The world still doesn’t need another blog.

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As of today, I’ve been blogging for 3 years. In blog years, that may be equal to 15 regular years. I’m not exactly sure because I have no idea what the average age of a blog is and I’m not that good at mathematical conversions. So I decided to ask the experts at WordPress.

Here’s our conversation:

Me: How many years has the average blog been active?

Zandy: Hi there – hmm, I don’t think we track that specifically. We have something like 77 million users, spanning 10 + years, so there is likely a very wide range.

Me: Tomorrow is my blog’s 3rd birthday, and I don’t know if that is better or worse or equal to the average

Zandy: Personally, 3 years is really great!

Me: Thanks Zandy, I found one article online that threw out the number of 33 months, but it was written 9 years ago and the blogging landscape has changed.

Me: Are there no meta statistics that WordPress corporate uses for how long blogs have been active?

Zandy: I don’t have any specifics, but I hear from users who struggle to make it a year (but I work in support, vs the regular on-going users)

Zandy: I’ll check to see if we have anything – hang on a minute!

Me: Thanks!

Zandy: Ok, Josh, we don’t have any numbers we can share, but as I was talking with my colleagues, everyone mentioned that three years is on the high end – so congratulations!

Me: Awesome. Thanks for the validation. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to return to my 3-year-long practice of shouting into the void. Have a good day!

Zandy: haha – you have a great day!

So there you have it. As far as longevity is concerned, I’m doing pretty well. As for content, I’ll leave that judgement up to you, the readers.

Here’s the highlight reel:

Top 5 Posts

  1. 11 Fun Raccoon Facts
  2. We are too young to buy caskets.
  3. Mrs. Eiffel
  4. On the Origin of Tuckered Out
  5. The Origin of Bah Humbug!

Number of posts – 900

Lifetime views – 87,340

Number of countries reached – 163

If I say anything more, I’ll feel like a pompous moron (not that I’m not, I just don’t currently feel like one). Thanks for being part of my writing journey. Thanks especially to my beautiful wife, DeAnne, for her sacrifice of time together because she believes in my writing.

Icebreaker #9 | What’s the last movie/book/thing that made you really think?

This is the ninth installment of my Icebreaker series. Let’s put our thinking caps on.

What’s the last movie/book/thing that made you really think?

I’ll give answers for each category of the question here. Some movies, books, and things are great entertainment because they invite you to turn off your brain for a bit and simply enjoy the ride. Some movies, books, and things are valuable because they do just the opposite. Every now and again, you’ll come across something that you find yourself needing to experience again because it was too rich the first time.

In the realm of books, there have been a number of titles that got my brain juices flowing at one time or another: To Kill a Mockingbird, Slaughterhouse Five, The Master and Margarita, and so on. The last book to do so was Nation by Terry Pratchett.

1426552506Nation is one of Pratchett’s limited number of books not set in his famous Discworld (don’t get me wrong, I love all the Discworld novels too!). It centers around a pair of very disparate youths coming to terms with maturity, religion, and death. It struck me as thought-provoking because while reading it, you could tell that Pratchett himself was working through some of these issues in his own life.

In fact, around the time of Nation‘s release in 2008, Pratchett surprised his followers with news of a religious nature. Where previously, his relationship to God was one of being mad at Him for not existing, he now said this:

“It is just possible that once you have got past all the gods that we have created with big beards and many human traits, just beyond all that, on the other side of physics, they just may be the ordered structure from which everything flows.

“That is both a kind of philosophy and totally useless – it doesn’t take you anywhere. But it fills a hole.”

If nothing else, the themes of Nation will get you thinking too.

For movies, I’m going to go with Cloud Atlas. I’m a sucker for Tom Hanks movies, but even I was skeptical after watching the previews.

And yes, it was every bit as strange as I expected it to be, but I found myself thinking about it long after the credits had rolled.

Like Nation, Cloud Atlas was an exploration of theology as much as it was an entertaining story about the interrelated nature of people and story. It was a film that is best watched twice. If for no other reason than to hear an incredibly well imagined version of how language changes over time and what it may sound like many, many years in the future.

How about you? What was the last book, movie, or thing to make you think?

What is the Shavian Alphabet?

Shaw_alphabet_paperbackI recently learned of the existence of a hitherto unfamiliar alphabet, the Shavian Alphabet, which provides some marked improvements to the traditional Latin Alphabet. Though its appearance may seem like something extraterrestrial, it is simply another way to write the English language.

