AUTHOR’S PICK: MY FAVORITE POSTS OF 2015 *

(*) At least those I can remember!

Statistics don’t tell the whole story. I’ve been looking through the stats on my various posts to see what they tell me about the “best” posts of 2015. Statistics reveal which posts got the most hits … but that’s all. It doesn’t take into account how the author felt about it.

Because I publish about 1000 posts per blogging year — including re-blogs, photographs, and four authors — it is difficult to remember what I posted this year. I have to rely on statistics to give me a list of the popular posts for 2015. I’m leaving out any post I already mentioned in the “all time top ten.”

These are my favorites of those that made the top hundred most popular — using views as the sorting tool … and then my opinion as the final criteria. Click on a title to open the original post.

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WHAT EMPOWERS YOU? From July 2014, this post apparently resonated with a lot of people and is still accumulating hits. It’s one of those posts that fell out of my fingers into the keyboard. On rereading it, it’s not bad. Perhaps I haven’t given it its due.

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MARILYN’S FAVORITE YEAR – 1969 Originally published in September 2014, it is still getting hits. Some posts apparently are “evergreen.” Not popular when first published, but has gathered momentum during the weeks and months that have followed. I’m glad, because it is one of my personal favorites.

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NON-WHITE AMERICA IN NORMAN ROCKWELL’S PAINTINGS – HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT,  JANE ALLEN PETRICK – This is a review of a lovely book that got almost no attention the first two times I published it. Yet this third time, it garnered hundred of views and several reblogs. I hope it convinced a few people to buy the book.

I’m not shy about republishing pieces that I feel were overlooked or under-appreciated.

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HE SAID YES was published in January 2015. It’s a piece of the very long story of Garry and my courtship. Edited for a G-rated audience and to keep the main characters out of jail. The truer story is longer … a book, not a post. Maybe I’ll write it. I’ll think about it. I’m not sure just how much personal information I’m feeling public about.

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BROWN RECLUSE SPIDERS DON’T LIVE HERE! So after Garry got bitten by one or two brown recluse spiders — who don’t live here even though everyone except the experts agree that they most certainly do live here — this is a piece of the story of the great spider bite debacle of 2015.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! – GARRY ARMSTRONG Garry’s affectionate memories of his mom, on her birthday this past July, 2015.

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PASS THE ALUMINUM FOIL (DIRECTIONS INCLUDED) A humorous anecdote of one of the more amusing wackos I’ve met over the years. A little astrology and directions to make your very own aluminum foil hat.

Banks Ernie Plaque 142_NBL_0LET’S PLAY TWO: REMEMBERING ERNIE BANKS – GARRY ARMSTRONG Just what it sounds like. In Memorium for a baseball great.

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DON’T COVET YOUR NEIGHBOR’S ASS I couldn’t remember the ten commandments. Doesn’t everyone know them? But Garry couldn’t remember them either, though we more or less pieced them together — two minds being slightly better than one. But then, what was the correct order? I’m still not sure.

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GENERATION GAP – GROWING UP BOOMER Communication between generations. Maybe not the impossible dream? Is there hope?

SHARING MY WORLD – A FINAL ROUND FOR 2015

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2015 WEEK #52

Tell how you are feeling today in the form of a weather report. (For example, partly cloudy, sunny with a chance for showers, etc.)

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Gray skies beginning to clear in late afternoon. Bright sunshine a definite possibility for the remainder of the week!

What is most memorable about your high school years?

Swimming. My school had an Olympic sized pool and every year, we got a questionnaire asking us if we could swim. I always said “no.” And always got assigned to swimming instead of gym.

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I loved swimming and the teacher would look at me and say “you again?” Then she’d send me to the deep end so I wouldn’t get in the way of the beginners who were still trying to figure out how to float.

Have you ever owned a rock, pet rock, or gem that is not jewelry?

I have a little bowl of rocks on my headboard (which is also a bookcase).

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It has some rose quartz, turquoise, obsidian, granite, some seashells. I also have a little book that tells me what the various vibrations of the stones are. I like having them there. They are very friendly.

But I also really love Navajo jewelry. AND we will be in Arizona next week. Oh boy.

Complete this sentence: I like watching… comedies. 

I will watch almost anything that makes me laugh, though I’m not fond of physical comedy or anything where someone is humiliated. I like wit, word play, cleverness. I love parody and spoofs.

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Mel Brooks and the Zucker Brothers. And the Marx Brothers, “Night at the Opera” is a favorite.

RED PETALS

CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE: RED FLOWERS

From Cee: We are on to a new series which CitySonnet suggested about flowers of different colors. This week’s topic is Red Flowers. You can take photos of flowers, artificial flowers, painted flowers.

