding a check back on the past year, to see what WordPress figures my readership was like. I simply have had that thing happen where I get up, have lunch, do three things, and then it’s 11 pm. You may have noticed this in your own lives, depending on when you have lunch.

WordPress figures there were 60,665 pages viewed here in all of 2021. That’s the largest number of page views I’ve gotten any year, to date. These views came from 36,061 unique visitors, as WordPress counts visitors. That, too, is the largest number of unique visitors I’ve gotten in a year. I owe it all to talking about comic strips.

Bar chart of annual readership from 2013 to the present. It's been one of steady growth except for 2016. 2021 showed 60,665 views from 36,061 visitors, at 1.68 views per visitor and a total 365 posts published.
Not to brag but do you have any idea how many extrapolations I, using my mathematical training, could make from a data set as small as this? And how bad all these conclusions would be? It’s thrilling stuff.

As measures of engagement go? 2021 saw some rises here. There were 1,772 things liked during the year, well above 2020 and my highest count since 2018. And there were 700 comments, not just a nice round number but more than 2019 and 2020 gave me combined. (2018, again, was higher still, but 2018 was a better year for most people than 2021 was.) I owe it all to talking about comic strips.

I mean that last with typical literalness. The five most popular things I posted in 2021 were:

I would be nowhere if people weren’t curious about The Phantom.

My most popular piece that wasn’t about comic strips was 60s Popeye: Myskery Melody, a cartoon people have been asking for. This is also gratifying. The 60s cartoons are not regarded as important even to fans of Popeye. I’m glad to know that there are people who’ll pay attention if you give serious consideration to the pop-culture footnotes.

My most popular piece not tied to a review or recap was A question created when I was looking up _The Odd Couple_, a serendipitous event. I’ve been reading an early-90s encyclopedia of cartoon animals and yesterday came across its entry about The Oddball Couple, the cartoon I can’t believe existed. Even this independent evidence of its existence doesn’t convince me.

I went all 2021 without doing any original long-form essays. In its place was Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. The most popular piece of that was MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XIX. I don’t know how that of all the chapters got the top

I don’t know how long I’ll go on posting MiSTings. They offer the considerable advantage that I know how to write them when I don’t feel much like writing. But all the Mystery Science Theater 3000 stuff I gather at this link. And the thing everyone really wants from me, the story strip recaps, are all gathered at this link. There are also individual links for all the story strips, by title. The Phantom is here, and the other ten story strips I’m still covering have their own tags. Yes, I’m also bothered by how Wilbur Weston returned home in Mary Worth today.

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. Africa along the Mediterranean coast, and the southern tip, are in pink also, as is the horn. Most of central Africa is unrepresented, though.
It’s always obvious how I never get readers from Greenland. But did you know I never get readers from Togo, Benin, Chad, or the Central African Republic? Equatorial Guinea has no interest in my writing either.

There were 157 countries or things as good as countries to send me some page views in all 2021. Here’s the roster as WordPress makes them out:

Country Readers
United States 42,643
India 2,412
Canada 2,309
United Kingdom 1,755
Australia 1,413
Germany 1,022
Philippines 853
Brazil 762
Sweden 438
Italy 437
Spain 414
Finland 351
France 346
South Africa 328
Ireland 242
Norway 224
Mexico 213
Japan 210
Malaysia 182
Indonesia 176
Greece 168
Netherlands 159
Romania 144
Ecuador 138
Singapore 128
Denmark 127
Austria 124
New Zealand 121
Portugal 117
Thailand 105
Nigeria 96
European Union 92
Argentina 91
Peru 90
Russia 87
Switzerland 87
Turkey 87
United Arab Emirates 80
South Korea 77
Poland 73
Sri Lanka 70
Saudi Arabia 65
Israel 63
Belgium 62
Kuwait 61
Chile 59
El Salvador 58
Colombia 55
Hong Kong SAR China 55
Egypt 53
Serbia 53
Taiwan 53
Jamaica 46
Oman 46
Puerto Rico 46
Hungary 41
Pakistan 41
Czech Republic 40
Trinidad & Tobago 37
Kenya 35
Latvia 34
Lebanon 31
Vietnam 28
Croatia 27
Ukraine 24
Jordan 23
Bangladesh 21
Bulgaria 21
Iceland 20
Macedonia 19
Qatar 19
China 18
Venezuela 17
Iraq 16
Costa Rica 15
Georgia 15
Paraguay 14
Bahrain 13
Lithuania 13
Montenegro 13
Guadeloupe 12
Malta 12
Barbados 11
Slovakia 10
Bosnia & Herzegovina 9
Mauritius 9
Albania 8
Algeria 8
Bahamas 8
Belarus 8
Morocco 8
Cayman Islands 7
Estonia 7
Fiji 7
French Guiana 7
Macau SAR China 7
Nepal 7
Papua New Guinea 7
Cambodia 6
Guatemala 6
Panama 6
Zimbabwe 6
Belize 5
Dominican Republic 5
Libya 5
Mongolia 5
Slovenia 5
Uruguay 5
American Samoa 4
Bolivia 4
Brunei 4
Cape Verde 4
Guam 4
Guernsey 4
Maldives 4
St. Lucia 4
Tunisia 4
Cyprus 3
Honduras 3
Namibia 3
St. Vincent & Grenadines 3
Sudan 3
Tanzania 3
Bermuda 2
Burundi 2
Cameroon 2
Guyana 2
Isle of Man 2
Madagascar 2
Moldova 2
Senegal 2
Uzbekistan 2
Åland Islands 1
Armenia 1
Azerbaijan 1
Bhutan 1
Botswana 1
Cook Islands 1
Côte d’Ivoire 1
Cuba 1
Dominica 1
Ethiopia 1
Ghana 1
Jersey 1
Kyrgyzstan 1
Liberia 1
Liechtenstein 1
Luxembourg 1
Malawi 1
Mauritania 1
Nicaragua 1
Palestinian Territories 1
Sint Maarten 1
Somalia 1
St. Martin 1
U.S. Virgin Islands 1
Uganda 1

I had no page views from the Vatican in 2021. I’m less surprised by that than I am by having had one page view from the Vatican on my mathematics blog. They have to have better things to worry about than what the current story in Gil Thorp is.

WordPress figures I posted a total of 269,360 words in 2021, for an average of 738 words per posting. That’s my most verbose year on record, which reflects how much bulk goes into the various MiSTings. Each post got, on average, 4.5 likes and 2.2 comments.

If you’d like to follow Another Blog, Meanwhile, it’s easy enough to do. There’s a button labelled “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” in the upper right corner of the page. You can also subscribe for e-mail delivery of articles at they post. I do nothing with the e-mail address besides have the WordPress Corporation send them out. I can’t say what else the WordPress Corporation does with them. If you have an RSS reader, you can use the feed https://nebushumor.wordpress.com/feed and read without showing up in my statistics.

Whatever way you read, though, I appreciate your doing. Thank you and I hope all’s going okay for you.

Statistics December: How Can I Care About December 2021 When Wilbur Weston Might Be Dead?


Yes, yes, I, like everyone who’s reading Mary Worth, am excited to see Wilbur Weston’s fallen off a cruise ship. I’m hoping to get to recapping it next week, when we might know whether he’s dead or what. Let me share what my plan is for comic strip recaps, before I get into anything further here:

I’m willing to chance the schedule when circumstances warrant. But, for now, yes, Wilbur Weston has fallen into the sea in what might be the first Mary Worth death since the legendary Aldo Keldrast. We’ll see. All my recaps of what’s going on in the story strips are at this link.

Still, I do like sharing my readership figures around here, for reasons I can never quite articulate. I guess other bloggers like the reassurance that it’s not them, their readership has fallen off since a couple years ago.

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.
1,389 followers! If they were all lined up behind me, they’d bump into the wall. Our living room isn’t that large.

In a reversal of the pattern since 2018, my readership increased from November to December 2021. The total number of page views for the month increased to 4,492. This is below the twelve-month running mean of 5,161.0, though, and also below the running median of 4,728. April was a very popular month around here, thanks in part to my post about which Paas tablet matches which color egg. Also to people wanting to know what was going on with The Phantom, a reliable source of readers this year.

The number of unique visitors rose too, again reversing the usual November-to-December trend. There were 2,568 recorded unique visitors in December, but this again is below the running mean of 3,072.4 and the median of 2,722.5. Liking me (nb not licking) was above the averages, though, with 166 likes given in the month. The mean for the twelve months ending with November 2021 was 145.3 likes, and the median 138.5. Comments were about average: 51 given around here in the month, compared to a mean of 55.4 and a median of 51. Certainly average enough.

My most popular post from December was comic strip based, of course. And I’ve been making more short, punchy little posts that have been well-received. I like this, since I like anything being well-received, and short stuff is quicker to write. I wanted to share the five most popular things from December and there was, naturally, a tie for fifth. So here’s the top several things:


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, I’ve almost got the Pacific Ocean surrounded! It’s almost impossible that it should sneak out now!

There were 80 countries sending me any page views at all in December. Greenland was not among them. Here’s the countries that were:

Country Readers
United States 3199
India 171
Canada 153
United Kingdom 132
Australia 121
Germany 79
Japan 60
Philippines 50
Italy 41
Brazil 38
Ireland 27
Sweden 27
Spain 26
Nigeria 21
Norway 21
Netherlands 18
France 15
Sri Lanka 14
Finland 13
New Zealand 13
Thailand 13
Egypt 12
Mexico 12
Peru 12
South Africa 12
Indonesia 11
Malaysia 10
Russia 10
Switzerland 10
Taiwan 10
Austria 9
Romania 8
Singapore 7
Belarus 6
Paraguay 6
Denmark 5
Hong Kong SAR China 5
Portugal 5
Saudi Arabia 5
Bulgaria 4
Colombia 4
Greece 4
Jordan 4
Kenya 4
Puerto Rico 4
South Korea 4
Iraq 3
Jamaica 3
Poland 3
Trinidad & Tobago 3
Ukraine 3
United Arab Emirates 3
Belgium 2
Cambodia 2
Croatia 2
Georgia 2
Israel 2
Kuwait 2
Macedonia 2
Montenegro 2
Pakistan 2
Turkey 2
Albania 1
Azerbaijan 1
Belize 1
Chile 1
China 1
Costa Rica 1
Côte d’Ivoire 1
Ecuador 1
El Salvador 1
Guadeloupe 1
Guam 1
Honduras 1
Hungary 1
Lebanon 1 (*)
Serbia 1
Slovakia 1
Tunisia 1
Vietnam 1

Of the 18 single-view countries (up from 14 in November) only Lebanon is on a two-month streak. Nobody’s on an even longer streak.


Wordpress figures that I posted 18,853 words in December. Even though those were not all different words, that was still my second-least-loquacious month in 2021. This was an average of 608.2 words per posting. And it brought me to a total for the year of 269,360 words, averaging 738 words per posting.

Between the discovery of the English Channel and the 1st of January I’ve posted 3,256 things to this blog. They’ve drawn 268,184 views from 153,567 unique visitors. And there were 4,915 comments overall, some of which I should get around to reading one of these days.

Statistics Saturday: Some Partly Unfoggy, Semi-Unclear, or Sort-of-precise Words


  • Inapproximativish
  • Unbecloudedish
  • Inbrumousesish
  • Ungauzyish
  • Uniexactish
  • Unloosish
  • Immistyish
  • Immurkyish
  • Ummushyesque
  • Inopaquish
  • Antiundeterminedly
  • Unvaguish

Reference: Semantic Antics: How and Why Words Change Meaning, Sol Steinmetz.

Statistics November: How November 2021 Treated My Humor Blog


It’s the time of month I like to look at what my readership around here has been like. There’s a lot of things I do for curious reasons. November saw my readership decline, part of what seems like a long trend. I mean, I understand people not wanting to stick around while I’m rerunning so much writing, but I’ve been rerunning less lately.

Still, the bad news first. There were 4,229 page views here in November, from 2,367 unique visitors. They seem like big enough numbers, if you consider having that many people over for lunch. But compared to the twelve-month running averages? The arithmetic mean going into November was 5,332.3 views per month, and the median 4,844. The arithmetic mean was 3,197.5 unique visitors per month, and the median was 2,879.5.

