Estimated reading time: 14 minute(s)

Caption: “AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES.—Drawn by J. E. Kelly.” Retrieved from the December 30, 1879 edition of Harper’s Young People.

Below, you will find a fictional dialogue between two unusual friends – Justin and Justina. In this dialogue, they break the fourth wall to wish you a happy New Year and to report on the most-read New Leaf Journal articles in 2020. While you try to follow their confusing banter, we invite you to follow links to some of The New Leaf Journal’s best content of 2020. You can find their regular dialogues here.

Dialogue: Most-Read New Leaf Journal Content of 2020

Justin and Justina are sitting in The Emu Café enjoying soba for New Year’s. We join them as Justin explains to Justina what they are doing.

Justin: Happy New Year!
Justina: Cheers!
Justin: Nick asked us to introduce the list of the 20 most-read New Leaf Journal articles.
Justina: Oh…
Justin: What is it?
Justina: I only read stuff about me. How much else is there?
Justin: This will be the 192nd article.
Justina: …Then why are so few about us?
Justin: Wait, you haven’t seen any other articles? How’d you find The Emu Café?
Justina: Huh? What are you talking about? What does this place have to do with that website?
Emu: …
Justin: Err… this place is only on that website.
Justina: I’m confused.
Emu: …
Justin: Just eat your soba. This will make more sense as we go along.
Justina: Well I am hungry.
Justin: Here’s how this’ll go. We’ll list the 21 most-read New Leaf Journal articles from 21 to one and tell you a bit about each one. Questions?

Questions About the Ranking

Justina: Why 21?
Justin: It was supposed to be the top 20 most-read New Leaf Journal articles, but Nick miscounted and didn’t want to delete 21 because he thought that we would have something funny to say about it.
Justina: …
Emu:
Justina: Don’t older articles have an advantage?
Justin: I suppose, but that can’t be helped. This isn’t science. Don’t be such a science type.
Justina: Well where do the view numbers come from?
Justin: Nick drew the numbers from Google Analytics data from April to early to July and Koko Analytics data from early July to the present.
Justina: What does that mean?
Emu: …
Justin: You can read Nick’s article on Koko Analytics for a primer.
Justina: I’ll take your word for it. We’re all over the list, right?
Justin: Well… we’ll see. I mean I’m sure Pumpkin Taker is number one.
Justina: Not that again…
Justin: That’s a scary look! Inflaming my old pitching injury! Alright, let’s start the rank.

#21: Farming Gold Roses for Money in Animal Crossing

Justin: Victor V. Gurbo published this Animal Crossing strategy guide on October 13, 2020.
Justina: Animal Crossing is some video game, right? I think I saw it on Facebook.
Justin: Only the most popular video game in 2020. Victor wrote this post after a gentleman named “Bill” posted in the Guestbook that he thought The New Leaf Journal would have strategy guides for making money in Animal Crossing.
Justina: Why would he think that?
Justin: The previous Animal Crossing game was “Animal Crossing: New Leaf.”
Justina: Alright…
Justin: Anyway, Victor happens to be an addict, so he responded to Bill with an entire article about farming gold roses in Animal Crossing to make money.
Justina: What?
Justin: In other words, he suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, so he spent countless hours of his life creating gold rose farms in a video game and then harvested the gold roses for video game money.
Justina: Video games are weird…
Justin: Not as weird as Pumpkin Taker
Justina: This might actually be weirder than you…
Justin: Did I tell you that he’s “NIXON” and he named his town “Watergate”?
Justina: …
Emu: …

#20: The Heroic Fallen Trash Can Rescue in Gowanus

Justin: Nicholas A. Ferrell published this article about his incomparable heroism on October 30, 2020.
Justina: He really wrote an article about picking up a New York City trash can that fell down?
Justin: He said he got the idea from my discourse on heroism.
Justina: I can’t even. And he touched a trash can? Eww.
Justin: He said it had a handle and he didn’t touch any trash.
Justina: I still wouldn’t have done it.
Justin: Would have been too heavy for you anyway.
Justina: Hey!

