OK, so here's the deal. Against all conceivable odds, I got an award for this heap of bananas that is laughably termed a "blog". Furthermore, and this makes it all the more bizarre, it was from someone who is scarily intelligent. Intimidatingly so.
Buzzardbilly and I are from totally different worlds, and as a result, I either learn something not previously known, or a pre-conceived idea I had about something is challenged. Y'see, DoubleB is an expert on this fair state of mine, specifically the people at the lower end of the poverty line. I see irresponsible rednecks, she sees people who are trapped by circumstances and act in the only way they know how to. She's from Boone County, a part of the state in which one could easily take any joke about hicks, 'necks or hillbillies ever heard on Hee-Haw or a Foxworthy routine and turn it into a factual anecdote.
I keed, naturally, but her writings on that subject are so challenging to my big city European attitudes that they have often caused me to stop mid-sentence to really absorb what I've just read. Our philosophies don't match all the time. Our conclusions don't match all the time. But I freaking LOVE that. When someone smart and competent puts together a compelling argument that is completely counter to where my head is on a subject, it's like a whole new door opens.
So for some reason, maybe to make up the numbers, DoubleB decided to give me an award. Quoth teh buzz: " Spike Nesmith (is) interesting, seems to have a whole extra dollop of the old grey matter, and finds a way to share heaps of knowledge in quick succession." Mrs Spike will tell you that that last part isn't necessarily a good thing - just the other day she was subjected to a half hour lecture on how the Americans and the Irish seem to be perfectly able to make talk radio that works and is profitable, but the British can't. She's also had to hear, at length, why the BBC's Test Card F is one of the most legitimately awe-inspiring, iconic and beautiful pieces of art, because it looks great, it defines a generation and there's not a square inch of it that's not there for a reason. It's a good job I've got good looks and money, or she'd be off.... oh, wait.
So - this award. Here it is. It's called "The Bella Award". Don't ask me why. I don't know.
It's nice though, isn't it? I'm officially "lovely". But, like all good free things, the award comes with strings. And here, via the gift of cut and paste, are those strings -
"The Bella Rules:
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award"
In case you missed it up at the top, here is the link to Buzzardbilly's blog: http://buzzardbilly.blogspot.com/
As for the second proviso, I decided to embrace the spirit of New Media, and use its immediate interactivity to full effect. I've got to pick fifteen blorgs, right? How about this... how about I pick seven blogs and you, the reader, nominate a few of YOUR favourites that I might not have discovered and you think I might like? And then, for the last one... umm.. I don't know. Maybe I'll pick an ultimate winner. Bella Plus. Yes, that's a good idea. I'll research your suggestions and unveil the second seven in a later post. So get linking in the comments section and, in the meantime, onwards!
1 - No surprise here, it's my talk radio/podcasting mucker and fellow Chinee obsessive, Mr Paul Higginbotham. http://redzeppelin.wordpress.com/ It's rare that he posts something that doesn't inspire a snort of approval or laughter. In fact, I think the only post I remember was the one where he typed "all work and no play make Paul a dull boy" a bunch of times. That one was just... unsettling.
2 - Everyone's favourite film geek, The Film Geek. http://thefilmgeek.blogspot.com/ I get the feeling that once this award gets around the circle of Charleston/Huntington 30s-ish bloggers, every other post on his blog will be a response to a Bella Award. Filmy, in my case, you are excused having to pick ANOTHER 15 bloggers. Just take the damn thing and run, and keep being awesome.
3 - Iiiiiiit's All Click! http://allclick.blogspot.com/ Clickers and I have very similar circumstances and experiences, being 'furnrs' and all. Whether it's the frustration of ordering in the drive-through at Tudor's or the joy of finding proper Heinz baked beans in Kroger, I always feel like he manages to take the minutia of the reactions to those experiences and make them interesting and readable. Plus, he's got cute cats. And who doesn't like cute cats?
4 - I laboured over this one, since it seems to be the abandoned mansion of WV blogs, but... Jedi Jawa: http://not-my.blogspot.com/ Assuming that he will, one day, post again, every word JJ writes down is both an education and a tapestry of description. Any time I write a blog post that goes over three paragraphs, I feel like I'm droning on. But JJ's posts are so easy to read and structured so incredibly well that most of the time, they don't seem like they're long enough. I should say something along the lines of "i don't know where he finds the time to write those mammoth posts", but since the blog has been rather Marie Celested since February, I don't know if that rings true anymore. Come back, Jedi!
5 - If there's another blogger in West Virginia whose political views are more diametrically opposed than mine, I'd be shocked. But that doesn't stop me from picking Muze Euterpe as my next pick - http://muzeuterpe.wordpress.com/ Believe it, two people who should be mortal enemies can trade ideas and views and not have it turn into a mudslinging contest. And on the internet, too! Whoda thunk? Muze and I have butted heads over many issues, particularly during election season, but always with respect. Well, except for that time she called me a douchebag and threw a brick through my window with "communist assbag" written on it. Without breaking out that hideously worn free-speech cliche about fighting to the death, I'd gladly give ANYONE a chinese burn who would fight against Muze telling it as she sees it. At LEAST a chinese burn. Maybe even a slightly-too-hard noogie.
6 - Can you smell the ramp pizza? Can you hear the sounds of a mid-80s WWF DVD coming from a widescreen HDTV? Then you must be close to Chris James' blog - http://sourappletree.blogspot.com/ I think most bloggers could boil their writings down to one high-concept sentence. CJ's blog... not so much. And that's what makes it worth coming back for. Between the ongoing "ASAT picks" series, the food reviews, the YouTube clips and the "where in the bloody hell did THAT come from" moments, it's everything a good blog should be; Totally disorganised and inexplicably random. Hey - I've only just realised that in the two (maybe even three) years I've been reading CJ's ongoing adventures, I have never questioned what "...A Sour Apple Tree" means, or where it comes from. Hmm. Odd.
7 - I can't let this one go by, even in the knowledge that it will mean absolutely nothing to 99% of the people who come here, but let me at least give you some back story before you click on it, scratch your head, and say "ooooooo-kay." Some years ago, there was a website called "Some Of The Corpses Are Amusing", which had vast, info-rich sections on British comedy. One of the most fascinating sections dealt with edits that had been made to certain programmes, and for what reasons. Now, as far as I know, this information wasn't available anywhere else, but it was backed up with production notes, dates and, often, quotes and comments from the people who were involved in the productions themselves. But in addition to that was a beautifully airtight sense of irony and sarcasm - never too much, never too little. It was an antedote to the TV Cream website, whose success and status as the kings of the sarcastic sneer had gone to their heads, rendering it almost unreadably smug rather than delightfully disrespectful. Where did "SOTCAA" go? I have no idea. There's rumblings of a legal issue. But one of the contributors has started a blog which, though sporadically updated, retains that wonderful tone that made the website so brilliant: http://sotcaa.net/blogcaa/ The good news is that the website still exists, albeit in a radically stripped down form: http://web.ukonline.co.uk/sotcaa/ The Monty Python section, if you're a fan, is required reading before you claim out loud again that you "know a fair bit about Python".
OK, so... your turn. Recommend a blog to two (or three) that you think will tickle my fancy. It might be one I already read that deserves some mad props, it might be one I've never heard of. But let me know in the comments section below.
9 months ago