Bar chart of two and a half years' worth of monthly readership figures. After a spike in April the readership has fluttered, with slight declines, through to October.
For once I’m not sitting at my computer ready to get statistics at exactly 11:59 pm UTC and see what it gets me? No fair, no fair at all.

Now to the good news. THe things that measure involvement seem to be up. 174 things got likes here in November, well above the running mean of 142.1 and the median of 136.5. And there were 63 comments, comfortably above the mean of 54.2 and median of 48.

There were 499 posts that got looked at over the course of November. The five most popular from November turned out to be the seven most popular, owing to a three-way tie for fifth:

More popular than anything from November was one October post: What’s Going On In The Phantom (weekdays)? Are we about to see the death of the 21st Phantom? . I am happy to have the story strips doing things that they want looked up. I’m tempted to bump Mary Worth ahead in the rotation. I so want to explore what the heck Mary Worth thinks is so great about Wilbur Weston anyway. Nobody really knows. My best guess is he has photos of her showing affection toward Dr Jeff.

But if I stick to my schedule for the story comics? That’s to have these plots explained, these dates:

And I try to keep all my story comic plot recaps at this link.


There were 77 countries that sent me readers in November. That’s a bit more than October, so, apparently I’m mildly interesting to a broader section of humanity. There were 13 single-view countries this month, compared to 14 the month before, so that mildness is a bit intensified too. So here’s the roster:

Mercator-style map of the world, with the United States in dark red and most of the New World, western Europe, South and Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand in a more uniform pink.
So on the one hand, no readers from China in November. On the other, some readers from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, so that means something, right?
Country Readers
United States 2,969
India 247
United Kingdom 142
Australia 111
Canada 103
Philippines 59
Brazil 52
Germany 51
Italy 37
Ireland 30
Finland 25
Ecuador 23
France 22
Spain 22
Singapore 21
Sweden 20
South Africa 17
Malaysia 15
Russia 14
Norway 13
Denmark 12
Romania 12
Indonesia 11
Nigeria 11
Mexico 10
Netherlands 10
Chile 9
Thailand 9
Greece 8
Venezuela 8
Japan 7
New Zealand 7
Poland 7
Portugal 7
Trinidad & Tobago 7
Belgium 5
European Union 5
Fiji 5
Saudi Arabia 5
Serbia 5
United Arab Emirates 5
Argentina 4
Macedonia 4
South Korea 4
Bangladesh 3
Georgia 3
Hungary 3
Israel 3
Montenegro 3
Slovakia 3
Bahrain 2
Bulgaria 2
Croatia 2
Iraq 2
Jamaica 2
Jordan 2
Kuwait 2
Latvia 2
Pakistan 2
Peru 2
Qatar 2
Sri Lanka 2
Turkey 2
Zimbabwe 2
American Samoa 1
Austria 1
Colombia 1
Dominican Republic 1
Egypt 1
Hong Kong SAR China 1
Lebanon 1
Malta 1
Panama 1
Papua New Guinea 1
Switzerland 1
Taiwan 1
Ukraine 1 (*)

Ukraine is the only single-view country two months running. Also I had a hundred more views from India in November than in October, for some reason.


WordPress’s calculation is that I published 22,935 words in November, bringing my total for the year to 250,507. This was an average 764.5 words per posting in November, and 750 words per post all year. All those MiSTings, that’s what it must be.

Between the first Christmas episode of game show Press Your Luck I’ve posed 3,225 things to this blog. They’ve gathered 263,690 views from 150,999 unique visitors. WordPress thinks I have 1,383 followers, which implies I ought to have had at minimum 41,490 views this past month. Just observing.

If you’d like to read these posts regularly you can add my RSS feed to your reader. If you need an RSS reader can get one at This Old Reader or at NewsBlur. Or you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal and use their friends pages. Use https://www.dreamwidth.org/feeds/ or https://www.livejournal.com/syn to add RSS feeds, not just mine, there.

Or you can add this to your WordPress reading page, by clicking the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” sticker on the upper right corner of the page. You can also have the posts sent by e-mail to you as they’re published. I understand my dad likes that options.

And thank you for whatever kind of interaction we have here.

Reposted: Walking Through Novel-Writing: November’s Last Step


And now to close out my recycling of my every thought about National Novel-Writing Month. As ever, this was a piece to exorcise some my pet peeves as a reader, settling mostly upon how sometimes a character doesn’t have a name.


Hi again, folks. I suppose this is the last of the walkthroughs here before National Novel Writing Month ends. I’d like to think people who’ve made it this far in NaNoWriMo without declaring “look, it’s just been busy, all right?” are going to stick around after November’s over. But I know better. Still, hope this’ll be a good sendoff. Let’s see, where had we left last time?

Oh, yeah, protagonists. I’ve left them with the default names so far. That’s not because I like the default names, I just haven’t figured a name that fits them more exactly. When I have one, I just — here, see, you right-click above either’s head and there’s the option for renaming them. There’s first, last, nickname, familiar name, alternate nickname, there you go. If you’re doing fantasy you might want to use the option about True Name that does magic stuff.

Yeah, nobody ever spells out True Names in full, for the obvious reason. You don’t want an eleven-year-old reading the book to try ordering the character to appear. That just spoils the whole illusion that your magic scheme could be real and you don’t want to deal with a kid getting angry at you on social media. You never want to deal with anybody angry at you on social media, but against a kid? Mister Rogers could probably thread that successfully, but he’s been dead a long time. He lived back when tweets were sent by Morse Code to a back room of the local Post Office, where they were ignored.

Now, you see the option here of “no name”? Yeah, don’t use that. Nobody likes books where nobody has a name. The only time you can kind of get away with it is if you’re doing first-person. The logic of that works as long as nobody who’s standing behind your characters needs to get their attention. If you have characters who can sometimes not face each other then you’re stuck. No, it does not count if your character is a detective or spy and gets referred to by profession. Then, like, “Spy” or “Detective” or whatever is their name.

Yeah, there’s novelists who tell you withholding names gives characters a sense of universality. Or it conveys a sense of modern society’s detached atmospheres, or an unsettling air of unreality or whatever. Nobody likes it. You’ll never get to be the subject of a coherent book report if nobody’s got names. You won’t get to be anyway. But that’s no excuse to add another reason you won’t get to be to the ones already there.

Now — oh, good grief, now these guys are flashing back. That’s a mistake. They only just met earlier this story, though, and I don’t want it revealed they used to know each other. Couple fixes for this. First is in the flashback change the name of the secondary lead. Then I can make something out of how the primary lead keeps attracting the same kind of person into his life. You see where that builds a score on thematic resonances and cycles of life stuff. On some settings that also gives you points for deep background.

You can swap deep background points out for fan bonus content, though. Like, here, if I snip out this whole flashback? OK. I put in a line referring to it, and then dump the scene on my book’s web site as bonus content. This way readers can discover this and feel like they’re in on a secret. That’s how social-media networking works. You want to put something out so everybody thinks they’re in on something nobody knows about. An accident like this is perfect. It doesn’t even have to fit logically the rest of the book because it’s an alternate draft. If you do it right any scrap text you can’t use, you can use. It’s a great time for writing.

OK, I suppose that’s about everything important for this step. Before I let you go let me name the Comment of the Week. That goes to ClashOSymbols for his funny dissection of every author-reader interaction on the Internet, everywhere. He’s not getting any less wrong about second-person. But remember what I said about engaging with eleven-year-old readers? That’s explained in great detail under section 4.4. Enjoy and catch someone later, sometime. But when can’t I say that truly?


About The Author: are a couple of pillows, a John McPhee book he’s had to renew from the library already even though he hasn’t started reading it, and several glass vases he’s worried he’s going to knock over if he sits up or back even the teeny-tiniest bit differently from how he’s sat every single time in the past.

Statistics Saturday: Some Partly Foggy, Semi-Clear, or Sort-of-Imprecise Words


  • Approximativish
  • Becloudedish
  • Brumousesish
  • Gauzyish
  • Inexactly
  • Loosish
  • Mistyish
  • Murkyish
  • Mushyesque
  • Opaquish
  • Undeterminedlike
  • Vaguish

Reference: Semantic Antics: How and Why Words Change Meaning, Sol Steinmetz.

Reposted: Walking Through Novel-Writing: The Next Step


And let me continue with the reposting of my National Novel-Writing Month special. On rereading this, I don’t remember anything from the writing experience. I like the convention that writing’s something that could be scored, though. That’s a notion someone could do more with. I don’t read enough fiction anymore to use the notion well enough, though.


Hi, everyone, thanks for being back for the next part of this novel-writing walkthrough. You remember last time my leads had gone off down the wrong street. It’s so hard to keep a book on track when the characters drift off like that. Plus, there’s the risk of them doing something that a reader knows is wrong, and the reader then tweets something snotty about you. So what, you say? Well, how do you know that the tweet isn’t going to go viral? And you aren’t going to wake up one day underneath an Internet Dogpile of people mocking your naivete? The public pressure grows until the publisher recalls and pulps every copy of your book, and then goes after you for the money. You’re left with no choice but to escape your home, leaving behind all your loved ones and all the belongings that don’t fit in your cargo pants. And you have to flee to some obscure Canadian province where you eke out a bare living by working as an off-season basketball hoop. Then things get dire the second day.

But. Here’s how I’m going to double down and turn this accident into bonus points. See that? Second lead mentions how, you know, this is the part of town where Jonathan Lethem set most of Chronic City. Main lead didn’t know that but admits he never read it. Second lead reflects how he never read it either, he just heard this was the area. They shrug and get going back to where they should’ve been. Little detour is good for, like, 125 points total.

Why? First the obvious stuff. I get to mention a more popular author’s book, but not in any way that makes me look envious or sour. Readers who’ve heard of him now know I heard of him too, and they like me more because they figure we’ve got stuff in common. Even if they hate Lethem, that’s OK, because I point out the characters didn’t read him. More subtly, now, the story looks like I’ve used its specific setting. Major bonus in making the events feel grounded in reality. I get that even though if you look you realize I haven’t actually referred to any real details.

And if I have the reference wrong, I have a built-in excuse right there in text for getting it wrong. Even the most hostile reader has to agree, characters can get wrong details about books they haven’t read. Doesn’t say anything about what I screw up. Finally, having them talk about a book they haven’t read makes an echo of their talking about quantum mechanics they don’t understand. Almost nobody reading it going to pick up on that. But it adds this nice extra underpinning of security to the story.

You know, I bet this is all good for up to 150 points. Well, that depends on your scoring system. I use the one I’ve always used, some algorithm that was built into emacs back in Like 1994, because it’s too hard to learn another. Some madman exported it to a separate PHP script in 2002 and I’ve been using that ever since. And yeah, there’s this patch that’s supposed to let you use the 2009 revisions to standard story scoring but I’ve never gotten it to work reliably. You can score by whatever your word processor uses, or a web site if you’re doing this competitively. I mean my points and that’s enough for me.

So we’re getting near the end of this installment. Before I go, the Comment of the Week is a special one. In subthread BlooPencil had the happy discovery that Cat Rambo is a well-regarded editor and writer of science fiction and not a novelty tumblr full of kittens photoshopped into 80s Action Movie scenes. I want to thank everyone for whimsical comments on that. And for the novelty tumblr you put together full of kittens photoshopped into 80s Action Movie scenes. That’s the sort of loving and creative community everyone wants the Internet to be for. Keep it up, gang.


About The Author: Though he has never had any work produced in the movie or television industries, Joseph Nebus has seen aquarium animals with names that are compatible with their being Arrested Development references.

Statistics Saturday: Some Unfoggy, Clear, or Precise Words


  • Inapproximative
  • Unbeclouded
  • Inbrumous
  • Ungauzy
  • Uninexact
  • Unloose
  • Immisty
  • Immurky
  • Ummushy
  • Inopaque
  • Antiundetermined
  • Unvague

Reference: Semantic Antics: How and Why Words Change Meaning, Sol Steinmetz.

