Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Originally, I wasn't going to bother with a blogiversary post unless I got to a fifth year, but two years is a long time in the blogosphere. So — umm — yay! Whoopee! Here's to the terrible twos! (It was actually back on July 27th, but I was out of town and wanted to have some actual new posts up before writing a blogiversary post.)

I can't pretend to be the most punctual blogger (case in point), nor one of the most prolific, nor one of the most trafficked (although Blue Herald is doing pretty well). And if Hamlet was right when he quipped that "brevity is the soul of wit," then I must confess myself witless. (I'd certainly love more time to revise and tighten my prose.)

Still, I think I can claim some variety, at least, among my 300+ entries. If you've got a lot of time on your hands, here's some highlights.

Of the blog essays, my favorites are probably "The Aryan Minstrel Show" (on Ann Coulter), "How to Hear a True War Story,", "False Equivalencies" (part of a media series I'd like to finish), and "Knaves of the Bush Administration."

For original digging, there's "Will GOP Senators Face Consequences for Lying to the Supreme Court?" and "Adam Reilly Repeats John Carroll's Mistake."

In the too-slim satire category, my favorites are Proof of Iran’s Perfidy Provided by Anonymous Experts! "Help Fight Math Illiteracy!" and "Political Football Theater."

The Blog Against Theocracy category features a bevy of posts, the most popular being "How Many Deities Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?" (about comedy and religion) and "Faith and Certainty."

The faulty logic category contains a number of posts, but "Dance of the Straw Men," examining Bush's favorite faulty argument technique, is probably the most entertaining.

The posts in The Chart Project feature diagrams and graphics to explore key issues. I think of them mainly as foundational posts to reference later, although "Color Commentary" takes a funnier tact. The others are "The Chart That Explains It All!" "The Social Tolerance Charts," "The Religion-in-Society Charts," "The Bullshit Matrix" and "The Conservative Brain Trust Takes On: Freedom of Religion!"

The questionable metaphors and analogies category is positively overflowing, with comparisons to Groundhog Day, Harry Potter, A Few Good Men, Darth Vader, Bull Durham, some Matrix-Plato's Cave thing, and... the McLobster sandwich?!?

The film category mostly consists of the Oscar/year-in-review round-ups (although those cover over one hundred films in the past two years).

There's also several posts in the poetry, education and the Holocaust categories.

My vote for the most bleeding heart liberal post is "Elegy (and Call to Arms) for the United States Constitution, 9/28/06." (Every blogofascist and DFH needs at least one!)

Finally, there's the series Rightwing Cartoon Watch, which I've been posting over at the Blue Herald site (I've been working on the next installment). Whew!

This blog started from my habit of e-mailing out an Oscar/film round-up every year, sending out round-ups of news stories during the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, and a nasty habit of compulsive essay-writing that expensive therapy perhaps could cure. At some point I'll have to write more about theater, poetry, film and all that, y'know, cultural stuff. I know it would make my conservative friends happier. (Did I mention that Bush is probably our worst president ever, and certainly among the worst five?)

As to the title of this blog — there are times I wonder why the hell I picked it. As I wrote early on, I've long thought it would be a fun name for a column, and later learned it was the title of a biography about historian George Santayana. I have a wide range of interests, and until a few years ago, I had spent most of my life moving around (seven states, three continents) studying or teaching. I think of a "scholar" as one who values the life of the mind and the arts, is driven to learn more and who tries to be honest, not someone who possesses all the answers already. There's a saying that "I don't trust the man who says he's seen the light. I trust the person who's still looking." That said, sometimes "Vagabond Scholar" strikes me as a stuffy or pretentious blog title that doesn't quite fit with the more satirical posts or my nom de blog, but I guess it sounds vaguely more respectable than "Semiliterate Bum."

As one more tribute to the recently departed Tommy Makem (and the "Drinking Bacchus" painting by Guido Reni above), here's one of my favorite poems. I first heard it on the tape of a Makem and Clancy concert, and have a hard time reading it without an Irish accent.

Get Drunk
By Charles Baudelaire

One should always be drunk. That's all that matters;
that's our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time's
horrible burden one which breaks your shoulders and bows
you down, you must get drunk without cease.

But with what?
With wine, poetry, or virtue
as you choose.
But get drunk.

And if, at some time, on steps of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the bleak solitude of your room,
you are waking and the drunkenness has already abated,
ask the wind, the wave, the stars, the clock,
all that which flees,
all that which groans,
all that which rolls,
all that which sings,
all that which speaks,
ask them, what time it is;
and the wind, the wave, the stars, the birds, and the clock,
they will all reply:

"It is time to get drunk!

So that you may not be the martyred slaves of Time,
get drunk, get drunk,
and never pause for rest!
With wine, poetry, or virtue,
as you choose!"

(The French original can be read here. Of course, conservatives know better to learn a foreign language, let alone French! )

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