Posts Tagged ‘blogs’

So we just passed a thousand posts. 1001 to be precise. And well over half a million hits.

As is our wont when we reach a milestone the first thing we do is say thank you to you, Dear Reader. After all, you’re the point.

Over more than three years the blog has become an eclectic mixture of politics and popular culture, enlivened with a decent dose of sheer nonsense from time to time, and we’re really quite proud of it. It’s been re-reported all over the world, read in virtually every country in the world, and we have a made a bunch of wonderful and loyal new friends. You know who you are, and how much we appreciate your support.

And as is also our wont, we wanted into the blogosphere to find out the significance of the number we’re celebrating, in this case the palindromic 1001.

1001

So we came across Norway’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 87th Academy Awards. Apparently Bent Hamer’s 1001 Grams is delightfully quirky and gently affecting as it ponders how much a life really weighs, and whether it is possible to truly measure happiness. We’ve never heard of it but apparently it’s “buoyed by trademark deadpan humour and wry observation: a film as restrained – and as slowly illuminating – as the protagonist.” Which sounds pretty good, really, so we might look it out on the worldwideinterwebs to reward ourselves for the effort involved in 1001 posts.

1001 was a special year, of course. It was the first year of not only the eleventh century in the Christian calendar but also the first year in a new millenium. Pretty big. It was a rather disturbed year in Europe. Lots of people called Aeth-something or miscellaneous Viking names were having at it.

And talking of Vikings, it’s also thought to be the year that Leif Eriksson and his band of brothers and sisters established small settlements in and around Vinland in North America, hundreds of years before Columbus found the place accidentally.

baekdu

Looks quiet. Don’t be fooled.

Baitoushan volcano on what is now the Chinese-Korean border went pop with one of the biggest explosions in history. It has remined active 9and dangerous) ever since. In other China news, construction began on the Liaodi Pagoda, the tallest pagoda in Chinese history, which was completed 54 years later.

In mathematics, One thousand and one is a sphenic number, a pentagonal number, a pentatope number and the first four-digit palindromic number. We have not the faintest idea what any of those things are, so we’ve left the links in for you to find out.

Luckily for her, she talked a good story.

Luckily for her, she talked a good story.

In The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, harem member Scheherazade tells her husband the king a new story every night for 1,001 nights, thus staving off her execution. From this, 1001 is sometimes used as a generic term for “a very large number”, starting with a large number (1000) and going beyond it, as in:

1001 uses for…
1001 ways to…

In Arabic, this is usually phrased as “one thousand things and one thing“, e.g.:

The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, in Arabic Alf layla wa layla (Arabic: ألف ليلة و ليلة‎), literally “One thousand nights and a night”.
1001 thanks is Alf shukran wa shukran (Arabic: ألف شكرا و شكرا): “One thousand thanks and thank you”.

Incidentally, the story of why Scheherazade was in danger of her life is quite interesting.

The main story concerns Shahryar, whom the narrator calls a “Sasanian king” ruling in “India and China”. He is shocked to discover that his brother’s wife is unfaithful; discovering his own wife’s infidelity has been even more flagrant, he has her executed: but in his bitterness and grief he decides that all women are the same.

Shahryar begins to marry a succession of virgins only to execute each one the next morning, before she has a chance to dishonour him. Eventually the vizier, whose duty it is to provide them, cannot find any more virgins. Scheherazade, the vizier’s daughter, offers herself as the next bride and her father reluctantly agrees. On the night of their marriage, Scheherazade begins to tell the king a tale, but does not end it. The king, curious about how the story ends, is thus forced to postpone her execution in order to hear the conclusion. The next night, as soon as she finishes the tale, she begins (and only begins) a new one, and the king, eager to hear the conclusion, postpones her execution once again. And do it goes on for 1,001 nights.

The tales vary widely: they include historical tales, love stories, tragedies, comedies, poems, burlesques and various forms of erotica. Numerous stories depict jinns, ghouls, apes, sorcerers, magicians, and legendary places, which are often intermingled with real people and geography, and not always rationally; common protagonists include the historical Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid, his Grand Vizier, Jafar al-Barmaki, and the famous poet Abu Nuwas, despite the fact that these figures lived some 200 years after the fall of the Sassanid Empire in which the tale of Scheherazade is set.

Sometimes a character in Scheherazade’s tale will begin telling other characters a story of his own, and that story may have another one told within it, resulting in a richly layered narrative texture.

An early manuscript of the One Thousand and One Nights

The different versions have different individually detailed endings (in some Scheherazade asks for a pardon, in some the king sees their children and decides not to execute his wife, in some other things happen that make the king distracted) but they all end with the king giving his wife a pardon and sparing her life. Phew.

The most immediate reference that occurred to us for 1001 was 1001 detergent, used for various uses, but primarily for carpets.

“1001 cleans a big big carpet, for less than half a crown” was the hugely famous slogan, and I have never forgotten it.

Anyway, the ad is just simply wonderful – just love the accents.

Even better, the product is still available although the ads, sadly, have ceased.

Most people these days wouldn’t even know what half a crown was, more’s the pity. Ah well.

