Why does Dave ruin everything he touches?

This is too good. I am Exhibit A in a Wall Street Journal piece about how guest bloggers fail to keep popular websites humming.

Despite the efforts of three verbose guest bloggers, replacements handpicked by Mr. Sullivan, the site’s visitor tally has fallen. The Daily Dish, now part of Time magazine, usually garners around 90,000 unique visitors, or individual readers, each day. At the start of the first workweek without him, Mr. Sullivan’s blog received about 67,000 hits, according to Site Meter. This week, traffic has hovered around 57,000.

“The frequency of emails of ‘Bring back Andrew’ and ‘This is stupid. Bring back Andrew’ is definitely higher than anything I’ve ever written,” says David Weigel, a 24-year-old assistant editor at Reason magazine, who is one of Mr. Sullivan’s guest bloggers and has filled in at other sites in the past.

This is accompanied by a graph of how bad I’m doing. But wait! Later in the story, we learn that Michelle Malkin also hired summer guest bloggers.

Michelle Malkin, host and namesake of a political blog, recruited guest writers carefully when she decided to take her first vacation in several years. All four replacements had a “similar vibe” to her own, says Ms. Malkin. Two of the guest bloggers were well-versed in subjects popular in the news at the time and the other two were friends whose work she admired.

A slice of Ms. Malkin’s audience didn’t take to the guest bloggers. She chalked that up to a “fickle” bunch who prefer her work as a syndicated columnist. But overall the guest bloggers held readers’ attentions, says Ms. Malkin. During the week she was gone, hits averaged around 140,000 a day, down from about 200,000 before she went on vacation. Last week, before she eased back into posting, her average daily visitor tally dipped below 120,000. The numbers didn’t faze Ms. Malkin. “For the dog days of August, they did tremendously well,” she says of her fill-ins.

Let’s look at this. The faux Malkin bloggers who kicked ass and (I presume) took names managed 60-70% of my arch-nemesis’ normal traffic. I (along with Ana Marie Cox and Michael Totten) have managed to score 63-74% of normal traffic. So why didn’t Elizabeth Holmes lead with a sob story about how badly the Malkin subs were blowing it?

(I’m really not bitter. It’s cool to be featured in the WSJ. But… a graph?)

Didn’t there used to be a blog here?

Sorry, I’ve been swamped writing for Reason and Andrew Sullivan’s site – the latter experience producing more “YOU ARE TEH SUCK” e-mail than anything I’ve done in years. Here’s a new article about Eliot Spitzer. And here are some albums I’m loving right now.

Chris Bell – I Am The Cosmos
Blondie – Eat to the Beat
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien – I Wish My Brother George Was Here
Japan – Gentlemen Take Polaroids
Carole King – Fantasy
Geddy Lee – My Favorite Headache
The Pipettes – We Are The Pipettes
Wondermints – Wondermints

A gripe

You know how when you order food in a restaurant and it’s taking a while, you go to the bathroom and when you return the food is there? Same thing when I leave my office while waiting for a source to call back. I can sit at my desk for two hours, get nothing, leave for five minutes to move my car, and here come three phone calls.

UPDATE: Wow. This time I leave to move the car, there’s a $30 ticket, and when I get back I missed a call. Awesome.

Friday 10

1) Prince – “Loose.”  Surprisingly fun album track from the hated Come, which Rich Bunnell once described the difficulty of reviewing: “Here’s a song that sucks… here’s another song that sucks… and we’re done.”

2) Alice Cooper – “Nurse Rozetta.” Extremely Pete Townshend-like epic from the underrated From the Inside album, including the hideous erection couplet “I’m suddenly twice my size/my pants are all wet inside.” Also includes the line “she pulled the buckle of my Bible Belt.” About fucking a mental hospital attendant, basically.

3) Aimee Mann – “Amateur.” Long, languid ballad from the wonderful I’m With Stupid album, which would be better if every song on it didn’t sound like this. Whee paradox!

