Blogsday 2007

Click to Listen to the Show (24 MB MP3)

It’s here again. No, not Groundhog Day, our annual rite of the dead of winter. It’s the third-annual Blogsday, our bloggy riff on Bloomsday.

In case you’re new to this party, it all started two years ago when Chelsea suggested a novel way to pay homage to the existing homage to James Joyce. Brendan explained it this way last year:

Taking as our model Bloomsday, Dublin’s very real June 16, 1904 in which James Joyce set his very fictional Ulysses, we took a look at one day of the blogosphere, in our case Tuesday, June 14, 2005. We gathered an hour’s worth of blog posts — about Britney Spears, about buying a car, about coming home from Iraq, about a night at a barbecue joint — and read them on air.

Brendan, in the 2006 Blogsday post on Open Source.

We’re doing it again. June 16th is a Sunday this year, so we’re celebrating a bit early: we’ll record the show next Thursday, the 14th. And the search has begun. We’ve chosen yesterday — TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2007 — as the arbitrary but still official day for blog posts. Anything posted between midnight and midnight on June 5th is fair game.

We’ve learned a few lessons in the last few years, chief among them that brevity makes the blogsday world go round. This should be a fast-moving show, a sort of pointilist account. In the post-game analysis after the first show, I called it, somewhat breathlessly, “a symphonic, mosaic portrait of our nation as written by a legion of writers — some famous, some not — on one day. ONE DAY!” But we can only get a sense for the grandeur of that portrait if it moves quickly. And it will only move quickly if the posts themselves are succinct. Stories are good; moments in time are better.

Besides that, the sky’s the limit. Give us the personal and the political, the petty and the profound. Help us craft a portrait of the online world that does justice to the real one.

How you can help

  • Check your favorite blogs (or your own), and if you find something fabulous that was written on June 5, grab the best chunk of the post and leave it in the comment thread, along with the blogger’s name, the blog title, the time it was posted on the 5th, and a permalink — the URL that links directly to the post, not to the front page of the blog. You can often get to the permalink by clicking on the timestamp at the bottom of the post. More on permalinks here.
  • Run some blog searches. There are a few solid search engines out there that search only blogs — we’re partial to Google Blogsearch and Technorati. Start there. You should be able to sort the results of your searches by date so that you can weed out anything that wasn’t posted on the 5th.
  • We’ve found that one of the best ways to find stories in the blogosphere is to search for random, mundane words: canteloupe, flyswatter, sand. Since we’ll be reading these on the radio, it helps if the posts are rich in visual description, so we like to search for nice visual adjectives, too: crusty, soapy, pendulous.
  • Keep a listening audience in mind. Try reading the posts out loud as you search. Dialogue can work well for our purposes, so can poetry. We bring in two great local actors to read the posts on air, and we love to give them beefy, theatrical material to work with.

Stephanie Clayman


Greg Steres


I accidentally poked myself in the thigh with a syringe of Bovine Blackleg Immunization yesterday, so any fears I ever had of developing the dreaded condition are gone for good. I can finally relax.

Ree, Pack of Marboro Lights, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, June 5, 2007.

Is this war in the present tense, here in America? Iraq is on the other side of the globe and the events there are mostly reported in the past tense. And yet when I walk through a Home Depot and hear a sheet of plywood dropped on a pallet, I hear an airy breath followed by an explosive crack–the signature echo of an incoming mortar round. And when I listen well enough, late at night, I sometimes hear one of our Iraqi translators, Saier, repeating to me: ‘The wrong is not in the religion; the wrong is in us.’

Brian Turner, War in the Present Tense, Donkey O.D., June 5, 2007.

I was only vaguely teary at the airport when we said goodbye, and I thought I’d get away from it without crying, but then as soon as I rounded the corner at the security check, I was basically sobbing, and while I am mostly okay, I keep thinking about things and get all teary again.

Balefully, The Fancatus Bureau of Incest, LiveJournal, June 5, 2007.

Why am I drawn to that woman so much? I perfectly well know there’s next to no chances that i’ll see her again, but still she’s haunting my dreams and every time I end up crying while I’m sleeping. I met a very nice woman, she slept at my place a couple of times and the last two times she asked why I was crying in my sleep. She told me it wasn’t little sobs, I was crying like a baby, with tears and everything, crying as if my father or mother had died.

Mr. Lex, Haunting Dreams, Welcome to My World, June 5, 2007.

A pot of tea.

The smell of laundry that’s dried on the line.

The sound of an owl hooting whilst you’re lying in bed.

How much better the mouse works after you’ve picked all the crud off the bottom.

Anon, Simple Pleasures, Thursday’s Child…Has Far to Go, June 5, 2007.

My Shins Are Stupid. I wish they’d darken up a bit.

The problem is, they’re always in the shade. My broad and well-muscled back prevents any sunlight whatsoever from getting to my shins. Plants die from lack of sunlight when I ride by.

Fatty, I Contemplate My Shins, and Find Them Wanting, Fat Cyclist, June 5, 2007.

I find it hard not to read everything and anything . . . including the Customer Complaints Book that I saw hanging by a tatty string in the toiletries aisle in Bon Marche, Borrowdale. Many of the complaints revolved around the High Prices of commodities but someone else took the supermarket to task for keeping the fleshy parts of pig heads for the staff and leaving only the teeth and noses for customers.

Bev Clark, Emergency sex and other desperate measures, Kubatana.Net, June 5th, 2007.

If life is invariably fatal, cancer is a kind of accelerant that God squirts on you, His human charcoal briquet.

Michael Little, Unremitting Failure, Futility, June 5, 2007.

Mandy gets the results from her latest tests, tomorrow. We will know almost without doubt what type of cancer Mandy has and what, if anything can be done. We will find out if she will have surgery next week. After the meeting with the doctor, Mandy will go to her first chemo appointment.

Sodapopnskii, If wishes were horses, I would still want a pony, LiveJournal, June 5, 2007.