Happy 1001th everyone, and once again, thank you!

img-thingHard as it may be to believe (doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?) it is three years today since the very first article was posted on Wellthisiswhatithink.

For the stattos amongst you, in that time we have published a total of 783 articles, (about one every 33 hours or so), and received 3,631 comments from just about every corner of the planet, the vast majority of them thoughtful, educated, pertinent, and largely kind and supportive. There has been very very little trolling or hate mail.

We are most grateful for the effort you make, Dear Reader, in “keeping the conversation going”.

Our busiest ever month was April this year when a post about a customer complaint to RyanAir went viral. Only three months in the three years have had under 2000 visits and in total, we have had 252,298 visits. No, wait, 252,299 … 252,300 … oh well, you get the picture. Average daily hits are running at 1,115 so far on 2014.

By far our biggest number of posts (550) have included the category “Popular Culture et al” in their header, followed by Political Musings (359), Humour (147) and Business Management (91). We hope you will agree that our stated goal when we started, to re-report things that interest us (and always the credit them, please note) and to make our own opinions known where we feel strongly about something, has been met.

We thoroughly enjoy writing the blog, which we see as influencing world debate by one small regular drop in an ocean of opinions, (but who knows which drop is the one that causes the dam to break, eh?), but most importantly we enjoy it as a way to reach out, engender discussion between people of good will, and provide a little harmless entertainment, too. If that’s how it works for you, we’re glad. That’s how it works for us.

Science fiction author Philip Dick said it all.

Dick also famously remarked "In the middle of an irrational Universe governed by an irrational mind stands rational man." Amen.

Dick also famously remarked “In the middle of an irrational Universe governed by an irrational mind stands rational man.” Amen.

“Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups … So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.”

Well, we would not claim to make up whole universes. Just the occasional thought, perhaps.

But we sure as hell don’t want to leave all the reality-making to the powerful, the cashed-up, and the privileged.

Especially for those facing oppression and blind authority, the massive explosion of the blogosphere is hope, democracy and liberty in action.

Long may it continue.

Mary Gelpi and her dog Monty. And, er, red pants.

Mary Gelpi and her dog Monty. And, er, red pants.

I found this little poem on a blog called by Fibromy-Awesome, written by a charming and intelligent young lady called Mary Gelpi who is currently struck down by a bunch of crappy medical problems that she refuses to allow to defeat her.

I find reading her blog thoroughly uplifting, sometimes bringing me close to tears, occasionally very funny, and always well written. Many others agree, and I commend it to you.

Anyhow, while reading her stuff today I happened on some of her poetry, and as you will know, Dear Reader, I am something of a scribbler of rhyming couplets myself, and this one actually both moved me and made me guffaw simultaneously, which is a rare trick.

I don’t think I would have written it quite this way, but show me a poet who wouldn’t change something about what someone else has written and I will show you a poet bereft of passion and dying.

It’s sharp, and genuinely witty. Enjoy.

New People

There are two things people ask you
When they meet you for the first time.
What is your name?
What is it that you do?

I dislike these questions
They don’t actually reveal too much
of anything
about who we are.

Our name says something about our parents.
Our job says something about the world.

I have my grandmothers name
And now I’m unemployed.
Should we keep talking?

 

PS I am always glad to publish poems submitted to the blog provided they’re not, you know – how does one put this – utter crap*? Just email them to me at steveyolland@yahoo.com.

*Nota bene – utter crap of course means “I didn’t like it”. Everyone’s a critic, right?

OK, so – back at 10,000 hits (and again at 15,000 hits) we had a bit of a celebration because the blog had reached lots and lots of readers. Which is a Very Good Thing, capital V, capital G, capital T. And so as not to appear too self congratulatory, I said the next little milestone would be at 25,000, assuming it would be a fair way off.

Well, it wasn’t, because we have just belted through 25,000 hits and more when I wasn’t looking, helped by some wonderful advertising f*** ups, and some poetry, and not a little of being rude about the Republican Party.

Anyway, back at 10,000 it was really interesting, because Wikipedia had this really cool article about all things 10,000-ish which I shared with you.

Sadly, I have to tell you, dear Reader, that finding anything to go with a celebration of 25,000 is much harder. Much.

25,000 Dinar

25,000 Iraqi Dinars. Before you get too excited, that's about US$21.45 right now. Don't bother printing it off and trying to pass it.

The best Wikipedia could do was this rather attractive Iraqi money.

A number of websites offered to sell me cars all under 25,000 somethings, mainly Aussie dollars.

And Flat Finder told me they had over 25,000 apartments on offer in Australia.

There’s a battery charger called  CTek XS 25,000. There’s not many people know that.

And Kenya has just fired 25,000 striking health workers.

Oh, and an outbreak of Avian flu in rural Victoria resulted in 25,000 ducks getting the chop. Awww.

And a woman in Dublin received 25,000 Euros for a botched cosmetic surgery thing on her lips. The way the Euro’s going I hope she spends it soon.

But that’s about it for our massive, once in a lifetime celebration of all things 25,000-ish people.

