Even though WordPress has already produced a glitzy review of the blog for this year , as is traditionally the case , I have decided to write my own review of this blog’s progress through the Gregorian year (even if the religious year I care the most about has a different schedule). This year I hit 2000 posts as well as 200,000 views. As far as the blog was concerned, it was an immensely productive year of writing, but like 2012, this was a year full of stresses whose blog entries definitely revealed a great deal of the stress that was going on in the course of the year. As was the case in 2012, the most popular blog entries were not written in 2013, but were holdovers from the previous year. It is a good thing that my blog entries have good catalog value , but I appreciate it when newer posts are able to enjoy some popularity, although it does often take a bit of time for newer entries to develop popularity the way that people tend to search for blog entries.
As I alluded to earlier, 2013 was a very stressful year. Many of the crosscurrents that made 2012 so stressful remained in 2013. The scope was generally smaller, less geopolitical and more personal and local, but the general concerns were the same. The longstanding concerns of my life deepened and interconnected in very uncomfortable ways, without any sort of closure or resolution, only an awareness that my life has taken a serious turn that is unlikely to end anytime soon. That said, this year was not without its moments of lightness and enjoyment, even if overall it had a very serious and anxious tone. At this point, given the fact that I haven’t had a genuinely lighthearted year in a long while, I’m not sure when things will get less stressful and more fun, but in the meantime, I suppose I will have plenty of material to write about.
Honorable Mention #2: The Curious Connection Between Jane Austen And Military History 
Categories: History, Musing
Narrowly missing out on the top 20 posts for 2013 was a post I wrote a couple of years ago about Jane Austen’s subtle but profound interest in military history. As it happens, all of Jane Austen’s novels have at least some military connection, and it is usually a matter of some importance. I had originally thought to write the paper for some local Jane Austen society, to give a presentation, but the opportunity has not come up. In the meantime, it has become one of my more popular entries, as my love of Jane Austen appears to have attracted some readers to my blog who might find it a bit surprising unless they knew me well.
Honorable Mention #1: The Presidents Of The Confederate States Of America: An Alternate History 
Categories: History, American Civil War
Last year’s #15 post, this year my favorite alternate history post falls just below the top 20. I am surprised, but gratified, at the enduring popularity that this post has had. It was responsible for giving a slightly early appreciation for Rick Perry, and it has also prompted a fair amount of argument over whether my alternate history represents a praise of the South that is unwarranted or whether it represents making fun of the south. Rather, what happened instead (even if I am no fan of neo-Confederate historical fantasies) is that I saw a list of theoretical presidents and then tried to read into that list a certain sense of order and balance, while also taking into consideration the role of the CSA as a supporter of the imperial status quo and also a nation given to predictable electoral patterns lurching left and right, to military figures and educators and religious figures in search of some balance between progress and tradition, with no balance to be found.
#20: Today In History: On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee Surrendered The Army Of Northern Virginia 
Categories: History, American Civil War
Last year’s #8 post (and 2011’s #5 post), this year the post drops down to #20, not so much because that many fewer people have looked at the post but because so many other posts that were less often viewed before have increased in popularity. That said, this post is about one of the most iconic aspects of the end of the Civil War, a moment of honor in one of the last major wars that had a sense of honor about its waging. Of course, there were other major surrenders at the end of the Civil War, and even some battles that took place after Lee’s surrender. But even now, this battle is what is thought of primarily as the scene where the Civil War ended, and so it remains a popular post almost three years after being written.
#19: Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: The Moody Blues 
Categories: Music, History
Last year’s #12 post, this year the post on one of rock music’s more notable acts slips to #19. Although plenty of posts had more comments (including a post written this year about Janet Jackson’s candidacy for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ), this post was a reminder that plenty of people want to know how the Moody Blues have not been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame given their foundational role in British Blues Rock as well as progressive rock. Any band that influenced the Beatles while having a lengthy and immensely productive career ought to be an easy band to induct into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but that certainly has not been the case here.
