The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
. . . still studying and learning how to live

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Thursday, December 12, 2013
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When I began this blog over ten years ago (Nov 11, 2002), I had modest goals in mind. If I could reach 5 people a day and share with them the various things that I have learned in this “classroom of life”, it would be great. I called myself “an eternal student of life”; unlike all those eternal student sites out there written by anxious or narcissistic graduate students, my own ‘classroom of life’ truly does go on and on, despite the fact that I was through with formal schooling many decades ago. The “eternal” part reflects a spiritual longing (although not at all a ‘certainty’) that my living and growing conscious experience will not in fact be completely ended when my body dies. But hopefully, I can deal with that issue another day.

Back here in the earthly realm, it turned out that my blog at first attracted more like 5 people a week. But I carried on with it, even though it was quite certain that my thoughts were never going to go viral and become another Huffington or DailyKos or Hot Air. I still liked it, even if no one else did (except my friend Mary, shout out to her given that she stuck with it thru thick and mostly thin). After I moved over to Word Press in April 2010, things picked up a little. I actually did reach about 5 viewers (about 8 to 10 page hits) per day for most of the week. But seldom did I significantly exceed that amount.

Within the past year, I actually did have one post that “went viral”, relatively speaking. For me, any post getting over 10 total views a day is “viral”. My one big hit was published on May 17 of this year, and it was in regard to a certain Dr. Chauncey Crandall, a cardiologist who used somewhat questionable marketing techniques on the Newsmax site to promote his for-profit newsletter about heart health and disease prevention. Let’s take a look right now at my top 10 blog posts as far as total hits over the past 12 months:

Dr. Crandall and The 4 Things – 7,294
The Tao of Richard Wetherill – 604
Les Cason Memories – 253
What Ever Happened to Cor-Ten Steel? – 233
Why Does Sad Music Make Us Happy? – 116
RADIOLAB Review – 93
Fruit Fly Wars – 46
Time for a Classic Cheap Watch – 45
Terry Jones’ Crusade: Taking sides in the Middle Ages – 40
Jung, Hitchens, Jews and God – 38

So yes, I am now a “one hit wonder”, thanks to Doctor Crandall and the hard sell behind his newsletter. I’m right up there with the likes of Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge, Question Mark and the Mysterions, The Blow Monkeys, and Vanilla Ice. I guess that it’s better than not having any hits. But it still makes me scratch my head, as I have lots of other posts that are more incisive, better thought out, and addressed to more important issues than that one. My big-hit post was just an observation about a minor web occurrence, i.e. Dr. Crandall’s bait and switch sales routine on the Newsmax web site that exploited viewers’ worry about their health. There was an important point behind what I said, but it wasn’t a situation that truly affects the nation like fracking or NSA surveillance or health care reform.

For a while there during the summer, I got nearly 100 hits a day (topped out at 116 on Sept. 23). But things are now trending downward, and I will soon be back to 10 views daily. My moment in the blogosopheric sun will be over. But so what. It just shows how arbitrary “success” really is in the world. I’ll bet that many of the bands that had one big hit in their career wonder “why that one“.

PS, as to my “relatively popular” sarcastic review of RADIOLAB, I must admit that NPR now has an alternative science report that should be taken seriously. It’s called Science Friday, and it’s not dippy entertainment at all. Compared to RadioLab, SciFri is much more serious, but in a comprehensible, easy listening way. NPR still has Radiolab, but at least they are hedging their bets now with some real science reporting.

Finally, with regard to another “relative hit” (according to my low standards) . . . this regards the Rev. Marek Bozek, a priest leading an unusually rebellious Polish-heritage parish outside of St. Louis that dared to sass the Roman Catholic establishment in 2010 regarding a variety of financial control and doctrinal issues. Actually I had two posts about Bozek and his parish (St. Stanislaus), one with 33 total views and the other with 24.

Just to follow up on this enormous wave of interest ;^) , Bozek and St. Stans are now negotiating to join the Episcopalian Church. That’s not exactly a big surprise; plenty of disgruntled and disillusioned Roman Catholics end up with the Anglicans. I did that myself, in an earlier phase of my life. Being Episcopalian is OK, and there certainly is more ecclesiastical leeway for most individuals. But I’ll bet that the St. Stan people are going to miss the spiritual depth of Catholicism, and are in for a bit of a let-down when they realize that their new church leadership doesn’t really think that the Communion ritual is all that sacred. Well, I wish them luck in their Anglican incarnation. Perhaps they can help the Episcopal Church to find whatever it is missing in regard to attracting and keeping its practicing members (its downward trend of baptized members and Sunday attendees continued into 2012; for example, worldwide membership was about 2.4 million in 1990 and 2.07 million in 2012.)

As to Rev. Bozek — he will now become just another boring ex-Roman Catholic prelate within the Anglican Communion. He had his moment in the sun. So, it looks as though Marek Bozek himself has joined the ranks of “one hit wonders”!

◊   posted by Jim G @ 4:40 pm      
 
 


  1. Jim, I don’t really know what I think of being a “one hit wonder” or for that matter a “several (or even total) hit wonder”. It seems to me that the important thing is that you yourself are pursuing what you set out to do – the continual pursuit of growth as the person you are. (At least that’s what I’ve always tho’t your blog was about.) What could be better? I can think of nothing better.

    As to being a “several hit wonder” (or however one might put it), only too soon those people will be forgotten. Just the other day I saw Garth Brooks on some TV program (as much as I really do not care for Country Music and never really paid much attention to Mr. Brooks). Seems he’s been “gone” 10 years (!), raising his children, he said. I had not missed him, and I wonder just how much those who followed him so religiously in his heyday (or maybe it’s still his heyday) missed him when he was gone. (All due respect to Garth Brooks here; I do not mean any disrespect or snide remarks here; just observing and wondering.)

    So my take on all this would be that the important thing is what *you* yourself got out of the 10 years of your blog, how *you* grew and developed, learned, improved as a person. In the end that’s the only important thing, not how many “followers” one has. After all, could you *really* communicate, know, interact, etc., with 7,294 people? Perhaps you could over a lifetime; but in a relatively short period of time like 10 years? I doubt it.

    Watching the program “Nashville” (yes, it’s a country music program, and I have no clue why I’m really *that* interested in an evening soap opera, but I am), I am constantly interested in the character who is trying to rise to the “top” and is almost there. She smiles and smiles and does all sorts of things to “prove” how much loves her fans; and as soon as they cannot see her, she has no respect or regard for them; they are a bother to her, to say the least. I’d say this character is representative of a lot of performers who are famous and deeply loved by their fans.

    So, I’d not worry one bit about how many hits you have or do not have. The important thing is: Are you yourself meeting the goal you set for yourself, that of truly being an eternal student.

    As to the situation in St. Louis: I’ve been following that for a while. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that in the end the entire thing boils down to who’s going to control the money, land, and property. Big *religious* differences, which turn, for the ordinary person, into a “who cares?” situation. MCS

    Comment by Mary — December 13, 2013 @ 11:44 am

  2. Interesting post Jim. You write well with thoughtful commentary. You definitely have the potential to pass that “one hit”.

    Comment by Zreebs — December 16, 2013 @ 6:40 am

  3. Thanks, Steve, as always. Your comments and inputs are a thoughtful and valuable addition to my own.

    Comment by Jim G — December 16, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

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