The Year in Review by Richard Bleil
The results are in. Here is the Best of Bleil 2021, the favorite blog posts and a few stats to boot.
Readership in the blog continues to slide, from the all-time high of over 10,000 hits in 2019 to just over 8,000 hits in 2021. I’m losing about a thousand hits a year, so the good news is that the blog will probably be dead by 2029. But subscribers are up to over 360 today. I’ve had readers from 44 nations around the world, with the top nations being the US (of course, with 6,742 hits), Canada (372), India (144), Australia (130) and the United Kingdom (103). This year I had just over 3,600 visitors to the site.
The most read piece was Era’s End 3/4/21 with 169 reads. It was a bittersweet piece wherein I discussed the single course I was asked to teach of a group of students that specifically requested that I be offered the course, who then turned on me and made sure that I was fired. This ended not just my affiliation with that college, but my entire teaching career to boot. Teaching has changed since I began, moving away from academics towards business ventures, where the “client” (the students) is always “right”. The complaints against me were completely ridiculous, but of course the decision to let me go came without giving me the chance to respond. Ironically, as they were complaining about me, these same students were saying I was the best teacher at the institution (insider information). Well, congratulations, the teacher you all seemed to love so much has lost his career because of your actions. I wonder how these students faired with my replacement.
The second most read piece had 56 hits called Gun Owner 2/26/21. This would be one of several posts on gun purchases, safety and ownership I would write and follows the saga of a gun I had purchased actually in the previous year. It was the first gun purchase I had made since I lived in South Dakota, but in Nebraska, the laws regarding handgun purchases are quite complex. I actually like these laws, and today I can buy handguns without the red tape, but to reach that status required that I be certified as having taken a gun safety course (along with background checks).
Coming in at number three with 50 hits was Faces 3/4/21. Inspired by the Billy Joel song “The Stranger”, this post reflected my own thoughts on the variety of masks that we show depending on our circumstances. I’ve always had trouble showing some of my faces, and work hard to lock many away, especially the face inspired by my father’s anger, but there are times that you need to put some of those faces on. It’s not always easy, and people who know you may be surprised if you show them a side they’ve not seen before, but they’re not always evil. That face of mine is angry, stubborn and scary, which is sometimes exactly what is needed in some circumstances.
Numbers 4 and 5 are tied, with 49 hits each. In the order they are listed, the first of these is not even from 2021. The Blog 10/1/19 reaches the top five posts read in 2021. A short horror story, and like many of my horror stories, there is a twist that I’d rather not reveal. My short stories are rather surprising to me, to be honest. When I write them, they tend to reveal a very dark and sinister side of my personality, and I’ve not written as many as I thought I would have by now. Still, if you like horror stories, you might enjoy some of them. On a side note, I’ve decided I’m going to accumulate a series of my favorite short stories, clean them up and publish an independent book of them, so keep a lookout for news on that.
And rounding out the top five most read articles (again, tied for fourth) is Motion Detected 3/5/21. Inspired by Mooch, an outdoor cat that triggered my motion detector at the back door (and has been missing for a few weeks as of the writing of this post), this post basically was about life around my house, like the moles in my yard and “Rocky”, the mouse I had caught and released. As the blog rambled on it eventually turned to depression as many of my posts touch on.
Honestly, I have no idea if I should call this past year a “success” for Bleil Banter, especially since I don’t really have a specific goal in mind. It’s been a pleasure and an honor writing for all of you who have graced me with your time to read my work, and I truly hope you have enjoyed or at least found inspiring the words I have hobbled together. Thank you all so much for your continued patronage, and I hope all of your greatest desires come to pass in 2022.