Thursday, January 31, 2008

Photo Archive Memories #3

The Lovely Karen and I were married in September of 1988. After a wild reception, we spent a night at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and hopped a Swissair Flight to Geneva for an alpine adventure.

My wedding gift from Karen was a Cannon EOS camera. It was a film camera (this was almost 20 years ago, kids) and I used up (I think) 14 rolls of 36-exposure film on that trip. I've scanned a few of them to flickr as part of my on-going scanned from the archives collection.

We took a train to Locarno, on Lake Maggiore, down by the Italian Border, where we stayed on our own for a few days before joining a hot-air balloon tour. I was counting on my high-school French lessons and the good will of the Swiss people to get by; most people in this part of Switzerland, however, spoke Italian.

It was a quiet few days. We struggled to overcome jet-lag and walked around looking at things like historic and lovely monasteries.

We then took a train through part of Italy and beneath a mountain to Bern, where we joined a small group led by an outfit known as The Bombard Society for a week of hot-air balloon flights and sight-seeing.

This was a wonderful way to see Switzerland. We were two of only four tourists on this trip. Our companions were two elderly singles and the three members of the Bombard staff, who were great tour leaders and cool people.

Each morning we drove to a launch site for a flight planned, based on the day's winds, to take us near fun things to see. We'd land, lunch, tour, have dinner and return to a luxury downtown Bern hotel for a deep sleep.

Our first flight ended with an exciting wind-driven drag across a meadow that left us sideways in the basket laughing and exhilarated while local kids raced across the field to see the excitement. We followed that with morning champaign.

One morning we planned to take off from this hill-side farm. The winds were too strong, so we visited with the farmer, his wife, and 20-something daughter. We got the sense that the tour leader was carrying on a flirtation with the daughter.

We got to see the inside of the farmhouse/barn to the right in this photo. At the center of the building is a massive brick wood-stove that heats the farmhouse on one side and a barn on the other. We breakfasted with the farmer and his workers, who tackled eggs by the half-dozen each. There was fresh-baked cake and coffee and laughter.

When we took off into a clear morning sky, the farmer's parents were waving to us from the windows of their house; the one on the left.

We got to see Bern from very high up. We visited ancient walled towns. We saw geology up close. We soared over beautiful scenery.

We generally ate at small, local restaurants. There was a different local beer in each. There were unique local foods. Our tour guides and staff ate with us and within a very short time we were a tight-knit, happy group.

One day, we traveled high into the mountains for coffee at an outdoor alpine cafe. I took a photo looking out over a deep green valley and high white mountains. It happened that, a few years later, our local theater group, the Possum Point Players, performed The Sound of Music. I took the part of Max. Karen was in the orchestra. I was thrilled to have this photo used on the program cover.

All in all, it was a perfect honeymoon and gave a strong start to a marriage that will turn twenty this fall. I'm indebted to my parents, who paid for the trip and to a now closed travel agency in Rehoboth, where I stumbled across a note about the Bombard Society in a Swissair catalog.

Now I just hope that the dollar's value improves against the Euro. I'd like to go back some day.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Damn You, Art Garfunkel (Shakes Fist)

I'm feeling very eclipsed by the singer Art Garfunkel just now. Not because he's a better singer than I am; that's been true longer than I've been alive. I'm pretty much used to that. No, what has me feeling beaten is Art's reading list, which puts my new Reading Log blog to shame.

I started a 2008 Reading Log to celebrate the new year. I plan to post the titles of, and a bit about, each book I enjoy his year. You may have noticed the Book Log RSS feed I've placed in the left side column.

This is not a new idea. I swiped it from the librarian Jessamyn West.

But today, reading the New Yorker magazine, I came upon a report on the Garfunkel Library, "a chronological index of the thousand and twenty-three books that he has read since June, 1968." Forty years of reading, recorded on loose-leaf paper, and now posted on the official Art Garfunkel web site.