I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Mandy the market-trader from Milton Keynes. She smells of hot dogs and counterfeit perfume.

Andre Jordan, Ordinary Love Stories: Mandy, A Beautiful Revolution: Blog, June 5, 2007.

And when we picked you up you didn’t want to leave without showing me the Dora potty, so I was all, fine, let’s have a look at this Dora potty. So we walked into the bathroom, and you ran right over to it, and before I could stop you, you hugged it. You hugged a toilet.

Heather Armstrong, Newsletter: Month Forty, Dooce, June 5, 2006.

Both Erin and I have been known to kiss Josie on her cute little mouth. We both love taking baths with her, and we both do an inordinate amount of pinching and kissing of her fat little body, in particular her thighs, which now have these wonderful, curvy little tiers of fat. It’s not a sexual thing (duh) but it’s certainly a deeply physical thing.

Almondjoy, My Baby, My Girlfriend, Baby Daddy, June 5, 2007,

I have decided to focus on and seek things out that make me happy.

Hawaiian dancing makes me happy.

Julie Bo Boolie, What Makes Me Happy, World According to Julie, June 5, 2007,

There is something about mixing Shakespeare with zombies that is simply irresistible to me. Can’t say why for sure. It’s just how I’m wired I guess.

Joy, Shakespeare and Zombies, I’ve got a crush on…ME!, June 5, 2007.

You know when you leave water on the stove for too long and the water starts boiling over the side? Maybe you even left the lid on the pot, so now the thing is bucking and jumping off the pot as the bubbles slime their way to freedom and down on to your stove. Right now, that’s how I feel about my job.

digital_dave, Boiling Over, The Karmic Restitution Tour, June 5, 2007.

I’m a dentist, and I have a nurse called Cookie.

She has headphone wires sticking out of her ears most of the day and – for fear of appearing out of touch – I tend to keep my thoughts on through-brain irradiation to myself.

Still, on Friday last week, with rubber dam stretched like an elastic lettuce leaf across Mrs Pinkleblower’s enormous mouth, Cookie removed one of the wires from her brain and asked me if I had said anything. I told her I had been speaking to her for the past half hour, to which she stared at me with what appeared to be disbelief. She said she hadn’t heard a word but if I wanted to ‘ramble on’ I should start a blog.

Stan Johns, Cookie’s Great Idea, Half Dentist, June 5, 2007.

So, I’m trying to decipher the difference between movement and hiccups. With the baby that is. I can tell when it’s a kick or punch instead of simple movement. But what do hiccups feel like? All in all, trying to explain to someone what any of this feels like is pretty difficult.

All star me, Disjointed Thoughts, Incognitus Scriptor, June 5, 2007.

While Erin was breathing and pushing (and waiting), and then breathing and pushing again, I was realizing, much to my horror, joy, and more horror, that I was going to become a dad.

Robison Wells, She’s Having My Baby, Six LDS Writers and a Frog, June 5, 2007.

What on earth am I going to do? I was thinking of applying for a job at the AMF Bowling Centre, just so I have an excuse to hang around the place. Perhaps I will pursue the dream of a career in radio. What I should do is try and get something decent written and look for a publisher. I just don’t know what to do. Because I don’t have that many skills. I’m of course almost employable in any call centre now, having been trained at Telstra.

Jaguar7482, Shots Are Flowing, THe Daily Grind You Into the Ground Show, June 5, 2007.

I was slammed today.

It is good because “idle hands are the devil’s work shop.” That’s an old cliche meaning that if you stay busy you will not have time for Satan to get to you. In theory that maybe sounds good, but I believe it is that very concept that plagues our churches today. If we stay too busy to stop and read the Breath of God and ask Jesus Christ to be glorified through our actions each day, we will then become powerless busy-bodies. Our Lord tells us that the important duties in life that keep us from God are not really duties at all but sin.

JRoe, What a Day, JRoe Live, June 5, 2007.

My gameplan for today was to skip breakfast and go to McDonalds for lunch, where I got a McChicken sandwich for $1.10 and picked up some free condiments.

So far, so good, although I am already ready for a snack.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Barbara Lee Joins the Food Stamp Challenge, Congressional Food Stamp Challenge, June 5, 2007.

Paris Hilton’s stint in an LA jail is getting the American ink, along with CNN’s self-serving over-coverage of the two premature presidential debates in New Hampshire. There was a little oxygen left for one 40th anniversary — of Sgt. Pepper — but none for the 40th anniversary being covered by news media outside this country almost universally: the Six Day War.

Harry Shearer, It Was Forty Years Ago Today, Kinda, Huffington Post, June 5, 2007.

Well we did it again, security cameras be damned! We are number-one murder capital superstars. The top of the heap. More dead per capita than Gary, Indiana! Even Detroit!

Humid Haney, Hey, Thanks Gary, Surviving and Living the Dream in Post-Katrina New Orleans, June 5, 2007.

I remember visits where I would stay with my Grandma, my Uncle Norm and his clan or my Uncle Gene and his brood. Sure, there’d be the brief bout of home sickness, but it was nothing that a trip to the park or some Cadbury candy bars couldn’t fix.

You know, now that I am a parent with a 3-1/2 year old I have to wonder if my folks didn’t bundle us off to get some peace and quiet for a week.

Craig D, Let’s Get Away From It All, Who Really Cares, Anyway?, June 5, 2007.

I decided yesterday that I would get a grasp on the summer holiday and have the children begin their first Official Day of Summer Vacation with productivity; the chores began at 9 a.m. Loren was in the dog yard with his new weed eater, Cass was in the front yard with her new electric grass trimmers. Devon and I were in the flower beds pulling weeds and planting petunias. All was well until about 10 when the older two met up, she was bored and he was looking to take a break, and the arguments began. By 10:10 I was yelling at them both and wondering if there is a convent somewhere willing to accept witchy, willful reheaded ‘tween girls and if there is some sort of work camp accepting mouthy, wiggly, otter-like 13 year-olds.