#19: Women’s Fashion Trends for January 1841

Justin: Nick wrote this expose about nineteenth century women’s fashion for winter on November 5, 2020.
Justina: He doesn’t know anything about fashion…
Justin: But he did read an article in an 1841 magazine.
Emu: …
Justin: …
Justina: …

#18: Reviewing the HALOmask and är Mask

Justin: Victor wrote a detailed review of fancy protective masks on December 2, 2020.
Justina: How do they look?
Justin: Mask-ish.
Justina: So they’re not pretty?
Justin: They’re pretty enough for all mask purposes, I guess.
Justina: Oh. Well tell him to review pretty masks next time.
Emu: …
Justin: …
Justina: You have a request, Victor!

#17: Welcome to The Emu Café

Emu: On May 16, 2020, Nick published a beautiful piece of content about my very fine establishment. In it, he introduced the concept of The Emu Café.
Justin: Mr. Emu! I thought the introductions were my job!
(Justin and the Emu laugh)
Justina: …
Emu: My apologies. The crisp wind of winter inspired me.
Justin: Always in tune with the seasons. Nick says this was his favorite article to write other than the chronicles of my greatest conversations.
Emu: How lovely!
Justin: More of you should definitely read it and check out the whole section. One of our dialogues even made it, I heard. Inspiring stuff.
Justina: So I haven’t said anything about the bird, but why is it talking now?
Emu: …
Justin: …

#16: Examining the-Man-With-the-Hose

Justin: Nick published this deep examination of why some men go overboard on water-usage when washing the pavement on June 28, 2020.
Justina: I always wonder about that too… but why is he talking about Thales and Heraclitus? I barely remember them from the school, and I don’t think they said anything relevant.
Justin: I did say it was a philosophical examination.
Justina: This seems wordy…
Justin: It’s a complicated subject.
Justina: Are you sure he’s not making it unnecessarily complicated?
Justin: No… but it’s funny.
Justina: I chuckled.
Justin: Nick is probably feeling very self-satisfied that this post of all posts made the top 20.
Emu: …

#15: Reviewing Three Boutique Guitar Strings

Justin: Victor reviewed three boutique guitar strings and wrote an article about it on June 25, 2020.
Justina: Some of his guitars in the pictures look old.
Justin: They do. This piece isn’t just a guitar string review, it also showcases pictures from Victor’s classic guitar collection.
Justina: Why does he like old guitars?
Justin: Victor! We have a question for you!
Emu: …
Justin: Did you know that he runs humidifiers just to keep the humidity right for his guitar collection?
Justina: That sounds pretty serious.
Justin: He doesn’t joke around when it comes to his guitars, so you can probably trust his guitar string reviews.
Justina: I would if I played the guitar.

#14: The Quarantine Sessions: “Frankie & Albert”

Justin: On May 3, 2020, Victor launched his “Quarantine Sessions” series of articles about a music recording project he is working on with a fellow talented Brooklyn musician by the name of Mark Caserta. This article covers their recording of “Frankie & Albert.”
Justina: The video is pretty cool. The cars kind of match the rhythm of the song.
Justin: Victor tells us that Mr. Caserta put together the visual accompaniment to the recording.
Justina: Reading now, this song sounds depressing.
Justin: I’ve noticed that most of the folk songs Victor writes about tend to be depressing.
Justina: What’s with these folk people?
Justin: I’m not sure, but it’s an informative history.
Justina: That’s true – it is cool to learn about the song while listening.

#13: Constantine and the Last Vespers at the Hagia Sophia

Justin: Inspired with a passion for what has been lost (Constantinople) when Turkey began using the Hagia Sophia as a mosque, Nick wrote an article on July 14, 2020, about the last vespers at the Hagia Sophia before Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453.
Justina: You two are really into this whole Constantinople issue…
Justin: Just read the account! “As a Christian emperor, and as a Christian soldier, he was solemnly, and in the sight of his people, preparing to appear before his God.” Deeply moving.
Justina: I’ll admit that it’s pretty heavy.
Justin: The story of Constantine XI’s solemn heroism in his last days is one of history’s most inspiring. Nick says he’ll have more to write about it in 2021, but he adds that it’s not the last we’ll see about the last Roman Emperor on this list.

