Sunday, April 18, 2021

Attention Email Subscribers

 Hello, Email Subscribers

MailChimp is now the operative system for sending you email notices of my blog. Your email addresses have been transferred from Feedburner and the latter deleted. You should not have an interruption in service. I hope. But check anyhow when you get this.

Hello to my other loyal and long suffering readers (all five of you).

If you would like immediate notice of my latest blog posts (of course you would), the new email sign up is about half way down the right hand side. Please someone sign up and tell me if it works.

Moliere’s dictum: Writing is like prostitution: First you do it for love, then for a few select friends, and then for money.

If anyone is wondering about the flurry of activity on my blog, I need to do my income tax and any excuse to put it off is taken

Friday, April 16, 2021

Grocery Prices April 15, 2021

 Tanya went shopping yesterday and dropped about $150 as she had not been for about 10 days. I grabbed the receipts and set out to determine unit prices. Everything is in Ukrainian of course but I was able to figure out about 90% of the items myself and Tanya gave me the rest, some of which I should have known. The FX rate is today's off the internet but is close enough even though the actual bank charges will be different.

I would love it if people would send me equivalent prices from Canada or USA in the comments.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Getting Rid of the Bots on Blogger

 Feedburner sent me an email which I deleted unread. To me a feed burner is an 1800 lb cow that weans a 500 lb calf at 200 days when she needs to wean a 900 lb calf to be worth keeping. Today when I went to my Blogger dashboard, lo and behold (my favourite neckline on Dolly Parton), there was an important message from Feedburner. Who know?

Feedburner is the provider of the "subscribe by email" gadget that some of you have taken advantage of. It looks like this on my blog. (To enable Follow by Email, click the Add a Gadget link from the Design  Page Elements tab, and then select the Follow by Email gadget which should be at the top of the list. Once you add the gadget, readers visiting your blog can then just enter their email address and click Submit.) They are discontinuing the service in July. They tell you how to save your subscribers to a CSV (spreadsheet file) so you can import them into a new email service.

Their directions are less than helpful so I will give them so you and also show you what I found. 

Recently, the Feedburner team released a system  update announcement , that the email subscription service will be discontinued in July 2021. After July 2021, your feed will still continue to work, but the automated emails to your subscribers will no longer be supported. If you’d like to continue sending emails, you can download your subscriber contacts.

To view these stats, log into (, and select the appropriate blog feed from your list.

When you open Feedburner, click on your blog name

Under Analyze, click on Subscribers

Click on Feedburner Email Subscriptions

Click on Manage your Email Subscription List

You will get a list of your subscribers. Click export CSV

Since there is no way I have 950 legitimate subscribers, I found where the bots have been hiding. If you click on Email Addresses as shown above, you get a list of bots in alphabetical order like this.

All the email addresses started with eg ACEDO, most are @Outlook and dated 2017. 

On the CVS spreadsheet, I sorted by active and unverified and deleted the unverified. Then I sorted the email addresses from A to Z and deleted all the obvious bots. There were 100 unverified addresses. By the time I deleted all the bots, there were only 28 addresses left. 

So far I have not found a way to bulk delete on Feedburner, nor how to delete all emails and import just the 28 good ones. I may have to wait until July and have Feedburner do it for me. But I will keep looking. 

The bots explain the five peaks of hits over 10,000, and almost 20,000 in 2017. If any of my blogger readers follow up on their own blogs, let me know the results. I am always curious.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Observations of an Aging Cynical Insomniac

 I am not dyslexic and I know that joke.

My previous post was the result of two hours of lost sleep and took 30 minutes to do. The next night I did not sleep at all and am still working on the results. Several days of research, 13 pages of notes with more to follow and still waiting to hear from a Veterinary Pathologist at the U of S.

Eating a large amount of very salty cheese before bed may give me high blood pressure but doubles the hours of sleep between pee breaks. A tube of Pringles does not have the same effect.

If you stick your foot out of the covers and feel like you kicked a cactus, you may have a cat upset at being kicked.

I sleep like a badly balanced rotisserie... r r r r whump...r r r r whump...

If in your dream, you find yourself searching for a bathroom, you should always wake up and find one.

Surveyors and dogs like to mark corners.

Ideas that seem good at 4:00 am should be written down...or maybe better not.

