I think I’ve managed to de-couple this blog from Facebook.  I don’t really have a good excuse for why it took so long except that I thought I should be able to figure it out for myself, and so I didn’t bother Googling for a solution until today.  Ugh.  For the record: the “Change Import Settings” link isn’t on your Notes page if you click through from your Profile.  It IS on that page, though, if you type “Notes” into the search box and go to the “My Notes” page.  Personally, I think that’s a stupid, stupid way to arrange things.  But there you go.  I’m just waiting to see if this post goes up on Facebook, but otherwise… I think I’m back, baby!



I’m even less happy with this selection, in part because it almost didn’t happen.  The writing is even rougher than usual, and while it’s meant to fit in at the beginning of the chapter (a part of the intro I hadn’t written yet) I think it will need a lot of work before it goes anywhere (not least because it strays from one topic to another too easily).

I knew the honeymoon couldn’t last forever, but I didn’t expect the second of these to be so gut-wrenching… but maybe it will get easier?  I’m going to have to put some of these together at some point, too…

Here’s the text (possibly not even as long as it should be):

My argument in this project stems directly from the idea that as soon as people started quantifying time with technology and measuring the success of a technology by its contribution to speed, society began moving toward the changed conception of time that we have now.  So to that extent, what is happening is nothing new.  I also want to argue, though, that the earlier version of this still had a sense of time as divided, of discursive time as a separate entity from event time.  Things happened, and were then later written about and talked about.  The discursive world lagged behind the “real” world, and while the amount of lag was changed with various technologies, the idea of “simultaneity” was not really introduced until maybe the telegraph.  Even then, given the limits of that technology and the lack of widespread adoption, the reality for most people was still a bifurcated perception of events.  Wireless technologies and the Real World Web (WWW systems designed to be closely integrated with activities and experiences IRL) are pushing us toward a society in which the perception of events happening and the creation of a discursive world for those events is simultaneous.  What that means: not only are we now able to watch certain events as they are happening (streaming video from a Web cam sent to my iPhone through an app called “Live Cams,” for instance), but those events can be happening in far flung places, and I can be watching them from wherever my phone gets a signal.  I can immediately comment on those events, solicit comments from others, etc.  There is a movement here toward omnipresence, a state of being that eliminates the time-delay of news “travelling.”  News doesn’t travel anymore; it is accessed.  Or rather, the travel that occurs is so fast, so easy, and so routine, that it seems to disappear.  Twitter users posting updates about the riots in Iran didn’t have to think about how to get the information they were posting to people outside of their country; speed and ease-of-use make borders, distances, and delays seem to disappear (to a certain degree, and in some situations; the breakdown of this phenomenon is also worth mentioning, at some point).  This chapter focuses on the current “newspaper crisis,” and the ways in which that crisis contributes to (and is itself, in part, caused by) a changing perception of discursive time.

I’m not terribly happy with this first installment of the page-a-day series, but then I suppose I’m not going to be terribly happy with some/many of them at first.  What’s more important: I’m getting something done.  So here’s what I wrote (in probably about an hour and a half) this evening:

The Information Cycle

“On the Internet, the traditional information cycle is broken in a variety of ways.  News may be reported, analyzed, debated, corrected, and reinterpreted in a matter of hours.  Old stories from decades ago may be re-examined.  Factual information can be evaluated, expanded upon, and expounded on by a wide variety of readers” (Notess, 34).

One of the driving forces behind the “Newspaper Crisis,” a force often tacitly acknowledged but not explicitly analyzed, is the simple problem of media speed.  As I’ve mentioned previously, several of the causes of the Crisis are secondary causes stemming from a simple, accepted fact: news consumers are tending to prefer online sources for news.  One main reason for that preference seems to be that online sources have faster publication practices and are available on a more flexible temporal (and spatial) availability.  Those two factors–faster publication and more flexible availability–might seem, at first, like two ways of saying the same thing; I would argue, though, that they represent two distinct aspects of the changing media environment, each of which carries with it…………………………..