#12: Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Justin: On Thanksgiving Eve, Nick published the full text of George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation, along with its backstory and some of his thoughts on the matter.
Justina: They sure liked long sentences in 1789…
Justin: That they did, but once you get used to it, the writing is quite clear.
Justina: I’ll take your word for it.
Justin: I enjoyed the aspects of the debate over the Proclamation that are pertinent to questions about whether the Establishment Clause is incorporated against the states.
Justina: In English?
Justin: Nick! We have an article request.
Justina: No we don’t.
Emu: …

#11: Setting up SoloKeys with Peppermint OS

Justin: On October 1, 2020, Nick wrote about all the steps he had to take to make his laptop, then running Peppermint OS, recognize his new physical security keys.
Justina: …
Justin: Peppermint OS is a Linux distribution. Nick installed it on his laptop to replace Windows 10.
Justina: Why would he do that?
Justin: Who knows? But subsequent to the article, he replaced Peppermint OS on that laptop with Manjaro, running the XFCE desktop environment.
Justina: Why didn’t he just get a Mac?
Justin: Because he’s a human being.
Justina: Hey!
Justin: Most of this article’s views came from Twitter after SoloKeys retweeted a tweet about it. Nick does still recommend SoloKeys, good product. He said he may have put more time into Peppermint had he had that much time.
Justina: Can we get back to English articles?
Emu: …

#10: Halloween and the Pumpkin with a Mask

Justin: On October 23, 2020, Nick published this beautiful content about a NOT rotting pumpkin with hands and a mask.
Justina: That’s a funny picture. I want to shake its hand.
Justin: Nick tells me they didn’t leave it to rot, true heroes.
Justina: How did it get into the top 10?
Justin: Good question. Nick has a good number of photo-based articles, but few ranked this high. He said that it appears to have performed well on Bing, and perhaps also on a few social media accounts.
Justina: I guess pumpkins with masks are in this year?
Justin: So it seems… So are rotting pumpkins.
Emu: …
Justina: What’s nine!?

#9: President Birthday Facts

Justin: On June 14, Nick commemorated President Donald Trump’s birthday with an entire article about presidential birthday facts.
Justina: He couldn’t resist the Microsoft Paint art…
Justin: It’s what he did until he didn’t have access to Microsoft Paint anymore.
Justina: Some of these facts are about deaths.
Justin: Look, it all comes together. Most of them are about birthdays. Look at Calvin Coolidge’s birthday.
Justina: July 4?
Justin: Pretty cool, no?
Justina: I suppose.

#8: Remembering Second Lieutenant Carleton Burr for Memorial Day

Justin: On May 25, 2020, Nick wrote an article about the life and death of Carleton Burr, a brave and eloquent young man who fought and died for this country on the battlefields of France in World War I. The post covers Lt. Burr’s service and the debt that one gentleman today feels he owes Lt. Burr after his grandfather credited him with his surviving the war.
Justina: That’s heartfelt.
Justin: Indeed. We owe Lt. Burr and thousands like them a great debt. Nick says he was happy to do his small part to pay tribute to an American hero, and he is glad that so many people took the time to learn Lt. Burr’s story. He returned to the subject of Lt. Burr’s diaries for Veteran’s Day.

#7: Against Chinese Government Propaganda

Justin: On May 24, 2020, Nick was so flabbergasted by a proposed Senate resolution deeming any reference to the Chinese-origin of the Wuhan virus to be anti-Asian that he wrote an entire article with a rather large number of sources and links blaming the Chinese Communist Party for the virus and arguing that we should note China’s being responsible at every opportunity.
Justina: You guys seem to have it in for Chinese commies.
Justin: For good reason! Read the article!
Justina: Does Nick still agree with everything he wrote given that it was more than eight months ago?
Justin: He said he still likes every word.
Justina: It was co-sponsored by Senator Kamala Harris?
Justin: Nick noticed and remembered that recently. He likes to think he foresaw that the article could be more evergreen than it may have appeared when he first published it.

