Friday, December 30, 2016

You won't BELIEVE what these famous actresses look like NOW!

     A quarter century ago, Queen Elizabeth II gave a speech where she famously referred to 1992 as an "annus horribilis" — Latin for "horrible year" — for its variety of scandals and setbacks, including a major fire at Windsor Castle.
     The temptation is to dub 2016 the same, for the rise of reaction and xenophobia, and nations lining up to swan dive into folly. Britain's Brexit, the Philippines' elevation of a murderous madman, and of course our own election of an unfit, erratic fraud to lead our country to ... well, we have no clue, do we? Either where he promised, or its opposite, or somewhere in between.
     I will resist that temptation to describe 2016 as an annus horribilis for the simple reason that we need to reserve the phrase for later use. Before I checked, I assumed the Queen had unleashed annus horribilis for the year Diana died, but no, that didn't happen until 1997. You don't want to pull the cord on "horrible" too soon because what happens when things really get bad? "Double horrible" just doesn't pack a punch. 
     And, ever the optimist, I am fully open and receptive to the idea that Trump, through his ham-handedness, ignorance and bullying will not be as effective a tyrant as feared. I'm not hoping he'll ruin the country. Chaos and stasis will never be so welcome. Maybe he'll blunder into solving the immigrant crisis and sealing an Israeli-Palestinian peace. Nixon, remember, went to China.
    Also – and this is important – a strong argument can be made that Trump is merely shining the harsh sodium vapor lamp of his  train wreck ego and self-puffing mania on flaws that were already manifest in the American system. What was shrugged off and clucked at under Barack Obama suddenly seems more more malign – and properly so – under the prospect of a Trump regime. He might have unleashed the haters, but they were already here, in the blocks, set in their runners' crouch, waiting for the gun. 
     OK. So now we've squinted at the big picture, on to the little: 2016 was the third calendar year of this blog, begun on July 1, 2013. I'm happy to report that it has become a quotidian part of life – my life anyway, and maybe yours.  I've never come close to missing a post—though I reserve the right, for being hit by a bus, etc. I did go to Japan with nothing in the can, but it turns out that their country is wired, too, and filing something wasn't a challenge or a chore. 
     None of this is. 
     Looking at the stats, I'm happy with the blog's progress.
    At the end of 2013, after six months of existence, the daily average readership was 918. By Dec. 30, 2014 it was 1200. The end of 2015 was 1539, and now its 1730, nearly double what it was three years ago. And the numbers are trending upward: January, 2015 was the first month to break 50,000 readers—this year, every month since May has done so, with two breaking 60,000, including a record November at 65,166. My gut says in 2017 we'll reach 80,000.
    But those are just numbers, and nothing to brag about on real web success terms. What about quality? I spent the entire year shrieking in alarm over Donald Trump, going back to posts like Jan. 27 "Preparing for President Trump" and Feb. 25  "Silvio Trump." To observe that it didn't help would be obvious—no columnist did, or could. I tried, and that's what is important, and no doubt will be a source of comfort as our nation twists and distorts like a candy wrapper in a campfire. 
    There are some pieces I'm quite proud of – or the cuteness article I researched in Japan, "The Saving Grace of Kumamon," I was able to use the photos on the blog that Mosaic didn't want, and in general I've been glad to have to present versions of stories that I prefer, plus essays that aren't available online. 
    As far as pieces written exclusively for the blog, I didn't notice any original pieces that approached the quality of, say, "Welcome to the Steinberg Bakery" or "Abe Lincoln would not have done it." That is worrisome. Then again, I finished a book and had it published, so maybe my focus was there. And there were a few original highlights: my April 1 post, "The End," managed to fool a lot of readers, despite being inaccurate in every aspect—foreshadowing of Trump's triumph, perhaps. After the paper sent me to buy an assault rifle, leading to June 17 "That old Second Amendment only goes so far," having this blog, a venue where I could set the record straight, to my satisfaction at least, in June 23's "Dunk Tank." That was very important to me when I was getting abuse from all sides, from Rush Limbaugh and Fox News and every yahoo with a Twitter account.
    Enough. My wife thinks I shouldn't post the numbers, but my blog, my rules. It was worth doing,, and continuing to do, only because you continue to follow along, and I appreciate it, and thank you. 


  1. Loyal reader here Neil, and always will be, one of those 1730. Damn Trump, full speed ahead!

  2. Missed hardly any since day one. Will remain loyal. Look forward to daily reading your truth and humor in bed with my cell in the morning.

  3. Reading your work - in the SunTimes, here, and in harcover - remains a bright spot. I'm finding I need bright spots more than ever at the moment. "Annus horribilus" indeed.

  4. I see what you did there, tempering your eternal optimism by noting that as bad as things seem they can get even worse.

    Another loyal reader here. Reading your postings here every GD day is a pleasure. I also want to give a shout out to Eli's Cheesecake for supporting Neil. Here's to another year.

  5. EGDD meets my acid test for a good read to start off the day, contributing as it does to the sweetness of learning. Frequently by uncovering something new and interesting. As often by evoking pleasurable memories of something known but forgotten. And Neil's enthusiasms are contagious, most recently nudging me to finally get around to reading "The Life of Johnson," for which I am grateful.

    Tom Evans

  6. I have to say that not only am I addicted to reading everygoddamnday, but I'm also hooked on the comments, writing and critiquing them. Most I find to be thoughtful, erudite and elegantly phrased (see Mr. Evans' above). Others are ignorant, bigoted and awkward -- these can be the most fun at times. In any event, I run up Neil's numbers by checking back for new comments about 20 times a day. Oops! Shouldn't say that I guess.


  7. A loyal reader, once even trying to apply "every goddamn day" to a personal challenge. Didn't make it every day, but worth it even for the attempt.

  8. I predict reading you will be one of my few consistent pleasures in 3017.

    Bitter Scribe

  9. What is good about your blog is that while having a proper informal bloggy atmosphere it is also the work of a professional writer. It is always worth reading and sometimes more than that, really really good. So thanks. And Happy New Year.

    1. Thanks all, for reading and for your comments. I'll try to keep 2017 interesting. And if I don't, Donald Trump will, alas.

  10. Ah yes, Queen Elizabeth who along with Phillip and Charles thought that Diana should just look the other way. It's not Queen Alexandra's time anymore. Anyway, glad to see the mayor of Bolingbrook or Mr. let's host Trump, may have lost the election.


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