The Shavian Alphabet was named for George Bernard Shaw, who set the rules for its creation as follows:

  1. It must contain at least 40 letters.
  2. It must be as phonetic as possible.
  3. It must be distinct from the Latin Alphabet to avoid the impression that new spellings were “misspellings”.

A competition was held after Shaw’s death in which four people won. One of the winners, Ronald Kingsley Read (which is a great name for someone involved in a competition of language and alphabets), was tasked with combining the efforts of the four individuals into a single, sensible alphabet. Upon completion, George Bernard Shaw’s trust had only enough money to translate one of Shaw’s works into the new alphabet: Androcles and the Lion.

If you’ve ever read English, you know that it is a confusing language. Just look at this forgotten title from Dr. Seuss.

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Tough rhymes with stuff. Cough rhymes with off. Plough rhymes with cow. Dough rhymes with go. Thanks a lot, English!

The problem of the Shavian alphabet is that we are so entrenched with Latin, it would be near impossible to retrain everyone in a new written form of the English language. That said, I kind of want to learn the Shavian alphabet, if for no other reason than to write in a way that is both sensible (in that words will sound like how they look) and insensible (in that they won’t make any sense to users of the traditional alphabet) simultaneously, and I’m a sucker for a paradoxical situations.

Anyone else want to join me?

I am the cure for hiccups.

Some people believe that science has no idea what causes the hiccups. The truth is that science knows all kinds of things that cause the hiccups (carbonated beverages, laughter, stress, brain cancer, and more exciting things). But science doesn’t usually step in to do something about it until things get crazy bad.

For instance, a guy named Charles Osborne had hiccups from 1922 to 1990 and earned a spot in the Guinness World Records for the longest attack of hiccups. A few years back in 2007, a teen from Florida named Jennifer Mee got famous for hiccuping 50 times per minute for more than five weeks (unfortunately, she is also kind of famous for committing murder, which leads me to believe that hiccups can also cause craziness). Not to be outdone by the Yanks, Britain’s own Christopher Sands hiccupped every two seconds from February 2007 to May 2009. The only reason they stopped was because doctors found the cause of his hiccups to be a tumor, so they took it out and bam! They stopped.

Some cultures believe that hiccups are caused by being the object of someone’s thoughts (in the USA, we say that such thoughts cause a person’s ears to burn). But for my wife, the cause of hiccups has almost always been stress-related.

During our first year of marriage, she had a job that stressed her out to no end. Her manager was on a perpetual cigarette break, her schedule often included late nights followed by early morning shifts, and her coworkers were not always friendly. She got the hiccups every day, and usually multiple times during the day.

Let’s talk for a minute about the various home remedies for hiccups. Some people believe that a glass of water drank upside-down (or from the opposite side of the cup as normal) will cure them. Others stand by holding their breathe or eating a spoonful of sugar. But my favorite home remedy has always been scaring someone.

There’s something fun about trying to jolt a person’s hiccups away. Sometimes it works.

This was my standard offer for my wife during that first year of marriage. For some reason, she never took me up on it. Maybe because she is smarter than I am by an order of magnitude and she realized that since stress caused her hiccups, more stress would only speed them up. And yes, I often ignored her protests and scared her anyway, and yes, her hiccups would just pick up their pace.

But after almost ten years of marriage, we figured it out. I am the cure for her hiccups, but it has nothing to do with scaring her.

Here we are hugging just prior to getting married. No, we didn't go anywhere exotic in our dating life. That tropical scene was the wallpaper in my apartment prior to us getting hitched.

Here we are hugging just prior to getting married. No, we didn’t go anywhere exotic in our dating life. That tropical scene was the wallpaper in my apartment prior to us getting hitched.

Lately when she gets the hiccups, I give her a hug. Just a hug. It doesn’t even have to be all that long of a hug. And her hiccups disappear.

I’m actually kind of proud that my hugs are so calming that I can stop her hiccups. I’ll take it as one more proof that she and I are perfect for each other.

How often do you get the hiccups? What do you do to get rid of them?

Friday 5 | Click-worthy Links

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Here are 5 more places online worth checking out:

  1. What happens when the cops forget to send someone to jail? Sometimes, good things happen.
  2. I’ll admit it. I would totally buy one of these for myself if it weren’t for the fact that my kids would see me coloring and ask for a page, which I know they would just scribble all over instead of coloring it nicely like me.
  3. Confidence gets results. Help yourself to 12 things confident people do differently and see what happens for you.
  4. I can’t help but love Theodore Roosevelt. True, he’s no Chester A. Arthur, but who is?
  5. Old signs about reading! That is all.