Caloden, I don’t know why I even bother, Caloden, June 5, 2007.

Recently in a fit of uncharacteristic generosity I bought my girls the latest Avril Lavigne CD. Because they’d heard of Avril Lavigne from a friend in their grade one class, and they’d heard her music and they loved it, and I thought it would make a great out-of-the-blue present for them. I don’t regret buying it because they’re deriving great satisfaction from it, and I bought the sanitized version at Walmart, the one with at least one of the bad words partially bleeped out, but…

…now my seven-year old girls are wandering around the house saying “damn” all the time. “The best damn thing” they say.

Joe, Watch Your *&^%^ing Language, Assorted Nonsense, June 5, 2007.

Sunday we couldn’t make any plans because Mike was waiting for a call when the autopsy was complete and the body hopefully identified. Once they ID’ed him, Mike and the other Detectives would have to start doing interviews of every person in the dead guys life.

Lisa Mulvey, Anyone see a problem with this?, Lifestyles of the Easily Obsessed, June 5, 2007.

Somehow I penetrated the crowd and found myself right in front of the locked entrance where all the action was. Inside, an elderly woman maybe in her late 30s or early 40s lay unconscious on the floor.

Natasha Msonza, Yesterday, Kubatana.Net, June 5, 2007.

We always describe amputations as “below knee” or “above knee”. Every time the doctor told his mother and wife that he had a below-knee amputation he would sit up, mad. He wanted to make sure we said he only lost his feet.

SPC Ian Wolfe, Fifteen Months and Counting, THE SANDBOX (A Doonesbury milblog), June 5, 2007.

There are Russians outside my window. They are talking in harsh tones. I wonder if they’re friends.

Tony Rat, Manifesto, Cat Waiter, June 5, 2007.

1. Buildings.

2. Muffins.

3. Comb-overs.

Anna, Things That Are Big in New York, Little.Red.Boat, June 5, 2007.

Turns out, I breached the manly code…Men don’t want the immasculating experience of collapsing face first out of “plank position” because they slipped on their own sweat smeared all over the floor.

Caryn and Dan, This crazy thing that girls do…, Can You Ouwehandle This?, June 5, 2007.

I realized I was exhausted so I just fell down on the floor and let the cold water run down my body. I was exhilarated and started laughing like some madman.

Idai, Freedom, My Life Review, June 5, 2007.

Am I awake now? Or am I only dreaming that I am? how can I possibly find out? I just pinched myself.

I often pinch myself in my dreams. just to make sure that I am in control. A dream that is solid enough to survive a pinch is a seriously fun dream.

Witold Riedel,

A Mix Of A Freshly Ground Day.Dream,, June 5, 2007.

My chocolates seem to disappear into the air. It is making me peeved because of I HAVE NOT TRIED A SINGLE ONE AND SOMEONE HAS THE FREAKING GUTS TO EAT HALF THE BOX WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.Prime suspect: My lil’ cousins who had came to stay over and have been sneaking surreptitiously near the fridge.

efmw87, Who Stole My Chocolates?, As My Mouth Prattles, June 5, 2007.

Listen. I need to tell you this before I’m too wordless and powerless to go on, because I’m fading fast. Literally fading. Gone before dawn, I’m told. So. Listening? Are you?

You will no doubt have seen the cardboard box in the hallway. It was the largest one I could find. The box, I mean. Not the hallway. Why? Because I’m clearing out, that’s why.

An Unreliable Witness, Packed, Wrapped, and Folded, An Unreliable Witness, June 5, 2007.

When I put my hand on her, I realized that she had large areas of skin that were necrotizing — literally rotting on her body — with pockets of what I was pretty sure was pus underneath. I stuck a needle into one of the fluid pockets and got out a brown-grey fluid that looked and smelled like raw sewage. When I stained some of the fluid later to look at it under the microscope, I could identify at least three distinct populations of bacteria.

Mel, Life in The (Animal)ER, Cabezalana, June 5, 2007.

Remember last Saturday? I bought eight pairs of new socks.

What happens to the old socks or ones that get holes…If it is too greasy or ugly-dirty, then just throw them away. But mostly they can be used and then just put in the laundry and will be ready again. Cheap rags that will last a very long time.

Mr. Crazy, Twice Used, My Fun House, June 5, 2007.

We sat on my couch and talked and laughed. Talked about our exes and our kids (he has an 8 year old girl). He marvels at my intelligence and maturity. Says that I’m a lot different than other women that he’s known. And then, out of nowhere he starts saying that he’s too old for me. Granted, he is 42 (looks like late 20’s). I laughed and explained to him my preference for dating older men. I told him that he was lying to me and that I thought he had a girlfriend and this was what he saw as an easy way to get out of what we’d started.

Jasmine?s Momma, Help Me to Understand, Jasmine?s ?Mommy?, June 5, 2007.

Ok, living with five other people is good. And I do like all of them. I just need some me time. Time just to zone out. At least I got my own room. It’s not a bad lil’ room. I need like a little tv tray or something to put my keyboard on. That would be sweet.

Chucky, Alone Time, The Really Super Duper Kinda Okay Really Great On Tuesday Guy, June 5, 2007.

I told her caseworker that Mom had not been with me in the past month and that no, she could not live with me when she gets out. I told her I would help her in whatever capacity I could, but that she cannot live with me.

I felt guilty as heck about it afterwards and still feel sick to my stomach about it. I wish I didn’t feel guilty about it, but I do, and it’s eating me up.

rachelpennington, Yakkity Yak, How I see It, June 5, 2007.

People die. It happens. More often than not, people die when their time has come. It’s never easy to say goodbye, but it seems somehow less hard to swallow when an 86-year-old man dies after a lengthy illness surrounded by extended family. It’s a good death.

Couz, Eye See You, Tales from the Emergency Room, June 5, 2007.

If there is one phrase I’m sick of hearing it is “Sally get your foot off that accelerator!!!”

I know I’m just learning to drive, but do I need to CREEP ABOUT like we’re in a spaz-chariot?

My teacher Alan now says his nerves cannot take a lesson any more than THREE times a week.


sallypointzero, Driving Lessons, LiveJournal, June 5, 2007.

I always like going to Aunt Ida’s house in the springtime, the zydeco music blasting from the living room, smells of the barbecue and German chocolate cake coming from the kitchen and the slapping of dominoes on the card table…grandma using her two fingers to eat her famous mustard greens while reminiscing about the old days when things were pure….

Michelle, 8th Grade, Aunt Ida’s House, A Poem A Day, June 5, 2007.

Related Content

  • bryongw

    “If life is invariably fatal, cancer is a kind of accelerant that God squirts on you, His human charcoal briquet.”

    From “Unremitting Failure,” a blog by Michael Little

    Posted on June 5, 2007 (Not sure of the time, but the first comment was posted at 5:51 p.m.)

  • Greta

    Way to get the ball rolling, bryongw. Thanks.

  • Samgr

    To keep you up-to-date, here are some of the posts we’re looking at right now:

    Emergency sex and other desperate measures:

    “I’ve been feeling rather ragged lately mostly on account of the power cuts. I’ve had enough of salad and instant soup. The upside is that I’m getting to bed much earlier than usual. I’m reading by candlelight and loving it.”

    Stop the Bloody Clocks:

    “I have observed that in exactly 19 days, sob, whimper, snuffle, snort, my daughters are not going to be mine anymore.”

    Pack of Marlboro Lights:

    “I accidentally poked myself in the thigh with a syringe of Bovine Blackleg Immunization yesterday, so any fears I ever had of developing the dreaded condition are gone for good. I can finally relax. Life is sweet!”

    I Contemplate My Shins, And Find Them Wanting:

    “I look at other riders’ shins. Based on my observations, it seems that I am the only cyclist with pale shins.”

    Newsletter: Month Forty:

    “The highlight of your day, though, was when the teacher showed you the toilet, and it wasn’t just an ordinary toilet. It was a Dora potty, with a cushiony Dora seat, and it had Dora on it.”

    Ordinary Love Stories: Mandy

    “I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Mandy the market-trader from Milton Keynes. She smells of hot dogs and counterfeit perfume.”

    Haunting Dreams

    “I met a very nice woman, she slept at my place a couple of times and the last two times she asked why I was crying in my sleep. She told me it wasn’t little sobs, I was crying like a baby, with tears and everything, crying as if my father or mother had died.”

    The War in Present Tense

    “Iraq is on the other side of the globe and the events there are mostly reported in the past tense. And yet when I walk through a Home Depot and hear a sheet of plywood dropped on a pallet, I hear an airy breath followed by an explosive crack—the signature echo of an incoming mortar round.”

  • rbecker

    submission, Blogsday 2007, appeared as letter on solely a web page,, June 7

    A Political Thought Experiment:

    Gore by Acclamatiion

    Here is a political thought experiment, a fanciful depth meter to assess where we are and where are we going. Hold on your keyboards, settle in for an idea whose time has come: have both majors nominate Al Gore for president in 2008.

    We’re only talking four years – one term, no re-election, a one-time gift, concession, apology, whatever. If this country, like any dysfunctional family, can’t take one time-out, appoint a serious adult, and try to resolve ugly years of voting anomalies, we’re all doomed anyway.

    Gore ain’t perfect

    One charm is that Al Gore isn’t perfect, but we know what we are getting. We’re in trouble, as American democracy is guilty of serious, multiple errors. Not once but twice this honorable country put – or allowed — a distinctively compromised George Bush to dominate the political power center like a king. More apparent every day, Bush is hardly presidential timber (likewise for Dick Cheney), his denial and incompetence leading to the war in Iraq, torture, rights abuse, less economic opportunity, regressive taxes, dreadful appointments (judicial and otherwise) and abuse of natural resources. The unholy offspring of Florida mischance was an illegitimate presidency and we today pay the painful price.

    Gore the only bridge

    Election by acclamation would show offer Gore a straightforward apology: this democracy (and Supreme Court!) screwed up and here’s your chance. After all, Gore was right about global warming, prescient in 2002 when sharply opposing the Iraqi invasion; opposed using the tax code to justify a discredited economic theory and honors Social Security. Most of all, he would not reign by misusing wedge issues (9/11, gay marriage, evolution) or master the art of daily lying.

    Finally, we’re not electing God, just a temp president while we process challenges that already jeopardize our entire system.

    Immediate payoffs

    If both parties agreed to nominate Mr. Gore, think of the immediate, unquestioned payoffs. We instantly eliminate months of divisiveness, corrupt presidential campaign funding and an array of enduring voting violations — plus gain a temporary veto of special interests and time for healing. We can even focus on improving Congress instead of mainly quarreling over the top spot.

    With Gore, America claims a trusted president unscathed by ruthless campaign slanders – the character assassination that defeats modern presidents before they’re inaugurated from becoming unity presidents. Otherwise, brace for more Karl Rove-style ambushes, promising chaos and permanent, internal discord.

    Finally, Gore’s not dying to run

    Al Gore is a decent man with tested leadership skills and vision, one of the few national politicians (except Bill Clinton) a large majority of citizens could again trust. We’re talking redemption for our political system and our national stability, not just political leverage – and for only one special term.

    That’s it: Gore by acclamation doesn’t violate our moral values, nor the Electoral College, nor the Constitution, like torture or abusing rights in the name of faux anti-terrorism. Let’s “appoint” Al Gore as central to a national unity experiment to bring together a badly-scarred America, alienated from itself. For how long can America survive unrestrained, craven ambition, where anything goes as long as arrogant extremists win? That is, more of the same — corrosive “business as usual” by those who never knew, or long ago forgot, what America promises to the world!

  • OK, it is June 4th, not 5th, so this does not actually qualify, but I wanted to share this site nonetheless: Very Short Novels: 299 words each. Anything more is waste. Here is the post for the day before the day.

    Arc of a Diver

    Monday, June 4th, 2007 in Flash Fiction, Fiction, writers, 299 Words, Very Short Novels, novels, reading, Writing, Family, Short stories, Stories, Life

    You’ll say I’m making metaphors, but this is how it happened. You could ask around. There are witnesses, disappointed people who repeat the tale to teach their children a lesson. I was a diver with a feeling for the calculus. As the body bends the board, so the board propels the body into its arc; you either feel it or you don’t, but nobody feels it the first time. Thousands of dives over hundreds of cold water mornings are only the beginning of the training. The head must be emptied over long wet weekends until nothing finds room inside the skull but inner ear mechanics and a flat plane of blue water rushing upward as it curves. I looked out from the top of the ladder and saw the horizon and heard the spectators and the judges below, my teammates, my family, my coach. The long board was another plane, as lonely as a pirate’s plank. I was above it all, about to take the four short steps and throw myself at numbers. I needed two nines and a ten to win. My teammates couldn’t help. I’d practiced putting them and everything out of my mind. I bent the board. It tossed me over water, and as I forward flipped I thought, “What is this? How is this a team?” and quit. Where the head leads, the diver’s body follows. I pulled my thighs into my chest and locked my hands around my ankles; I pressed my forehead to my knees; I hugged myself, chuckled and fell. I broke the water like a meteor and felt the plume rush past me as it geysered from the pool: a perfect cannonball. It’s quiet underwater where there are no teams and all you need to know is which way is up.

    Copyright © June 3, 2007 David Hodges

  • Potter

    Regarding mediabloodhounds criticism of Michael Powell’s “gushing portrait of Giuliani in the New York Times ( what a gross picture of Giuliani for a gushing portrait!)- there was a good back and forth on mediabloodhound’s site between Powell and the hound with the following quote from the hound on the June 5th story of the day Follow the links to read the whole of it. I usually defend the NYT but am glad he’s on the case. Here the hound rebuts Powell’s claim that over time his pieces on Rudy will form a whole.

    Mediabloodhound on June 5th: I don’t deny that over the next eight months, taken together, I might “see a collection of pieces that add up to a complex whole.” But I think it’s also incumbent on any journalist (especially one at our nation’s Paper of Record) to make sure that each piece stands on its own, that – regardless of tone – each presents the necessary information for citizens to make the most informed decision about a candidate. That’s the root of my frustration with your article and with so many other articles written in a similar vein, whether the portraits are positive or negative. What’s more, who knows how many people will just read this article on Rudy and miss the others. In addition to the very real possibility he will already be largely defined in the public’s mind by the time those later articles are published.

    I’d argue it’s not so much new technology that’s giving big media a run for its money, but rather the thirst for sufficient context so lacking in much of our mainstream news. The cry of “stenography” from alternative media and those of us in media criticism is largely rooted in this (as well as imbalance, but I believe a deficit of context often creates imbalance).

  • arran

    Hold onto your hats.

    OK. Short explanation. For several years I’ve been writing a blog called LitBlogs, short for “literary blogs”, to review and spread the word about people who were using the blog-form to create literature, either through art (fiction, poetry, drama, photography, etc) or through brilliant non-fiction writing. (You’re welcome to come by and seine.) I’ve reviewed a couple of dozen such blogs (half of which no longer exist, alas) and have dozens more in my folder that I haven’t gotten to, all of them worth spending time with, imo.

    Here’s the prob: from my pov, you picked a truly rotten day as it turns out. Nearly all my faves either didn’t post or did but it was, shall we say, not their best work – or even close. Truly frustrating state of affairs for a fan. Dan Roentsch, for example, who writes the only legitimate novel in blog form that I’ve ever seen, The LumpenBlog!, hasn’t posted since March. Apparently he’s been wasting his time doing a movie or something.

    Howsomever, we digress.

    Fortunately, 2 of my faves did post that day with, if not their best work, at least work representative of their style and potential.

    First, ginmar of A View from A Broad.

    Recently, some scummy sports blogger stumbled over the picture of an attractive female athlete and proceeded to make her wank fodder, literally. It reminds me of the wank communities that have sprung up to mock wanks, but in fact, serve to create wank, because they take situations that would have died down on their own and amplify them by making them spectator sports for their thousands of members. Those members in turn are not shy about harassing the actual objects of wanks themselves—an example promoted in part by at least some of the moderators.

    The athlete in the picture was merely participating in her sport, goes the outraged cry. She didn’t do anything wrong. (That has not stopped some trolls from claiming She Brought It On Herself. Those short shorts! How dare she play a sport in sporty clothing!) That brings up one’s definition of wrong, doesn’t it? Is it wrong to be weird? Is it wrong to do stuff that others just don’t like? Is it wrong to fake one’s own death? Is it wrong to plagiarize? Is it wrong to lump all those things into one category, and merely call it wank?

    I wish I could have turned you on to her Iraq-blogging, but that’s from the only post she wrote that day.

    The second is from Jon Swift, a satirical faux-conservative blog in the – what else? – Swiftian tradition. This is from a post about the latest round of presidential debates.

    In the last Republican presidential debate, sponsored by Fox News, moderator Britt Hume borrowed a hypothetical scenario from the TV show 24, which just happens to be a Fox program. Getting the candidates to tell us what they would do if they were a character on a television show is not only great advertising for a network’s shows, it’s also a good way of engaging Americans who might be bored with presidential elections because of the lack of explosions or interesting characters.

    Unfortunately, the same rule holds for me as for everyone else – June 5 was not my best day. Nevertheless, to close, I will grit my teeth and offer this short snippet from one of my own poor contributions to fictional blogs, Aunt Harriet’s Revenge. The set-up is very simple: our hero’s aunt has decided that he’s going to steal a knitting trophy for her that she is convinced she would have won had there not been dirty work at the crossroads. Unhappily, there is a fierce pit bull aptly named “Brutus” guarding the house where the trophy lives. Aunt Harriet has solved this problem, tho: knock-out drops for dogs. You put them on meat. (OK, not so simple.)

    The next morning I was sent off to the supermarket with explicit instructions as to exactly what kind of steak to buy – top round, lightly marbled, and when I squeezed it, it should stay squeezed.

    “That means it’s tender,” Aunt Harriet said.

    “Aunt Harriet, please. It’s a goddamn dog. It will wolf down anything that’s meat. Turkey franks would do. Perhaps with a little sauerkraut on top…”

    She was scandalized. “Brutus,” she said huffily, “is a thoroughbred.” As if that explained anything.

    Feel free to make the singe profanity public radio-friendly if you have to.

    And if you ever decide to do a show on blogs as literature, write me. I got a million of ’em.

  • bft

    Community supporting mother of premature twins in the days when developmental effects are far from clear. No blog post on the fifth but a comment broadly describing the interactions on the blog.

  • Glissando

    A blog about blogs and other aspects of online life is Swarming Media. On June 5, this bit of opaque prose actually asks an important question:

    Metadata has become the medium for virtuosic labor in this circumstance. Performative consumption is conveyed in the layering of data upon data that is then translated into a social environment. It doesn’t take the place of affect, then, which is produced through the act of listening, but it signifies affect in an archived state. In other words, it shifts the temporality of affective production from singular presentness to repeated, multiple presents.

    Temporality is an important distinction to make when discussing affective or virtuosic labor in archival contexts. Much of the concept of virtuosic production relies on singular experience, but within these new environments, what conceptual changes must we make?

    An eternal, existential question – how do we adapt to the world’s changes?

  • dblicher

    I’m keeping a blog about my husband’s and my recent adoption of two young children from Russia. Here’s an ordinary incident in our three-year-old son “M””s education as an American child:

    Mary Had A…

    June 5th at 3:45 PM

    For about a week, M was singing this:

    wit-too wam

    wit-too wam

    wit-too wam

    wit-too wam

    wit-too wam


    I didn’t figure out what it meant until he finally sang this:

    wit-too wam as snoke.

    I had to go into another room and laugh.

  • enhabit

    just imagine what would happen if the developed world committed itself to addressing poverty.

    everybody, everywhere with access to:

    -a doctor


    -clean water

    -real shelter in a healthy secure location




    where would we be then? we have the capacity if we have the will.

    to hell with caviar and the want of it!

  • Greta

    Hi dblicher.

    There’s a board game — I can’t remember which one — that has you translate phonic cognates into common phrases. I’m terrible at it.

    Sorry to be dense, but what did “wit-too wam as snoke” mean?

  • enhabit

    wit-too wam = little lamb

    an old friend of mine adopted a russian orphan..went there saw the conditions, was haunted and went back for another,,found out that one had a twin..went back..

    they are at five adoptions now.

    i am full of admiration..there was some psychological baggage as well.

  • enhabit

    The Other Iraq

    As Iraqi-Kurdistan recently celebrated its traditional solar New Year, a spirit of optimism ran through the crowds after generations of struggle for independence. They certainly had a lot to celebrate. Now a de-facto independent state with around 45billion barrels of oil and 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, Iraqi-Kurdistan is an emerging secular democracy and potential economic powerhouse. No one close to the situation is suggesting otherwise, in spite of Kurdish political rhetoric to the contrary. Their own security forces are effective, have the full support of the United States Military, and are credited with keeping the violent insurgency gripping the rest of Iraq largely absent from the region. Qubad Talabani, Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Representative to the United States and son of the Iraqi president recently suggested to interviewer Christopher Lydon that Iraqi-Kurdistan is modeling itself after nothing less than Dubai.

    Of the growing foreign investment in Iraqi-Kurdistan, the vast majority of it is known to be coming from Turkey, an adjacent country that has a lot to gain from making nice with the Kurds, and the Kurds have a lot to gain as well. Christopher Lydon also interviewed Peter Galbraith on the same radio show. Mr Galbraith, adviser to the KRG and former ambassador to Croatia, suggested that this investment had been under way before the invasion of Iraq. Before the invasion, and with all that fuss about keeping “coalition” troops off Turkish soil. Turkey may have been providing political cover for its vision of converting an old adversary, in virtually complete control of a landlocked wealth of oil and gas, into a lucrative partner by providing a reliable route to market. One wonders how a Turkish petition to join the European Union will be received with that pipeline, hooked-up to one of the world’s largest oil fields while enjoying a degree of isolation from Iraqi insurgency. A rapprochement between these non-Arab peoples with pro-western secular ambitions, will be quite a marriage, and a rare bright spot in a real mess. Even so, both sides of this equation may be expected to posture for quite a while.

    As for the Iraqi Shia (note that they are mostly Arab Shia) in the south, are they going to follow a similar independence path? Leaving the Sunnis on their own or perhaps with the Saudis charging in to rescue them? This would solidify the Sunni presence in the region about as far as it can go, with the Saudis gaining influence over a very large, strategically located city that has been a boil on their collective saddles for quite some time. To the benefit of all concerned, Saudi Arabian money and influence may well have a placating effect on Iraqi Sunnis.

    All of this begs the question: was this the plan all along? Could there possibly be members of the United States government with the guile to risk the kind of turmoil seen in the rest of Iraq? This would not have played well if it had been openly presented at the start, to say the least. But consider just one element of what is at stake here, the United States has gained the favor, gratitude and loyalty of what is likely to be a stable, oil producing and independent Kurdistan, complete with an American military base right next to Iran and Syria.

