1. Well, that wraps up a thoroughly weird month of September for the blog. But a very good kind of weird. The blog set a traffic record for the month. There were 8,000 page loads, 6,275 unique visitors and 3,139 returning visitors. To put that in some perspective, that is double what the blog pulled in during September 2007 and 30 per cent higher than the next best month in 2008.
2. Why? Well, I've always tried to figure out what lures people to this particular small piece of the Internet. It's certainly not just talking about the north. Curling seems to horrify and cause people to flee as much as it lures others. And I think there might be exactly two people who want to read about comic books.
So the secret appears to be politics, sadly enough. All it took was the combination of a US presidential election, a federal election where I've commented on national issues along with two specific ridings - Nunavut and St. John's East, with a smidge of territorial election politics tossed in for good measure. The three most read posts of the month included the two where I defended Craig Westcott. The other one was where I mocked Levi Johnston, the poor doomed bastard who, according to some rumours, might be getting shotgun married just before the election to help boost the freefalling McCain/Palin poll numbers.
So there you go, politics is what people want. You may all be in denial about it, but you keep coming back for more of it, you sad bastards.
3. So to keep your political jones satisfied, two things. First, I admit to being somewhat concerned about the US vice-presidential debate. The bar has officially been set so low that my concern is Biden might actually trip on the trench where the bar is buried. If Palin manages to not drool on herself tomorrow night, Republicans will claim it as a victory. Judging by this story, she's done well in previous debates mostly by being charming and knowing when to sit back and pick her moment to strike. Will that work here? I don't know.
I suspect it will come down to how much information she can retain through her "cramming" sessions, how much confidence she has left after the drubbing of the past two weeks or so, and whether or not Biden says something off the cuff and stupid. Still, I confess to being worried she does just enough to be viewed as an almost credible candidate when she very clearly isn't ready for that stage.
4. I criticized campaign signs last month, and here I am going to use them as giant cardboard tea leaves. The territorial election is now on. We live in Iqaluit West, which is the race to watch this election with Iqaluit's mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik running against Nunavut's premier, Paul Okalik. And in the sign battle, the mayor is clearly winning. She has a lot more up, which are huge, and located on people's houses or businesses.
In fact, we find ourselves in the interesting location of having a sign for her on Arctic Ventures on one side of our building and other side is a house of....dubious reputation with another huge sign for her. I think all I've seen so far from the premier is a couple of 8 by 11 posters stuck up in the post office.
There's still a month to go, but Sheutiapik certainly hit the ground running.
5. Then there's this kind of sad story about how few people are running in the Nunavut election. There are 46 running this time, down from 82 in 2004. And even more depressing is that no one threw their name into the ring for Baffin South. A seat in a territorial election and no one wanted it.
I'm not saying it's an easy job. There's a lot of travel and time away from the family. You get a lot of phone calls from upset people and they have a tendency to be pissed off with you a lot. That's why about half the sitting MLAs aren't running again. But still, by the time you throw in base salary, northern allowance, tax breaks, travel, constituency allowance and God knows what else I've forgotten, a starting MLA will make $100,000 a year. And that goes up a lot if you make cabinet.
And nobody wanted the job?
Probably just as well I wasn't living there. I can just imagine the reaction if I came home and told Cathy "Honey, good news. I've just been acclaimed the MLA for Baffin South."
It's a toss-up if she hugs me or smacks me in the head repeatedly.
1. Nautical disaster (live) - The Tragically Hip*
2. Tiny dancer - Elton John
3. S'wonderful (live) - Diana Krall
4. Mercury - Kathleen Edwards
5. Naked in the city again - Hot Hot Heat