Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Blogday to Kiko's House: Two Years Of Hits, Misses & Close But No Cigars

Kiko's House turns two this week, which in blog years is actually 3,546, the number of posts published here since the very first one on November 22, 2005.
This anniversary has gotten me to thinking about whether Kiko's House has been a "success."

The short answer is that I really don't know. Or care.
In the blog universe, Kiko's House is but a tiny star, although it is ranked somewhere in the 30 thousands out of some 3 million blogs that Technorati tracks.

We'll be welcoming our 100,000th visitor soon, which seems like a lot until you consider that the biggies get that many in an hour. Readers from some 118 countries have stopped by over the last two years, which is cool. And the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN, among other media biggies, have linked to my deathless prose. That's cool, too, although I typically get many more hits when other bloggers link, which I suppose says something about the difference between MSM readers and blog readers.
As gratifying as all of that may be, it's not why I started Kiko's House, which was simply to scratch my writer's itch.

I have done so and then some in those 3,546 posts, too many of them on the Iraq war and The Decider and not enough that can be considered original content. Ahem.
But there has been some stuff that worked out pretty well, and I offer the following 35 posts from the first two years of Kiko's House:

November 22, 2005
RUSSELL THE CROW
Backyard bird feeders are wonderful. They help sustain the smallest and therefore the most vulnerable birds during the cold, ice and snow of winter. They're great entertainment, better than any reality TV show by a country mile. And they offer an up-close and intimately personal opportunity to see how different species of birds interact. LINK.

January 19, 2006
NEW JERSEY: A GARDEN STATE OF MIND
New Jersey joined the fledgling American union early on, unanimously ratifying the Constitution a few days after Delaware and then Pennsylvania. That may well be the last time over the intervening two-plus centuries that there has been unanimity about anything to do with New Jersey. Except for widespread agreement that it is the weirdest of states. LINK.

March 31, 2006
GENERAL MOTORS: 30 YEARS ON & STILL CLUELESS
I trace the beginning of General Motors’ downturn from innovative colossus to the maker of boring rental cars that it is today back to 1976 when a peppy little import called the Honda Accord first arrived in the U.S. LINK.

April 14, 2006
THE MAFIA: THIS THING OF ALL OF OURS
I've never quite understood the fascination with all things Mafia, but two recent events 3,000 miles apart show that this phenomenon, pickled in Hollywood brine, is alive and well in contrast to many of the mob's victims. LINK.

May 30, 2006
HOW THE CLEAVER FAMILY SAVED IRAQ
The Cleavers -- Ward, June, Wally and The Beaver -- arrived in Falluja in September 2006. They decided on Falluja because it is less than an hour's drive to Baghdad, has a storied history as a religious center and is located on the Euphrates, where Ward and the boys could go fishing. Leaving their home in Mayfield was not an easy decision, but there is a lot about Iraq that mirrors the Cleaver family's conservative Republican values. LINK.

June 5, 2006
THE TEN LESSONS OF THE HADITHA MASSACRE
It is now beyond dispute that something horrible happened in the Iraqi city of Haditha early on the morning of November 19, 2005. LINK.

June 29, 2006
AN INTERSTATE STATE OF MIND
While most of my friends were buying houses and raising families in the 1970's, I was seeing the U.S.A. in a Volkswagen bus. LINK.

August 2, 2006
WHAT'S HAPPENING TO OUR GOLDEN RETRIEVERS?
It's not hard to see why golden retrievers are among the most popular breeds in the U.S. They're cuddly cute as puppies and beautiful as adults. They're great around kids, energetic, intelligent, intensely loyal and easy to train. In fact, they often train their owners. But many golden retrievers are also time bombs because an extraordinary large number of them -- perhaps one in four -- succumb to cancer before living to their once typical 12- to 16-year life expectancy. LINK.