#6: Persona 4 Golden Digital Artbook Review (Steam)

Justin: On November 15, 2020, Nick published a review of of the Persona 4 Golden digital artbook, available with the digital deluxe edition of Persona 4 Golden on Steam.
Justina: Translation…
Justin: Persona 4 Golden is a video game. You can buy it on Steam. If you spend a bit extra, you get a 20-page PDF artbook. That’s what Nick reviewed.
Justina: Why did I ask?
Justin: This article has been a late riser in the ranking, doing much of its damage over the last two weeks. Nick thinks that much of its success is owned to Persona 4 Golden currently being on sale on Steam, and also thinks that it will move up to #4 in short order.
Justina: Does the article have pictures?
Justin: Not really, no. Nick wrote it just to tell people what’s in it and what he thinks.
Justina: Err…
Emu: …
Justin: Look, it’s the content people want. Nick says that he would have preferred to see his first Persona 4 article up here, however.

#5: The New Leaf Journal Twitter

Justin: On June 10, Nick made a Twitter account for The New Leaf Journal and then complained about it in an article.
Justina: I don’t even use Twitter, so I guess I understand. But why is it so high?
Justin: Unsure. Nick suspects that it benefited to some extent from being near the top of the homepage that visitors were seeing when the site had caching issues.
Emu: …
Justin: Don’t worry about it, it’s done with.
Justina: I didn’t say anything.
Justin: It does have a good quote from Jason Whitlock and a discussion.
Justina: Who?
Justin: Internet’s second-best hot take machine after me.
Justina: …
Emu: …

#4: The Quarantine Sessions: “Love Henry”

Justin: On May 6, 2020, Victor published his second Quarantine Session article, this one on the folk song “Love Henry,” also known as “Young Hunting.”
Justina: Who’s the guy in the picture in the article?
Justin: The famous Francis James Child, he compiled classic folk songs in multiple volumes. One of which was the song in question.
Justina: Interesting.
Justin: Victor compared different versions of the song by Child.
Justina: The video is great. The squirrels and the birds!
Justin: I agree, you should watch the video that accompanies the performance for the visuals in addition to the music.
Emu: …
Justin: I should add that this article stands as our best performing Facebook post by a large margin. Be sure to follow us there if you have a Facebook account.
Justina: I’m too busy watching the Love Henry video again.
Justin: Although this is the last Quarantine Session on the list, you can find the others and help them make our 2021 list by following the series tag.
Emu: …

#3: Review of The Great Suspender Extension

Justin: The top three articles, Nick tells me, stand far and above the rest in the page view count. Our third place article in 2020 is Nick’s review of The Great Suspender browser extension for Chromium-based browsers. He published this article on August 28, 2020 – only August article on our list.
Justina: How is this ahead of our dialogues?
Justin: It’s a funny story – one Nick told in a separate article. Nick posted the article to Twitter, and it was noticed by Vivaldi’s CMO (Nick tested the extension on the Vivaldi web browser) and after it was re-tweeted by Vivaldi, many people clicked.
Justina: What is it, exactly?
Justin: It can suspend background tabs based on your settings.
Justina: …
Justin: For whatever it’s worth, Nick still uses it and stands by his initial appraisal. Try it on your favorite chromium-based browser today! Not you, Justina, we know you use Safari.
Emu: …
Justina: Quiet, bird.

#2: The Last Stand of Constantine XI

Justin: On May 30, just after the dark anniversary of the fall of Constantinople, Nick wrote a long feature piece on the last Emperor’s last stand.
Justina: You guys and Constantinople.
Justin: “Or perhaps as the legend goes, Constantine lies marbled, in splendid repose, waiting to rise again.”
Justina: The legend?
Justin: You’ll have to read to find out.
Justina: It’s long.
Justin: Preview of things to come. We’re taking Constantinople back for Emperor Constantine.
Justina: …
Emu: I’ll get my helmet.
Justina: …
Emu: …
Justin: But future plans aside, there’s a serious and inspiring story in there. Nick is glad many people have found it, and hopes it features on next year’s 2021 list too.

