A curious thing happened when I returned to Charlottesville from a short trip to the beach a few weeks ago. When I posted comments and some photographs from my trip (see "Beach Blogging," July 21), I did not expect many people to be interested in them. But then I found a handful of Usenet newsgroups with names like alt.beach.culture and alt.binaries.pictures.candid.beach. On a whim, I decided to alert readers of those newsgroups about my photos.
To my surprise, this led to a flood of traffic to this blog. ("Flood," of course, being a relative term; it would barely constitute a dripping faucet for Daily Kos or InstaPundit.) And, for the first time, a blog entry of mine that had nothing to do with Dave Moffatt or Aaron Carter was the most popular destination for visitors -- and it remains so.
What will attract blog readers and casual visitors is unpredictable. Besides "Beach Blogging," the remaining posts among my top ten are: "More on The Moffatts" (March 6, 2005); "Karen Hospital Opens Near Nairobi" (April 4, 2006); "Aaron Carter: Pop-Star Pot-Smoker?" (March 11, 2005); "The Odd and the Inscrutable," (May 6, 2006); "Blog Summit Photoblog" (June 21, 2006); "Karen Hospital Revisited" (June 22, 2006); "Dave Moffatt's Huge Surge" (May 30, 2005); "My Lunch with Dick Cheney" (June 19, 2006); and "Gas Prices: How Much Is Too Much?" (July 26, 2006).
Of these, I would consider only the last two named to be serious pieces of blogojournalism. The others are fluff, either celebrity gossip or showcases for photographs. ("Karen Hospital Revisited" is, to be sure, a serious and wordy follow-up to an earlier photoblog, but it's primarily a reprint of a speech from the Congressional Record.)
As I use Site Meter and Google Analytics to find out who is visiting this blog and why, strange patterns emerge, some of which I have addressed in the past.
At one of the break-out sessions during the Sorensen Institute Bloggers' Summit in June, I mentioned, semi-facetiously, that the most popular search terms that bring people to my blog tend to be looking for "shirtless celebrities." Let me amend that: "shirtless and circumcised celebrities."
In the past two or three months, visitors have arrived here looking for shirtless photos of, among others: Joshua Bell, Daniel Bruhl, Aaron Carter, Jesse Eisenberg and Josh Hutcherson (who both starred in an excellent film, The Squid and the Whale), Jesse McCarthy (perhaps meaning Jesse McCartney), Bob Moffatt, Frankie Muniz (in addition to a request for him in "Boxerbriefs"), Rick Nelson, Julian Ovenden (who was also sought "nude" and "naked"), Hunter Parrish, Lou Taylor Pucci, Daniel Radcliffe, Rex Smith, Jeremy Sumpter, as well as the generic "shirtless teen idol." There were no searches for shirtless (or topless) female celebrities.
There seems to be a lot of curiosity out there, however, for whether certain public figures have gone under the knife. Aside from generic searches for "circumcised celebrities," "images of circumcised celebrities," "circumcised teens," and "young celebrities circumcised," there were specific searches for the circumcision status of Joshua Bell, Aaron Carter, Frankie Muniz, Daniel Radcliffe, Peter Sagal (host of NPR's "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me"), Jeremy Sumpter, and someone named "Steve-O."
There are also frequent searches regarding whether Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe -- who will be appearing nude on stage in London's West End next year, in a revival of Equus, which may finally answer those questions about Daniel's genitals -- will be (or is) attending the University of Virginia. This is extremely odd because when I follow the Google searches, there appear to be no Internet rumors to this effect (except for this one, brief mention). Nor are there any legitimate news stories. (In fact, my blog -- for inscrutable reasons -- is usually near the top of the list of Google hits for this search.) If this isn't an Internet rumor, what is its source?
Besides these thematically-linked searches, there are also the simply screwy ones, such as:
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The moffatts and political issues
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Truth about Gender of Dave Moffatt
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More Like This: See Harry Potter, Shirtless.
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