WordPress, the blogging service I use to inflict punishment on an unsuspecting public, provides writers with some cool statistics, and that’s how I know that I finally have over 100 regular readers. It’s been an uphill climb, and upon reaching this august plateau, I felt it was time to reassess.
Growing up in the newspaper industry didn’t really prepare me for how difficult it is to write a successful blog. For one thing, during the majority of my career, literacy actually meant something, but I just don’t think that’s still true. Now 100 is a nice number, but it seems paltry when I think back to those halcyon days when I was writing and editing for publications with subscribers that numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Of course all that’s in the toilet now, so I probably should have been better prepared for the reality.
And what is that reality? I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I’ve decided that Twitter is the Great Satan of our time. Stories that newspapers used to devote thousands upon thousands of words to covering are now condensed by Twitter to 140 characters. And people love it!
It’s a tragedy on a global scale, but to hell with it — I’ve got my sights set on the next 100 readers, and if Twitter is what I need to attract them, then I guess it’s time to start dancing with the devil.
My WordPress statistics tell me that I’ve published 62 posts in just over 6 months, and in those posts, I’ve written an astonishing 60,014 words, which doesn’t even count this post. If I’d blogged via Twitter instead of WordPress, my 62 posts … er, tweets … would have totaled no more than 8,680 characters!
60,014 words vs. 8,680 characters. That’s a huge difference, folks, and a sure indication of why my blog’s growth has been so slow. I’ve simply been writing too much for anyone to take in! I have to do better, and that’s why I’ve decided to take all 62 of my blog entries — in chronological order — and condense them into handy tweets.
You no longer have to read anything I write, and everyone should be ecstatic about that! What follows are the titles of all my posts in boldface, followed by an italicized tweet, showing how it all could have been so much better if I’d just tweeted it.
I can do this! Here goes!
Condensed Roamin’ Gnomials
The first mistake / I know I’m going to regret getting #suckered into #blogging. This is your fault, #Monica.
The thing about peas / #Black-eyed #peas are really good to eat, but you’ll get all doe-eyed and #nostalgic if you pick them yourself.
Lettuce pray / #Lettuce should rightly go on top of the meat in your sandwich, and if you do it the other way round you might be a #communist.
Kids today don’t have a clue / Kids today don’t know how fun board games can be, but they do understand that if they’re caught playing them they’ll be branded as #dorks.
A preview of coming attractions / This is going to be a really bizarre blog that sometimes is about #gnomes but at other times could be about some other crazy #shit.
This is what it means to be an Astros fan / Picking a really lousy #baseball team to root for is a sure way to be unhappy for the rest of your life and may turn you into a #serial #killer
Top gnome studies academic gives his knee high view / Whacked-out professor of #gnome studies explains the dangers of tracking small humanoids in red hats.
Dear Houston Post, how we loved you / I used to work for a good #newspaper that a lot of us loved but the owner was a #dick and shut the place down and we need to get over it
The Houston Post a postscript / The son of a dead guy I used to work with is glad that I remembered his dad and I’m right that the former owner was a #dick.
I don’t care what they say, pride goeth before a fall / There’s nothing fun about having your knee stove in by several hundred pounds of #cow #shit.
Maybe it’s time to turn the page on your newspaper career / If you still work for a newspaper you need to face reality and go get yourself a job at Home Depot, because #poverty is better than stress
Tiny guys, bad attitudes: Gnomes of the Ironbound / Gnomes have invaded the Ironbound section of Newark but one reader is onto their foul plot though she might be #crazy, we’re not sure.
Jersey-Mex ain’t Tex-Mex, but it’ll do in a pinch / New Jersey farms are producing crops used in Mexican cuisine but few of the #eejits living here know what to do with them.
Searching for a light, but only finding more darkness / Tiny lights in a #cemetery lead crazed blogger on a nighttime chase through the tombstones and he somehow doesn’t get #arrested
Sunday morning quick hit: pimento cheese / Making #pimento cheese is a good thing to do if you happen to have a grandmother who also made some that is better than yours will ever be
Help! Something has sucked the joy out of travel / Driving on the #New #Jersey #Turnpike really sucks and it’s really better to just stay home. Whatever you do, don’t go.
Tuesday mailbag / Crazy blogger answers questions from even crazier readers and everybody else is just #bored out of their mind.
Many years of happy trails on a horse with no name / My old rocking horse that was made by my Pawpaw is now being played with by my grandkids who probably would have preferred a ‘#Frozen’ DVD.
Another Tuesday mailbag, and an announcement! / I answer more reader questions and announce the #winner of the blog-naming contest, who then turned around and rejected her prize
Getting my Texas on for the Labor Day weekend / These New Jersey people don’t know how to smoke a #brisket so I waste a whole holiday showing everyone how it’s done, but they don’t care
The highway of time / I used to drive on this hot, dry #highway all the time and I kinda liked it, but now I’m stuck in a place where driving is no fun
Both sides win in this battle of Texans vs. yankees / Sometimes Texans marry #yankees and sometimes it works out, especially if everybody can just forget about what’s better and what’s worse.
An encouraging word for football haters / Football season is starting and for those people who hate #football, don’t be discouraged too much because one of these days it’ll be over.
A year in the death of one man / There’s a #dead guy in my local cemetery who I don’t know, but I pretend like I do anyway and show how I can bore all my readers to #tears.
Refining the age-old theory that opposites attract / Some people like #mustard. Some like #mayonnaise. My wife is sure that mustards and mayos attract, and I know better than to question it.
Sometimes sacrifice comes in small packages / My son works on a nuclear submarine for months at a time, can’t take his baby daughter with him, but doesn’t have to change #diapers
A year in the death of one man week 2 / A chance to make another visit to the old guy in the #cemetery, where I look for something — anything — new and don’t find a helluva lot.