Not terribly inspiring, I’m sorry. I will pick our next number to celebrate more carefully – and, as always, thanks so much to everyone who reads the blog, and comments, and passes it on. You’re why.

Meanwhile, un-noticed by all except close family, 21 years ago Monday just passed my darling daughter popped into this world, and after hanging around a bit, rather quickly in the end, actually.

At one point my wife asked the midwife “What’s happening?” The midwife calmly replied “You’re having a baby.” My wife somewhat tiredly asked “When?” The midwife drily replied, “Er, now.”

And out she came.

So on Monday we had a few drinks, and then a few more, and there’s going to be a big party soon, of course, and, you know, all the things people do when someone has a significant birthday.

Which is much more of a something to celebrate, really, than a battery charger or a strike in Kenya, or even a blog. So I thought I’d mention it.

I’ve been quieter than usual, this week, because I’ve been thinking about what it means to have a 21 year old daughter. Sadly, I keep running up against the most obvious conclusion “Sh*t, man, you got old.” It’s hard to ignore the fact that the body is beginning to creak alarmingly, and the brain doesn’t go quite as quick as it used to. But all in all, I am content with my lot.

Because, you know, kids don’t come with a manual, no matter how many people try to sell us one in the bookstores, and her mother and I just muddled along as best we could, making plenty of mistakes, clinging onto each other for dear life sometimes as the waves of life rocked our little boat backwards and forwards, but we made sure that what we did do for the kid was try to teach her right from wrong – and always to hang onto what’s right – to always believe in her dreams, to be able to talk to us about anything, and to love her to bits.

Good, bad, indifferent, grumpy, cheerful, frightened, brave, loud, quiet, hard-working, feckless, in love, out of love, in sickness and in health, we just loved her to bits. And always will.

In return, she grew, miraculously, before our very eyes, into this infinitely better and more golden and more caring and more insightful human than us.

Which is all, on reflection, that I think you can really hope for when you set out – that you leave behind you a child who is just the best that you can both be, and then some.

And she is. So “well done Caitlin”. You turned out real good. Thank you. And please remember I really want cable TV in the old folks’ home. I don’t care if the place smells of cabbage and wees, but it must have cable TV.

OK? Deal.

Exactly 19 years and three days ago. My God, I look young.

 

 

 

 

Great article about the never-ending pain that is blogging, or writing generally. Do yourself a favour and have a great laugh. Go here:

Did My Post Suck Today?

Well done, Sweet Mother.

Anyhow, it’s just the perfect post for one of these days … we all have them.

… “Well This Is What I Think” just whizzed past 10,000 hits. As I write it sits on 10,002, to be precise. This is a Very Good Thing.

10,000 hits - whoot!

10,000 hits? World domination can be but a throw of the dice away.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has read, commented, re-posted, promoted and otherwise supported the blog.

Of course, there is really nothing more significant about 10,000 than 9,900 or 10,172, or any other figure, actually, but human beings have long enjoyed ascribing mystical meanings to particular “special” numbers.

There is even an obscure word for this strange human predilection for ascribing significance to otherwise insignificant numbers, which is “Apophenia”. There you are, you see: the whole article wasn’t a complete waste of time, now was it? What a useful word to know. I first mentioned it when I rambled about the complete irrelevance of the date being 11.11.11. If you missed the article, enjoy it here: https://wellthisiswhatithink.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/today-really-is-very-eleventy-how-bout-that/

Interestingly, and un-plannedly, this was my 111th post. Spooky, huh? My next “stop the world I want to make a note of this number” will be 15,000, I think. All help getting there gratefully received. I will endeavour to make the process of achieving that goal both fun and informative.

And you can thank Wikipedia for this little digest – a myriad, one could say – of bits and pieces about the number 10,000. In deference to the wonder of this entirely free information source, I have left all their links in. So, Happy Wiki-ing, folks. And if anyone knows any other significant 10,000-ers, just leave a comment. And thank you – everyone – again.

10,000

Many languages have a specific word for this number: In English it is myriad, in Ancient Greek μύριοι, in Aramaic ܪܒܘܬܐ, in Hebrew רבבה (revava), in Chinese 萬/万 (Mandarin wàn, Cantonese maan6), in Japanese 万/萬 [man], in Korean 万/만/萬 [man], and in Thai หมื่น [meun]. It is often used to mean an indefinite very large number.

The Greek root was used in the earlier versions of the metric system in the form myria-.

The number can be written 10,000 (UK and US), 10 000 (transition metric), or 10•000 (with the dot raised to the middle of the zeroes; metric).

In mathematics

In science

In time

10,000 days can be expressed in these alternative units:

  • 864,000,000 seconds
  • 14,400,000 minutes
  • 240,000 hours
  • 1428 weeks (rounded down)

In other fields

Search Engine Optimisation - the myths debunked

Is SEO all it's cracked up to be?

Very interesting and helpful article (the first of a series, apparently) about Search Engine Optimisation (SOE) and what does (and doesn’t) work in getting people to click on and read your blog and/or website.

http://fastthinking.com.au/group/articles/index/3eea-seo-debunking-the-myths

Written in easy-to-understand Plain English – hoorah!