If MULLINGS had been a gardening column, I could have continued to write it. But the DoD lawyers said that for every month I was in Iraq (on their payroll as a civilian employee) I had to extend paying readers' subscription by a month. That is the principal reason Subscription Month has moved from the Spring to the Fall.
The other issue about writing from Iraq was: It was impossible to find the time to write three days a week, so I saved it up for a lengthy essay which I generally wrote on Sundays. The Iraq Travelogues (there were 24 in the series) remain some of the most widely read of all the stuff I've written.
In 1999 we switched from faxing MULLINGS to e-mailing them and putting them up on the MULLINGS.com webpage. For almost all the ensuing nine years, three sponsors have been aboard: Becki Donatelli (at campaignsolutions.com), Ed Goeas (at tarrance.com), and Page Moon (at focusdatasolutions.com).
Some fun facts:
The database, as of this writing, contains just over e-mail 37,000 addresses. In addition, according to the automated statistics, nearly a half million people a month visit MULLINGS and take a look at one or more pages.
Because they are written three times per week, there are usually between 12 and 13 MULLINGS each month. That means that I went past the 1,500 column mark sometime last September - a benchmark I also missed.
There are a few columns which are repeated each year, among them:
Back to School
According to my informal count, there have been 1,508 MULLINGS and Travelogues which have averaged about 700 words each for a total of some 1,055,600 words - not counting the Secret Decoder Ring page which often takes longer to construct than the actual column.
Speaking of the SDR, the Mullfoto began as an irregular addition to the Secret Decoder Ring page in 2002 but has become a daily feature long since.
My favorite Mullfoto comes from the Iraq sequence. You can see it on today's SDR by clicking on the link at the bottom.
That total, by the way, is not 1,055,600 different words. I have used many words - "Rodham" comes to mind - more than once over these ten years.
I read somewhere that the average mystery novel contains about 62,500 words. If that is true than I have written the equivalent of nearly 17 mysteries over the past 10 years.
It is one thing to have written MULLINGS for all these years, but the real mystery is the number of you who keep reading them, commenting on them, correcting them, and sharing them with your friends, colleagues and families.
Thank you. Here's to another ten.