This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Wow! I made it to 1000 posts on this blog--380+534+86.This may be a good time to tell you a little about how I do this blog, what the future holds, and why I am delighted that I could post this milestone blog today, a day that has special significance for me.

For well over a year I have been trying to do a daily post. Usually the process starts with pictures that I think tell a story. In the past I took most of them while jogging, but unless or until my legs start feeling a lot better, I will no longer have that source of pictures. After I download them to the computer, I review, select, crop, and resize pictures then upload them to picasaweb via the blog. The pictures from my cameras are from one to five megabytes; the pictures I upload are almost always under 100K both because they are resized and also because I save them at a low jpeg quality.

After the pictures are uploaded, I add text, usually including a few typos. Some of the typos I find before the post goes public, and some I only find later. Those who read the post early see a lot them. Then I schedule when the post will appear, usually for the early morning. On mornings that a post does not appear, it is often because I messed up the save, either with a pm instead of an am, or the post gets saved instead of published. (If you have played with blogger, this may make sense. Otherwise it probably will not.) Sometimes I have been able to prepare posts for several days ahead, and if anything time-sensitive comes up, I reschedule the future posts.

I receive all comments that are made in one of my e-mail accounts, which is helpful when people post on ancient posts. Occasionally I get spam comments that direct people to commercial or porn websites, and I delete these as soon as I see them.

Anyone can see the statistics that are available on the sitemeter tag. I also have access to statistics from blogger, the Google company that hosts my blogs. I have earned $96.77 from the Google Ads that you see on the side of the page. That works out to almost ten cents per post. If a post only took me a minute, that would mean I earned $6.00 per hour blogging. Unfortunately, I think the average amount of time per post is in the half hour range. I will let you figure out how much I earn per hour with that. The place I get this number tells me that I have had 78358 page views during the time this blog has been active.

I have access to another set of statistics that only goes back to May 2010. During that time, the most viewed page is this one with 385 page view. Here is second (197 views) and third place (145). (If you open up to, it does not count as a page view for this tally. The traffic to these pages is coming from search engines or links from other places on the Internet..) (Don't ask me to explain these rankings--I have no idea of why they are as they are.)

Although I have been trying to post daily for over a year, I have decided to quit trying to do that. I have another project that requires long and tedious stays at the computer, and hence posting is a lot less enjoyable. I will continue to post, but less frequently and more sporadically.

You might have noticed that I did not post on a few days recently. That was because I wanted this 1000th post to be dated November 21, 2010, which would have been my father's 100th birthday were he still alive. He was born Richard Rataczak in St. Paul, Minnesota on November 21, 1910. At the age of five or six his mother died and he and his siblings were sent to an orphanage even though his father was still alive. According to the keepers of family history, his father was an irresponsible loser. After a few years in the orphanage, he and one older brother were adopted by a childless couple in Long Prairie, Minnesota. After high school, he attended several colleges--St. John's University, Marquette, and finally the University of Minnesota, where he earned a degree in pharmacy. A year or two before his death I asked him to tell me about his early years, and he refused. He said that the memories were too painful.

He married when he was about thirty. My parent's first child was stillborn, the second had Down Syndrome, I was third, and two brothers followed me.

He served in World War II as a pharmacists mate aboard a submarine tender, the U.S.S. Proteus. He never saw combat--a submarine tender was meant to resupply submarines at sea and not to engage the enemy. He was very impressed with the Pacific and the islands that he saw while in service, and was also impressed with the discipline of the Japanese sailors he observed after the war. During the 1950s or 1960s there was a television series that recounted the exploits of various submarines in the Pacific, and he remembered most of the subs.

After the war he worked briefly for another pharmacist, and then set out to open his own drug store in small town America. We moved from Stewart, Minnesota to Morton, Minnesota to Little Falls, Minnesota as he searched for a viable business. In Little Falls his was the smallest of three drug stores, and when a small chain (then a new phenomenon in the drugstore world) opened around 1960, he closed and went to work for one of the other two drug stores. After a year or two, he found there was more opportunity in St. Paul, and moved back there, working for a couple of local chains. The rest of the family followed a few years later. His experience convinced me that I never wanted to enter the retail field, and has made me very sympathetic to the problems of those who try to run their own stores. What he did not see was that the automobile would completely change the way people shopped, and those changed patterns doomed the retail business in small towns. You can see the effects of that revolution in every town in our area.

I need a picture, don't I? My brother recently sent me the one below. My father must be in early adolescence because pictures of him a few years later look considerably different. So it must have been taken sometime between 1920 and 1925. There is not much resemblance between him and the young man who is next to him, but they were brothers. The two on the right were his adoptive parents, and I have no idea of who the old guy in the center was. One of the reasons I really like this picture is the clothing my father and the others are wearing. I do not know much about the history of clothing, but I think that my father is wearing knickers.

Addendum: Sometimes late comments can be quite interesting, though few people will ever see them. For example, see recent comments here and here.


reMark said...

Congratulations Rensselaer Adventures on a historic milestone. I know I speak in general for all Rensselaeriens who look forward to reading your blog post when I say thank you.

As a fringe blogger, I understand the time it takes to post daily and what a challenge it can be. I think some "dessert" should be in order for "surviving" this many posts!

Holding off the 1000th for your father's birthday was a nice touch. Congrats again Dessert Survivor! I applaud your accomplishment

catholic shriner said...

I'm a long way fom Rensselaer, but did enjoy St. Joe and my later experience in town.

Your anniversary and cconnection with your dad put a lump in my throat.

I wish you great blessings and many more successful ventures.

Michael J Oakes said...

Congratulation, Bob. I always enjoy the news and photos. Hope all is well. And best of luck on the font project.

Gene said...

This was a most enjoyable blog entry. I've been reading your words and viewing your "FINE" photos for a long time. While I'm sorry to hear that it will no longer be available daily, I will still check it every day so as to not miss any of them when it does appear.

Thank you for all the memories your blog has helped me recollect of my younger years back in good old Rensselaer.

Desert Survivor said...

Congrats on your 1000th blog post!!

That was very interesting history and a nice photo.

Ed said...

Congrats on the accomplishment and on the great post today. It was also great to see some more family history, including the Proteus Wiki page (amazing the ship wasn't scrapped until 2008). I hope the legs recover well. I showed Theresa the Fascinating Maze book this weekend, she spotted the M.C. Esher influence immediately. When's the next one? :)

Anonymous said...

Knickers and all, I loved this post. Keep up the great work and congratulations. J