Reposted: Walking Through Novel-Writing Some More


When I was writing original pieces every week, the hard thing was always thinking of something to write about. Having a topic, however flimsy, let the rest fall into place. So that’s why this trifle spilled into a monthlong project, and why I have four pieces to share again. Here’s the second.


Welcome back everyone. Hope you had a good week writing and are ready to resume walking through this novel-writing experience. Before I start, though, ClashOSymbols had his good post for the month, “Facts: Never Your Friends”. Read it wisely.

Now we left off last time here, our heroes wondering about the many-world interpretation of quantum mechanics. But they don’t know it enough to say anything meaningful, so they can’t be wrong. See ClashOSymbols above. You can’t break a suspension of disbelief if there’s nothing to disbelieve. That’s the first reason they have to talk about stuff they don’t really understand.

Something else you get from this. Now, this part doesn’t matter if all you want is a book, but a career walkthrough’ll tell you this. Characters talk about quantum mechanics, you have a science fiction book. You want to start out writing genre, because if genre readers to start reading you they’ll never stop. Doesn’t matter what genre. Science fiction, mystery, western, romance, military, anything at all. But then you have to pivot to literary fiction. Your genre readers will keep reading, and they’ve talked about you enough to their normal friends that you get those readers too. All your books get reissued with boring but uniform covers and your back catalogue sells all over again. Your genre readers will complain about you selling out, but they’ll keep buying and new people will follow them. Always in your career: start genre, then pivot to lit.

But here’s the thing. The harder you start in genre, the tougher the pivot to lit. Start your career with books about Earth pacified by giant memory-wiping kangaroo robot detectives, your pivot is going to have to be like five novels where a sulky old guy reviews badly-named bands for a minor-league city’s failing alt weekly while nothing happens. So doable but soooooooo boring. If you start instead with something so softly genre it could get filed by accident with the grown-up books, you can pivot without doing anything more than picking duller titles.

So. They talk quantum mechanics many-worlds stuff, they don’t know enough to say anything right or wrong or anything. Science fiction fans’ll eat it up, real people will think you’re doing that Bridging The Two Cultures stuff. The novel’s got a good start and I’m already setting up for the pivot.

Now — oh, phoo, what did they go down there for? OK, they just got off the subway and went down the wrong street. I could just go back and restart from the subway and go the right way but you’re going to have to deal with accidents like this and you should see how to recover. Why is a wrong street dangerous? Because if you’re set in a real place, you might say something about the place that a reader can check and find is wrong. That can wipe out all the score you get from the whole chapter. Even if you’re doing the little-chapter strategy, which I say is gaming the rules and won’t do because I have integrity, this dings you. Remember, facts are just stuff you can get wrong. So, have the characters observe something non-committal and non-falsifiable and then they can say they’re on the wrong street. Hey, they’re rattled from that knifeketeer/magician thing, anyone would understand.

Or you can martingale it. Double down, pick something about the setting and just go wild describing it. Extra hard, yes. It’s almost irresistible to put bunches of facts about the place in. And facts aren’t your friends. But pull it off and you can get so many bonus points. We’ll talk about that a little next time.

For now, though, let me point out the Comment of the Week. That’s from FanatsyOfFlight back on Monday with her great Fan Theory: All Fan Theories Are The Same Fan Theory. If you missed it, you’re probably thinking fan theories are a weak target for satire. Maybe they are, but they’re so well-eviscerated.


About The Author: For two years as a reporter on the student newspaper Joseph Nebus attended all the student government meetings for four of the Rutgers University undergraduate colleges. The most challenging was the University College Governing Association, because as adult commuting students they could afford to cater their meetings with way too much pizza to eat and had the pull to reserve the warm conference room with the plush chairs.

Reposted: Walking Through Novel-Writing


I would like to offer support to friends taking the National Novel-Writing Month challenge. I haven’t got the strength to do any challenges lately, but admire those who do. So let me share a series I wrote, back when I had the strength to write weekly essays, in which I imagine writing a novel or having a fan community.


Hi, okay, welcome to this walkthrough of writing a novel. I know we’ve got a lot of new viewers this month because they want to do their NaNoWriMo stuff right. Don’t worry, you should be able to hop right on into this. You all see my novel like it is right now, so let me explain where I’m going.

First, though. Viewpoint. I’m doing third-person omniscient. I mention for the new viewers. I explained why third-person omni like, was it three? episodes ago. Go to that if you want the whole spiel but, in brief: I like it. It’s cozy. I’ve got all my writing macros set up for it. It lets me drop in cynical observations without any characters having to be snarky, which is off-putting when you do it as much as I do. You want to limit readers’ reasons to dislike your characters to the ones that you want, so much as possible. Third person limited is okay. It’s a harder level for getting dramatic irony but sometimes you want the challenge. First person is the easy mode for suspense, the extra-hard mode for dramatic irony. Figure how hard you want to write your stuff. Also you think you get away with any continuity errors by playing the ‘unreliable narrator’ card. Everybody knows that trick so they don’t fall for it. Neutral there.

ClashOSymbols, I see you already rushing to the comments section and you’re wrong. Second person is not happening, and you’re not gonna make it happen. Everything you do in second-person reads like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. By the third time anyone reads a Choose Your Own Adventure, all they’re doing is reverse-engineering the Happy Ending. Do it in a straight novel and you hit the Choose-Your-Own problem, where ‘you’ get told you’re doing or thinking something you would never do. Yes, shut up, a reader who pretends enough will go along with you. But every line you get wrong is fighting the suspension-of-disbelief and a whole novel of that doesn’t work. You’ve got better fights to pick with your readers than what they think they’d do in your scenario.

Also no it’s not second-person if the setup is the person who did the thing telling it to ‘you’. You are so wrong. New viewers, meet ClashOSymbols. That first impression you’ve got of him? You have him pegged. Short-short version, I’m right, he’s wrong, we’re just delaying his inevitable admission. And yeah, interests of fairness, read his walkthrough yourself for the wrong side of things.

Back to the writing. Up here, that’s the Meet Cute. This isn’t a romance, but my leads didn’t know each other before the book starts. They have to have some reason to stick together. They aren’t in a spot they can be ordered to stick together, and it’s so hard having an emotion about a new person. They gotta be shoved together and that’s why it’s a Meet Cute.

So. New York subway scene. Protagonist rescues the guy from the manic guy stabbing the air with a knife, other guy says it was a magician and shows his cell phone photo to prove it. That works. Readers can imagine knifeketeers on the New York subway. They maybe heard from someone how there was a magician performing on a car or in a station on a big city subway. Readers’ll buy it. And the characters have some reason to keep talking because one has the photo of the knifeketeer, the other the magician. All that doesn’t make sense.

So here you see they try guessing about some quantum mechanics multi-world thing. Neither of them knows enough quantum mechanics to figure how that makes sense. That’s fine, it doesn’t make sense. But they can make wild guesses that maybe explain it, and I don’t have to commit to anything. This is important. Everything you write as a fact in your book is something you can get wrong. Every statement is a chance to break the reader’s suspension-of-disbelief. If you want to do science fiction don’t ever explain how something works in enough detail that any reader can check the numbers. They’ll never ever work. Stay vague and you can insist you’re really writing “hard” science-respecting science fiction. Plus you can boast you spared the readers the boring calculations that would prove it.

This does something else important too. But I’m about out of time for this installment. Hope you learned something useful for your novel-writing. Catch you next week with some more walking through. And, yeah, ClashOSymbols, as always, commenter of the week for that killer pumpkin snark. Congratulations. Folks should check what he has to say out. He can write so brilliant an argument you almost forget he’s wrong. Catch you later.


About the Author: Joseph Nebus has an unpublished Star Trek: The Next Generation novel from back when he was a teenager that dear Lord you will never ever EVER SEE YOU CANNOT IMAGINE HOW WELCOME YOU ARE. He is currently working on an ambitious project of grousing about others’ success.

Statistics October: How October 2021 Trick-Or-Treated My Humor Blog


Oh, I like that subject line. I should have thought of something Halloween-themed for last month. Ah well. There’ll be another October, someday, although there’s no knowing when. (We say this to make October feel more sneaky. Don’t let it know we almost always find it right past September and short of the Moon.)

October saw a slight rise in readership around here. There were 4,355 page views recorded from 2,410 unique visitors. However, that’s still got the blog below the twelve-month running averages. From October 2020 through September 2021 the blog had a mean 5,565.1 views from 3,341.4 unique visitors. I mean arithmetic mean. Few of them were hostile. The running median was 4,996 views from 3,036.5 unique visitors. I can’t explain this dropping off except that it could be people aren’t thrilled to see plot recaps of forgotten Talkartoons that they already saw three years ago.

Or they are. There were 161 likes given in the past month. That’s a fair bit above the running mean of 138.1 per month, or the running median of 135 per month. It was chatty, too, with 62 comments given, above the mean of 52.6 and median of 45.5. That’s the fourth-chattiest month in a couple years now.

Bar chart of two and a half year's worth of monthly readership figures. After a great spike in April 2021 the figures have fluttered between 4,000 and 5,000 views per month, with the most recent month a slight rise after a readership drop.
WordPress suggests I “grow my audience with a podcast” and I can’t think of one to do except maybe a pop-culture hangout podcast about the podcasts I already listen to. There are probably a bunch of those already and if I started one of my own, I would get hurt.

The most popular posts from October were the set one might expect, mostly comic strip recaps and complaints:

While Crankshaft has moved on to a different story, I don’t get how that’s still going on either.

The most popular piece of all was the September 2021 plot recap for The Phantom, weekday continuity. In it, it did look as though The Phantom might die. My most popular piece intended to be funny and posted in October were these selections from my library.

But my story comic recaps will stay the most popular things around this blog. My schedule for the next couple weeks is:


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.
I understand how parochial my blog is. But as far as I can tell I’ve never gotten a single reader from Chad, Niger, or the Central African Republic and you’d think that would have happened at least by chance, wouldn’t you? Someone clicking something by mistake? But I suppose the people in Africa know what they’re doing.

There were 71 countries, or things as good as countries, sending me page views in October. 14 of them were single-view countries. Here’s the aways popular roster of them:

Country Readers
United States 2,952
Canada 157
India 147
Australia 125
Philippines 114
United Kingdom 96
Sweden 86
Germany 67
Brazil 66
France 40
Spain 40
Finland 30
El Salvador 27
Ireland 27
Serbia 24
Ecuador 23
Mexico 22
Italy 21
South Africa 17
Japan 16
Argentina 15
Austria 15
Indonesia 15
Peru 14
Netherlands 10
Romania 10
South Korea 10
European Union 9
New Zealand 9
Thailand 9
Czech Republic 8
Lebanon 8
Israel 7
Kenya 7
Malaysia 7
Poland 7
Portugal 7
Singapore 6
Turkey 6
Barbados 5
Chile 5
Colombia 5
Jamaica 5
Malta 5
Nigeria 5
Guadeloupe 4
Hungary 4
Norway 4
Switzerland 4
Belgium 3
Croatia 3
Hong Kong SAR China 3
China 2
Egypt 2
Estonia 2
Taiwan 2
Trinidad & Tobago 2
Bulgaria 1
Costa Rica 1
Denmark 1
Greece 1
Guatemala 1 (*)
Jordan 1
Kuwait 1
Madagascar 1
Pakistan 1
Puerto Rico 1 (*)
Qatar 1
Russia 1
Ukraine 1
United Arab Emirates 1

Guatemala and Puerto Rico were single-view countries in September also. Nothing has been a single-view country three months in a row.


WordPress is of the opinion I published 21,001 words in October. That’s an average of 677.5 words per posting in the month. This is also well down from September and most of the rest of the year. This shows the power of switching from nothing but long recaps of cartoons to photographs with two sentences setting them up. Also to using much shorter MiSTing segments than I had been. I am up to 227,572 words posted this year, so far, an average of 749 words per posting.

