Ten Years

by Dave Schuler on March 15, 2014

Today marks ten years to the day since my first post on this blog. It wasn’t much. Just putting a message in a bottle. I wrote my first decent post a couple of days later, “It’s not a pretty story”, a character study of a woman I encountered when working as an election judge.

It wasn’t until June of that year that I wrote what I think is still one of my best posts, “Anthems”. It’s a study of my own mood and, possibly, the mood of the country at that time as epitomized by three national anthems, the official one and two that I think of as unofficial anthems. There’s actually the beginnings of a good discussion in the comments of that post.

That was and continues to be one of the enduring purposes of this blog—fostering thoughtful comment. Nowadays this blog has a coterie of commenters who provide comments that are, mostly, civil and considered. Such commentary is becoming rare in the blogosphere which to my ear has become more of a place for people who want to have their opinions affirmed rather than challenged and too frequently respond to challenges with invective rather than discourse. The other day in the comments of one of my posts at Outside the Beltway a commenter lamented that I gave any “bandwidth” as he put it to the opinions of a columnist with whom he (and I) disagree. The answer to that is obvious: if you only air opinions with which you agree, you’re an echo chamber.

One of the posts of which I’m proudest is “Learning from history: the relief and rebuilding of New Orleans”. The post examined the prospects for New Orleans’s recovery through the prism of three historical natural disasters: the Chicago fire, the Galveston flood, and the San Francisco earthquake. In my view and sadly those involved with the rebuilding of New Orleans did not heed the lessons of history and, consequently, New Orleans’s recovery has not been as great as it might have been.

Another post of which I’m proud came a year later: “The influence of immigrants on American political thought”. It’s another historical reflection that considers the long-lasting political impact that the famine Irish and the Scandinavian immigrants of the later 19th century had on American politics along with some speculation about the influence that our latest wave of immigrants might have on our politics.

In the early years of this blog I was more predisposed to long, painstakingly researched, analytical pieces than I am now. I’ve learned those posts are entirely written for my own satisfaction—practically no one reads them. As ideas come to me I’ll probably write such posts in the future but don’t be surprised if they become less common with the passing years—I just don’t have the energy.

My most-read post is a joke: “The four types of dog vomit”. Many people don’t get it and many aren’t in a mood to get it. They’ve gone there looking for help with a vomiting dog. One of these days I should write a serious, follow-up post to that which actually provides some resources for people whose dogs are vomiting.

My next most-read post is a recipe: “How to poach a chicken breast”, a method I learned in a Chinese cooking class I took.

Over the years my blog’s traffic has waxed and waned. Right now it’s in a waning phase. I can’t honestly tell how much of that is due to the audience for my work actually dwindling and how much an illusion due to bots and comment spam once having been treated as legitimate readers that no longer are. 90% of the notional hits I get are either bots or comment spam. I use various methods of blocking or slowing them but the constant battle is very frustrating to me. I’d rather be writing substantive posts than blocking comment spam but it’s part of the cost of blogging these days. I consider comment spam a crime, stealing space and bandwidth that I pay for.

Do I wish my blog had more traffic? Of course I do. Do I want crude and thoughtless readers? Not particularly. All in all I guess I’m satisfied with how things are. I’ve accomplished every goal I set for myself with this blog, albeit at a very small scale.

I intend to continue posting at The Glittering Eye as long as I live which, if family history is any gauge, will be for decades into the future. And I’ll continue to post about what interests me: current events, politics, history, opera, food, dogs, geneaology, and anything else that strikes my fancy. That hasn’t changed since the very earliest days. Recently, I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a second more commercial blog that’s tangentially related to my area of professional expertise. At this point it’s in the research stage.

In closing, I’d like to express my profound gratitude for all of my readers, whether frequent commenters, family, friends, occasional silent visitors, or those who arrive here by accident never to return. Thank you all!