That's some impressive obsessiveness, Mr. Garfunkel.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Photo Archive Memories #2

This is George, one of many cats who have been part of my family. I took this photo in front of my parents' house in Bethany Beach sometime in the mid to late 1980s. I think he looks very noble.

As a kitten, George came to live with my Grandmother for the last part of her life. He was the quietly purring presence on her lap when we came to visit. He took her death hard (we all did) and had a rough transition to the larger family life.

I remember George bolting from my parents' place when they brought him home; he hid for a long time under the neighbor's porch and several of us sat nearby hoping to entice him out with friendliness.

He eventually settled in, but brought a surly, put-upon attitude to the house. Yet he remains one of my favorite cats. Despite his testiness, I always felt a close bond with George. He would as soon punch you with a balled-up paw as rub against your leg, but he frequently did both. A friendly nod from George was a wonderful treat.

George grew to be a large, muscular lion-like cat. Out among the dune-plants at the Bethany house he seemed very like a jungle king.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Photo Archive Memories #1

This is Boots, a German Shepherd/Beagle mixed breed who was part of my family in the 1970s. He was the dog part of whatever "a boy and his dog" aesthetic my life has ever held.

Boots was one half of a doggy duo with Joey, an older Beagle. They got along fairly well, as I recall, with a tired and wise Joey teaching a young and rambunctious Boots all about being the family dog.

I remember Boots being very frightened by thunderstorms and managing to wedge his not small body behind a bookshelf during one storm.

I have a memory, and I think it is accurate, of Boots resting his head on my feet as I sat in the living room. I remember walking him and I think he was along one day when my mother, at least one other brother, and I hiked out into a several-foot deep freak snowstorm late one winter.

This photo was taken late in Boots' life. He lived a long life and I think he was happy. He certainly did not lack for kids to romp with.

He did have to learn to live with a large number of cats over his lifetime. At times there were probably three cats, and sometimes a rabbit, in the house with him.

But Boots was a good-hearted sort. Not too bright, but ready to love and be loved.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The National Portrait Gallery Has A Sense of Humor

We were in northern Virginia this week-end for a dance competition in Crystal City. Our daughters were in dance classes all day on Saturday and part of Sunday; they performed in competition Saturday evening. They did quite well, thank you.

While we were not needed Saturday afternoon, Karen and I went wandering by Metro with a few friends. We visited the National Portrait Museum, where, among other exhibits, there hangs the Steven Colbert portrait.

Colbert has been airing a several-part series lately about his efforts to get the serial portrait from the set of his Colbert Report added to a museum in Washington. The Portrait Gallery people agreed to play along, for a while, and have placed the Colbert Portrait between the Men's and Women's rooms outside the gallery of presidential portraits on the second floor.

It is drawing a crowd.

We found folks photographing the portrait or having their own portrait photographed with Colbert's. And lots of people standing around to watch.

It made it a bit hard to get to the Men's room.

Friday, January 18, 2008

An Update on the Hocker Manufacturing Story

Greg Wood, former president of Hocker Mfg. Co., stopped by to leave a very informative comment on my post about the closing of the Hocker plant on Kings Highway at my end of Lewes. If you have any interest in that story, or in Lewes' history, it's worth your reading time. Greg fills-in the gaps in the story as I found it and reveals what I think is an even more rich and fascinating part of Lewes history.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

We're All In This Thing Together

There has been an interesting convergence of on-line collaboration this week that I think highlights the value of sharing our stuff out on the net. The internet provides a space in which a ridiculously large number of people can share, comment on, and react to a wide variety of ideas and works of art. And I think that is a good thing.

Here are a few examples, from my limited web-cruising, and from just this week.

Flickr has announced the formation of a Commons, in which they hope to facilitate a community-wide collective tagging and adding of attributes to publicly available photo collections. It has grown out of the ability of flickr users to add descriptive tags to other users' photos.
All that work that we've put in has contributed to making something greater than the sum of its parts: an organic information system, derived of descriptive words and phrases made entirely from individual contributions.
The Library of Congress has stepped up to the plate to help get things moving by posting about 3,000 photos from their archives and inviting users to add tags, descriptions, and further information. The project gives another window into the rich photographic history of the nation, and may just add a deep new understanding of the material in those collections.

