Phantom Blog Readers

I know I’m still way too wrapped up in how many people read my posts and in how few of them actually “like” them.  A true artist creates what he or she creates without regard to whether or not anyone will ever see it, much less like it.  I’m not trying to imply that one should make the quantum leap of judgement to put me in the company of artists or even wordsmiths, I’m just saying I shouldn’t care…but I do, and I hate myself for it.

True to form, I spend way too much time checking my stats.  Looking to see how many people read me, and which of my posts are getting the most hits.  For the life of me, I don’t understand the success of Life Lessons From Gilligan’s Island, but there’s no accounting for taste.

There is an issue which I’ve recently discovered.  One which has thought-gremlins prancing around feverishly in my head.  WordPress has a map feature and it tells the writer how many readers he has on a given day all over the world.  I’m embarrassed to admit that were it not for the coloring-in of the countries, I’d be hard-pressed to figure out where in the world some of them are actually located.  As it happens, my posts were pretty big in Macedonia for a while.  I had no idea where it was, but I’ve always been a big fans of their nuts.

In any case, the country demographic piece has a hole in it.  When adding up the hits in the various countries, the totals are not always the same as the overall number of hits, sometimes substantially less.  The stat number says I’ve had 47 hits, but the country demographics only add up to 34.   I can’t help but wonder where the other 13 hits are coming from, if not from the countries of the world.  Possible explanations of where those phantom readers are located follow:

I’m not sure this is actually a ship. It’s more like a floating hotel/theme park/mall. I was on one of these once. Another blog perhaps (Image from photo-dictionary.com)

Ships at Sea – I know it sounds so 1940’s.  I’m confident that even today, there are in fact ships at sea, though it’s hard to imagine that anyone on them is finding the time to read my blog, since there’s a rock climbing competition on the Lido deck, scrap-booking classes in the Slave Galleria, and a 24 hour chocolate fountain in the Spanish Doubloon Ballroom.

In orbit – Do astronauts have access to the world wide web thingy when they’re not in this world?  Is there even a space station out there?  Are there people on it?   I’ve lost track.

Look at those creepy little guys! Tell me the one on the far left doesn’t look like Grampa Al Lewis! (Image from gammillustrations.com)

Mole Men Living Beneath The Earth – I’m old enough to have been more than a little disturbed by that ancient Superman rerun.  As long as we’re on the topic of childhood demons, I have to account for the possibility that the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz may be reading my blog, though they didn’t strike me as particularly bookish.

China – I bet it’s China; they probably have some dark reason for not wanting us to know they’re reading me.  Or maybe North Korea where reading my blog is punishable by public ridicule (instead of suffering privately like the rest of you folks)

I couldn’t find a picture of a poltergeist – apparently they’re not too photogenic…anyway…look at the eyes on this zombie! and that suit!! He’s dreamy! (Image from zombiecombatcommand.com)

Zombies and Poltergeists – Reading me from beyond the grave – I think it’s poltergeists – zombies would show up on the world map, as they lurch through the countryside looking for brains to eat.  Lord knows, if they’re reading some of the stuff I write, they could use all the brains they can cram into their gaping maws.

People On Commercial Jets – Using electrical devices when they’ve been told not to.  So eager to read my blog posts that they, along with Alec Baldwin, put others at risk and take the chance of pissing off the stewardess.  I know some folks find me amusing, but is it worth risking honey-roasted peanuts and half a can of soda?

Holy crap! A strange being from a far off galaxy – who knows how intelligent he may or may not be! I wonder what he thinks of the space alien. (Image from astro.wsu.edu)

Space Aliens – Even though I’ve admitted to having never seen a Star Wars, Star Trek or Star 80 movie, I have to admit that it’s possible.  I hope they like my humor, but not enough to abduct and probe me.

The Bitter Truth

My fingers were crossed. Psych! Those aren't even my fingers, it's clip art from bigstockphoto!

Yesterday, I posted my humble Versatile Blogger Award acceptance speech and fulfilled all the requirements for winners, including listing 7 little known facts about myself.