#1: An Early Review of Pixelfed – Instagram Alternative

Justina: We better be number one.
Justin: I wish, but sadly, another article took the throne this year while we wait for Constantine XI to rise again. On November 13, Nick published a review and early impressions of a new social media platform called Pixelfed. As the title suggests, it’s a sort of alternative to Instagram.
Justina: Pixel-what? Why not just use Instagram?
Justin: It’s bad and Nick does not like big tech social media.
Justina: Well why would I leave Insta?
Justin: Nick praised Pixelfed for its nice small community and relatively good content. Although he listed some issues, he has found some success on the platform for the site and some very pretty photography. He noted how people take pictures of pretty scenes instead of themselves.
Justina: So I can’t use it to look at pictures of other people being happy in order to convince myself that my life is empty and meaningless?
Justin: It’s less good for that.
Justina: Sounds like a waste to me, but whatever makes all of you happy.
Justin: Is this a preview of our next dialogue?
Emu: …
Justina: …
Justin: In any event, congratulations to Nick’s Pixelfed review for being the most-read article on The New Leaf Journal in 2020. At the rate it is accruing views, it may well earn a spot on the 2021 list as well. Nick continues to like the platform and told me that it has made some improvements with respect to issues he noted in November. You can check out his Pixelfed page for The New Leaf Journal here.

Dialogue: Postscript

Justina: I can’t believe we didn’t make it…
Justin: Me neither. But for new readers who enjoyed our banter, you can read our regular dialogues.
Justina: We better make the 2021 list.
Justin: We will, I know we will. Nick said that he plans to post a couple of our dialogues each month in 2021. Our time will come.
Emu: …
Justin: Of course, there are many interesting New Leaf Journal articles that didn’t make the list. You can find older content in our archives and by searching tags and “related articles” underneath any of our content. One article on the most-read list could take you all around The New Leaf Journal.
Justina: To me!
Justin: Nick also says he’ll work on site improvements in early 2021 to make sure that new readers can find our best content.
Emu: If I do humbly suggest, start by visiting The Emu Café.
Justina: …
Emu: …
Justina: Seriously, what’s with this bird?
Justin: This post is going live at midnight, but we’re going to enjoy the rest of our New Year’s Eve dinner. Below, you’ll find the full list of most read New Leaf Journal articles again, but this one goes down to 25.
Justina: Did that get any of our articles in?
Justin: Well…
Emu: …
Justin: Happy New Years!
Justina: Yay…

Plain List: 25 Most-Read New Leaf Journal Articles in 2020

  1. An Early Review of Pixelfed – Instagram Alternative (N.A. Ferrell)
  2. The Last Stand of Constantine XI (N.A. Ferrell)
  3. Review of the Great Suspender Extension (N.A. Ferrell)
  4. The Quarantine Sessions: “Love Henry” (V. Gurbo)
  5. The New Leaf Journal Twitter (N.A. Ferrell)
  6. Persona 4 Golden Digital Artbook Review (Steam) (N.A. Ferrell)
  7. Against Chinese Government Propaganda (N.A. Ferrell)
  8. Remembering Second Lieutenant Carleton Burr for Memorial Day (N.A. Ferrell)
  9. President Birthday Facts (N.A. Ferrell)
  10. Halloween and the Pumpkin with a Mask (N.A. Ferrell)
  11. Setting up SoloKeys with Peppermint OS (N.A. Ferrell)
  12. Constantine and the Last Vespers at Hagia Sophia (N.A. Ferrell)
  13. Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation (N.A. Ferrell)
  14. The Quarantine Sessions: “Frankie & Albert” (V. Gurbo)
  15. Reviewing Three Boutique Guitar Strings (V. Gurbo)
  16. Examining the-Man-With-the-Hose (N.A. Ferrell)
  17. Welcome to The Emu Café (N.A. Ferrell)
  18. Reviewing the HALOmask and är Mask (V. Gurbo)
  19. Women’s Fashion Trends for January 1841 (N.A. Ferrell)
  20. The Heroic Fallen Trash Can Rescue in Gowanus (N.A. Ferrell)
  21. Farming Gold Roses for Money in Animal Crossing (V. Gurbo)
  22. Against Half-Way Yogurt Thievery (N.A. Ferrell)
  23. Two Downed Stop Signs in Brooklyn Heights (N.A. Ferrell)
  24. Review of the Original Persona 4 Artbook (N.A. Ferrell)
  25. Insomnia Diaries: TikTok and Lucille Bogan (V. Gurbo)