Happy Groundhog’s Day and The IFOD Turns Four!

by | Feb 2, 2021


I love Groundhog’s Day. Not because I actually believe that Punxsutawney Phil can predict winter’s duration but because I receive merriment from the notion that a large rodent has weather predicting abilities. It is so ridiculous that I cherish Groundhog’s Day. (For those playing along, this morning he predicted six more weeks of winter.)

I launched this website/blog four years ago today with a post about the Interesting Number Paradox. Researching and writing about the various topics in this blog really scratches an itch for me and I appreciate that anyone at all reads it. The number of email subscribers has gradually grown over the last four years — it started with about 200 and is now at 1,700. There were about 500 clicks per day on average in 2020, with days with a new post getting higher than that and off days being lower.

There are a few things I’ve learned from writing and publishing this blog:

  • As I mentioned when I was a guest on Matt Hall’s Take the Long View Podcast last year, the site really should be called “things that I think are interesting” rather than “the interesting fact of the day.” Some of the topics I have thought are the most interesting get relatively few clicks. For example, the post titled “What Happened to Latin?” is about how Latin went from one of the most spoken languages in the world to a dead language and also about how languages morph and change over time. I thought this was super interesting but it has gotten only 256 clicks since it was published. What I’ve come to realize is that people are most likely to click on posts with topics that are relevant to them. We’re all busy, so esoteric topics don’t get as many eyeballs.
  • But it’s not about the clicks for me. What I like best about writing this blog is the personal connections that arise or are deepened from it. I love getting emails from people about posts or when people leave comments on the website. I enjoy when I talk to someone and they bring up a post and we chat about it and they give me their unique insights.

Thanks for reading. Happy Groundhog’s Day!


  1. John
    Thanks for sharing these tidbits of info. Very fun and interesting. Congrats on the anniversary. Keep them coming.

    I’ll admit that I have passed on a few IFOD but usually read them no matter the topic.

  2. I love the IFOD John. Thank you for taking the time to do it. And thanks for sharing what it has meant to you.

  3. John, congratulations on your fourth year of your IFOD. Curiosity is a an important disposition.Its magic is the more you have, the more you learn and the more you learn the more you have!
    Thanks for constantly feeding my curiosity.
    Love, Your Mother

  4. Happy IFOD Birthday! I have enjoyed each IFOD since I signed up. I’m glad you mentioned the “What Happened to Latin” entry which I missed. Back when I was in school (seems like a hundred years ago but was actually in the 1970s) my mother persuaded me to take at least 2 years of Latin classes because she said that even if I didn’t go into the medical field as she did, it would help me to spell more accurately as well as figure out many unknown words from knowing the Latin root since English is one of the many “Romance” languages. She was so right!
    Thanks for sharing you passion for learning with us!

  5. Glad you have this itch, John. We all benefit from your scratching.

  6. John once told me that I was his second favorite uncle, but that the number one spot was open. How’s that for motivation? Since he started writing the IFODS he is slowly working up to number one nephew.

  7. John, I thank you for your blog. I read it every day! I miss our talks during the Island parties in Colonial!

  8. So grateful we live in such interesting times. Never a dull read on IFOD. Thanks so much, John!

  9. When John was a boy he seemed to know the answer to almost any question on any topic. We were pretty sure he was making up a lot of stuff actually. Now that he publishes the IFOD we have all of his readers to make sure that his articles are accurate. I also look forward to reading all of your comments.

    I must say that I am a proud father.

  10. Congratulations and Happy 4th bday to IFOD. My brother Jack introduced me to your newsletter when he emailed our family group and said you were a friend of his. I must have missed the Vampire Weekend song and would like to know if you would kindly repost it or email it to me.

  11. IFOD is proof of the need to stay curious, and a little whimsical, through good times and bad. In 2020, when I discovered IFOD, feeding a curiousity-and-whimsey practice became as essential as meditation, exercise, time in nature, and fine bourbon. Okay well, almost.
    Make America Curious and Whimsical again!
    (You could put that on a hat. You’re welcome for the marketing idea.)
    Four more years!

  12. John, Congratulations on four years. As you might imagine, my closest friends are also subscribers. Our conversations often start with, “Did you read John’s IFOD today?” or, “John did an IFOD on that and….”. I look forward reading them everyday. Your IFOD is a much appreciated gift.
    Thank you,

  13. Happy birthday to you! Thanks for sharing your brilliance and always keeping it interesting. Oh — and you’re a GOOD writer!

  14. You get 1 at a boy for each IFOD from me. I often start my day by reading an IFOD!

  15. Is Groundhog day 2nd February or a specific Tuesday (in the same way as Thanksgiving is a specific Thursday)? In England 2nd Febit is Candlemas and not really much celebrated but it IS celebrated in France as Le Chandeleur. I bet you can guess how we celebrate it – crêpes !

    • It’s feb 2 everybyear

  16. Happy IFOD anniversary John. I love reading the IFOD and frequently pass it on to family and friends. My son who is studying psychology (following in his parent’s footprints) really enjoys the psychology related topics.



  17. Congrats on four years JJ – I’ve been enjoying since the beginning!

  18. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and have shared various posts with friends and family. I have bookmarked quite a few to read again. In particular, the one about the Oxford Comma (a favorite of Grant Professionals) and your sharing the Vampire Weekend song. They are now a staple on my playlist. Thanks for your curiosity and humor!

    • Thanks Amy!


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