Between the original theatrical release of Young Frankenstein and the start of November I’ve posted 3,195 things to this blog. They’ve drawn a total 259,464 views from 148,630 unique visitors. WordPress also claims I have 1,370 followers, although I suspect not all of them are following that closely.

If you’d like to follow more closely, you can try increasing your browser’s zoom on this page. It’s almost as good as shrinking. If you’d like to add this to your WordPress reading page, click the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” sticker on the upper right corner of this page. If you’d like to get them by e-mail, you can use the panel underneath that. I won’t do anything with your e-mail address except send posts as they’re published, but I can’t say what WordPress plans to do with them.

For more private reading (not even showing up in my statistics), you can add the RSS feed for posts to your reader. If you need an RSS reader can get one at This Old Reader or at NewsBlur. Or you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal and use their friends pages. Use https://www.dreamwidth.org/feeds/ or https://www.livejournal.com/syn to add RSS feeds, not just mine, there.

And thank you for whatever kind of interaction we’re having here.

Statistics September: How The Past Month Treated My Humor Blog


Since the month (October) is a third done it’s time I finally got around to looking at how it fared in September. The faring was … fair, about four-fifths of the faring I’d fain see. Page reads, and unique visitors, were down, to the lowest values they’ve had in over a year. I’m sure part of that is that I had to shift into reposting my reviews of Talkartoons, a thing that does not appeal to my key demographic, who is my Dad. I’m sorry for this, but have had to ration my energies and I’ll open up to more new-ish material as I’m able.

There were 4,080 pages viewed around here in September. That’s well below the twelve-month running mean leading up to September of 5,598.3 views per month. The median, a measure of average-ness less fooled by extreme events, was 4,996 for the twelve months ending the 1st of September. So, yeah, that’s a drop. There were 2,119 logged unique visitors, well below the twelve-month running mean of 3,383.4 visitors, or the running median of 3,306.5 visitors.

Bar chart of two and a half year's worth of monthly readership figures. After a great spike in April 2021 the figures have fluttered between 4,000 and 5,000 views per month, with the most recent month dropping to about 4,000.
I guess I did only check near the start of the last minute of September, Greenwich Time. Maybe a couple hundred views came in between 7:59:10 and 7:59:59. It’s too bad there’s no way to know.

Still, the people who came here stayed about as involved as usual, so, thank you, Garrison. There were 133 likes given to posts in September, a figure indistinguishable from the running mean of 137.8 per month or median of 135 per month. And there were 35 comments, below the running mean of 53.1 and median of 45.5, but still. That’s pretty good considering what are people supposed to do, say “No, this isn’t a Betty Boop cartoon”? If that’s important toyou then fine, but it’s not that interesting.

499 specific posts got any page views at all in September. The most popular things posted in September were:

My most popular feature around here is the comic strip plot recaps. You can read all my story strip plot recaps at this tag. My plan for specific strips for the coming month are to cover:


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.
Some month I’m just going to do a post that lists countries that don’t read me and test whether that makes any difference. (It won’t.)

A mere 69 countries or country-like organizations sent me readers in September. 13 of them were single-view countries. Here’s the roster:

Country Readers
United States 2,672
India 196
Canada 172
Brazil 145
Australia 107
Sweden 96
United Kingdom 85
Philippines 81
Spain 49
Germany 48
Norway 39
Italy 38
Finland 27
South Africa 26
Greece 24
Austria 17
Ecuador 16
Ireland 16
Argentina 15
France 15
Malaysia 14
Mexico 13
European Union 12
Russia 12
Thailand 9
Netherlands 8
Belgium 7
Israel 7
New Zealand 7
Romania 7
Singapore 7
Turkey 7
Indonesia 6
Pakistan 6
Guadeloupe 5
Japan 5
Jamaica 4
Poland 4
United Arab Emirates 4
Colombia 3
El Salvador 3
Kenya 3
Nigeria 3
Serbia 3
Switzerland 3
Taiwan 3
Bahrain 2
Bangladesh 2
Bermuda 2
Denmark 2
Guernsey 2
Peru 2
Sri Lanka 2
Ukraine 2
Brunei 1
Czech Republic 1
Egypt 1
Estonia 1
Guatemala 1
Hungary 1
Iceland 1
Malawi 1
Nepal 1
Puerto Rico 1
Slovakia 1
South Korea 1
St. Vincent & Grenadines 1
Uruguay 1
Vietnam 1

None of September’s single-reader countries were also a single-reader country in August. That’s the first clean sweep to happen since August.


WordPress flatters me by claiming I published 31,546 words in September. This is an average of 1,051.5 words per posting and my most loquacious month this year. It’s a fib, of course, the numbers padded by both the MiSTings, with many words I did not write, and the Talkartoons recaps, with many words I wrote years ago. So be it. It brings my total for the year up to 206,571 words posted, with an average 757 words per posting for 2021.

Between the first time humans and monkeys flew into space on the same vehicle (April 1985, aboard the space shuttle Challenger) and the start of October I’ve posted 3,164 things to this blog. They’e drawn 255,108 views from 146,221 unique visitors. WordPress says I have 1,363 followers here, and like you, I don’t believe it.

Still, if you’d like to be the 1,364 follower, I’d be glad to have you. First, try as hard as you can to exist. Then click on the ‘Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile’ sticker in the upper right corner of this page, which adds this to your WordPress Reader. Or if you prefer getting the versions that have all the typos, you can use the panel beneath that to get posts by e-mail. I don’t ever send anything else by e-mail, but I can’t say what WordPress will do with your address.

If you’d like to read these essays in private, you can add the RSS feed for Another Blog, Meanwhile to whatever your news reader is. If you need an RSS reader you can try This Old Reader, for example, NewsBlur. Or you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Use https://www.dreamwidth.org/feeds/ or https://www.livejournal.com/syn to add RSS feeds to your Reading or Friends page.

However it is you’re reading me, though, thank you, whether or not you exist.

How Angry Should You Be About the _Crankshaft_ and _Funky Winkerbean_ Stories Not Being Done YET?


I’m not sure if I’m more angry or exhausted by both of Tom Batiuk’s comic strips. In Funky Winkerbean we’re entering the 412th week of a story where Holly Budd Winkerbean tried to do her old flaming-baton-trick at homecoming, only to get injured. Unlike in the classic wacky days of the comic strip, where she’d get set on fire, this time she slipped on the rain-slicked grass. So she’s being treated for all the fun injuries you get when you fall and are 300 years old. That thing where it turns out if you did slapstick in reality it would hurt. Great revelation there.

Meanwhile in Crankshaft a reporter we’ve seen, like, once before is asking the vulture capitalist firm that took over his paper sold off all the assets while laying off all the employees, leaving behind something unable to function. This story of a reporter unaware of what vulture capitalist firms are for is being treated like it’s this era-defining story in which the thing we’ve all known is wrong finally gets a name and a face.

I try and read the comic strips I like, and stop reading the ones I don’t. And I just don’t know how these stories are still going on. I’m having a hard enough time. If they want to do stories I don’t like they can at least get done faster, so we have more of them.

Anyway so, without knowing anything specific about you, I recommend being angry at some level between 4.75 and 5.45. I’d like to think either story will be finished soon. But the ending of any Funky Winkerbean opens a chance for a Les Moore story to start.

In short, harrumph.

Statistics August: How August 2021 Treated My Humor Blog


August 2021 was a bad month for me. I don’t wish to get too personal here. But you see how bad it was from my mid-month crashing out of reviewing 60s Popeye cartoons. The Popeye cartoon reviews were already a thing I did to conserve energy, so you see how bad it’s been I had to switch to reposting old Talkartoon reviews. I hope that things are getting better, and that I’ll be able to get back at least to the Popeye-reviewing. However, I intend to rerun all the rest of my Talkartoon essays to give myself time to recover. Between those and the MiSTings, right now, the only things I’m writing each week are the Statistics Saturday and the What’s Going On In story strip recaps. That feels as much as I can commit to right now.

How did a month with such a limited creative output work out? To my surprise, it brought more readers than the previous several months did. Here’s the numbers:

Bar chart of monthly readership figures for two and a half years' worth of the blog. There's been a modest three-month upswing in views and unique readers. But both views and unique readers are below the twelve-month averages leading up to this, in part because of a large spike in April 2021.
Some may ask why I do these monthly recaps that are alla bout myself. One answer is that they’re not hard to do and they prove strangely popular. Another is that I want to reassure other WordPress blogger that it’s not you, the whole platform is slowly dying and nobody knows what to do about it.

So there were 4,678 page views in August. That’s below the twelve-month running mean of 5,565.3 for the twelve months leading up to August 2021. That figure’s a little distorted from April, when one of my images was posted in a Fandom Drama thread on Reddit and I got spurious hits. But it’s also below the twelve-month running median of 4,996 views. Medians are less vulnerable to fluke events.

There were 2,665 unique visitors in August. That’s below the running mean of 3,365.8, again affected by that Reddit thread. It’s also below the median of 3,036.5 unique visitors, though, suggesting people are not actually that interested in four-year-old reviews of Bimbo cartoons. Their loss.

And maybe they are interested anyway. There were 137 likes given to posts in August, which is almost dead on the averages. The twelve-month running mean was 135.1 likes, and the median 132 likes for a month. There were 63 comments given in August, above the running mean of 51.0 and the running median of 42.


None of the Talkartoon reposts have been among my most popular posts for August. No, what people did want to see were these, and fair enough:

My story comic summaries are still the backbone of my popularity here. And I still feel enough energy to write them. My plan for the next month is to do these recaps:

The Amazing Spider-Man recap I intend to be the last one I do, unless the strip somehow emerges from reruns, or jumps around in the rerun cycle. This because the strip has reached the point where I started doing recaps back in 2017. Though I could do a better job recapping these strips now, my alternative is to do less job.

That is unless I decide to replace Spider-Man with another strip to recap. I’ve held off on Rip Haywire, partly because I had felt it was driven more by the comedy than the plot. But, heck, I don’t complain about Alley Oop being a comedy-adventure strip. I suppose I feel my dividing line is story strips that appear in newspapers and I’m not sure whether Rip Haywire does. That division is arbitrary, yes, but I want some compelling rule that explains why I won’t do, like, Endtown or The Martian Confederacy.


98 countries or country-like entities sent me readers in August. 18 of them were single-view countries. Here’s the map, and here’s the table listing them:

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.
Oh, I just missed out on a complete South America. You know, if you complete a continent (Australia excepted) they put you on the Freshly Pressed page. Also, is the Freshly Pressed page still a thing? I never got on it and I never see blogs boast about having been on it anymore.
Country Readers
United States 2,969
India 233
Canada 198
United Kingdom 195
Australia 69
Brazil 61
Germany 57
Spain 57
South Africa 49
Italy 37
Kuwait 37
Philippines 37
Saudi Arabia 37
Sweden 35
Austria 32
Turkey 32
Finland 29
France 28
Nigeria 27
Mexico 26
Japan 21
Ireland 18
Ecuador 17
New Zealand 17
Denmark 15
Malaysia 14
Peru 14
Taiwan 14
Indonesia 13
Israel 13
Norway 13
Qatar 12
Colombia 11
Romania 11
South Korea 11
Thailand 11
Argentina 10
Jordan 10
Oman 10
Russia 10
Egypt 9
Lebanon 9
Netherlands 7
Greece 6
Macau SAR China 6
Pakistan 6
Bulgaria 5
Hungary 5
Paraguay 5
Portugal 5
United Arab Emirates 5
Algeria 4
Belgium 4
Czech Republic 4
Hong Kong SAR China 4
Lithuania 4
Montenegro 4
Nepal 4
Switzerland 4
Vietnam 4
Chile 3
Croatia 3
Iraq 3
Morocco 3
Puerto Rico 3
Uruguay 3
Bahamas 2
Bangladesh 2
Barbados 2
Belize 2
Bolivia 2
China 2
European Union 2
Guatemala 2
Kenya 2
Libya 2
Poland 2
Singapore 2
Tanzania 2
Venezuela 2
Bahrain 1
Costa Rica 1
Dominica 1
El Salvador 1
Guadeloupe 1
Guyana 1
Jamaica 1
Malta 1
Mauritania 1
Panama 1
Papua New Guinea 1
Serbia 1
Sri Lanka 1
St. Lucia 1
Sudan 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1
Tunisia 1
Ukraine 1

This month was a clean sweep. No countries that sent me a single reader in August were single-reader countries in July, and vice-versa. Haven’t had that happen in ages.


