You are reading the 32nd edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, the official newsletter of The New Leaf Journal, a growing online magazine where the leaves are perennially virid. This newsletter comes to you courtesy of Nicholas A. Ferrell, editor and writer for The New Leaf Journal. If you are already a subscriber, I cordially thank you for subscribing. If you are not yet a subscriber, I hope you enjoy this newsletter and consider signing up for future issues by joining are mailing list or adding our RSS feed to your favorite feed reader.
This edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal will cover the following topics:
While I published five articles since last Saturday, most of them were shorter fare than what regular readers of The New Leaf Journal may be accustomed to. I was a bit busy this week, both with work and with seeing my distinguished New Leaf Journal colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, for the first time since the launch of The New Leaf Journal. I will lead off the week in review with my feature article from last Sunday, and then work through the shorter posts.
By N.A. Ferrell. May 9, 2021.
I figured that I ought to write a Mother’s Day themed article for Mother’s Day. Because Sunday is dedicated to Around the Web posts - what better to do than collect resources on the origin of the occasion in the United States. Most of my Mother’s Day article focuses on the efforts of Anna Jarvis to establish Mother’s Day as an occasion recognized throughout the United States. Her efforts began in 1907 or 1908, and culminated with then-President Woodrow Wilson, pursuant to a joint declaration of Congress, giving Mother’s Day federal recognition. In the long post, you will find a large number of newspaper articles written at the time these events were occurring. My most interesting find was a 1910 article from Australia describing the very first Mother’s Day observance down under.
By N.A. Ferrell. May 10, 2021.
I came across an article about the NYPD rescuing a duck family that had become lost in Midtown Manhattan. How could I not turn the story into an article? Because this was my fifth post featuring a lost bird, I also created a series on the subject of wayward avians.
By N.A. Ferrell. May 12, 2021.
Main Street Park in DUMBO features a small area called “Pebble Beach.” As the name suggests, DUMBO’s Pebble Beach features a large number of rocks and pebbles leading to the East River. My post includes a photo of Pebble Beach and a story of skipping rocks there in 2019.
By N.A. Ferrell. May 13, 2021.
On Thursday, I decided to write an article based on an old magazine prompt. On May 13, 1897, a children’s newspaper published an article about a peculiar new invention that promised to revolutionize newspaper deliveries: a newspaper rack to put on front of a bicycle. Illustration included!
Let no one say that The New Leaf Journal is not on the cutting edge.
By N.A. Ferrell. May 15, 2021.
Last May, I took what turned out to be a decent photograph of a pretty stretch on Hudson Avenue in the quaint Vinegar Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. This stretch of Hudson Avenue is one of my favorite areas in all of Brooklyn, and I think you will see why when you view the article.
While I hope that you read all of our New Leaf Journal content, I concede that several of my posts should not take too long to work through. What if you need more content to read this weekend (or whenever you happen upon this newsletter)? Fear not. I have you covered with six posts from around the web.
By Daily Mail Reporter. May 14, 2021.
Mr. Spencer Silver, a corporate scientist who worked at 3M and invented the adhesive that would go on to be used on Post-It notes, died at the age of 80 on May 14. I knew nothing about Mr. Silver before reading this obituary, but it seems like he lived an interesting life. Regarding the adhesive, we learn that he invented the adhesive before having a use for it.
By Associated Press. June 24, 2014.
A double obituary start may seem a bit morbid, but this one features another story worth telling. The AP wrote this obituary in 2014 on the occasion of the death of Mr. Marvin Teel. Mr. Teel served in World War II. In his retirement, he worked five days a week as a newspaper deliveryman. I included the story in my article on newspaper racks for paperboys because Mr. Teel rode an antique Schwinn bicycle with a newspaper rack that looked very much like the one in the 1897 illustration in my article. As the obituary notes, Mr. Teel fought through not feeling well on his final day to complete his delivery route. A life lived well for sure.
By Associated Press. May 11, 2021.
By most accounts, Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is effective at preventing people from becoming sick from the Wuhan coronavirus. The article notes that Sputnik V is most similar to the AstraZeneca vaccine, but with one key difference: “unlike AstraZeneca’s two-dose vaccine, the Russian approach uses a slightly different adenovirus for the second booster shot.” As a result, Russia is having difficulty fulfilling orders for second Sputnik V doses - which is creating an issue in Mexico for people who have already had their first dose.
By Conor Skelding. May 8, 2021.
Quoting from the article on the subject of decomposing food and other garbage:
“The eco-friendly shoppers of ultra-crunchy Park Slope Food Coop can buy a small paper bag of the nutrient- and organism-rich stuff for $6.25 per pound.”
To be sure, capitalism likely polls poorly among members of the Park Slope Food Coop. That does not mean, however, that there is not an opportunity for clever capitalists to make money there. It is unclear from the post whether this spectacularly over-priced (actual) garbage is selling well, but you have to applaud the audacity of the effort.