#18: No Variation Or Shadow Of Turning: Calculus In The Bible 
Categories: Bible, Christianity
Last year’s #13 post and 2011’s #20 post, this post, which continued to form part of a fierce debate over biblical foreknowledge of mathematical achievement continued to be a lightning rod for viewer interest. Again, this has come as somewhat of a surprise to me, although it is an area I suppose that I could write more about if I can find more examples worth writing about that are interesting and quirky. Any blog of mine that ends up provoking a public web controversy is certainly of interest, though, and this particular blog has sparked thought and controversy for three years now.
#17: Book Review: Apostles Of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners And The Causes Of The Civil War 
Categories: Book Reviews, History, American Civil War
Last year’s #3 post and 2011’s #4 post, this year the most popular book review post of this blog drops considerably in popularity, although it is still the only book review post in the top 20 blog posts of 2013. Even now, I am a bit surprised at how popular this post has been, given the fact that book review posts are seldom very popular (perhaps in part because I write so many of them) and also the fact that the secession commissioners themselves were very obscure people. Nevertheless, this book is popular and I hope that people have been influenced to read this book after having read the review, even if there is no way for me to know that.
#16: Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: ELO/Jeff Lynne/Traveling Wilburies 
Categories: Music, History
A debut into the top 20, this post, written in 2012 thanks to a friend and former coworker who was a big fan of ELO’s hit “Mr. Blue Sky,” was a reminder of the complicated nature of legitimacy in the eyes of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Jeff Lynne is a singer and producer who has three legitimate claims to be a part of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but who has not been inducted even once. It is an open question whether Jeff Lynne will be inducted first as a member of the supergroup the Traveling Wilburies or for his work with ELO, though there is no doubt he should be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
#15: The Sons Of Korah 
Categories: The Sons Of Korah, Bible, Christianity, History
The #11 post of 2012 and the #18 post of 2011, this particular post has been enduringly popular and served as my own personal introduction into the importance of the sons of Korah in scripture. As a sermonette that was given before I had done the research that expanded the importance of the Sons of Korah. Sadly, none of the people who have viewed this or the other posts of my Sons of Korah project appear to be agents looking to score me a book deal, so while this blog remains popular, it has failed in providing the right people with a view of my writing, or at least people willing to pay me to do it.
#14: Numbers 5:11-31: Concerning Jealous Husbands 
Categories: Bible, Christianity, Love & Marriage
After writing this particular ode to jealous husbands and a law that deals with their suspicions about the fidelity of their wives, I was tempted to investigate whether there were any passages that dealt with jealous fathers, as this post was #17 in last year’s year-end-review. Then 2013 got serious enough in a hurry that I did not feel such a blog entry would be in particularly good taste, and that it might be counterproductive, as I take the Bible seriously and try not use it as a club in my own personal situations. I was pleased that at the end of this year this particular blog entry took on an interesting discussion regarding Sharia, as that is a subject that this blog deals with at least somewhat often and that has provoked insufficient discussion as of yet.
#13: On The Difference Between Greek And Hebrew Thought 
Categories: Musing, Christianity
Last year’s #22 post, this year the post jumps nine spots to debut in the top 20. This post, although it was originally conceived as a theoretical and philosophical post, ended up serving as a bit of a template for a wide variety of examinations of how Christianity and the Bible is viewed by many academics, as the struggle between Athens and Jerusalem can take on a great deal of resonance that is sometimes difficult for others to understand. We may not recognize the difference between the layered view of the Bible by the Hebrews and the one-layer that Greek thinkers tend to see as a result of their own perspective, but this entry appears to have drawn plenty of people to at least ponder such matters.