From the Library’s perspective, this pilot project is a statement about the power of the Web and user communities to help people better acquire information, knowledge and—most importantly—wisdom. One of our goals, frankly, is to learn as much as we can about that power simply through the process of making constructive use of it.

The old-photos blog Shorpy (a favorite of mine) provides some moderately ironic proof of concept. Shorpy takes selected photographs from the Library of Congress' older site, which has traditionally offered thumbnail views and possible click-thrus to raw images, and prepares them for on-line viewing. In a sense, it has been a precursor to the new Library of Congress effort with flickr; it colleted information via blog-style commenting.

Yesterday, the same day as the flickr/Library of Congress announcement, Shorpy posted a photograph of the Drake Family, and father and two sons musical group, playing at a dance in Texas in 1942. The posting was spotted and commented-on by two daughters and a grand-daughter of the young men shown playing music so long ago. They added fascinating and personal details about the photo.

Meanwhile, in my professional life, I came across an announcement by the real-estate map service Zillow that they have released GIS data of the neighborhood boundaries that they use in their maps. Their intent, they said, was "to allow people to use and contribute to our growing database" by inviting users to add new neighborhoods, or suggest edits to those already in the collection. And users can post their work back to Zillow for eventual integration into Zillow's on-line offerings.

This is a form of on-line collaborative work that requires a bit more specialized software, but it follows the same pattern as the Flickr/Library of Congress and Shorpy models -- the collective knowledge and group energy of a web-full of regular folks can add a remarkable amount of knowledge to our culture.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

John Mayer Sticks Up for an Ex

Singer, songwriter and excellent guitarist John Mayer has a blog post up this evening in defense of Jessica Simpson. Mayer dated Ms. Simpson for a bit before she dated Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. He is responding here to the uproar over Mr. Romo's brief vacation with Ms. Simpson prior to the Cowboys loss to the Giants.

John Mayer's point is that, in his opinion, knowing Ms. Simpson as he does, it is not right to suggest that Ms. Simpson was knowingly undermining the Cowboys quarterback:
All witty barbs, blogs, and fashion policing aside, that girl loves Texas more than you know. It's one of her most defining traits as a person. So please don't try and take that away from her. (You probably wouldn't be able to, but it's less work for all involved.)
For what its worth, I can say that I don't think that Tony Romo's vacation had any major effect on his play. He wasn't that bad; and I say that as a lifelong Redskins fan and hater of the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, as much as it pains me to say it, I agree with Terrell Owens; that was a team loss.

Actually, seeing the Cowboys lose as a team was pretty sweet, from my couch.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Some Things Never Change (At Least Not In Their Essential Nature)

I've been searching through the archives of the New York Times lately, looking for references I can use in building-out my family tree. I came, by chance, across the following item in "City and Suburban News" for September 11 of 1879:
Yesterday a spurious Custom-house agent swindled Mrs. James Brooks, of 44 East Twenty-fifth-street, of $9 98 by the old ruse of pretending that that amount was due for duties on a package that had arrived from Europe and was lying in the Custom-house. Such swindles are common.
Replace "Custom-house agent" with "exiled government official;" replace "duties on a package" with "bank fees for a transfer of funds;" and replace "Europe" with "Nigeria" and the whole thing looks like something we (hopefully) now routinely mark as spam and delete from our in-boxes.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Goodbye, Hocker Manufacturing

The small Hocker factory that has sat across Kings Highway from our neighborhood for as long as we've been here (and longer) has closed down. This was one of only a very few industrial uses we had in Lewes; losing it is another loss of the real-ness of this town. We're moving closer and closer to becoming a large-scale retirement village.

