Statistics August: People Like It When I Have A Dead YouTube Link here


I was able to examine my readership earlier this month than I did last time around. Thank the month starting conveniently on the weekend and while I didn’t have anything else major going on. I’ve kept up my spreadsheets, too, so now I have lots of numbers with decimal points and all that to think about. Also I learn something unsettling about my most popular posts. Let’s look things over.

In August there were 3,692 recorded page views. This came from 2,201 unique visitors as far as WordPress will tell me. Both of these are increases for the last several months. More, they’re both above the twelve-month running average. The running average for page views had been 3,158.8 views from 1,804.4 unique visitors. This implies a growing popularity, which is gratifying and reassuring and all kinds of happy.

Slightly over four years' worth of monthly readership figures as seen in a bar chart. The last several months see the number of monthly views rising.
So it looks like I have eight months before the glory days of the final collapse of Apartment 3-G fade completely from memory. I mean the memory of everyone except me.

There were 127 things liked around here over month of August. The twelve-month running average was for 163.9 things to be liked each month. This implies that while more people are looking at more things, they’re not so crazy about any of it. It was another dire month for comments, also: nine posted over the month of August, below the twelve-month running average of 40.8. Well. All right, then.

I can break this down into more decimal points too. There were 31 posts published in August. It’s not the case that only stuff posted in August was viewed in August. But I can calculate the statistics-per-posting, which seems relevant since how often I post is the thing I’m most in control of. I mean apart from writing anything actually interesting.

August saw 119.1 views per posting; the twelve-month running average was 103.7. There were 65.2 visitors per posting; the running average was 59.3. There were 4.1 likes per posting; the twelve-month running average was 5.4, which makes it sound like the likability shortfall wasn’t that bad, really. There were 0.3 comments per posting, compared to a twelve-month average of 1.3, which makes it sound like I barely need a comments section at all. Hm.


The unsettling thing is in what the most-visited pages were. There were 473 pages, besides the home page, to get any views in August 2019. 186 pages got only a single view. The five most popular were dominated by What’s Going On In reports, as ever:

The most popular wholly-original-to-me content was that microfiction With The Rise Of Digital-Life Persons, which I’m quite happy about. It was a different kind of writing and I had fun doing that. My most popular long-form essay was Why I Figure You Should Write Your Own Web Browser, which is amazing because it got all its likes in the two days between its publication and the end of the month.

The unsettling thing is the second-most-popular piece of the month. That was a 2014 review of an ancient Paul Terry cartoon. It’s one of historic value, since it’s a full-sound cartoon that predates Disney’s Steamboat Willie. But it has a dead YouTube link for the cartoon itself. I can believe some weird event causing a bunch of people to look up an obscure cartoon from a forgotten animation studio and hitting my site. But one that doesn’t even have the video? I suspect some kind of shenanigan.


74 countries or things like countries sent me at least one reader in August. 14 sent me just the single reader. There’d been 70 countries sending me any reader in July and 69 in June. There’d been 20 single-view countries in July and 18 in June. Here’s the full roster:

Mercator-style map of the world, with the United States in the darkest red. Most of the Americas and Eurasia are in a fairly uniform pink, as are Australia and New Zealand. India's a slightly darker pink. There are only a couple African countries to have sent any readers my way.
Well, you know me: as popular in Nigeria as I am in Argentina and Jamaica. Or as in Moldova and Honduras combined.

Country Readers
United States 2,631
India 235
Canada 111
United Kingdom 72
Australia 67
Sweden 67
Brazil 59
Philippines 45
Kenya 42
South Africa 25
Italy 23
Belgium 19
Finland 17
Germany 17
Denmark 16
Mexico 16
Norway 14
Japan 13
El Salvador 12
Romania 12
Spain 12
Puerto Rico 11
France 9
European Union 8
Indonesia 7
Thailand 7
Ireland 6
Turkey 6
Colombia 5
Greece 5
Malaysia 5
Argentina 4
Jamaica 4
Nigeria 4
Russia 4
Singapore 4
Slovakia 4
South Korea 4
Israel 3
Nepal 3
Netherlands 3
New Zealand 3
Pakistan 3
Poland 3
Portugal 3
Saudi Arabia 3
Serbia 3
Switzerland 3
United Arab Emirates 3
Vietnam 3
China 2
Guam 2
Honduras 2
Hong Kong SAR China 2
Latvia 2
Lithuania 2
Moldova 2
Taiwan 2
Ukraine 2
Uruguay 2
Antigua & Barbuda 1
Bangladesh 1
Bermuda 1
Bolivia 1
Brunei 1 (*)
Croatia 1 (*)
Curaçao 1
Czech Republic 1 (*)
Georgia 1
Iraq 1
Oman 1
Papua New Guinea 1
Peru 1 (*)
Sri Lanka 1

Brunei, Croatia, Czech Republic, and Peru were single-view countries in July also. No country’s been a single-view place for more than two months in a row just now.


