Tag Archives: Blogology

When a Blog Goes Insane

OK, there’s something strange going on. Today, and the day ain’t done, I have 674 page views on my blog. Of those, 552 are to my post on whether Origen castrated himself. Heck, even the 122 non-distesticulation hits would be a pretty decent day. I have only averaged 100/day for a couple of months since I started it up. The even stranger things is the vast majority of visitors came to the site once, to that page, and from all over the country. I’ve had times where an ISP locked onto the blog with quite a few hits and there was a period a couple of years back where the Russian Federation seemed to take an interest which I have never figured out.

When I first saw the stats for today I wondered if someone had hacked my account with a free car offer or Cirque du Soleil tickets or something. Nope, it’s Origen’s self-surgery or, IMO, lack thereof.

This post has been a favorite since I put it up, supplanting my A World Lit Only by Fire review as the most viewed post. And there have been some rather disturbing search terms which have accompanied it such as, “How do I castrate myself?” or “Self-castration methods.” But whatever’s going on today is something else.

I’m happy for the traffic but it can’t be real – my best previous day was somewhere in the low 300’s. If this has happened to someone before and you have an idea of what caused it, I’d appreciate some insight.

I logged on to work more on, maybe even finish my first session report from Kalamazoo but this has distracted me. Maybe by the end of the week. Or maybe 700 hits/day is a new normal – maybe I should do the ad placement thing after all?

Or not.

Edit: Found it. My blog is on Esquire!. Or a link to it anyway, next to the last paragraph. And I thought it was cool when I started being listed as a source by Wikipedia. Of course the main article has nothing to do with medieval history, unless Bob Schieffer is really old.


Posted by on June 1, 2015 in Blogology



A Post About Guilt

I’ve been making a lot of posts about Early Christianity lately so based on the title you can be forgiven for thinking that this post is about that.

It isn’t. I’m currently sitting at home waiting on some deliveries and feeling bad because I’ve neglected this blog for so long. Interestingly, my traffic has stayed fairly high, though for some strange (and slightly disturbing) reasons – you would be amazed how often people have come across this blog using a search term which includes some variant on how to self-castrate. I mean, I want this blog to be helpful but that isn’t a direction I really thought I’d be taking it with this post.

I have a bucketfull of draft posts where I’ve written the framework but haven’t done the detailed reference/citation checking. I also have a review copy of a book where the publisher’s likely beginning to believe they wasted an effort (you haven’t – I’ve read it, it’s good, and I’ll get there). However based on my recent output, you could be forgiven for believing that this blog is dead, or at least terminally ill.

So here’s my excuse. I touched on it a few months ago and since I’m finally seeing the finish line, I thought I’d provide a couple of details.

In short, for the past 20 years I’ve been living here:

By the start of next week (I’m also currently waiting on the builder to stop by so I can sign the paperwork) I’ll be living here:

This may not look like much but I’m pretty much quadrupling my living space (the old house was about 900 square feet, the new is over 1800 with a full basement) Since I’ve never built a house before this has been a new experience. Now there’s a fair amount of work yet to do and I’ll be moving belongings (other than books I really don’t have many belongings) this weekend but in a little while – say a month or so – I should be able to give this blog a bit more attention. If nothing else, I suspect I’ll be very ready for something to give me a break from house-related issues.

So happy medievaling everyone. I’ll be with you shortly.


Posted by on July 2, 2014 in Blogology, Not Really Medieval


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Why This Blog May be Quiet and Why I’ll Likely Miss Kalamazoo

I have quite a bit to post about but am having real trouble finding the time, at least to make the kind of posts I want to make. I have a fair amount to write on Origen, though this will not approach the time I spent on Tertullian. I’ve had a draft post on Irenaeus sitting around since last August and I think I may be ready to offer a few thoughts on some of the ways in which ancient philosophy impacted the evolution of Christianity.

There’s a reason for this. I was going to wait until the project was finished and then apologize after the fact but I’ve had a couple of e-mails this week asking me if I would be at Kalamazoo. I’ve been debating my attendance and finally have decided this would be foolish. The reason can be summed up by the following image.


Eventually things will be placed on top of what you see here – wood and shingles and bricks and wires and other stuff. The problem, related to Kalamazoo, is that the house is due to be finished in late May. That means that when Kalamazoo is going on is about the time when I’ll be talking to the builder to finalize things like fixtures in the kitchen and baths, the placement of lights and outlets throughout the house; all of the detail sort of things which I might actually have something to contribute to. If they’d be in the middle of framing or placing trusses it would be a different story but for this I need to be on site.

The problem’s not money, though a Kalamazoo book bill in the thousands probably wouldn’t be the wisest move (considering I just splurged on Oxford’s annual spring sale I wouldn’t let this stop me though) but I need to be here.