Faster publication is, on face, an easy enough phenomenon to comprehend.  Anyone who has used a smart phone to write a blog post, upload a picture or video, or even just update a social-media website, can understand the ways in which those publication practices differ drastically from the traditional editing, proofing, printing, and distribution of text-based news.  The classic example of this phenomenon, oft cited by scholars of journalism, is the London Metro bombing of 2005.  On July 7, 2005, a series of three bombs exploded in the busy London train system (as well as a fourth, later, on a double-decker bus) killing 52 people, and injuring 700 more.  Initial reports from police and government officials either attributed the explosions to  accidental causes (a gas leak) or pleaded for more time to investigate the situation.  Almost immediately following the explosion, however, commuters began snapping pictures with camera-phones of the carnage caused by the explosions.  One such photo, of smoke billowing out of a Metro tunnel and passengers fleeing the area, wound up on the front page of the BBC website and of the New York Times.  [Other answers to the “verifiability of information” argument that warns of the dangers of news speed: H.L. Mencken’s Bathtub Hoax, which took 8 years to correct, is still seen places as a viable explanation of bathtub history, and… ]

“It is the ability of the new online environment to quickly and easily correct, or at least criticize, information that makes the online medium so different from print.  One problem with the published world of information as seen in books and periodicals is that despite editing, fact checking, and the peer review process, all kinds of errors still found their way into print, as the Mencken hoax illustrates” (Notess, 37).

Flexible availability may not, in fact, mean that the concept of a news cycle dies out altogether, however.  Indeed, as [theorist I have to look up later] points out, studies have shown that despite a media-saturated world, a large majority of news-consuming Americans continue to read/watch/listen to news at predictable times of day.  [need to finish this with info from the iPad story about the need for a new “evening edition” paper]

My plan, from now until the end of the semester, is to force myself to write at least one page a day of my dissertation.  If I can write more, that’s great, but if I can at least do that, I should be in much better shape than I am now.  This blog will be used as a kind of accountability tool: I will post my page-a-day here, so that if I am thinking of slacking I know that there will be a record thereof.  I haven’t decided yet if I will let myself “bank” pages; I’m sure there will be days, such as the day Cat gets back from India, or Thanksgiving, where I will be unable to get my page for that day done, but I like the idea of working ahead to make sure I still do a page for that day, even if I do it a week ahead of time.

I’m partly posting this now to also check and see if I’ve effectively de-coupled this blog from my Facebook account (I don’t want to automatically post my page-a-day to my status, and thus my Friends’ NewsFeeds).

I have to get writing now, I’ve only got three more hours left in the day! (Although, for the purposes of this project, I’m guessing I will define “per day” as “per period when I am awake,” rather than by an arbitrary time deadline).

My lovely roommate, Michael, has posted previously about things he’s thankful for.  I’ve been having the kind of day where I wanted to do the same.  This will be an experiment in writing a brief blog post (something I’m not usually comfortable doing, but I have other things pressing for my attention).

Things I am thankful for:

  • my two sections of 202A, and subject matter that I am actually excited to talk about.  My students seem much more awake and alive this semester, a state of mind I attribute in part to my own level of excitement, and in part to the fact that the word “memo” hasn’t come up yet in class (and hopefully won’t, all semester long).  I won’t go so far as to say that my classes are thoroughly invested, yet, in the project of ethnography, but I think I have managed to convince them that there is something worthwhile here (or at least that I see something worthwhile in us talking about definitions of culture, and that maybe they will see that something themselves with a little work).
  • my wonderful colleagues.  My friend Rose gave me two different quotations that she had brought into her class at the beginning of last semester, both of which helped her to get her students to take ownership of the class and their projects.  The quotes are from self-help book called “A Thousand Names for Joy” and Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet.”  They’re a little odd, and counter-intuitive, but also very rich and useful, very generative of classroom conversation.  Rose and Diane have both been a huge help to me in figuring out where I stand with this class, and what pitfalls to look out for.
  • the gorgeous weather.  I like snow.  I always have.  I’ve never minded driving in it, and I rode my bike to campus through it both last night and this morning.  Sure, snow can be inconvenient, and no one likes to be cold, but snow is what makes cold worthwhile.  Snow gives the cold meaning.  If I get to look out at the world as it is transformed (in that powerfully cliched way that only snow can provide), I can think to myself “self, the new perspective you get on the world from seeing it covered up this way is worth having to wear a scarf and gloves.”  I can feel like an exchange has been made, and I have gotten something out of the deal, rather than just feeling bitter and resentful at the world for trying to suck the heat from the leaky bag of flesh I call my body (see?  without the beauty of snow, it’d be all “leaky bag of flesh” all the time, and then where would the poetry be?).
  • a feeling of belonging.  It’s too easy, when you are struggling with something like a dissertation (and especially if you are struggling as much as I have) to wonder if you really belong where you are, or if maybe someone made a horrible mistake letting you into the program in the first place.  From what I’ve heard from others (and read, not least in PhD Comics), feeling like a fraud is a common grad student experience.  I would have thought I’d be over it by now, though (I’ve been here long enough!).  Last semester, though, with the trials of teaching Business Writing and the painful lack of progress on my diss, had me feeling pretty disconnected from my own reasons for being a student, a scholar, and a teacher.  I think I’m getting that back this semester, and I’m pretty happy about it.

I’m also thankful for the various special people in my life who make me happy just by being there for me to talk to.  I won’t try to list you all, or embarrass you by naming you outright, but you should know that I’m feeling pretty sappy right now, and am including lots of you in this category, whether I talked with you for hours on the phone, or for a few minutes walking back to Burrowes after teaching, or anything in between.

Ok, that’s enough thanks to give for one day (so much for being brief… I tried).  Onward!

I posted the following status to Facebook this morning:

William James apparently said that people are “mere walking bundles of habits.” Am currently contemplating that idea. Corresponding idea, also from James: “my experience is what I agree to attend to.” Still deciding to what extent the latter statement comforts me, in light of the potentially depressing implications of the former.

I wanted to expand a little on what I was thinking.  I’m going to try very hard to not make this an “Oh look, it’s New Years Eve, let’s reflect on things” post, but the topic is already leaning in that direction a little bit…

Another way of stating the first position articulated above is that “you are what you do.”  We do (and DON’T do) certain things over and over again, every day, and clearly those actions shape who we are, both in the simplistic sense of regular exercise changing our bodies into ones that can do exercise, and in the more complicated sense of channeling our thoughts, emotions, and impulses through the “terministic screen” of our experience.

[Brief tangent: I have always been fascinated by Burke’s concepts of the terministic screen and the representative anecdote.  They both seem like powerful ways of describing one of the fundamental aspects of humanistic study: accounting for, and attempting to better understand, the different perspectives we each occupy/accumulate over time.  A brief definition for those who aren’t familiar: the terministic screen is simply a term for the process by which language not only attempts to reflect reality, but also (necessarily) selects some portion of it, thus deflecting other portions.  In other words, our perception of the world is limited/inflected/altered by the language we have to describe it.  The representative anecdote is a specific kind of language selection, an idea or story or image that is at once representative of a larger discourse, and yet is reductive/compressed.  The representative anecdote allows one to characterize a topic, to suggest a certain way of approaching it, while also not claiming a comprehensive or totalizing point of view.]

I’m a bit frightened by the idea that my day-to-day habits are directly connected to my personality/self-hood.  I have two reasons for my fear.  The first is rather abstract, and stems directly from philosophy courses I took in college (which, when done properly, seem like they should be a source of paralyzing fear: what 18-year-old wants to contemplate the size of the Universe, their role in it, and their ethical imperative to live a “good” life and attempt to better the human condition?  well, all of them, really, but that’s because they have no idea what they’re getting into).  The second reason stems from a conversation I had with a friend from high school who I hadn’t seen in about 10 years (since graduation, essentially).

The abstract reason:  I took a class entirely on Friedrich Nietzsche when I was a sophomore at Haverford.  One concept in particular made an impression on me: the idea of the eternal recurrence.  Essentially, Nietzsche posits a scenario in which the world repeats an infinite number of times; everything that has happened or will happen, from the creation of the Universe to its dissolution, happens an infinite number of times.  As a standard for judging the worth of an action, he suggests that one ought to be able to look back on one’s life and reaffirm each action one has taken; on a grander scale, the measure of human greatness, then, is to look at one’s life and actively desire the exact same actions and outcomes.  The actual metaphysical nature of the eternal recurrence is irrelevant (who cares if the Universe is actually recurring, we certainly can’t know if is), but the implication for day-to-day life are a bit burdensome: would you look back and affirm watching that tv show?  Or taking a nap instead of going to the gym (or vice versa)?  This one maybe doesn’t make as much sense yet.  Maybe explaining my second fear will help.

