January 01
software engr, young at heart. coding from early age. "digital brain" but with lots of feelings too. writing here mainly to publicize a few key issues, let off some steam, & for the feedback. plz write me comments, very much appreciated!! even on old posts!! helps me gauge reader interest/ reaction & steer direction of new posts. oh, and IMs often make my day & I usually reply. and long IM conversations are my favorite.

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APRIL 1, 2012 12:53AM

now 3yrs gone! favorite/best content Ive found on open salon

Rate: 24 Flag

hi all. april 10th is the 3yr anniversary of my blog here. yep, Im an old timer. do the wrinkles show?

its been a bit of an adventure. I started open salon on a bit of a lark. my main issue I wanted to talk about was new scientific evidence about 9/11. yes, it was my agenda, but certainly not hidden. at the time I was vaguely hopeful that this information could cause an awakening. in some ways it has. however, there is still a strong membrane separating this from the mainstream. it has not cracked the MSM except in a reactionary way, eg the van jones resignation, media hyperventililation over ron pauls comments on the subj, etcetera.

at the time I was a bit nervous. it was incendiary info & I knew its the kind of thing that could get me kicked off a blog site. you see, Ive had a long colorful history in cyberspace now spanning decades. my online persona tends to veer toward the gadflyish. take off all the social constraints & I let it all hang out.

but, here on a place like open salon, one can only have so much impact. when the site was smaller it was definitely more possible to stir up a commotion with concerted effort (Im speaking hypothetically here of course haha). but it appears to me that as the site has scaled larger, the dynamics of flamewars has decreased substantially.

frankly Im quite surprised about this. from what I can tell a small site does not stir flamewars nor does a large one, but there is something about a midsize one that leads to cliques and flamewars. I havent seen a flamwewar on here in quite awhile when previously they were quite common. an interesting phase change.

* * *

I think when the site was young there was more enthusiasm and a sense by people on here that they were participating in a potential gamechanger. moreover huffingtonpost had a tendency to reject intense comments. thats one reason I came here instead. I must say Im impressed with the overall tolerance of the editors. they tolerate a lot but yet the site is still fairly orderly. quite the feat given the mass flux of humanity through these corners & walls.

open salon is a great way to decompress at the end of the day. I used to read more news. now I read the news through open salon. this sounds kind of crazy but actually I think its actually quite sane. open salon is a filter of the news from the personal perspective instead of the corporate, filtered perspective. I was reading on here about the trayvon case long before it started resonating in the MSM. the MSM is gray compared to the rainbow of a healthy, lively, thriving blogging site. open salon is in that category.

yeah, sometimes it does seem like Ive killed way too much time here. but the site has been engaging. Ive sometimes stayed up a little too late engaging in long-forgotten dialogs & exchanges. but Ive seen amazing payoffs. there are some very elite writers on here. some are professionals but even the amateurs have flashes of brilliance. its literally the voice of the man on the street, the everyman.

theres nothing quite like it in the entire history of the media. its a revolution on the level of the invention of the gutenberg press. I believe it is still gradually playing out. it meshes with the social media revolution, and the user-generated-content revolution. its a confluence of multiple waves.

stuff that I really have noticed/enjoyed/remembered--

  • writing comments on a blog & then getting an IM back from the writer.
  • some incredibly colorful, articulate and intelligent analysis of current events, politics, history,various other topics.
  • engaging in ongoing debates eg on posts with many comments that strike a nerve.
  • finding really intense or raw writing.
  • getting in a strong disagreement & taking an opposite position with a highly articulate and opinionated writer.
  • finding/discovering new writers who just joined that are obviously quite talented and accomplished, sometimes before anyone else does.
  • writing about current events & putting up unique opinions not seen anywhere else.
  • writers who write about highly personal, sensitive experiences (although I personally find it risky & tend to avoid it).
  • gorgeous photography of faraway places that fires the imagination.
  • really funny humor, satire, parody & cartoons. taking goring the sacred cow to new levels.
  • beautiful young women who talk about their personal lives in a funny or intimate way.
  • accounts and picture of all the open salon meetups that have occured over the years. it would be cool to do a post on that but it would be a huge research project trying to hunt them all down.
  • demonstrations of compassion, humanity, empathy, community. eg a blogger on here died around the time I started, she had been to a meetup, and there was an outpouring of sympathy on the site. the time scanner got a mass donation from the crowd.
  • the julie powell "julie & julia" movie phenomenon and the mass influx of new bloggers as a result.
  • some highly eccentric [to put it diplomatically] writers.
  • occasionally running into near-famous or very-famous writers & feeling like one has a personal/"insider" line to the stars bulletin board.
  • total lack of inhibition on topics that were astonishingly once considered not suitable for "polite company"-- politics, religion, sex.

