Friday, November 13, 2009


I've always been fascinated by the internet, particularly things like google. It's difficult to wrap my brain around the concept of millions of people doing millions of searches all the time. I've read about some of the large server facilities - huge warehouse buildings filled with computers and HVAC systems, humming away 24/7, using massive amounts of electricity. The Cloud.

So it was with awe and wonder that I made a discovery today that set my imagination whirling. I checked the traffic on my blog using StatCounter; I do this once in awhile just to see where the hits (the few I get) are from. StatCounter has a google maps link that displays a symbol on a world map for the location of every server from which my blog has been visited during the past few weeks. (I use the free version of StatCounter, so I have a limited amount of data storage.) There are a lot of symbols from all over the world displayed today for my blog - cool.

Then I looked at the statistics display that lists the city and country for each hit, and for most hits the post that was viewed. And there it was, a wondrous mystery of the internet unfolding before my eyes. Of the 48 hits listed for October and November (I told you, it's not a popular blog...), 16 - that's one third - were on a post I'd made on February 28, 2009, over 8 months ago! And what was this suddenly popular (relatively) post? It was The Importance of being Phlegmish, of course!

These hits on my phlegm post were from:
Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
Bronx, New York USA
Portland, Oregon USA
San Antonio, Texas USA
Vienna, Austria
Winnipeg Canada
Lawrence, Massachusetts USA
Littleton, Colorado USA
Artarmon, New South Wales Australia
Middleton, Ohio USA
Boulder, Colorado USA
Fort Wayne, Indiana USA
Kenya (no city listed)
Chatham, New Jersey USA
Killingworth, Connecticutt USA
Louisville, Kentucky USA

Once my laughter subsided, I began to investigate further. For many of these hits, StatCounter shows a link for the source, and these in turn show what search terms led the searcher to my post. I looked at a number of these links. One search was for "coughing up clear sticky fluid in the morning." Seems obvious enough. But the majority were for: "old man lucas had a lot of mucus." Yes, the title of a song by Kinky Friedman, often performed by Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jew Boys. (By the way, looks like Kinky is running for Governor of Texas in 2010.) I mentioned Kinky and his song in the Phlegmish post.

So I know what people were searching for, but why? Why are so many (again, this is relative) people looking on the internet for a song by Kinky Friedman about an old man with a lot of mucus? It remains a mystery, but here's my guess: some world radio program or internet site did a story about Kinky Friedman, and played or mentioned his famous song (you've heard it many times, right?). And this prompted folks to search for it on the internet. And their search led some of them to my humble blog.

I only hope that these people I don't know from far corners of the Earth read the post, instead of clicking away from it without stopping to read it, to learn a little bit about me, to marvel themselves about the wonders of the internet, a place where weirdos can post strange scribblings that are forever out there, in the Cloud, 24/7 - until the world goes dark.


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