What’s Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? Is there a story in Rex Morgan right now? July – September 2022


Since my last update on Rex Morgan, M.D. there was one complete story, about the health problems of Aunt Tildy and her husband. And then there’s the month or so since then. This hasn’t focused on any particular character, and hasn’t shown any particular event developing. It seems to be more a refreshing of audience memory of various characters and their situations than anything else. So I can’t say what the story is, as it’s not yet clear who’s taking the lead.

I’m sure it will be clear by December 2022, when I expect to come around to Glenwood again. If you’re reading after about December 2022, or any news breaks about Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D., I should have a more useful essay here. Thanks for being with me now, though.

Rex Morgan, M.D..

3 July – 17 September 2022.

Last time I checked in, Andrzej “Count Crushinski” Bobrowski felt sick. He snuck out on his wife, June Morgan’s vaguely-Aunt Tildy, to the hospital. His presumed heart attack turned out to be heartburn. No big deal, but Rex Morgan does deliver a stern warning against driving yourself to the hospital when you’re feeling like that. You might pass out or something and have an accident. Released, Andrzej buys flowers and chocolate and tries to pretend he wasn’t anywhere in particular for hours on end.

Rex Morgan: 'With your symptoms, coming to the hospital was the best choice. What was *not* a good choice was driving yourself.' Andrzej: 'I'm a good driver, though. Tildy even says so.' Morgan: 'Yes --- but if you're having a medical emergency, you could lose control, cause an accident and injure yourself or someone else. Always have someone else drive you.'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 6th of July, 2022. Well, fortunately, we know nobody’s going to be making the mistake of driving themselves to the emergency room anytime soon!

It doesn’t work and Tildy scolds her husband for sneaking off to the hospital like that. Only then she’s feeling woozy and doesn’t feel she can spoil Andrzej’s day by having him drive her to the hospital. So she takes his car and drives herself, hoping to outrace her symptoms to the emergency room. She loses.

[ Tildy blacks out while driving to the hospital ] ... [ and her car runs off the road! ] (We see Tildy unconscious at the wheel, and the Cadillac roaring - crunch -thud!)
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 21st of July, 2022. Oh.

She’s fortunate not to be seriously hurt in the accident. In the hospital June scolds her to let the doctor on call treat her instead of holding out for Rex Morgan. Tildy turns out to have a more serious problem, a cardiac arrhythmia that they hope to treat with medicine. Andrzej rushes to join his wife and acknowledge the irony that she did the thing she had just scolded him for doing. But everything except the bills looks okay. Andrzej and Tildy settle down to watch what they think are the free streaming movies in her hospital room. And that wraps up the story.


From the 16th of August the new story started. I’m not sure how to word that. At least it’s when we began checking in on major characters. Hank Harwood Junior, for example, is off to see Yvonne, whom he met on his and his father’s road trip a couple years ago. (She’s the daughter of Millie Grey, a woman that Hank Senior might have married, and re-found with in her last days.) Buck Wise, who seems to do some kind of agent merchandising work or something, promises to check in on the elderly Hank Senior.

[ What's going on with the good folks here in Glenwood? Hank Jr is taking a trip out of town, hoping to find romance. ] Hank, on the phone: 'Boarding my plane in ten minutes. Can't wait to see you.' [ Buck is checking on Hank Sr. ] Hank Sr: 'Kind of you to stop by, Buck, but I don't really need babysitting. I'm old, but not helpless.' [ Truck Tyler looks forward to his gig at Lou's despite reservations about the opening act. ] (He's practicing guitar.) [ Kelly buckles down and studies hard to make the best of her senior year. ] (She's taking notes.) [ While Niki can't wait for the weekend. ] (He's reading a chemistry book and thinking 'This is SO dull.') [ And Rex? Treating patients, as always. ] (He's hold a stethoscope to a child's chest.)
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 11th of September, 2022. As it only feels like keeps happening, Terry Beatty summarized the strip quite well in one Sunday strip so you don’t need me. I mean, it’s absolutely coincidence even though this is the third time in eighteen months that he’s drawn a solid recap the weekend before I was going to publish mine.

After discovering that his son Corey is somehow taller than him, Wise checks in on another of his projects. This is managing the revived career of roots country singer Truck Tyler. Wise arranged a new opening act: ‘Mud Mountain’ Murphy, whom Truck had thought was dead. Nope, he was just living off the grid a while, hiding out in Funky Winkerbean after donating all his comic book stuff to Boy Lisa and joining the team at Atomik Comix. But he’s back now. Tyler is skeptical: Murphy was famously unreliable. Wise says Murphy insists he’s gotten his act together.