* * *

and yeah, one has to be careful about a blog site, and not attribute to it more than it can give back, not getting burned out. its easy to do so. its easy to get in a love-hate relationship or have poor boundaries with it. (surprising thought, but its apparently quite prevalent.)

people can make friends on here, but generally, I certainly wouldnt recommend joining for that reason. it would be a little like hanging out at a bar trying to make new friends.

also, somewhat counterintuitively, one cannot really expect a response. I feel Ive been blessed to get significant & sometimes enthusastic response on many posts. even a few comments is a great return compared to average. I get a very respectable number of hits, and in cyberspace often that is the most response one gets. vast nameless crowds silently nibbling at your content. there are many posts with zillions of comments, but these are rare. there are many, many blogs with zero comments. to even get a few can be a breakthrough. but, ultimately the response is silent. its fun to go through a list of posts & see which ones are highest rated or hit.

the other intrinsic feature of the site is the massive turnover. its said that more than 90% of blogs are "abandoned". this is a cyberspace-wide statistic and open salon is probably not far from average. I prefer the word "dormant" but either way, its a bit staggering. the implication is that this site is not so much a destination but a waystation for the crowds. people arrive, stop here for a time & then move on. its the challenge of the management to make it more "sticky". but stickiness is not necessarily something to aspire to is it? if you step in gum, and it gets stuck to your shoe, thats "sticky" also. :p

cyberspace feels at times to me like a high tech graffiti wall. electronic graffiti. its more meaningful than graffiti, but in someways, even as transitory and impermanent. I remember the 1st sting of discovering my comments had been deleted by a blog author! or how about entire posts with all their comments, maybe even highly trafficked, deleted into the vapor? vaporized. even more intense is when entire users are deleted, which happens occasionally. one guy I engaged in very long debates with on my own posts, and I thought I was safe-- but he caused too much commotion on the site & was deleted, along with all his comments, and I believe all his IMs to me also.

pretty wild and crazy how that works, huh? but ya gotta just roll with it. cyberspace is a beautiful modern illustration of the ancient theme of impermanence and transitory nature of reality, referred to as "maya" by the hindus. its also called the principle of "purusha and prakriti" which is a sort of idea of 3d pixels lighting up in the universe to create all the forms of matter, all the shapes of reality.

Im sure quite a few of my favorite posts have been deleted by the authors. and even after making this list, a significant fraction are going to disappear into the ether. ouch!

as kansas sang years ago, "all we are is dust in the wind".

as the old greek sage said, "you cant step in the same river twice". it seems nowhere is that more true than cyberspace.

* * *

so here is a selection of writing & other content that I found personally engaging and "worth it" to find it among the stacks of chaff. the few gems stand out. the personality bubbles over. people are colorful and it shows in their writing. they dont always color between the lines, so to speak. I enjoyed putting the list together. as usual with my posts I spent more time than I should have.

this selection is of course highly personal & reflects my own eccentricities, but think it will be compelling nonetheless.

heres my methodology. I went thru all the ratings Ive ever made page & that also lists total # of ratings on those posts. I focused on the ones with a fair number of ratings, say at least 10 or more. I also went through my list of favorites, picked some of my favorites among them, and then looked at their highest rated posts or highest trafficked posts, and picked my favorites among those to represent them. unfortunately I think I missed a few of my favorite posts which Ive commented on but forgot to rate. oh well! I also went thru the last 40pages of EPs and looked for anyone Id missed.

so yeah, the irony of me with no EPs pretending to be an editor. [of course there are no hard feelings about that, HA.HA.HA.] cyberspace is like that, you can put on different hats and try out different roles or personas.

and of course I invite you to comment, Id be happy to trade a few comments on the contents. feel free to let me know if you think there's someone Ive left out.

and Ive made various other posts of my favorite links on open salon that you can find in the left column.

