Monday, August 01, 2005

Highlighting community bloggers

This post is just going to be checking in on the other community sites. We'll start with Betty's "Thomas Friedman falls down:"

Did I take the wind out of Thomas Friedman's sails or what?
There's no way that I could read his column this morning ("All Fall Down") without a certain sadistic glee. If it's unkind of me, well we all have our unkind moments.
How things have changed for him.
This time last week, he was screaming about and lashing out at liberals which I think had more to do with his fear that our upstairs neighbor Jess might be interested in me. Please, Jess has enough women his own age to deal with. But when you're old, tubby and sport a bizarre mustache, I guess that a sleek, shiny, young colt like Jess must be very threatening. Which explains the face masks Thomas Friedman now wears religiously.
Just last weekend, he was asking me if he didn't look like Robert Wagner circa Hart to Hart. I told him I thought all the grooming had made him look like the marionette Madame. He didn't take well to that and I actually felt sorry for him.
If I'd known he'd been swapping spit with Patti Nelson Limerick at the time, I wouldn't have given a damn about the big titty baby's hurt feelings."All Fall Down" was the title of his column. Well all his hopes of having it both ways did. His hopes of playing me off Patti and vice versa.
There was a tail between the legs quality of his column. A little less boastful, though still as nutty.
When I was cleaning up the desk Monday, I found a bunch of post-its. One of which contained the lines:
If you like emotional dramas, you may want to pull up a chair and pop some popcorn, because this sort of political sound and light show comes along only every 30 or 40 years.
I just wonder how that column would have turned out if I hadn't curtailed his extra-marital activies? Instead, he reworked it for his column on the Middle East as:
If you like comparative politics, you may want to pull up a chair and pop some popcorn, because this sort of political sound and light show comes along only every 30 or 40 years.
He followed that with "How did it all happen?"A question I'm sure is plauging him. Probably why he went with the Middle East today. Whenever the well's empty and Thomas Friedman has nothing to say, his columns head for the Middle East. It's a print version of a remix. Gail Collins always accuses him of coasting.
She may have a point, but possibly a larger point is when isn't he coasting?
Does anyone really think that his random musings spiced up with pop-cult refs is deep thought?

Now we'll note a section of Elaine's "We need some silence:"

Norman Solomon has spoken up. Hopefully he is just the first of many. From his CounterPunch article "In Praise of Kevin Benderman:"
Monica Benderman is correct. Facing truths about the priorities of our country's government can be very difficult. During the Vietnam War -- also based on lies, also methodically murderous -- an extraordinary U.S. senator made the same basic point. "We're going to become guilty, in my judgment, of being the greatest threat to the peace of the world," Wayne Morse said at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "It's an ugly reality, and we Americans don't like to face up to it."
Moments before the Senate hearing adjourned, on February 27, 1968, Morse said that he did not "intend to put the blood of this war on my hands." In the summer of 2005, while the horrors of the Iraq war continue, not a single United States senator is willing to speak with such moral clarity.
As an astute cliche says, truth is the first casualty of war. But another early casualty is conscience, routinely smothered in the national media echo chamber.
On the TV networks, the voices are usually smooth, and people often seem to be speaking loudly. In contrast, the human conscience is close to a whisper. Easily unheard.
Especially in these times when we've all been egged on with the blood lust. We haven't had a moment of silence or time to reflect as the Bully Boy's encouraged us to behave like an ADD nation.
"Why are you so scared of silence? Here can you handle this."
That's from Alanis Morissette's "All I Really Want." We better. We better start taking time to pause here and ask ourselves what's really going on in our country, what is our nation really doing?
Behind the chants of "go get 'em," something really ugly is seeping in. Amidst the chants, a great deal of people still haven't noticed. Some people are noticing. They're touched by the casualities personally or they're able to connect with the humanity that's under attack.
People slowly realizing that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 are waking up. And they're wondering what we are doing in Iraq. Bully Boy saw it as our national baptism. Now we're soaking in the blood bath. We need to find some silence and think about what we are doing.

Elaine's filling in for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude while Rebecca's on vacation. Mike asked me to note an entry Rebecca wrote on The Common Ills awhile back.

Colin just saw a post of Mike's today from last week so we'll make that the one we spotlight here, "Yea for Jane, Boo For Hillary:"

I never disliked Hillary until that speech she gave yesterday. She's not one of my senators so I didn't pay as close to attention to her as I did to Kerry and Kennedy. But she was our First Lady and I thought she did a pretty good job of that. Yesterday she embarrassed herself. Now maybe she appealed to some cowards and stuff but she came off pretty cowardly to me.
So let's focus on Jane Fonda who is a strong woman taking a strong stand.
That's Isaiah's drawing and thank you C.I. and Isaiah for permission to put it up here.
My sister said she had the TV on this afternoon and some idiot show called The Insider with that nasal jerk who's off the drugs or whatever and trying to rebuild his career had an interview with the jerk that spit on Jane Fonda. Made me wonder what's next? An interview with the guy who stalked Sharon Stone? An interview with the guy who shot down that woman from My Sister Sam? I don't know The Insider but my sister said it does a lot of "Page Six" nonsense which means it's probably a Murdoch property. Figures, right? My Dad was talking about him the other night wondering if Murdoch would switch his citenzship to China to get a better deal for his networks like he switched to American? Ma jokes that he probably has already but we just don't know.
[. . .]
Yeah, I'm giving you two things to think about today. That's because Hillary embarrassed herself yesterday and people seem afraid to say so. She wants more troops on the ground. While America wants their sons and daughters home, Hillary wants to put more over in the quagmire. Not her own daughter, of course, but other people's kids. She keeps this up she'll be less than popular than Nancy Reagan.