And then on to some of the teenagers, a futile attempt to warm me up for recapping Gil Thorp next week. Niki Roth once again uses his delivery job to get into the comic, and to visit his girlfriend Kelly. (She’s the Morgans’ babysitter.) Kelly is ready for senior year, and thinking of college. Niki has a faint awareness that they’ve been in high school since the comic strip started in 1732. He is not ready for college, or even next week, which, mood.

I want to say that’s how far the story has gotten, but as you see, it’s not much of a story yet. It seems more to be refreshing our memory of the various characters and their settings. We’ll see what thread takes the lead and where it goes by the time I get back to this strip in eleven weeks or so.

Next Week!

It is, with no snark and no exaggeration, my greatest challenge in plot summarization in years. Maybe ever. For the first time I try to explain what’s going on in Henry Barajas and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp. Be with me here in a week to learn how much I don’t know about the history of Gil Thorp and how much Henry Barajas does.

Statistics August: People Want Me To Explain If The Phantom Is Dead Already


Once again, not to spoil things, but the man who cannot die. But people are very interested in the current, yearlong-and-still-going, story in which Mozz foresees and tries to prevent The Phantom’s death. And the wholesale destruction of his family’s heritage. Let me start off by sharing the five most popular things published in August, for the month of August:

Also ranking high were earlier essays about what was going on in The Phantom. I trust that’s from old links or imperfect Google matches. I’m sure everyone found their way to something useful, sooner or later.

Comic strip recaps remain my most popular feature here, though. Let me share my plan for those comics for the next couple weeks. It’s to cover these, at these times:

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. A smaller peak reappeared in August 2022.
Only 1.94 views per visitor, so there’s no way to use this data to test Benjamin Franklin’s aphorism about fish and visitors smelling after three interactions with the main content repository server.

As for readership totals? Those were doing pretty well in August. All that Phantom trade, I’m sure. There were 6,375 page views here in August, well above the twelve-month running mean of 5,109.1 views per month. It’s even farther above the twelve-month running median of 4,702.5 views in a month.

There were more unique visitors too. 3,292 unique visitors stopped in over the course of August, which was a dogleg left under some lovely shade. The running median is 2,742.8 unique visitors, and the median 2,682.5. I was even better-liked: the number of likes given was 206, way above the mean of 148.7 and mean of 147. It was chatty on top of that, with 61 comments, compared to a mean of 46.8 and median of 47.

85 countries or their equivalents sent me any views at all in August, up from 81. 19 of them sent a single view, barely down from 20. Here’s the roster of all the origins of my viewers:

Country Readers
United States 4,378
Australia 527
India 221
Canada 195
United Kingdom 157
Italy 104
Brazil 73
Germany 47
Nigeria 42
Bahrain 41
France 41
Sweden 40
Ireland 39
Spain 37
South Africa 33
Philippines 23
Romania 22
Malaysia 20
Finland 18
Mexico 17
Netherlands 15
New Zealand 15
El Salvador 14
Indonesia 14
Japan 14
Austria 13
Kenya 13
Saudi Arabia 11
Denmark 10
Portugal 10
Belgium 9
Serbia 9
Singapore 9
Czech Republic 8
Norway 8
Switzerland 7
Bangladesh 6
Greece 6
Thailand 6
Turkey 6
Russia 5
Taiwan 5
Trinidad & Tobago 5
United Arab Emirates 5
Estonia 4
Iraq 4
Argentina 3
Chile 3
Ecuador 3
Egypt 3
Israel 3
Poland 3
Slovenia 3
Sri Lanka 3
Ukraine 3
Vietnam 3
Colombia 2
Croatia 2
Honduras 2
Kuwait 2
Lebanon 2
Montenegro 2
Pakistan 2
Peru 2
South Korea 2
Uganda 2
Albania 1
Bahamas 1
Barbados 1
Belarus 1
Cameroon 1 (*)
Cook Islands 1
Costa Rica 1
Côte d’Ivoire 1
Dominican Republic 1
European Union 1
Guam 1
Guatemala 1
Hungary 1
Libya 1
Liechtenstein 1
Madagascar 1
Morocco 1 (*)
Namibia 1
Zimbabwe 1

Cameroon and Morocco were the only single-view countries in July also. No country is on a three-month streak.

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 learn the location of so many minor islands I would otherwise have thought was crud on my computer screen by dragging the window around a little, and vice-versa.

