This is the 51st edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, and the first of autumn 2021 (autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, at least). As always, this newsletter comes to you from the waterproof keyboard of Nicholas A. Ferrell, editor and administrator of The New Leaf Journal. I had a bit of a busy week, so my four-article output was a bit less than the norm. However, I will have six article recommendations from around the web to make up for a slower-than-normal week at our humble online journal - in addition to the other news and notes that you can always expect from The Newsletter Leaf Journal.
Below, you will find summaries (with links) to our four new articles from the past week.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. September 20, 2021.
While working on two articles about homing pigeons that were published on the 17th and 18th, I came across the story of an experiment wherein thousands of homing pigeons were released from a French steamship on the open sea in 1895. After I found a good almost contemporary source on the story, I decided to dedicate an article to it.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. September 23, 2021.
Did I really encounter “the most annoying people in the world”? Well, one of the two people in question said they were. Who am I to doubt him?
Nicholas A. Ferrell. September 24, 2021.
I have a growing collection of kokeshi dolls. My friend and New Leaf Journal colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, is greatly disturbed by kokeshi dolls. He took a photograph of one of my kokeshi dolls, which he alleges was watching him with disapproval, and then made an “artsy” version of it. The story and photographs are included in this article.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. September 25, 2021.
A short article on an 1899 autumnal poem that is very fitting for our shift in season from summer to autumn. I was able to find a little bit of information about the poet - which I report after reprinting his poem.
Below, you will find six recommended articles for your reading enjoyment from around the web.
By Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke. August 28, 2021.
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke became seriously ill in August with the Wuhan coronavirus. He survived after having been briefly intubated. While convalescing in the hospital, he published this letter of gratitude.
By Dimitrios. April 29, 2021.
I have written about installing two different Android alternatives - UBports and LineageOS - on formerly Android tablets. Earlier this week, I purchased and received a phone running /e/ OS, another Android alternative and a fork of LineageOS. You can expect to read my thoughts at The New Leaf Journal in the near future. In the meantime, you can enjoy a review of an /e/ OS phone fromIt’s FOSS.
By Casey Baseel. September 22, 2021.
The included photos come as advertised by the headline.
By Stu Woo. September 10, 2021.
There is nothing wrong with American high schools taking orders from the Chinese government conveyed through United Nations committees. Nothing to see here. Move along.
But that aside, I am mildly impressed that the Chinese government has time to scour the archives of American high school newspapers.
By Prim Chuwiruch, Malavika Kaur Makol, and Ragini Saxena. September 22, 2021.
Despite there being three authors on the byline, no one stopped to consider that it might not make sense to analyze the cosmetics cultures of Korea, Thailand, Japan, and India under the lens of American racial politics.
By DeAngelo Epps. September 23, 2021.
Kirby has been a staple Nintendo character since 1992. I played my first Kirby game in 1996. All of Kirby’s platforming adventures have been 2D. Now - a 3D Kirby? It looks interesting. I’m curious how it will play.
Now for an article from our archive…
Nicholas A. Ferrell. September 18, 2020.
A short piece on the story of Lysander, a Spartan admiral, complementing the magnificent garden of Cyrus the Younger before learning that the gardener was none other than Cyrus himself.
“You are truly happy, and deserve your high fortune, since you unite it with virtue.”
The article is accompanied by my photo of a southern magnolia flower at Brooklyn Bridge park.
For each Saturday newsletter, I list our most-visited articles starting with the previous Saturday and ending with the Friday the day before I send the newsletter. I call these our “newsletter weeks.” The period beginning with September 18, 2021, and ending with September 24, was our 38th such “newsletter week” of 2021. Below, you will find our five most-visited articles from the 38th newsletter week along with some additional information about each and its 2021 ranking history.
“The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei” (No Change)
Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 14, 2021.
Weeks in top five: 23 (11 in first)
“Persona 4 Golden Digital Artbook Review (Steam)” (Change +5)
Nicholas A. Ferrell. November 15, 2020.
Weeks in top five: 31 (6 in first)
“Reviewing the HALOmask and är Mask” (Change +1)
Victor V. Gurbo. December 2, 2020.