From Kat, we'll note "Two new reviews today:"

Okay so I worked and worked and got two CD reviews done. They're up at The Common Ills and you can read them there. I reviewed Carly Simon's Moonlight Serenade and Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm. I believe that brings my total of reviews for the month of July to three (add in Carole King's The Living Room Tour). Which has to be a record.
I'm glad everyone that's written enjoyed them. And while it's great to make suggestions about what to review next, I want to point out that I didn't review because Ava and C.I. recommended the CD. They also recommended Digital Ash and I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, both by Bright Eyes. In retrospect, I really wish I had been able to write a review on those two. I liked them. But if I write something, it's because I feel something.
Sometimes, it can take awhile to get into an album. That's something I think we've lost in the "debut week at number . . ." and "on the cover of Rolling Stone to discuss their upcoming album . . ." There's not much chance of a slow build.Music's become so disposable and while much of the crap deserves to be, it shouldn't all be. But we're seeing the Billboard charts treated like weekend box office.
Aimee Mann's CD came out in May. I have no problem reviewing it this week. I only recently discovered it but even if I'd owned it in May, I'd still review it this week.
A lot of the uninspired music writing results from people trying to be first out of the box with a review. "Nothing is savored really long enough" as Joni Mitchell sang.
Good music demands reflection.
I want to note something Rebecca wrote which Mike really loves and I do as well, it's about The Common Ills. And I want to note that I think Elaine's doing a wonderful job filling in for Rebecca. If you're needing some strong laughs, check out Betty's latest. And I want to note that I think Cedric's doing an amazing job.

And let's note Cedric (who is doing an amazing job) and his latest "Volunteering and Veronica Mars:"

Sunday, I spent some time with some of the elderly men in my church. My preacher wanted us to make a point to visit with some of the older members of our church and I went out to the retirement home where some of the men are at.
I always picture it as sad living at a retirement home without your family around. But if I end up in an retirment home, I hope it's like with these guys. They got their own little crew going up in dat house!
They really were cool.
Must have heard about water fans 20 or 40 times. Way I understand it back when a.c. wasn't common or common with black folks it was considered really great if you had this fan that blew cold air because it used water. One guy was talking about how it had a hose and another guy was going, "Oh no, I had to soak ours everytime."
Made me think about how today the news is always asking you to donate fans for the elderly because we're in the summer and heat wave and all that. And those boxed fans really just blow hot air around. So I'm wondering what happened to those water fans?
I was really glad that the list that was prepared ended up with every location get signed up for. But I was disappointed that people my age and younger weren't signing up that much.
Yeah, I could have done other things with my time Sunday and I could have come back here, kicked off my shoes, popped open a beer and spent Sunday afternoon relaxing. But I think you have to step up and I see a lot of people stepping up who were like in their late 30s and 40s and I just hope that this is something my age group will be doing when we reach that age but I'm really worried that it might just be we won't. The guys were cool. I had more fun with them then I would have had zoning out in front of the TV. I heard a lot of cool stories and I didn't leave thinking, "Oh, I helped them, good for me." I really feel like they helped me too. They're in the pews every Sunday and I nod to them and all but I never really talked to them before and now I will. If we don't take the time to get to know each other we'll never know each other.
And these guys are pretty on the ball. They're not falling for Bully Boy's lies. And you should have heard them rip apart Hillary Clinton for speaking before the DLC. They know all to well how the DLC went after Jesse Jackson and that is not forgotten. I heard a lot of great stories about how the world changed around them in the 50s and 60s and how it was just an amazing time and really powerful to be part of that change.
So don't think I'm all "Hey I paid my tab by going there." I got as much as I gave.

And from The Third Estate Sunday Review, we'll note their interview with Mike. Why? Because I didn't take part in that. No need for a disclosure notice. (Ava and I were working on our TV review during that.) From "Mike of Mikey Likes It!: One Month of Blogging:"

. . . Mike had just celebrated his first month of blogging. Besides being worthy of note, we also thought it merited checking in with Mike. Mike started blogging on June 20th. We first interviewed Mike on July 3rd so as we close out the month of July, we sit down with Mike again.
One month and what have you learned?
People like to talk about sex. Seriously. Even if they say they don't like sex, they want to weigh in and all. This comes up because the middle half of my posts are usually where I dip into the e-mails and note something someone's written.
Sometimes you provide an immediate reply and other times you just note the question and open it up for people to weigh in. Is this because you're uncomfortable with a question or because you're not sure you can weigh in?
Sometimes but sometimes it's also, honest, because I've got to get out the door for a date. Cedric's attitude is if he's got a date, he's got a date, so the blog can wait. I try to blog Monday through Friday and some on the weekends. Usually what happens is I've worked and gone to school that day and I come home and eat dinner, then hop in the shower, towel off and sit down and type up an entry. If I'm moving quick, it's a longer one but if I'm slow, it's a shorter one.
And honest, a lot of times, it's tossed out just because I don't have time to deal with the question because it deserves more thought than I have had time to give it and all.
What's been the biggest surprise?
From readers or like a technical thing?
Start with readers?
That they share so much. I summarize their e-mails when I note one but they go into real detail and stuff. I'm glad they feel comfortable sharing stuff with me.
How much work the whole thing is. I mean like links. You've got to find what you're linking to, copy and paste the quote or quotes, then make the hyperlink and if you've got several in one entry that can take a lot more time than I ever thought it would.

I'm sorry but that's going to be it for tonight. My head's killing me and I'm tired and about to fall over (and wouldn't have gotten through this without the first hour of The Mike Malloy Show to keep me awake and interested). Thank you to Ava for fixing an entry earlier as well as for posting over at the mirror site.

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