Category Archives: This Blog

This September, 2021, will mark the 20th anniversary of chcollins.com (I had a homepage on tbns.net before that) and the 11th anniversary of the debut of The 100 Billionth Person.  There are two main, and equally important, reasons I have maintained my own website all these years: to give me a reason to be creative, and to make connections.  I’m lucky that it has served both roles — though it would always be nice to have more readers!

What the site was never about was monetization (entrepreneur-speak for making money). Not worrying whether the site makes money has given me the freedom to follow my whims with respect to content.  If I really wanted to make money on this site, my blog would have to be about something — and I’ve never been able to come up with a coherent, noun+verb answer to that question.  (I bet you can’t either.)

This means that I’ve never — except for a very brief experiment years ago — displayed ads on these pages.  My readership is so select (entrepreneur-speak for practically no one) that it wasn’t worth either the hassle or the visual intrusion.  In any case, I have obviously been willing to do what I do for free for two decades.

So what changed?  The unexpected popularity of my series of posts on picture hanging and framing: Why Frames Tilt Forward, The “Hang It With Two Hooks” Calculator, and The Physics of Hanging Pictures.  Together, these posts are visited about 1000 times a month, by readers in the U.S. and around the world.  And much of that content has been copied and pasted into other websites and Facebook pages, without my permission or attribution, in the U.S. and around the world.  So apparently there is some value in those words.

My spouse, upon hearing this (still modest) tally of visitors, urged me to capitalize on the situation and place ads on the site.  At first I objected, for the reasons mentioned above.  But then I thought of a compromise: (a) I could place one ad, and one ad only, on each of those three posts only, (b) I could donate any advertising revenue to charity, and (c) if the ads turn out to be totally out-of-character for the site, I can always remove them.

And so I’ve done this deal with the devil.  Even though my week-to-week readers will not notice a difference, I felt the need to come clean about this.  I hope the ads are lucrative, for charity’s sake.  (Unfortunately, the ads that have been served up so far have not exactly inspired my confidence.)  I’ll let you know how it turns out in a future update.

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Some readers may have noticed that, for some time now, I have been walking a tightrope of cognitive dissonance here.  It stems from trying to reconcile these contradictory truths: Donald J. Trump is an unreflective solipsist and a pathological liar; the United States is a democratic republic; and Trump is President of the United States.

America has managed to slog through three years of this dissonance, all the time griping and sniping and whining and never fully accepting.  But in this pandemic-dominated year, the consequences of those contradictions have been all too painful.  Our domestic tragedy (200,000-plus lives and counting) cannot be lightened with mocking and finger-pointing.  Rather, it calls for trying to stay sane.

I could justifiably rail against Trump every single day on this blog, and perhaps I should. However, there is already no shortage of Trump hypocrisy call-outs, ripostes and satires on social media and late-night TV.  Why add yet more (i.e., mine) to the mix?

So, believe it or not, I have been holding back.*  I don’t want my mind or this mouthpiece to be swept up in the Can-You-Believe-What-He-Said-Today tsunami.  No one can keep up with the pace and scale of the outrage created by this apprentice president of ours.

On the one hand, avoiding mention of our Orange Mussolini makes me feel as if I’m not doing my duty as a citizen.  On the other hand, responding to Trump’s every petulance is like “letting the terrorists win” if I may invoke that oft-cited refrain from post-9/11 days. Americans should not have to serve as Trump’s puppets in any sense, offense or defense.

Trump is truly the elephant in the room — except that Trump-phant weighs 1/8 of a ton and has wispy dyed hair and tramples down just about everything sweet and gentle about this country, for abject reasons known only to Trump-phant and his family and herd.

Nonetheless, I will be doing my best to ignore Trump-phant until the election is over and the winner is declared.  You all know what it’s like out there.  I do too.  Having turned in my ballot, it’s now about holding tight and encouraging other rational folk to do the same.  Self-preservation is a hard calculation.

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* As a fact-check, I did a search and found that I have mentioned Trump in 96 posts here, dating to 2012.  So this one is No. 97, or more than one of seven posts on The 100 Billionth Person.  Sigh.
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My 10th Anniversary Giveaway in appreciation of the readers of this blog has concluded, and the winner is… me.  Without my few handfuls of readers, I would have little incentive to write and my life would certainly be duller.  Not to mention that it keeps me connected to friends in a more personal way than sites like Facebook afford.

But back to the Giveaway.  The grand prize winners, based on the names I fished out of my camera bag, are Mary and Dorothy.  Congratulations!  But note:  I said grand prize.  I have decided that, as there were only five entrants and I have over 60 cards on hand, all those who entered will receive cards.

After Mary and Dorothy make their selections, I will contact the other entrants in turn and let them choose from the remaining cards.  I hope this will be an okay consolation prize.

Thank you all for reading!

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