I have been blogging now steadily for five years. During that time, I have put up one thousand five hundred eighty posts, many of them quite lengthy, and these have occasioned six thousand three hundred thirty-five comments. All of that is as nothing compared to the traffic at the popular blogs, of course, but I do this myself and relatively rarely simply link to what someone has said elsewhere. All in all, that is a pretty big pile of chopped chicken liver, as they used to say where I grew up.
I have been delighted and touched by the evidences of regular readers, some of whom have been coming to this site for almost as long as it has been operating. The quality of the comments is astonishingly high, especially when one compares them to what shows up on the better known blog sites. I have had a troll or two, and there are the inevitable hitchhikers who say "nice blog" and then proceed to sell their wares, but some really interesting debates have developed in the comments section. I am a great disappointment to Chris, I fear, but the young are always disappointed in the old -- how could it be otherwise? Lord knows, I was pretty disappointed with my elders when I was young.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for me is the discovery of what triggers comments and what does not. I suppose I should have anticipated that I would receive a blizzard of comments on my report of reading Newt Gingrich's doctoral dissertation -- horror stories are always popular. But I have been puzzled -- and, I confess, disappointed -- that my several comments about the extraordinary work now being done in many branches of Biology has apparently captured no one's interest.
The hardest part of blogging for someone like me who has spent his life attempting to write serious stuff is simply finding something to say every day. On some days, I seem not to be able to stop myself, but there are other days when the prospect of putting up a post creates in me a yawning void. I envy the chaps in piano bars who can say , "And now for a medley of favorite hits," and proceed to play tunes they have played countless times before. Even someone afflicted as I am with logorrhea runs dry from time to time.
Fortunately [if I may speak paradoxically], the sheer horribleness of the world offers an endless series of opportunities to view with alarm.
I began blogging out of desperation at the prospect of retirement and it has grown on me, so I shall carry on until at long last my two forefingers can no longer bang out the words. There has been one good consequence of all this writing: The article on me on Wikipedia no longer says that I am dead.