This past Saturday, UPI Senior Analyst Peter Lavelle -- always up to his eyeballs with drop-dead writing deadlines -- patiently replied to the flood of questions and opinion I emailed him on a range of Russia issues. Of course he did other things while waiting for me read and reply to his end of the correspondence, which included background articles to help me better understand a situation. But by the time I logged off, six hours had passed during which Peter had made himself available. (I will be publishing portions of our correspondence later this week.)
Peter has made the time once before for such correspondence. Pundita is one of the few US-based blogs that looks beyond the American media's reports about Russia. However, my blog does not specialize in Russia or East European affairs, so it's not on any Russia watcher's reading list. That means there is no payoff for Peter spending that much time in correspondence with me, other than a willingness to teach someone with desire to learn.
Sunday morning was spent analyzing John McCain's interview on Meet the Press, plowing through online versions of the world's top newspapers, tracking reports on avian flu and writing analysis that I emailed to various correspondents, and digging into a reported weapons sale to Iran. Sunday afternoon and evening answering emailed questions from Pundita readers, pondering Peter's replies, more research, more writing.
I can't remember what time my brain finally went on strike -- maybe around 2:00 AM Monday morning -- but as often happens when I push beyond the point of exhaustion I fled to The Glittering Eye for a break before tumbling into a hasty sleep.
"Maybe he's got some new recipes up," I muttered. Or a story about the Samoyed members of his family or research about something that no one has thought to do. (Who but Dave Schuler would think to dig into the CIA's vaunted overthrow of Mossadegh?)
So maybe you can understand my disappointment when I found a big logo for Whizbang's 2005 Weblog Awards at Dave's site, accompanied by the news that he'd been nominated as a finalist in one of the 'best of' categories and his request that his readers to put in a vote for him.
I blurted, "Who has time for this crap?"
I was immediately overcome with guilt. Dave Schuler has graciously endured my perennial ill temper, found time in his busy blogging/work schedule when I pleaded for help in getting to the bottom of an issue I found important, and taken the time to analyze and promote several of my writings.
So Pundita dutifully clicked on the web awards link to cast her vote for The Glittering Eye. While there I noted the Best Blog top finalists. I was unfamiliar with three of them. (Eschaton, The Corner, Talking Points Memo.) As for the rest, during the 14 months I've been reading blogs I'd only visited the entire group about 20 times in total. Rough estimates of my visits: Powerline twice, Michelle Malkin twice, Instapundit five times, The Huffington Post once, Boing Boing once, Kos twice, and so on.
There's no reason for me to follow such blogs, which struck me as linkologists or political agendists. So, I had no way of deciding which among them is the best, let alone grasp why they should be considered the "best" of the blogosphere.
I then returned to The Glittering Eye to insert a peevish remark in the comment section. That's when I saw the post underneath Dave's one about the weblog awards. The post was titled: The Four Types of Dog Vomit and yes, it really is about dog vomit.
I sat there for a moment with my jaw dropped and probably my eyes bulging out of my head. Then I burst into laughter. Dave Schuler has a patience I could never muster for the ways of the pack but he's nobody's fool.
I'll have to rely on Dave's opinion that Captain's Quarters noses out the others in the Best Blog finalist category because of the blog's investigation of corruption in Canada's government. But, undaunted by the little time I allot to reading blogs, I complied my own awards list...
For reporting on atrocities and human rights abuses in Sudan and other countries; for fingering the world's biggest scoundrels and for calling again and again to conscience.
For discourses on ICT innovations/business and how they are shaping this era; for windows on India's role in the ICT era and the impact on global rural development.
For courage in hammering away from inside China at China's regime about democracy issues.
For expert analysis of Russia's vast transitions in this era and their global impact.
For massive research projects of importance to US foreign/defense policy.
The Fourth Rail
For consistently delivering a coherent, informative picture of US military progress in Iraq.
The war's most formidable polemicist.
The Glittering Eye
The blogger's blog -- finds, tracks and analyzes blogs to watch and thoughtful essays on the full spectrum of issues. Also, for those who consume heavy-duty news virtually 24/7, a place to escape for a few minutes and remember the simple things in life.
Winds of Change
Not a blog but a showcase for thoughtful blogger essays and debates on war-related issues and a portal to GWOT sites and news stories.