Monday, September 13, 2004

Useless Blog News

So far the blog's had 82,359 views and 61,091 visits since I started it in July of last year. (Don't let the November 2002 archive link fool you. That was I. Shawn McElhinney trying to pester me into blogging. That'll teach him!). In case anyone's wondering, a "view" is when someone Googling for "Papacy + Nuclear War + Frijoles" ends up here for 3 seconds before he flees in terror. A "visit" happens when someone ends up here by Googling for "Papacy + Nuclear War + Frijoles" and takes a long bathroom break before fleeing in terror.

Most of our visitors are independent, surfing in from a home or network connection. No more than 6% of our visitors have come here from an educational establishment, which is perhaps a good thing. If lots of my visitors are coming from American colleges and universities, I'm either writing twaddle or the New Springtime's closer than Ratzinger says it is.

The majority of you (40%) come from the east coast, with the Midwest U.S. coming in second at 25%, followed by California (15%+), and the central plains states (5%). (In my mind, the "Midwest" is bordered by the Great Lakes, and the Allegheny, Mississippi, and Ohio Rivers. The "central plains," or "plains states" are bordered by Canada, the Mississippi, the Rockies, and a line that runs across the northern boundaries of New Mexico and Texas, then down the southern border of Oklahoma, then back up north along Arkansas' western border and then east along it's northern border to the Mississippi. That's how I see it, and so I'm calling it).

The rest of our visitors hail, in order, from the UK; a meridian that covers Australia/Singapore/Indonesia; a meridian that runs through Bangladesh, China, Mongolia, and Russia; and another meridian that goes through west Africa, Italy, Germany/Poland, Sweden and Norway.

Some guy named Wayne Hurlburt has bought, and then sold, all my traded "blogshares" stock. I don't know who he sold them to, but I do know somebody ought to have a long, serious talk with him about his family's financial future. An outgoing link from my site is worth $565.74 in fake blogshares money, and the site itself is worth $12,912.60 in equally-fake blogshares money. I don't know what that means, either, except I still can't make any money at this. My wife will be pleased. She told me so when I started.

Lastly, there are now 89 subscribers to the Bloglet update system. That means if I started charging $1,000.00 a year for subscriptions, I could make some good bucks at this and quit my day job. Problem is, I'd get paid with fake blogshares money that isn't worth anything except the kind of ephemeral satisfaction you get by predicting which parking spot will be taken the next time you go around the block. You can't live on that. I know. I checked with my wife.

I think the only thing I'll be able to get to in the near future is a longish post about why I don't think anyone ought to vote for John Kerry. Voting for The Shrub is up for grabs. I may or may not give him my chad. But Kerry? Can't do it, folks, we just can't.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Better than Listening to NPR!

St. Blog's Parish is having a lively discussion on the morality of our involvement in Iraq. Go flap your gums! (Or click your keyboards). But note -- the Moderator has put the Permanent Kibosh on Bishop-Bashing. You are warned!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Good Resource for Teachers and Home-Schoolers

It's Matthew Fritz's History Lessons for Junior Generals. Mr. Fritz, a junior-high-school teacher, has produced a dozen or so fun and playable military-strategy games for that age. Playable with inexpensive and widely-available plastic miniatures, or with the paper soldiers made from templates Mr. Fritz kindly provides on his website, the scenarios involve conflicts from Biblical times until the present. They are accurate enough to inspire good thinking about the nature of warfare and its effect on history, but not so accurate that you need a computer or a 100-page rule book to play them. Tips are also provided on handling "problem generals" -- the cheater, the whiner, and the bad winner. Mr. Fritz is to be congratulated on a truly charming and useful project.

And in a strange related way, I came across this entry for Vietnam in the period 1633-1600 A.D. in Dupuy's Encyclopedia of Military History:
"While the Le Dynasty was recognized as the only legitimate ruling force in Vietnam, rivalry and partition between the Trinh family (north) and the Nguyen family (south) led to seven campaigns. The Trinh had an army and fleet of 100,000 men, 500 elephants, 500 large junks, and cannons. The Nguyen had numerically inferior forces, but as early as 1615 had been producing heavy guns under Portuguese auspices. The shipments of modern weapons from Portugal and the Portuguese military advisers enabled the Nguyen to successfully resist the Trinh offensive. The Nguyen reinforced their natural defenses by constructing 2 huge walls across teh main avenues of approach, north of Hue. The Truong-Duc wall was 6 miles long, contained a camp for troops, and was an obstacle for passage up the Nhat-Le River. The Dong-hoi wall was 11 miles long and fortified with heavy cannon. In over 50 years of fighting, the Trinh never managed to break through both of these walls. The Nguyen also began constructing arsenals, canon foundries, rifle ranges and training grounds for infantry, cavalry and elephants. The battles generally took place south of Ha-Tinh and north of Hue, or in the wall region of the Dong-hoi." Id. p. 597.
It seems, in addition to all this, that the Trinh were assisted by the Dutch, who were 17th-century rivals of the Portuguese.

So, we have North and South Vietnam at war for decades under two different dynasties, each helped by Western "superpowers" engaged in their own global struggle, involving a DMZ of sorts near Hue. Past is prologue, indeed.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Some T-Shirt Ideas

Apparently, John Kerry is going to Steubenville on Saturday. No doubt the man desperately needs a photo op amongst Ohio Catholics. At St. Blog's they're suggesting signs and T-shirts. Here are my suggestions:

Shirt #1

How about you, John?
"Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life." -- Catechism #2270

Shirt #2

That's good enough for you, right John?

Shirt #3

Ask John -- He's the expert!