#12: Psalm 1: And He Shall Be Like A Tree Planted By The Rivers Of Water 
Category: Psalms, Bible, Christianity
Last year’s #20 post, this year the post jumps eight spots to #12. Like the previous post, this post deals with matters of Hebrew thinking as it relates to scripture. Particularly, it shows the importance of the tree of life to the psalms, as a unifying concept that helps to connect different parts of the Bible together. Of course, it also relates to my general appreciation of the music of the Bible, as well as my tendency as a kid to misunderstand the Bible. Blessed and happy is the man, who does never walk a stray, after all.
#11: Psalm 84: How Lovely Is Your Tabernacle / Better Is One Day 
Category: The Sons of Korah, Psalms, Bible, Christianity
A debut into the top 20, this post discussed one of the more popular psalms of the Sons of Korah, a hymn which happens to have inspired a wide variety of songwriters. It is pleasing that this post appears to have attracted a wide variety of readers to the biblical origin of these very familiar sentiments that it is better to spend a day within the courts of the temple than a thousand days outside. Even if we do not have any physical temple, we can still appreciate the sentiments of first and second temple Judaism as Christians who form a spiritual temple.
#10: I, Tertius, Wrote This Epistle: A Musing On The Language Of Renewed Covenant Texts 
Category: Bible, Christianity, History
To be sure, this was one of the more arcane blog entries written in 2012. However, the fact is that a lot of people apparently wished to see in 2013, pondering over one of the more shadowy figures in biblical history. Tertius was one of the scribes who wrote the epistles dictated by Paul and others. For those who are not familiar with the matter, Tertius provides a clue in dealing with one of the more vexing questions of studies of the writings of the Renewed Covenant scriptures (also called the New Testament), and that is the seeming differences in style, by adding another layer of “authorship” in the scribes that conveyed the spoken words of the divinely inspired writers of the Bible, adding another factor that must be considered in using questions of style as supposed proof against authorship of certain books.
#9: Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Chicago 
Category: Music, History
The #9 post of 2011 and the #5 post of 2012, this year the most popular post of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame series drops down to 2013. There have been a lot of viewers of this blog, a lot of people making comments and attaching to it all kinds of articles. About one thing, though, there appears to be nearly uniform agreement. No one can understand why Chicago is not inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Despite thousands of views, no one has come up with a single good reason why Chicago is not yet in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. There are some good arguments why some people have been inducted, but there is absolutely no reason why someone like Laura Nyro is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and not Chicago. As every year goes by without a Chicago induction, it makes less and less sense.
#8: Personal Profile: Heman The Ezrahite 
Category: Sons Of Korah, Bible, Christianity, History
The #11 post of 2011 and the #4 post of 2012, this post was the most popular post of the Sons of Korah series the past two years was the second most popular post of the Sons of Korah series in 2013. This particular post is possibly the most personal of the series as well, dealing with the parallels between the composer of Psalm 88 and me concerning our shared lengthy struggle with depression, a struggle that helped make 2013 what it was and provided an ironic counterpoint to my life, seeing as I had written it before but still found it relevant. Apparently plenty of readers, interested in my own approach to life, found plenty of relevance in the blog entry as well.
#7: A Comparative Analysis Of The Minas And The Talents 
Category: Bible, Christianity, Musing
The #14 post of 2012 and the #11 post of 2011, this year the post became even more popular and jumped into the top 10. Again, seeing as I wrote this article while using a little netbook at the Santiago (Chile) International Airport on the way to the Feast of Tabernacles in 2008, on my way to a feast that ended up shaping my life in a way that hinted rather darkly at what would happen this year, it is intriguing to me that this post remains popular, for reasons I do not really understand, since there have been no comments on the post to illuminate what people were looking for and what people were finding.