What do I plan to post over the coming month? A long-form essay, Thursday evenings, Eastern Time. Then, also Statistics Saturday posts for as long as I think of silly things to categorize. And all my What’s Going On In posts, published Sunday nights Eastern Time. In particular my schedule is, barring breaking news or important surprises:


From the start of 2019 through the start of September I’d published 241 posts in all. These had a total of 140,753 words so far this year. This was 15,654 words in total in August. That is 505.0 words in the average post for August. That’s comfortably down from July’s average of 610.3, and even the year-to-date average of 582 words per post. I can sometimes be brief.

Through the start of September were 314 total comments this year, for 1.3 comments per posting. This average has held for three months now. There had been 1,221 total likes for the year, an average of 5.0 likes per posting. The average had been 5.2 at the start of August and 5.3 at the start of July.


If you’d like to read these posts regularly, you can add the https://nebushumor.wordpress.com/feed/ RSS feed to whatever reader you use. If you don’t have a reader, you can get a free Livejournal or Dreamdwidth account and put it in your Friends page there. You can also keep track of this blog in WordPress, by using the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button on the upper right corner of this page.

I am on Twitter as @Nebusj, although I haven’t been there lately. Twitter’s server has refused all connections from my web browser (Safari) and I’ve been just this close to doing anything about that. The automated tweet-about-new-WordPress-postings hasn’t broken yet, at least, but who knows how long that will last?

Watch this space for developments, future or past. Thank you.

Fess Up


So. Reader. Look. I regard us as friends. Maybe not great friends, not, help-you-move-to-a-new-apartment level friends. But friends. Out meaning well for each other, even if we sometimes screw it up. Giving a heads up when we see a comic strip we’re sure the other is going to love. Warning when you see we’re marching unprepared into at least a Category Two Drama Storm. That kind of friend. OK? So that’s why I have to ask about this thing from the sidebar of a YouTube video I just watched.

YouTube sidebar ad. The picture shows cement being troweled onto three rolls of toilet paper. Title: '35 cement ideas that are so easy', published by 5-Minute Crafts and 'Recommended for you'. The video run time is 15:13.
Also: what, precisely, is “easy” about thinking to trowel cement on three rolls of toilet paper? Just trying to think about doing this makes my head hurt in a way that, like, covariant tensors do not. The doing of this might be physically easy but imagining a world in which I would is I promise you not.

Exactly which one of you is telling Google, “You know what Joseph needs? The suggestion he line up three rolls of toilet paper only to trowel cement over them. Plus 34 other things to do with cement, each explained in an average of 26 seconds. But he’ll be so fascinated by that he won’t even notice this Five-Minute Crafts video is fifteen minutes long”? What is it you think you know about me? What are you drawing these conclusions from?

Statistics Saturday: Every YouTube Video of Humans Interacting With Wild Raccoons


  • 0:02 “Oh! Oh, hi there.”
  • 0:08 “Yes, you’re very cute.”
  • 0:14 “He’s so interested, look at that!”
  • 0:24 “Hi to you too, oh, they’re so adorable.”
  • 0:35 “There. Now you go on now, go on.”
  • 0:42 “No, no, you can’t have that.”
  • 0:45 “Okay, shoo … no, no, you can’t … ”
  • 0:52 “They’re swarming!”
  • 0:58 [ shrieking, running ]

Source: Street Names of Singapore, Peter K G Dunlop.

When Do I Get To Sing _My Way_?


What’s playing at Karaoke Night:

  • Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, sung by the first person who got to pick anything, and also everyone else there.
  • R.E.M.’s It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, performed by someone who starts two bars late and has to give up about twenty percent of the words each verse to return to the chorus anywhere near on time.
  • Let It Go, from Frozen, performed by someone who loves the song but doesn’t realize that it’s awesome because it’s an incredibly hard song to perform.
  • Bill Joel’s Piano Man, sung by everybody when the person who had signed up for it is nowhere to be found when it’s their turn.
  • Weird Al’s Yoda, performed by someone horrified there isn’t anything by the Kinks in the catalogue somehow and trying to reconstruct the real words as best as possible in the circumstances, which include nerds crying out to do it “right” with the Weird Al version.
  • P F Sloan and Steve Barri’s Secret Agent Man, done by someone who figures if he’s loud enough about the key phrase “Secret Agent Man” it won’t matter that he sings it in a different, yet still previously unknown to humanity, key every time. This someone, dear reader, is me.
  • Wings’s With A Little Luck, performed by someone who forgets it has an instrumental break about as long as fourth grade in the middle and stands with wide-eyed terror through three-quarters of it before awkwardly trying to dance, and then remembers the fade-out is even longer still.
  • Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street, performed by someone who has pretty solid voice control and seems out of place in the proceedings.
  • Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, unenthusiastically performed by someone who tries to use the close to say he wanted to do the Wall of Voodoo version, although this explanation gets lost underneath the DJ calling the next singer up.
  • Some Kinda Romanticky Gushy Ballad I Guess, from the closing credits to the film Any Given 80s Movie, Which You Could See Any Time, Day Or Night, In The 90s By Turning On Any Cable Channel Including The TV Listings, sung by someone mumbling so you can’t make out the words anyway, but the glurgey music alone brings back great memories.
  • A-Ha’s Take On Me, until it gets to the first “I’ll be gone” and the performer’s voice locks up at the high pitch, and she runs off stage and can’t be coaxed back up however much everyone promises it’s okay. Post-karaoke-night discussion focuses on whether that was a deliberate joke, and never reaches a definitive conclusion.
  • Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, sung by someone who came in late and also everyone else there.
  • Somebody or other’s Unintelligible Hip-Hop Song, performed by a most white guy who is neither hip nor hop, who possessed no idea this would require having a strong sense of cadence and rhythm, and also didn’t realize there were three spots where the verse uses the n-word, something he had failed to establish the necessary policy for well ahead of time.
  • Don McLean’s American Pie sung by a guy who realizes twenty minutes in that he’s still not even halfway through, though everyone feels great joining in the chorus.
  • Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, performed by someone who picked it just to complain about the reference to South Detroit, also everyone else there.
  • Nena’s 99 Luftballoons, sung by someone who just assumed the karaoke machine had the English-language version. Live and learn, huh?
  • Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit without any inflection or change in tone, possibly by me because there’s no way of controlling what note my voice has chosen to sing in this time.
  • U2’s With Or Without You performed by Ron Mael of Sparks after he found, to his disappointment but not surprise, there isn’t anything of his in the karaoke catalogue.
  • Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ Little Red Riding Hood done about two octaves low so it sounds 226 percent more pervy than normal.
  • Any Given Indie Band’s Song With A Lot Of Whoa-oa-oa-oaaahoos In It, sung by someone using his pretty good voice to do it as if by Fozzie Bear for some terrible reason.
  • The Champs’ Tequila, by someone who figured this would be funny and had no idea everyone was going to groan like that when it was announced and now he’s stuck with it.
  • Let It Go, from Frozen, as sung by someone who either just came in or didn’t learn the lessons from earlier.
  • The Who’s Pinball Wizard, sung by someone snarking about how there hasn’t been pinball since 1982 and can’t be convinced to look over in the alcove where there’s like eight tables and six of them are even turned on. Seriously.
  • Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire, by someone who was sure she knew the lyrics, and then saw what the karaoke machine has, which was apparently transcribed by YouTube’s automated-worthless-closed-captioning. So the screen’s giving stuff like “Denny footfall rocky cockerel unsteamed chess team brook lamprey snotty beam” and now she has no idea what to do.
  • Duran Duran’s Hungry Like The Wolf, picked by someone who was thinking of Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London because he wanted to do the wolf howl part, but recovers pretty well with the DO-do-do-DO-do-do-DO-do-do-DO-do-do-DO-do-doo part and doesn’t look too disappointed by the end of it all.
  • The Animals’ We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, sung by someone who once again just assumed he was the last person performing for the night and who is confident this will be funny when he finally is.
  • Queen’s We Are The Champions, picked by someone making way too big a deal over the Tigers beating the Rays 5-3 this early in the season.
  • George Michael’s Faith, by someone who didn’t realize how tricky the meter could be, but has a friend who jumps on on stage for the last third to guide her through safely.
  • The Theme To M*A*S*H, selected by someone who wanted to show off he knew the words to it, and wasn’t thinking how the karaoke machine was going to give him, and everybody else, the words to it anyway.
  • Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which is just signing itself up to play at this point.