When it comes to impacting this blog, as an example, I spent most of yesterday walking through various shops looking at furniture, art, and antiques. I’m not normally an antique-er but I’d like the place to have a bit of character. On finishing this post I’m heading to Indianapolis to visit a home show (technically a flower and patio show but there are plenty of interior booths there too) to look at kitchen and bath items. I’ve sort of decided where I’m going in those areas but nothing’s final until it’s final so I’ll take my plans with me and talk to some folks.

So I apologize both for missing Kalamazoo which really disappoints me, as well as for my expectation that this blog will be relatively quiet for a while. The one consolation I have is that if this is finished by the end of May, I might be able to head to Saint Louis University for their conference in June. We’ll see. There is a possibility of a significant delay (no reason to expect it, but there is always a chance something may come up) which might change my Kalamazoo plans but this is where I’m at right now.


Posted by on March 9, 2014 in Not Really Medieval


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This Bugs Me II

I’ve posted before about being a stats geek. Yesterday I received several hits from a site which apparently offers my World Lit Only By Fire Review as a free pdf download. Now I have no problem with someone reposting this review, reblogging it, etc. Heck, this blog is free – I just wish it was a better review. My problem is when I go to a site and in order to get it, you have to click on something titled: Attention, you need to make free Credit Card verification to start download this pdf file.

Beyond the grammar error, I don’t know what sort of cookies this will load on their computer but someone will have the reader’s cc information. If you’re going to give this review(or any of my other material) away – which is fine – give it away. No conditions. I’ve included the text of the link below, without hyperlinking it (had to add a few DOT’s and SLASH’s so WP wouldn’t try to be psychic and make it a hyperlink even though I don’t want it to). And to be fair to the site, today when I click on it the publication title is a karaoke cloud song list. So maybe they’ve already taken it down. But it bugs me anyway.


I’m planning to put up a Tertullian post about every other day. There will be a delay though as I’m at a conference Monday-Wednesday (fortunately nearby so I can commute) I could time my post releases but I like to create the post, see how it looks on the blog, then make tweaks if something doesn’t read right.

I know, I should have everything 100% proofed and ready to fly when I click “publish.” But I never know quite how it will look until it’s up (I type in my own code so I use the text editor). Plus it’s a friggin’ blog. Anyway, I don’t want to have something up without it being fixed for several hours so it’ll be Thursday at the earliest. I still have three sections to finish on the full post so I’m not sure how many I’ll end up with.


Posted by on January 5, 2014 in Blogology


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Taking Stock on Early Christianity Reading Progress

Ever have one of those moments when you look at where you’ve been and where you have yet to go and wonder what in the world you’ve gotten yourself into? Most of us probably have at one time or another. As I’m about to start reading on Origen, I took a look at my to read bookcase (a few years ago this was a single shelf, now it has 236 books on it) to get an idea of what Early Christianity books I have left.

This was a mistake. Over two years ago when I first started reading on Early Christianity I had 37 books on my Late Antiquity/Christianity shelf (books on Christianity to about the year 700). I’ve been reading on this for 25 months. During that time I’ve read 85 books on this or related topics, not to mention however many sources I’ve gone through from the Ante-Nicene Fathers Series along with a few things I’ve found online.

Here I am two years later and I have 90 books on the shelves, though to be fair five are actually about Neoplatonism (still need to be read). I should not have counted. I really thought I was making progress. With Origen I’m approaching the middle of the 3rd century. I thought I’d read up to Nicaea, fill in a few gaps on the 4th century Cappadocians, get to Jerome and Augustine, read a bit on the development of monasticism and then turn to the Carolingians (27 books on them) followed by the Anglo-Saxons (21 books). I thought I’d be done with my intensive Early Christianity reading by early summer. On counting books, I honestly have no idea how long it’ll take. And I have no illusions on my not buying a few more books to add to the pile.

I’m stubborn so I’ll finish this up. I just had no idea that I had this much material to go through. Crazy. I think I need to have an electrode plugged into my brain so whenever I start thinking about buying books I’m shocked back to my senses.

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Posted by on December 25, 2013 in Blogology, Books, Religion


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New Page Added

I’ve added a new page to this blog which lists all of the posts I’ve made since I started this Early Christianity Reading effort. It’s becoming difficult to find earlier posts which I may want to refer back to. Listing them all on one page makes this much simpler.

If what I’ve been reading and posting about on this interests you(I can dream can’t I?), you may also find it helpful.

I had to chuckle when I saw in my introduction post that I thought I’d be reading about this “for the next few months.” That seems rather naive at the moment; I don’t think there’s any interpretation of “a few” where it can mean 21.

