Blog Trivia, Google Over-Kill, and the One Thousandth Visitor

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Currently, if one queries "ceanosis" from Google Images, one receives four pages of images, fifty of which come from this blog. However, the one ceanosis image I've actually posted is not among them.

I discovered this after observing that several viewers came to my blog as a result of a "ceanosis" search, but they ended up landing at truly random locations on the blog. This is the kind of marvelous trivia that comes my way courtesy of BlogPatrol, which I added to this site December 5, 2007, about the time I started to get serious about this blogging thing.

During that time, I have had 993 visitors, which means that someone in the next day or two will become my One Thousandth Visitor. I suppose I could have one of those flashing pop-ups, congratulating that visitor and promising a prize, except I can't think of any prize that I'm ready to offer. Oh, and I don't know how to create one of those flashing pop-ups.

Someday I hope to have an autographed copy of my novel to give away. So here's what we'll do: to be in the running for a someday-autographed-copy of my novel, leave a comment below this post. Then check back in a day or two to discover who landed as The Capers One Thousandth Visitor!

On Blog Links, the Chattering Class, and Returning CNN’s Favor

Monday, July 21, 2008

I noticed today that I have traffic coming to this blog from a link posted by CNN at the end of their current article on yesterday’s Colombian marches against kidnapping. CNN has a nice feature at the end of their stories, called From the Blogs: Controversy, commentary, and debate, which offers a survey of blogs that mention the topic at hand. Once before (May 16-17), when I commented on the Sichuan earthquake, CNN listed me in its queue, thereby introducing my thoughts to two readers in Hong Kong, one in the UK, and one in the USA. Four readers may not seem like much, but it indicates that someone out there believes that as you, the reader, search for free access to content, and I freely provide it, the go-between can sell advertizing and turn a profit.

I knew that.

And maybe for young people this is so du jour that it’s no cause for rumination, but for a guy like me who took my first journalism class while JFK was president, I can marvel at both the news (like the amazing upturn of events in Colombia) and the way that news is delivered.

Simply as a case in point: Last night, in a few minutes before going to bed, I wrote a quick couple of paragraphs and added links to an AFP newswire story and two You-Tube videos, one a week-old interview of Ingrid Betancourt by Al Jazeera and the other a Colombian TV report from a concert earlier yesterday. Then, while I slept, CNN found my quick paragraphs and made them available to the world. The Internet has both enabled a million people, world wide, to organize themselves into a demonstration—a remarkable feat of mass democracy—and then allowed individuals to sort through the chattering-class reactions of thousands, and for one single comment to be read by anyone who is looking. In part two of the Al Jazeera interview Betancourt talks about how the Internet reduces national boundaries. But she does not speak as if a Rip Van Winkle, returned to see the Internet’s growth over six-and-a-half years. It seems obvious that even as a hostage in the jungle, she was able to look over some guard’s shoulder and see the world.

I’m still processing that, both the good and the bad. I won’t get to the bottom of it tonight, especially with an essay that is trying to run in three different directions. I will see which direction it’s looking for tomorrow, and maybe continue.

Posted by Brian at 10:41 PM 1 comments  

No More Hostages

Sunday, July 20, 2008

During the day that just ended, in a thousand cities and towns across Colombia, citizens celebrated their national day of independence by marching and shouting, "No More Kidnappings!"

Colombians living in major cities throughout Europe and the Americas had similar marches, or attended concerts like the one in Paris, where recently-freed hostage Ingrid Betancourt led the chants. In Leticia, the presidents of Colombia, Brazil, and Peru stood beside Colombian pop star Shakira as she opened a concert with the Colombian national anthem.

Next month will mark thirteen years since I left Colombia, after living there for nine of the most satisfying years of my life. We left largely because of the kidnapping and hostage status of a friend. He was eventually released, after over twenty-six months chained to a succession of trees in the jungle. Yet each of five other hostages I was praying for were killed. In addition, I have been concerned, throughout these thirteen years, for friends whose homes were deep in the territory controlled by the FARC, and who did not have the freedom that I had to leave.

So today, unable to march in Colombia, and far away from any major world city, I can only show my solidarity by praying, "No more hostages!" And then, thinking of those who have been cut down by the FARC, both people I knew and the thousands I did not, I add, "and no more killings."

Oh, Lord, let your peace reign in Colombia.

Posted by Brian at 11:44 PM 0 comments  

Another Gray Fox Summer

Monday, July 14, 2008

Two years ago, a family of foxes made my back yard their home for six weeks (from the end of June to the beginning of August). I read then that foxes often return to the same places to have their litters, so I've been watching. On Mother's Day weekend, I heard baby animals crying from underneith my wood pile, which stoked my interest. Then on the morning of June 20, I got up to find a fox standing guard from the fence while her kits played at the edge of the shrubbery. (Click picture to view an enlargement.)


For a brief moment, I saw three kits, but I could only get two in the picture at once.

Two days later, I saw the kits playing in the same spot, though mother was back somewhere out of sight.
I think she's a single mom. Two years ago, I saw Dad coming and going as he hunted, while Mom rested in the shade and kept an eye on things. The kits didn't come out until they were bigger. This year, I saw less of her, and saw no male at all. Now it has been two weeks since I saw her, and three weeks since I saw the kits. I have been standing ready with a video camera (and a freshly scrubbed dining room window to shoot through), but perhaps the show is over. Maybe I spooked her and she moved them to a new location. But I will be watching again next year.
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