Three kinds of Statistics; White Lies, Fibs and Bullcrap

Look at these stats! Nothing but good news and a need for a taller graph! (Image from pages.uoregon.edu)

There was a quote by Mark Twain which essentially said that there are three kinds of lies; Lies, damn lies and statistics.  Fittingly enough, Twain attributed the remark to Benjamin Disreali.  I know this because I had a statistics instructor in college tell us that the first day of class.  I’m still not sure if that was the best thing to tell us as we started our study of stats, but that was his choice.  In his defense, I’ve recalled that quote, albeit somewhat incorrectly, for all these years since.  By the same token, I’ve pretty much forgotten everything else we covered after that first day.

In the spirit of lies and damn lies, I’ve assembled a few of my own statistics for your reading pleasure.  While some of the stats may be twisted or completely fabricated, the important thing is that this piece gives me a chance to put a bunch of links to other things I’ve written.  If stats are good for one thing, it’s surely self-promotion.

Number of Posts = 80

Blogging Since = February 2012

Number of times Freshly Pressed = 0 (Refer to an upcoming post on the phenomenon known to WordPressers as Freshly Pressed)

Number of times I looked at the drivel I’d posted and prayed it wouldn’t be Freshly Pressed – Oh please, not this time! = 67

Lowest hits on a post =   Gotta Start Somewhere   – My very first blog post, with a massive 17 hits.  It was tentative, weak, could well have also been my last post, but 17 people read it.  I felt obligated to my teeny fan base to write a second post.  The rest, as they say, is the reason the garage isn’t cleaned out yet.

Highest hits on a post =   Life Lessons From Gilligan’s Island  – A ridiculous 471 hits and counting.  Seriously people?!  I compared the Skipper to Jerry Sandusky!  This is the post you love most?

Average time required to draw an illustration for a post = 2.9 hours.  That’s an average.  Some took much longer, and one or two were practically doodles.

Average time required to surf, copy, save, retrieve, crop and properly credit photos from the web for a given post = 2.89 hours.  Part of the reason this takes me so long is that my computer keeps taking me to porn sites and fantasy football articles.

Average time spent writing a blog post, not including illustrations/web photos = 45 minutes

Average time spent editing/re-reading/re-writing the above 45 minute post = 3.73 hours.  This statistic does not include the times when, after multiple edits I just got so sick of looking at the post that I deleted it out of spite.

Average number of times someone on Facebook utters under their breath for me to “get a life” per blog link posted on my wall = 1.3 .  Admittedly, this is only an estimate, but if my wife is any indication, I think it’s pretty close.

Average amount of time spent daily by those very same Facebookers on virtual farming, mystical quests for dragon eggs and Words With Friends = 7.3 hours.  Also an estimate, exaggerated for comedic value.  For the record, my wife does not partake in any such Facebook activities.  Sadly, the same cannot be said for my oldest brother Mike.

Number of contacts who I send a blog link to via personal email every single time I post = 83.  No exaggeration here.  These people were foolish enough to give me their email addresses and now my notifications pop up more often than spam for discounted Mexican Viagra.

Number of them who delete the email but don’t have the heart to tell me to stop sending them = 71.  This number is based on how often I see friends and colleagues (and neighbors, Bill) who never comment on my latest blog.  They’ll avert their eyes and suddenly get urgent cell phone calls if I even bring up the subject (I didn’t hear it ring.  Huh.  I guess it was on vibrate)

Monetary value of total hits of posts = $0.  Unless you count the time I found a five dollar bill in a box of colored pencils while looking for a decent eraser.

Emotional value that someone read me, even if they don’t speak English = Priceless.  This, of course, is a nod to all my fans, but especially my uber fan, Manon Kubler.  Kubler, to the best of my knowledge, speaks no English, but still insists on raving about my blog and even reblogging it, presumably to his countrymen who may or may not believe me to be some kind of “Cargo God”