Being something of a prankster and pathological liar, I couldn’t help but sprinkle a few stinking lies in the seven facts about myself.  I requested that readers of the post give their opinions as to which ones they thought were true and which were not.

As of this moment, there have been 41 views of that piece and exactly three people have made guesses.  To be fair, I asked that anyone who actually knows me in the real world restrain from blurting out the answers, lest I brand them as “tools”.  I find it a little difficult to believe that of those 41 readers, only three of them don’t know me in the real world.  For one thing, I’m fairly confident that I don’t actually know 38 people who read all that much.

This is only the second or third time I’ve asked for audience participation in a post.  The previous efforts were also met with the similar soundtrack of a solitary cricket chirping in an empty auditorium.  When you’ve had several consecutive days with higher than usual number of hits on your blog as I have, it’s easy to get carried away and think that people are reading your stuff and getting you.  Maybe they are getting me, but are so awestruck by the brilliance of my sarcasm that they dare not attempt a public exchange of ideas with me for fear of looking less than intelligent.  I know when I comment on posts, I give careful consideration to my chosen words for just that reason.  Sadly, on my award post, the response requested was basically true/false – so we can eliminate fear of ridicule as an option.

In fairness to those few brave, loyal readers who went to the trouble of guessing, here are the answers.  Thanks to all three of you for participating.

1.  I was born in Vienna, AustriaFalse – I was in fact, born in the town which is the home of Northern Illinois University on a bitter cold January morning many decades ago.  I’m sure I stumped a few people on this one, as my sparkling command of the English language is more consistent with those who hail from other parts of the world.

2.  I am a physical therapist who works with special needs kidsTrue – Satirical leanings and a rapier-like-wit are actually assets in my career.  For the record, I also work with adults in other settings.  Just to clarify, I would never ridicule one of my patients, but the rest of you dolts are fair game.

3.  I have a fondness for dessert winesFalse – Very false.  I am no stranger to spirits of all sorts, but I’d prefer a strong, hoppy India Pale Ale, any number of tequila’s, boutique bourbons, or single malt scotch over some nasty, sweet dessert wine.  You can save that swill for someone who eats dessert.  This one should’ve been easy, as I have never been seen wearing an ascot – ergo – no dessert wines for me.

4.  My son is a jet-setting professional poker playerTrue – He’s abroad as I type this, flying hither and yon to play in tournaments and make more money than his old man.  If you sit at a Texas Hold Em table with him, don’t come crying to me later looking for cab fare and your retirement savings back.

5.  My younger brother met Kurt VonnegutTrue – Worst of all, I don’t think he’s a fraction of the fan that I am.  He actually meets all kinds of famous people all the time anyway, so I don’t think it meant much to him even if he was a fan.  I’d ask him, but his mellow attitude about it would just infuriate me.

6.  I see my mother on TVTrue – Mom is an actress and she shows up on my TV from time to time.  She hasn’t been acting too much lately, as she and Dad are bogged down with blog reading assignments.  As you may have read in an early post of mine, she and my father have a history of squandering her residual checks on cruises and dog-sweaters.

7.  My basement is filled with survival gear and back issues of Guns and AmmoFalse – While I’ve written, and will write again very soon about the Nat Geo series “Doomsday Preppers”, I am not a survival expert (Not yet, but that show is getting to me…stay tuned).

Those are the 7 little known or false facts.  In the fun spirit of lies, here are a few bonus lies:

8. I’m a massive fan of operaFalse – If I wanted to see some fat lady sing in a foreign language, I’d take public transportation in Philly.

9. Yardwork is a passion of mineFalse – Paying non-English speaking gentlemen to do yard work on my behalf is a passion of mine.

10. I’m a pet loverFalse – My gimpy dog left me a prize this morning which, due to a slight slope in the floor, extended the entire length of the hall.  I am convinced that this accident was no accident at all.

11. I prefer movies about space travelFalse – In fact I avoid movies with the word “Star” in the title.  I don’t know an Ewok from a Tribble, and I’m fine with that.

12. I love writing listsFalse – Good opportunity to wrap up this drivel.