4) Erasure – “Take Me Back.” Poptastic but generic mid-pace song from the I Say I Say I Say album. It’s very very hard for me to dislike a Vince Clarke song.

5) A Tribe Called Quest – “Verses From The Abstract.” One of the better songs from one of the top 10 rap albums of all time, The Low End Theory. “Once had a fetish/a fetish for some booty/now I’m on the mic and rapping is my duty.”

6) The Jesus and Mary Chain – “Head On.” Another good song from an album full of clones of said song, Automatic. I like this as much as the Pixies cover.

7) Guided by Voices – “Subtle Gear Shifting.” Yes oh god yes, a GBV b-side. And a good one. One of Tobin Sprout’s all-time grinding guitar “riffs.”

8) Andy Bell – “Electric Blue.” The title track from his absolutely terrific 2005 solo album. It doesn’t really go anyway, but listen to that synth bass and tell me gay people shouldn’t get married.

9) Erasure – “Worlds On Fire.” Um, three Erasure songs? Didn’t I just add like 200 hip-hop tracks to my playlist? Whatever; a fairly catchy track from the underrated Cowboy.

10) Iris DeMent – “Higher Ground.” What a sad end. The hideous final track from DeMent’s great Infamous Angel album, a duet with her warbly, gospel-obsessed mom. Listen to everything else on the record.

Weigeldammerung

I just collected two checks for various assigmments and found a roommate to take my place at the townhouse room I’m vacating. What, knowing me, would be my next step. That’s right – spending a truckload of money. This month’s big purchase (not counting any stuff for the new house):

Yeah, that’s right. The 22-disc Wagner collection by Georg Solti. Before it goes out of print, I snapped up (for 40% below retail) Der fliegende Holländer, Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Parsifal, Tannhäuser, and Tristan und Isolde. My wallet hurts.

LAX, but not lacking

I’ve complained privately (ie, not on this here blog) about aspects of my trip. But a tip of the hat to the people who decided to build wireless networks in every airport, especially if they did so w/ T-Mobile. I just updated the Reason site and deleted 50 spam e-mails while sitting on the floor in front of (looks behind me) gate 70B.

Speaking of, I have the lead story at Reason today, although I regret volunteering to run this so early, as my next web piece might not go up until the 28th. It’s almost like August is a slow media month or something.

The Late, Great Golden State*

I arrived safely at Norman Mineta International Airport on Wednesday night, whereupon Rich Bunnell and his mighty Thunderbird picked me up and spirited me to the Peoples’ Republic of Berkeley. I know the “ooh, Berkeley! Lefty!” cliche is older and sadder than Mary (from Peter, Paul and), but this time there I saw more barefoot hippies and Phil Angelides stickers than a man should ever see. Thursday was spent with Rich and the incredible Mike DeFabio and Rich’s friends David, Nate, and Brad.

It took til Friday for everything to go pear-shaped. There was a late-breaking Reason crisis which I fixed, and then discovered I hadn’t fixed (too long to go into here), a meeting in San Francisco delayed by 2 hours, then a rental car pick-up delayed by 3 hours. Arriving at my hotel for CJ and Jamie’s wedding, I found that the promised wireless internet access was down. I also found that my suit pants were the wrong size. (I’ve lost around 4 inches around my waist recently, and I had grabbed the 40”s instead of the 36”s.) A trip to Target corrected the pants situation, and a trip to Borders (where I am now) fixed the wireless situation, but now there’s the matter of my car’s weirdly dysfunctional GPS. Oh, well. At least I found the second season DVD of “Battlestar Galactica” for $25.

You mean this is only season 2 part 1? Sumbitch.

*musical reference here

Expect 40 mph chase sequences

I’ll be in the Bay Area from tonight to Sunday, staying in Berkeley thanks to the hospitality of the awesome Rich Bunnell. The schedule so far: hanging with Rich and Mike DeFabio mid-day Thursday, hanging with California Tim Cavanaugh mid-day Friday, heading to Sacramento for a wedding Friday night, returning from Sacramento Sunday morning. Call me if you’re around and want to catch up.