WordPress figures I posted 19,115 words in August, which is my chattiest month this year. It brings my word total for the year to 138,526. Since the debut of the original Card Sharks to the start of September I’ve posted 3,499 things here. They’ve drawn a total of 314,034 views from a recorded 177,643 unique visitors.

If you know someone who could be my elusive reader from Greenland, please let them know about the RSS feed for my essays, the most convenient way to read anything online. Or that they could get essays e-mailed them as I publish them, once a day, slightly later each day of the month, before I fix the typos. Or they can click the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button in the right column of this page, and add the page to their WordPress reader. If you don’t know anyone in Greenland, I’m not surprised. I don’t either.

60s Popeye: Weather Watchers, and an arguable end to my 60s Popeye Watching


I have for today the last of the 1960s Popeye cartoons that King Features has put up on their YouTube channel. Or so I thought. Every source I can find says there were 220 of these short cartoons made, over a course of days and at a cost of hundreds of dollars per cartoon. King Features uploaded them four at a time into 22-minute “episodes”, and has 55 of them. And yet when I mentioned the Gerald Ray-produced The Last Resort last week, I couldn’t find where I had reviewed it in any of these essays. (I had an earlier review, from 2014, that I let stand.) I have no explanation for this.

I figure, if I can find the spoons, to go through the episodes King Features still has up and see if I overlooked that one, and any other shorts, somehow. A possible complication is that King Features has withdrawn seven of its episodes, and thus 28 cartoons. I don’t know why. My guess in the absence of actual knowledge is someone noticed there was something objectionable in one or more cartoons of the set. I would be happy to hear from someone who knew, but doubt I will.s

So for cartoons that are not missing? Here’s the last of the Jack Kinney-produced shorts. The story’s credited to Raymond Jacobs, and the animation direction to Volus Jones and Ed Friedman. From 1960 for the last(?) time, it is the Weather Watchers. Let’s weather.

Oh did I ever want my reviewing project here to end on a strong cartoon. Something I could spill over with good things to talk about. That’s more fun than even snarking is. But what we have is another of those Jack Kinney productions that makes more sense the less closely you’re watching. Like, tune out and come back to the next scene and you can rationalize how Brutus and Popeye got here and why. But go from what’s on-screen and you have a bunch of leaps of logic.

This is another in the Popeye-and-Bluto/Brutus-Compete-For-A-Job shorts. This time Popeye starts out with the job nice and secure and Brutus schemes to steal it, a variation not done much. I can’t think of another short with that setup. This time around Popeye works for the weather bureau, relying on the corns on his feet or a spin of his wheel-of-fortune for his forecasts. And his forecasts are terrible, or at least he gets two wrong in a row. The first time he’s wrong is enough to get a complaint from Brutus, who’s also asking about openings at the weather bureau. The rain, against a forecast of “fair and sunny” weather, is enough for Olive Oyl to give Popeye something like notice. He forecasts “fair and sunny” again, and Brutus sabotages this by seeding clouds.

A very wet Olive Oyl, wearing a ruined hat and looking miserable, enters the door of the Weather Bureau.
Actual footage of me reviewing my notes for this short.

With her new hat spoiled, Olive Oyl fires Popeye and hires Brutus. Popeye discovers the moth balls used to seed the clouds that something’s up, and figures it must be Brutus since who else is in the story? Well, Wimpy is, as the slightly goofy TV weatherman. The pop culture of that era tells me weather reporters of that era were goofy performers. The shift to professional meteorologists came later. But Wimpy never interacts with anybody that we see, so, Brutus is the safe and correct bet. Popeye sabotages Brutus’s forecast of sunshine, and Olive Oyl gives Brutus twenty years less chance to prove himself than she gave Popeye. Brutus turns on Olive Oyl, grabbing her by the neck, and Popeye rushes in, saving the day. As a punch line, Popeye, restored to his forecasting job, says tomorrow will be “Sunny as [Olive’s] smile, fair as [her] complexion, and warm as [her] ever-loving’ heart.” As it starts to rain, Popeye declares, “Women, phooey!” and starts singing about how ’cause he ate his spinach he’s Popeye the weatherman.

The plot summary, I imagine, sounds fine to you too. The sequence of events is what makes sense for a story about Popeye as a weather forecaster. It’s in the connective tissue of plotting that it falls down. We can take as implicit that Brutus did promise he’d eat his forecast if it were wrong. But Olive Oyl talks about how “Yes, I fell for your mothball gag”, a gag she hasn’t been seen to learn about. Heck, a gag that even Popeye has only assumed happened. Popeye sabotaging Brutus’s weather is correct, but not justified. He doesn’t know Brutus did anything. (This short suggests Brutus is a stranger to Olive Oyl, at least, and surely Popeye.) Also his sabotage is weird: dump a gigantic can of spinach into a water tank and blow up the water tank so we get spinach rain? And this when Popeye doesn’t even eat spinach himself, unless that too is off-screen, despite what we get in his not-finished closing couplet.

