Blogging has changed my life. I can count with the fingers on both hands the events from which I can say that statement to be true; and the indulgence I present herewith has a pinky finger all to its own.
But how did this little thing (blogging) we do change my world? or changed OUR world for that matter -or at least the free flow of information as we know it-, how? How did it happen that in just over a decade of existence it has planted its Mighty standard along the major networks, cable news shows and print media as an official mover and shaker of cultural and political Discourse?
I've wanted to do a little posting on the culture itself. Just the mechanics, nuts and bolts of "courtesies expected" etc. It started innocently enough with some Googling. Reading a little history of its evolution gave me a good overall view of both the original "intent" (if one can call it that) and its subsequent weaving into the collective tapestry of everyday life. But I gotta' tell you, I got tired real quick. The amount of information as to the culture, the this and that became peripheral to my wants and I just stopped writing the damned thing. It was getting tediously long, boring (even to my own noggin'), and not very fun. Why, I thought, not just run the gamut and read as many types of Blogs as I possibly can, get a good synopsis of the variety and types, and regurgitate it for my fellow brethren here at the House of Pain.
Before I give you a little taste of my latest favorite list and some comments please allow me a disclaimer. There is no rhyme or reason of order, no preference markers of note, no hidden skews (at least that I am aware) and in no way are my flippant comments of each meant to deny them their proper respect and day in the Sun. Some are very matter-of-factly and not intended to do anything other than present information. Some are (to me) downright stupid and devoid of any effort of logic other than their own road to dementia. There are many hybrids as well. Some are rants for a myriad of topics, not caring whether or not their style can win "hearts and minds"; and other rants do wish to influence your thinking and do an admirable job of coaxing you to their mine-field of thought. The writing styles are the thing that sets them apart of course. From the simple to the sublime, from the acerbic to the properly political, from the syntax-challenged to the maiming of accepted writing laws (your truly), there is something for everybody. There is love, hate, musings, dogma, agendas and opinions by the millions. So before you indulge, get your beverage of choice and have the bath water running with your favorite beads in wait, you may just want to jump in there after 10 minutes.
Lastly, some of my very favorites are included as well. Not to pimp them (as KEvronius would say) but just as my homage to the real joy I get when visiting their house of banter.
The Dark Wraith Forums - Left wing without the hot sauce. Very well written, cordially presented, visually appealing, and a place even some of my Right Wing bomb-throwing friends can lay off the trigger. He even has a link of easy-to-do HTML coding for all of us technically challenged bloggers.
Social Sense - My Truth-Pain talons have been landing on this tree very often as of late. An almost mirror image to the above-mentioned albeit from the right side of things. Some of his essays are so well-written than even if you don't care for the topic or agree with the theme you find yourself in the "thinking man" pose.... and THAT to me is the mark of a good blog. A place that makes you stop and re-think.
An Innocent Okie in King George's Court - Art and the appreciation of it in its many forms, were it Music or (as this one) Fine Arts, is one of my favorite things to do. Try getting a dose of this guy. It is just fun to live vicariously through his meanderings.
truckerphilosophy - "Conservative, Christian, Poor, White, Married, Middle Aged, Guitar playing Truck Driver. Contents under pressure." ... such says this sites profile. I find his postings interesting as hell. Not because of any one reason, but because some of us that live near large Metropolitan areas feel our voices represent all America. We don't. Opinion does not necessarily have to cloak itself in bourgeois language for it to be as important. I think southern thinking gets a bad (and at times unjust) rap. I can get thousands of left leaning southern blogs that are just as honest, compelling and of self-conviction.... as his right-leaning blog most certainly is. Honesty and truth come in all forms, doesn't it?
Renegade Eye - "This blog is secular and socialist; influenced politically by Leon Trotsky, musically by Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash and the tango music of Astor Piazzolla and Carlos Gardel, artistically by Pablo Picasso and Carlos Paez Vilaro"... with a header like that, tell me the stuff is not unique. Left, Socialist, Revolutionary,... fill the blank. I admit I am a glutton for this site. It appeals to my "what the hell are they talking about?" nature.
The Lesbian Lifestyle - Although I lived in San Francisco for years, and have many a friend either openly Gay or not,... the subject of homosexuality is still foreign to me in many ways. This is just a few sites I've visited to give me calibration on the topic. The stories are varied, interesting and the links I've gotten along the way are terrific in their own right. Why a lesbian site and not a gay site? Well, let me put it this way (kids, close your ears for a sec..). I still can only read or write about MY own Penis and not anyone else's...., yet. But give me time.
Planet Hugill - Classical music blog from Robert Hugill - See, the thing is, I am a rocker. As a self-taught Guitar and Bass player I was weaned on Van Halen, Aerosmith, AC DC, Pink Floyd etc. Then (as my booty got groovin') I got into Funk. Parliament, Cameo, The Gap Band, the Meters, Zapp,.. all the classic old school. But in my heart of hearts Classical draws me. It wasn't till I cross the quad-decade that I gained a whole new appreciation for music. I still am Jazz and Fusion-stupid. But there is nothing like Classical to scramble the right side of your brain. This site was one of the first I found that guided me to other things in a way that was not snotty or above my knowledge-base.
The Reference Frame - This is what happens when you select random words as your search base, you fly in under the radar, read a couple of paragraphs,... and then check your flight plan to see where you missed the turn. When someone gets what this is about let me know. I'm not being sarcastic. I just have no time to find out today.
The Strata Sphere - You did not think I was going to leave this posting without throwing my own Libertarian / Conservative ass a bone, do ya'? This puppy is gaining momentum amongst the Illuminati-brained Washingtonians. It wants the be the "Kos" of the Right, whatever that means; but I dig it. A ton of postings, nicely indexed for your vermin-inducing pleasure and gagging. I like it better than Powerline, more taste and less filling.
So what does all this mean. Nada. The good thing is that politicians and others are taking blogging seriously. After 200-plus years of trusting the media a the vessel for the masses, it is about time their boat capsized. I for one feel that no matter how stupid or illogical the blog, it is a reflection of one citizen, hence one opinion, and at the very least, ove vote. Not everything written is fact, and even a fact can be subjected to the interpretation of the writer.
As the Desk Sergeant used to say after the morning meetings of Hill Street Blues.... "Let's be careful out there"