On the Metals

This blog, which nobody actually reads anyway, uses precious metals for its blogroll. Bronze, silver, gold and platinum. And turqoise, which of course isn’t a metal at all. This has occasionally led to some inquiries about what this all means — since we’ve decided to go this route, “blogrolling” has become something of an industry unto itself, fairly pre-packaged. Very few other blogs do what we do with our blogroll. None at all, really. So what is up with these icons and what do they mean? We haven’t really answered this question. Not in a highly-visible way, something that can be picked up by a casual observer.

So pull up a chair and read. All is explained below.

First of all, before we get to what each metal represents, we have to inspect the decision itself as it pertains to them all. “Metals” are things that are used to make medals, as in, Olympic medallions. This is what should be kept in mind, when one tries to interpret the message we try to convey behind each entry in our blogroll. Imagine yourself at a party late at night chock full of somebodies, among whom is an Olympic bronze medalist, an Olympic silver medalist and an Olympic gold medalist. You have a limited number of opportunities to be photographed with each of them. Who to pick? Obviously, gold outranks silver and silver outranks bronze. BUT…obviously, things are much more complicated than that.

You probably don’t get to choose this way. You get to shake hands with…whoever. Probably nobody at all. You get to be photographed with…whoever…maybe. So you see, in the final analysis, if you’re photographed shaking hands with a bronze medalist you will consider yourself extraordinarily lucky. Just as much as if you’d had a signed autograph from the gold medalist. And this is how the blog you’re reading now, pays tribute to other blogs. Greatness is greatness. What kind of greatness it is — on some level — it doesn’t really matter, does it?

So there’s a certain verticality to this. And at the same time, there really isn’t. Our blogroll contains hundreds of entries, much more than we have time to inspect on a daily basis. It is a cumulative product of observation of great resources out there, things of which we have wanted to take note.

Some of them are “reciprocals.” You link to us, we’ll link to you — even if you suck. But to be realistic about it, how much sucking can you do? If you list us, it’s a given that you’ve got some great taste. Nothing ruins a blog like having poor taste. So our blogroll does have some QC, and some high-caliber QC at that. The kind of metal shows you not so much how much greatness is involved in each entry, but rather, what kind. They’re all great.

Below I’ve listed the most noteworthy ones. In ORDER. Because I understand we’ve stacked several hundred of them over there, and it can be overwhelming at times. So consider this your Cliff’s Notes.

A bronze blog is, more or less, something kind of like us. A guy jotting down some thoughts. An electronic scrapbook that belongs to…some guy…visible to the world. Nearly everything on the blogroll is bronze. And among those, a good chunk of them are wailing away about how nobody reads them…kind of wishing they’d been the first to come up with the subtitle “The Blog That Nobody Reads,” but honoring our virtual trademark on that in a gentlemanly kind of way. But “bronze” is completely unrelated to linkage, hits-per-day, or anything of the like. Some of our bronze resources are reeling in massive hits per day. Some get even fewer peeks than we do. Which seems nearly unthinkable, but there it is.

Bronze sidebar resources that have earned our respect first-and-foremost:

1. Buck Pennington, Exile in Portales. Because…well, the guy’s just plain spooky. He’s an interesting mixture of my highest hopes and darkest fears in the decades ahead, kind of a shadow of myself in some 25 years. Retired Air Force IT geek, writes on a daily basis about everyday life, and manages to make it interesting — probably much more interesting than he actually understands himself. Let me put it this way: Everybody who isn’t old yet, should hope to grow old the way Buck is growing old. His education about the world has come from actually living in it. I’m listing his blog first because if I could knock back a couple glasses of beer with any of my fellow bloggers, I’d knock ’em back with Buck first. Kind of a “he buys the cold ones and I’ll bring the steak or vice-versa” sort of thing. If you aren’t checking his place everyday, you’re really missing out.

2. Phil, Clue Batting Cage. He comes in second after Buck. A close second. You know Myers-Briggs? This guys is as INTP as INTP can possibly get, and that’s supposed to be 1% of the population. I’m a heavy INTP myself, so Phil and I have some interesting off-line conversations about what’s going on and how “everybody” is kind of failing to grasp what’s really important about the latest events. Oh, but unlike myself Phil is somewhat well organized, can pass tests, and has actually pulled down some formal education for himself. Yet somehow, he’s sufficiently anchored to reality to understand something is heap-big-busted with the way such sheepskins are ritually handed out nowadays. From what I’ve been able to gather, Phil is married to an incredible woman and is one lucky sonofabitch.

3. Rick “Steroni,” Brutally Honest. See, all these bronze guys have one thing in common — they are carbon copies of me, except for one minor detail in which they’re 180 degrees opposed. In Buck’s case, he’s a bachelor; in Phil’s case, he can actually get some paperwork for those smarts he’s showing. Rick’s idiosyncrasy here is that he’s kind of a “church guy.” In which case, it’s more accurate to say I’m the strange, eccentric one. I’m a devout, believing Christian but I don’t preside over a religious family household, haven’t attended services in years, and don’t believe in prayer. Rick does all those things, but has an occasional crisis of faith and has the balls to admit it, for which I have enormous respect. Rick’s corner is quite a fascinating place, populated with all kinds of folks with different perspectives on the whole “what are we doing here and how did we get here” question. Conservative atheists, left-wing men of the cloth living in Canada, smarmy anti-war liberal secularists, and rednecks like me who are fed up with them.

4. Becky “C,” Just a Girl in Short Shorts Talking About Whatever. Alright, if this isn’t what you call “interesting” then I don’t know what is. See, Becky is an incredibly intelligent and insightful lesbian Catholic creature who applies prominent forensic energies to pursuing the logical conclusion of whatever thought grasps hold of her noggin. When she chooses to. Sixty percent of the time, roughly. The sixty percent of the time she agrees with me. The rest of the time…well, sorry Becky doll, but you’re a bit of a nut. Crossed the first signpost on the way to insanity, and probably the second one as well. But not the third. Something is keeping her back from that. This is an incredibly rare thing nowadays, that someone can be in possession of all the faculties needed to decide things logically, with a rugged and durable foundation of fact and reason — and only engage it some of the time. This makes her a puzzle I believe I’ll never quite solve. But whatever…it ends up being a fascinating place to visit, so do include it. She’s really smart when she chooses to be. And hey, she’s a stunning looking blond who wears cheek-baring short shorts 365 days a year. Hey, the world’s got two kinds of people living in it — people who say their attention is held captive by that, and liars.

A silver blog is something organized. Typically, it is an electronic periodical or newsletter with a defined “panel” of authenticated contributors, but informally, it is a “bronze” blog that has implemented some device or suite of devices to make itself more visible. A lot of these are actual commercial efforts. Someone who actually sells ad space, might eventually become silver. A published author who starts a blog in order to talk about his work, might be silver.

1. Gerard Van der Leun, American Digest. Gerard is the Galileo to my Newton, you might say. When I “grow up” I wanna be just like Gerard. Well…not completely…but kinda, at least. And it’s one single entry that prompted me to reach that decision, his 2006 manifesto on the American Castrati. This man doesn’t write, he produces priceless works of art. With all the effort, it seems at times, that you or I spend blowing our noses, if even that much. A prevailing theme is rather hard to pick out from Gerard’s website; read him long enough, and you’ll see one of his touchstones is something we revisit quite often here, namely what is happening to masculinity nowadays in our grown-ups and in our children. Thankfully, he does a better job than we do keeping his sense of humor about this. In the same way the acting world will never see another Sean Connery, bloggers will never see another Gerard. Appreciate him while he’s here.

2. James Bostwick, News Blog Central. Because he’s put together a virtual syndicate involving an established panel of staffers, and because I’m on the list. But there are other reasons as well. James Bostwick is a truly original thinker; even if he sees an idea he might think is worth plagiarizing, he’s unhappy stopping at that point. Like Phil, he pretty much sees the world the same way I do, not as a procession of entirely-unrelated events but rather as a collection of interrelated themes. He, like me, finds it difficult to describe what it is he’s seeing without inventing some terms that he knows in advance will be re-used and re-used some more. This comes in particularly handy when he starts to inspect the post-modern interrelationship between men and women — at which point he shows fearlessness beyond compare.