Enjoy!

Book Review | You’re Not Doing It Right by Michael Ian Black

9781439167861I don’t remember when I first read Michael Ian Black’s essay “What I Would Be Thinking About If I Were Billy Joel Driving Toward a Holiday Party Where I Knew There Was Going to Be a Piano.” What I do remember is loving it. So when I happened upon Michael Ian Black’s book, You’re Not Doing It Right, I had to pick it up.

Michael Ian Black is a very famous actor, writer, husband and father. It doesn’t matter that you may not know who he is. In spite of his fame, Michael Ian Black’s experiences and humiliations are common to most men.

In fact, aside from being older, more famous, thinner, funnier, probably wealthier, and less religious, we could be twins. Well, also my parents didn’t divorce because my mom was a lesbian. They divorced for other reasons. But Michael Ian Black and I both experienced vertigo, so we’re essentially the same.

Black’s book, You’re Not Doing It Right, is a frank memoir of the actor’s life and failures. Imagine sneaking into your sibling’s bedroom and stealing their diary, that one labeled “Keep out!!! This means you!!” and taking into the bathroom (so you can lock the door behind you) and reading all of their secrets. If nothing else, you won’t be able to look at them in the same way thereafter. That’s what it is like to read this book, but in the best way possible.

Michael Ian Black’s book is nothing less than a sledgehammer for whatever pedestal you have put him on. It is an invitation to stop feeling crazy and know that there are people (even very famous people) who struggle with selfishness in marriage, frustrations in parenting, and relationships in general.

True, it was utterly unlike any memoir that might have passed my desk at a Christian publishing house, but that is one of the reasons that I read it. If you can get past some colorful language and a potentially sordid history (let’s be honest, none of us are proud of every part of our history), you can’t go wrong with You’re Not Doing It Right.

Icebreaker #8 | What’s your standard drink order?

This is the eighth installment of my Icebreaker series. I’m getting thirsty.

What’s your standard drink order?

Glass_colaHere’s one situation. You are at a sit-down restaurant. The waiter comes over and asks if you would like anything to drink. What do you say?

My wife is the healthy one who always orders water. Or maybe it isn’t a health thing for her. She’s an accountant, so maybe she just hates spending money on overpriced drinks (which includes every drink that is not water).

I have no such compulsions (either for health or financial reasons). I always order cola. In fact, I use the actual word “cola”.

Why?

Because I am not a person who notices things. I don’t often see whether a restaurant serves Coke or Pepsi. So I just use the word that they share in common. That way, the waiter doesn’t have to feel like they disappointed me if I ask for something they don’t serve. (Also, the waiter can’t look down on me for not paying attention to the obvious indicators right there in the menu in black and white that they serve Coke instead of Pepsi.)

If I do actually look at the menu though, I look to see if they carry the beverage that beats all other beverages and I order it without hesitation. Long live Dr. Pepper!

KBS-Bottle-256x790Here’s the other situation. You are at a bar. There is a designated driver who already has your keys. The barkeep asks you what you are having. What do you say?

I’m a late bloomer when it comes to alcoholic beverages, and I have no taste for hard liquors (though I suspect that only a portion of the reason to drink hard liquor is the taste). But I have come to appreciate a good beer, and my latest favorite is Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) from Founder’s Brewing Co. I was fortunate enough to imbibe at the John Dickson event that Baker Book House put on at Founder’s, and oh man. It was good.

What is your standard drink order? 

An Open Call for Guest Bloggers

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Are you looking for new readers, a bigger online footprint, or a chance to help a fellow blogger/writer? Look no further! Guest posts are welcome at joshmosey.com.

Over the next few months, I’ll be sporadically featuring posts from other parts of the blogosphere. I’m not looking to get out of blogging, but it has been too long since I have consistently been working on my other writing. And since I am the type of person who thinks he can do everything until proven wrong, I’d like to work on my story writing AND keep provided fresh content on my blog.

Of course, I’ll be cheating a bit on that second point because my plan for fresh content is to have other people write it. But that’s okay, because other people write a lot better than me anyway.

If you are thinking about writing a post for me, here’s what I’m asking you to do:

Send me a message at josh@thoughtcrimemarketing.com with the subject line “Awesome Guest Post Proposal”. Tell me who you are, where you currently blog, and about which topic you’d like to write. No posts longer than 500 words or so, please.

That’s about it. What do you say, Internet? Can you help me out?