Popeye, on top of a water tank, pours in the contents of a gigantic can of 'King Size Spinach'.
Either that can is labelled upside-down or Popeye opened it from the bottom side, which is weird.

Get the premise and take any scene and you can imagine the scene before it which sets it up. But the scene that sets it up is never in the short. Once again we have something that makes more sense the less you pay attention. It gives that odd dream-narrative tone so common to the Kinney-produced shorts. I enjoy some of that. Dream logic makes the story feel fresher and more surprising. But it keeps me from calling this a good cartoon. It’s a first draft of a good cartoon, that’s all.


And with that, that’s all for my King Features Syndicate Popeye cartoon reviews! Until I find ones that I overlooked, at least. I would love to tell you what my plan is for the next thing to take my review-day slot. I haven’t decided, though. I’m open to suggestions, particularly if they’re ones that have reasonably stable web locations. Or I can just review that Beetle Bailey half-hour special they made for CBS in like 1989 and forgot to air. We’ll see.

Why I Am Angry at Funky Winkerbean, Yes, Again


I wrote a version of this as a comment on the Son of Stuck Funky blog, the web’s premiere source for remembering things about Funky Winkerbean, but you know? I’m still bothered so I’m going to write more.

Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean opened this week with Crazy Harry bringing over a bunch of tapes of Lisa Moore. Lisa Moore died, reader time, in 2008. It was a big story, where she responded to the news her breast cancer had returned by recording videotape messages for her daughter and then dying. The dying may seem like an extreme reaction. It seemed the best way to escape her husband, Les Moore, the most insufferable person on the comics page. It hasn’t worked, as Les Moore wrote a book about her dying and turned it into a graphic novel and an annual fun-run and a failed made-for-TV movie and a completed made-for-theaters movie and the whole of his personality except for being snide to acquaintances.

A couple years back Les Moore loaned the suspiciously many videotapes to Crazy Harry for digitization. And today, years after finishing the project and I thought returning the tapes, he came over with a bunch of the Lisa Moore tapes. What’s got me angry is a line that I might have ignored if I had more patience with the comic strip.

Summer: 'Hey, Harry!' Harry, carrying a box of VHS tapes: 'Hi there, Summer!' Summer: 'What brings?' Harry: 'Donna said I had to get rid of my boxes of VHS tapes or open a museum ... and I found some of your mom's old tapes that I forgot to get back to you.' Flashback: Harry, coming up to the same porch: 'Hi, Lisa ... I just thought I'd stop by and say 'hi'.' Lisa: 'And you just did ... twice!'
Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean for the 15th of August, 2022. Summer there is Summer Moore, the little-seen daughter of Les and Lisa Moore. She’s important in that she sits on the patio swing that Lisa Moore sat on.

Why does Crazy Harry explain that “Donna said I had to get rid of my VHS tapes”? Yes, yes, I know, because she was tired of them cluttering up the basement or whatever. But Tom Batiuk decided that Harry’s wife was tired of the clutter. Why? What does that explanation do that, oh, “I was organizing my VHS tapes and noticed I still had some” would not? Or “your father asked about a couple of these tapes, which are more precious to him than are his daughter, his current wife Not-Lisa, or the Academy Award won by the woman who played Lisa in the movie about Lisa’s Death”?

Because it fits a pattern and it’s a subtly annoying one. It’s the same role that most all the male characters have been through, where their mother made them get rid of their comic books. Or their wife made them get rid of their superhero stuff. The current era of Funky Winkerbean sees a lot of characters passively accepting the indignities of life, yes, as see Lisa Moore’s whole acceptance of death. Why is it the only time a women in this strip take an active role, it’s the off-screen decision that the man in her life has to give up a hobby?

The one time I can think of when the woman didn’t make the off-screen decision to make one of the player-characters give up a hobby was a story a couple weeks ago. Funky Winkerbean’s wife decided they were going to go to a estate-planning seminar. That’s a reasonable and grown-up thing to do, yes. It’s also something she forced him to do, and he was a total Les Moore about the experience. (The Son of Stuck Funky folks, who have an uncanny ability to find old plots, also found where Funky and Mrs Funk went to an estate planner five years ago. I’m tolerant of comic strips repeating themselves — it’s baked into the genre — but I do want the new iteration to at least be pleasant.)