WordPress figures I posted 26,178 words in August, for 844.5 words per posting. WordPress has no idea how many of these words are reprinted from earlier, including in this blog. I won’t tell it if you don’t. It brings me to a total of 175,025 words for the year, as of the start of September, and an average 720 words per posting, which is exhausting and I’m glad the number is now complete bunk.

Between the final episode of The Facts Of Life and the start of September I’ve posted 3,134 things to this blog. They attracted 251,025 views from 144,101 unique visitors. And, what the heck, a total of 4,703 comments too.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, please do. The easiest way to be sure you don’t miss anything is to use the panel in the upper right corner of the page to follow Another Blog, Meanwhile via e-mail. This will send every post the moment it’s published, and before its typos are corrected, to your inbox, where you can mark it as read and intend to get back to it sometime.

Or, if you have a WordPress account, you can add the blog to your Reader page, using the sticker that’s just above the e-mail box, and just below the search bar. Or you can add a feed of my essays to your RSS reader. If you need an RSS reader there are options. This Old Reader is one of them, for example, as is NewsBlur. Or you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Use https://www.dreamwidth.org/feeds/ or https://www.livejournal.com/syn to add RSS feeds to your Reading or Friends page.

And I am @nebusj@mathstodon.xyz, the mathematics-themed instance of the Mastodon network. I’m not very funny there, but then, I hear you making the inevitable joke for the other half of that sentence. In any case, thank you for reading.

What’s Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? What was the deal with Sarah and the museum? May – August 2021


Couple years back, in the last major story before Terry Beatty took over writing Rex Morgan, M.D., Sarah got mixed up with an art museum. It started with the museum soliciting art made by kids, to sell as a fundraiser. But it turned out Sarah was such a good artist that it impressed a patron with mob ties. That patron pressed on the museum to replace the charity book with one done entirely by Sarah Morgan. And she’d go to the museum to draw it, and be seen as part of the tour.

This was all a bit much. Among the things Terry Beatty did as writer was dial that back. Like, by making clear the patron pushing for all this was looking at Sarah as surrogate daughter. Like making her mentor for the museum-drawing — Rene Belluso — into a regular character with an amusing string of scams. Like turning one of the kids on a tour seeing Sarah — Edward — into a regular, with an impossibly ugly dog. And finally having Sarah get hit by a car carrying Soap Opera Amnesia Disease. She lost her too-precocious artistic abilities. And she realigned to something more in range of actual six-or-seven-year-olds.

The most recent story seems to be going back on that revision, and I don’t know Beatty’s long-term plan for it. The museum book incident’s weighed on Rex and June Morgan’s minds, at least. And this essay should catch you up to mid-August 2021 in Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D.. If you’re reading this after about November 2021, or if any news about the strip breaks, there’s likely a more useful essay at this link.

Rex Morgan, M.D.

23 May – 14 August 2021.

Kyle Vidpa, author of the Kitty Cop series of children’s graphic novels, was stuck with writers block. Fortunately Sarah Morgan, who’d warmed up on drawing stories about herself and her father doing several genres of adventure story, is a fan.

So she’s composed a hundred-page fan letter/fan fiction. And Rex Morgan had promised that Buck Wise, his friend and Vidpa’s licensing agent, would get it right to him. He’s taking his first break outside the home in a year-plus, visiting his parents, who don’t understand why he can’t use his real name on his books. His real name is Jake Rowling. Weary after a night of explaining the should-be-obvious-thesis that TERFs are bad even if standing near one might help your career, he gives in and opens the letter.

Kyle Vidpa, reading and thinking: 'Well, little Sarah Morgan, what have you sent me? ... Hmmm. ' [ After reading Sarah's 'Fan Letter' ] Kyle bursts into the bedroom: 'Lauren! Lauren! Wake up!' Lauren: 'What!? What is it? What time is it?' Kyle: 'I've GOT it! I've got the new KITTY COP book!' Lauren: 'You finally came up with an idea?' Kyle: 'Not just an idea! The whole book! It's right here!' Lauren: 'You wrote the whole next book in one night!?!' Kyle: 'No, not me, my little fan, Sarah! She sent me the next book. The whole thing's right here!' Lauren: 'What in the world are you talking about? You weren't even supposed to open that package, Jake.' Kyle: 'I know, but I'm glad I did. It's great, Lauren. Wait until you read it!'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 20th of June, 2021. I realize it’s just the inclusion of the “throwaway” top row of panels that made the adjective get repeated. But the repeated use of “little Sarah Morgan” made me think of that Sunday Phantom story about The Little Detective Who Disappeared. Anyway, I remember when I was around nine or so I had a whole sketchbook somehow and I was determined to draw a comic strip through it. And I concede that many people are better at the demands of fiction-writing than I am. My recollection is that the strip dissolved into completely dadaist nonsense by the fourth page and I hope the sketchbook was (a) never finished and (b) mercifully set on fire and the ashes scattered around the world so it could never be inflicted on mortals.

It’s love at first sight. Or story love anyway. Sarah’s story is perfect, a new Kitty Cop novel ready to go. It needs some work, yes, but “not much”. And it’s even inspired him for more books. All he has to do now is get permission to use this.

Do I buy that? … I have to answer that question in segments. Might reading someone’s fanfic break an author out of his writer’s block? Yes. Might it have ideas he wants to put into the canonical text? Sure. L Frank Baum wrote in the forewords to some of the later Wizard of Oz books how he was indebted to fans writing in. Do I believe that nine-year-old Sarah Morgan could have written a novel that needs just a little tweaking? Even given the evidence we have of her ability to compose stories? I don’t buy it. I choose to interpret this as Vidpa, happy to have his problem fixed, understating how hard turning Sarah’s story into a professional book will be. Creative energy, after a long dry spell, is often a bit manic.

June Morgan, to Sarah, who's standing upside-down: 'Australia may be on the other side of the world, Sarah, but people there don't actually live upside-down.' Sarah: 'Are you sure about that?' June: 'Yeah, I am.' Sarah: 'Phooey. Upside-down sounded like fun.' Rex: 'What do you want to do with the rest of your day, Sarah? Do you have another Kitty Cop story in mind?' Sarahh: 'Nah, why would I want to write another one? I already did that. Besides, it sounds like Jake has the whole next story figured out.' Rex: 'It did seem so when we spoke with him.' Sarah: 'I want to watch anime. Can we get crunchyroll, Dad?' Rex: 'Crunchy rolls? Like the hard rolls we have at dinner sometimes?' Sarah: 'No, Dad. It's a *TV Channel*. I want to watch 'Kirakira Pretty Cure A La Mode'.' Rex: 'You know, I have no idea what you're talking about. Does that have something to do with ice cream?' Sarah: 'Dad, we need to sit down and have a serious talk.'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 8th of August, 2021. This strip came up in one of my love’s Facebonk groups, with people asking how it was possible for a single Sunday strip to read like it has a page of script missing. And I … just don’t see it, except that it’s fair for someone who dropped in without seeing Saturday’s strip to have no idea why Sarah’s upside-down in the first row. She was practicing being upside-down in case she ever moved to Australia. But I may be too accustomed to the style of the strip to realize how it reads to people who don’t expect, for example, that Sarah flitters between obsessions without keeping her parents in the loop.

So now all that’s left is making the deal. It’ll have to go through Vidpa’s literary agent and the Morgan’s lawyers. But she’ll get co-author credit plus royalties on the book and any new-character merchandise. So, that’s a nice step up on her college expenses, and she gets to pick out a pseudonym. Plus, Kyle Vidpa’s wife is pregnant, so he could get inspiration from within his own family in nine years.

And that’s the important stuff gone on in the strip the last several months. We seem to be transitioning to a new story this week, so I can begin November 2021’s plot recap without much prologue.

Next Week!

I try to explain what’s going on in Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp, which is going to be hard. The library plot I understand. But the summer plot, about golf? If I’m working this out right it’s about someone pretending to be a worse golfer than they actually are, for the reasons. I know, that doesn’t sound like I”m on the right track to me either”.

Statistics July: What Comic Strips People Like Me Complaining About


It’s as good a time as any to look at the past month’s readership figures. It’s early in the month, by my standards, but what the heck.

In June the number of page views around here rose a bit from June’s relative low. This to 4,406 page views, which is below the twelve-month running mean of 5,546.0 for the year leading up to June. That’s an era that includes April 2021, when a picture of mine got cited on a Reddit thread, distorting my averages, though. When I compare it to the median, though, a figure much less likely to be distorted by extreme events? That’s also below the twelve-month running median, which was 4,996 page views in a month.

Bar chart of monthly readership figures for two and a half years' worth of the blog. July's shows a slight increase in views but decline in visitors from June. Both are below the twelve-month averages leading up to this, in part because of a large spike in October 2020.
You know, technical traders say I’m right at the natural floor so this is a great time to buy shares in Another Blog, Meanwhile. They expect a swing up to about 7500 views per month by the end of the year.

The number of unique visitors dropped to 2,362 in July. That’s below the running mean of 3,372.9, and below the running median of 3,036.5. I don’t know why so many people decided I wasn’t worth paying attention to this past month. I’m all right. I have more popular story strip plot recaps coming up this August. (And I suspect some of it is the lack of people coming here from my mathematics blog, which was all-but-silent in July.)

Unusually active, though? Likes. There were 165 likes given to any post here in July, above the running mean of 129.3 and running median of 129. And wildly active were comments. WordPress tells me there were 130 comments here in July, triple the twelve-month running mean of 43.1 and the median of 40.5. I haven’t had that talkative a month since January 2018; it’s been the sort of time that makes people wonder if Garrison and I can’t just text each other. We cannot. My phone is such an old-fashioned device that I include salutations and a signature with each text. I can’t communicate with people in any real fashion on it.

The most popular things posted in July were, for a wonder, not all comic strips news. Oh, an essay about why Funky Winkerbean angered everybody who reads Funky Winkerbean, sure. And some news about Vintage Mark Trail and Vintage Prince Valiant. But, like, one was just a bit of actual dialogue committed to text. Another was something that sounds like a clickbait title, so I’m glad people seem amused by it. Here’s the five most popular pieces from July:

I am startled that there’s no What’s Going On In … piece in the top five. I don’t know when’s the last time one of my usual story comic recaps wasn’t among my most popular pieces. (A June 2021 update on Judge Parker was popular, but that’s not a July piece.) The most popular regular story-comic update posted in July was the Gasoline Alley recap. That story with aliens and old-time-radio.

But to speak of the story comics summaries. I’m still doing story comics summaries. My plan for the next month is to take these comics in this order:

I’m pushing The Amazing Spider-Man a week “late” because, I think, this will let my summary come after the end of the current storyline. And that will be the final Spider-Man update, as this gets the strip back into stories I’ve already summarized. Yes, I’d probably do a better job recapping them, but you know what’s easier than a better job? Not working. I figure to just run a big blank space once every twelve weeks and feel happy about it. That will change if Spider-Man goes back into production, or starts running stories I haven’t already recapped.

Also the Gil Thorp recap will be an exciting challenge. I have not got the faintest recollection of anything that’s happened since the library governance story ended.


