No, not that kind of wrap. Well, maybe kind of that kind, but with less trash to take out. In other words, this post finishes 2021, so it seemed like a good idea to check out what topped this year’s popularity charts. And the winners are . . .
All in all, 2021 was a good year for this little blogging effort of mine. The numbers for total page views (over 18,000), visitors (over 7,500), likes and comments are all up from last year. Total page views were a touch down from 2019, but things look as though 2021 will top the 18,509 all-time peak from that year.
Keep in mind that I do virtually nothing to promote this blog. I have not been active on the book of faces (which I initially mistyped as “the book of feces” and had to think for a moment before correcting it) for quite awhile now, where I used to share every post. Other than an occasional mention on other sites, what growth that has occurred has occurred organically. We are not displeased.
Anyway, a look back at the top five performing posts for 2021 is interesting.
Number 5 (from May 7th) was a fun one – Wherein The Author Engages In Red Baiting (No, Not That Kind). It was a bit of a rant about how we live in an increasingly monochromatic world when it comes to new cars. Except for metallic red, which has been maybe the only actual color that has been consistently offered by vehicle manufacturers for the last fifty years. And because it has been in my life from almost the very beginning, I am tired of it.
Number 4 was much less fun: Watching My Government Fail, from August 20th. This one came from my anguish at watching the botch job that was our military withdrawal from Afghanistan late last summer. It did not turn out to be a civilian withdrawal, because it appears that more than a few American citizens remain there (and are therefore not home). I more or less withdrew from close watching of politics not long after I wrote this. I lived through the Carter Administration the first time and don’t need to keep reading things that make me miss the good parts and re-live the bad parts.
Speaking of the Carter Administration, this takes us to spot Number 3 – My (Very) Brief Career At Burger King from February 26th. Most all of us have started a job that lasted a very short time. At three weeks, Burger King was my best. Or is it worst?
No. 2 should not surprise me – it was Divorce – The Gift That Keeps On Giving that first appeared January 8th of this year. That was a combination book review and (very) personal sharing of experience that was both very difficult to write and very personally rewarding after getting it out there. The perspective it shares is not widely popular today, but is one that is necessary for people to understand.
And my top new post of 2021? It was – Circus Peanuts – Worst Candy Ever? – which is (in my opinion) far fresher than its subject. Which is that awful orange-colored, banana-flavored peanut-shaped candy in little cellophane bags that hang in stores everywhere. It has finally knocked one of my hardy perennials out of the top five (French Burnt Peanuts – And Other Disappointments In Life from August, 2015). I suppose I could write something about this, along the lines of how the internet can turn fresh candy stale and stale candy fresh, or something like that. Maybe the Circus Peanuts thing is like a bad car accident – nobody wants to experience it firsthand, but everyone wants to look. Except with reader/commenter Herb, who actually likes them. (Circus Peanuts, not car accidents).
The Number 1 and 2 posts of 2021 are also filling spots 5 and 4 on the All-Time Greatest Hits list from the time this effort got started in July of 2015. I’m in a retrospective mood, so let’s fill out the rest of the all-time top 5.
All-Time Number 3 was as delightful to contemplate as a couple of others above were not: Technicolor – The Most Colorful Black & White Movies Ever, which originally appeared May 29, 2020. I truly nerded-out over this long-obsolete process that brought color movies to screens everywhere from the 1930s to the mid 1950s before it was replaced with a faster, cheaper (and far-inferior) process. They truly don’t make ’em like they used to, and have not for longer than I have been alive. Once you understand real Technicolor, you will never truly enjoy the pure visual experience of any other kind of color movie again.
All-Time Number 2 was a surprise: Jazz Goes Modern: Dizzy Gillespie – Salt Peanuts (1945). My monthly-ish posts on music mostly feature jazz from before the era of the long play record. These are a labor of love and are often the least-viewed of this blog’s output. However, there is a small core of readers who join me in really digging this stuff and quite a few of them seem to have found this piece from June, 2018. This one followed a normal trajectory of decent (but not great) performance out of the gate, and a gradual falling off to the occasional hit. But then something happened in the fall of 2020 that saw this piece get a second wind. Since September of that year it has never gotten fewer than 15 monthly views and has broken 50 on multiple occasions. I guess this is kind of like the music itself that went out of style for awhile before coming back (at least in the minds of those who care about such things).
OK, you have read this far, so you are surely dying to know the All-Time Number 1 post here at J P’s Blog. It is another hardy perennial from October, 2015: The Dominican And The Franciscan – An Argument Waiting To Happen Or Two Paths To The Same Place? This oldie has not seen a month with hits in the single digits since September of 2017, and has hit 25-50+ views month-in and month-out ever since. With a family member who is a Dominican Friar (and now priest) the Dominicans are like my home team, so they get more love and attention here than do the other Catholic religious orders. Who knows – maybe it is fans of the Franciscans who keep driving the page views (like they drive the sales of religious statuary). I guess I don’t care as long as folks want to keep reading.
Some day I am going to 1) run out of ideas, 2) stop caring, 3) lose the ability to form complete sentences or 4) die. When the first of these happen, I suppose you will all have to find something else to read. But until that day we shall keep on finding things to entertain, fascinate, inform and even disagree with.
One thing I never do is to feature coming attractions, but I am going to make an exception (just this once, because you have been such good boys and girls all year). Reader/commenter/friend-of-JP DougD has generously underwritten a supply of prime Canadian snack foods that was (also generously) transited to JP’s physical doorstep. We are hard at work in a taste test involving multiple judges. Unless your author’s urges for junk food get the better of him and he locks himself in a room and plows through all that remain in a single sitting. In either case, you will read about the results here, so stay tuned.
Until then, I have appreciated each of you who comes and reads, likes, comments or otherwise consumes the content here. To each of you, my wish is a happy, peaceful and blessed 2022.
Opening image – c. 1960 ad for gift wrap from the Reynolds Metals Company (cropped to isolate the artwork)
All other images received credit in the piece in which they were originally used and which are linked herein and I have way too many things to do to chase those down and repeat them here for you, who surely don’t care at all.