Why can’t Crazy Harry decide he’s got too many hobbies and VHS tape collecting isn’t bringing him joy anymore? Why can’t Crazy Harry notice he’s got stuff he doesn’t need and doesn’t want? Why does Donna have to be the heavy? Also, why did Lisa Moore have more hours of screen time than Regis Philbin did? These are all questions I feel I cannot answer.

Statistics July: Some Round Numbers


I do like looking at my readership figures, once a month, as it’s a convenient way for me to think that I should be more popular. It also lets me lay out what my plans are for the coming month. This plan is always that I’m going to keep recapping the plots in the story strips, since that’s always the most popular thing I post. Let me start with that, come to think of it. My schedule for the coming weeks is to describe the goings-on in:

Going to be a fun month. The Dick Tracy-to-Mary Worth swing is a bunch of strips people are often asking Google about. And, you know, people have been hopping mad about Mary Worth lately, and we’re getting more Wilbur Weston in, my readership prospects are good.

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. July's figures are about the same as June's.
Once again I didn’t get a snapshot exactly at the end of June because I was doing things. But they were different things that I was doing than I was doing at the end of June. I bet the end of this month I get the screenshot exactly on the dot, though. Who ever heard of doing a thing on a Wednesday?

To the specifics, though. There were, WordPress says, 4,727 page views here in July. That’s just five fewer than there were in June. This is below the twelve-month running mean of 5,082.3 views per month, although that figure’s skewed a bit by the spike of readers in April. It is above the running median of 4,585 views per month, suggesting a bit of general growth overall.

There were 2,700 recorded unique visitors, again down a bit from June, but in line with the averages. The running mean for the twelve months leading up to July saw 2,714.6 unique visitors each month. The running median was 2,616.5.

There were 100 likes given around here in July, a second suspiciously round number. This is the first one that looks a bit sad, as it’s below the mean of 154.1 and median of 154.5 likes given in a month on average. And the number of comments — 26 — was similarly way below the running mean of 56.5 and median of 51.5. The implication is that people may see my writings more as something to read than as something to engage with. And that’s not bad, really, as I’ve struggled to engage with things myself lately. Hi, every WordPress blog I’m subscribed to but have left comments in as recently as never.

Despite the lower numbers of likes and comments, stuff got read a good bit around here. These are the posts from July with the greatest number of views, in descending order:

I do expect a Gil Thorp surge for a couple months now, while new author Henry Barajas establishes things like that Gil Thorp flies now and has an unsettled home life.

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 look at a map like this and I think is it possible to have at least one country in red for each line of longitude, the whole world round? It’s got to require Greenland to do, right? Anyway so if this is your first encounter with my writing, this photo caption is a good representative one.

81 countries or things as good as countries sent me readers in July, down-ish from June’s 82. 20 of them got a single page view, though, up from 16. Here’s the roster:

Country Readers
United States 3,546
India 169
Canada 152
United Kingdom 136
Australia 98
Italy 67
Germany 53
Brazil 38
France 32
South Africa 25
Singapore 22
Serbia 21
Austria 18
Philippines 18
Denmark 17
Finland 16
Pakistan 16
Poland 16
Spain 14
Sweden 14
Norway 13
Belgium 11
Jamaica 11
Iraq 10
Ireland 10
Japan 10
Mexico 10
Switzerland 10
Netherlands 8
New Zealand 8
Nigeria 8
Croatia 7
Peru 7
El Salvador 6
Argentina 5
Malaysia 5
Portugal 5
Romania 5
Bangladesh 4
Barbados 4
Colombia 4
Greece 4
Israel 4
Russia 4
Saudi Arabia 4
South Korea 4
Thailand 4
Tunisia 4
Bosnia & Herzegovina 3
Czech Republic 3
Hungary 3
Vietnam 3
Chile 2
Georgia 2
Hong Kong SAR China 2
Indonesia 2
Macedonia 2
Trinidad & Tobago 2
Turkey 2
Ukraine 2
United Arab Emirates 2
Algeria 1
Cambodia 1
Cameroon 1
Congo – Kinshasa 1
Ecuador 1
Egypt 1
Fiji 1
Honduras 1
Jordan 1
Kuwait 1 (**)
Lebanon 1
Lithuania 1
Mongolia 1
Morocco 1
Namibia 1
Nepal 1
Oman 1
Qatar 1
Taiwan 1
Venezuela 1

Kuwait has given me a single view for three months in a row now. No other country has been a single-view country more than one month in a row. Greenland has resumed not being a country that looks at me at all.

