Welcome to the 35th edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, the official letter of the internet’s perennially virid writing magazine, The New Leaf Journal. As always, this newsletter comes to you from the keyboard of Nicholas A. Ferrell, editor of The New Leaf Journal. In this newsletter, I recap our content from the past week, recommend interesting articles from around the web and our archive, and conclude with various news, notes, and anecdotes.
I published five new articles since the last newsletter. I had hoped to publish six, but sinuses are fickle things.
By Nicholas A. Ferrell. May 30, 2021.
Phil Mickelson, one of the most accomplished golfers to pick up a club, made history when he became the oldest golfer to win one of the four majors at just shy of 51-years old. The previous record, set by a 48-year old Julius Boros, had stood for 53 years.
I have not watched much golf in several years, and sadly missed Mr. Mickelson’s triumph because I have yet to set up my TV antenna. But I do recall several close calls involving golfers older than 48 nearly winning majors. I was curious to see how many times a golfer older than Boros in 1968 had contended for a major between his dramatic victory and Mr. Mickelson’s triumph at Kiwah Island. I set my criteria and did the research.
Do note that when I went in, I had thought that my favorite golfer, Fred Couples, would make the cut (pun intended) for his age-50 performance at the 2010 Masters (won by Mr. Mickelson). In order to make the list, the golfer had to either finish in the top 5 or place from 6-10 but within five shots of the winner. Mr. Couples finished sixth, seven shots back of Mr. Mickelson. Brutal stuff. He earned an honorable mention in the article.
By Nicholas A. Ferrell. May 31, 2021.
Exactly as advertised.
By Nicholas A. Ferrell. June 1, 2021.
I came across a 1919 book of British marine paintings. I decided to do a short article on one of the paintings. For this piece, I settled on Norman Wilkinson’s arresting “The Wave.”
While researching the piece, I discovered that Wilkinson was the man behind “dazzle camouflage,” which was used by British merchant and naval vessels in the first World War and by the U.S. Navy. The art history piece turned into a military history piece.
By Nicholas A. Ferrell. June 3, 2021.
I do not like clickbait headlines. Here at The New Leaf Journal, you can trust that the headline will tell you what the article is going to be about. This headline is no exception.
The article does include bonus thoughts on the fallen dead end sign and an Open Street Maps embed showing the location of the tragic scene.
I do have an update for newsletter subscribers. I walked past the spot two days ago and the dead end sign was gone. All that remaind was the sign stump, just waiting for someone to trip over it.
By Nicholas A. Ferrell. June 5, 2021.
I have written many articles based on old magazine content. This may be my favorite. A certain Reverend in Windsor, England, created an 80-foot model rail system in his backyard garden. Harper’s Round Table included six terrific photographs in its June 4, 1895 issue. The bridges were made to scale, the train produced steam, it had a fog signal, and Reverend Warneford created a snow-plough engine.
Due to work and headaches, my content from the past week - with the exception of my golf survey - was on the shorter side. If you have some spare time while avoiding the weekend heat (or cold, if any of you happen to be reading in Australia), I recommend six articles from around the web below.
By Joseph Cox. June 4, 2021.
I will have more to say on Bing’s decision to unilaterally and comprehensively censor images of the Tienanmen Square demonstration in the near future. For the purpose of this newsletter, I will note that I tested it myself and found that the Vice story somewhat understates what happened. Many search terms beyond “tank man” were censored. The incident obviously raises troubling questions about Microsoft’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, but it also raises questions for privacy-friendly search engines that are heavily dependent on Bing for their search results (e.g., DuckDuckGo, Qwant, Swisscows, MetaGer). I noted in my review of the Wutsearch search engine that many alternative search engines rely on Bing.
By Mark Lungariello. May 30, 2021.
The New Leaf Journal is the literary home of self-described “neurotic Bob Dylan devotee” Victor V. Gurbo. I thought of him when I came across this article about one of Mr. Dylan’s albums being returned to a library 48 years overdue. Mr. Mickelson just became the oldest golfer to win a major, but he was still too young to swing a golf club when Mr. Howard Simon checked out Mr. Dylan’s “Self Portrait” in 1973.
By Katy Kelly. June 2, 2021.
School Days, which I covered in great detail on site last month, made the list at fifth place.
School Days is an objectively terrible show, so I question the taste of the voters here. It is better than Attack on Titan though - I could not make it to episode 12 of that tire fire. The top show on the list, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, was one of my additional recommended anime of the 2011-2020 decade, and it featured in another article about anime hair. Madoka is very good, and I do not begrudge the choice.
But the correct answer to the question of the best depressing anime series is Now and Then, Here and There. Future article prompt?
By CWBChicago. May 29, 2021.
In the midst of violent robberies by groups of teenagers in two Chicago parks, the Chicago Police Department put out an advisory: “If you’re thinking of using your phone in a public place, take a look around.” While that may be sound advice under the circumstances, it is not at all reassuring. (Especially if you need to call 911 to report a crime.)
By Samantha Lewis. June 3, 2021.
I have not seen any disguised cell phone towers here in New York City. The article contains some terrific pictures from the photo book by Annette LeMay Burke. My personal favorite is the cacti cell phone towers. The pine tree is probably the best camouflage job.