According to a 1976 report for the National Park Service's Historic American Engineering Record, Hocker Manufacturing began its life in Philadelphia in the late 1800's when brothers John and George Hocker started a tin-smith business. John, who had pioneered several new manufacturing techniques, moved the business to Lewes in 1899 to take advantage of lower manufacturing and transportation costs. According to the Engineering Record, Hocker was a Sussex native and was married to a Lewes woman, which may have played a role in his move.

The first factory location was out near Pilottown, on Queen Anne Avenue. Around 1903, Hocker Manufacturing became Henlopen Manufacturing and moved to a new factory building in town on Schley Avenue, now (I think) part of the home of the Lewes Board of Public Works. The Hocker family, and their manufacturing business, prospered at Schley Avenue until 1951. They made tin boxes, bottle caps and brush handles.

Founder John Hocker died in the mid-1940s and his son, John Jr., in the late 1940s. When Mrs. Hocker died, Henlopen Manufacturing passed out of the family and the factory was closed.

In 1953, John Hocker's son Harold, who had left the business a decade earlier to raise poultry, re-established a brush business in a small building behind his home on Front Street, across the street from where the Canalfront Park is now being built.

At the time of the Engineering Record report, Hocker's was still a very small, very specialized business in a tiny building on Front Street. At some point between that report, in 1976, and the mid-1980s when I moved to Lewes, Hocker's moved to Kings Highway, at one of the entrances to the City. The business grew a little, but remained very much a niche company.

In a standard Google search, I have not been able to find an account of that move. In the 20 years that I have lived here, Hocker's has simply always been there.

In early 2007, Hocker's was sold to National Novelty Brush Company, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was, according to a story in the Intelligencer Journal, at the suggestion of Hocker's management.
"We were friendly competitors for the last 30 years," [Novelty Brush president Richard] Seavy said, "until we got a call (from Hocker) wanting to know if we were interested in purchasing it."
The housing downturn, apparently, has depressed the market for one of the main products of the Hocker's plant, the metal cap with attached brush that is used to apply solvents and cements to PVC pipe. I can see one in the hands of This Old House plumber Richard Trethewey as he runs pipe for some re-built bathroom somewhere. As a result, there's not enough business for two brush-factories and the Lewes site will close.

I'll miss it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A New Look

Our front yard has a new look. The Bradford Pear that split and fell partly down last month has been removed by our tree guy this week. He has yet to take care of that stump, but it's something of a relief to have the tree gone. As I noted in December, it had grown too large to really support itself and was too close to the house for comfort in windy weather.

We still have two Dogwoods out front. The one on the left was shaded-out by the Pear for several years and now lags behind its sibling on the right. I expect it will do much better now. We'll also be able to get grass growing on that side again.

I feel bad losing a tree. But it had to go. Meanwhile, we're awaiting young trees coaxed from the old tree that used to stand in the courtyard of Epworth United Methodist Church in Rehoboth. It also had to come down, but cuttings are being raised and sold as a fund-raiser. We'd always loved that tree, so we're looking forward to meeting its descendants.

Fox Appropriates Family Dog, Cultural and Economic Debate Ensues

A family in Baltimore spotted a familiar face during a Fox football broadcast last month. It was their family dog, Truman, in a photo they had posted to Flickr that was apparently harvested by the television network and used to "holiday-up" their broadcast of a game between the Saints and the Eagles.

This prompted a blog post by dog-owner Tracey Gaughran-Perez and, many comments later, a call from the Washington Post which led to 1) some (moderately) contrite reaction from Fox, and, 2) a story in the paper (Hey, Isn't That . . .).

The Post story takes a larger look at the growing issue of copyright infringement in a culture that is on-line and connected and very, very open. People are starting to point to a basic hypocrisy in large corporations on the one hand zealously enforcing copyright against individuals while on the other hand violating individual copyrights with seeming impunity.