August 15, 2006
TERRORISM: DISTANT JETLINER, PRESENT THREAT
It seemed like the whole world was spread out before us from our vantage point atop the sand dune. The gibbous moon was behind our backs, its surreal light casting shadows on beach and ocean. It was still nearly an hour before sunrise, but a sliver of hot pink hugged the horizon to the east. Venus sparkled overhead. Arrayed around it were familiar constellations, dominated by Orion and his brilliant belt. LINK.

August 31, 2006
ASSESSING GEORGE BUSH ON THE ANNIVERSAY OF 9/11,
OR WHY NO STEM CELLS HAVE BEEN KILLED IN IRAQ

As someone who bleeds red, white and blue for the United States, values its institutions and served in its armed forces, as a student of American history, observer of eight presidential administrations and sometime White House visitor over a long career in journalism and then a second life as a blogger, I make the following statement with authority, but not one iota of satisfaction: George Bush is the worst president in U.S. history. LINK.

September 18, 2006
CRIME & PUNISHMENT: A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Earlier this week, Cashae Corley, a five year old riding in her mother's car in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood, became the 287th murder victim of 2006 in Philadelphia. Eighty miles to the north, a homeless man in the Bronx became New York City's 409th murder victim. That's one murder for every 5,200 residents in Philadelphia, a city of 1.5 million people, and one murder for every 19,000 residents in New York, a city of 8.1 million. This means that you're about four times more likely to end up in the morgue in the City of Brotherly Love than the Big Apple. LINK.

October 20, 2006
IRAQ vs. VIETNAM: A WAR-BY-WAR SMACKDOWN
Just when you thought that the people who say there are many similarities between the Iraq and Vietnam wars had run out of wind along comes The Decider to sort of agree that there is a similarity between the ongoing collapse of Iraq and the 1968 Tết Offensive. So, class, it's time for a history lesson to set the record straight. LINK.

November 14, 2006
THE BIG-CITY NEWSPAPER DEATH SPIRAL CONTINUES
I usually begin my rare musings on the newspaper business by saying that I rarely muse on the newspaper business because it's boring "inside baseball" talk and unworthy of wasting much bandwidth. This means of introduction enables me to then proceed to waste bandwidth on boring inside baseball talk on the newspaper business. I just wanted to make that clear before making an announcement: Philadelphia's two fine daily newspapers are dying a slow and agonizing death. LINK.

January 15, 2007
THE NEVER ENDING STRUGGLE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
When I was first cutting my teeth in the newspaper business, my editors sent me out on "house ends," visits to homes where I would interview families of interest because something very bad of interest had happen to them. It was the late 1960s and many of these house ends were the result of the death of a young man, usually an Army or Marine Corps infantryman who had been drafted and sent to Vietnam. Most were African-Americans and most were from families whom one could describe as being from "the wrong side of the tracks." LINK.

January 18, 2007
HOW I FELL OUT OF LOVE WITH CONDI
Once upon a time, I liked Condoleezza Rice a lot. I daresay I might even have had a bit of a crush on her. LINK.

February 24, 2007
THE DANCE OF THE DRAGONFLIES
Dragonflies are among the world’s most ancient creatures and have been performing the mid-summer mating dance that I have observed almost every year of my life for 300 million years. That’s more than 100 million years before dinosaurs appeared. LINK.

March 19, 2007
VIETNAM & IRAQ: A TALE OF TWO MARCHES
In October 1967, I covered an anti-Vietnam War protest March on the Pentagon for my college newspaper. That historic event, considered a turning point in opposition to the war, is perhaps best remembered by photographs of protesters slipping flowers into the muzzles of the rifles of the Army troops who ringed the Pentagon. Forty years later, I retraced my steps at another March on the Pentagon, this time a protest against the Iraq War on its fourth anniversary and a commemoration of the 1967 march. LINK.

March 20, 2007
THE IRAQ WAR AT FOUR: A WORD COLLAGE
Shock and awe . . . Toppled statue . . . Coalition of the willing . . . Judith Miller embeds . . . Mission Accomplished . . . Looting . . . No WMDs . . . Not enough troops . . . Home by Christmas LINK.

