Welcome to the 150th edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, the official newsletter of the prennially virid online writing magazine, The New Leaf Journal. This week's newsletter (nice round number) comes to you as always from the waterproof keyboard of the editor of The New Leaf Journal, Nicholas A. Ferrell. While this week was light on publishing (we have a stronger week ahead), I did make a few changes to The New Leaf Journal that may be of interest to some readers.
I published one full article and three short posts. Sparse, yes. But to be fair, my full article was long.
Coolidge and Harrison in Bennington
N.A. Ferrell. August 20, 2023.
Calvin Coolidge described having seen then-President Benjamin Harrison give an address in Bennington, Vermont, when Coolidge was in college. Coolidge's description of the event was characteristically eloquent. In this article, I search for accounts of the festivities that Coolidge witnessed.
The problem with remaking Twitter (This is a short post in my growing collection of articles against the tendency to clone major social media)
Let's take a look around the web... But since this is the 150th newsletter and the word count of the links in the previous section is a bit lacking, I will give you 15 links from around the web.
Before Salem, There Was the Not-So-Wicked Witch of the Hamptons
Smithsonian Magazine. October 25, 2012.
An American witch trial with an ending by Aeschylus.
Black Widow Spiders Are Being Killed Off by Non-Native Brown Widows
Margaret Osborne for Smithsonian Magazine. March 29, 2023.
Catherine de' Medici Was Good at Chess
Livia Gershon for JSTOR Daily. June 14, 2021.
Colorado Is Not a Rectangle—It Has 697 Sides
Frank Jacobs for Big Think. January 23, 2023.
A bit pedantic.
Doctor kidnapped outside Brooklyn Mirage paid for a $6,000 spending spree that included pizza, shoes and a strip club trip
Joe Marino, Reuven Fenton, and Steve Janoski for the New York Post. August 16, 2023.
The doctor kept a level head and his captors were not on the high end of the intelligence spectrum.
iPhone Calculator and BRAUN ET66 Similarities
Oyayubizoku. July 19, 2007.
I had to dig into the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine for this one.
Meet The Virtual Boy Fan Making New Tech And Games For Nintendo's Console Curio
Nile Bowie for Nintendo Life. August 20, 2023.
He thought he could. Then he did.
Wild rhesus macaque on the loose near Orlando
Brad Matthews for The Washington Times. August 24, 2023.
Nice to see some non-reptile animal stories from Florida.
Braille Is Alive, Well, and Ever-Evolving
Sophia Stewart at The Millions. July 21, 2023.
An interesting article about braille in 2023.
Anime-driven campers in Japan slowly lose their enthusiasm for the outdoors, "real" campers rejoice
Remi Morisawa for Automation. August 7, 2023.
The anime that caused the trend, Land Back Camp, is alright. It made a cameo in my 2021 anime of the year article for having the year's best opening/ending song. However, it did not make me want to buy a tent.
Crafting an easy hands-free umbrella with a few ordinary household items
Master Blaster for SoraNews24. July 22, 2023.
Our own Victor V. Gurbo made a more aesthetic umbrella.
Largest homeless shelter in NYC to close after 70 years
AP (via Vail Daily). February 26, 2007.
Breaking news from 2007.
Kyrgyzstan: Russian rapper’s show cancelled over morality concerns
Ayzirek Imanaliyeva for Eurasianet. June 19, 2023.
Let's check in on American cultural exports in the former Soviet Union.
Zoo Keeper a.k.a. Animal Bejeweled
Wouter Groeneveld at Jeflak's Codex. May 23, 2023.
A very late review of an uninspiring Nintendo DS puzzle game.
Swimmer Stumbles Upon 1,800-Year-Old Marble Columns From Shipwreck Off Israel’s Coast
Christopher Parker for Smithsonian Magazine. May 22, 2023.
No wonder I couldn't find them! (Can't swim.)
Let's dig into our archive...
The New Leaf Journal's Humane SEO Framework Sitemap
N.A. Ferrell. February 17, 2022.
It returns (I never really noted that it was gone for six months, however...)
Performing Site-Specific Searches With DuckDuckGo
N.A. Ferrell. August 8, 2021.