The story also makes an interesting point about how the culture of on-line, personal and real is leading advertisers and corporations away from the traditionally false and contrived material they have long used in advertising and corporate communications.
It's a byproduct of the user-generated world: the trustworthiness of YouTube, the realness of Facebook. Above all else, we believe ourselves. "People don't want to buy the fake from the phony anymore," Pine says. "They want to buy the real from the genuine."
This story caught my eye in part because I am an active flickr-er. I place a Creative Commons "Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative" copyright on my photos, which, in theory, protects them from unauthorized commercial use. I do the same, by the way, with content on this blog.

I have found unauthorized use of content from Mike's Musings in the past. I found a post from this blog pasted into an ad-spam blog. These are blogs that scrape content from bloggers to give their ad-sites something for google and other search sites to find. In that case, when I e-mailed the site's owners they apologized and took my content off their site.

I have not yet found any of my photos taken without permission. That doesn't mean it hasn't happened, though. There have been several cases where I have been asked for permission to use photos. I have given the travel guides site Schmap permission to use shots I have taken in the Florida Keys and at the Statue of Liberty. I have granted permission to the Cape Gazette to use a few shots in backgrounds on their site as well. And I have given permission for their use in a few publications; there was an economic development brochure for a small city in New York, and a set of state-themed poems published as postcards.

I have not yet tried to make any money of my work; I'm usually happy to help out local institutions or non-profit groups. That doesn't mean I wouldn't be interested in making some small amount of cash, however, if Fox or CNN or MSNBC or someone wanted to use a photo of mine in their election coverage.

Thank You, Coach

Joe Gibbs resigned as head coach of the Washington Redskins football team yesterday. It was unexpected but not too much of a surprise, in retrospect. Joe Gibbs is a thoughtful and spiritual guy. He had been quoted lately as saying that the tragic death of Redskin Sean Taylor had reminded him of the importance of family and friends. It seems time now for Joe Gibbs to focus on more personal things.

I think sports columnist Mike Wise put it well in the Washington Post:
Smile. Feel good for a 67-year-old man who decided to spend more time with his grandchildren. A coach at Redskins Park went out on his own terms for the first time in 15 years. He got his life back.
I agree. To that I would also add a "thank you" to a coach who brought a team I have followed as a dedicated fan for the last 36 years back to respectability. I am a Redskin fan. I will root for my team whether they are world-beaters, almost-great, or doormats.

Joe Gibbs was not a perfect coach, but he reminds us that a football franchise need not be perfect all the time. It should conduct itself as a true team, however, and make an honest and dedicated effort to be the best team it can be. It should value people as people and not as machines filling positions. It should remember that the game is not the most important thing in this life, even as it strives to succeed.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Field Trip Needed: Mahaffey, PA

I need to make a visit to the Borough of Mahaffey, in western Pennsylvania, somewhat southeast of Punxsutawny. I'm adding it to my list of places to visit to learn more about family history.

View Larger Map

Mahaffey is the only populated place in the US that I know of that is named for a relative of mine. There is a small lake named Mahaffie created by the US Farm Service out in Oklahoma.

I had been aware for some time that there is a place called Mahaffey in Pennsylvania, but it is only recently that my genealogical wanderings led me to a reference to the person it was named for, Robert Mahaffey, who was the grandson of my great-great-great-great-grandfather's brother. That makes him my second cousin, four times removed. It's probably more useful to say he was second cousin to my great-grandfather, Doc Mahaffie.

Back around 1750, a group of Mahaffeys emigrated from Ireland to Pennsylvania, settling originally in Cumberland County. There were either two sets of two brothers who were cousins, or more likely there were four brothers. Records are sketchy; our best source is a family history from the early 20th century.

In any case, one of those original American Mahaffeys was Charles, whose son Andrew changed his name's spelling to Mahaffie and produced JB, who produced Doc, whose son Charles was my grandfather. The elder Charles Mahaffey's brother Thomas, meanwhile, fathered William, who fathered Robert Mahaffey, who appears to have founded the settlement that now bears his name.