On Catching A Few Moments Of An ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ Rerun


I didn’t even know Comedy Central Or Somebody was even showing America’s Funniest Home Videos anymore, or if the show is still going on, but it was revealing just how low our standards for “funny video” were back then. We’ve clearly allowed us to develop videos of “people colliding with stuff” and “animals losing dignity” to such a high grade that now I know humanity will never develop time travel, because anyone who did would have been able to take absolutely anything that went even a little bit viral, go back to 1993 or whenever and win the funniest-video contest, thus raising the money needed to develop time travel, and in that case the old reruns would show those of the modern weapons-grade comic videos of today — or even the super, thermo-gigglier ones sure to come in the future — and they don’t, and therefore we won’t, and the card in your hand is the four of clubs. Am I not correct?

But What If I Can’t Stop Watching?


I use dental picks, as dental picks, because shut up I am not old and I like the smile that truthfully saying — and showing — that I’ve been picking grit out from between my teeth brings to my dentist’s face when I see him for this decade’s appointment. But I only just noticed that my bag of dental picks invites me not just to follow them on Facebook and Twitter but also to see their YouTube channel.

I like to think that I’m a curious fellow, by which I mean I’m open to learning about things other people would write off as dull and discover they’re deeply fascinating once you start thinking about them, by which I mean without any sarcasm or exaggeration that I own multiple popular histories of the containerized cargo industry and I would be willing to buy more. And I can imagine making an informational video about dental picks.

What I can’t imagine is making a whole series of informational videos about dental picks. After about halfway through the second I’d be reduced to standing there humming and maybe pointing out how any guinea pigs you have around the house could use them as slingshots, or how you could put a piece of wax paper across the prongs and give them to squirrels to use for lacrosse. They’re surely not going to be publishing that.

So now I’m doomed again: I’m curious to know how many different things of substance they could possibly have to say about dental picks, but, what if I find it all really interesting and just have to watch more?

Also I’m wondering how many tweets they could have about dental picks. This just makes it worse.

Felix the Cat Monkeys with Magic


The title for this Felix the Cat cartoon might set up some disappointment, as it turns out the title card means the verb form of “monkeys”. Ah well. It’s a cartoon that’s got a number of pretty good gags of the kind that 1920s cartoons excelled in, especially in visual tricks and in metamorphoses. It does have a rather dreamlike plot: the sense I get is the creators were trying to think of things where Felix could use a wave of the hand to do something, and if that means the viewer looks down a moment and looks back up and suddenly there’s a bear chasing Felix and then a cow turns into a car, well, that’s just the sort of world Felix lived in.

Rewritten by machine and new technology


To Whom It May Concern
YouTube Master Command
I’m Guessing Somewhere At Google, Maybe You Could Look Up Where, Thanks
Googleopolis, GO 900913

Dear May,

Sorry to give bad news but someone’s pretending to be you in e-mail, and maybe you’re not all that worried about this but you might want to check and see if someone’s sneaking in to YouTube Master Command after hours and messing around. Business experts estimate that nearly two-thirds of all corporate collapses are initiated by someone sneaking into Master Command after hours and messing around, so, just think about what your people are doing.

The e-mail, by the way, claims I got it because I indicated I was willing to receive occasional YouTube product-related mail. I’m willing to suppose that I actually have signed up for this, I guess because if found some way of watching videos that’s different to watching videos I’d find that interesting. For example, if you found some way to embed them subcutaneously as tattoos then I’d want to know that fact. While I might not be interested in having one, I could imagine thinking about getting a video embedded for example in the arch of my foot, so I could be endlessly walking on something, and selecting the correct video to endlessly step on could make for small talk at a party that’s gotten a little bit odd if it’s reached in-foot-video levels.

Also I don’t deny that the end of the year is an occasion, although it’s a little bit early to be calling this the end of the year and how do we know there aren’t going to be ten really big surprise hits over the next three weeks, mm? So that tipped me off there’s something fishy here. If they’d sent me it from a YouTube.co.uk address they might have claimed the occasion was it being 11/12/13, but obviously, that didn’t happen.

The e-mail congratulated me for being among the first twenty percent of people to discover one of the top ten trending videos of 2013. Yes, it was that “What Does The Fox Say?” video, which as of Tuesday afternoon had a recorded 518,6872,4316,47634,130506,4105 views. It’s had so many views they can’t even write the number in three-digit groups anymore, I know. And sure I saw it. It’s just there’s not any chance that I was in the first twenty percent of the world to see it.

See, I have not ever been among the first twenty percent of people in on any Internet thing. I’m lucky to be in the first 90 percent of people. Remember the “Where’re you gonna see lions? Only in Ken-ya” video? I learned of it when friends started sending me goofy parodies like the one where people in lion pajamas danced around to imitate the original video and they wondered what was wrong with me that I wasn’t laughing at all this. I first encountered “I Can Has Cheeseburger” when the captions were being stuffed into the discount books at Borders. I still haven’t even heard of River Tam.