#6: Powers Denied To The States: A Constitutional Essay 
Category: Musing, Politics
The #2 post of 2012 and the #8 post of 2011, this year the post about the constitutional limitations on the behavior of states from Article 1 dropped to #6. This is, as it always has been, the most popular by far of my posts on the constitution. Recently there have been other posts added to the series about the constitutional restrictions on Congress’ behavior as well as the process of achieving statehood as seen in the example of Puerto Rico, whose bid for statehood has been hindered by the larger partisan divide in our country as well as by the ambivalence towards statehood by the people of that island themselves. Nevertheless, the continuing debt crisis of the United States, in all levels of society, made this particular post relevant still.
#5: On The Three Types Of Leavening 
Category: Bible, Christianity, Musing
The #9 post of 2012 and the #7 post of 2011, this year my post on leavening jumps to #5. Again, like so many posts in my blog, this post is an example of the Matthew principle in that those posts with views tend to get more views rather than those many posts that have not yet received many views. Far more posts have remained popular since 2011 than rose to popularity in 2013, and no new posts ended up in the top 20 at all, or anywhere particularly close. This particular post has inspired a great deal of controversy about what makes bread leavened, even though none of that controversy took place on my blog itself, but rather in the attempts of some to counter its arguments through sophistry.
#4: The Tragedies Of Amy Winehouse And Jennifer Elliott 
Category: Musing, Politics, Music
The #1 post of 2011 and 2012, this past year the post dropped to #4 in popularity. Again, this particular post is still somewhat mystifying to me in terms of its popularity, but all the same this post has remained popular. I’m not sure whether it is the criticism of the Murdoch family or the connection of this post to the writings of one of my favorite Asia beat reporters, or a little bit of both, but this post is by far the most popular blog entry ever viewed on this particular site, even if it was not the most popular blog entry of last year.
#3: Why Thailand Is A Third World Country 
Category: Musing, Politics
Well, it is not particularly surprising that the Thai people are not particularly happy to think of their country as third world. It is more surprising, for a post that was #6 in 2012 and rose to #3 this year, that anyone outside of Thailand particularly cares whether Thailand is a third world country. Of course, there are some arguments as to what it means to be a nation in the third world, including the legitimacy of the categorization of three (or four) worlds based on political or economic affairs, and this post deals with that argument as well. Again, there would be more sense if the debate took place on the blog itself, rather than in the minds of the readers, but it is a good thing for the post to be viewed.
#2: Personal Profile: Obed-Edom 
Category: The Sons of Korah, Bible, Christianity, History
Obed-Edom is one of the most obscure people in a blog that deals with very obscure matters, and it is a great surprise that this particular post came out of absolutely nowhere to be the #2 post of 2013. Obed-Edom’s claim to fame, apart from being one of the most obscure guardians of the Ark of the Covenant, is in the fact that he was blessed for doing so, and ended up being a minor person in 1 Chronicles. However, as minor and as obscure as he may be, he was the most popular member of the Sons of Korah on this year’s blog and the second most popular blog overall.
#1: Bartholomew Called Nathanael: An Israelite Without Guile 
It is impossible for me to reflect upon this post, which was #7 in popularity in 2012 but #1 in 2013, without thinking of how people reading this post must have thought that they were learning something about me by reading about this particular Israelite. I cannot figure any other reason why this particular obscure apostle, who only really had one story for himself, would be popular. This is especially true when other related articles, like one on Jacob’s Ladder  are not nearly as popular, for reasons that do not make sense to me. At any rate, people must like reading about Israelites without guile, seeing as they are on the blog of one of them.
Bonus Feature: Top 20 nations of 2013
#1: United States (1)
#2: Great Britain (2)
#3: Canada (3)
#4: Australia (4)
#5: Philippines (5)
#6: India (7)
#7: Thailand (6)
#8: Singapore (9)
#9: Netherlands (10)
#10: South Africa (8)
#11: Malaysia (11)
#12: New Zealand (14)
#13: Nigeria (18)
#14: Germany (12)
#15: Kenya (19)
#16: France (NR)
#17: Italy (17)
#18: Sweden (NR)
#19: Ireland (13)
#20: Mexico (NR)
 See, for example: