Friday, August 24, 2007

StatWatch: Week 2

In this, the second full week after installing Site Meter, I'm actually beginning to enjoy it. By studying the hits I get - and the misses - I think I'm starting to get a better sense of how to collect new readers. As an added bonus, maybe my learning curve can enlightertain you in some way, and if it can, it's worth doing. Plus, for an unrepentant Social Studies geek like me, I enjoy looking at the World Map feature which plots out where my hits are coming from.

Of course, as cheap as I am, I am only using the free versiion, which means if I want more detailed records I'm either going to have to shell out or start taking notes... Did anyone see my pen?

It is, of course, akin to spying in a way; but in another way it's more like voyeurism. I guess that's what gooses me the most. Having spent a lifetime on the outside looking in, I'm finally on the inside looking out, and if nothing else, the view is educational.

There are pleasant surprises a-plenty waiting for me each and every time I log in; right after publishing my piece on the Prime Minister's recent cabinet shuffle someone on the House of Commons server Googled "Stephen Harper cabinet shuffle". They didn't look at the page, but I have to say, I got quite a little thrill when I saw how close they'd come.

Similarly, the recent post announcing the birthday of Queen Noor got me my first hit from Jordan; the ISP in question was simply called "The Royal Hashemite Court". They didn't read my page, but someone inside the palace in Amman came thisclose to my blog. Again, I got cold chills all over me when I saw that.

Having spent a fortnight now compiling my stats it's becoming clear to me that there are responsibilities in this kind of work. What if, for instance, Queen Noor herself had looked at that birthday card I wrote? Actually, that would thrill me no end. But it's become clear to me that each post I send out there at least has a duty to be accurate. It can be opinionated, and even unfair, but the time may come when I'll have to defend some of this work, so it must always at least be defensible.

The plan for the present is to make StatWatch a weekly vidcast; so watch for that in the next few weeks as I figure out how to move the Pop Culture Institute from entirely written original content to the audio-visual panoply I've always dreamed it could be.

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Margaret Cho: "The Sensuous Woman" On Tour

According to, legendary comedian Margaret Cho is turning impresario on her next US tour.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketRather than just featuring her own stand-up act, this time around she'll be joined on stage by burlesque and comedy performers such as Liam Kyle Sullivan, who's another one of our favourites around here. Also featured will be belly dancer Princess Farhana, transgender comic Ian Harvie, burlesque performer Selene Luna, New York's own Miss Dirty Martini, and comedians Diana Yanez and Kurt Hall of West Hollywood's Gay Mafia Comedy Troupe.

Cho and the Gang will play Los Angeles August 10–September 15, Chicago September 19–22, and New York starting Sepember 26. For further information, check out her website.
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The Coldest Case

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Sergei Pogorelov, a Russian archaeologist working in Siberia, thinks he may have found the remains of the Tsarevich Alexei and one of the Tsar's daughters, possibly Grand Duchess Maria. Theirs were the only remains not found at the bottom of the mine shaft where the rest of the family was dumped in 1918, a site re-discovered only in 1989.

When the discovery was made public in 1991, the entire Royal Family were canonised by the Russian Orthodox Church. But the remains of the Tsarevich and one of the Grand Duchesses were neither disposed of nor found in the mine shaft. Rather, by most contemporary accounts they were taken away and thrown into a grave in a farmer's field, where they were burned.

It is this grisly site that Pogorelov has been investigating. Their remains - if that's who they are - have been more efficiently obliterated than those of the rest of the family, and so it may never be known to whom they belong. At the time of their murders, Russia was in a state of revolution, and there may be thousands of graves such as this around the country.

The rest of the family's remains were re-interred in 1998, but not as the Royal Family, as 'victims of the Revolution". Russian officials are said to be reopening the case, though exactly what they hope to achieve by doing so is unclear.

[S O U R C E]
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Dave Chappelle's Gay Nightmare

An early-90s appearance by our birthday boy Dave Chappelle on Def Comedy Jam, introduced by Martin Lawrence.

While Dave is admittedly uncomfortable with man-on-man action, at least he manages to find the humour in it. Oh, and also the Rodney King riots and working for Domino's.

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