93 countries sent me any views at all. 22 of them were single-view countries. Here’s the roster:

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.
I struggle to come up with a good alt text for this every month. It feels like anyone not seeing the image isn’t really missing anything.
Country Readers
United States 3,003
India 282
Canada 176
Greece 82
United Kingdom 82
Australia 71
Philippines 64
Brazil 56
Germany 53
Finland 46
Oman 33
South Africa 30
Spain 30
Italy 24
Ireland 19
Ecuador 18
Sweden 18
France 17
Netherlands 17
Russia 16
Mexico 13
Norway 11
Japan 10
Malaysia 9
Pakistan 9
Romania 9
Colombia 8
Hong Kong SAR China 8
New Zealand 8
Nigeria 8
Thailand 8
El Salvador 7
Argentina 6
Bahrain 6
Bangladesh 6
Chile 6
Czech Republic 6
Iraq 6
South Korea 6
China 5
Denmark 5
Israel 5
Portugal 5
Singapore 5
Taiwan 5
Bulgaria 4
Croatia 4
European Union 4
Indonesia 4
Mauritius 4
Belgium 3
Hungary 3
Puerto Rico 3
Turkey 3
Vietnam 3
Algeria 2
Jamaica 2
Jordan 2
Kenya 2
Lebanon 2
Libya 2
Montenegro 2
Nepal 2
Poland 2
Saudi Arabia 2
Serbia 2
Sudan 2
Switzerland 2
Trinidad & Tobago 2
Ukraine 2
United Arab Emirates 2
Austria 1
Barbados 1
Belarus 1 (*)
Dominican Republic 1 (***)
Egypt 1
Estonia 1 (*)
Guam 1
Iceland 1
Isle of Man 1
Kuwait 1 (*)
Kyrgyzstan 1
Latvia 1
Lithuania 1
Luxembourg 1
Madagascar 1
Morocco 1
Paraguay 1
Peru 1
Slovakia 1 (*)
Sri Lanka 1
St. Vincent & Grenadines 1 (*)
Zimbabwe 1 (*)

Belarus, Estonia, Kuwait, Slovakia, St Vincent & Grenadines, and Zimbabwe were all single-view countries in June also. Dominican Republic has been one view a month for four months now. I hope they really like whatever it is they choose to read.


WordPress figures I posted 25,348 words in July, for an average of 817.7 words per post. This is why I feel like I don’t have any time anymore. (It’s distorted by all those MiSTings, which are enormous but are also mostly written ages ago, and half of those by someone else.) July brings my words-per-posting for the year up to 702, the longest it’s been. I need to short some of these Popeye cartoons to make up the balance.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, thank you! You can get all these essays by their RSS feed, and never appear in my statistics. If you need an RSS reader, I can get you hooked up. This Old Reader is an option, for example, as is NewsBlur. Or you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Use https://www.dreamwidth.org/feeds/ or https://www.livejournal.com/syn to add RSS feeds to your Reading or Friends page.

If you’d like to get new posts before I can correct their typos, you can sign up for e-mail delivery. (It’s impossible to get all the typos corrected.) Or if you have a WordPress account, you can use “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” to add this page to your Reader. And I am @nebusj@mathstodon.xyz, the mathematics-themed instance of the Mastodon network. Thanks for reading, however you find most comfortable.

Statistics June: How In June 2021 Everyone Figured They Had Maybe A Bit Too Much Of Me


I know I can’t stay popular forever and it’s amazing I can be kind-of popular at all. The last couple months my readership’s buoyed by comic strip drama. There’s been none of that for a while.

According to WordPress there were 4,154 page views around here in June. That’s the lowest figure since June of 2020. It’s way below the twelve-month running mean of 5,530.2 page views per month. It’s also well below the twelve-month running median of 4,996 page views. WordPress also says the number of unique visitors dropped, too. There were 2,527 unique visitors recorded, the lowest count since August 2020. My twelve-month running mean was 3,357.0 unique visitors per month, and a running median of 3,036.5.

Two and a half years' worth of monthly readership figures. After a peak in April 2021 there've been several months of decline.
Still it is neat to have had twelve months’ worth of more than four thousand page views a month. I can’t credit all of that to clicking “refresh” 3800 times a month.

If there’s any consolation, the people who remained interacted some more. There were 134 things liked in June. That’s a bit above the running mean of 125.2 and the median of 128. And the number of comments was up, as well. There were 54 comments given, compared to a twelve-month running mean of 41.3 and median of 39.

Here’s what the most popular posts were in June:

And not to brag but I’ve had a delightful bunch of dumb Statistics Saturday posts recently. The most popular of those this past month was a tie between:

So that’s the sort of month it was around here.

There’s no sense guessing what kind of month July will be. But I have reason for hope. The comic strip plot recaps I have planned are some reliable popular ones:

That’s all a plan, though. It’s subject to change if news develops. All the story strip recaps are at this link, though.


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.
I feel like I have fewer page views from Paraguay than I should expect. But it turns out that I’ve had nineteen whole page views from Paraguay in the past ten years alone. So that’s nice to know.

There were 86 countries or country-like entities sending me readers in June. 24 of them got a single view each. Here’s the roster:

Country Readers
United States 2,907
India 200
Canada 194
United Kingdom 86
Philippines 79
Germany 73
Australia 69
Brazil 68
South Africa 28
Switzerland 25
Japan 22
Romania 22
Mexico 21
Italy 18
Ireland 17
Spain 17
France 16
Malaysia 15
Ecuador 13
Greece 13
Singapore 13
Sweden 13
Finland 12
Indonesia 10
Netherlands 10
South Korea 10
Trinidad & Tobago 9
Vietnam 9
New Zealand 8
Norway 8
Argentina 7
Hong Kong SAR China 7
Peru 7
Taiwan 7
Chile 6
Denmark 6
Poland 6
United Arab Emirates 6
Colombia 5
Papua New Guinea 5
Turkey 5
Russia 4
Sri Lanka 4
Croatia 3
Czech Republic 3
Egypt 3
El Salvador 3
European Union 3
Hungary 3
Israel 3
Macedonia 3
Malta 3
Nigeria 3
Serbia 3
Venezuela 3
Austria 2
Bolivia 2
Bulgaria 2
Cyprus 2
Jamaica 2
Moldova 2
Uzbekistan 2
American Samoa 1
Armenia 1
Belarus 1
Belgium 1
Cambodia 1
Dominican Republic 1 (**)
Estonia 1
Fiji 1
French Guiana 1
Georgia 1
Iraq 1
Jordan 1
Kuwait 1
Maldives 1 (*)
Nicaragua 1
Pakistan 1
Panama 1
Senegal 1
Slovakia 1
St. Vincent & Grenadines 1
Thailand 1
Ukraine 1
Uruguay 1
Zimbabwe 1

Maldives was a single-view country in May. Dominican Republic has been a single-view country two months running. There’s no countries that have gone four months in a row with one view each.


WordPress estimates that I published 21,504 words here in June, which is well down from May. It’s closer to the year’s average. This was 716.8 words per posting in June. It brings me to a total 123,499 words published for the whole year. And so my average words per post this year has grown to 682. I need some more Popeye reviews where I say nothing except how this was a Popeye cartoon after all.

Between the film version of The Music Man (1962) and the start of July WordPress records 241,944 page views here, from 139,076 unique visitors. I don’t know what I’ll do for my 250,000th page view, but that’s not something I’ll have to deal with for a couple months anyway.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, I don’t know how this article convinced you. But it’s a happy thought. All my posts are available on an RSS feed. And you won’t appear in my statistics in any way if you read that way. There are several ways to read RSS. This Old Reader is an option, for example, as is NewsBlur. Or you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Use https://www.dreamwidth.org/feeds/ or https://www.livejournal.com/syn to add RSS feeds to your Reading or Friends page.

If you’d like to get new posts without typos corrected, you can sign up for e-mail delivery. Or if you have a WordPress account, you can use “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” to add this page to your Reader. Whatever works for you works for me. Thank you.

Statistics May: How In May 2021 Everyone Figured They Had The Right Amount Of Me


The past couple months had unusual things bring readers here. People looking for that post about which color tablet makes which Easter egg color, for example. Easter isn’t all that unusual, but most months it doesn’t happen. Or people on Reddit linking to one of my pictures to explain Mark Trail drama. As best I can tell, in May, none of that happened. There were just people coming around for their usual reasons. These reasons are plot recaps of story strips, this one S J Perelman essay, and bots trying to place generic comments on every web site they can reach. And what does this imply for my readership totals?

They went incredibly average. May 2021 looks to be the average-est month I’ve ever had. WordPress says there were 4,910 page views in May 2021. That’s below the twelve-month running mean, leading up to May, of 5,478.7 views per month. But it’s almost dead on the twelve-month median, which was 4,930 page views. There were 2,979 unique visitors as WordPress counts these things. That’s again below the mean of 3,317.5. But it’s still quite close to the twelve-month running median of 2,979. There were 38 comments in May. In the twelve months leading up to May there were a mean of 41.3 comments per month, and a median of 39.5 comments per month.

Bar chart of two and a half years' worth of monthly readership figures. After an upward spike in April and a smaller hig point in March the readership was down to rather close to 5,000 page views in May.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of blogger I’d be if I hadn’t discovered people want to read me explaining Gil Thorp to them. It’s too horrible a fate to consider.

It’s in likability that May stands out. There were 199 things liked in May. The mean is 114.2 per month, and the median 120.5. I think people love me mentioning forgotten sitcom Alice.


The most popular things from May this past month were mostly comic strip news, as usual:

I’m glad other people are as baffled by remembering anything about Alice as I am. The most popular of the MiSTings was Dreams of a Lost Past/Loss, Part 2 of 4 and I don’t know why that should be the best-liked slice of that.

Not one of my most popular pieces, somehow, but deserving of attention? Here’s how to get rid of WordPress’s Block Editor and get the good editor back. You’re welcome, everybody who hates WordPress’s Block Editor, which is to say, everyone who uses WordPress’s Block Editor. This would include the people who programmed the Block Editor, except we know they do not use the Block Editor. If they used the Block Editor they would have either fixed any of its limitless problems, or resigned rather than continue to endorse that fiasco.

My plan for story comic recaps for the coming month is to do these:

As ever, that’s subject to rejiggering if events warrant. When Rocket Raccoon gets done insulting The Amazing Spider-Man, I figure to drop that strip. The comic will have cycled back into strips I’ve already recapped. While I could do a better job recapping them now, do I need to do that work?

I’m open to thoughts about how to replace Spider-Man. Might do one of the not-newspaper-syndicated story comics like Rip Haywire. Or the humor story strip Safe Havens. But since I’ve missed its big multi-year Mars Mission storyline that’s probably anticlimax. I will not be reporting on what’s going on in Endtown because by the time any Endtown story is a month old I have no idea what’s going on in it. But, if someone has a good idea, please share.


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.
Also sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I hadn’t pre-written the alt text, to describe what this monthly readership map looks like, so I can copy and paste that to each month for which it applies. And what will happen if I ever have a month where it doesn’t apply, like because I get way more page views from Ecuador than from the United States.

In May, some 85 countries sent me any readers at all. 18 of them were a single reader each. Here’s the roster:

Country Readers
United States 3,416
India 226
United Kingdom 164
Canada 161
Germany 117
Brazil 91
Philippines 83
Australia 81
Italy 36
Spain 30
Sweden 29
France 28
Norway 26
Austria 22
Finland 22
Romania 21
Netherlands 18
Ecuador 17
South Africa 17
Denmark 16
Indonesia 16
European Union 14
Ireland 14
Mexico 14
Japan 12
Poland 12
Argentina 10
Jamaica 10
New Zealand 10
Czech Republic 9
Egypt 8
Greece 8
Albania 7
Malaysia 7
Turkey 7
Chile 6
French Guiana 6
Georgia 6
Israel 5
Nigeria 5
Portugal 5
South Korea 5
Thailand 5
Ukraine 5
Belgium 4
Cape Verde 4
Cayman Islands 4
Singapore 4
Switzerland 4
Bahamas 3
Colombia 3
Croatia 3
Hungary 3
Kuwait 3
Peru 3
Russia 3
St. Lucia 3
Taiwan 3
Bangladesh 2
Burundi 2
Costa Rica 2
Guernsey 2
Honduras 2
Hong Kong SAR China 2
Paraguay 2
Trinidad & Tobago 2
United Arab Emirates 2
Algeria 1 (*)
Brunei 1
Bulgaria 1
China 1
Dominican Republic 1 (*)
Guatemala 1
Iceland 1
Latvia 1 (*)
Lebanon 1
Libya 1
Lithuania 1
Macau SAR China 1
Maldives 1
Morocco 1
Oman 1
Qatar 1 (*)
Saudi Arabia 1
Serbia 1

Algeria, Dominican Republic, Latvia, and Qatar were single-view countries in April also. There’s no countries that have gone three months in a row with one view each.


