2017 blogging stats in review

Unfortunately, WordPress has yet again decided to do away with a popular feature many people loved, so I have to write up my own post recapping my blogging stats from this past year.

Once more, my most-viewed post by a landslide was the only post I’ve had to disable comments on to date (not counting a very emotional post I wrote in the wake of the 2016 election, which I pre-emptively closed comments for). “No, I will not get sucked into the cult of Arbonne!” had 5,839 views, with 39,657 total since its December 2013 publication. I refused to tolerate the abusive, chutzpahdik comments from the two butthurt Arbots in need of the Wahmbulance.

My next-most viewed post was again “A Primer on Russian Names,” which was published 28 December 2012 and the first installment in what has become a long-running series. That post had 2,388 views in 2017, and 4,521 total.

Coming in at #3 was again “Favorite Decameron stories, Part I,” published 28 December 2011. There were 1,268 views in 2017.

My fourth-most-viewed post was “Writing an arm amputee character,” published 27 October 2014. It had 896 views in 2017, a number of which I’m sure came from creepy, porny search terms instead of people genuinely interested in this information. That post briefly discusses how intimacy isn’t over just because someone loses an arm, and expressed a wish for more respectful, tasteful resources like the one I linked to, instead of amputee porn and fetish sites. The irony!

I’m quite pleased the Top 5 closed out with “Why I HATED The Book Thief,” published 5 August 2013 and clocking in at 514 views in 2017. Not gonna apologize for ripping this awful, massively overrated piece of hot garbage a new one!

The other posts in my Top 10 were:

“The importance of stylistic consistency,” published 27 June 2016 (John Entwistle’s 14th Jahrzeit, death anniversary), with 322 views.
“Favorite Decameron stories, Part III,” 299 views, published 2 January 2012.
“A primer on Albanian names,” 239 views, published 7 August 2015.
“A primer on Yiddish names,” 215 views, published 27 January 2017 (72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz).
“The gender-industrial complex, Part I (Overview of why I’m writing this series),” 206 views, published 8 February 2016. I plan on belatedly continuing this series in the coming year, since there have been so many more peak trans moments, as well as the ongoing female erasure, violence and threats against women daring to do so much as ask honest questions, denial of the existence of biological sex, and dismantling of laws allowing women and girls protection on the basis of our being a sex class.

One big surprise was “Assorted thoughts on the Five Little Peppers series” being this year’s 12th-most-viewed post, and my ninth-most-viewed post overall. I also continue to be baffled at the high view count of “Six Sentence Sunday—Savoring the Christmas Tree” and “Uelen, Russia” of all posts.

“Pet rabbits, chickens, and ducks should be for keeps, not just Easter” was up slightly, to #13 this year, and #8 overall. “Twilight Sleep” slipped much further, to #18 overall and near the very bottom of this year’s most-viewed posts. It had only six views this year. I plan to rewrite the latter post, so perhaps the updated version will garner more views.

Once again, my most-viewed film post was “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Part II (Behind the Scenes),” with 84 views in 2017 and 197 overall.


More fun with vintage ads

Here are even more of the vintage ads I’ve virtually collected. They always reveal so much about bygone eras, both bad and good.

Well, that’s certainly a unique innovation!

1937, when prevailing medical “wisdom” claimed it was a most dire health emergency if someone (esp. a child) didn’t defecate at least once a day.

That name would never be approved today!

Yet again, preying on women’s insecurities and making people believe not defecating at least once a day automatically equalled constipation!

The advertising world, shaming women about their bodies since forever.

No comment!

Or perhaps the husband can help his wife by making breakfast when she’s suffering from morning sickness!

Because don’t we all want to use the same medicine as our horses? Who’s writing these prescriptions, Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush?

At least he’s not as awful as my anti-kissing ex, who still refused to kiss me even after I knocked myself out doing everything he claimed would make him more likely to want to do it. He might’ve done it ten times ever during the almost five years of our relationship, and didn’t do it for the first time until we’d been together for two years and seven months and already done everything else.

Lipstick and nailpolish often came in matching sets. Though red was the most popular nailpolish color, there were quite a few other colors to choose from in the Forties. The four without matching lipsticks are just a small sampling of what was available. I also love that there’s a purple lipstick represented.

This is a little too macabre even for me!