By Thomas Brewster. June 1, 2021.
The UC Browser, which is available for both Android and iOS devices, is apparently less than privacy friendly. I will submit that this is less than surprising in light of the fact that it is operated by a subsidiary of Chinese tech conglomerate Alibaba. This is no issue for me - I use Bromite on my phone and tablet and SmartCookieWeb on my old Kindle Fire HDX. Worth reading nevertheless.
In this section, I recommend one article from our archive for your reading (and in this case, listening).
By Victor V. Gurbo. June 4, 2020.
Victor’s first few Quarantine Sessions posts featured him covering classic folk ballads. One year ago, he posted his first Quarantine Session on one of his original songs, After the Death of Boo Radley.
The article begins with an embedded recording of his performing the song with fellow Brooklyn musician, Mark Caserta. After the recording, Victor explained how he wrote the song and improved it with feedback from a friend.
The gentleman who Victor described made a recent unnamed appearance in The New Leaf Journal, wherein I described, and engaged with, his positive view of the School Days anime. A man of many arts.
I will indicate the change from last week’s rankings in parentheses.
The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei (Change 0)
By Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 14, 2021.
The Last Stand of Constantine XI (Change 0)
By Nicholas A. Ferrell. May 30, 2020.
An 1895 Poem on Memorial Day and Piece by Theodore Roosevelt (Change: NEW)
By Nicholas A. Ferrell. May 29, 2021.
An Early Review of Pixelfed - Instagram Alternative (Change 0)
By Nicholas A. Ferrell. November 13, 2020.
Reviewing the HALOmask and är Mask (Change -2)
By Victor V. Gurbo. December 2, 2020.
The top two spots last week were unchanged from the previous week, and my survey of the meaning of Tsuki ga Kirei led the rankings for the fourth consecutive week. My special Memorial Day article made what will likely be a cameo appearance on this list at third place. The ranking was rounded out by by November 2020 Pixelfed review and Victor’s December protective mask review, both of which have been among our strongest performing articles throughout 2021.
Below, I will list some news, notes, and anecdotes to bring this issue of The Newsletter Leaf Journal to a close. I need to think of a leaf pun to use for this section…
Starting today, I will start to fully implement a new category and topic structure for The New Leaf Journal. I think that it will make it much easier for readers to sort through our growing library of content. I will post updates to the site and here in the newsletter once the categories and topics are fully implemented.
I successfully recorded an online Pokémon battle that I had against Victor last week to test my recording set-up. Although this was not the long-promised (and overdue) Pokémon draft battle, I will do a post on my victory in the near future.
I posted my recent Memorial Day article a few days before Memorial Day. I had previously been posting holiday articles and other commemorations on the day of the event. While they would sometimes generate a decent numbers of views, I began wondering whether I was leaving views on the table by posting the content on the day of. The results from posting the Memorial Day piece two days early were encouraging. I look forward to replicating the idea in the week leading to to Independence Day.
Most importantly, however, I am glad that people were able to find my Memorial Day piece and thoughts on the solemn occasion. As the 1895 poem that I included in the article went:
“”Children, quick with your gathered flowers, / Scatter them far and near; / They who were fathers and brothers once / Are peacefully resting here.”
Victor and I had our test Pokémon battle last Saturday. We battled over the internet rather than in person. I recorded the festivities by plugging my Nintendo Switch’s HDMI cable into a USB dongle which went into one of the USB 3.1 slots on my computer. This dongle was only $20, but it records very nicely. I doubt that it would be sufficient for high-end streaming, but it works more than well enough for recording.
I have not had much time to play video games lately, and I had not touched Pokémon Shield since I first tested my recording system. Victor suggested the battle when I did not have much time to prepare (he did not prepare at all, to be fair). Fortunately, I had a team that I must have built for a previous battle that was relatively battle-ready, so I made a few small tweaks and prepared to battle.
Things started a bit rough for me - and I do not mean in terms of recording. First, I forgot to enable internet connectivity in the game. You may be surprised to learn that this makes it difficult to battle someone online. Go figure.
Once we were connected, I had another technical incident. When my Nintendo Switch is plugged in to my computer, my computer monitor is my screen. I actually have my computer hooked up to my TV too, but I seldom use my TV as a monitor. When the Switch is plugged into my computer, there is a very minor lag between my controller inputs and my seeing them recorded. It would probably be an issue if I were playing something that required reflexes, but Pokémon battles are entirely menu-based. However, at the team selection screen, I accidentally clicked start battle after selecting only one of my six Pokémon. I meant to choose a second Pokémon, but I overshot the Pokémon by not giving my input the extra second to register.
Suffice it to say, I forfeited the battle in which I would have been battling one-on-six. Victor counted that as a win, but as you will see in the forthcoming article, I would go on to redeem myself.
I now conclude the 35th Newsletter Leaf Journal. Thank you, as always, for reading. If you subscribe via email or RSS, I look forward to talking with you on Saturday, June 11. If you are not a subscriber, I hope that this issue of the newsletter convinced you to join our email list or add our RSS feed to your favorite feed reader.
Until we meet again.
Cura ut valeas.