WordPress says I posted 26,084 words in May, bringing my year’s total up to 101,995. I’ll accept that, even though it means my average post was a hefty 841.4 words. I think the MiSTings are ratcheting my averages up. It does bring my average post for the year up to 676 words. That’s the highest that figure’s been this year.

In the time between US President Dwight Eisenhower’s first meeting with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (1956) and the start of June, I have posted 3,042 pieces here. They were viewed a total 237,789 times by 136,548 unique visitors.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, great! Keep doing the thing you’re doing right now. That would be easier if you have an RSS reader. You won’t show up in my statistics, unless you comment, but you can read the articles from my RSS feed. If you don’t have an RSS reader you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Then https://www.dreamwidth.org/feeds/ or https://www.livejournal.com/syn lets you add any RSS feed to your friends page. More blogs than you imagine have RSS feeds. Give it a try.

And if you have a WordPress account, you can use the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button to add this page to your Reader page. You can also sign up for e-mail delivery of posts as they happen. That will give you posts with all the typos that I fix in the quarter-hour after a post publishes, so, be warned.

What’s Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? What does Buck Wise do? February – May 2021


Buck Wise, who’s been the conduit for a lot of the stories in Rex Morgan, M.D., since I started recapping, is … uh … He does merchandising somehow, and that’s got him in touch with a bunch of comic artists. Some, like “Horrible” Hank Harwood, were famous in the old days. Some, like Kyle Vidpa, are rising stars of today.

This should catch you up on the strip to late May 2021. If you’re reading this after about August 2021 and need a recap? Or if news about Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. breaks out? An essay at this link might be more useful to you. Now let’s get into details.

Rex Morgan, M.D..

28 February – 23 May 2021.

My last checkup with Rex Morgan, M.D., saw Buck Wise acclimating to living with diabetes. Some diet changes, some exercise changes, and all that. It wrapped up about a week later.

And since then? … It’s been a gentle plot even for a story strip that was already full of gentle plotting. This started with Sarah Morgan feeling neglected by her parents and having a string of fantasies. So she imagined what if her father wasn’t a doctor? What if he was, say, a Western cowboy? So this started a series of fantasy sequences which let Terry Beatty show off different ways he could draw the strip if it had a different theme. The first sequence, Tex Morgan, ran from the 9th through the 17th of March. It was about Tex Morgan saving Sarah from kidnapping desperado Butch Belluso.

[ Sarah imagines Rex is a cowboy in the old west. ] Villager: 'Who's that *other* feller ridin' into town?' Tex Morgan: 'That's my sidekick, Buck. The ol' Buckaroo.' Second Villager: 'Why, sure. Every hero has to have a sidekick, don't he?' Villager: 'How come, though? All they ever do is get captured and such.' Third Villager: 'Well, that drives the *story*, see? Creates a conflict and all that here.'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 13th of March, 2021. One can admire young Sarah’s understanding of the needs of drama without wondering why she doesn’t depict her teachers or babysitter or anyone besides her dad’s friend’s friends.

As happens, Sarah got tired of the setting, so she changed genre, and Beatty changed art style. And we got a couple weeks of Rod Morgan, a Dick Tracy-esque figure. This carried on her rescue from Shinytop, who’s another representation of Rene Belluso. So that ran from the 18th through the 26th of March. From the 27th, it shifted once more into a Batman ’66 pastiche, Doctor Rex and Princess. Here, again, foiling The Forger, another Rene Belluso figure, who’s been forging all sorts of classic bits of comic art. And that went on through the 8th of April, when Rex had some time away from not seeing patients to talk with Sarah. He promised to spend some more time with her, alone. And she promises to write out these stories she’s making up.


We get a short visit with Jordan Harris and Michelle Carter, from the 25th of April through the 2nd of May. They now plan to get married over Zoom, we get into the next and current story. It’s again through Sarah Morgan. Her new favorite books ever are the Kitty Cop series of books, by Kyle Vidpa. Who’s a client of Buck Wise’s, it happens. She can’t wait for the next book in the series. She starts writing a fan letter, encouraged by Buck Wise’s promise that he can get him to actually read it himself. Before you know it, Sarah’s on page 782 of her letter.

Which may work out for Kyle Vidpa. He’s been suffering writer’s block. After having Kitty Cop fight a giant robot, a giant robot dinosaur, a giant robot monkey, and a giant robot squirrel, what’s next? (My suggestion: two regular-size robot bunnies.) His wife offers limited sympathy since she figures children’s books are silly and thus easy. It’s an attitude I imagine gets her talked about when they go to professional conferences. But she does offer the advice that they’ve been stuck in one house for a year-plus now. Any kind of visit, even to see family, may help him.

Lauren Vidpa: 'Maybe you should just focus on the business stuff today. Look over those toy designs and get back to Buck. Don't worry about the new book.' Kyle Vidpa: 'Easy for you to say. You don't have FIVE MILLION nine-year-olds desperately waiting for YOU to deliver a new volume.' Lauren: 'You can't think about that. Just take a day to do the business stuff, and relax --- a new story will come to you --- it always does.'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 15th of May, 2021. Sure, Lauren here doesn’t have five million nine-year-olds waiting for the new Kitty Cop volume. But she does have several hundred parents of those nine-year-olds who are blaming her, specifically, for the Kitty Cop books not coming out faster. And they’ve found her Facebonk page, so she’s having a great time, really.

And that’s where things stand. We have a children’s book writer with no ideas for his next work. We have a child about to unleash an 86,398-page fan latter on him. The child’s been shown to have an energy for creating at least fragments of stories in traditional comic-strip or pulpy modes. Will those come together? I don’t know. My experience with writers block is sometimes someone else’s ideas, without my using them, will shake my own thinking loose.

Couple curious things in Sarah’s imaginary versions of her father. One is that these stories are self-aware, with the characters talking about how they know they’re sidekicks or villains or whatnot. Sometimes complaining about their parts in the story. I’m fine with that, though. Self-aware stories are some of the most liberating and wonderful things a child can discover and it’s natural to imitate that.

[ Sarah Morgan's imaginary adventures of DOCTOR REX and Princess - It's not over yet, folks! ] Belluso, The Forger, to the camera: 'I'm the villain of this thing, and I'm STILL on the loose! So MANY clown portraits left to paint!' He's in front of an erzatz Emmet Kelly clown portrait. [ SARAH's imaginary adventure continues. Having escaped the Forger's death trap in the art museum, DOCTOR REX and THE PRINCESS track the nasty and notorious FORGER to his secret lair! ] Rex and Sarah crash through the skylight. Rex: 'Time to take your MEDICINE, you dime-store doodler!' The Forger: 'ARRGGHH! You escaped my trap! Impossible!' Buck: 'Well, it's clearly *possible*, Boss. I mean, look, they're right there!' Forger: 'You are the WORST henchman ever. You know what? You're fired. Just FIRED. I am SO done with you.' Buck: 'Do I still get my severance package?' Forger: 'WHAT? NO! Now get out so I can defeat these caped crimefighters!' Buck: 'NEITHER of them wears a cape. LOOK --- no CAPES. Y'know, for an ARTIST you're really not very OBSERVANT.' [ To be concluded --- SOOON, we hope! ]
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 4th of April, 2021. All right, he doesn’t pay attention to capes, but he can just nail a bicycle, from memory. Anyway, you see how much fun Terry Beatty was having with this. I’m not sure how much of this reflects how fun it can be to do a bunch of story beats without worrying about needing a resolution.

More curious is that in all of them Rene Belluso is a villain, and particularly an art forger. The real Belluso is both. Last we saw him he’d been arrested for running scams on Covid-19 victims, and before that he was running a Celestial Healing health scam. Before that, he was forging art, too, yes. But when Sarah did know him (mostly before Terry Beatty took over the writing) it was him as an art instructor. Does she actually know any other side of him? I do not remember. But we can suppose Sarah’s parents said something about why she was suddenly no longer seeing this adult. I can’t answer what Sarah knows about Rene Belluso is all.

Next Week!

High school sports! Which gets us hip-deep into Public Library Politics. How? I’ll explain as I recap Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp in one week, unless circumstances interfere.

Here’s how to get rid of WordPress’s Block Editor and get the good editor back


I posted this earlier today to my mathematics blog. I’m re-posting it so more people can get the good news and avoid the awful, awful, awful Block Editor wants people to use.

This is how to dump the Block Editor and get the classic, or ‘good’, editor back. WordPress’s ‘Classic Editor Guide’ explains that you go to your — not your blog’s — account settings. That would be https://wordpress.com/me/account. Under ‘Account Settings’ look for the ‘Interface Settings’ section. There’s a toggle for ‘Dashboard appearance’. Click it to ‘Show wp-admin pages if available’, and save that setting. There! Now you have the usable editor again.

Screenshot of https://wordpress.com/me/account showing the Account Settings / Interface Settings section. A red ellipse outlines the 'Show wp-admin pages if available' toggle.
There it is! ‘Show wp-admin pages if available’ and if they ever stop being available, I’m out of here.

Now for how I came to this knowledge.

About two months ago WordPress pushed this update where I had no choice but to use their modern ‘Block’ editor. Its main characteristics are that everything takes longer and behaves worse. And more unpredictably. This is part of a site-wide reorganization where everything is worse. Like, it dumped the old system where you could upload several pictures, put in captions and alt-text for them, and have the captions be saved. And somehow the Block Editor kept getting worse. It has two modes, a ‘Visual Editor’ where it shows roughly what your post would look like, and a ‘Code Editor’ where it shows the HTML code you’re typing in. And this past week it decided anything put in as Code Editor should preview as ‘This block has encountered an error and cannot be previewed’.

It’s sloppy, but everything about the Block Editor is sloppy. There is no guessing, at any point, what clicking the mouse will do, much less why it would do that. The Block Editor is a master class in teaching helplessness. I would pay ten dollars toward an article that studied the complex system of failures and bad decisions that created such a bad editor.

This is not me being a cranky old man at a web site changing. I gave it around two months, plenty of time to get used to the scheme and to understand what it does well. It does nothing well.

For example, if I have an article and wish to insert a picture between two paragraphs? And I click at the space between the two paragraphs where I want the picture? There are at least four different things that the mouse click might cause to happen, one of them being “the editor jumps to the very start of the post”. Which of those four will happen? Why? I don’t know, and you know what? I should not have to know.

In the Classic Editor, if I want to insert a picture, I click in my post where I want the picture to go. I click the ‘Insert Media’ button. I select the picture I want, and that’s it. Any replacement system should be no less hard for me, the writer, to use. Last week, I had to forego putting a picture in one of my Popeye cartoon reviews because nothing would allow me to insert a picture. This is WordPress’s failure, not mine.

With the latest change, and thinking seriously whether WordPress blogging is worth the aggravation, I went to WordPress’s help pages looking for how to get the old editor back. And, because their help pages are also a user-interface clusterfluff, ended up posting this question to a forum that exists somewhere. And, wonderfully, musicdoc1 saw my frustrated pleas and gave me the answer. I am grateful to them and I cannot exaggerate how much difference this makes. Were I forced to choose between the Block Editor and not blogging at all, not blogging would win.

I am so very grateful to musicdoc1 for this information and I am glad to be able to carry on here.

If you are one of the WordPress programmers behind the Block Editor, first, shame on you, and second, I am willing to offer advice on how to make an editor. First bit of advice: it should be less hard than using a scrap of metal to carve a message into Commander Data’s severed head for recovery 500 years in the future. There’s more that’s necessary, but get back to me when you’ve managed that at least.

Statistics April: how Mark Trail once again gets people to sort of notice me


I do not keep obsessive, day-to-day track of my readership figures. I’m too prone to obsession for it to be good to track things that flutter so. But the panel used to post things has a little readership graph.