    A little review of recent history may prove to be helpful at this point.

    The Kurdish region liberally crosses the borders of Iran, Iraq, (mostly) Turkey and a small part of Syria. However, it is in Iraq alone, that this region is known to contain a genuine wealth of oil, with even more discoveries being made today very close to the Turkish border. In the run up to the Iran-Iraq war, the United States and Israel had been encouraging Iranian support for Kurdish independence in Iraq. The Iraqis responded by supporting various insurgent groups in Iran, including a Kurdish one. Iran was an ally back then, buying our weapons by the boatload. Iraq had an arrangement with the Soviets, as did the Syrians. Turkey has long had troubles with the Russians and the Soviets were Russian enough for their taste.

    This period of encouraging Iraqi-Kurdish independence began in 1974, during the preoccupied twilight of the Nixon administration’s transition into the Ford administration. Some of the second Bush administration’s key players were very much on the rise at this point. Donald Rumsfeld, economic advisor in Nixon’s cabinet, later to become Gerald Ford’s Chief of Staff, supervised the “transition team” as Ford moved into the Oval Office. Dick Cheney, who had been working with Rumsfeld in the Nixon administration, was brought in as Assistant to the President. The famous “Halloween Massacre” soon followed as Cheney and Rumsfeld consolidated their political power through firings and re-assignment. Among the fired were some very high level people including, Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, CIA Director William Colby and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. Fed up with it all, Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller, a long time friend of Henry Kissinger, later resigned. Donald Rumsfeld saw himself named Secretary of Defense; Dick Cheney assumed the position of White House chief of staff and none other than George H. W. Bush was named Director of the CIA. With the gift of hindsight one may note a pattern of skillfully sweeping opposition aside while taking advantage of being underestimated.

    All the while, the Kurdish insurgency was proving to be too much of a headache for Iran and Iraq. The Shah met with then vice president of Iraq’s Revolutionary Command Council, Saddam Hussein at an OPEC meeting in Algiers (oh to have been a fly on that wall). A joint communiqué was issued that later evolved into a treaty firmly establishing Iraq’s borders with Iran and Saudi Arabia. It was agreed that all parties would put a stop to the Kurdish push for independence.

    Had someone in the Nixon/Ford administration developed a taste for an independent Kurdistan’s potential? Many members of the administration went on to later Bush administrations, some with a demonstrated interest in the oil industry. A former CEO of the energy services corporation Haliburton is currently serving as Vice-President of the United States. All that oil, a known quantity in a region struggling for independence so intriguingly close to an American cold war ally, Turkey; in a strategic position between Syria with its swords pointed at Israel and what was about to become a very unfriendly Iran. After the Iranian revolution, an uncomfortable “enemy of my enemy” alliance developed between the United States and an increasingly unreliable and ruthless Iraq. Even they were having difficulty maintaining control of the Kurdish region. Independence for the determined Kurds may or may not have been close, but the seeds of a scenario are likely to have been planted in someone’s mind. How to set the Kurdish wheels of independence in motion?

    One piece of the puzzle presented itself later, when then President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, began to lose patience with the Iran-Iraq war. Chemical weapons, low budget and deadly, were employed with catastrophic results. The United States quickly backed off in its support, but Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam’s willingness to use them were now on the record. Soon the Kurds too would learn of Saddam’s gas technology that smelled like sweet apples and killed with agony. These atrocities later prove to be a fatal mistake for Saddam.

    The recent Balkans conflict brings a key lesson to this picture: a country so fragmented by ethnic and religious rivalry demands either a firm hand to keep the peace, or a patient and determined one to negotiate the breakup. A firm American hand, capable of enforcing synthetic cohesion, would not be tolerated by today’s public or the press. Such a firm hand would not be available to post invasion Iraq, fragmentation was essentially inevitable. Therefore, an imperialist seeking unfettered access to a piece of such a country, while maintaining workable international and domestic relations, must pre-determine which desirable fragment is manageable, pre-position accordingly, and allow, even encourage the country to divide itself. This must be done while outwardly in pusuit of a justifiable purpose.

    Iraq plays almost flawlessly into the hands of this approach but much depends upon the complicity of the Saudis and the Turks or at least upon their ability to recognize and exploit opportunity. Turkey denied “coalition” access at the start of the second Gulf War, but was this for the sake of appearances? A tactical political diversion? Kuwaitis had an old score to settle and no one would blame them for their support. At any rate, the Turkish position, complicit or not proved to be no more than an inconvenience, and it aligned nicely with not only most of the Middle East, but with the position of the majority of the coveted European Union.

    The missing catalyst flew out of a cloudless September sky into Manhattan, Arlington and a field Pennsylvania. Donald Rumsfeld quickly called for action on uninvolved Iraq.

    One scenario may run something like this:

    With their country in a state of shock over the events of 9/11, American militarists, concerned about openly hostile Iraq’s presumed weapons of mass destruction and proven willingness to use them, appear to take charge; keeping a bruised and apparently ignored State Department insulated for later use. Sufficient troops are committed to defeat the Iraqi Army but not to maintain the peace. This is critical. Baghdad must degenerate to such an extent that its Shia population wants to leave. Presumably, they will withdraw to the already Shia dominated oil rich southern region of Iraq, and presumably, the local Sunnis will head for Baghdad. Unlike Iraqi-Kurdistan these southern oil fields have nearly direct access to the sea and no further allegiances are required to insure success. Iraqi Shias, mostly of Arab ethnicity, may be expected to coalesce and maintain their independence nicely. At any rate, this region is not the ultimate objective.

    The Sunnis of Iraq have been left with little else but one of the most strategically positioned cities in the Middle East, it is now in a state of waste and destruction. The Saudis (also Sunni Arabs) offer to help and so gain influence over key territory from a political and strategic point of view, now free of Shia influence and in a Saudi-friendly frame of mind. Of course the Saudis would be glad to return Baghdad to its former glory, and beyond. A gleaming Sunni metropolis will emerge from the ashes on the doorstep of Saudi Arabia’s archrival, Iran.

