Posted tagged ‘searches’

Thank you, Sherlock Holmes!

February 13, 2010

Some new great search terms by which people have found my blog:

“dolphins eating plastic”

“livestock in iran”


“old chinese american men”

“what fish do turtles not eat”

“pic of a deer eating a person” (four separate searches for this)

I have also got a lot of visitors searching for various terms I used in my Xinjiang riots post: “uighurs,” “Kashgar,” etc., and, strangely, “Kashgar dentist,” “Kashgar dentiset,” and “Kashgar dentisti.” I just hope that these searchers are not actually in need of a dentist in Kashgar.

Someone got here searching for “interning at nichibei times.”

I was a little frightened to return to my blog after so much time away. I wrote a few things in the fall – one of which I have now posted and more of which are yet to come – but I just didn’t have the energy to edit and post them. As my numbers of viewers understandably declined further and further, I stopped checking.

So I was surprised to see that although the decline continued through November, the numbers experienced a seemingly random increase toward the end of December and especially through January. At first I thought maybe it was due to the simple fact that my blog has been around for more time to be clicked, leading Google to rank it higher. But I also noticed that, in addition to the wonderful search terms cited above, more people have been getting here via searches – on Google and elsewhere – for “Whack follol de rah,” both with and without the exclamation point at the end. 46 of the 78 searches for the phrase without the exclamation point have been in the past 30 days.  (My blog is the second result that comes up for the term on google, after an Irish translation forum.) Others have come here by searching “follol,” “whack follol de rah meaning,” “follol de rah,” “whack de la de rah,” and other variants.

It would have been strange, especially since I hadn’t been posting for so long, if people were searching for my blog by name. It seemed near impossible that that so many people would have thought to look up the phrase after hearing the song from which it comes, “The Rocky Road to Dublin” (as much as I would like to think that Irish music is taking over the world). When was the last time I heard Irish folk music in pop culture, I thought, and that song in particular?

The Dubliners, the group who does the best-known version of "The Rocky Road to Dublin." Adorable, no?

Then I realized that I must have Sherlock Holmes to thank. I was thrilled when I recognized the jaunty, fiery “Rocky Road to Dublin” in the background of the movie’s boxing scene, and I probably annoyed my friends by hopping up and down in my seat as the Dubliners vocally accompanied Holmes in taking out the other fighter. (This was not the only fight scene where they played Irish music, I am happy to say!)

Not sure what this has to do with the rocky road to Dublin, but that's ok...

It wasn’t a movie I felt I should like. Apparently, it has a lame plot, though this is less apparent if one never reads mysteries and gets closest to the genre by watching House.  But good old-fashioned swashbuckling, however inappropriate for the Holmes stories, as well as repartee, always appeals to me. I saw the movie twice, once in California, once in Oxford (two tickets for the price of one with my phone service here!), and appreciated it both times.

Then I appreciated it again when I realized it was bringing me blog visitors. I also noticed, while doing research for this post, that google’s fifth autocomplete result for “irish song” is “irish song in Sherlock Holmes.” This post is dedicated to those searching for that song, and those searching for “whack follol de rah,” so that their quest may not be in vain:

Whack follol de rah is a set of nonsense syllables, which are common in Irish music. A more flavorful version of “fa la la.” In The Boondock Saints, which I watched recently, when detective Greenly explains the deaths of two Russians, who he thinks were Irishmen celebrating St. Patrick’s Day: “So these guys are stumbling through the alley. ‘Too ra loo ra loo ra!’ This guy takes a blunt object, fuckin’ WAAH! Hits the guy with the bandages around his head,” he’s referring to another, much less fun and more recent song, “An Irish Lullaby.”

I picked “Whack follol de rah” as the name of my blog because, although it’s doesn’t literally mean anything, it expresses quirky, spicy joy in what I think of as super-verbal rather than sub-verbal fashion. In “The Rocky Road to Dublin,” a song about a nineteenth century man’s adventures as he travels from Tuam to Liverpool via Dublin, the nonsense syllables seem to burst out to express some sort of undefinable triumphant intensity of living.

And for the song itself, I can’t resist: Behold! The Orthodox Celts, Serbia‘s most famous Irish music group:

They’re actually quite good, aren’t they? The words are hard enough for native speakers. I particularly like the way he sings “bundle it was stole.” The Orthodox Celts have apparently inspired a younger generation of Serbian Irish groups, including Tir na n’Og and Irish Stew of Sindidun. I would almost say these groups are trying harder than the Irish to be Irish, but then again, Dubliners isn’t so subtle a name either.


My sex statistics

July 2, 2009

There are some things I’ve always wanted to try: outdoor rock-climbing – as opposed to the kind on the plastic walls above the mats, hang-gliding, skinny-dipping, chocolate covered crickets…


An internet search experiment. But I set up the beginning of this post – the part that would be quoted on the WordPress page where it displays all entries for a given tag – to fool the people who get to my page by searching for the tag “sex.”

As promised, the results of my WordPress search experiment:

Total page views of “Dirt makes everything more interesting” by people who searched the tag “sex”: 7

Total page views of “SF gay pride parade” by people who searched the tag “sex”: 5

Total page views of anything from by people who searched any other tag (still): 0. This includes tags like “news,” “writing,” and “books” – not exactly obscure topics with limited appeal.

However, all views of “Dirt makes everything more interesting” came from people who found it on the first page of the posts WordPress listed under the tag “sex” (the newest posts). “SF gay pride parade” had a more persisting appeal, with 3 views coming from page 1 of “sex” search results and 2 views coming from page 5. This gap (no views from “sex” pages 2-4) suggests to me that the time of day I published each post might have made a difference – this could also help explain the already probably insignificant differences in number of views between the two posts.

The real conclusion is that certain WordPress users are sex-obsessed. For those of you who yet again came to this blog because I tagged this post with “sex” – gotcha again, suckersss! Your views will become stats in my next post 🙂

A separate intriguing stat: 2 people have come to my blog from a Google search. For 1 of these, the term searched was “why dirt is so interesting.” Either this was someone who had already visited my blog and was trying to find it again – maybe an arrogant guess – or this is very interesting.

This is enjoyable in a way similar to looking at the searches Google suggests when you start to type in something. Just now, for example, I typed in “what do ” (with a space after do – no space yields different results) and got:

What do dreams mean? (A very good question!)

What do contractions feel like? (Important to know – or so I realized once I read it from a non-grammatical point of view.)

What do names mean? (Well, different things….)

What do my dreams mean? (I don’t know, Google, but I’m sure they’re interesting. Unless they’re bleak and technological.)

What do turtles eat?

What do ladybugs eat?

What do dolphins eat?

What do your dreams mean? (Mine?)

What do deer eat?

What do frogs eat? (Really??)

Another time I did “what do,” I got “What do Mormons believe?” among other things.