Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Kind of sort of community blog summary

Lily e-mailed this afternoon to ask if we could do a post just noting the other community blogs. That's always a great idea and one we should do a lot more often.

Let's start out with Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude. Rebecca was either the first or the second community member site. (I can't keep track. She and The Third Estate Sunday Review started around the same time but I think Rebecca beat them by a week.) From her latest "meow meow" where she talks about the disability rights activists being arrested:

question - who pays for those house and senate offices? bill frist?
wrong. we pay for them. so 30 disability rights activists decide to make themselves heard and the response is to arrest them.
maybe alby gonzales can charge them with something under the patriot act?
so who were the cowards? you know there's always 1 idiot who'll make a call like that. he or she is just an idiot. but they're egged on by others who are too cowardly to make the call themselves. i'm interested in knowing who the idiot was that called (i'm sure it was delegated to a flunky) and more interested in which people took part in the 'make the call!' decision.
let's say it was joe blow working for kitty killer billy frist.
joe blow: yes, this is joe blow of senator meow-meow's office ... we have a problem. well there are all these violent protestors here! are they armed? uh ... um ... they're disabled and who knows what they might do! we're scared! senator meow-meow can't even enjoy throwing darts at his garfield dart board this morning! come quick!
let's stop a moment here to think of something really scary - kitty killer frist wants to be president.
maybe he can run with j-ass who's scared of the calico. they could run on anti-cat platform.the nation's already divided but leave it to the gop to divide us further - into a nation of cat lovers and dog lovers.
watch as some spineless dems step forward, faces bruised and battered, to ask 'can't we all get along?' and hold up photos demonstrating that they have both cats and dogs for pets.
senator meow-meow who felt the need to diagnose terry schiavo via video tape wants to be president. seems to me he doesn't even cut it as a doctor.
i hope, like clarice in the silence of lambs, he's haunted at night with the cries of the slaughtered.
meow-meow. meow-meow.probably cat food commericals send him into a tizzy.
if he runs, people should show up everywhere he speaks and just meow-meow through his entire speech.

From Rebecca, we'll move on to Mike who started his site, Mikey Likes It!, this summer. We're not going in chronological order. I'm going to Mike next so I can point out that tomorrow Mike will have an interview with Rebecca up at his site. From "Freedoms? What Freedoms?" here's Mike noting some reactions in e-mails re: Zogby:

Who's not shy?
Robert who e-mails that Zogby is full of it and "jerking off" with their "nonsense." Where are the questions on Hurrican Katrina is what Robert wants to know.
"It's not like," he writes, "you can't find polls about it online. For ever and a day since the first of September so how come Zogby can't ask the question everyone else can?"
Laura wonders if this was a "real poll or something some company asked them to poll on. What's with the Wal-Mart question? Are they asking that on every poll?"Barry shares my buddy Tone's feelings, they both don't trust polls.
Barry writes, "Even if they did get everyone they called to take part, that's still no guarantee that the people are telling the truth."
That's some of the e-mails that came in.

(Note, entry is from Monday, chosen for a reason that readers of the gina & krista round-robin will quickly grasp.)

Betty started her parody site Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man after Rebecca, The Third Estate Sunday Review and Folding Star's A Winding Road. Her site is a continuing story of Betinna who's married to Thomas Friedman. In the early days, Betinna was hopped up on "vitamins" that Friedman used to push off on her. Now Betinna's got the upper hand. I have Betty's permission to pass on that Betinna will start to remember some things in October.

From Betty's latest (entitled "Thomas Friedman Says What-What?") which just went up this evening:

I spent most of the weekend trying to determine whether my husband Thomas Friedman was stark raving mad or just finding a new shade of crazy? I still don't have the answers.
He was again on his kick where Singapore is the promised land, a claim that doesn't stand up to the facts. Or up to the people who were shouting at him outside our apartment. Usually, standing outside in broad daylight, wearing only his shorty robe and foaming at the mouth, is enough to stun onlookers into silence. But his latest rants have gotten uglier and usually lead to cries of, "Screw you, you America hater!"
Fruit is frequently pelted at Thomas Friemdan though, sadly for his bowels, no one has yet to throw prunes.
Giggling, Nicky K told me it was like watching Christopher Hitchens in mid-transformation. "Howard Beale," Mrs. K corrected.
And while, like any wife who's husband's cheated on her and who's been lied to by him repeatedly so he could save pennies, I do enjoy watching the occassional rotten tomato hit him upside the face or seeing him pelted with raw eggs, a part of me does tend to worry that possibly this might be harmful to our marriage?

Cedric started up this summer (right after Mike) and his site is entitled Cedric's Big Mix. My own personal favorite among his topics would be anything having to do with the nursing home he visits. Cedric surprised me with his site because he was talking about starting one but when he did start it, he kept quiet for a day or a two. He's moved his site over to Blogger and now understands what a pain in the butt Blogger can so often be.

