Today Is Your Blogday

Wistfulsmall Happy Blogday, although I'm not sure if that should be two or three words. The rules are simple: Celebrate the day by recommending five good reads - sites to share with others. Ideally they should be sites from other countries or off one's normal route.

The date, picked by an Israeli portal chief named Nir Ofir, is Aug. 31, but since it's 10:41 p.m. as I'm typing this, most likely you are reading this a little late. Sorry. I had planned to do this earlier, but then there was this Hurricane Katrina, and then there was this movie I went to called The Aristocrats.

A guy walks into a talent agent's office....

Back to Blog Day. More than 18,000 bloggers have written about it, and more surely would have had not disaster struck. I was reminded of it by a Phila blogger named B.G. Andersen who was kind  enough to recommend Blinq. He writes a blog called Random Thoughts Scrawled on Paper, and I have never seen it before, so this was a double treat for me.

I figure if I'm going to celebrate blogs, I'm going to have to have to look for the lower layer here, and not pick a Wonkette, because too many people know about the potty-mouthed smart girl.

I'm going to start with a foreign one with a local connection. It's called al-Hiwar, with the subtitle: "Locating the political in the mundane, from Beirut to Cairo to Sana'a, and places in between..." Its author is Stacey Philbrick Tadav, a Cairo-based Ph'D candidate in political science at Penn. Her specialty is Yemen and Lebanon, and I cannot resist reading of her travels, because I've never been to either of those countries, and she brings them home in a way you can taste.

Her most recent post begins:

I was having lunch with Deputy Foreign Minister Mustapha No'man today when he was excommunicated. No, really.

Next up in one I've got on my blogroll, Berlin Bites by my friend Ed Ward. I knew Ed for three years in Berlin, and his name might be familiar if you listen to his reports on Fresh Air, or if you happen to have an old Rolling Stone magazine around the house and kept his review of, say, The Worst of the Jefferson Airplane. He tells a good story on Jann Wenner, too.

I've described his blog as doing for Berlin what George Orwell did for London and Paris when he had no money and no prospects and so had to write his way out of his hole. Ed tells delicious stories, whether about bizarre German customs, the awful German language or the maddening red tape of a rule-obsessed land. He also wrote a lovely obit of Chet Helms of the Family Dog. He gives an exhausting 6-hour tour of Berlin, but you will learn about the introduction of the potato to Prussia.

Third? This one will have to be out of my area, which leaves a lot of room. How about a photo blog? It's curated by a guy who works on my floor named Ted Adams, although I'm not quite sure what he does at the paper. He types things into the computer, and when he is not doing that, he engages me in completely unexpected conversations. I hear he used to perform on stage, and I'd pay for video.

His blog is called Heudnsk Blog, though I don't know why. The pictures he shoots are truly bizarre. Often wining shots of the down-and-out. Something Edward Hopper meets Diane Arbus in them. The lead photo in this piece is one of his offerings. Ted might be a genius or he mg ht be picked up soon by people with nets.

Number 4 - and trust me, I am making this up as I go along - goes to Rance. It is the blog of an anonymous Hollywood type, a screenwriter I believe. For a while I thought it was Owen Wilson's blog. It is hilarious, and self-deprecating, and very insider. If they turned his stuff into movies, then maybe Hollywood would be making money, not remakes.

Last up: The Comics Curmudgeon. This dude deconstructs the funnies. That's funny. One of my kids' friends told me about it. The guy can go one for minutes about the je ne sais quoi of Spider-Man. He might have too much time on his hands, but I'm always got time for him.

Posted 09/01/2005 10:09:50 AM

I am a fan of Sun's Java Technology, so I'm always dropping by James Gosling's site (the main brain behind Java) to see what he has to say. He also talks about his trips to other countries, but in a business/techy sense... Sun was the first major company that I know of that had their employees blogging. They have a ton at I'm also a big fan of Tim Schafer, the mind behind games like "Grim Fandango" and most recently "Psychonauts". He's also hilarious. A good one Search for "Also Tuesday, May 6, 2003" on that page and read about the annual Clara St. Fire! And Tim's take on 'blogs'. How's 2? It'll have to do.

Daniel Rubin
Posted 09/01/2005 10:34:55 AM

two's grand.

Posted 09/01/2005 10:59:55 AM

I know you asked for five but most that I read are pretty much the ones on the beaten track or ones you have mentioned in previous weeks (Blinq, Attytood, Shallow Center, Balls Sticks Stuff and Minutae). Here are four others that I read pretty regularly. Basically they post horrible pictures taken of celebrities and make fun of them. Pretty entertaining. This is people posting funny stuff they hear at work. This is a guy I know who writes about movies and music and his life. Pretty interesting stuff. This stuff runs the gamut. Pretty interesting.

Ed Ward
Posted 09/01/2005 11:29:45 AM

OOh, that was nice, Dan! Dunno if I picked up any hits as a result, but I appreciate it. Haven't posted in a couple of days because I've had (wait for it...) work! But I'll plug my friend Marie's blog, which I suspect she's writing instead of the book about her trip around the world four years ago, accomplished without any airplanes (well, *almost* without airplanes). She fell in love in Africa with a guy from Bavaria, so now she's in Uganda living in Kampala and spending some time out at the game park with him. Cheggidout: No Hurry In Africa:

Posted 05/31/2008 08:45:30 PM

I wanted to take time to thank you for the great information on this site. I found it to be very helpful and interesting. I will certainly check back soon.

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