A year in the death of one man — an interlude / Having deep thoughts about the dead guy in the cemetery and deciding maybe I’ve made some #mistakes and pledge to do better from here on out
Bloody gnomes of the Australian outback / Gnomes are everywhere, including #Australia, where they stole a car and did really bad things to cops who were chasing them.
Some things really are as bad as you remember them / My Nana used to buy me #vienna #sausages when I was in college, and they’re even worse now than I remember them. Don’t put them on a sandwich.
A year in the death of one man: Time (almost) stands still / Time isn’t the only thing that stands still. My readership also stands still as I continue my #fixation with an unknown dead guy.
Please don’t punt yet, America, it’s still baseball season / The #baseball season is really getting exciting, but too many people with short attention spans are giving up because they don’t understand
A year in the death of one man: The obscured path / A bunch of #leaves cover the road in the cemetery and gives a blogger the heebie-jeebies, causing him to read more into it than what’s there
You could fill a book with what I don’t know about hockey / I don’t know anything about #hockey but plan to follow the sport anyway because I enjoy looking like a fool. Go Leafs Go!
A year in the death of one man: Spirit of the wind / It’s #windy at the cemetery, which is nothing compared to the wind generated by a blogger who tries to make something of it
Blogger commits an error: That’s E-1 if you’re keeping score / I get bitch-slapped after writing nasty things about some baseball fans, and have to eat crow on my own blog. I’m #sorry
A year in the death of one man: Therapy dog / #Dog visits the cemetery and #craps on one of the graves, but not the grave of the dead guy I don’t even know. Besides, nobody cares.
Remember, guys, dress fashionably for the winter months / The important thing to remember about men’s #fashion is to be comfortable and not care that people think you look like a #hobo.
A year in the death of one man: Difficult choices / Visiting a dead guy you don’t know in a cemetery is a #difficult choice, but not the only difficult choice.
Honoring a true Texas Ranger: My great-grandfather / My great-grandfather was a mighty Texas Ranger on the old #frontier but then became a butcher and shot himself in a room full of #sausages
A year in the death of one man: Celebrating Halloween / It’s supposed to be #spooky in a cemetery on Halloween, but really it’s pretty boring if you’re just visiting a dead guy you don’t know
Clash of the porcine titans: Spam vs. Treet / You can eat #Spam, or you can eat #Treet, but no matter which one you eat, it’s going to taste like #ass. But Treet wins in a close contest
A year in the death of one man: What’s in a name? / My name is #William, and it’s also the dead guy’s name in the cemetery. Same goes for the big brother I never knew, and all this means nothin
My visit to the best dentist in the galaxy! / The only way to handle a new #dentist is to flatter her greatly because otherwise she might run a power drill through the back of your neck
A year in the death of one man: The silent cold / It gets cold in a #cemetery, especially when you’ve visiting a dead guy you don’t know. He probably doesn’t care what the weather is anyway
Uneasy lies the tooth that holds a crown / Getting a new temporary #crown at the dentist means they have to remove the old one first, and that’s not a whole lot of fun.
Holidays ramp up the dangers in human-gnome relations / You could be in for big trouble if you forget to feed your #gnomes during the holiday season. They are vengeful little shits.
A year in the death of one man: Thanksgiving Day / When enjoying your Thanksgiving #turkey, it’s good to remember unknown dead people. I don’t know if William preferred white meat or dark.
A year in the death of one man: Freezing point / Is death supposed to be hot or cold? I don’t know, but waste a whole lot of time trying to figure it out. Readers hate me
A date which will live in infamy? Alas, maybe not so much / It’s #Pearl #Harbor #Day, but lots of newspapers no longer seem to care, and that’s a shame because we ought to care. You care, don’t you?
A holiday guide to the manly art of gift-wrapping / Men don’t know how to #wrap packages, but that’s okay because women like it when men look like #idiots
Coronation: My molar is finally crowned king / Temporary #crown gives way to a permanent crown and the dentist’s office breathes a sigh of relief that I won’t be back for awhile
What the best-dressed angels are wearing this year / It’s tough all over if the #angels in heaven are forced to wear #burlap.
A year in the death of one man: Leaving no tracks / If an unknown dead guy at the #cemetery somehow got up and walked around through the snow, he wouldn’t leave any tracks
The tingle of frustration: ASMR for the hard of hearing / If your #ears are shot to shit, you won’t appreciate it very much when a creepy lady on YouTube keeps #whispering at you.
It’s time once again to answer a few letters / Some more #readers have questions and I take a stab at answering them, but nobody believes any of it is real. And guess what … it’s not.
A year in the death of one man: What’s in a name (Part 2) / Sometimes when you visit an unknown guy at a cemetery, you might #stumble across another name that looks familiar. What’s it mean? Nothing.
The Hobbit Part III: Tolkien spins in his grave / Dwarf rides #pig to battle. Elf fights like #ninja. Some of it’s good, a lot of it is bad, but nobody reads anymore anyway, so what the hey?
A Christmas Story: The unvarnished truth about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer / Popular reindeer Rudolph exposed as a #drunk. Lots of blame to go around. #Santa should have been arrested.
A year in the death of one man: Auld Lang Syne / What’s the passing of a year mean when you’ve been #dead, like forever? Not a lot, as it turns out.
Texas, Oh Texas, all hail the cow-y state / Texas has a lot of #cows. Sometimes they get eaten, and that is a good thing if you like #barbecue, which you should.
Fathers and sons, football, love and ice … redux / I whine like a little #bitch-boy about my #father, who was really a pretty good guy even though he did a few sketchy things and yelled at me