Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blogaround for Melanie

This is way, way overdue, I know. I don't think I've cleared my bookmarks since I became employed. And so much has happened, much of it a tad outdated, so bear with me 'cause it's still stuff I want to talk about:

• This post's title refers to the late Melanie Mattson, who used to run the blog Just A Bump in the Beltway. I sometimes felt like I was the only one commenting on her posts. Even though she was quite popular, she didn't seem to get a lot of participation; I think part of the reason (and I think I said this in comments) was that she often wholesale copied articles rather than linking to them and offering her own opinion. She blogged a lot, but her original content ratio was fairly low at first. It got better, and boy, she seemed to have a lot of areas of expertise! I don't know exactly what she died from, but my opinion is that not having decent health insurance had a lot to do with it. I found out about her death from Susie, who also cites Melanie's lack of health care as a possible contributing factor to her death. (There are also remembrances from, among many others, PSoTD, Kevin Hayden and Skippy, who has a nice roundup of other posts.) I implore Susie (who, alas, is newly unemployed once more and all of us hope that doesn't last long) and all my bloggy friends in the same boat as Melanie to please, please take care of yourself, particularly when you find yourself in adverse circumstances!

• So many people have left us, and the world is better off without a few and far worse off without others. Pam has an interesting wrapup of the life and times of Jesse Helms. Paul Krassner remembers George Carlin. The blogosphere salutes the late "world's oldest blogger" Olive Riley. And via Susie, Mary hits one out of the park with an illustration showing the over-the-top peer worship for Tim Russert, the leader of the kewl-kids pundit class. (Digby thinks NBC is changing for the better now that Russert is no more.)

• All the kewl kids, of course, are at Comic Con, at least those who can afford it. I can afford to read, for free, Alison Bechdel's recent four-pager from Entertainment Weekly, about being a reader. Meanwhile, Cecil Castellucci had a very nerdtastic day recently, which I'm sure is even now being topped by her experiences at Comic Con. Oh, and David Rees' Get Your War On is now being animated.

• Tony Bourdain's show this week (which I DVR'ed and plan on seeing this weekend) was filmed in Saudi Arabia. Tony points to the blog of producer Amy Teuteberg, who describes in fascinating detail how four women went about accomplishing this program in a country that doesn't even let women drive or appear in public without an abbaya. Every time I see a travel show in a fairly exotic place I inevitably wonder what it would be like to be female and trying to get around, given the anti-woman state of much of the world. I don't know how Marie Javins did it, and I'm in awe of how Teuteberg & co. did it.

• Speaking of food blogging, any word on what's happened with the Devo lawsuit against McDonald's?

• Nivair Gabriel at io9 is less than impressed with Steven Moffat's writing, particularly when it comes to women. Amy Ferris at Women in Hollywood is less than impressed with the movie Hancock, particularly when it comes to women. Patrick at the Hathor Legacy is less than impressed with the Dark Knight flick, particularly when it comes to women. Can one discern a pattern here? I wonder if any of this entertainment might have benefited from taking women more seriously as a critical audience, including having a greater ratio of female-to-male movie critics in the major newspapers. Naturally, Melissa Silverstein follows up, both new At The Movies hosts are male.

• Over in the world of politics, Tom Negrino isn't the only one saying "you were warned" to the Obama-bots who projected their own image onto the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee rather than admitting, like many of us have been doing all along, that he's a political centrist who happens to give great speeches. Anyone who really considered him a liberal is learning a hard lesson now. Or as Bryan likes to say, "they are not your friends." Earl Ofari Hutchinson points out that the other major centrist who was in second-place for the Dem nomination did the right thing on FISA, and nobody seemed to care. (Melissa and Zuzu have help explain why, here and here. And Ann adds an interesting bit of trivia concerning how Clinton's campaign was apparently even sabotaged by Facebook.) And if you didn't see the Maddow/Turley chat on Countdown re the FISA cave-in, here's the transcript courtesy of Chief at Liberty Street (with whom I've struck up a lively-for-me email correspondence). Of course, Countdown's regular host can still get a bit infuriating, as the aforementioned Zuzu reminds us. (I'm so glad Maureen's outed her real name, which I think is wonderfully alliterative and suits her muchly.)

• By the way, for anyone making fun of McCain for not being web-savvy, apparently this non-internetedness runs to both sides of the political spectrum; Susan Sarandon's not familiar with how it works either.

• Scott at World o' Crap wonders why it took the Argentinian Museum of Cinema so long to find that lost Metropolis footage, anyway.

• I don't think Donna Fish quite gets it. If pricey restaurants start cutting portions in the interest of so-called health, their customers will feel ripped off. It's a value for money thing, particularly in this tanking economy.

• Ooh, I remember the Mermaid Parade (or, as we used to call it, "dress rehearsal for the Greenwich Village Hallowe'en Parade"); thanks for bringing back some happy memories, Truffle!

• Over at Feministe, the Girl Detective muses about being Jewish and white, like me; and Holly talks about reactions to a Fat Princess (like me, only not so much with the princess bit). And speaking of Jewish and white, years after Robin Tyler's signature comedy album Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Groom (which I think I have somewhere in my LP stack), she gets to be the groom.

• Oh Athenae, you really feel that way about the Beatles? I'm so tempted to do what I shouldn't do based on your post!

• Oh dear, PZ's flippancy went and got him in dutch with the douchebag who got Amanda and Melissa fired from the Edwards campaign. On the other hand, Michael has a point about PZ kinda going out of his way to be a bit dickish here. (and Keith calls for moderation a little late). It's hard not to, these hypocritical idiots make such tempting targets, but sometimes it's just not worth the aggro. Then again, I did find PZ's capsule history of the origin of transubstantiation fascinating.

• Eww, Curt Schilling shows us pictures of his operation! Fascinating stuff but not for the squeamish! Maybe he can become a switch pitcher -- yes, a switch pitcher, like this guy in the minors that tgirsch tells us about (complete with video).

• Kathy G. sings the praises of Kathy G -- Griffin, that is. And Dick Cavett does an amazing two-parter here and here on living with and through devastating bouts of depression. It's so well-written that he refrains from excessive namedropping until the second part.

• SweetMachine at Shapely Prose tells us all about spaghetti language. Hey, I think I have that too!

• Digby Says that the word of the day is "presumptuous."

• Lastly, welcome back to the blogosphere, Brooke Biggs!

And so, at last, to bed! Yes, I've still got it, albeit with less sleep ahead...