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Riffs on Life: Your Top Ten Favorites of 2014 — Sort Of

Two deep pink tulips bloom at Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA. Photo by BF Newhall

“Tulips and Sex — Writing As If Everyone I Know Were Dead” was inspired by the tulips in bloom last spring at Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Here they are, your favorite Riffs on Life, 2014.

Actually, these might not be your favorites at all. That’s because they are the 2014 posts that got the most page reads this year, which means that they are the favorites of Internet search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Your top ten might be something else entirely. I know that some of the posts I’m most proud of didn’t make the list.

Actor Christopher Dennis dressed as Superman on Hollywood's Walk of Fame with Jon Newhall. Photo by BF Newhall

Spotted on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame: My girlhood hero Superman. To his left, Jon, my actual man. Later I wrote “Stalking Superman.” Photo by Barbara Newhall

Two of my favorites that just missed the list, for example, were my encounters with Superman and with singer-dancer-actor Robert Morse — at Nos. 12 and 14. My righteous rant about James Dobson and his abusive, allegedly Christian, child-rearing philosophy took the No. 17 spot.

“Tulips and Sex — Writing As If Everyone I Know Were Dead” was a runner up at No. 13. And a recent post, “Advent: Witnessing to the Light With Tinsel and a Plastic Santa,” was way, way down on the list with only 52 page reads total — maybe because it was posted so late in the year that it hasn’t had time to get much traffic .

A couple of my favorites did make the top ten cut, however: Check out “Dead Stuff — Which I Will Be Too One of These Days” and “Nature — We Love It, But Does It Give a Darn About Us?”

Meanwhile, Happy New Year to you! May your 2015 be prosperous, and may our tumultuous world find a little peace.

Top Ten Riffs on Life Posted in 2014

1. “Armistead Maupin – The Man Who Wrote the Quintessential San Francisco Novel on a Newspaper Deadline”

2. “Little Girls Are Superior to Little Boys — Here’s Why”

3. “The Institute of Mosaic Art — A Berkeley Spin on an Ancient Art

4.  “Travel Adventures: The Poop on China — And the Pee”

5.  “Oakland’s Jingletown — Arts, Crafts, Cool Kitsch and Cookies”

6. “Christmas Eve in Mexico — It’s All About the Baby Jesus” 

7. “Nature — We Love It, But Does It Give a Darn About Us?”

8. “The DeYoung This Week — Bursting With Art and Flowers”

9. “Atheist to Catholic — Two Brainy Women Get Religion”

10. “Dead Stuff — Which I Will Be Too One of These Days”

A plastic angle with a blue gown plays a golden flute. Photo by Barbara Newhall

“Advent: Witnessing to the Light With Tinsel and a Plastic Santa” — and an angel for the top of our Christmas tree. Photo by Barbara Newhall

A half dead valley oak tree stands near a pasture at Bishop's Ranch, Sonoma county, CA. Photo by BF Newhall

A half-dead valley oak tree inspired “Dead Stuff — Which I Will Be Too One of These Days.” Photo by Barbara Newhall



  1. Dee Myers says:

    Barbara, I love all of your riffs. You are mindful and pay attention like a good Budhist. May the New Year bless you and yours with good health, peace of mind, joy, and love.

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