If you are like me, which is to say you live on the fourth floor of a dilapidated apartment building with no elevator, no couch, and no kitchen table, not to mention the fact that the windows rattle in their frames with every burst of thunder that shakes the building (twice in the past minute), then you will probably want to be one place within said apartment, and one place only: in your bed and under the covers, with your laptop close beside you (after all, it may be your sole means of sending an SOS message, should that be necessary, and judging by the lightening, and by the windows, it might).
But if you are like me you also have the attention span of a flea. That could come in handy once the tempest becomes a cyclone, but for now, under your covers, you are bored.
What to do?
Well, you do have that laptop.
And even if you’re not like me, and right now you’re drinking a mint julep in a rocking chair on a whitewashed porch, idling the afternoon away, well, you still might like to join me in reading a blog or two (or five) if you’ve got your laptop handy.
1. Well Blog from The New York Times
NYT’s Well Blog is a gem. A mixture of longer, print-ready articles and quick bit pieces about recent studies, the whole blog reads well, though more formal than most. The writing is solid, interesting, and fact-heavy in a good way. You really learn when you read this blog, and unlike many blogs on the web, these writers aren’t the amateurs, they’re the experts. From a post about a children’s heart transplant surgeon, to rustic fruit tarts and the debate over organic vs. conventional food, Well Blog hits on topics that inform and serve their readers. Plus, I went running after I read it. Maybe you will, too.
Now, a confession: I know nothing of politics. Blame that on my older brother liking them too much, or my absolute abhorrence of shit-eating-grins, or the fact that a short story always proves more enticing than an article on so-and-so’s latest gaff, but the reality remains the same: I’m ignorant of the blue and the red, and all the colors that are unfortunately absent in between.
Nevertheless, I have enjoyed reading several political blogs this week.
2. Howard Fineman on The Huffington Post
As a newcomer to the political scene, what I love about Fineman is that he provides context, and all articles are reader-friendly. What’s more, he focuses on the subtler moments of the campaign, which are likely to go unpublished in a newspaper that’s forced to highlight what’s most important, for example, Jess Jackson’s invisibility at the DNC and throughout much of the campaign. With its longer, thorough articles, the blog could easily translate into paper-form. Then again, the photo galleries and, best of all, Spotify playlists really give the blog some charm. Biden’s playlist, for example, featured Britney Spears’ “Oops…I Did It Again.” That killed me. Way to go, HuffPo.
3. Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish on The Daily Beast
The Dish is much more of a bloggy blog. Which means it hardly resembles print journalism. Sullivan share political updates in sharp punches. He cuts and pastes updates from articles, which sends you, as a reader, straight to the heart of what’s going on, this very moment, right now. Problem with that is there’s largely no context, and even less commentary. For a politico, The Dish would be a great site. It’s like a twitter for article cuts, which for me was not as appealing. I appreciate Fineman’s approach more than Sullivan’s. Fineman gives you details. He gives you a story. Sullivan simply cuts and pastes, like a machine, until you wonder, isn’t there an algorithm that could do the same thing?
4. David Roberts’ The Grist
The Grist is a blog that focuses on politics, energy, and the environment, and for me, it came off as a blog about…..god, was I just skimming? Yes I was. Long story short I found it dull…he combined the worst traits of Fineman and Sullivan. He wrote in long-form like Fineman, and yet still managed to make the material uninviting, and under contextualized for new readers, like Sullivan. The few articles that I did really appreciate were his music posts, which then I resented as being bizarrely unrelated within the larger context of this blog on politics/energy/environment. But who knows, try it out. You may enjoy it.
This last blog comes right out of left-field.
5. Gizmodo, the Gadget Guide
Gizmodo is an outlet of Gawker, and it’s pretty great, if you’re a techy (I’m not). Even so, I enjoyed getting a sneak peak at what could be Apple’s new earbuds, and I really enjoyed reading a piece on what happens to you if you get struck by lightening (particularly useful information if, like me, you are hiding from a storm). The majority of the site is written in conversational, slightly snarky bloggy writing at its finest. One article title rings “If You Need a Gimmicky Gadget Alarm Clock You’re a Horrible Subhuman.” Now that’s a blog.
Hey, what do you know. While we’ve been reading away, the windows have stopped rattling and the walls have stopped shaking.
Still no couch, but we weren’t really expecting that anyway, were we?