Octogenarian's third anniversary
As I begin my fourth year producing this blog, the masthead statement, introducing myself as a man who has "recently turned 80," is out of date. But I do not intend to make a annual public ritual to update my advanced age.
I believe my blog is unique because it is a mishmash of autobiography and political opinion. This may have turned off some readers seeking some consistency in subject matter. But it has probably produced a wider range of visitors whom I might not have otherwise attracted.
I have always been curious about how visitors discover my blog's existence. When I began publishing it, my big fear was that the blog would be lost and unread in the vast and mysterious blogosphere. I am pleased that my blog has attracted much more traffic than I ever anticipated. Only recently, however, did I begin to appreciate that a primary source of viewers is Google and other Internet search engines into which the reader taps in an inquiry.
The search engines have referred an extraordinary variety of people to my blog. Many have responded with interesting and often provocative comments that make blogging such a fascinating endeavor.
Among these readers: a second cousin I do not know; a New York Times editor who is writing a history of the Grand Concourse in the Bronx; the children of a former Soviet air force colonel, now deceased, who had defected to the U.S. and become my friend; former professional colleagues; fans of Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable; the grandson of one of my college professors; World War II veterans who, like me, served in India; Indian residents familiar with places I knew in their country; a former Slovak partisan who had fought the Germans; admirers and critics of Rachel Carson, a pioneer in the environmental movement; onetime college classmates; an American living in Scotland; a retired English teacher in Paris; and a Dutch farmer who grows eggplants .
I have even received a comment in Polish, a language I do not know. Surprisingly, the writer bore my surname. So I am eager to have his message translated. I do not know of any relatives in Poland, my father's birthplace. The few I was aware of perished in the Holocaust.
A program called SiteMeter is installed on this blog. It measures the number of visits to the blog and identifies the general location of the visitors and the blog pages that they viewed. (Names and addresses are not shown.) Last year the monthly average was about 1,500 visits to the blog and more than 2,000 pages viewed.
Two years ago I posted a piece entitled "My Sex Life in the Army." I estimate that at least 20% of my blog's visitors still go to that page. Virtually all of them are from foreign countries. I assume that most of them seek an erotic charge from a pornographic account of army sex life.
I probably disappoint them because I treat the subject not as a sexual participant but as an observer, functioning in the dispassionate manner in which journalists are obliged to operate.