If you’ve talked to me for any length of time you probably know that my favorite show of all time is Seinfeld. Not only do I own all nine seasons in the glorious digital nirvana that is DVD, I’ve probably seen each episode at least three times, and I’ve seen some of my favorites more than twenty. I can (and do) make Seinfeld references when appropriate (heck, who am I kidding, some of them are inappropriate too).
Because I’m hurting for a blogging topic (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and because we can all use a little humor, here’s my top 10 favorite Seinfeld episodes. (After the break, since there are a bunch of YouTube movies.)
Like every winter, I’m anxious for this one to end. Not particularly because it’s been cold here in Columbia, SC, but because the end of winter means the beginning of baseball season. Pitchers and catchers for many teams reported to Spring Training today, and while the Indians aren’t required to report until next week, many of them are in Arizona already preparing for the upcoming season.
Which is why, when I read the title of this article, I smiled a bit and started to read.
Over the last couple years my blog has gone through a number of changes: the original migration from my McJournal account, to my migration to a custom domain, to a new look, to the most recent, a migration to WordPress.
One of the less visible changes, however, was the installation of Google Analytics about two years ago, on February 25, 2008, to be exact. Since then, I’ve been able to gauge where my visitors are reading from, what they like and where they came from on the Web. A couple of interesting things jumped out at me as I analyzed the data, and while I try not to do too many self-serving posts, I couldn’t resist this one. Hopefully you’ll see why later.
First, here’s the visitor graph for that entire two years:
Most of the peaks (as you may imagine) came on days when I posted (or the day after, depending on how late the post was). The highest peak came when one of my posts was Reddited on the gaming subreddit.
This graph shows a breakdown of the operating systems visitors are using to view the site. In general I think the viewing audience of this site is skewed away from Windows more than the norm, but Windows still holds the vast majority with Mac OS X and Linux not far behind. I found it interesting that 2.3% of my visitors were using the iPhone OS via either an iPod Touch or an iPhone, showing that the mobile platforms are certainly gaining traction. I’m not sure what a “Danger Hiptop” is, but wherever you are, thanks for visiting! (Once, apparently. Was it something I said?)
Now it really starts to get interesting. Apparently Firefox is my readers’ most popular choice. This surprises me because Firefox has never been my favorite browser, and I really only used it as my primary browser for a few months at work (where, as you might imagine, I don’t frequent my own blog). However, I also know that a little less than halfway through this reporting period I switched default browsers on all of my Windows machines to Google Chrome from IE 7. I think this sort of weakened those two browser’s numbers a bit (kind of like Ralph Nader and the democrats). Firefox, IE and Chrome make up the top three with Safari (including iPhone Safari) coming in fourth. Lesser known browsers such as Camino and Konqueror round out the bottom.
Obviously most of my visitors come from the United States, but I’ve certainly made a dent in other countries as well, including all six populated continents. I have yet to crack the Great Firewall of China (I wrote a paper (PDF) trashing that firewall back in 2008, I’m not surprised no one from there has found me), but most of Europe and North America have visited, along with parts of South America and Asia. In terms of rankings (not pictured), the U.S. ranks first, followed by Canada, India, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Now this is where things get really interesting for me. As you can see, I’ve had visitors from every U.S. state except North Dakota. I want this blog to have been read in all 50 states, so if you have friends in North Dakota, tell them to read this once and it’s a personal favor to me. Seriously. Just once. In terms of state ranking, Ohio is first, followed by New York (on the right of that picture), South Carolina, Pennsylvania (sorry Amanda, I don’t have a picture of you handy), and Indiana (on the left).
In all seriousness though, it’s been really fun writing, ranting and raving the past few years. No matter where you’re reading from, no matter what browser you choose or what OS you use, thank you. I write most of this stuff for me, but it’s very gratifying that others other than myself seem to like it. Thanks again for reading, and as always, I look forward to my next post.
This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do.
With the economy in the tank, the healthcare bill on life support and his approval numbers free-falling, what Obama did here was clearly distraction politics, getting Americans focused on something where Obama was not at a low point.
But that said, the issue was brought up, and immediately was picked up by the Democratic majority looking for a win (with a major Colin Powell endorsement today), so it’ll be an issue at least for the foreseeable future.
Make no mistake: it’s an important issue. The number of public (that is, “outed”) homosexuals in the United States is estimated as high as 22% and growing, due to homosexuality’s increased (although incomplete) acceptance into the social norm.
For a long time, gay people have wanted to serve their country in the armed forces, an admirable desire to be sure. For decades, gay people had faced persecution, hatred and witch hunts when serving in the military. On July 20, 1993, Bill Clinton reached what he called a compromise, allowing gay people to serve in the military, provided they…you know, didn’t do “gay things”. Clinton said he wasn’t happy with it, but some level of change was necessary and the Joint Chiefs would not budge further than they did. The executive order allowed gay people to serve in the military legally, albeit secretly, and would end the investigations that cost millions of taxpayer dollars.
Why was the compromise necessary? Clinton justified it as “protecting the morale” of the heterosexual troops.
I’ll say that again: “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue” was originally ordered to “protect” the heterosexual bigots who had a problem serving with gays in the military. This is rather like opening a school that’s only open to white people, to protect them from the other races.
As I think about it, it’s amazing to me that such discrimination was (and is) considered tolerable for so long. But whereas racism had it’s “Rosa Parks moment” (with the actual Rosa Parks moment itself), homophobia has never had such a story. Seemingly no one wants to talk about homosexuality – maybe it’s harder to understand than race, maybe it’s just a more delicate subject (you can really only be openly black, for example; there is no “in the closet” for being black).
In any case, President Obama is right: it’s time to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Until it is scientifically proven that a gay person can’t shoot a gun as accurately as a straight person, until it’s proven that a gay person is less patriotic than a straight person, until it’s proven that a straight person can actually get AIDS just by being in the same foxhole as a gay person, there should be no difference in how gay people are treated vs. how straight people are treated in the United States military.
Not only is it time we stop censoring gays in the military, but it’s time we stop protecting bigots in the military. I don’t think the problem is as widespread as some would have you believe, but the fact is that some straight people (in all circles, not just the military) are homophobic and this leads to acts based in fear, discomfort or anger. These acts should be punished in the military just as they are in normal society: nothing but respect should be tolerated in the military.
And conversely, while gay people should be allowed to openly serve in the military, they should do so with professionalism. Being in the military is a job, in fact it’s the most important job there is, and it should be treated with the same professionalism that one would treat a corporate job with an HR department and performance reviews.
So there it is. For those of you who know me, this post may come as a surprise to you since I’m not siding with Republicans (or most conservatives) on this matter. But honestly, the more I thought about this issue the more I came to realize that one’s sexual preference should not take precedence over one’s desire to serve. That doesn’t mean “Don’t ask, don’t tell”; it means diversity should be embraced and celebrated (to use the Office cliché), while discrimination and homophobia (or xenophobia, or whatever) should be discouraged and punished.
Note: A couple times while writing this article I made a typo and typed “Don’t ask, don’t Dell”. I think Apple should use this as their marketing slogan and I’m willing to talk price whenever.
Another note: The title, like many of my blog posts, is a lyric from a song I enjoy, “Holiday”, by Green Day. Take nothing more from it than that.