Lazy Sunday CXLVI: 2021’s Top Five Posts

It’s officially 2022, but this Sunday I’m going to cast one more look back at 2021.  As is tradition, in addition to my annual “Worst of” lists, I always do a “Top Five Posts” retrospective as well.

Like the “Worst of” lists, I don’t base these posts off of their quality, but by the number of views they received.  Some of them probably are very high-quality posts; others just got a lot of eyeballs.

I’ve also included the next three highest posts, which serendipitously worked out to be unique in their own ways, with two being of particular significance to the growth of the blog this year.

While I did not have any huge breakthrough posts in 2021—those garnering quadruple digits, like “Tom Steyer’s Belt“—my posts on average had more views, and my WordPress subscriber count increased substantially.  It turns out that if you keep at something for a thousand days, you start gaining some traction!  I also had substantially more commenter participation, thanks to folks hopping over from The Conservative Woman and Nebraska Energy Observer.

With that, here are 2021’s Top Five Posts:

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Flashback Friday^2: Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break

It’s Black Friday today, so everyone is rushing out to get whatever picked over sales items they can.  In the spirit of Black Friday, I’d be remiss if I didn’t hawk my bookThe One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard, and my music.  Inspector Gerard is the perfect White Elephant gag gift, and at $10 for the paperback, it fits perfectly into the price point for most such novelty gift exchanges.  I’ve also got some weird merch for sale.

I first wrote “Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break“ back in 2019, at a point when I was feeling immense amounts of burnout at work.  I stand by my original assessment—that companies shouldn’t gobble up Thanksgiving Day to offer increasingly early doorbuster sales so their workers can enjoy some time with their families—though now I would probably add some more caveats.

I realized that I never really explained the name “Brack Friday Bunduru.”  I lifted it from an episode of South Park in which the kids heat up the console wars between the XBox and Playstation:

Ever since, I can’t help but say, “Brack Friday Bunduru” in an exaggerated Japanese accent ever Black Friday.

With that, here is 2020’s “Flashback Friday: Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break”:

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TBT^16: It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!

In the tradition of the past few Thanksgivings (2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017), I’m reblogging my annual “It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!” post, originally from Thanksgiving 2017 (and on the old blog).  The Saturday before that Thanksgiving I fell from a ladder and broke my left wrist (and also got a nasty gash in my left leg).  I was thankful to be alive, and to have avoided brain damage (my head, thankfully, was unscathed).

Usually this part of a TBT post is italicized, but to help keep it clear which year’s post you’re reading, I’m alternating between italicized and non-formatted text.  I’ve also added some headers to keep the prior year’s posts straight.

It’s a been a good year—a very busy one, but a good one.  It seems that life is beginning to resume its usual rhythms (and tempo—mine is, apparently, prestissimo).

In looking back at last year’s commentary, I see quite a few changes from 2020 to 2021.  For instance, last year I enjoyed distance learning; the few times we’ve done it this year, I’ve found it unsatisfying and ineffective (but I still like working from home—ha!).

On a brighter note, my private lessons empire has come roaring back.  From a low of just one loyal student, I am back to teaching around ten to fifteen lessons per week—sometimes fewer than ten, rarely more than fifteen, and often somewhere in between the two—which has been fun, lucrative, and exhausting.  I love teaching private lessons; the problem I am running into now is that, in order to accommodate the maximum number of students, I’m having to eat into time spent on other things—writing, lesson planning, and grading.  It’s worth it financially, and lessons have become the highlights of my days, but it’s definitely created some time constraints, especially when tacked on after (and, increasingly, during) a busy school day.

Regardless, I am thankful for the opportunity to work with these students, and for the funds that come with teaching them.  I now have two students who take lessons twice a week, which is fabulous, and I’m looking to add two or three more in January.  I’m looking into shifting students at comparable levels into group lessons to lighten my load a bit, but also out of sheer necessity—I’m literally running out of times to slot students.

Beyond lessons, it has been a very eventful year.  I was elected and re-elected to Lamar Town Council; wrote and published a bookThe One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot; and got a dogMy SubscribeStar page is up to ten subscribers, though two of those are inactive; at one point, I’d reached eleven!

That’s all to say that I have much to be thankful for this year.  I’m also very thankful to you, my readers and commenters.  The comments thread on the blog has really come alive in the past few months, and has brought a refreshing energy that motivates me to keep writing.  Thanks to all of you for your continued support, in whatever way that support comes.

With that, here is Thanksgiving 2020’s “TBT^4: It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!“:

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Retro Tuesday: Thanksgiving Week!

It’s Thanksgiving Week, which means I am really going to be phoning in some posts this week.  I love writing, but even I need a break from the constant output that my insatiable readers demand.

In the original post from this thread, I spelled out my argument in favor of an entire week off for Thanksgiving, in exchange for some lesser holidays.  With districts caving to reality and giving students the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off, families have just moved the start of their break back to Tuesday, with mass absenteeism the norm the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  Indeed, many families take the entire week off.

Well, my school—and many public schools in my area—took my sage advice:  we are off for the entire week.  It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!

However, I also predicted that, with an entire week off, the siren song of leaving for an extended vacation even earlier would be hard to resist.  I was right:  last week, we had a few students leaving town as early as Wednesday—a full eight days before the bird faces the executioner.  Whoa!  The trend only intensified Thursday and Friday.

Of course, it strains credulity to argue for any more time off.  At this point, I think it makes far more sense to increase Christmas Break than to lengthen Thanksgiving any further.

One downside to this newer, longer break:  with losing some other days earlier in the semester, everyone is completely burned out.  We teachers are not a hardy breed:  we’ve grown soft with cushy vacations.  In all seriousness, though, we get pretty worn down, as anyone would corralling and attempting to mold young minds all day.