I had already shown Robert Mahaffie (1815 - 1900) in my family tree, but it wasn't until I found an extract from Twentieth Century History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, and Representative Citizens, by Roland D. Swoope, Jr. (published by Richmond-Arnold Publishing of Chicago in 1911), that I had a reference to a founder of Mahaffie:
Robert Mahaffey equaled his father in enterprise. He engaged also in lumbering and later cleared up a large farm in Bell township and also conducted a general store and in addition, operated a mill. His various enterprises prospered and each one assisted in the developing of the other and ere long many settlers had been attracted to his neighborhood, a village resulted and in his honor was named for the man of energy and progress, who had had the foresight to select this certain section of the wilderness as his place of investment.
Today Mahaffey is something of an also-ran among the many municipalities and boroughs of Pennsylvania. I couldn't find a town government in my Google-searching. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania doesn't link to one. And I couldn't find anything via the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities or the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs.

The 2000 US Census found 402 residents; all of them white with a median age of between 39 and 40 years. According to the Bell Township/Mahaffey Borough Joint Comprehensive Plan (found via the PA County Planning e-Library) prepared in 2000, population at Mahaffey reached a peak of 801 in 1920. A lack of economic opportunities, likely tied to the shift away from an agrarian economy in the eastern US, led to high levels of out-migration.

But Mahaffey looks like an interesting place. It sits among the hills and along a mid-sized stream. There are some recreation areas nearby and a Mahaffey Camp, "A Christian Center for Spiritual Growth," up the road.

I think I may need to take a field trip to see the place for myself.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Even More Delaware Blogs

Almost as soon as I posted my "really big list" of new (or new to me) Delaware blogs, I've been finding even more. This is a catch-up list.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

RIP (and Thank You) George Macdonald Fraser

I was saddened to learn of the death yesterday of the author George Macdonald Fraser. Fraser, a Scot, created the Flashman series of novels, which have given me a great deal of pleasure over the years. He was 82. The cause of death was cancer.

Fraser had served in India during World War and worked as a journalist in Glasgow before becoming an author and screenwriter. The original Flashman novel started that portion of his career in the late 1960's. In it, he took a minor character in 19th century literature and imagined him into one of the greatest cads in English fiction. His novels are great fun and feature well-researched and accurate historical people, places, and actions.

He also wrote a wonderful memoir of his military service (Quartered Safe Out Here), and a series of short-stories inspired by that period of his life (the "McAuslan" stories). He wrote a parody of pirate books (The Pyrates) and a handful of novels set in Victorian and Elizabethan England. His screenplays included several "musketeers" movies and Force Ten from Navarone.

George Macdonald Fraser was a fine writer. He has left us an impressive body of work. Thank you, sir.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Election Fun #3

In an admission of an intent to announce something later that won't be surprising because no one was really taken unawares by today's admission, Jud Bennett has 'fessed-up: he'll make another run at Lynn Rogers for his Sussex County Council seat.

Last time, Jud lost the race by three votes. In the intervening years, he's been keeping a steady, if jaundiced, watch on County Council. There's never really been any doubt that Jud would run again. He'll make the race about growth and development and land-use controls. It should be exciting.

Interestingly, I had a blog-visitor today from New York City who found one of my post-election posts from fall of 2004 via a google search for "Lynn Rogers Sussex county council member campaign donations."

Does Jud have an election consultant from New York?

Election Fun #2

The News Journal held an on-line straw poll today in preparation for the Iowa Caucuses.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama edged-out Delaware's own Joe Biden by two votes. They were followed closely by Ms. Clinton and more distantly by John Edwards and a few other fellows.

On the Republican side, Ron Paul scored what looks like a decisive victory over Rudy Guiliani, followed by John McCain and Mike Huckabee. Mitt Romney was in fifth place. The Ron Paul win may be tainted by (very slight) hints of astro-turfing; someone posted the poll to Digg with the following note:
The Wilmington News Journal is sponsoring a virtual caucus for the state of Delaware. Ron Paul is trailing Rudy... let's make it happen!!
In the comments that followed, several supporters posted information on Delaware ZIP codes, which might have been useful in fooling the News Journal's polling system. Of course, this may only have been an attempt to get Delaware e-voters involved, and there's nothing to say that other candidates' supporters did or didn't try the same thing. But it looks a bit funny.