April 2, 2007
JUST WATCHIN’ THE RIVER FLOW
The history of the Delaware River since Colonial times looms large in whether the contradictory interests of the residents and everyone and everything else can be balanced. That history – notably a decade-long war over an immense dam project that attained international notoriety -- is a cautionary tale. LINK.

April 12, 2007
GOD BLESS YOU, MR. VONNEGUT
The pang of sadness that I felt when I read this morning that Kurt Vonnegut had left this mortal coil was a bit deeper than the mere fact that like a lot of folks of my generation I went head over heels over everything this counterculture idol wrote. LINK.

April 16, 2007
THE BIG WAR STORY THAT THE MEDIA IS IGNORING

The mainstream media is full of stories these days about the decline and fall of the Bush administration and its catastrophic Iraq war policy, but you’re not likely to read the other big story: How the mainstream media abrogated its responsibilities in the wake of 9/11 and is deeply complicitous in the mess America finds itself in today. LINK.

June 6, 2007
ANOTHER WAR, ANOTHER PTSD EPIDEMIC
Nick was never the same after Vietnam. He would lapse into deep depressions. He let his teeth go, chain smoked cigarettes and pot and drank way too much booze, fought with his wife and would leave home for days at a time after suffering nightmares about the people that he had killed and seen killed. LINK.

June 26, 2007

CHRISTIE WHITMAN: HYPOCRITE & PREVARICATOR

On September 11, 2001, two hijacked jet aircraft crashed into the World Trade Center, killing 2,600 people and destroying the twin towers. But there has been a second catastrophe, as well: Extremely high rates of deadly respiratory disease among rescue workers and others who toiled in clouds of toxic dust at Ground Zero that officials claimed was not dangerous to breathe. Chief among those officials was Christie Todd Whitman, a former New Jersey governor and a rising national Republican star until she was cast out of the GOP temple by the conservative priests. LINK.


July 9, 2007

THE SUMMER OF LOVE RECONSIDERED
It has been 40 years since the Summer of Love and those unlovable right-wingnut Republicans, led by their knuckle-dragging shoot 'em up poster boy, are waging class welfare anew against a favorite target. But is it possible that Ted Nugent has a point? LINK.

July 23, 2007
I GOT DEM COUNTERINSURGENCY BLUES AGAIN, MAMA:
OR HOW IRAQ BECAME VIETNAM
The great war correspondent Bernard Fall understood Vietnam better than the French, whom he predicted would fail in their war against Ho Chi Minh's national liberation movement, as well as the Americans, whom he also predicted would fail although they went about doing so a great deal more creatively. LINK.


July 30, 2007

THE PAT TILMAN SAGA: WHAT MAKES A HERO?
Coming off of the news that Pat Tillman, the pro football player turned Army Ranger, may have been murdered and was not a victim of friendly fire in Afghanistan, there has been discussion anew of what constitutes a hero soldier. LINK.

August 6, 2007

SHINICHI’S TRIKE & THE LESSONS OF WAR
Shinichi Tetsutani loved to ride his beloved tricycle outside his house in Higashi-Hakushima-Cho, a neighborhood in the Japanese port city of Hiroshima. LINK.

August 7, 2007
THE U.S. NURSING CRISIS HAS ARRIVED. STAT!
The next time you’re in a hospital – hopefully as a visitor – watch the nurses as they interact with Uncle Stanley, you and his family, the residents and other physicians, the pharmacy, the therapists, housekeeping and dining services. It quickly becomes obvious that it is nurses who make things work. That makes the crisis in American nursing all the more disturbing. LINK.

August 13, 2007
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ABEER QASSIM HAMZA
Iraq was a rather different place when Abeer Qassim Hamza came into the world 15 years ago this week. LINK.

September 5, 2007

THE TAIL OF THE CHIMERA: A REFLECTION ON
THE 9/11 TERROR ATTACKS
& GEORGE W. BUSH
As we slouch toward to the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, the real story of that awful day and its aftermath is now well known. While the attacks were the darkest day for the world's remaining superpower since Pearl Harbor, astoundingly they were leveraged by President George W. Bush into the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history -- the Iraq war. LINK.