My printer hates me. It will not load and print glossy photopaper anymore. Until I take it for service. It works fine with my tech's computer and with my computer at the tech's shop. Bring it home and nothing.

Being nine hours ahead of Saskatchewan is not good for sleep patterns

Which ever cat gets there first sleeps on the folded wool blanket

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

It's in the Book

 At night, when I cannot sleep, my mind often goes galloping madly off in all directions. Sometimes it comes back and sometimes I have to look for it. The following is the result of last night's insomnia.

Old time preachers could pull verses from all over the bible, string them together and preach a sermon based on what was revealed to them. Putting verses together that were written years if not centuries apart by different authors for different audiences can have some dangers. The following compilation from Matthew 27:5, Luke 10:37 and John 13:27 is one of my favourites. I remember my father laughing at it when I was young.

"And [Judas] departed, and went and hanged himself." "Go and do thou likewise." "What thou doest, do speedily". Amen.

The following monologue, recorded in 1952 was another take off on old time preachers. We used to laugh until tears rolled. "It's in the Book" became a family saying.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Some History of Easter

 It is Easter Monday so this still counts. It takes energy and concentration I no longer have to do a post in two days or it would have been done yesterday. Tanya remembered that yesterday was "my" Easter so today she ordered in pizza to celebrate. We'll have a real Paskha meal on May 2 which is Orthodox Easter.

In commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus, Easter also celebrates the defeat of death and the hope of salvation. Christian tradition holds that the sins of humanity were paid for by the death of Jesus and that his Resurrection represents the anticipation believers can have in their own resurrection."

Easter is principal festival of the Christian church, which celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his Crucifixion. (From about 6 pm on Friday to before dawn on Sunday, Christ was in the tomb no more than 36 hours). The earliest recorded observance of an Easter celebration comes from the 2nd century, though the commemoration of Jesus’ resurrection probably occurred earlier.

Early Christians called Christ's resurrection "Pesach," the Hebrew word for Passover because it occurred during the Passover period. Today, many languages use a variation of that name: "Pâques" in French, "Pascua" in Spanish, "Pasqua" in Italian, "Pashkë" in Albanian, " Paaske" in Danish, and "Pask" in Swedish (Paskha in Russian and Ukrainian).

Passover, Hebrew Pesaḥ or Pesach, in Judaism commemorates the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt and the 'passing over' of the forces of destruction, or the sparing of the firstborn of the Israelites, when the Lord 'smote the land of Egypt' on the eve of the Exodus. April 4 marked the end of Passover in 2021.

In Asia Minor, Christians observed the day of the Crucifixion on the same day that Jews celebrated the Passover offering—that is, on the 14th day of the first full moon of spring, The Resurrection, then, was observed two days later, regardless of the day of the week. In the West the Resurrection of Jesus was celebrated on the first day of the weekSunday, when Jesus had risen from the dead. The Council of Nicaea in 325 decreed that Easter should be observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. Easter, therefore, can fall on any Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th.

Eastern Orthodox churches use a slightly different calculation based on the Julian rather than the Gregorian calendar (which is 13 days ahead of the former), with the result that the Orthodox Easter celebration usually occurs later than that celebrated by Protestants and Roman Catholics. Moreover, the Orthodox tradition prohibits Easter from being celebrated before or at the same time as Passover.

The English word Easter, which parallels the German word Ostern, is of uncertain origin. One view, expounded by the Venerable Bede An English monk in the 7th century, was that it derived from Eostre, (Eostrae, Astarte, or Oster), the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility (Ostara in German). This view presumes—as does the view associating the origin of Christmas on December 25 with pagan celebrations of the winter solstice—that Christians appropriated pagan names and holidays for their highest festivals.

Another view derives from the Christian designation of Easter week as in albis,Latin phrase that was understood as the plural of alba (“dawn”) and became eostarum in Old High German, the precursor of the modern German and English term. Personally I suspect that the two can be combined. The goddesses, Eostre and Ostara can easily be linked to the equinox, sun, east,dawn, spring, fertility and all that goes with it including eggs and bunnies. Since Eostre is an Anglo Saxon goddess, her name likely came from Germany and Old High German.