WordPress calculates that I posted 17,264 words in July, an average 556.9 per posting. This is down a little and brings my year-to-date average to 563 words per posting. I’m at 119,411 words posted for the year, as of the start of August.

Between the development of the lunar rovers and the start of August I’ve had 307,659 page views here, from a recorded 174,357 unique visitors. Who’ll be number 175,000? I don’t know. Probably someone from Greenland.

If you’d like your chance at being that reader from Greenland, though, good luck! The best route to reading my essays is to add the RSS feed for my essays to your reader. If you don’t have a reader, but you do have a WordPress account, you can click the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button on the upper right corner of this page. If you don’t have a WordPress account, you can use the box beneath that to get uncorrected and typeo-ridden posts e-mailed to you the moment they’re published. Or you can just click on a page that looks good and read that. Whatever’s brought you here to read this you could do again tomorrow. And maybe the rest of this month as I finally run out of 1960s Popeye cartoons to watch. I know, I’m baffled that could happen too.

What’s Going On In Gil Thorp? Who’s writing Gil Thorp now? April – July 2022


Neal Rubin stepped down as author of the Gil Thorp comic strip on Saturday. Per the Daily Cartoonist, Rubin said he felt himself running short on ideas after eighteen years at this. And he wanted to focus on his day job, sports writer for the Detroit Free Press. His comic strip retirement coincides suspiciously well with the window for my plot recaps. It’s convenient for me when the story strips have plots end right around my plot recaps. So I’d like to make explicit to them, you know, don’t contort your plans for my sake. I can cope with a period where I pay attention to how I credit these strips.

The new writer — the fourth in the strip’s history — is Henry Barajas. Barajas has some renown for comic book series that I admit I was unaware of. (This is not a slight on his work; it’s me admitting my ignorance. I haven’t followed comic books directly since Marvel’s New Universe was put out of its misery.) But they include Helm Greycastle, the biographical La Voz De M.A.Y.O. Tata Rambo, and some Avengers and Batman stuff. An interview with the Tucson Daily Star says “He plans to introduce characters of color and with different sexual orientations and gun violence,” as good a case for the Oxford Comma as I know.

Anyway, this recap should get you up to speed on the final story of Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp. If you’re reading this after about September 2022, or any more news breaks about Henry Barajas and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp, you may want to check the essays here. Thanks for reading.

Gil Thorp.

25 April – 9 July 2022.

Greg Hamm, on the boys’ baseball team at Milford, was losing his eyesight. Rapidly. His catcher, Wilson Henry, and the second baseman, sports trivia maven Eli “Scooter” Borden, had a scheme to work around this. Borden would relay the catcher’s signals by code words in his chatter. This works okay for pitching. Fielding is harder; if a ball isn’t in Hamm’s dwindling field of vision he’s helpless. When a hit zooms right past Hamm’s head without his even flinching Coach Thorp works out what’s up, and pulls the kid.

It turns out Hamm’s done an outstanding job concealing his vision problems. He even worked out how to fake his way through eye tests, so his parents and eye doctor didn’t know how bad it was. Now that they do know? Dr Maisano explains to Coach Thorp that this is the last year he could play baseball. If he wears facial protection, something like a catcher’s mask, he should be reasonably safe. Coach Thorp finally accedes to letting Hamm play.

[ Paying a visit to Gregg Hamm's eye specialist ... ] Dr Maisano: 'Trust me, Coach. I'm more irate than you. He's taken so many eye tests, he figured out how to fake his way through one.' Thorp: 'And now that you've re-tested, Doctor?' Maisano: 'Let's go talk behind his back.'
Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp for the 25th of May, 2022. Everyone dad-jokes about studying for their eye exams and then this kid went and did it!

The trick with a vision-impaired pitcher is the other teams work out where his blind spot is, and can hit to it. Borden’s girlfriend Charis Thompkins has an answer, direct from Borden’s trivia banks. Relief pitcher Ryne Duren played a decade in the late 50s and early 60s, and used his poor vision as a psychological weapon. Duren’s warmup pitches would go wild, an intimidating thing for batters to face. (Oh, and the plot bits about Thompkins and the girls’ tennis teams were not followed up on.)

An old trick is good again. Hamm warns a batter off bunting by “accidentally” throwing a pitch that barely misses the batter. The umpire demands Hamm be thrown out but Coach Thorp refuses, noting, you can’t eject a player for one bad pitch, whatever you think of his eyesight. This seems like a good way to insult the umpire while staying within the rules and make sure you never get a toss-up call your way again. Thorp tosses in an insult of how that umpire called an earlier game, which probably felt good anyway.