Those rings all look too similar to me, but then again, I never saw the appeal of colorless diamonds to begin with. My former engagement ring (which my ex made me buy myself) has three black diamonds and four small white diamonds. If I ever have another relationship, I’m either foregoing a ring altogether, or selecting something like a sapphire or teal tourmaline.

More fun with vintage ads

Since my vintage ad posts have been popular so far, and because it’s kind of really hard to do much of any real writing without access to a desk, here are some more of the ads I’ve virtually collected. I’ve also got folders for vintage images, including one dedicated to vintage skating. You’ll see some of those images when it’s more seasonally appropriate to do a post on writing about ice-skating in historical fiction!

That’s right, ladies! Always keep your skin in tip-top shape so you can look alluring to your husbands 24/7!

Yet another ad that would never be approved today!

I’ll never forget how my mother permanently scared me away from Cheez-Whiz when I was a preteen. I’d gotten hooked on that stuff, esp. with nachos, while I’d been staying with my maternal grandparents that summer, and my mother was horrified to learn this. Some time after I’d gotten home, she held up a bottle of Cheez-Whiz by the spoon inside, and said that’s what it does to your stomach.

Kind of takes the fun out of grilling!

I don’t think those two things work well together outside of advertising world!

Back in the days of my estrogen Who lists, we always liked to laugh about how Roger Daltrey used this stuff to straighten his hair. Back when The Who started, curly hair wasn’t fashionable.

How were paper clothes ever a thing? I’d be scared they’d rip right off me!

1962 prices

I found so many Castoria ads, I created a separate folder for them. Apparently, parents in that era were taught that if a child didn’t defecate at least once a day, s/he was constipated, and needed a laxative. A lot of these ads are seriously weird to a modern audience!


No comment!

Apparently, the cure for alcoholism is cocaine addiction!

A number of the ads I’ve collected send the exact opposite message from modern ads. Women who are too skinny risk their dating lives, and need to put on weight to attract men.

Now that she’s finally ended her spinsterhood at 31, the next company to make her feel insecure will be Lysol! I’m sure plenty of these women’s husbands and beaux needed to take care with their own personal hygiene, even if there weren’t many ad campaigns of this nature targeted to men.

More vintage ads from bygone eras

I’ve virtually collected a lot of vintage ads, postcards, greeting cards, and pictures over the last few years, and have many different folders for each category. Here are some more ads from my collections. Keep in mind that certain of the attitudes expressed therein were such an established, matter-of-fact part of the culture, they weren’t really questioned. Something that looks shockingly racist or sexist to us wasn’t necessarily seen that way 50+ years ago.

I don’t think I’ll ever find anything to top this one in unintentional hilariousness! It sends such a different message in the modern era!

Just what everyone dreams of finding under the tree, a toilet seat!

Many doctors used to not only permit their patients to smoke all the way into the delivery room, but also recommended smoking during pregnancy to curtail weight gain.

I suppose cigarettes are a better Christmas present than a toilet seat. Some of the empty boxes and extras they contained have become collectors’ items.

The creators’ hearts seem to have been in the right place for this WWI ad, though it’d come off better in the modern era if they’d worded it like, “I’m an Indian, but my heart is Canadian.”

I also have another Cellophane ad featuring a baby wrapped in it.

As a lower plus size myself, I’d never patronize any company who referred to their customer base as “chubbies”! I’m glad Lane Bryant no longer advertises like this.

Ageism in the workplace is hardly new, though nowadays it’s not as out in the open as it once was.

Look at those employment qualifications listed! Legs, makeup, figure, weight, hair, complexion, nails, all things you can no longer get away with selecting based upon, at least not openly.

Dad beats his son with a hairbrush because he refuses to take a laxative.

God forbid a woman get a sniffly nose from a cold or allergy!

No comment!

Quite a few of my vintage soap ads have the premise of turning dark skin white.

Every so often, I find a vintage ad playing on men’s insecurities, instead of making it seem like only women need to take care with meticulous cleanliness or risk offending people. Both sexes need to wash themselves and use soap!

This ad would never be approved today!

These Lysol ads really played on women’s insecurities, and made it seem like they’d either lose their husbands, or wouldn’t find husbands, if they didn’t douche. I’ve heard some of the so-called doctors quoted in these ads weren’t even real doctors.