I got together with a bunch of friends from high school two nights ago.  Some I have seen a lot over the intervening years; others (and one in particular) I had not seen at all.  My friend Dugan has been living an interesting life since we all graduated: he dropped out of college (though I got the impression he later got a degree from somewhere?), wandered around the country working in a variety of trades, and eventually landed in Texas working in Oil and Gas (as a “Penetration Expert,” a title he still blushes at when he tells people).  He has recently left that profession, though, and has moved back to Mystic, Connecticut (his home town), looking to change careers.  In the course of the ten years since I’ve seen him, though, he has experienced quite a lot of “life” in the perhaps-cliched sense: his travels, his variety of occupations, his (apparently numerous) romantic liasons, all of these things he described to me in an enthusiastic, but also rather matter-of-fact, way.  He had enjoyed the tumult and the constant movement, but he also just thought of that as “life.”  I, in turn, was able to say something to the extent of: “I’ve spent the past ten years in school.”  And certainly, my current occupation is not just “school,” and I have experienced a great deal of growth and development, but of the kind that involves a lot of staying in one place, not meeting a ton of people, and mostly experiencing the world through a rather narrow academic lens.  I chose that life, and chose it pretty early-on, knowing that it was what I was best suited for.  I don’t think I could handle having the less-settled life that Dugan has lived; I’d probably be a wreck by now, worrying about what I was doing with myself.  Still, I can’t help but wonder if, in the final analysis, I will affirm my choices in the context of the eternal recurrence, if the path I’ve chosen has lead to habits that have created the me that I wanted to be.

Which brings us back to James, from above: the purpose of the second quotation is, I should think, to mitigate some of the scariness attendant on a description of life that seems to lead pretty easily into thoughts of predestination: we are each a bag of habits, formed by past experience, and as such our free will is an illusion created by the aggregation of pre-determined emotional responses (or, perhaps at best, we are constantly losing more and more of our free will, as each decision that we make is determined by more and more previous experience).  But predestination is not something that concerns me; I almost can’t fathom it as a reality.  I feel inclined to treat the subject in the same way Johnson did Bishop Berkeley’s immaterialism: I “refute it thus” by simply making a decision, and being as satisfied as I can about anything that my decision was not pre-determined (a simplistic treatment, but I don’t really want to go into more detail here).

No, what bothers me is not predetermination, but the rather hefty significance these philosophical theories seem to place on each particular moment.  James’ point that “my experience is what I choose to attend to” is no help there; if I make a bad choice, I have only myself to blame.

In more concrete terms (since the ramblings above might not be immediately recognizable as being related to real things), I’m brought back to a conversation I had with friends while at a wedding recently: we were talking (perhaps too academically/pedantically) about the possibility of having a profession in which one does not engage in activity that one would define as “drudgery.”  My argument was, put as simply as possible, that I think it possible there are people for whom their work, even the parts that are repetitive or painful, is thoroughly enjoyable, AND (this is perhaps the important part) NOT just in a Protestant-Work-Ethic kind of way where you enjoy the thing because you are thinking about what it will eventually get you (Michael objects to the idea that those two are separable, arguing that what the thing will get you is too closely connected to your experience of it, but my own lived experience disagrees with that assertion, though I have yet to articulate that fact to him).

Whether or not I’m right about the *possibility* of such a supremely satisfied and self-actualized worker (if we include artists, I’d assume my point to be less controversial, but maybe not?), the question seems to remain of how close to that ideal one should want/need to get in one’s own life.  Clearly drudgery of some sort is unavoidable.  Michael, though, makes the point (and again, one I’m not sure I agree with) that “there are no boring things, only boring people” (meaning boredom is an over-focus on being uninterested, when there is pretty much always something to be interested in, if not in a given thing then in life more generally).  So at what point does a change of life involve a change of attitude as compared to a change of habitus?  Are the two the same?  (I think there is a paper, somewhere, in Burke’s discussion of Attitude–as the missing term to be added to the Pentad–in relation to action and motion.  I should say: there are already several papers, and I tried to write another one, and failed, but I believe there is still something to be said on the topic).

Enough.  My New Year’s reflections have remained pretty firmly in the realm of the intellectual rather than the practical, which is perhaps where they belong.  Time, though, for me to put in a more concrete effort to actually make the new year some little bit better than the old year.

*Wikipedia disambiguates “habitus” in a rather interesting way, listing two primary senses: the sociological term that, though traced as far back as Aristotle, relates mostly to Bourdieu (as well as Mauss, Husserl, and Weber), and describes “a structure of the mind characterized by a set of acquired schemata, sensibilities, dispositions and taste,” and the biological term that “refers to the instinctive actions of animals and the natural tendencies of plants.”  That distinction itself seems worthy of a post, or at least of inclusion in my imagined paper on Burke.