The blend of Hamm’s actual control, and ability to look uncontrolled when it’s intimidating, works. It launches the boys baseball team into the postseason. And the local media is quite interested in a blind pitcher.

[ After Gregg Hamm whistles a fastball four feet outside ... ] Umpire: 'Your pitcher is a menace. Take him out.' Thorp; 'You're ejecting him because he threw ball one?' Umpire: 'I'm not tossing him. But he can't see.' Thorp: 'He just fielded a batted ball. He hasn't even hit anyone. And no rule says you can make me pull him!'
Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp for the 10th of June, 2022. I’m a little surprised if there isn’t any rule by which an umpire can declare a pitcher (or other player) is too dangerous — or endangered — to play. But, as Thorp notes, he hasn’t hit a pitcher, or thrown anything wilder than ball one, and he’d fielded a ball well just one or two strips before. I suppose an umpire would have to be able to point to specific cause, that isn’t shown. This even though everyone knows what stunt Hamm was pulling. (Thorp goes on to warn Hamm not to pull the stunt again, although it’s not needed.)

The trouble is the other major part of this story. Hamm’s father is pathologically camera-shy, to the point he hides from people taking cell phone pictures of the parents in the stands. He works so hard to not be noticed that everyone notices, and feeds rumors that he’s in the witness protection program or something. Coach Thorp hears the rumors and decides to just ask the Hamms what’s going on. Greg Hamm’s mother gives the clue.

Before he was a ghost-writer for businesspeople committing books, Greg’s father was Mason Hamstetter. Hamstetter had been a hot journalist, with great cover stories in big magazines, book deals, everything you hope for when you’re a writer. He was also a plagiarist. He faked quotes. He invented sources. He got caught. So he fled New York, and truncated his name, and did his best to completely hide from a shaming public. And now, after a decade of hiding, Hamm’s wife has had enough.

Mason Hamm meets Coach Thorp, who admits he doesn’t see how there’s anything to talk to him about. But if you ask his opinion, it’s this: nobody has any idea who he is or why they should care about him. Meanwhile his son’s got an amazing story that shouldn’t be hidden for the fear that one of the four guys in a Manhattan publishing office who kind of remember his name might hear about it. It’s a hard truth that Mason accepts. He allows his son to do interviews and talk about his experience. A reporter is curious about Mason, and suggests a “where is he now” interview. But his boss kills the story because nobody cares. Having lived through his two worst fears and finding them not so bad after all? He’s able to settle in to having a son whose story might become an inspirational book he might write.

Gil Thorp: 'What now? More ghost-writing?' Mason 'Hamm' Hamstetter: 'Some. But I'm thinking of finally writing a book under my own name ... about watching my son lose his vision, and how that helped open my eyes.' They shake hands. Thorp: 'That, Mr Hamstetter, I'd buy.'
Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp for the 9th of July, 2022. The last week of the story included several parting moments, including a “be seeing you” on the wall at Channel 6, which looked like a reference to something else. But it’s not reading too much into the text to notice having a ghostwriter resolve to publish under his own name being the farewell thought of a comic strip writer — surely the slightest level of fame a writer can enjoy — moving on to other projects. On the other hand, who ever heard of a Detroit sports writer getting into the inspirational-disease-memoir racket?

Greg Hamm pitches for Milford in the state tournament, but the team loses 9-4. It was still a good season.

And with that, the 9th of July, the story ends, as does Neal Rubin’s tenure writing Gil Thorp. I’ll learn the new direction of the comic strip as you all do, but I intend to recap it in just about three months. See you then.

Milford Sports Watch!

Next Week!

Sam and Abbey’s marriage collapses while Randy Parker tries to clear his wife’s name by slipping a hard drive full of super-ultra-duper CIA secrets to a streaming-media TV show consultant. This and more in Francesco Marciuliano and Mike Manley’s Judge Parker, next week, if all goes like I plan.

Statistics June: How Much People Wish I Could Have Done Something More About Mary Worth Last Month


I did my best to work out the baffling plot point that Helen Moss, longtime teacher at Santa Rosa Community College, had to leave after her onetime crush Ian Cameron told her to stop being a jerk to his wife. I’m still not confident I have the reason clear, but I offered what I had. And people wanted to know! As I look over what the most popular June 2022-dated postings were here, the last month, my Mary Worth plot recap tops the list. Here’s the five most popular new articles from June:

Mind, the most popular thing I had of the entire month was an October 2020 post where I admitted finally getting this one Far Side. People always like hearing when someone else was baffled by a comic strip. It’s one of Gary Larson’s many gifts to us all. Anyway my favorite of the last month remains the resolve to eat Cheese Idaho.

