Sunday, October 23, 2011

Me, the Reader October 23, 2011

Google Reader is a great way to keep up with any website that has an RSS feed. Kind of a one-stop shop, it's an alternative to surfing around, trying to remember what your favorites are, or digging around in your Bookmarks. I find it convenient to visit Reader right after checking Gmail, since the link to Reader is at the top of the page.

Many of the bloggers I follow on Reader offer a daily, weekly, or otherwise occasional listing of sites they've been following, which offers opportunities to add still more sites to my growing list.

So, today, I thought I'd return the favor -- a series begun a few months back.

My Reader is divided into categories, with one called "Culture." Most of these are stand-alone webzines and blogs. I have another group called "Magazines," but those are web versions of magazines that one might previously have subscribed to in print.

  • A few of the blogs listed to the right of what you're reading now are included in my Reader feed to ensure that I don't miss anything. One of those included in "Culture" is PZ Myers' Pharyngula. An appropriate placement for one of the heroes of the "culture wars."
  • Politifact is another. When this column in the St. Petersburg Times began tracking the status of President Obama's promises, I was in the habit of clipping and saving them in a folder. But in keeping with my resolve to avoid such cluttery behavior, I found the column in Reader and began accessing it that way. Much better.
  • Roger Ebert's Journal (also listed here in the blogroll) is next. As a side note, has anyone noticed how many great examples we have today of individuals who are in the grip of a devastating illness, and yet keep going in spite of it? From Ebert to Hitchens to Hawking to the late, great Ann Landers to Michael J. Fox and beyond,(what the hell, I'll even throw poor old Zsa Zsa into the mix), we have no shortage of examples of grit and determination to inspire us. Perhaps it's the relentlessly intrusive nature of the media, who won't let someone retire to their sickroom in peace, but more likely this phenomenon has the opposite effect. Celebrities who are gravely ill but still able to go online have the reassurance of knowing, for real, how many millions of people are out there pulling for them -- and how many non-celebrities share the affliction without all the publicity. We really do live in an interdependent "web" of existence, with fewer and fewer occasions to feel alone when we don't want to be.

Ebert is a social critic as well as a film critic. His medical struggles have given him a large helping of fearlessness as well as clarity of voice -- ironic, considering how that "voice" is now produced by technology, after nature failed.

  • appears to have changed its feed structure as of October 1st. I had a subscription to the Life section, which included the advice columnist Cary Tennis, but that exact feed seems no longer to exist. I now subscribe to Cary's column separately (he's filed elsewhere in my Reader), and have resubscribed to Salon for its eclectic mix of stories.
  • SimpliFried is a spinoff from I've come to rely more and more upon web-based sources for recipes and cooking tips, despite my love of cookbooks. Yummly is one; this is yet another.
  • Slate is another site where I came for the advice columns (Dear Prudence and Friend or Foe) and stayed for all the rest. It's a Washington Post offshoot.
  • The Daily Beast is an online fraternal twin of Newsweek, which used to be owned by the Washington Post. Are you following all this so far?
  • Wowowow is "Women on the web" and includes contributions from  Mary Wells LawrenceLiz SmithLesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Marlo ThomasCandice Bergen, Margo Howard, Lily Tomlin,Whoopi GoldbergJane WagnerJoan Ganz CooneyCynthia McFadden and "Miss Manners," Judith Martin. Came for the advice column and forgot to leave. 
Those are my "culture" recommendations from Google Reader.  Next: Feminism.