My problem is that I’m a square. This isn’t some pose or affectation, thank you. I come by my squareness honestly: it’s the result of a lot of work spent trying to impose right angles on my natural rhomboid state. I have an almost supernatural ability to not be with whatever’s current. I’m still on Usenet, for crying out loud. I use terms like “square” or “pert near” or “hep” without a trace of ironic affection but just because they seem like the best ways to express myself, sad as that is, and I’m trying to get “twelvemonth” and “inst” back into English.

I don’t mind people who are all hep like I have never been and will never be. Many of them are quite pleasant and forgiving of my obliviousness, or they’re keeping me around because I’m cute to chuckle over, watching the with-it people the helpless way a guinea pig might stare at a heated debate in Model United Nations. I’m just not among them and shouldn’t be mistaken for one.

Anyway, all told, YouTube Master Command, someone is apparently going around sending fibbing letters to people about their watching “What Does The Fox Say”. I don’t know what you should do about fibbing like this, but you should do that now. Thank you.

             Yrs pert near truly,
             Joseph Nebus

Sticking In The Head


At any given moment about two-fifths of all people have their brains under attack by some catchy tune, which gets called an “earworm” because somebody thought that was a catchy term and didn’t think we had enough trouble. Another two-fifths of all people are slapping their hands over their ears and yelling frantically to “shut up shut up shut UP” because some poor child of the 80s was remembering how the thing about a Bon-Bon is it’s almost always gone-gone.

But there’s a deeper question, which is, why should there be earworms at all? What advantage can there possibly be to having your brain occasionally taken over by a melody you like in about the same way you despise it? When did earworms get to be a thing? It seems like they have to have been invented sometime after music was invented, since it’d be kind of funny to have a song caught in your head if you haven’t got songs. It’d also seem like they’d have to come from after heads were invented, for similar reasons.

Maybe they didn’t, though. Maybe people were getting what they thought was music caught in their heads when it turned out it was just the wailing of people bemoaning their horrible, pre-music-based existence. But that seems like it would explain why earworms are popular in this music-enabled era, though, since we surely don’t want to have our existential dread hammering itself into our heads outside of its appropriate designated times, such as birthdays or the anniversaries of when we graduated college or Sunday nights. It’s surely better to be one of the roughly one out of four hundred people who are at any moment kind of remembering commercials from the late 70s are trying to work out whether it was “Nair for short shorts” or “Nair for short skirts” without giving up and just going to YouTube to see it because they can’t face the moment of admitting they were looking for Nair commercials from the 70s on YouTube.

I’m gratified to learn there’s serious study of earworms since it’s got to be a difficult subject to study. I have it hard enough because I can barely finish telling people that I have an advanced degree in mathematics without their telling me that it was their worst subject in school, and they could never understand what it was about, and occasionally their algebra teacher would transform into a 150-foot-tall giant and rampage through the city, requiring the national guard to deploy an security corridor of directrix and latus rectums to subdue. (They’re things used for making parabolas in case you live in an area where parabolas don’t grow naturally.) My spouse, the philosopher, has a similar problem with people describing how their philosophy courses inevitably resulted in their being captured by headless Zombie Jeremy Benthams and locked in a dank warehouse forced to press Joy Buttons all day and night. It’s pretty annoying to get.

So I figure someone studying earworms is probably bombarded day and night by people who think they’re being sociable or even interested but who really just want to know who to hold responsible for “The Eggplant That Ate Chicago”. (It was Doctor West’s Medicine Show And Junk Band.) I’m wrong, of course, because investigation has revealed that I’m the only person born after 1970 who’s even heard of this exemplar of psychedelic jug-band music, and probably Doctor West doesn’t even hear the song haunting his dreams anymore, though he’s probably wondering why if that Purple People-Eater Song can get sucked up into the vortex of Monster Based Songs I Guess Are On Theme For Halloween why his didn’t. Maybe it’s too much eggplant. And anyway the song fails as an earworm because I’ve dug the song up and played it for people and all they have lingering after the experience is a diminished opinion of me.

Here’s something else I wonder: an earworm is based on the idea of something getting stuck in the head and not getting back out again. But thanks to the Internet we can’t pay attention to anything long enough to have it stuck in our heads anymore. Does this mean the earworm is going to vanish as people can’t remember the entire phrase “itsy-bitsy teeny-weenie something or other” before staring at their phones for a status update? Or are we going to have to preserve the earworm by turning it over to technology and leaving our MP3 players to pick some catchy but infuriating snippet of song and play it to itself? I don’t know, but I’m sure the answer will be obvious after I’ve forgotten the question.