3. “Misha,” Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler. Should need no introduction. Immigrant from Canada, lives in Texas, really lays the smack down like a true Texan. Only where it’s really deserved, and richly so.

4. Mike “LaSalle,” Mens’ News Daily. MND is an online periodical concerning mens’ issues, packed to the brim with stories worth noting, every single day. It looks out for the gents — doesn’t skirt past the politically-incorrect stuff.

A gold blog has a very simple definition: If you walk up to someone who doesn’t “know blogs,” and run the name past them, you’ve got better than even odds they’ve heard of it. That’s it. If you run a blog and the name of the blog has become “household,” you’re probably gold, and if it hasn’t then you probably aren’t.

1. Michelle Malkin. If she writes something technically correct, but kind of “out there,” and you write in to say something like “hey, that was kind of out there” she’ll skip past the “yeah, I guess you’re right” stuff and go straight for the jugular dealing with why she’s technically right. Just like Ann Coulter. Because they both have vaginas. Hey, I’m not saying that out of bitterness or jealousy, it’s an absolute fact. Us gentlemen can’t do that. We have to first wade through a whole lot of crap about “yeah, I can see how you’d think that, but first let me ask you…” and what-not. Ever since Adam got fooled into biting that apple, us guys have been under kind of a microscope, presumed to be murdering neanderthals until we prove otherwise. Ladies like Malkin don’t have to do that; they’re presumed innocent. I’m not proclaiming the battleground uneven or whining about life being unfair, I’m simply observing that Malkin has her area of contribution to make, and others can’t make it on her behalf. Unless, of course, they’re also vaginal. Point is — she’ll cut through the crap. Miss her, you miss a lot.

2. Pajamas Media. Makes a fine home page for your browser; like Malkin’s site, updated multiple times a day with stuff you might miss if you don’t go there to find it out. Besides, I just like to see Michelle’s name right next to the word “pajamas.”

3. Media Research Center. Sure you might know what the news said tonight, but do you know what was wrong with it. Probably not, if you haven’t been here.

Platinum, like gold, has a simple definition. If I start to suffer withdrawal symptoms after going a few days without hitting your site, you’re platinum. This applies, to date, to only two things.

1. Nealz Nuze, by Neal Boortz. Every morning Neal puts together the “program notes” for the radio show he’s going to be doing over in the Atlanta area, and then before he goes on the air — he tosses ’em up on the web. Like clockwork. Where I then hit it, like clockwork. Get your ass out of bed…get coffee…hit Nealz Nuze and get ready for work. Why do I read Nealz Nuze EVERY day? Because I agree with him. He’s a capital-L Libertarian. Not one of those Ron Paul weirdos, a real Libertarian who’s pro-war. And as an added benefit, Neal thinks the mainstream media is telling us one lie after another until it’s proven not to…just like me. And Thomas Jefferson. If Jefferson was around today he’d be hitting Neal’s web site as often as I do, and probably at the same time.

2. FARK. Really now, need I say more?

There are many, many others. A lot of them are very much worth reading, but didn’t make the narrow cut you see above for some trifling reason unrelated to worthiness of content — like, for example, some of them don’t update very often. None of them would have been “‘rolled” if something had not been detected about them, making them worth reading. And that goes for the turquoise ones as well — the left-wingers. Just a couple of those are what you might call “dicks,” listed because they can be relied-upon for the most entertaining whackjob conspiracy theory. But most of turquoise folks actually know how to make an argument and support it with reason and facts. A rare thing on that side of the fence. A lot of them have linked to me, with no sarcasm intended, just showing some real open-mindedness for which all liberals would like to be known, but which a lot of us have gradually come to doubt. And some of the turquoise people I consider to be friends.

C’mon, it’s Christmas/New Year’s or about that time…we know you aren’t working. Give them a click. You won’t be sorry.