Weeks in top five: 32 (10 in first)
“How to Find Substack RSS Feeds and Other Notes” (Change +1)
Nicholas A. Ferrell. June 19, 2021.
Weeks in top five: 5
“A Follow-Up Post on the Meaning of ‘Blob Dylan’” (Change -2)
Nicholas A. Ferrell. April 12, 2021.
Weeks in top five: 8
When I saw a rush of views on my Persona 4 Golden artbook review, I knew that the game with which it was associated was on sale on Steam. With the Persona 4 Golden Steam sale running through the end of the month, my artbook review may have a chance to earn its 7th top newsletter week rank in 2020. However, it will have to contend with my Tsuki ga Kirei article, which made its 23rd straight top-five appearance and posted its best week for the second consecutive week.
The rest of the top five featured articles that have been frequent attendees in recent months. Blob Dylan won a tiebreak to take the last spot in this week’s ranking over my post on installing Ubuntu Touch on a tablet - which had finished second in the previous week.
I will note a surprising article that came in seventh place this week and was not too far removed from the top five. My February article titled “Iroha Isshiki’s Hair is Brown, as Expected?” was my first of several articles about hair color in anime. Iroha is one of the main characters from the latter-half of the popular novel and anime series, Oregairu. To the best of my recollection, it never came terribly close to posting a top five, and in fact had been overshadowed in terms of visitor attention by a follow up article on the hair color of Kaori Orimoto, a comparatively minor character in Oregairu (I think I noted my confusion about their relative positions in a prior newsletter). Suddenly, Iroha not only teased a newsletter week rank appearance, but is also currently hanging on to 9th place overall in our September ranking - with a chance to make one of the most unexpected monthly top 10 debuts.
Our traditional news, notes, and anecdotes, with all the leaf puns that are fitting and proper for this humble publication.
Longtime followers of the site may notice that the Guestbook has disappeared. A would-be commenter brought to my attention the fact that the Guestbook was not working. I investigated the issue and confirmed that it did not allow people to submit comments. The reason behind it - I think - was that the Guestbook uses JQuery, but I am no longer using JQuery on site. Due to my not wanting to reverse course and the generally little interest that the Guestbook received from visitors, I decided to scrap the Guestbook. I will explain the decision and implications in an article this week. I archived our Guestbook pages before deleting it from the site, so all of our entries will remain available online.
For the time being, I will invite people to comment by email using our Contact form, which has now been upgraded to our main site menu. I plan to write a new guide for uses of the contact form - which will encompass private inquiries, comments, and pitches to The New Leaf Journal.
I mentioned that I acquired a new phone that runs /e/ OS. Specifically, I purchased the Teracube e2 phone directly from the /e/ OS website. The Teracube is a relatively budget phone that touts itself as being environmentally friendly and pro-consumer with its replaceable battery and impressive 4-year warranty. While it is possible to install an Android alternative on an existing phone, much like I did on two tablets, I did not quite find a refurbished phone on Ebay that checked all my boxes (for those who may be wondering, there is sadly no official LineageOS or /e/ build for my previous phone - the Motorola Moto e6 - and I am not knowledgeable enough to play around with custom ROMs). When it became available after being out of stock for a few weeks, I jumped on the opportunity.
I will review my phone and /e/ OS in October after I have some more time to use both and test some things. Furthermore, I will finally review my Pocketbook Color ereader in October - something that I have been teasing since the spring.
My main desktop computer mysteriously shut itself down three times over the past five days. This is a bit concerning. What is going on? I suspect, based on some observations, that it may be a hardware issue - but I am not entirely sure. I switched kernels for the time being. Let us hope that resolves the issue. While it is not fatal (although perhaps ominous), it is a bit disconcerting to work with the specter that your computer may shut itself off on its own volition in the middle of a project.
Thank you for reading the 51st edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. If you are already a subscriber, I look forward to visiting your inbox (or RSS reader) next Saturday. If you just found our newsletter with this issue, I hope you consider signing up via newsletter or RSS for future installments.
Until I greet you for to begin October 2021,
Cura ut valeas.