{ 1 trackback }

The Colossus of Rhodey
March 19, 2014 at 4:56 pm

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

steve March 15, 2014 at 9:56 am

Other than your commitment to dogs, cats are clearly superior, your choices are just fine.

Steve

michael reynolds March 15, 2014 at 10:29 am

This is the most thoughtful single-author blog in the business. Congratulations, Dave. 10 years of anything is tough, ten years of intelligent and interesting commentary is incredible.

PD Shaw March 15, 2014 at 10:46 am

Happy Birthday, Glittering Eye.

I first became familiar with Dave at the defunct Winds of Change, where at some point in time he must have written “I agree with PD Shaw,” and I became amazed by Dave’s towering intellect and nearly unquestionable judgment. I was a silent reader until Dave strayed from the path with one of his worst posts ever, a put down of the food at the Illinois State Fair. Blogging almost every day, over a universe of subjects ranging from healthcare to opry to healthcare and others, any extended lapse is a source of anxiety for his regular readers for fear that a misfortune has befallen. His politics are frequently misunderstood and accordingly distrusted in a world where who says what is often more important than what they say. Thank you for the entertainment, and may you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.

Trumwill March 15, 2014 at 11:18 am

Dave, could you shoot me an email? (I have an email address for you, but I don’t know if it’s current.)

Cstanley March 15, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Congratulations, and thanks for the thoughtful commentary.

Susan Glenn March 15, 2014 at 12:33 pm

I was looking for a “thumbs up” to click. I’ll enjoy looking back at the posts you’re most proud of.

Andy March 15, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Congrats Dave and thanks for maintaining of the few sane places left on the internet. I’ll be a lifetime reader.

jan March 15, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Dave,

That was a gracious commentary on the 10 year anniversary of your Glittering Eye blog. How did you choose the name?

Dave Schuler March 15, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Surprisingly, that question hasn’t been asked very often and I haven’t bandied the answer about. It’s from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner:

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?

The Bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May’st hear the merry din.’

He holds him with his skinny hand,
‘There was a ship,’ quoth he.
‘Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!’
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

He holds him with his glittering eye—
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years’ child:
The Mariner hath his will.

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

Sadly, I have not managed to stop one of three.

TastyBits March 16, 2014 at 11:51 am

I appreciate your blog and the time you put into it. If you are having some down time, you may consider looking into publishing some of your essays as an ebook pamphlet. I see other bloggers doing this, but I do not think they are making a lot of money.

Dave Schuler March 16, 2014 at 12:07 pm

My guess is that’s a vanity project. Vanity isn’t one of the reasons I do this. I can’t imagine that since my experience has been that if anything can discourage vanity it would be blogging.

My reason is what I said in the post: it’s therapy. Over the last couple of decades I have seen my faculties atrophy. I was once much sharper than I am now. I find blogging a good way of beating back the mental fog. That and, oddly enough, computer role-playing games.

TastyBits March 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm

I started playing Skyrim because it had a fairly good combat system, and it it is an RPG. I have learned that I am not a RP player. Apparently, I am a min-max player.

You might like the Civ series, and I found XCOM: Enemy Unknown which is turn based Civ-like strategy game. I picked-up all these on sale, and I got some really good deals.

Dave Schuler March 16, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I’m still playing Skyrim including its two major expansions after having played from start to finish six or eight times. It’s grand enough in scale to hold my interest through multiple replayings. I’m still finding new things.

TastyBits March 16, 2014 at 1:41 pm

I played through doing everything, but I got the Hearthfire DLC about halfway through. Afterwards, I downloaded the “interesting NPC” mod, and I played it through to the latest update.

When the other two DLC packs went on sale, I got them, but I got tired of all the named NPC getting killed. If I wanted them dead, I would have killed them, but since they do not respawn, I specifically protected them.

I had over 1,000 hours with my character, but it was getting to much trouble keeping people alive or reviving them.

mike shupp March 16, 2014 at 6:34 pm

It’s a pretty darned good blog, and I’m pleased to have found it. Thanks for your efforts here (and at OTB).

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