2021 – It’s A Wrap

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.

Image Credits

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.

23 thoughts on “2021 – It’s A Wrap

  1. Congratulations on another great year.

    One element of your blog that is truly addictive is the sheer variety of topics. Many blogs have a central theme, which is great, but there is a certain degree of predictability with them. Yours is anything but predictable when it comes to subject matter, which is undoubtedly a contributing factor in the success you are seeing. Variety is always good.

    May you and Marianne have a most excellent 2022.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I am not sure if this serial development of oddly disjointed subjects helps or worsens my difficulties with sustained concentration. Oh well – if it wasn’t this it would be something else. Best wishes to you and yours for 2022 as well!

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  2. Congratulations on another year, the top 5 was interesting and thought provoking.

    Again I urge caution with the Canadian snacks, I didn’t say they were my personal favourites, or even safe! Things I truly enjoy, like butter tarts, beaver tails and 10W30 beer don’t ship well, so you’d have to pay an in person visit for that sort of thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Caution? With snacks? I never thought of Canadian snacks as dangerous – or maybe this is like “don’t drink the water” advice when traveling to Mexico? I like to think I have built up a pretty good tolerance for most normal combinations of fat, sugar and grain. I laugh at danger – HA HA! If things go dark here because of death or grievous injury, I guess it’s a good thing you didn’t require a signed release form at delivery. 🙂

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  3. Like Joni, I await your review of Canadian snacks that Doug has given you – I’ve been here since ’66 but am still a Canuck at heart. I’m sure he has sent you a Coffee Crisp and Aero candy bar, which I could hanker for either right now. Happy New Year JP!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh, Doug missed the Aero Bar, but a Coffee Crisp was in the box. The process has been fun and I look forward to sharing it. Sharing the process, that is – NOT the snacks. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Have fun going through them – maybe they don’t make Aero bars anymore, but Coffee Crisps are so light and airy. They were my mom’s favorite when we visited my grandmother and we’d stock up – them and Red Rose brand pickles with the pickled cauliflower. I’ll look forward to your post JP.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ouch, hope you are still on the mend. The injuries that can result are no fun. I guess I have to admit that in all my years, I have yet to see the use of Circus Peanuts result in a lawsuit., so at least they are safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve become a regular reader of your blog over the past year — even though I may not comment every week, I read your entries regularly. I enjoy all of them, even on those on topics I’ve never thought about before. So, thanks for your efforts on this, your seemingly endless supply of topics, and your great writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Eric – I am always happy to see your comments here and am glad you get a touch of enjoyment out of these efforts. And great writing? I’ll take the complement but have to ask what else you have been reading that makes mine stack up so well. 🙂

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  5. The Circus Peanuts will haunt you with every new view, JP. At least the candy-that-shouldn’t-be-called-a-candy didn’t nudge a more deserving topic out of your all-time five. Glad to see at least one music entry on that list, too. Looking forward to more fun/factual topics in 2022. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Dave – And its true, several times a week the words “Circus Peanuts” show up on my stats page when someone else clicks it up. It was so much nicer when it was my favorite French Burnt Peanuts that paraded before my eyes regularly. Although the Circus Peanuts are more healthy because I never get an urge to go buy some.

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  6. Congratulations on another year of blogging! It’s been a real pleasure to read your thoughts weekly. My favorite post of yours this past year was the “Simpson File” one. I look forward to reading more from you in 2022.

    Also, “Book of Feces” was definitely my assessment of Facebook when I quit cold turkey on March 2nd, 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, thanks Z, I appreciate the compliments. And yes, rarely has a thing’s description gone from clear to clearer via the swap/typo of a single letter.

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