Here's an excerpt from his latest:

Hope everyone had a good weekend. I don't know. Sunday, at church, I was worrying because we've got air conditioning in our church but the older ladies had their fans out, which isn't uncommon, but they were "glowing" (never tell an older black woman she's "sweating" unless you know she won't be offended) while a lot of the older guys were looking really warmed over too.
My preacher is going to have someone come out and look at the air conditioning because it didn't get very cool in there. Hopefully, it just needs something minor. But it was pretty warm in there. A lot of the older people really need the air conditioning. Some of them don't have any in their homes or, because of tight budgets, can't afford to use it.
If they don't have any, the church tries to get them fans. Not one fan because no old person is going to park themselves in front of a fan all day. If they're living on their own or with a spouse or a friend, they've got stuff to do in the kitchen, stuff to do in the living room. So the church always tries to provide them with three fans.
There's a very sweet older woman at the church who kept saying no the fans because she wanted a boxed fan. The preacher and his wife showed her how the oscilating fan worked better because it moved around and how she could pull up the little lever and make it stay in place.
They visit her a week later and she's got the white levers up on all of them. Why? Because "all that turning can't be good." She thought she would wear it out.
Which reminds me of a story my friend Vern used to tell. It was 1987 and he and his wife had just gotten a new TV because the old one wasn't working. The picture was leaning sideways forever and then the picture and sound just went out. I remembered the kind of TV he was describing and you may too, you had this strip of metal buttons that you touched, not pressed down and you could go up and down the channels. The new TV had a remote and it scared him to death changing channels. Back in his day, you changed channels by turning the knob on the TV set and every time you turned it to a new channel, the picture would jump. So you didn't turn it all that much in Vern's house. Then with the one with touch buttons, it was a little easier. But that was the first time, on the TV set he got in 1987, that they could surf without any concerns. He said he hated it. Said it was better in the old day where you sat through something boring maybe but you saw the whole thing.
I miss Vern a lot. I'm worried about the other three guys at the nursing home because I know they miss him too. The choir director's wife was telling me Sunday that when you got a group of friends like that and one dies, the other's seem to follow after. I hope that's not true.

Now we're up to Kat who started contributing her album reviews here back in December. She now has her own site (and continues to contribute album reviews to this site) that's called Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills). Why "of The Common Ills?" Because it turns out there are a lot of "Kat's Korner"s already. As members know, Kat's attitude is "It is what it is." She's carried that over to her site and posts when she's got something to say. Last night, she wrote about a dream:

Which brings us to The Third Estate Sunday Review. The Third Estate Sunday Review is Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava. (They include me in the Review proper.) Every Sunday they put out an edition that looks at a variety of things. More pieces are killed in the online version than go up. (But even the ones killed tend to make it into their print version.) Community members with their own sites participate. (And Folding Star still throws in a hand over there. Most recently in a the book roundtable, requested by Gina and Krista, on children's lit.)

The operating principle for that site is that they're not going after a "desired" demographic. They try to focus on what the average people have access to. They're very strong on libraries which is why libraries are promoted so much there. There are a lot of young parents who are readers there and for that reason, the reviews have been confined to what shows on broadcast TV. A book, a DVD, an album will be discussed. They avoid doing films in theaterical release (at their request, Ava & I did a "response" to "David & Lisel" of their reviews of Monster-In-Law).
Originally, they were going to focus on campus life but their readership goes beyond that and they also worried about falling into "trend" stories.

This summer, there was a summer lit issue that everyone's pretty pleased with. The second most popular edition was the 60s edition. Special editions are hard to pull off and require planning which Dona especially loves. Jim thinks the creativity flows best when you're up against a wall with a deadline and you've just been told what you're writing. (Seriously, there was a week when Ava & I had three shows prepared to review -- one of which was Stacked -- and Jim said, "____ will fit best with the edition." I don't remember what the show was but I remember Ava and I both feeling it was the one of the three we wanted least to review and making the decision that we would never again offer "Well, there's several we could go with . . .")
As Elaine's noted the two poles of the group dynamic are Dona and Jim who differ strongly, so strongly. The editions are a long marathon session. Dona's always seeking perfection in the piece on its terms and Jim sees the whole thing as a writing excercise. (Ty & Jess would add that Jim sees the whole thing as endurance session.)

Ava was on the phone earlier and wanted to address something. Alessandra Stanley of the Times was slammed for using certain terms to describe the new Jason Lee sitcom. Ava and I watched that last week. The terms AS is being slammed for were in the promotional material passed onto us. (We're not reviewing the show. We didn't like the first episode. We're hoping it gets better as the season goes along. If we review it, it'll be much later in the year.)

And do you like the long description, lead up to an excerpt?

There's a reason for that.

I can't pull up the site. I keep getting a message of "YOU ARE FORBIDDEN." I'm getting that with Kat's site as well. I have no idea what's going on.

But Lily, it was a great idea. Sorry it didn't work out quite the way you probably hoped.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.