    Iraqi-Kurdistan, with its politically secular Kurdish population in control, was secured early in the conflict and indeed, had been well on the way years before. Adjacent Turkey agrees to help with transit of the region’s oil wealth, investment flows in and indeed, it too had quietly preceded invasion.

    If the scenario presented here is close to the actual plan, the kind of strategic foresight suggested, however flawed, requires a ruthless guile, cold political calculus and disregard for human suffering worthy of a Roman Emperor. The scheme clearly contains an understandable miscalculation of Shia willingness to leave Baghdad, although the potential for this result hasn’t evaporated away quite yet. Even with its underestimation of Shia stubbornness, a speculative analysis built from the point of view that the invasion of Iraq and its foreseeable outcome was deliberately choreographed is downright spooky. A lot of pieces seem to fall into place, and we may have been underestimating the Bush administration’s men behind the curtain.

    While George W. Bush plays the likeable bumbling right wing demagogue, with who knows who lurking in the wings, it is easy to assume that all of this is the result of reckless incompetence. Oddly enough, it feels better that way, and it is, after all, a likely conclusion. If complete incompetence is not the case then what does all of this mean? Many thousands are dead, and millions are currently living in a state of terror.

    Consider as well the relationship that some of the highest level key players have with the recently ex-pat and thoroughly involved no-bid Haliburton Company and the hair on the back of the neck begins to stand up. Are there factions in our society capable of such conquistadorian disregard for human life in the pursuit of economic and political self-interest? If so, then we have become an empire in our thinking after all. Maybe it’s easier to go on thinking that mistakes were made.

  • This is my favorite post from June 5th:

    New York City

    In the 1990’s TV shows like Seinfeld, Friends, and S-x in the City brought a little town on the eastern seaboard to prominence: New Yawk City! Today and this month Vernacular Valentine will honor the Big Apple and our fallen service men and women by starting a new series: New Yawk: The Beautiful Dreamer!

    New York has many different vernacular styles; some are unique to certain Borough and neighborhoods. Narrowing it down to one style is as difficult as picking your favorite feline from the Tony Award winning musical Cats. However, my favorite Cat is Rum-Tum-Tiger and my favorite New York Vernacular Buildings is the Tenement!

    Tenements are the dominant building type in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The Lower East Side has been the historical first stop for immigrants to New York. At the turn of the century this was the densest place in the world with over 250,000 people per square miles. Multiple families were packed into rooms like the pepperoni on an authentic New Yawk pizza. The rooms were so crowded people took shifts sleeping in beds. It is in these rooms that several New Yawk delicacies were born. Pastrami was invented when a young cobbler left a piece of raw beef sitting on the counter. In the morning the heat and sweat from all the people in the tiny room had cured the beef turning it into a wonderful sandwich topping and an authentic taste of New Yawk! The pickle was invented in 1901 on Delancy Street when a cucumber was dropped into a toilet and left for several months.

    Today a group of tenements have be turned into a museum “where some overly tall bitch from ohio who just moved to the city to eat gelato gives you a tour of jewish life at the turn of the century.”

    Lets roll New Yawk!

  • enhabit

    admittedly not a blog..but inspired by ROS and its cyber-outlet.

    thanx for the stoa anyway.

  • rahbuhbuh

    graphic designers reacting to the London 2012 logo and brand identity launch on Speak Up:

    “[the London 2012 Olympics logo looks] like a logo designed for young people, by old people, that don’t understand young people” — Al Wood

    “If the original AOL logo and the Colorform brand had a fling [the London 2012 Olympics logo] would be their rebellious and ugly love child.” — Von Glitschka


    from UnBeige

    “Are they artists with clients? Are they designers with representation? The New York Times Magazine profiles Paris firm M/M in a pretty article about their uncategorizability” — Alissa


    from ideasonideas

    “I agree with his advice on not talking about stuff you don’t know about. Love his quote: It is my greatest fear to die stupid.” — Swissmiss paraphrasing Erik Spiekermann


    from Wired’s blog “The Underwire”

    “In Dream, Duncombe analyzes everything from video games and Vegas to Entertainment Tonight and Macintosh ads in order to explore what’s alluring about fantasy worlds — and what the Democratic Party could stand to learn from them. Duncombe’s thesis, which is a more focused version of what Steven Johnson dealt with in Everything Bad is Good for You, is that we live in a world of mass media spectacle and therefore political progressives should embrace it.” — Annalee Newitz on Stephen Duncombe’s “Dream”



    “What’s a debate without an unscientific Internet survey?” — Jesse Walker

    “A federal appeals court has spoken: The FCC can’t punish a TV network when someone unexpectedly swears during a live broadcast. It’s a common-sense decision, so naturally FCC chief Kevin Martin is unhappy” — Jesse Walker

  • My cat brought me a mouse. It wasn’t dead – we later found out it wasn’t even hurt. The dog made him drop it ..

  • oops, that there above ^, that’s a link to a 6/5 blog post about a mother receiving news that her 6 month old daughter’s heart surgery had gone well….

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  • bft

    Intriguing (20 of the blockquotes are marked “July 5” at the bottom) collection!

  • bryongw

    Please correct:

    Then name of Michael Little’s blog (in the blue box above) is “Unremitting Failure,” not “Mich Failure.”

  • bryongw

    Unremitting Failure is grateful to’ve be included on Blogsday. See today’s post: “Manfailure in the Promised Land.”

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  • Thursday

    Many thanks for including my blog entry on the Blogsday.

  • This is such a wonderful show you do–spotlighting what we say on our blogs. I was feeling a bit down about the blogosphere in general but your show reminded me that there’s always something to talk about. I loved hearing about the extraordinary every day; more important, I loved hearing what people find important enough to mention. Thanks again!

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