Fifteen Hundred

Grey ParrotSupposing you pay attention to the page navigation bar above, you will have noticed that it reads ‘Page 1 of 151’. And since there are ten posts per page and one post on page 151, simple mathematics will tell you that this is the 1,501st since I began Shooting Parrots in 2003.

There were times when I didn’t expect to reach this personal milestone, not least during the hiatus caused by blogger’s block that became a yawning chasm when I wrote nothing for 18 months from July 2008 until May 2010.

Some facts and figures first. This blog now contains 366,174 words, or at least it did until I started writing this rather long post. Given that the average novel contains 80,000 words, I could be halfway through my fifth bestseller by now.

Or, more likely, the manuscripts would be gathering dust in the publisher’s reject pile.

But enough of the dry statistics, what of the content? I have looked at every tenth page as a random sample of the things that have driven me to my keyboard over the years.

George Bush Talking DollMy first sallies into blogdom set the tone in 2003. I was much taken with the idea of a talking George Bush doll — “press the button on George’s back to hear him say 17 powerful and patriotic phrases” and wondered what the Bill Clinton moppet might do with Barbie.

I was also musing on the WWII plans to build a massive aircraft carrier out of ice and wood pulp, whether compulsory zip-up cardigans might quell loutish behaviour on Crete and Alistair Campbell’s departure from Downing Street.

I didn’t illustrate any of these posts with images because it wasn’t so easy back then (I was using Blogger), but they started to appear by page 140 when I had a photo of Tony Blair being hit by a condom full of purple powder thrown by a Fathers-4-Justice protestor.

I’d also implemented my first blog makeover using the black Blogger template. And I thought that cyber prayer at the Church of Fools was a great idea, as well as being proved right that the supposed torture pictures published in the Mirror were faked.

But to prove that I can also get things badly wrong, by page 130 I was questioning whether Man United’s signing of Wayne Rooney was a good move, but was big enough to admit my mistake the following day.

On a deeper level, there were posts on farting fish and another in praise of the creativity of the Honda car ads which still makes me smile seven years later.

Page 120 found me at Christmas 2004 twiddling my thumbs and laughing at silly tv ads. That and being amazed by an online gizmo that can guess what you’re thinking about. In the end, there was nothing for it but to to get civilised.

There was another neat online toy on page 110. Guess-the -Google has you guessing at words based on a montage of Google image search result. Try it, it’s fun.

It was also the time of the 2005 election and I was reminiscing about Mrs P’s time as a reporter and how she put one over ITN to get the local result first for the BBC. And how our votes are bought for the price of a balloon.

By the time of my 500th post, I was giving vent to my latent sexism, in particular the peculiar driving habits of women we know who plan their routes so as not to turn right. And wondering whether I might have a career advertising beer.

It was my birthday on page 90 when I was given Eric Sykes’ autobiography which illustrated the power of blogging. But I wasn’t in a good mood as I railed at our ‘because we say so’ government.

It was also another milestone as it was the time SP had its millionth page view which I still find hard to credit.

In March 2006, I wrote a short homily on causal thinking and the development of religion and the suspected coup against the Wilson government in 1975, both of which are probably more interesting than they sound.

BounceometerBut in case you might worry that I was becoming too serious, there was the splendid Bounceometer as an addictive diversion.

On page 70, there was the trauma of my daughter’s exam results and her swift change in university plans. On a lighter note, there were the faulty, illuminated statues of Jesus and the mysterious shapes that appeared in our double-glazing.

2007 dawned and, among other things, I was writing about the Latin Elvis (as in the ancient language), political correctness on restaurant menus, and the reliability of sexual behaviour surveys.

A whole year passed during my next 100 posts, but page 50 carried what is undoubtedly the best pun ever written. I was also looking at my sites stats and wondering why there should be such a sudden spike when all I was writing about was dishwashers and the environment.

There was an even longer gap between my next 100 posts as I emerged from what I refer to as my ‘wilderness years’. It was 2010 and my World Cup Awards, one of my all-time favourite posts that didn’t merit a single comment.

BetterwareI was also having fun with fundamentalist weather forecasters, the Betterware catalogue and the water shortage.

Back in full swing, on page 30 I was reflecting on the odd conversations you can have with wrong number phone calls and the raging anger that mellows to smouldering resentment with age.

Almost up to date now as page 20 brings us to February this year when we were in South Africa, so my posts were almost exclusively about Cape Town and environs.

And so to 100 posts ago which saw me wondering why dog food tins were tougher than ones for human food, the obsession with measuring everything, including happiness and death by PowerPoint.

Shooting Parrots has been a splendid soapbox on which I have stood to inflict my random thoughts and opinions on an unsuspecting and random world.

I sometimes wonder who, if anyone, reads this stuff, but in one sense it doesn’t matter. As Jesus put it: ‘A prophet is despised in his own country, and in his own house, and among his own kindred.’

But I do thank you, dear reader, for joining me on my journey and hopefully in my travels to come.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

3 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 11th November 2011

    Congratulations on having travelled this far on the blogging roller coaster. Don’t worry, I’ll not tell anybody else about the nervous breakdown you suffered between 2008 and 2010. You were a wreck but those months in the sanatorium allied with the electric shock treatment seem too have brought you to your senses.

  • Jennyta 11th November 2011

    “Or, more likely, the manuscripts would be gathering dust in the publisher’s reject pile”. No, I don’t think so, SP. You have a very refreshing style of writing. Maybe you should think of embarking on a book, whether fiction or non fiction. Of course, if you didn’t ever mention football, I could give you 10 out of 10! 😉

  • Shooting Parrots 11th November 2011

    YP: Thanks for keeping that quiet. No-one will find out about it here!

    Jenny: Kind words indeed. Unfortunately, I tend to run out of steam after six paragraphs!


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