30 Days and Counting

I’ve been so busy blogging that I missed Astrology Mundo’s first birthday on Mar. 17. Yes, it’s been a month since I met my new best friend — you, whoever and wherever you are.

I must admit that I’m a little depressed that I share my birthday with St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not because I don’t like the Irish. Indeed, Patrick and Patricia are popular names among my family and friends. It’s just that St. Patrick’s Day is a day best avoided in New York City, where I work and where it isn’t unusual to see people throwing up in public after too many toasts in honor of the Irish.

I guess I’ll be treating Astrology Mundo Day the way I do New Year’s Eve — staying inside with all the curtains drawn. But now I have a URL to call my very own.

I don’t believe in copyright infringement (not knowingly, anyway) so I can’t cut and paste my favorite cartoon about blogging, which ran in The New Yorker a couple of years ago. It’s signed Gregory, and has a picture of two dogs. One dog says to the other: “I had my own blog for a while, but I decided to go back to just pointless, incessant barking.” If you Google that quote under Images, you can find it, though.

I’m always going to bark so it’s best to do it in a safe place, as opposed to sending out inappropriate e-mails at work or writing posts to Barbara Ellen at The Observer in London that can be traced back to me.

When I first started reading blogs, I didn’t understand how political they were. I got my feet wet with Instapundit, a blog by Glenn Reynolds, a law school professor at the University of Tennessee. Unlike some bloggers, Reynolds can tolerate viewpoints that differ from his own.

Emboldened by my comments being published on Instapundit, I tried my luck at FreeRepublic.com, when Ann Coulter ended up in a rocking chair on the cover of Time magazine looking like Edith Ann, Lily Tomlin’s character on Saturday Night Live.

I advised Coulter to lighten up, and noted that the cover of Time was the cover of Time, no matter how unhappy you were with your picture. I reminded Coulter that major political figures who were the subjects of caricatures, such as Winston Churchill, probably didn’t lose sleep worrying about how bad they looked.

Well, you can probably guess what happened next. “Astrogirl60” was branded a “troll,” banned for life from freep.com, and my “offending” post expunged, but not before I got to read lots of hateful posts — all because I had the audacity to poke fun at conservative poster girl Coulter.

Because I was using Astrogirl60 as my handle, one of the conservatives at freep.com said I must be a “real dog,” and pasted a picture of the pup from The Jetsons under his post. Now, that was pretty funny, but clearly astro, as in astrology, doesn’t exist in Coulter’s universe.

Still not ready to throw in the towel, I wrote back under my real name pointing out that my grandfather, father, and two of my brothers had served in the U.S. military and dedicated their careers to fighting for freedom, especially freedom of speech. My parting shot? I pointed out that FreeRepublic.com didn’t seem very free after all.

That was before I learned that blogging and basketball have a lot in common: If you’re going to join a pickup game, it’s best to do it in your own ‘hood. Plus, it’s good to have friends to show you the ropes. Regina at Gastriques has provided lots of valuable advice about the nuts and bolts of blogging. Thanks for your help, Regina!

I was really into blogs at the beginning of the Iraq war, particularly the Baghdad Bulletin, which began publishing on June 9, 2003. In those optimistic days, the staff of the Bulletin thought their publication was going to be the next Prague Post, an informative, unbiased English-language paper for expats. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. The paper had to close down for financial and security reasons after just 70 issues, according to the Wiki.

I hope at least one Baghdad Bulletin veteran got a novel out of it, the way Arthur Phillips did with his breakthrough debut Prague, about a group of writers, adventurers, and fortune-seekers living in Budapest in 1989, right after the fall of Communism. It’s a good read for media types, especially the character who isn’t Rupert Murdoch but really is.

As you can see, blogs are the perfect medium for people who write in a stream-of-consciousness fashion. I’m sure James Joyce would have been a good blogger: Yes I said yes he would yes.