A little of this, a dash of that and voila

super-bowlThink of what you are about to read as the literary equivalent of hotdish.

Back in the good, old days, when I wrote the occasional newspaper column, things weren’t always so good. In those occasionally bad moments (and I say “occasionally” because how bad could they have been when I was getting paid to write a column, which isn’t exactly digging ditches for living) my notebooks would be filled with snippets of things I had seen or heard. But sometimes none of those things would merit being the subject of an entire column.

So, I’d fill up the assigned column space by writing a little bit about a lot of things, such as:

Super Bowl XLIX — Will I have to turn in my man card if I so much as even admit I’m not likely to watch any of the big game on Sunday? To the best of my knowledge, we haven’t been invited to a Super Bowl party. That’s OK with me. I can never seem to stay awake late enough anymore to watch the entire game anyway.

The weather forecast for this corner of the world on Sunday isn’t great — there is a 70 percent chance of snow and high temperatures are forecast for the mid-20s. But if it’s even remotely nice, I’d rather spend as much time as possible outside Sunday instead of watching football. I’ve watched neither the Seahawks nor the Patriots play a single down of football all season, so why should I start now?

If it’s not nice outside, I’ll likely spend some time Sunday with The Motive, the book by John Lescroart that I’ve been reading. Or maybe we’ll just go to a movie.

The Future of Blogging: In news I first read Thursday via WordPress’s Freshly Pressed, Andrew Sullivan is going to step away from The Dish, his popular and successful blog, which, he says, is a $1 million company with 30,000 subscribers, a million monthly readers, and revenue growth of 17 percent in its second year.

This prompted a media writer — someone, ironically, who writes a blog — to say The Dish has outlived the era of blogs and that its “days were numbered.”

So is blogging really dead? Well, in February 2014, the most recent month for which I quickly found statistics, there were 172 million Tumblr and 75.8 million WordPress blogs and 1.3 million Technorati blogs. That doesn’t count blogs published by Blogger, which doesn’t release its statistics, but is believed to be the world’s most-used blogging platform.

So, is blogging really dead?

If there are more than 250 million blogs, blogging may have jumped the shark, but it seems far from dead. It doesn’t really matter. I’m not going anywhere anyway. The 1,567 visitors who have dropped by this month and recorded 3,407 views have nothing to worry about. As always, thank you for spending a few minutes here. Please keep coming back.

And finally: If you are reading this in the same Iowa town where it was written, please join me today for breakfast. Sometime between 7 and 9 this morning, I will be in the Walnut Room at First National Bank, eating pancakes at the quarterly fundraiser the United Way of Muscatine does for its Kids First Fund.

The fund is designed to help area families pay for school activity fees and eliminate barriers to learning by helping buy clothes, shoes and other school supplies.The beauty of the fund is its simplicity. School personnel — teachers, bus drivers, secretaries — identify the students who need help. Administrators submit a request and the fund issues a check or a voucher for a business. It is usually all done within 48 hours. And it illustrates how something as small as the $5 donation to eat at this morning’s breakfast can be used to have a big impact on a kid’s life.

I hope to see you there.

Hotdish? What? If you’re not from the Midwest, you might be unfamiliar with the idea of eating a casserole. I think today’s blog post qualifies as the equivalent of a word casserole — a little of this and a little of that. And in Minnesota, which was one of the best stops in my newspaper career, hotdish is the word for casserole.

I was first exposed to this kind of column writing in North Dakota during an even earlier stop in my newspaper career. If you’re interested, I blogged about it a couple of years ago.





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