My beloved roommate Michael has tagged me with some meme that says I need to describe seven things about myself that you couldn’t find out about me online.  Unlike Michael, I should have no trouble, since I tend to post things online only sporadically.  The trouble for me, then, is choosing which of the barely relevant things I should share with the world.

1. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you maybe already have a hint of this, but: I’ve never been a hat person.  I have a HUGE head, and never found hats that fit.  What I didn’t mention on Facebook is that I’ve ALWAYS been fascinated by hats, and old movies where all of the men wore hats (and here we’re talking about fedoras and bowlers and top hats and such; baseball caps just don’t count).  I would love to be someone who could wear a hat, but I worry they make me look ridiculous (besides generally being too small for me).  I also wonder about the religious connotations of hat-wearing: the need to cover one’s head as a sign of respect to God, the idea that such an observance is appropriate outside, but not inside (if God wants your head covered, why does he care where you’re covering it?).picture of me in a hat

Anyway, my point is that hats are interesting, but I’m pretty sure I’m never going to be a regular hat wearer.  I’ve made my peace with that fact, or thought I had, until this —–>

This hat happened to be sitting in the mudroom in my parents house.  No idea where it came from, though it might have belonged to a grandparent or some other older relative?  It could be mine…

2. I wrestled in high school.  In some ways, I consider it a defining experience in my life.  When I hit my growth spurt in 6th or 7th grade, I went from being a round kid to a large, broad shouldered kid.  As I got to be more comfortable in my body, I began to try out an identity as an athlete (if always an INCREDIBLY nerdy athlete).  It wasn’t until I joined the wrestling team my sophomore year, though, that I learned what it meant to push myself to my limits, to dedicate myself to a team, and struggle against my own desire to quit.  Wrestling is a pretty unique sport: if you wrestle with people everyday, you get very close to them (yes, and to portions of their anatomy that you might not otherwise want to be near, but that’s maybe a good thing to: helping people get over their squeamishness about touching other bodies).  The bond between you and your teammates can (possibility, not certainty) be intense.  You are pushing them, pushing yourself in comparison to them, and you can end up feeling as if, as a group, you have gone through something together that other people have not.  At the same time, wrestling is an individual sport: when you have a match, you are alone out there on the mat with your opponent.  Shouts of encouragement and support all blend together, and your coach’s advice can only take you so far; if you get into trouble, the only thing keeping your shoulders from the mat is your determination not to give up.  The feeling of grappling with another person, pitting your strength against theirs… Anyway, I haven’t actually wrestled anyone for at least a decade, but I’ll never forget the feelings it inspired.

3. I love camping, hiking, canoeing, and other outdoor activities, despite the fact that I almost never make time to do them.  My defining experience with “the outdoors” occurred during the summer after I graduated from high school: I went on a six-week trip to the Yukon providence in Canada, for a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) trip.  The first four weeks involved hiking up and down a series of hills and mountains, through every imaginable kind of weather.  On my birthday (June 23rd), I remember us passing through pretty much every kind of weather I knew: rain, wind, fog, sunshine, snow, and hail.  The last two weeks of the trip involved us canoeing down rivers of increasing size.  On that trip I saw vistas of unimaginable beauty, but I never really felt like I connected with any of the other people on the trip… I remember feeling like I was having this amazing experience, but it was almost like I was doing it alone, because I didn’t really relate well to the other people who were with me (although maybe I’m projecting some of this alienation back upon my memories… who knows).  I’d like to think that a lack of willing co-conspirators has been what has kept me from getting back out into the natural world (outside of the occasional white water rafting trip or day-hike), but I think my own complacency is more to blame.

4. I am something of a pack-rat.  I have a strong impulse to save things, things that might not seem like they have much use.  This impulse has come in handy sometimes: I recently started wearing a whole bunch of clothes I had put into storage because I couldn’t fit into them anymore.  More often, though, this impulse leads to cluttered boxes of odds and ends that I couldn’t find a use for when I boxed them up, and which are unlikely to find more of a purpose in any future setting.  Still, I’m someone proud of my desire to save, conserve, re-use.  If anything, I see in it a piece of my grandmother (my mother’s mother).  When she died, and my mom and her siblings were going through her house, I was told they found (among assorted other oddities) a box filled with bits of string.  The bits were all rather short, certainly not long enough to be of use on their own, yet my grandmother saved them just in case.  My mom tells that story as an example of the perils of such impulses, the ways in which they can lead to clutter and wasted space, but I see in that story a stubborn refusal to accept the idea that, if you don’t know what to do with something, throwing it away is the best option.  My grandmother was a remarkable woman, and for all that she was (in some ways) a burden on her children, she also lived in a way that I admire immensely.

