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February 24, 2006


If you're the sort that's interested, the last few weeks have brought some mainstream press on the topic of "blogging".  I still insist that I've never heard of this word, "blogging".  It is not an attractive word.  It's got a nice smile, but it's also got those dead dead eyes that speak of a serious oxycontin habit.  So, yes, I stick with the phrase "amateur writin'".

I'm not sure what is the substance of these articles.  I scanned the New York Mag suite of articlets, which talked about eyeballs and ads and coolness, but it made me queasey in my stomach.  The other one from the Financial Times I won't read because I hear it's long.  There's only so many hours in the day.  But the fact that there are people who devote their time to the "amateur writin'", and even others that figured out a way to make a buck off it, is considered news is a little bit frustrating -- kind of like when the stories run about how the neighborhood you live in is "v. v. hot".  Um, thanks for the newsflash, fuckie, now get outta my way.  So, yeah, endless stories of "Blogging is Hot!/Blogging Will Never Be The Same!" -- bruthah, please.

All this e-hoopla is absolutely fool-pitying.  Look, some people like to do this.  I'm one of them.  It's an avocation.  I started with the old Dog & Pony site probably around 2000.  Before that, I produced variety and comedy shows and contributed to zines.  And before that, I was in an APA (look it up) in high school.  It's fantastic that some people can make a living doing roughly the same thing, but at the same time, if getting rich quick is your bag, an MBA will go a whole lot farther.

Obviously, it's nice that people stop by.  Yes, I check my stats, and, yes, more traffic makes bigger smiles.  Otherwise I would just leave funny notes for my wife and my dog.  But I really don't do this for any other reason than my own personal gratification.  So, yes, the hackles do raise when some feature writers decide that there is a Blogging Goldrush! soon to be followed by a Blogging Crash!  I'm probably whining about something I shouldn't whine about, but it seems that there are other issues that might more benefit from the critical examination.

As usual, someone else wrote something that is exactly what I mean to say and better -- Number One Hit Song.  An excerpt:

These "last waltz" stories, they've been coming coming fast and furious lately. Cash in now, honey. For those of us who never wanted to cash in in the first place, though, maybe we'll wait until it all blows over. As a friend put it, "I've been thinking about this, and I think all this bored-with-blogging coverage is good. Hopefully it will stop people from starting crap blogs that they never update or abandon after three weeks. I'm in it for the long, long haul."


[Hat tip to Maud]

Posted by mrbrent at 3:39 PM


Last night I watched me some ice skatin'  I didn't pay enough attention to it to tell if it was ice skatin' or ice dancin' -- there were skates and there was some dance-like wigglin'.  Also falling down, and cry-babying.

Mostly I watched out of pure nostalgia.  The Olympics were a must-watch growing up, especially the gymnastics and the ice skating events.  Those were very popular with the mom and the sister, so watch we did, with our dinners in our laps.  And much like everything else one gets misty over, the current model of the Olympic Games does not compete with the remembered version.

Face it: the Olympics were destroyed by the end of the Cold War.  Now that there is no titanic struggle of good versus evil to be contested on the athletic field, it's all blood doping and whining.

Ah yes, now the nostalgia for the Cold War seeps in.  That was some high novelty, I tell ya.  Also Hamburger Helper.  That was some yum.

And in another twenty years, I will be nostalgic for the Olympics In Which Everyone Fell Down And/Or Whined.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:28 AM

February 23, 2006

creating problems where there were none before

If you listen to the AM radio, you may have heard about this.  At least, that's where I heard about it.

My adolescence and post-adolescense were a bunch of years ago, though of course I can remember them pretty clearly, the awkward navigation into adulthood and accompanying self-image problems.  Come to find out I wasn't awkward enough; I suffered from a problem I didn't know I had, that at that time had no solution.

I was too short.

After you've clicked and returned, don't forget to recalibrate your zeitgiest.  (And wash your eyeballs, if you feel it's appropriate.)

Posted by mrbrent at 5:55 PM

that's not the charge you're innocent of

This is a bit of a leftover from last week.  I know that there are more pressing issues afoot, like the escalation of Iraq from hypothetical civil war to actual civil war, but this is something that I didn't see anywhere else except in passing mention, and I think it's a little nugget of pertinence that should be stressed.

Basically, Vice President Cheney's claim last week that he is authorized under executive order to declassify certain information is mostly irrelevant to the Valerie Plame investigation.

As the investigation stands now, whether or not the Vice President was permitted to, or did, declassify Valerie Plame's cover doesn't matter in the least.  If you look at the indictment of Cheney's former chief of staff, Scooter Libby, you will note that Cheney's claim of certain executive powers will exonerate Libby not at all.  None of the charges levelled against Libby have anything to do with the question of how classified was Plame's cover.  Libby is accused of perjury, making false statements to FBI agents and obstruction of justice -- basically, lying, lying and more lying.  The issue of who blew Plame's cover and whether a crime was committed in doing so is not yet on the table.

The issue of the security level of Plame's cover may at some point arise -- presumably, as the investigation winds down and further indictments occur.  However, the Vice President should keep in mind that lying to the FBI is equivalent to misusing classified material for political gain in the eyes of the law.  Though neither felony really rises to a discreet blowjob in the Oval Office, if you think about it.

Maybe he next time he shoots a 78 year old man inna face he can assert that an executive order gave him the power to authorize lying to FBI special prosecutors.

And then he and Britt Hume can share a manly hug.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:16 PM

hello matt aselton

Good morning.  Everyone say hi to my old friend Matt Aselton, who, according to the NY Daily News, gets his blood sucked by leeches.  He also had the pleasure of being called "burly" by the reporter, which is by no means true -- I would say more "strapping".

I would send you to Matt's online presence, as Matt is one of the more talented guys I know, but he's the kind of guy who uses his talent to get paid, so none of this silly blog shit for him.  Maybe someone can hook me up with some linkage to his spots, which are prime.

And I really should do Matt a good, because, if you remember from two paragraphs ago, Matt Aselton gets his blood sucked by leeches.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:26 AM

February 22, 2006


Travel is over.  I'm back behind my desk, unsure whether the backlog of work is more daunting than the backlog of news.

Where is the United Arab Emirates again?  South America, right?

Posted by mrbrent at 11:55 AM

February 20, 2006

britt hume said so

Circumstances have conspired to limit my access to the computer, and feed me a steady diet of television.  ("Circumstances have conspired" -- i.e., long complex story that would bore your pants off, and not in a good way.)

Yesterday, in the course of my forced television watching, I caught thirty seconds of Britt Hume, and some other of the TV-type journalists, sitting aroundand discussing something in panel fashion.  I didn't catch the topic, though I surmised that it was Dick Cheney shooting a 78 year old man in the face.  Britt Hume's thesis on the media's handling thereof (paraphrased):  "Outside the Beltway, this is not a story at all."

I forget if Fox News tapes out of D.C. or the Fox studios in New Jersey, but I'd like to commend Hume for his counterintuitive mastery of things "outside the Beltway".  Assuming that a television journalist with decades on the DC beat probably spends little time outside of DC (rafting with O'Reilly, maybe?), how does Hume do it?  Does he interrogate his butlers and maids?  Does he read the "Across The Country" page of USA Today?

Coincidentally, I'm not only outside of NYC right now, but also outside of the Beltway, and folks around here aren't talking about the Vice President shooting a 78 year old man inna face at all -- just, like, every fifteen minutes or so.

I guess, for Hume, sometimes saying does make it so.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:32 AM