Still, the comic strip talk is always going to be my most popular thing here. Were I to shut down the rest of the blog, that’s the part that would go last. So here’s my plan for what to talk about this coming month, and when:

Meanwhile, I still like to keep track of how popular my slightly popular blog is, and how that’s changing. And I share that because somehow that’s usually a well-liked feature too. In June 2022, according to WordPress, I had 4,732 page views here, which is below the running mean of 5,034.2 views for the twelve months leading up to June. It’s above the running median of 4,449 page views, though. These came from 2,742 unique visitors, which is above both the running mean of 2,696.7 and running median of 2,547.5. So, hey, more visitors, all of whom get tired of me faster! That’s a something.

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. There is a small wedge of July 2022's readership figures included at the end of the chart.
I know, it’s weird that I didn’t get a picture of the readership as of 7:59 PM Eastern Time the 30th of June but, understand, I’ve got stuff to do. Sometimes. Like twice a year or so. It happens.

There were 143 likes given to anything at all over the course of June, which is a little below both the running mean of 153.3 and median of 154.5. And there were 40 comments, which seems like more than I remember, but is below the mean of 56.7 and median of 53, again both of which seem like more than I remember. I have no explanation for this phenomenon.

There were 82 countries, our country-like entities, to send me any page views in June. That’s up from May’s figure of 75, if you like. 16 of them sent only a single page view, down from May’s 17. None of these countries was Greenland. I know, I’m feeling it too. Here’s what countries it was:

Country Readers
United States 3,336
India 219
Australia 169
United Kingdom 168
Canada 146
Brazil 68
Italy 54
Germany 42
El Salvador 35
Sweden 34
Philippines 30
Spain 27
Netherlands 17
Nigeria 17
Romania 17
Serbia 17
France 16
Ireland 16
Japan 16
Mexico 16
Finland 14
Thailand 14
South Africa 13
Norway 11
Vietnam 11
Croatia 10
Kenya 10
Malaysia 10
Singapore 10
Czech Republic 9
Denmark 8
Colombia 7
Austria 6
New Zealand 6
Poland 6
Taiwan 6
Chile 5
Ecuador 5
European Union 5
Hungary 5
Pakistan 5
Peru 5
Switzerland 5
Turkey 5
Albania 4
Bahamas 4
Bangladesh 4
Belgium 4
Egypt 4
Indonesia 4
Sri Lanka 4
Bosnia & Herzegovina 3
Iraq 3
Israel 3
Jamaica 3
Russia 3
Saudi Arabia 3
United Arab Emirates 3
American Samoa 2
Costa Rica 2
Estonia 2
Hong Kong SAR China 2
Jordan 2
Lebanon 2
Panama 2
Portugal 2
Anguilla 1
Argentina 1
Belarus 1
Bolivia 1
Dominican Republic 1
Ethiopia 1
Greece 1
Guam 1
Kazakhstan 1 (**)
Kuwait 1 (*)
Montenegro 1 (**)
Puerto Rico 1
South Korea 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1
Tunisia 1
Uruguay 1
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.
This struck me as pretty good coverage from South America but it turns out it’s almost always like that. I’m just not paying attention well enough.

Kazakhstan has been a single-view country for three months running now, even though I’d think Kazakhstan has other things to do than check in on my a very slight bit. Kuwait’s been a single-view country two months in a row now, although I guess maybe they have fewer things to do? Montenegro is also on its third month giving me a single view per month. I don’t know how to much to expect they have to do.

WordPress figures I posted 18,738 words in June, my most talkative month this year. It’s an average 624.6 words per posting, and brings my average for the year up to 564 words per post. This may be too many words. It brings me to 102,147 words for the year 2022, so far. Between the Broadway debut of the musical 1776 and the start of July, I’ve posted 3,437 things to this blog. They’ve attracted a total of something like 302,932 views from 171,984 visitors.

If you’d like to read these posts regularly, I’m flattered. The best route is probably to add the RSS feed for my essays to your reader. If you don’t have a reader, but you do have a WordPress account, you can click the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button on the upper right corner of this page. If you don’t have a WordPress account, you can use the box beneath that to get posts e-mailed to you the moment they’re published and before I’ve corrected some embarrassing typos. And if none of that works for you, eh, I suppose you know your business. Carry on with what seems reasonable. Thank you.

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.

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