Thanks to You, Readers

I started running those Google AdSense blocks on the right of my site back in early 2007, well after my posting had tapered off, but thanks to you all it’s provided me with a little late holiday present. Arriving in the mail on this last day of 2011: a check from Google for just over $100, covering almost four years of AdSense displays.

Sadly, my best-ever earnings came in May 2007—way back at the beginning—and even that didn’t break $10. It was just before I was laid off from the Last Director Job Ever.

I’m not sure what made that month’s traffic high. Was it my correction of Jim Lehrer that ended up on the journalism site Romanesko? Was it the analysis of how Democratic Senators who voted against the Iraq AUMF had a better re-election track record than those who cheered the war on? Or was it the photo of me corrupting the youth of Springfield, Oregon with the evils of pencil-and-paper role-playing games?

There were seven months that followed where the average take was above $4.60, but only three months since January 2008 have made more than $2.50 (and never more than $3); nearly half the past four years has been under $1 per month.

Maybe I should write something people (at least briefly) think they want to read, again. $9 a month, man….

Bongo Fury

Frank Zappa and Vaclav Havel, 1990

Could there have been a more stunning contrast in newly-minted national leaders than we were presented with by George H. W. Bush in the US and Vaclav Havel in Czechoslovakia?

Bush, despite his short stint as Director of Central Intelligence, wasn’t considered to be much of a brain trust. Sure, compared to his son, George W.; his choice for vice president, Dan “potatoe” Quayle; and the addled old man he’d served under for the previous eight years, Ronald Reagan, Bush didn’t seem like a complete idiot. Havel, on the other hand, was an actual thinker and writer, who’d been agitating against Communist rule of his country for a quarter of a century.

I’d been hoping to make a Christmastime trip to Prague with Barbara for my 50th birthday earlier this month but didn’t manage to put it together. It would have been an even greater honor to have been there as the Czech Republic notes the passing of Havel this week, just before the end of Zappadan.

Birthday Song

I’m so tired of your lies
And the evil things you’re doing behind my back
Are there crimes that you have never committed?
I doubt it
Sometimes I wonder when will you die

You’re insane
You are bad
You wreck everything you touch and you’re a sociopath
There’s just one thing that everyone’s wondering
When will you die?

Schoolchildren stay at home
And all the banks will close
Each year we’ll mark the date
On which we celebrate

I know how
I know why
I can picture every part of your comeuppance except
For the one remaining piece of the puzzle
Which is when you’ll die

This is Dan and that’s Dan
And there’s Marty on the drums to complete the band
And I’m John and he is also John and all of us are wondering
When you’re going to die

Still you live
You go on
But you’re running out the clock and if we knew how long
I’d be counting down the days until the lovely one
On which you’re gone

On that promised morning we will wake and greet the dawn
Knowing that your wicked life is over and that we will carry on

We’ll exhale
We’ll high-five
We will know at last how great it is to be alive
We’ll be lining up and buying tickets and then we’ll be
Jumping up and down on your grave

You’re insane
You are bad
You wreck everything you touch and you’re a sociopath
And the only way to mitigate would be to know the date
You’re scheduled to vacate
When are you going to die?
Look me in the eye
Tell me when you’ll die

“When Will You Die?”, Join Us, They Might Be Giants

The Spirit of 76 (With a Side Order of ’72)

Happy Birthday to Calvin Trillin, who has another birthday today. I have to wonder if he’s spending it somewhere in the area, since he’s speaking in Boise on Thursday.

On an unrelated note, best wishes to the man who lost in a landslide: George McGovern, who fell outside the library bearing his name in South Dakota last week. The thing that always goes unsaid in news reports is that the guy he lost to was so corrupt that he had to leave the White House before he was removed from office and that even his attorney general went to jail.