And let's not forget that there were only 4,696 votes cast. We probably shouldn't take this very seriously.

Election Fun #1

I was (only a little) surprised to find out today that there is a link to this blog from an unofficial "Mike Huckabee President 2008" blog. The Feedjit traffic feed widget I installed recently showed a click-through today from a post on that blog listing Other Bloggers on Mike Huckabee. That post is from last February. I had included some praise for Huckabee back then in a brief collection of some things I liked about some politicians.

I wonder if readers who've come here from there have had a look around the rest of the site and been horrified to find that I am, indeed, a left-wing, progressive liberal? I am, you know.

I did like what little I had heard from Huckabee at that point; he sounded like a reasonable fellow. There was never more than the slimmest possibility that I would have voted for him, though. And as the race among the Republicans has heated up, his rhetoric and positions have become more traditionally right-wing and evangelical. So...

But I do like him on a personal level.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2007 on Mike's Musings

2007 was the first full year for which I tracked traffic on this blog using Google Analytics. Well, most of the year. There were two brief periods, totaling about a week, when I had made template changes and forgot to re-install the Analytics code. But I think I have enough data to take a look at activity for the year.

There were 8,103 unique visitors, who stopped by 14,773 times and viewed 29,576 different pages. My busiest day for the year was September 14, with September 13 a close second. Based partly on data about individual page-views and Google search terms, I think that those dates were busiest because of several posts in the first part of September:
There was a lot going on just then.

Over the full year, a large majority of readers simply came to the blog's front page and read what-ever was newest. But there were a number of pages, some from several years ago, that continued to attract readers. Here are the top five:
  • Pimping My Prius, from September of 2005, is about installing a Sirius Satellite Radio receiver in the Prius. This page was viewed 918 times in 2007. It has long been the most-viewed archive page.
  • A Restaurant Recommendation Chain-Post, from May of 2007, is one of the few "memes" I have ever taken part in. By design, this meme carries links back to all participants and that chain of posts garnered 166 page-views in 2007.
  • Hey! A Gravity-Monument Photo!, from May of 2005, also had 166 page-views in 2007. Anyone who has ever run across one of these puzzlers is bound to do a bit of Googling and that can lead to this page. There's also a link to it from TutorGig.Com's page on the Gravity Research Foundation.
  • An Albino Deer? Or An Echo From the Distant Past?, from January of 2007, is about a white deer I spotted at Cape Henlopen State Park but also mentions a legend about a white deer from the Lenape people who once lived in this area. I've noticed lots of "white deer" searches over the years. This page had 147 page-views in 2007.
  • Now, Here's a Surprise, from August of 2005, concerns my experience with a blood clot hat summer. This one gets many visits from folks searching for information on blood clots. I hope it helps people who stop by; it had 144 visits in 2007.
Search engines generated many visitors to Mike's Musings in 2007, but not the majority. Almost 53% percent of visits came through links from other sites, including Delaware On-line, Blogger (likely the risky "next-blog" link), several other Delaware bloggers (Delaware Liberal, TommyWonk, WGMD, and Down With Absolutes top that list), and (interestingly) via the link in my e-mail signature line.

A bit more than 32% of traffic to the site this past year came through search engines. Many were searching for "Mike Mahaffie" or for "Mike's Musings." Other popular searches were for combinations of sirius and prius and satellite, "how to get rid of a blood clot," and the Woods of Mahaffie.

About 15% of visitors were from "direct traffic," meaning people have bookmarked me (how nice) and checked back in (even nicer).

Most of my readers are from the United States though there were a good number of visitors from Canada, the UK, Ireland and Australia and many non-English-speaking countries. Within the US, most visitors checked in from within Delaware and surrounding states. But I am pleased to see that I had visitors from every state, though only 3 from North Dakota.

I'll have to work up some North Dakota-specific content and try to target a Roughrider audience in 2007.