Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Fourteen Years at Blog

July 12th is the 14th anniversary of The Dignified Rant, which went live on the old Geocities site on July 12, 2002. I transitioned to Blogger in November 2004.

Behold the original site in all its archaic glory, still living on Reocities' undead archives.

Since then I've written an estimated 18,000 or so posts (estimated because a lot of 2003-2004 content is still on the old site, after I grew tired of cutting and pasting them to Blogger). Which would be more if I didn't update old posts instead of just writing new posts.

When I started blogging, I wondered if I could update the site once a week.

Although to be fair, I had in mind a different site more like James Lileks (who I count as my blogfather--not that he has consented to blood tests, or anything) of much longer articles rather than traditional blog posts. As it is, I think my posts tend to longer than normal for the medium. And Twitter has made them seem even longer by comparison, I imagine.

I've tried to give honest analysis and opinions of national security issues as the main focus of this blog. In a way this was a test of my education in foreign affairs and military history. So I have a record to judge my abilities against. I think I've done pretty well. But I'm no psychic. Even when wrong I believe my posts were based on good analysis.

And along the way, I've written some humor (to me if not you) and even posts about my children and plumbing issues and whatnot that were interesting to me. I've blogged so long that my children--Lamb and Mister, as I call them here--got old enough that I limit blogging and avoid pictures of them to avoid dread deathly embarrassment.

But I'm still very proud of both of them, and love them dearly.

I never imagined this would last this long.

But no day passes that I don't feel we are at war against enemies who must be defeated, with no luxury of getting tired of the fight lest our enemies exploit that weariness to kill us in larger numbers at home. I've felt that way since September 11, 2001.

So in a way blogging is a duty. I once served in uniform and blogging feels like a way to keep serving in my own way. And to demonstrate that it isn't just the military at war with the nation at the mall.

And I'm somewhat shocked that blogger burnout hasn't  struck me. So many solo bloggers have either dropped out or formed teams since 9/11, it seems.

I think having a no comments policy helps. I don't have threads to moderate or respond to--either from fans or critics. I think that aspect of blogging can be exhausting. I publish and forget about it, going on with my life and responsibilities. I do have email if something is that important to contact me, after all.

If I had pretensions of having an effect on the often idiotic military and national defense reporting that frustrated me into beginning a blog, I have failed.

Yet still I try. That's all you can do, eh?

Still, over the years I've been linked by Jack Kelly, the Atlantic, the Army site Stand-To!, the Wall Street Journal, Front Page Magazine, and Michael Savage. Mark Steyn cited me by name in an article. I was even on the list of blogs consulted that the New York Times (!) used when they used to link to blog posts related to their articles. And smaller blogs have linked, too, which I've appreciated and noted when I've spotted them. But my stats that show who is reading that are separate from the Blogger stats are wobbly on that for some reason now. I really should add a new stats package.

Good Lord, a Dail Kos writer even linked once--and completely misrepresented the post, naturally.

I've had regular readers from the Obama White House Executive Office (yes, really, for the first two years of the administration), CENTCOM, EUCOM, the Navy, and the Pentagon. I even received an email from a Marine Corps officer in Anbar, Iraq, who thought a post about the Marine role in the Iraq surge was spot on (this post, actually, although I did not note his comment since I didn't know if citing a serving Marine in the theater might get him in trouble). Another officer let me know that he passed around a post of mine in a military class. And a special forces officer responded to a post of mine to get an issue I noted corrected by the Army.

And there are readers all over the globe, it seems, although the US dominates as a source, naturally enough. Oddly enough, France is in second overall.

And many thanks to the Russian and Bulgarian spammers who have contributed to statistics that I strip out when I note traffic volume at the bottom of the blog.

I appreciated the feedback from an Indian defense site that let me know that Indian port facilities could not handle a second-hand Kitty Hawk super carrier when that transaction rumor was out there.

And I've gotten some positive emails from readers over the years, too.

So I've gotten enough encouragement to keep going. I fully intend to.

Thanks to those who read.