Easter eggs are a Christianized version of a tradition dating back thousands of years of collecting, dyeing, and decorating eggs. Many ancient cultures, including the Greeks and Egyptians, saw eggs as a sign of fertility and new life; they used eggs in religious rituals and hung them in pagan temples for mystical purposes. The use of painted and decorated Easter eggs was first recorded in the 13th century. The church prohibited the eating of eggs during Holy Week, but chickens continued to lay eggs during that week, and the notion of specially identifying those as “Holy Week” eggs brought about their decoration. The egg itself became a symbol of the Resurrection. Just as Jesus rose from the tomb, the egg symbolizes new life emerging from the eggshell. Ukraine especially has taken the decorating of Easter Eggs or Pysanka to high level art.

Easter Bunnies were first noted in Germany in about 1722, hiding eggs for children to find. Germans brought the tradition to America and by the 19th century the bunnies had acquired current day mythology, laying, decorating and hiding Easter eggs and delivering Easter baskets. by mid-1800s sugar and pastry bunnies were available and chocolate bunny molds were found in Munich from 1850. By 1924 people could order chocolate rabbits from catalogues.

Easter candy became popular in the 19th century as companies like Cadbury gained the ability to mass produce in fancy shapes and packages. Jelly beans became part of Easter in the 1930s.

Hot Cross Buns trace back to ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece, where they served as symbols of honor toward their goddesses, according to the Oxford Companion to Food. Later, these sweet breads became popular at Easter, especially in England where bakers were forbidden to sell spice breads except on special holidays, like the Friday before Easter. Today, they're mostly representations of the Christian symbol of the cross, as well as a sweet, buttery addition to an elegant Easter meal.

Easter Sunday Sunrise Services are a Protestant tradition. It was at early at dawn on Easter morning that Mary went to Jesus's tomb to find it empty. The tradition of sunrise Easter service dates back to 1732, when the first service was held in Germany by the Moravian Church. A group of young men gathered at the first light of dawn at the town's graveyard to sing hymns of praise — and the next year, the entire congregation joined in. By 1773, the first sunrise service for Easter was held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

There are hundreds of sources of information on Easter history and traditions. These are the ones I used and I lay no claim to accuracy if someone wants to argue, send me better sources.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Spring is Here; also Blog Statistics

 Spring is officially here. Ukraine went to DST last night and I have changed all the clocks for another season. Temperatures finally climbed above 10C. Thursday the ground was covered (again) with snow and Friday it was dry enough that Tanya started cleaning her garden. Some crocuses are blooming. Yesterday Lucky and I walked the old 5 km route we did last summer. The one km of muddy dirt road was dry enough not to stick to our feet. Today was 15C and I wore a t-shirt and shirt, no jacket. Lucky is now full time back in the dog yard and sleeps on a blanket inside a room in the outbuilding. The sun is shining and the wind is warm if you are in the sun. It has been a long winter.

Here are some questions related to statistics for people who read my blog and also blog. Some of you have hundreds of followers judging from the numbers of comments and so you should. Quality begets readership. But do you find that some of your posts get hundreds of views, some even long after they have been posted? If so, why?

The topics of my posts are all over the map. I have to write a blog post today? What shall I blog about. . . Oooh a squirrel!! The Blogger dashboard provides a number of statistics. If in the first week after posting there are a half dozen comments and 50 to 100 hits, I am all happy. And actually if I eyeball my posts that is pretty much how it is, some hit 200, and a few a bit higher. What I cannot understand is why some posts keep getting hits long after they have been posted.

Blog views over a 12 month period

Blogger provides stats including charts for 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and all time.  An analysis of the top 5 posts by views or hits explains some of it. Some is just random, I expect. I sorted by all time views of 1700 posts going back to 2008. Then clicked on a few of the top ones and Blogger charts when they were viewed. These charts explain a few anomalies but certainly not all.

The number one post with over 14,000 views, mostly in the first few years

This one gets viewed at Christmas time. Makes sense.

Got all its views at one time, two years after posting. Why?

More views in the last 5 years than the first 5.

One of my earliest posts but only popular in the last couple of years

A surge in views in 2015 and 2016, posted years earlier 

I can find out what countries are viewing my posts but not where in those countries. For example, I used to be able to check if I wrote a post about Russia, the numbers of hits from Moscow would rise. Sometimes I would be less than complimentary about Putin just to annoy their monitors. 

My next challenge is to track views to cities. Any suggestions are very welcome