Labor Day musings and some changes in the blog

On this Labor Day I want to wish everyone a great holiday, at least to my American and Canadian readers who are the only ones who celebrate workers on this day, while most of the world does it on May Day (May 1st).

Ironically enough, May Day has its origins in the US as the day that commemorates the Haymarket Riot in 1886 in which police in Chicago fired on workers who were striking for an eight-hour workday. The international worker’s movement adopted a resolution in 1891 to use the anniversary of the Haymarket event to celebrate workers rights. Following another bloody suppression of workers in 1894, again in Chicago, in which federal troops were sent in to break up the Pullman strike and in which over a dozen strikers were killed, the US government sought to try and make peace with US workers by granting a holiday to celebrate workers. But since they did not want to remind people of its history of brutal opposition to worker rights that a May Day holiday might trigger, the US government and Congress in 1894 made the September Labor Day a federal holiday.

So I am taking the day off somewhat but want to flag some minor changes in the blog that will take place immediately.

Long time readers of this blog know that there is a routine here in which I post a single essay of around 1000 words on some topic each weekday at around 9:00 am Eastern time in the US. My goal of writing a daily long form essay serves largely a selfish purpose. Writing about things in some depth sharpens my thinking about them and forces me to look up sources and evidence for my views and not toss off glib, gut-level reactions. It is remarkable how much I learn by doing this and how often that process makes me realize that what I remembered as having happened or said is not correct and forces me to revise my views, as well as serving as a useful reminder of the fallibility of even strong memories. The essay form also keeps me writing regularly and thus improves my writing skills.

But I am finding that my self-imposed rule is too constraining. In the course of keeping up with the news and researching topics there are many interesting, funny, and quirky things that I come across (or are sent to me) or updates to earlier postings that I want to share with readers. I usually collect them and keep them until I can make them part of a later essay, either in the body of the text or, if it does not quite fit, as a post script. The catch is that there are many such interesting items that do not merit a long essay and which do not relate to anything that I am likely to write about at length. I still include some of those things as post scripts but they keep accumulating faster than I can use them and sometimes even go out of date, which seems a waste.

Since I want to preserve the weekday essay feature of the blog, I have decided to supplement it with occasional short postings that will appear randomly as needed.

From the point of view of the readers, the upside is that there will be more content than before (at least I hope that is viewed as an upside). The downside is that it is only the weekday essays that will appear on a regular schedule and the appearance of other items will be unpredictable. I assume that many people have RSS subscriptions that alert them whenever new content appears.


  1. henry says

    Just an FYI -- expect to see the number of visitors to your blog to jump with the change of format. Now regular readers will visit multiple times per day. If you ever decide to add advertising that change will be helpful.

  2. says


    Hadn’t thought of the implications for increased viewership. Advertising will not be a factor, though. My blog is hosted by my university which is a non-profit outfit and we cannot advertise.

  3. says

    I teach various blogging workshops for Case and the library school at Kent State. One of the tips I give about maintaining and building readership is to vary the length of posts. If all your posts are the same length and people find themselves too busy to always read that length, you lose potential readers.

  4. says

    I hope the new plan works out well for you. I understand about a lack of time to do things in the way you want. I know I will be here a couple times a day now. I hope you enjoy the day off. I on the other hand need to get back to work.

  5. says

    I am a reader of the essay style blogs you write but there are others I read for funny stories or humor and relaxation. Just like we need holidays like labor day as a break from our hard work, holidays we need mental relief as well.

  6. says

    I dont see how Mr. Obama could possibly do more damage to our Republic and the Constitution, than George W. Bushs Junta has (short of declaring Martial Law). Remember, if we hadnt had that Neocon, conservative pretender, we would still have the House, and Senate. Neither would we be discussing President Barrack Obama, for he would still be the Marxist, junior Senator from Illinois.

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