Well, enough of that.  Now I’m enjoying the sweet life.

With that, here is 23 November 2020’s “Memorable Monday: Thanksgiving Week!“:

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Lazy Sunday CXXII: MAGAWeek2020 Posts

In my enthusiasm to for the animal kingdom a couple of weeks ago, I neglected to kickoff MAGAWeek2021 with a Lazy Sunday retrospective of MAGAWeek2020 posts.

Well, better late than never.  Here’s all the goodness from MAGAWeek2020, which went pretty heavy on the first couple of decades of the twentieth century.  Even my post on a contemporary figure, Tucker Carlson, had some Progressive Era ties:  The Tuck is a big fan of Theodore Roosevelt, who enjoyed two separate posts last year.

Remember, these posts are available in full if subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for as little as $1 a month.  I’ve included links to the preview posts here on the blog, as well as the direct links to the full posts on my SubscribeStar page.

With that said, enjoy!

  • #MAGAWeek2020: Theodore Roosevelt, Part I” (post on SubscribeStar) – This first post on Theodore Roosevelt details his early life:  his childhood illness and his strenuous efforts to overcome it; the death of his mother and wife one the same day; his move to the Dakotas; and his command of the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War.
  • #MAGAWeek2020: Theodore Roosevelt, Part II” (post on SubscribeStar) – This second post on TR examines his presidency in greater detail.  TR was a trailblazing president of the Progressive Era, and while some of his notions would rankle conservatives today (as they did at the time), he was, perhaps, the greatest populist president since Andrew Jackson.
  • #MAGAWeek2020: The Tuck” (post on SubscribeStar) – Speaking of populists, this profile celebrates the elitist who wants leaders to care about the people they govern.  Tucker Carlson is the only major voice in the mainstream media who advocates for an American First, pro-nationalist, pro-populist message.  He’s not the only such voice, but he’s the only one currently with the legitimacy of the mainstream press behind him—even as the National Security Agency is spying on him!  But, as I always say, you can’t cuck The Tuck!
  • #MAGAWeek2020: Calvin Coolidge” (post on SubscribeStar) – Calvin Coolidge has enjoyed a bit of a revival in recent years as a stand-in for the tax reform debate.  In many ways, he was the antithesis to Theodore Roosevelt’s gutsy, activist style of leadership.  Coolidge took the role of president seriously, chiefly the idea that he was merely presiding over the country, not lurching into towards reform.  His steady, quiet, hands-off leadership allowed the country to flourish, and he holds the distinction of being the only president to shrink the size of the federal budget by the time he left office.

Well, now you’re all caught up.  Lots of good stuff to read—and just for $1 a month!  You can’t beat that, eh?

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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TBT^2: April Fool’s Day: A Retrospective

The Kindle version of The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot goes live today!  If you pre-ordered the book, it should pop up in your Kindle app today.  At $5, it’s a very easy lift, as is the paperback at $15.

It’s April Fool’s Day, a holiday for mirth and merriment, but one I dedicate to remembering the day twelve years ago when I faced unemployment during the worst job market since the Great Depression.

In rereading last year’s TBT and the original “April Fool’s Day: A Retrospective,” I’m reminded how good God has been to me.  Last year I’d lost most of my private lesson students due to The Virus; now, I’m back up to seven students (six weekly, one twice a month), and I’ve just released a book (the Kindle version goes live today!).  Gigging still hasn’t really picked back up, but Bandcamp sales have been decent (and another Bandcamp Friday is tomorrow!), and my front porch Spooktacular was a blast.

I’m still hustlin’, but I’m also taking more time to appreciate life.  Perhaps the hard slog of my twenties has finally paid off here in my mid-thirties.

With that, here are “April Fool’s Day: A Retrospective” and “TBT: April Fool’s Day: A Retrospective“:

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One Year in the Books: Looking Back

Thanks for a great 2019, dear readers.  If you’d like to support the blog, please subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  Or just leave a comment and share my posts with your friends and families.  Thank you!

Today’s post marks the 365th day of consecutive posts.  On December 31, 2018, I wrote “2018’s Top Ten Posts” to look back at the year (I downsized a bit this year, only looking at “2019’s Top Five Posts“).

At the time, I was enjoying—as I am presently—the glory of Christmas Break.  The blog had largely been dormant following a blitz of posting during the Summer of 2018, with only occasional posts here and there, such as transcriptions of my various “Historical Moments” mini-talks.  Over the Christmas season, I was trying to get back into writing.  I wasn’t in the custom of churning out 600+ words on a daily basis, so it took a bit more effort to sit down and write a post.

I never intended to keep a 365-day streak going.  At first, I didn’t even realize WordPress tracked such activity.  But I noticed (probably with this moderately popular post) that I had a three-day “steak,” as WordPress calls it.

So I decided to try to write something everyday for the month of January 2019.  January tends to be a slow month in the school year, with everyone groggily easing back into intellectual activity during the grayest month of the year.  I also find the cold intellectually stimulating—the bracing bite of mid-winter always seems to get the creative juices flowing.

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TBT^2: It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!

Dang, it’s been another year already.  Yikes!  Last year I wrote about the updates since the tragic weekend before Thanksgiving 2017.  The year after my fall was eventful, as I detail below (my commentary on the original post from the old website is in italics).

Looking back, 2019 has been pretty solid, too.  I’ve been a bit morose in a few posts lately, but the beauty of Thanksgiving is it helps clarify the mind—we’re told to focus on what we’re thankful for, and it seems to work.

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