5. Although I rarely indulge in it, or can find others who are similarly inclined, I simply LOVE to read out loud.  Doesn’t matter what is being read.  Some of my fondest memories of childhood are of my mother reading to me and my brother (or just to me!).  My father would also read to us, but whereas my mother would often be reading us stories at night, my father would read newspaper articles at breakfast; now that I think about it, I associate the former with childhood and the latter with being a teenager.  I have always connected the idea of reading aloud with moments of real connection with other people; by reading aloud, we focus on text together, we connect our experience of words and then we discuss them to attempt to connect them even more.  Reading aloud has a place in many religious ceremonies, and I understand why: for an atheist, I can get remarkably spiritual about the idea of people trying to find connection through the written word.  Reading by itself is great, but seems almost too pedestrian to be special; I read every day, and I do it in such a wide variety of situations that the activity has lost any special significance.  But reading out loud is rare; you only read out loud for a couple of reasons: to really make your point/to be as clear as possible (in an argument), or to try to share an experience with someone else.

6.  I think, A LOT, about what my life would be like if I had taken time off between college and grad school.  I went straight through, in part because I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to do other than be a grad student and, eventually, a professor.  I still can’t think of anything, but I also wonder more and more about the world out there, and what I would have been like in it.  These musings are prompted, most recently, by a whole boatload of my cousins deciding that they, too, would like to go to grad school, after having gone out and done wonderful and exciting things with their lives.  In some ways I’m thankful to be almost done with grad school, while they’re just getting started, but I also envy them some of the experiences they’ve had (teaching middle-school math, working in Africa, starting two businesses, working in a bike shop, biking around the country, biking around New Zealand, etc.).

7.  Because I’ve just noticed that my “7 facts” are much less “fact-y” than the ones Michael was posting, I’ve decided to copy one of his.  My first email address (along with what is still my only AOL Instant Messager screenname) was lightscene@aol.com.  I put the name together based on one of my obsessions at the time: lighting and set design for theater productions.  I was in middle school, and was fascinated with the idea of climbing up ladders and adjusting fresnels, or using a jigsaw to cut out ply-wood palm trees.  The screenname stayed with me for a long while, and is now on the main gmail account that I use.  I’m in the process of trying to change everything over to a more professional-sounding account, but the sheer mass of emails I’ve accumulated under that one name has made changing over… impractical.  So for now, I remain connected to the middle-school boy who wanted to be behind the scenes (rather than the high school boy who wanted to be on the stage, or the college man who just wanted to read about the stage, or the grad student who wishes he had any kind of connection to the stage at all).

Good lord that was a long post.  Thanks for tagging me, Michael!  Do I really have to think of 7 other bloggers to tag?  Because, quite frankly, I’m not sure I know that many…

Here goes though:

1. Hope, whose blogging ethic is an inspiration.  Here’s one more thing for you to blog about!  (p.s- you should all buy Hope’s CD, she is an amazing singer/songwriter!  You can probably find it on her blog somewhere)

2. Erin, who always has interesting things to say.  Unfortunately, she also just had a baby, so I don’t know how much blogging she will be doing anytime soon.

3. Andrew, who I suspect thoroughly despises this sort of meme.  Still, if anyone deserves the title of “versatile blogger,” it is him: posts on everything from football rankings to cocktails and outlandish recipes to highly technical computer questions and loads of other things seem to come spilling out of his brain and onto the Internets, for which we are all grateful.

4. SevenRed, who blogs semi-anonymously, and who (though I don’t think I’ve ever told him this,) I consider something of a mentor (in blogging, in poker, and in academic life more generally).

5.  Although he hasn’t posted much recently, I think Adam would do a good job with this meme.

6. Leslie, whose blog I just discovered, but who has already tickled my funny bone, and who OWES ME A BLOG POST.  She knows what the topic was meant to be.  This is number two!

I think I’m going to stop there.  I could probably find a last person to name, but those six are the first that come to mind.