As happens from time to time the blog post that you should be reading tonight is officially embargoed. It’s written, saved to WordPress, and then intentionally published privately. I do this occasionally because the writing itself is cathartic and it helps me more clearly understand my own mind. That, however, doesn’t mean the words that make it to the page are in any way ready for public consumption. They may never be – or more precisely, I may never be willing to share them with you. It’s nothing personal, I promise.
For the vast amount of information I’ve been willing to share across the electronic world over the last couple of thousand posts, there are some few things I’m sure will just belong to me. I almost wish that wasn’t the case because many of those are the most impassioned, wide ranging, celebratory, hopelessly melancholy bits of writing I’ve done. They’re almost always the most raw and least edited.
Maybe someday I’ll sneak these hidden posts out into the wild where they can fall in to the larger sweep of whatever else happened to be going on in my head at any given time. For now, just know that there are hidden gems lurking here in the ether. If you’re lucky (and I’m brave) you might just happen to see a few of them some day.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here's an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,500 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.
Click here to see the complete report.
Because it’s the end of the year and I’m using every tool in my arsenal to avoid actually needing to think about a post this evening, please enjoy this very special WordPress version of jeffreytharp.com’s 2014 Year in Review.
Here's an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,700 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.
Click here to see the complete report.
Under other circumstances, what you’d be reading right now is a blog post that I lovingly spent 35 minutes crafting especially for this evening. What you’re reading instead is filler because my laptop once again decided to choke on all the awesome and pass out.
In fairness, I shouldn’t blame the laptop. It’s a 2008 model MacBook Pro, running with 2GB of memory and in service every single day that I’ve had it. I’ve been consciously ignoring the fact that it’s flaking out more and more often these days. My inner technophile just can’t bring itself to spring for adding more memory to a 5+ year old laptop. Despite my best efforts at triage, removing all but the essential files and programs, and generally treating it with kid gloves, the writing seems to be on the wall that it’s time to either spend the money on an elderly machine or retire it in favor of something new.
After six months of furloughs and shutdowns, I’m vaguely unsettled about dropping the cash, but at the same time having multiple works in progress residing on a machine that increasingly shows its age is untenable for much longer. Hopefully I can ease it along to Thanksgiving in the hopes that our friends in Cupertino are feeling extra generous with their holiday discounts. Until then, it’s daily backups and saving my work every 30 seconds.
As a blogger I’ve found that some posts are obligatory. In November we talk about being thankful. In December, about the gathering together of family and friends. In July, of patriotism and love of county. Arbor day, however, is optional for most of us. Today, almost as far as the eye can see, is a celebration of Veterans Day. While I’m not taking anything away from those tributes to the men and women who served, after seven years of blogging, I’m just not sure I have anything new to say on the topic. That’s certainly not intended as a slam against any veteran, but a simple admission that I’m just not that creative – which is why I’ve obviously decided to take this in a different direction today.
Starting today, I’m going to try to avoid the obligatory posts or at least make them something other than the usual. How successful I’ll be at that kind of outside-the-box posting remains to be seen, but there’s nothing wrong with a challenge now and then to keep things interesting.
In keeping with that theme, I want to take you back to a world before Veterans Day; to the spark that ignited the world and led us to where we are today. I had a passing conversation last week with someone who bemoaned the fact that World War I is fast becoming another forgotten war, but Veterans Day traces it’s historic roots back to those bloody trenches, so it feels like an apt topic for today.
Don’t worry, this is just a suggestion, not a history lesson. I know World War I feels like a far away time and place now that it’s almost 100 years removed. Still for those who care to look, it’s jam packed with lessons about how great powers blunder their way into total war. The Guns of August isn’t all inclusive, but he’s a hell of a primer about what led Europe to war in 1914. It’s also surprisingly accessible for all you non-history majors. If you’re at all curious about what led us to Veterans Day, it’s about a good a place to start as I can recommend. Go ahead and pick up a copy from your favorite bookseller and see what I mean.
It’s all coming to an end on December 8th. After this morning’s posts from the archive, there are only 25 old posts from MySpace in line to be ported over to WordPress. That means there’s only five weeks left in this Sunday morning routine. I haven’t done the math on how many archive posts I’ve made, but it feels like it’s something I’ve been working on for a long, long time. I’m actually a little sorry to have the end in sight. These early Sunday posts have become something I rather look forward to each week. Still, maybe it will be good to start covering some new ground on Sunday mornings. I guess we’ll find out on December 15th if my blogging chops are actually up to going to a full blown 7-day a week schedule without a built-in cheat on one of those days.
For now, go ahead and enjoy today’s selections from August 2008, where I’ve covered everything from a rebellious coffee maker to having one sick puppy.
As often as not, Sunday dinner at my grandparent’s house meant roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, and all manner of home cooked food. While I may not have a dozen or more gathered around my table at 5PM on the dot, at least once a month, my house fills with the savory smell of roasting beef as I do my best to keep with tradition. Sure, I’ve made some tweaks to the recipes – I use more garlic than my grandmother would have ever dreamed of, for instance – but the underlying idea is still the same. Sunday dinner is important, if for no other reason than it’s a touchstone with the past.
While we’re on the topic of touching the past, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that this week’s posts from the archive are now available for your reading pleasure. Pulled into the present from the last half of June and July 2008, today’s posts are a bit more pithy than they’ve been in the last few weeks. They feature a few more explanations of some of the more colorful words and phrases that show up in my vocabulary from time to time. Get your dose of the archives soon, because from the look of things, in two months this particular Sunday tradition will be drawing to an end.