Who in the real world expects anyone, man or woman, to be a perfect spouse all the time? Maybe these fictional women’s husbands needed to attend to their own personal hygiene! I’m surprised douches are still made and advertised, knowing what we do now about how unnecessary they are.

A to Z Reflections 2017

This was my sixth year participating in the A to Z Challenge, and my fourth year doing it with two blogs. I wrote all of my main blog posts last August and September, except for X and Z, which I wrote this January. My secondary blog posts were written in March.

The final letters I decided on topics for were L, R, X, and Z. Topics I considered but discarded included Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Hospital, Újszász, Xylotymbou, Rue des Pyrénées, Rue de Rivoli, and the Louvre.

Issues encountered:

I wonder if some people bother reading the posts on the anchor blog, since they do things frequently advised against. Case in point: Comment moderation! I’m not talking about bloggers who moderate initial comments, or moderate all comments on hot-button issue blogs. I’m talking about bloggers who moderate every single comment for no reason!

I spent time writing a comment on the T day, respectfully and calmly explaining why The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is an ahistorical slap in the face, and not highly regarded by the Jewish community or historical fiction community. As of now, it’s still lost in moderation, and a lot of this blogger’s posts don’t have any other comments either.

If you’re going to do moderation, at least read and approve comments within a day! I’m highly unlikely to return to a blog where comments don’t show up until days or weeks have passed, if ever.

Lack of hyperlinking. A LOT of people just left their URLs in the daily link-up posts. While it doesn’t take hours to copy and paste it into a new tab or window, it’s still not as instantaneous as HTML coding it into a hyperlink.

The lack of a master list was a bit cumbersome. While there were certainly issues with the list, I liked how it contained all the blogs in one place. It took more time to trawl through the comments section of each daily post. The extra space taken up by each comment could’ve been used for several additional links under the old system.

I’m a big fan of time and motion study, pioneered by Frederick Winslow Taylor and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. It conserves the amount of time and work motions used to perform tasks. Sure, it didn’t take that much longer to scroll through 26 different comment sections, open each link or C&P each URL into a new tab, and link up myself, but the time spent doing that could’ve been used towards visiting a few more blogs each day. Over 26 days, those additional minutes really add up.

I also liked having the master list so I could start going through it right after sign-ups started. I began by visiting those closest to me, and got to know a lot of new blogs in advance. Throughout April, I became familiar with who was where in the list, and knew which links I’d visited or hadn’t explored yet by their hyperlink color. It was also a helpful reference for catching up in the months after the Challenge.

If there won’t be a master list from now on, a happy medium solution would be a service like Inlinkz. Some of the weekly bloghops I’ve participated in use that or a similar linking service. All you have to do is refresh it to see newer additions.

I do feel like the lack of a master list hurt those of us who weren’t early birds. We don’t all have the same sleep, work, or school schedule, or might not be able to get on a computer until late in the day, after almost everyone has already passed through. With a master list, we could peruse it at our leisure, and other bloggers would’ve found us more easily.

Post recap:

Andrássy Út (25 views)
Basilica di Santa Croce (16 views)
Castle District, Budapest (29 views)
Dohány Utca Synagogue (18 views)
Erzsébetváros (14 views)
Flemish Giant (17 views)
Gellért Hill (12 views)
L’Hôtel de la Duchesse-Anne and Hashomer Hatzair (11 views)
Ivy Hill Park, Newark (10 views)
Jewish Newark (17 views)
Košice, Slovakia (21 views)
Lower Galilee (13 views)
Machal and Le Meurice (13 views)
Normafa and Neology (14 views)
Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova (15 views)
Pasarét and Ponte Vecchio (14 views)
Quilting (12 views)
Rue de la Rosière-d’Artois and Rue Crébillon (12 views)
Szent János Hospital, La Samaritaine, and Sant’Ambrogio Market (13 views)
Twentieth Arrondissement and Tempio Maggiore Israelitico di Firenze (20 views)
University of Montpellier (15 views)
Vailsburg, Newark (14 views)
Wesselényi Utca and the White Paper (12 views)
Xaver Suppe and Xoriatiki Salata (19 views)
Yizkor (9 views)
Zionism and “Zog Nit Keyn Mol” (27 views)