Welcome to the 48th edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, the official newsletter of the growing and perennially virid online writing magazine, The New Leaf Journal. As always, this newsletter comes to you from the waterproof keyboard of the editor of The New Leaf Journal, Nicholas A. Ferrell.
Last week, I made a bit of a mistake in the subject line of our newsletter (something I am no stranger to). For some reason, I kept confusing whether it was the 47th or 48th newsletter. In the body of the newsletter, I consistently (and correctly) indicated the 47th. But in the subject for the email, I wrote 48. Terrible stuff. I revised it in our archive. But for the record, that was the 47th mailing and this is the 48th.
But I digress. Let us move on to our regularly scheduled Newsletter content.
(There are no images in this newsletter because the method I was using to insert captions seems to not work correctly anymore. I did not like the way inserted images looked. I will look into the issue and resume using images in the newsletter when I am comfortable with how they appear in the final product.)
I published five new articles since our last newsletter. You will find summaries of those articles with notes and outgoing links below.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. August 29, 2021.
I found a charming children's poem by a "Mrs. T.W. Dewing" in an 1882 issue of Harper's Round Table. Through some light investigating, I determined that "Mrs. T.W. Dewing" was Maria Oakey Dewing, a prominent painter and art writer in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. That led to further investigation. While there is plenty of material about her paintings, I found no evidence that Maria Oakey Dewing published any poetry other than the one I discovered.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. August 31, 2021.
I concluded August with the usual month in review post. My first month in review article was written for August 2020. We finally came full circle.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. September 1, 2021.
I read recently that only 21 U.S. governors have left office "under pressure" in the history of these United States. That made me think how lucky I have been to see so much history as a lifelong resident of New York. I witnessed the 2008 resignation of then-Governor Eliot Spitzer and the 2021 resignation of former Governor Andrew Cuomo. My article reflects on these resignations, with a particular focus on Mr. Spitzer.
When you read my article, be sure to read the captions for the images. I tried to find good pictures of Mr. Spitzer and Mr. Cuomo that bore Creative Commons licenses. I turned out that it was hard to find pictures of them that did not feature other ethically challenged New York politicians. Careful caption readers will enjoy the strange saga of the rise and fall of former State Senator Malcolm Smith.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. September 2, 2021.
As far as my articles centered on street sign photos go, I count this as one of my better ones. It includes several callbacks to previous articles, and a (very) background cameo appearance of a certain miniature stop sign that featured in an an article that I published on June 24, 2021.
See article for further discussion.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. September 4, 2021.
Today marks the 1,555th anniversary of the abdication of Romulus Augustulus and the de facto end of the Roman Empire in the West. I wrote a long article on the subject for September 4, 2020. For this year's article, I collected texts on the subject of the last Western Roman Emperor, the young Romulus Augustulus, from Project Gutenberg - making ample use of DuckDuckGo domain-specific searches.
An illustration of Romulus Augustulus used in my article.
I published more content this week than last, but it may not be enough to fill your weekend. Fear not. Below you will find six pieces of recommended reading from around the web.
Frank P. Sempa. September 1, 2021.
I did not publish an article for VJ Day this year (although I will cover it in the next section) - but Mr. Sempa wrote a good piece on the eve of the 76th anniversary of the Japanese surrender.
Conor Friedersdorf. September 2, 2021.
Quoting from the article:
"[T]he country’s six states, developed and is now testing an app as Orwellian as any in the free world to enforce its quarantine rules. Returning travelers quarantining at home will be forced to download an app that combines facial recognition and geolocation. The state will text them at random times, and thereafter they will have 15 minutes to take a picture of their face in the location where they are supposed to be. Should they fail, the local police department will be sent to follow up in person. 'We don’t tell them how often or when, on a random basis they have to reply within 15 minutes,' Premier Steven Marshall explained. 'I think every South Australian should feel pretty proud that we are the national pilot for the home-based quarantine app.'"
Far be it from me to tell the representatives of the citizens of South Australia what to do.
Speaking for myself, I will just recoil in horror and my lucky stars for not living in South China - I mean Australia.
Josh Blackman. August 31, 2021.
Mr. Josh Blackman is becoming a regular here at The New Leaf Journal. In this article, he tells the strange saga of a biography of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger. One of the former Chief Justice's clerks, Mr. Tim Flanigan, received more than $600,000 to work on the project as of 2001. It appears that in the 26 years since he decided to take on the project, very little progress has been made.