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Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Blogology


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Cool Stuff on Other Blogs VIII

I’ve been pretty busy preparing for a significant work activity and haven’t had time to really buckle down on Irenaeus. Also, I am not entirely happy with my first post. To me it’s a bit disjointed and – this is coming from the person who wrote it – once I posted it and re-read it I was left with something of a “so what?” feeling. It’s not a complete waste of electrons as it has some decent information but it reads as if I didn’t have a clear point or objective I was trying to communicate. I don’t write blog posts like I do my professional work. Once I feel comfortable with a topic I just start typing it up in WordPress. But for my subsequent Irenaeus posts, I think I’ll at least write out a first draft in a word processor program and edit that. There’s just too much there. I debated pulling that post and doing a complete re-write and didn’t, partly because Irenaeus the heresiologist is just a prologue to why I think understanding him relative to the early church matters. But it showed me I need to do something different next time.

Up to about a month ago the blogosphere had been relatively quiet. But over the past few weeks things have really taken off. I don’t know why unless as the fall semester approaches people have recharged themselves mentally and are starting to think about their respective areas of expertise. Whatever the reason, being as I’m not going to offer anything remotely original for a little while, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at what other folks have been posting about. I’ve organized these “Cool Stuff” posts in different ways since I’ve been doing this, including chronologically by posts. This time, I’m going alphabetically by blog title.

This is the eighth of these round-up-type posts that I’ve done and I have a feeling Jonathan Jarrett is batting 100% for appearances with his blog, A Corner of Tenth Century Europe. And as his is at the top of my blog list alphabetically, I’m going to lead off with a recent post where he highlights a relative lack of sources from southwest Europe around the year 1000 and an example of how charter evidence can sometimes add information to the narrative history of the region, in this case related to the sack of the Iberian peninsula town of Manresa by Muslim forces around 997.

A recent post on Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives, while not medieval, is another example of how archaeological finds often have been misinterpreted by researchers, and then used to support bias. In this case, the blogger (I’m not sure if the author is searching for anonymity however, though you can easily deduce who this is, said author will remain unnamed here) discusses the assumption that the remains found at Western Hemisphere sacrificial sites were of individuals who were; a) women, b) virgins, and c) beautiful. Additional analysis has shown that these first two assumptions are not always true and the third premise is both unprovable and subjective enough to where it really shouldn’t be talked about without other supporting evidence.

A new and very active blog is archaeodeath by Howard Williams of the University of Chester. He has posted a lot and what’s also great is that much of his archaeological investigation includes taking his family along. What a great way to further your profession! If you’re interested in archaeology and haven’t come across his site yet, take a long, hard look. Very frequent (I’m jealous), quality posts which often include a lot of pictures. I’ll link to one from just yesterday where he explores Anglesey Island sites (Anglesey Island is just off the coast of Wales).

I’d have to check to be sure but I bet Bones Don’t Lie, written by Katy Meyers, a Michigan State grad student, has made it on these Cool Stuff posts every time since I started following her blog. This is another very active blog. Over the summer she posted regularly about a research trip to England and her latest post is one on how Quicklime has often been misused in modern novels and is far more effective in preserving bodies than destroying them.

At Heavenfield Michelle Ziegler recently posted about Bede’s relating how St. Oswald interceded against the plague in the late 7th century and how this contributed to Oswald’s cult.

Historian on the Edge recently posted a journal article he wrote in 1992 about Viking Violence and how it was perceived in (mostly British) sources.

Magistra et Mater recently posted summaries from a couple of IHR Early Medieval Seminars. Each of these seminars discuss aspects of state formation and continuity/change, the first for 7th and 8th century Egypt, the second for later Anglo-Saxon England.

On Norse and Viking Ramblings Viqueen has a post about how Valkyries are portrayed in Scandinavian literature. I really haven’t gotten to my Viking/Scandinavian reading yet but this post was a nice complement to a presentation by Phil Purser that I heard a couple of years ago.

Karen Jolly provided an interesting post, along with quite a few pictures, of the monastic site of Glendalough on Revealing Words. I like living in the US most of the time but I do get envious of Europeans when I see posts like this.

Continuing with the monastery theme, Tim Clarkson posted a summary of a lecture on Kirkmadrine, a religious site in Southern Scotland on his blog, Senchus. Actually, he posted a summary of what can be found on a link to a description of the lecture (is this a summary of a summary?). You’ll need to go to Tim’s post to get to that one.

Another blog I’ve only recently been following is Surrey Medieval, authored by Robert Briggs. In it he discusses work he’s been doing, primarily focused on the County of Surrey in England. I’ll link a detailed post he recently put together summarizing statistical evidence of coins finds in Surrey, along with some interesting implications which the nature of these finds provide.

Maybe this post is really about blogs I’ve only recently come across. In any case, Michael Cheong provides a post which includes some humorous passages from Bald’s Leechbook on The Eastern Anglo-Saxonist. I find Medieval medicine very interesting myself and I enjoyed this post.

Gabriele of This Old Fort recently provided an excellent post on a Roman Signal Post at Scarborough. And as usual, she provides great pictures to go along with her description of the site.

That’s it for this time. Hopefully I’ll figure out what I want to say about Irenaeus in the near future.


Posted by on August 11, 2013 in Other Blogs


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