By Mainichi. May 8, 2021.
Because we were on the subject of eco-friendliness, I submit an article on seawater biodegradable shopping bags in Japan. It is an interesting idea, and I do tend to prefer plastic bags to paper bags. The 10-cent-per-bag price is probably prohibitive, however. Paper bags only cost a nickel here.
By Felix Salmon. January 21, 2021.
Lurking in many news stories is accidental comedy. This post is, in the main, about polls that indicate that more Americans than ever do not trust mainstream media outlets. The article does not stop at noting the issue, however, but hunts for a solution. The “bottom line” take-away at the article was one of the more humorous things I have read in 2021:
“CEOs have long put themselves forward as the people able to upgrade America’s physical infrastructure. Now it’s time for them to use the trust they’ve built up to help rebuild our civic infrastructure.”
Indeed. Nothing will restore trust in the media for those on the left and right who have lost trust in the media than the assurances of fabulously wealthy CEOs who want to sell them stuff and who often have pronounced political views. By the same token, nothing will build and maintain trust in CEOs more than having those CEOs vouch for media outlets that many American people do not trust. Idea: What if one of the two richest men in the world bought one of the three most-circulated newspapers in the United States?
Let no one say that the editors at Washington DC-based outlets do not have their finger on the pulse of America.
Today’s article about Vinegar Hill is my second post about the charming neighborhood. Below, I revisit my first.
By N.A. Ferrell. May 22, 2020.
Last year I took a walk through one of the more industrial stretches of Vinegar Hill, near the neighborhood’s border with DUMBO. I happened across a downed stop sign en route to Hudson Avenue. That I stopped proved an important point to me. Even in its fallen state, the Stop Sign retained a sort of moral authority. I took a picture with my BlackBerry Classic and handed it to Victor V. Gurbo for re-touching prior to publication.
The stop sign had a number of stickers on the back. One was rather crude. There were several others that I did not understand. Just to be on the safe side, I had Victor removed all of the stickers except a cactus sticker. In hindsight, one of the stickers was for a clothing brand - ‘Supreme.’ That I had Victor remove it was no great loss.
This article was the first of several that I wrote about fallen things. Because there will surely be more articles about things that once stood, but stand no more, I created a fallen things series.
Prior to linking to the post here, I changed the header levels but otherwise left the text unchanged from its original form.
I will wrap up this newsletter with some idle thoughts on a variety of subjects.
I did not have a ready-made idea for tomorrow’s Around the Web post - nor did I have time to engage in a long research project like I have done for some other entries in the series. My article on the NYPD duck rescue gave me an idea, however. For those of you who are reading the newsletter today (May 15, 2021), look forward to the post tomorrow. For others who are only reading this newsletter later, the article that I am referencing will be published on May 16, 2021.
This is becoming a Vinegar Hill-themed newsletter.
The other day, I was walking along a stretch of Vinegar Hill that runs alongside several power plants and water stations. Unsurprisingly, there is a substantial wire fence between the sidewalk and these looming facilities. Just inside the fence there is a narrow unkept grassy area. I was surprised when I was walking by to see two large geese with seven or eight fuzzy baby geese on comfortably ensconced in the scrubby grass. The parents were standing watch while the baby geese huddled together for a nap. I took a number of pictures through the fence of this tableau only a foot or so away. Provided that at least a few are amenable to publication, you can expect to see the pictures and my thoughts on the adorable scene in the near future.
The sidebar of our site has a widget for most-read articles over the past 14 days (it is beneath the fold for mobile visitors). I shortened the span from 28 days to 14 days in early 2021, but the only articles to have topped the list since about November 25, 2020 prior to May 15 would have been the same had I kept it at either 28 days or 14 days:
Review posts have consistently been our best performing content. The only article that took the top spot in 2021 other than the review posts was my essay on RSS feeds as an alternative to reading news on Facebook. As I noted before, that was due in large part to a surge of views from the popular Hacker News site. The three review posts have otherwise held the top spot due in large part to performing relatively well on Google and other smaller search engines.
Yesterday, my March 14, 2021 post titled The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei rose to the top spot in our ranking for the most recent 14-day period, with no help from Hacker News or any other unusual event.
My Tsuki ga Kirei post was one of my most-researched articles, and I think it came out well, so I am glad to see it performing strongly by our modest standards. It is generating record numbers (for us) of search impressions, which has allowed it to take the top spot on our view rankings despite having a lower conversion rate than the three review posts.
Thank you as always for reading and following The Newsletter Leaf Journal. If you are not already an email or RSS subscriber, please consider adding our weekly newsletter to your reading diet if you enjoyed the content. I look forward to reporting back to you next week on another week of content at The New Leaf Journal and around the web.