September 10, 2007
JOURNALISM'S FUTURE; WILL SUBJECTIVITY TRUMP OBJECTIVITY?
Once upon a time, I was a newspaper reporter and editor. Over nearly four decades in the business, I saw the world, covered the O.J. Simpson trials and a few wars, did investigative work that got laws passed than nobody paid any attention to, mentored a bunch of rising stars, won some awards, made my mother proud and eventually got so burned out that I quit the business. Barely two months before the 9/11 attacks. Whew! LINK.

September 23, 2007
JOHN COLTRANE: AN APPRECIATION
As a very grown-up 18 year old (or so I thought), I traveled to New York City alone for the first time during my senior year in high school. Some 40 years later, I vaguely recall getting off a Trailways bus at the Port Authority Terminal and walking out into the teaming throngs on 42nd Street. I lunched on a freshly sliced roast beef sandwich at an Irish pub near Madison Square Garden and washed it down with my inaugural English ale. I dropped some pocket change into the open guitar case of the first street musician I'd ever encountered. I took the subway uptown to Columbia University, where I (futilely) hoped to attend college, walked across the campus green to Low Memorial Library and later window shopped along Broadway. LINK.

September 24, 2007
ALAN GREENSPAN'S SHOCKING CONFESSION
& THE MYTH OF THE FREE-MARKET ECONOMY
The conservative business press is exalting over how Alan Greenspan took down Jon Stewart when the former Federal Reserve chairman and economic guru appeared on the Daily Show the other day. LINK.

October 6, 2007

SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS: THE BLACKEST
OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S BLACK MARKS
You don't have to suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome to believe that some seriously nasty things have happened in Washington over the last six-plus years. But when historians take stock of The Age of Bush it is likely that they will find there is no darker stain on that presidency -- and on America at the start of the new millennium -- than the top-down approval of the use of torture. LINK.

October 22, 2007
THE U.S. IN IRAQ: 'STRAP YOURSELF TO THE TREE
WITH ROOTS,
YOU AIN'T GOIN' NOWHERE'
Looking back over the long arc of the war in Iraq – a misadventure that shows no sign of ending any time soon -- the predominant themes are the arrogance and ignorance of a presidential administration that has done virtually everything wrong and gotten very little right. The result is that well into the fifth year of the war there are two enormously significant and diametrically opposite things going on. LINK.

IMAGES: Line Up, by Ligorano/Reese, Madness of Art Editions

9 comments:

jj mollo said...

IMO, you are by far the most prolific blogger in the universe. You talk about more subjects; you know more interesting stuff; you are an excellent writer. Since it's your birthday, I won't mention the other things.

Steve said...

Congratulations Shaun and thanks for all your excellent take on the world around us.

If you'd convert this wonderful overview of you work to a .pdf format (links included) I know fifteen or twenty people that would follow the cookie crumbs back.

Can't wait till your baby turns FIVE and gets sent off to school. :)

Regards,

SteveK

Charles Amico said...

Happy Birthday Shaun and also Happy Birdday. Your Blog is the first one I look at each day. I enjoy not only what you choose to write about, but how you write it. Thanks for posting and keeping the Decider in check too, at least in this Blogosphere. He still has one more year of potential damage he can wrath on us all.

George Sorwell said...

Many Happy Returns!!

cognitorex said...

sic semper kiko felicitations and deep humble bows for your masterful writing Shaun!!!
You should also be lauded for picking up bright stragglers and giving them a voice which I presume is an attribute honed in your editorship days.
Good man, good blog happy turkey day.

JudiPhilly said...

Shaun: Happy Blog-a-versary.

I can't believe you are a few months younger than I am, yet you've managed to write more than twice the posts. That is some effort -- you truly were born to blog!!

Always enjoy your insightful take on the issues of the day.

Gobble, gobble.

Batocchio said...

Congratulations!

Donald Douglas said...

That's a helluva list!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Jeb Koogler said...

Congrats, Shaun. You've got an excellent blog going here.