This will work for The New Leaf Journal again (for now...).
Bulding an Airline Res-O-Glas Guitar Copy
Victor V. Gurbo. August 26, 2020.
Published three years ago to the day.
The Fallen Treen in Brooklyn Heights
N.A. Ferrell. September 1, 2020.
This August has not seen similarly high winds.
At Summer's End vs A Dream of Summer
N.A. Ferrell. December 11, 2022.
Will be relevant soon.
Augustus and The Comedy of Life
N.A. Ferrell. September 19, 2020.
August (and Augustus) prepare to exit stage right.
I list our most-read articles from the previous newsletter week (Friday to Saturday) in each edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. These statistics come courtesy of Koko Analytics, our local, privacy friendly page-counting solution (see my review). Below, I present the 5 most-visited articles for 2023 newsletter week 34. (Note: All stats are for 2023 only.)
While we have returned to the Bing index and DuckDuckGo was easily our second best referrer of the week, those views had little effect on our rankings. While they made a difference – especially in off-setting relatively modest weeks with Google and Brave – referrals from both Bing and DuckDuckGo were below what we were seeing in late 2022 and the first half of January 2023. Assuming our Bing return sticks, it may take some time to regain our standing.
This is the first week where all five articles in the weekly top five have had at least one top placement. My tsuki ga kirei post returned to the top spot by the narrowest of margins (literally the narrowest of margins), and in so doing it denied my Pokémon stat history, which had led the ranking for most of the week, its second consecutive top placement. Off the top of my head, this is the third time that the tsuki ga kirei article took a top placement by coming from behind on Friday (the first two times were consecutive weeks over my leaflet on heights in The Dangers of My Heart anime).
I added Twtxt feeds to The New Leaf Journal. Unlike our normal feeds, the Twtxt feeds are only for authors and regular articles (no Leaflets, Leaf Buds, Letters, Collections, or Category/Tag archives at the moment). You can find it by appending /twtxt to our regular feed URLs, for example: https://thenewleafjournal.com/feed/twtxt. If you follow that link, you will note that the plain text output looks different (and more readable) than a normal RSS or ATOM feed. Twtxt is a plain text social media concept. Anyone can publish a feed in twtxt format in a plain text file. Twtxt clients (mostly command line) can consume and interact with Twtxt feeds. I will write a bit more about this in an article in the coming week (check for it if you are reading this newsletter a few days after publication). You can learn about Twtxt in the project's code repository.
As I noted earlier in the newsletter, I switched from using WordPress's default sitemaps to sitemaps generated by our SEO plugin, The SEO Framework. I had switched from The SEO Framework to native sitemaps in February with an eye toward possibly handling all SEO meta tags on my own. That plan never materialized. While Google and Yandex had no issue with the default WordPress sitemaps, I found that Bing was not inclined to crawl them correctly. The default WordPress sitemaps create different maps (accessible at different URLs) for every post type. SEO framework puts all posts in a single file and excludes tags, categories, and authors. For whatever reason, Bing was only consuming our Letters sitemap -- which is rather useless since my syndicated newsletters have canonical tags pointing at the Buttondown archive. Bing does appear to have ingested the SEO Framework sitemap, so we will see if it helps Bing return us fully to its index (Bing had not indexed most of our Leaflets and Leaf Buds).
I upgraded my old netbook (it appears to have originally come with Windows 8) from Bodhi Linux 6 to Bodhi Linux 7. If Bodhi Linux sounds familiar to you as a New Leaf Journal reader, that may be because I wrote about installing it on Victor V. Gurbo's 2007 MacBook. There may be a follow-up article in the future...
Thank you as always for reading The Newsletter Leaf Journal. If you enjoyed the content and have not done so already, you can sign up to receive our Saturday newsletters in your inbox, add the newsletter's RSS feed to your favorite feed reader, or keep an eye out for the syndicated version on The New Leaf Journal. All of the options can be found here.
I have a few pieces I am working to publish as August comes to a close. I cross my fingers that we can bring what has been a slow month by our lofty standards to an exciting conclusion as we look ahead to September, which has sometimes been an eventful month for us.
Until September 1,
Cura ut valeas.