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WHAT U.S. STATES WANTED TO SECEDE IN 2012?

Not one single state filed anything suggesting secession.

Why? First, because no state government was stupid enough to lose the benefits they get from the central government. Secession is illegal. The Civil War decided the issue and there’s no going back. All of those petitions were put together by groups of discontented sore losers who didn’t understand in the United States, an election decides the issue.

We don’t govern by petition. We protect your right to petition (thank you, First Amendment), but that only means we don’t throw you in jail for doing it, not that your petition has force of law.

The U.S. does not govern by opinion. No matter how often or how loudly you tell the world about your dissatisfaction on the Internet, on social media sites, or anything else, it’s the ballot box where we collect and count votes. We have a constitution. We have laws. We vote. We count votes. The winner is decided, the loser takes his marbles and goes home.

A petition by the losers of an election does not trump the right of the people of the United States to freely elect their representatives. That you have the right to petition doesn’t mean your petition is going to change anything. Its existence is a testament to how free a country this is. Most other places, you’d be jailed or shot.

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The reason that not a single state government has petitioned for secession is because no one running a state is as stupid as these petitioners. They know they can’t go it on their own and aren’t going to try. Not to mention that a state trying to secede is considered to be in rebellion, for which there are serious penalties. As for the argument that we seceded from England, we were never part of England. We were a colony, a far different legal position than that held by a state.

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We did not secede from England. We rebelled against English rule. We are heroes because we won, but had we lost, it would have been ugly. It would have been treason.

Rebellion is a serious matter and the price of losing is dreadful. Rebels are hanged or shot, pretty much universally, so anyone who thinks they ought to rebel needs to be prepared to die.

AN HISTORICAL NOTE: The American colonists’ first choice was not to break away from England. We wanted the rights of full British citizenship and full representation in Parliament. In other words, far from preferring rebellion, we wanted inclusion. We wanted our status as a colony upgraded to the British equivalent of statehood … something that our American secessionist wannabes already have … and are too ignorant to value.

No one is going to secede. Maybe after the alien invasion, things will change. Until then, secession is a non-issue.

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For the blood-thirsty idiots who think a civil war is a good idea:

The Civil War cost more than 620,000 American lives, above and below the Mason-Dixon line. Death doesn’t care what color uniform you wear or what color skin you have. Dead is dead. The war between the states caused more American deaths than all other wars this nation has fought combined. ALL of them combined. I don’t know the actual percentage of the population that perished in that hideous conflict, the gory legacy of which we are still dealing with 150 years later, but it was a very substantial percentage. Anyone who suggests that doing that again is a good idea is a criminal.

I don’t care what you believe. No one who values human life, believes in God, or has any kind of conscience or moral compass would suggest we take up arms and start slaughtering each other.

The Peacemakers.

If we are unable to live together, we will not survive as a nation. How can anyone claim to care about this country and then suggest we destroy it because they don’t like the President? Does this sound like patriotism?

There are too many people who have yet to grasp the concept that in a contest, there are always winners and losers. You, over there, with the sign and the sour face. You lost. Deal with it.

Respect the constitution. Work within our excellent system of laws. If you don’t respect our government enough to honor its fundamental principles, you really should go live somewhere else, if you can find anywhere else that will have your sorry asses.

Does it surprise anyone that the “leaders” of this bogus “movement” to secede are largely from the same states that produced the glorious Civil War? You think race might have something to do with it?

The number of signatories, assuming that they could be verified as real people, does not come close to a majority of citizens of any state — nor even enough people to elect someone to congress. It’s a bunch of malcontents trying to get media attention. In other words, sore losers.

DOGS GONE BAD – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Marilyn and I follow lots of those TV procedural crime shows. We anticipate all the cliché lines.

“Stay in the car”

“He was turning his life around.”

“Everyone loved him.”

“No one was supposed to get hurt!”

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We usually figure out who the “vics” and “perps” are before the coppers and lawyers find the answer, often before the credits finish rolling. Now, fiction has turned to cold, hard reality in our home. We are the victims. Not the mob, not the cabal, not even some local mokes looking for an easy score.

It’s an inside job and the perps are our DOGS!

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They’ll smile, offer constant affection and cheer us up when we aren’t feeling good. But it’s part of their sting.

Food is the motive. Their “jackets” are full of priors. Most are misdemeanors but now they’ve moved up the chain to felony. Bonnie, our beloved Scottie, is the boss. She leads the furry gang in snatches, intimidation, assault (head butting), larceny and perjury.

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We’ve tried to turn their lives around with extra Christmas goodies, more fun battles on the love seat and long chats to emphasize our affection.

