Sunday, July 09, 2006

Veni, Vidi, Vici...

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"


betmo said...

nice post. i,too, like to go out blog hunting once in awhile- have a large blogroll and a lazy streak to prove it :) it continues to amaze me- as a child of the 80's when computers were becoming mainstream and the internet wasn't commonplace yet- how quickly this whole thing came about. not even a full decade and we have the beast called the internet and it has a power that has yet to be used to it's full potential. this is all very exciting- what a ride!!! :)

Sarah said...

I just posted about my evolution in regards to blogging. It is very interesting how blogging is changing the way we think about politics, and how we gather information. However, I don't know if it's entirely positive. But it is great that anybody - from a New York socialite to a farmer in Nebraska - can have an opinion for the world to see.

Publius said...

To me the best part about blogging is that whereas I get story ideas from the news, I get my information now from blogging. Sure I watch Lou Dobbs and listen to O’Reilly in the car but I learn now more from posting things of my blogs and listening to the reactions and learning new things about topics that I actually care about. I still have the regret that we only seem to have a small group of regulars here on our blogs and that our group-think does not go beyond more than maybe 10 or so people. But, even with such a small number we are such an eclectic bunch that I still learn more from out little group than from the media as a whole.

Truth-Pain said...

Betmo: Amazing isnt is?... If anybody would have told me at my HS graduation ceremony that in the future 25 years I would be communicating instantly to the whole world I would have said "so you DID inhale, didnt you?"

Dark Wraith said...

Good evening, Truth-Pain.

Speaking as a computer geek from the Ancient Times, the evolution is both amazing to me and not surprising. ARPANET users sometimes talked about the inevitable "widening" of our network, but I don't think we imagined the democratization that would occur, although it certainly wouldn't have been all that visionary to have imagined it.

Did you ever see the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey? Perhaps one of the subtler disconcerting scenes was the one where the space transport plane was docking with the torus space station. Clearly marked on the side of the shuttle was "Pan American," a well-known (but now defunct) airline of the 1960s. In director Stanley Kubrick's effort to tell people about the future, he wanted to make sure people understood that it would in many ways be familiar.

More broadly, technology doesn't really change us, although we swear to the Lord on High during times of rapid innovation that it is, indeed, doing just that. Strange as it may seem, when I am able to grasp that essential point, I can more clearly see the future. I tell older people about it, and they look almost as if they don't believe me; but if I tell my young college students the same things, they're downright excited to know when we'll get there. My task is, then, to ensure that they know about the here and now because they're going to find that, when they get "there," it will really be—underneath the layers of lights, sounds, and flying electrons—quite a lot like where they and even their ancestors have already been.

That's the part the young folks don't believe.

The Dark Wraith will blogroll Truth-Pain Emporium at his own blog tomorrow, by the way.

Truth-Pain said...

Sarah: The interesting thing about blogging is that it has helped us morph into our alter-egos. Has there ever been a time when you write something completely anathema to your personality?... I think blogging is Freudian in nature.

tugboatcapn said...

Wow, Dude...

I'm honored.

I do want to say however, that if I have posted anything that seemed "Left Leaning", it was offered as pure sarcasm, or as an attempt to take a lefty point, and expand it to the level of absurdity.

My beliefs run mainstream Republican with Libertarian tendencies.

Once again, thanks for the nod!

Ellie said...

blogging is a very interesting thing. I think it's safe to say it's changed my life as well. as of late I have been extremely busy and haven't had as much time online as usual. I really miss it. TV shows are starting to talk about how blogs are deciding what the stories of the week are. This is probably an exaggeration, but it is still great that it allows people to create some influence. gives some credence to the saying "one vote at a time". is that a saying or did i just make that one up? i don't sounded good. lol.

tugboatcapn said...

Oh, and one more thing...

I really enjoy Blogging, but I don't really take it that seriously.

Nobody who reads my Blog sets national policy (that I know of), so in the end, we are just standing on a virtual streetcorner, talking.

It's a Video Game, and that's how I approach it.

Truth-Pain said...

Publius: As always, your comments sheds more light to my original intent. Like you, I use blogs to gather reaction from today's News. Event are like anything else, they diverge in reality according to the viewer, and THAT is the crux of the news to me,... the reaction not the source itself.

Renegade Eye said...

I linked to your blog.

What is different on my blog, is some subjects are covered critically, that most left blogs don't deal with. My blog criticised Maoism in Nepal, Castroism etc, from the left.

I have loyal rightist readers, who actually give it character.

My blog team member Maryam Namazie, is an Iranian feminist-communist in exile. She is harder on the Iranian leadership than most rightists.

You have Malkin, I have Sonia-Belle.


Truth-Pain said...