Ernesto Van der Sar. August 30, 2021.
As someone who uses a VPN that does not keep logs and does not watch movies produced by the movie companies noted in the article, I would prefer to disconnect the movie companies.
Ira Stoll. August 31, 2021.
From the bizarre proceedings in Federal District Court to the strange facts of the case, there is quite a bit going on in this short article.
Oona McGee. April 26, 2021.
I almost included this short article in a spring newsletter. With school resuming for the young ones, it seemed like a fitting inclusion in this newsletter.
Below, I present a fitting article for this newsletter from our archive.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. September 2, 2020.
Last year marked the 75th anniversary of the Japanese surrender and the end of World War II. I published a short article on the day of to mark the occasion.
In a New Leaf Journal note, September 2, 2020, was the last time I published two articles in one day. I had made a pledge to publish one article every day in September. In furtherance of that pledge, I published an article about a pigeon in a puddle that morning. When I realized that it was the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, I decided that I could not let that event pass without mention at The New Leaf Journal.
That is why September 2020 saw the publication of 31 articles in 30 days.
In each newsletter, I list our most-read articles since the previous newsletter. Thus, these “newsletter weeks” cover the period beginning with Saturday and ending on the following Friday. The period beginning with August 28 and ending with September 3 was the 35th such “newsletter week” of 2021.
Below, you will find the top-five most-read articles of the 34th newsletter week along with publication and ranking information about each article.
“Reviewing the HALOmask and är Mask” (No Change)
Victor V. Gurbo. December 2, 2020.
Weeks in top five: 29 (10 in first place)
“The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei” (No Change)
Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 14, 2021.
Weeks in top five: 20 (8 in first place)
“How to Find Substack RSS Feeds and Other Notes” (Change +1)
Nicholas A. Ferrell. June 19, 2021.
Weeks in top five: 2
“Persona 4 Golden Digital Artbook Review (Steam)” (Change -1)
Nicholas A. Ferrell. November 15, 2020.
Weeks in top five: 29 (6 in first place)
“Installing Ubuntu Touch on an Asus Nexus 7 (2013)” (No Change)
Nicholas A. Ferrell. July 5, 2021.
Weeks in top five: 5
The entire top five from Newsletter Week 34 returned for week 35. Had my post on RSS feeds for Substack newsletters not done as well as it did, the top five articles would have returned in the same order.
Below, you will find some news, notes, and anecdotes published with leaf puns.
My New Leaf Journal colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, is currently working on a reader submission prompt. I plan to publish an introduction to the concept preceding Victor's prompt. You should expect to see both this week (or already published, if you are reading this newsletter well after its publication date of September 4, 2021). I will discuss this project in more detail in the next newsletter.
I am working on some side projects that you can expect to read more about in The New Leaf Journal in the near future.
Firstly, I decided to try self-hosting my own RSS reader instead of relying solely on device-specific services. For this project, I purchased a (very cheap) shared hosting plan and a domain. I installed FreshRSS on that hosting plan. I am still working out some kinks, but it generally works like it is supposed to thus far. In addition to my RSS reader, I also installed my preferred bookmarking service, Wallabag. I plan to transition from using Wallabag's paid hosted solution to using my self-hosted instance.
Secondly, I purchased Hubzilla hosting from Zot Host. What is Hubzilla? It is, like the Pixelfed (reviewed here), decentralized social networking software. Hubzilla is unique - it allows for Twitter style posts, blogging, photo publication, and more. I plan to use my account on my instance as something of a sort of personal website. My account is not ready for prime time yet, but you can visit here (assuming you are reading this newsletter well after September 4, 2021, my account may be ready for prime time).
I live in an apartment in New York City. What do you not expect to see in an apartment in New York City? There are many things - but one of those things is a grasshopper. Well, I think it was a grasshopper. I am sure you will learn the harrowing story of my heroic grasshopper rescue at The New Leaf Journal in the near future.
I hope you enjoyed the 48th edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. While it was not our busiest week, I published content touching on a range of areas from nineteenth century artists and children's poetry to the resignation of Eliot Spitzer. Victor and I have some exciting projects in store, so I hope you check into The New Leaf Journal this week and look forward to our next newsletter.