So I noticed a spike of views, and viewers, the 12th of April. And a bigger one the next day. Most of that spike evaporated by the 14th. But the readership was still appreciably larger than average for a week or so. And it wasn’t the spike from my post about what color tablet produces which Easter egg color. There was a spike from that, yes, but in the days leading up to Easter, like you’d expect. So what explains this 51st-anniversary-of-Apollo-13 spike?

(Daytime) photograph of the exit gate for Lakeside Amusement Park (Denver, Colorado), with the word 'REDIT' spelled out in (not yet illuminated) lights.
By the way, if you should have the chance to visit Lakeside Park in Denver, I highly recommend it. It’s got great piles of gorgeous 1930s-era amusement park architecture, a fantastic wooden roller coaster we didn’t get to ride enough, and one of the strangest carousels you could hope to ride. Also a fantastic and strongly democratic philosophy about ride pricing.

Yeah, it’s Reddit’s fault. A thread on the Hobby Drama Reddit described how James Allen left Mark Trail and how Jules Rivera joined it. The thread linked to one of the strips I’ve used in a What’s Going On In … post. And a lot of people clicked on that. So WordPress credited me with a lot more views, and viewers, than I’d otherwise expect. This was my most popular month by far, but, must be said, there’s an asterisk attached. I can’t fault anyone for linking to a picture I copied for fair use from Comics Kingdom. It reassures me in my judgement that these are important, representative strips I’m selecting. But I would like it if sometimes writers linked to my blog, or at least the tag, directly. It’d be nice to pick up a regular reader or two from these flash floods sometime.

Granting there is an asterisk, though, this gives me quite happy-looking readership figures. WordPress credits me with 9,423 views in April. This doesn’t quite double the twelve-month running mean of 5,160.6 views, nor does it quite double the twelve-month median of 4,930 views. It’s close to doubling, though, so I look forward to this messing up my mean and median comparison for a year to come. I’m also credited with 6,594 unique visitors, and that is more than double the twelve-month running mean of 3,047.7 visitors. And the twelve-month median of 2,937 visitors.

Bar chart of monthly readership for two and a half years. After several months that were higher than average April 2021 was extremely high, nearly double the average month from the past year.
Bar chart of monthly readership for two and a half years. After several months that were higher than average April 2021 was extremely high, nearly double the average month from the past year.

In the figures that show some engagement? That’s all much more average. There were 140 things liked in April, which is pretty good lately; the twelve-month mean was 108.3 and the twelve-month median 108.5 likes per month. Nothing like the flush days of 2015, though, when there wasn’t a month below 279 likes. And there were 40 comments. This is exactly the median of the previous twelve months. The running mean was 42.0, so, I probably had a typical enough month with a heap of Reddit splashed on top.

So. I like looking at what posts were popular. The six most popular things this past month which were posted in March or April were:

I went to six, rather than give, just because I’m so stupidly fond of that Movie Mis-Quotes one. It might be my dumbest post ever and I don’t care. It’s glorious.

Of course, the things most sought-after are my comics posts. My plan for the coming month is to explain what’s going on in:

That’s just the plan, of course, and it’s subject to change if circumstances call for it.

World map with the United States in deepest red, and most 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.
Wow, strange that it looks like nearly all those Reddit readers interested in Mark Trail drama were from the United States. How could that happen?

There were 93 countries, or things like countries, sending me readers in April. 27 of them were a single view each. Here’s the roster.

Country Readers
United States 6,785
Canada 444
Australia 408
United Kingdom 286
India 251
Germany 200
Philippines 83
France 79
Brazil 67
Italy 50
Sweden 49
Finland 46
Spain 42
South Africa 36
Norway 34
Singapore 33
Ireland 32
Portugal 31
Malaysia 27
Japan 26
European Union 23
Romania 21
Sri Lanka 21
Netherlands 20
Switzerland 20
Mexico 19
New Zealand 19
Indonesia 18
Thailand 15
Denmark 14
Puerto Rico 14
Chile 13
Belgium 12
South Korea 12
Greece 11
Poland 11
Pakistan 9
Turkey 8
Austria 7
Hong Kong SAR China 7
Russia 7
Argentina 6
Lebanon 6
Peru 6
United Arab Emirates 6
Bosnia & Herzegovina 5
Colombia 5
Hungary 5
Israel 5
Ecuador 4
China 3
Czech Republic 3
Kenya 3
Serbia 3
Trinidad & Tobago 3
Vietnam 3
Bahamas 2
Brunei 2
Costa Rica 2
Croatia 2
Egypt 2
Estonia 2
Jordan 2
Mauritius 2
Slovakia 2
Ukraine 2
Algeria 1
Bangladesh 1
Cambodia 1
Cayman Islands 1
Cook Islands 1
Cuba 1
Dominican Republic 1
El Salvador 1
Fiji 1
Georgia 1
Ghana 1
Isle of Man 1
Jamaica 1
Jersey 1
Kuwait 1
Latvia 1
Lithuania 1 (*)
Macedonia 1
Malta 1 (*)
Panama 1
Qatar 1
Sint Maarten 1
Slovenia 1 (*)
Taiwan 1
Tunisia 1 (*)
U.S. Virgin Islands 1
Venezuela 1 (*)

Lithuania, Malta, Slovenia, Tunisia, and Venezuela were single-view countries in March also. Nowhere’s been a single-view country three months in a row.


WordPress figures I posted 16,856 words in April, setting a new low for the year. This was an average of 561.9 words per posting in April. It gets me to 75,911 words so far in the year, an average of 633 words for each of 120 posts.

Between Margaret E Knight’s design of a machine to create flat-bottomed paper bags (1871) and the start of May 2021 (1st of May, 2021) I’ve posted 3,011 things here. These have drawn 232,879 views from 133,569 unique visitors.

I’d be glad to have you as a regular reader. This link is the RSS feed for my posts. If you don’t have an RSS reader, you can get one with a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Add any RSS feed to your reading page through either https://www.dreamwidth.org/feeds/ or through https://www.livejournal.com/syn. If you’re on WordPress, you should be able to use the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button to add it to your Reader page. And if you want, the link underneath “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” should let you sign up for e-mail delivery. I’m terrified of that one, since that sends out posts before I realize the three typos left in the article however much I proofread. But if that’s what you’re interested in, that’s what you’re interested in. Also every time I re-read an old post there’s more typos. No one has ever been able to explain this phenomenon.

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 February: People Are Acclimated To The New Mark Trail


As the month is well underway, it’s fair to look at what the readership around here last month was like. I can see from the most popular posts that people were upset about Mark Trail. But the number of people looking up Mark Trail, or other comic strips, dropped for the fourth month running.

It’s almost at a transition point, too. According to WordPress there were 4,778 page views here in February. That’s just below the twelve-month running mean, from February 2020 through January 2021, of 4,851.3. It is still above the twelve-month running median of 4,385.5. This tells me I’m benefiting from people who want the change in artist explained if not justified. The thing is, February’s also a short month. There were on (arithmetic mean) average 170.6 page views per day in February. The twelve-month running average was 158.9 leading up to February. The twelve-month running mean median 143.9. So I’m coming back to normal, after the Mark Trail boost, but not quite there yet.

Bar chart of about two and a half years' worth of monthly readership figures. The past five months have seen a steady decline; in February 2021 were 4,778 views from 2,780 visitors.
Thinking of starting a rumor that Olivia Jaimes is taking over The Far Side just so I can enjoy the sweet popularity of clickbait and outrage.

The story’s similar for the unique views. There were 2,780 unique viewers in February, a mean of 99.3 per day. The twelve-month running mean was 2,879.4 unique viewers per month, but that’s 94.3 per day. The running median was 2,564 unique viewers per month, or 84.1 per day.

On things that are exactly in line with everything? There were 101 likes given my blog in February. The running mean was 101.8. The running median 99.5. Prorated per day, it’s a little less in-line. This was an average 3.6 likes per day, compared to a running mean of 3.3 and running median of 3.2.

And comments! I had comments in February, always to my amazement. In particular there were 38 comments. The running mean was 35.5 and running median 38.5. This is an average 1.4 comments per day, with a running mean of 1.2 and running median of 1.2 for the twelve months leading up to February.

This all suggests I’m losing the Mark Trail outrage readership. The Mallard Fillmore controversy might help me out a bit this month.

I intended to link the five most popular articles from the past two months. This ended up with another tie for fifth place. That’s convenient, though, as it lets me reach to one of my long-form pieces.

I do expect to finish off The Tale of Fatty Raccoon this month. I haven’t decided whether to go back to writing wholly original long-form pieces or what. I might do some more MiSTings. They’ve been pleasant to do, although much of that pleasantness depends on how Arthur Scott Bailey is good source material. I can’t guarantee that another book would be as good. Also I don’t know that I want to go another twenty(?) weeks on some forgotten animal-adventure book. I’m open to hearing opinions, if anyone has them, though.

What I do plan on writing are comic strip plot summaries. My plan for the month ahead is to take this order, provided breaking news or special circumstances don’t get in the way:

Yeah, The Amazing Spider-Man is never coming out of repeats. I figure to do a couple more recaps, to get back to the story where I started doing plot recaps, and then retire it. I might start recapping Rip Haywire to make up the gap, or shift to an 11-week cycle. Or if there’s another good story strip I’m overlooking, and that could use recapping, let me know. It’s what people like to see me do, and it’s fun doing, so that’s a good match.


Map of the world showing the United States in darkest red, with Canada, India, and the United Kingdom in a moderately dark red, and then pink for much of the rest of the Americas, Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and some of the Pacific Rim. There's few readers in Africa or in the arc from Iran through China.
Not sure which of these are small islands with one or two page views and which ones are my need to clean my screen. Please let me know of any world islands you don’t see.

77 countries sent me readers at all in February. Here’s the roster:

Country Readers
United States 3,505
United Kingdom 167
Canada 159
India 150
Philippines 81
Australia 63
Germany 53
Brazil 52
France 44
Spain 36
Finland 29
Italy 28
Peru 22
Mexico 21
Norway 20
South Africa 19
Sweden 19
Latvia 18
Malaysia 18
United Arab Emirates 15
Poland 14
Portugal 12
Denmark 11
Kuwait 11
Austria 10
Indonesia 10
Jamaica 10
Saudi Arabia 10
Netherlands 9
Singapore 9
Belgium 8
Costa Rica 8
Egypt 8
Ireland 7
Japan 7
Serbia 7
Chile 6
Puerto Rico 6
Thailand 6
Hong Kong SAR China 5
Lithuania 5
Nigeria 5
Switzerland 5
Croatia 4
European Union 4
Greece 4
New Zealand 4
Argentina 3
Czech Republic 3
Hungary 3
Turkey 3
Vietnam 3
American Samoa 2
Cayman Islands 2
El Salvador 2
Georgia 2
Iceland 2
Israel 2
Kenya 2
Romania 2
Slovenia 2
South Korea 2
Sri Lanka 2
Taiwan 2
Zimbabwe 2
Bangladesh 1 (*)
Belize 1 (*)
Bhutan 1
Bulgaria 1
Colombia 1
Guam 1
Iraq 1
Jordan 1
Liechtenstein 1
Pakistan 1
Russia 1
St. Martin 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1

Thirteen of these were single-reader countries. Only Bangladesh and Belize have been single-reader countries for two months running. Nowhere has a three-month or longer streak going.


WordPress says that I posted 19,578 words in February, which comes to an average 699.2 words per post. To date for 2021, I’m averaging 686 words per post. I need to stop having such verbose discussions of Popeye cartoons. It’s been 40,444 words for the year, up to the start of March.

Between the first publication of the nursery rhyme Mary Had A Little Lamb (the 24th of May, 1830) and the first of March, I’ve published 2,950 things to this blog. They drew a total 217,379 views from a recorded 123,380 unique visitors.

I’d like to have you as a regular reader. I don’t know how this would convince you. But you can add my posts to your RSS reader. If you lack 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.

Thank you all for reading, including those of you that are bots seeking blogs to which you can post “Great topic with lots of valuable information to think about thanx! amazorn-11824500683037495538aqprd.zabooty.narf”. Those are the ones that make it all worthwhile.

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