Dark Wraith: Welcome to Casa de Truth-Pain. Your comments are always welcomed and including my site in your blogroll is most kind of you. I have yours in my very short list of a soon-to-come blog roll of my own.
Yes, I remember the Pan-Am reference very well. Funny thing how most futuristic fims have a reference to something of familiarity.
The great thing about my post was the jumping into the blog waters and finding great places like yours to stay for awhile and gather new thoughts. Cheers!

Truth-Pain said...

Ellie: I really believe it will develop even to the point of each citizen having a direct live link to their represenatatives of Government. Its not "if", but when.

Tug Boat: I corrected the wording. After re-reading it I may have left the impression yours was a left-leaning site and I know it is not so. My apologies :)
As to the video game reference?... how true. The interactive-ness of it, the modes of instant gratification and the outright war-zome mentalitye.......yep, you hit that one on the noggin'.

Mustang said...

Thank you very much for the compliment and for taking the time to mention my blog. Feel free to stop by when you can, and I'll do the same.

Semper Fidelis,

KEvron said...

thanks for the hat tip, t_p.

yeah, the 'nets are a trip. and we're contributing to the golden age!


Truth-Pain said...

Mustang: Welcome to the House of Pain. It was my pleasure to include your blog. Your style of writing in something I roam with envious eyes :)
Thanks for dropping by.

thepoetryman said...

Nice list of blogs. Found you through KEVron.

I will return as time permits and peruse at length.


Truth-Pain said...

Poetryman: Your comments are always welcomed. My regards to KEvron for the link-up. Peace back at cha'!

Publius said...

I think the question is what is news? Well for years news was what the mainstream media told us because most news outlets got their national news from the AP or the Times. This then started to change as more media outlets began covering national stories from a local perspective, but then came the big media buy-ups and large companies began to own all the newspapers and radio and TV stations in all the markets (see Media General and Clear Channel). Even with the 24 hour news channels they usually all cover the same stories.
Luckily the internet changed this (thank you Al Gore) and we suddenly got yahoo news, MSN news, ESPN news, Google news, etc. But, then someone got the brilliant idea to start posting their own thoughts on webpages and from there someone decided to post news stories that weren’t really being covered and started talking about the news. This led to blogging and now that we all have high-speed Internet and the world is at out fingertips, we all decided to get involved.
Now, news is no longer what the media tells us, but news is whatever we find newsworthy. I personally find every story about illegal immigration newsworthy but I have not really given much though to North Korea. It does not mean one is newsworthy and the other is not, but it is about what is newsworthy to me. I am now my own editor and I write for me and my own audience. The Internet brought this to us and we are all better off for it.

Always On Watch said...

So, you have discovered Mustang of Social Sense? Mustang is my first and best cyberfriend. If not for him, I might not be blogging at all--he showed me the ropes. I agree with your assessment of his writing.

Blogging has changed my life, too. At first, my husband was a bit resentful of all my time on the computer. Not now! I find stories here which don't appear in the MSM. And if I so choose, I can interact with the authors.

troutsky said...

Change your life..sure. Change the world? Not so sure.EVERYONE mentions the "influence of blogging" (meaning the punditocracy) but my skeptical self says that blogging has no real power, that telling people they have influence deflects their attetion and that real power is happy we are all in front of our screens "dissenting" instead of out in the streets.

Brooke said...

My hubby also asked why I was spending so much time on the computer? Is it stress release? Do I need a hobby?


I love being able to write in a non-critical forum, and interact with my cyber pen-pals, and always appreciate being turned on to new blogs. Thanks, Truth-Pain!

Renegade Eye said...

I changed positions drastically on certain issues, due to learning from comments.

Troutsky is right for now. Maybe we'll find a way, to use blogs better, in the future.

Truth-Pain said...

Publius: New has always a subjective thing, hasnt it?.. I mean, what is newsworthy? what are events worth putting out for general consumption?
One thing is for sure, the osmosis of media is something we cant turn back the clock on,... that genie left the bottle a long time ago.

Truth-Pain said...

AOL: Yes, I discovered Munstang throught your site (thank you very much), I think he is very factual and dry in nature, something I sure as heck am not,.. maybe thats why I love his style,... it is drastically clashing of my own.

Welcome to my blog. I fully agree with your opinion,.. I had not thought about it in quite those terms,... the last sentence rings very true to my ears.
Please feel welcomed to comment at your flavour...

Truth-Pain said...

Brooke: You are welcome. I agree, this is not just an exercise in writing pangs,... I really do believe something is happening. It may not be as rosy as I put it (props to Troutsky for the great comment) but I do think it is a tsunami in waiting.

Renegade Eye: THAT is the beauty of it,... Publius said the same thing actually. The comments one gets from postings are at times of greater brain value than the original posting itself.