Monday, March 1

What Will Become of Blogs?

For quite some time, it has seemed as if many blogs I've known and loved have dropped off the face of the earth one by one. At first, there were many new ones appearing and, certainly, people do get tired of writing on almost any topic.

However, the reality is that social media giants (not naming any in particular) have been reducing interest generally in blogs.

Below is what Google Trends says about interest in blogs. For those that don't know, blogspot (blogger) is a Google product. Wordpress is a competing product.

Google Trend over time for the Seach Term "blog?

As can easily be seen, Google trends show the term "blog" peaking in popularity in August, 2009. This blog started at the end of July, 2009. As of October 2020, blog is used less than 20% as much as it was at its peak. Things are even worse for blogspot, which is only about 5% of its peak popularity as a search term. Wordpress has not suffered as badly, but even it is down 2/3 from its peak.

Relative Popularity of "Blogspot" versus "Wordpress" over time

Perhaps the writing is on the wall for those not using Facebook or Twitter or any of the other overwhelming social media.


Tuesday, December 8

The Best Pilot Gordo Ever Knew

Chuck Yeager with Northrop F-20 from Getty Images

In the movie, "The Right Stuff," Gordon Cooper was asked "Who's the best pilot you ever knew." Thinking of Chuck Yeager, he eventually caught himself and said "You're looking at him." However, Chuck truly did have the right stuff. He passed away yesterday at age 97. No airplanes involved. There's a "Right Stuff" movie trailer featuring him, here. Wikipedia has a biography of him here. There's a mini documentary on him below. God Speed Chuck Yeager. There aren't many like him any more.

Sunday, October 18

Sometimes a Bike is too Quick

 Recently, I had cause to stroll around Aberdeen, Washington. Normally, I ride my bike or in a car when I visit Aberdeen. Walking, however, showed me many items I would miss when on my bike.

Old and Tired Aberdeen

Seen while walking in an Aberdeen Alley

Gray's Harbor County, and Aberdeen, are some of the poorer areas of Washington State. Aberdeen bills itself as "the Lumber Capital of the World," but that really means its heyday was a century ago. Less well known is that Aberdeen was also home, back in the day, to perhaps the worst serial killer in US history, Billy Gohl. Between about 1902 and 1910, Billy may have killed over 100 people. His memory is immortalized in Aberdeen only through a bar/grill named "Billy's." His name does not appear on the walk of fame, described below.

Aberdeen Walk of Fame

Doug Osheroff, Nobel Laureate born in Aberdeen

The first star presented for your consideration is that of Doug Osheroff, a Nobel Physics winner that was born and raised in Aberdeen. As with Kurt Cobain, he achieved his fame elsewhere.

John Madden played football for a year at the local community college

I was surprised to see John Madden (of NFL fame) on the Aberdeen walk. John wasn't born or commonly associated with Aberdeen. However, as one discovers from Wikipedia, he played football for Aberdeen's Gray's Harbor College in 1956

There were many other stars on the Aberdeen sidewalks, some names more familiar and some less.

Aberdeen even has a Major League Baseball Player

For any loyal reader not familiar with Vean Gregg, he is a member of the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame. The PCL is a minor-league, but Gregg also played well in the Major Leagues. According to Wikipedia, "Gregg's major league career record is 92–63 with a lifetime 2.70 ERA in 1,393 innings pitched and 720 strikeouts. He was the only pitcher in the 20th century to win 20 games or more in his first three seasons." While Gregg was born in Chehalis, he lived in Aberdeen after he retired from baseball.

I'd have seen none of these items on my bike or from the seat of a car.

Thursday, September 17

Sportsmanship in a Pandemic


Fires are still burning out west, though rain in Washington has dampened things somewhat. Mostly, it's muggier than usual, however and we'll need more rain to put the flames out entirely and clear the air.

In OTHER news, Coronavirus continues. Looking through the archives, I'm reminded that the Coronavirus is, in many ways, simply a rerun of the Spanish Flu pandemic. In a past post, here, I recounted how the Seattle Metropolitans were the first American team to win the Stanley Cup away from the Canadians. In that post, I mentioned that Seattle was going to play Montreal again in 1919, but the Spanish Flu caused the contest to be cancelled. Today, my loyal reader will hear more about that later story. It seems particularly relevant in these days of Coronavirus and the attempts that professional sports teams are making to cope with it. I encourage reading of the newspaper clipping at left, from the April 2, 1919 edition of the Vancouver BC newspaper, "The Province."

As you can see, the series was tied and Montreal gamely wanted to continue against the favored Seattle Metropolitans, but the Montreal team was simply too crippled by the pandemic to continue. Rather than accept the Stanley Cup by default or by beating a Montreal team with players added at the last moment, Seattle supported the result that the series was declared a tie. Somehow, that level of sportsmanship by both teams seems to be in short supply nowadays.

Lest we get too focused on current events, we should remember that the previous epidemic lasted for two years and claimed over 500,000 lives in America alone. History suggests we may be dealing with the Coronavirus for quite some time to come.

Friday, August 14

Learning from a Non-Teachable Moment

This morning, I learned some things when I rode to get coffee. I didn't learn anything in particular from the ride, but rather from the fairly short wait in line at the drive-thru.

It started like this - I left for coffee here in Ocean Shores about an hour later than normal - at 7AM rather than 6. As a result, early-rising tourists were starting to line up.

As a result, I wound up behind a silver Chevrolet Suburban. Like many in line, the driver didn't think to turn off his engine while stopped. Perhaps he was afraid his engine wouldn't restart if he shut it off or maybe he was still a bit sleepy. Who knows? Anyway, it got beyond typical when his cigarette smoke also wafted back. It got even further beyond typical and created the "learning from non-teachable" when he tossed his half-smoked cigarette onto the curb near me close to the wooden siding of the coffee establishment in order to pull forward and order his beverage.

Not considering things fully, I inquired if he realized his cigarette was still lighted and if he wanted it back. As you might expect, the answer came back in the negative. Then I forgot about non-teachable moments and suggested he pick up his (expletive deleted) item. Before you knew it, his passenger came out of the SUV and said "I'll take care of the cigarette but don't cuss at my husband."

At this point, I memorized the SUV license plate number - something I should have done routinely.  This was my first learning from the non-teachable moment. I'll not repeat than number here other than to note the license plate holder was from Tacoma, despite the "Ocean Shores Cares" decal affixed to his back window. It's good to learn from such episodes to do something like routinely mentally noting licenses - just in case.

In my second learning I also learned that some people just think that we on bikes simply ought NOT to be in drivethru lines to start with, even if the walk-up lobby is shut due to a pandemic. Or perhaps they just don't think things through at all.

In my own defense, at least I had the presence of mind to not going beyond calling out that the Suburban shouldn't have been in the drivethru line either, and I also considered what I'd do if the Suburban backed up after getting coffee. Upon reflection, the notion that bikes should not be in drivethrus seems even more common than the notion that they ought not be on any kind of road. My third learning was what if the guy had a gun and even more anger issues? In other words, avoid escalation when dealing with a questionable stranger.

One thing I learned only after the SUV drove off - my barista noted that the SUV had an ash tray and if the driver was going to smoke in it he ought to use that ash tray. Golly, I hadn't thought of that as the passenger yelled at me about how bikes should not be in a drivethru.