But Bonnie and her accomplices are food-driven. Nothing we do can stop this furry reign of terror. We don’t want to profile Bonnie because she is black, and we are afraid of possible lawsuits. Perhaps the IA people can check out her background.

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Bonnie, clearly driven to revenge, is hell-bent on retribution because … we’ve put her on a diet. Bonnie is relentless in stealing Marilyn’s food. She stalks Marilyn and refuses to back down when confronted. The other dogs make sure Bonnie’s six is protected.

We’ve tried so hard to show them the path to a good life but their crimes are senseless.

Generosity… That was our first mistake.

STATISTICALLY – SERENDIPITY’S TOP TEN*

This is the TOP TEN for four (all) blogging years. Ten out of more than 4000 posts. Do these represent the best of my writing or my favorite pieces? No. These are the statistical winners. The people have spoken!

NOTE: * I omitted reblogs and “about” pages for Serendipity’s authors. The “about” pages are far and away the biggest “hit” producers.

top-10 LOGOSo, other than having been written by me or some other officially designated author for this site, what are my criteria? Quality? Relevance?

Nah. Just hits. How many people came by to take a look. I don’t even know if they actually read it or just came and clicked “like.”

  1. The FBI can’t do a simple Google search? July 23, 2013 – With a 10,149 hits for the original piece and probably another 5,000 for subsequent reruns, this minor piece about the 2013 season opener for “Criminal Minds” has retained an enthusiastic following. I have no idea why. Really. I don’t.
  2. DON’T DRINK THE KOOL AID – THE JONESTOWN MASSACRE – I have revised this piece several time and republished it annually. The total hits on this story of hell on earth has topped 9,000. One of the truly horrific episodes of American history.
  3. WHERE DO THE SWANS GO? It’s mostly pictures of the swans and my mental meandering about swans surviving the terrible winters. For all those who wondered, many swans and other water fowl don’t survive. They die of starvation and cold. Just under 2,000 hits on this one.
  4. GAZING THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE: HOLLYWOOD & MORAL CHARACTER – A followup post to the FBI post that’s number 1. Just short of 2,000 hits on this one. I guess “Criminal Minds” has a lot of fans.
  5. ANGEL COMES OUT by Rich Paschall – A fine post that got 1800 hits its first day and which continued to be read many times since.
  6. FLYPAPER (2011): A PLEASANT SURPRISE – Published several times, this is a review of a movie that almost no one went to see. It opened on only two screens for a couple of days and earned just over $1100 in its “onscreen” run. But Garry and I liked it. So I reviewed it. More than 1,200 views, probably more but I’ve been deleting earlier versions of the same piece so their statistics vanish with them.
  7. WHAT EMPOWERS YOU? – Originally in response to a WordPress Daily Prompt. Not a bad little piece of spontaneous writing. Apparently it resonated with quite a few people. 1051 views that I can find (earlier versions were deleted).
  8. How many states were trying to secede after the 2012 election? – November 2012. Everyone was on about all the American states that were trying to secede from the U.S. Real answer? None. 1,000 hits and still dribbling in after all these years.
  9. REMEMBERING DAD ON HIS 100th BIRTHDAY by Garry Armstrong was a nostalgic and loving tribute to Garry’s dad. 940 hits, give or take a couple of dozen.
  10. MEET FELIX CASTOR, EXORCIST BY MIKE CAREY — A review of the Felix Castor series by the elusive Mike Carey. Felix Castor is an exorcist with a conscience at a time when ghosts, demons, and zombies are becoming part of the human population’s mainstream. It is beautifully written, containing some of the most elegant language I’ve ever read. The 5-book series deserves more readers. If only Mike Carey, whoever he really is, would write one more. 700 hits.

This is the “all-time” list. I’ve made a 2015 list too which will be published New Year’s Eve when no one will be reading blogs.

I omitted, as I said I would, reblogged posts. I also left out my “Freshly Pressed” post which I don’t like. This is “the people’s choice” list. I’m not sure whether or not any of these would be on a list of my personal favorites.

I’m also not sure what my personal favorites really are.

POLITICS. BAH. HUMBUG.

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*EARWORM*

Garry and I had watched about 7 minutes of the final (?) Republican pre-nomination debate. We found ourselves engulfed … overwhelmed … by a sense of impending doom. Is it just us?

“Are these really the best and brightest the G.O.P. … the party of Lincoln … can proffer to the American people? This is it? As good as it gets?”

“And Trump … is he merely the worlds biggest asshole or is just playing a cruel game with us. Surely he can’t be that vain or that stupid,” added Garry.

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Robert Hanlon said that, I pointed out.

Garry nodded. I nodded back. There was no point in discussing it. We’d just get morose and depressed. Politics. Bah. Humbug.