Ive organized this into sections for your browsing convenience.

rants opinion

stories humor sex-n-gender econ warm-n-fuzzy politics media science-n-tech photos, art, cartoons

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Well vz allow me to be the first to post a comment. I was going to say that but now RW beat ma to it. You have 4 posts up with more than 10,000 hits (without an editors pick and some are not even rated) which makes you one of the true hero's of Open Salon. You are obviously on the Open Salon editorial staffs pay no mind list, since much of your work is of extremely high quality but never seems t get an editors pick. Let me tell you the reason for that, although being an intelligent man you probably know already. Although OS, bless their hearts, has a liberal criteria for comments and posts it does have its own little gate keeping community which will stop at nothing to savage any expression that strays from the Main Stream Media standard: liberal – conservative “debate.” Your best posts stray from that format, making you a target! When you started by talking about the obvious cover up of 9/11 you virtually assured that you will never get an editors pick. Open Salon is sponsored by Salon, and Salon is no medium sized Web Site. In fact along with the Huffington Post it is one of the giants of the internet. And a corporate lackey does what they are told. That’s why Glen Greenwald, as intelligent as he may be, draws the line at joining authentic American patriots like Paul Craig Roberts. Do you think nobody is looking over Emily Holliman and Kerry Laurmans back? There is a reason why renowned architect Richard Gage, Dr. Niels Harrit, and Dr. Steven Jones, have never been rebutted on the MSM (Gage debated Dave Thompson on Coast to Coast on August 22, 2010. Back in march they refused to even rebut him and tried to claim he was crazy when he went on Crosstalk with an independent panel of experts where they refused to even allow him to present any physical evidence. That didn’t go over well so they sent their very best at him in August. Dave Thompson makes Gerald Posner look like Gilda Radner on Saturday night live and even with the treasonous Ian Punnett “mediating” the debate Gage had him practically crying. At one point when Thompson had no answer for Gage Punnett jumped into they debate and swore his mother was there and heard no explosions, contrary to statements given by 106 trained firefighters and emergency personnel. Gage had Thompson actually saying UUUUGGGGHHHH and Punett was asking him if he was going to finish his sentence!). They cannot be! So the powers that be settle for the next best thing, complete censorship. You started off by violating the Primary Directive vz. Nobody's ever going to throw you a party now.

Nice list. I see you have included RW005 and Zachery Taylor two of the most erudite people on here. Just keep hacking away vz. You go further than I do. For that I salute you, and maybe someday somebody will throw you a party! Remember what Ernest Hemmingway said vz: ‘The Sun Also Rises’!
Very interesting and I (and most people here, I suspect) would go along with your reasons for enjoying OS. Your list of most worthwhile posts was worthy indeed.

One small quibble - there are still flame wars going on, one recent one still smoldering, but the site is big enough now that a person could miss them altogether.
Appreciate the time and thought you put into this post and very much appreciate the links, I'll be reading a lot over the next few weeks... most excellent post!
It's so kind, and gracious of you to take the time to recall--and link!--posts that touched you. It's not that there is a dearth of quality writing here, it's that the overall volume is just so overwhelming. It's like one has to archive it as one goes along to avoid the task becoming to overwhelming. Anyway, what a great way to celebrate three years of participation--by celebrating so many of your fellow participants. Well done!
hi all thx for the fast feedback. its amazing how most comments & a burst of views show up within 24hrs of a post or even within 12hrs. probably people finding the post thru the "favorites" structure of the site. yes indeed Im slightly embarrassed to admit this exercise did take hours to compile all these links.. I imagined it taking less but I was doing the bookmarking across multiple machines including the ipad which doesnt share links too well [oops]. counting em up theres 90 links there. & it seems like just scratching the surface of the mass content that courses through here like a firehose sometimes. even I, someone who spends substantial time on the site (but sssssh! dont tell anyone :p) can only scratch the surface.
rw005g, 5 articles huh? well every one is well deserved. you put an amazing amt of research & thought and time into blog posts, and maybe its my bias (alas I have a similar habit), but more work deserves more recognition. re NPR, they are the ones that lost out. they should change their editorial policy to accommodate your pseudo/anonymity, if that was the actual obstacle. did you actually ask them if you could participate anonymously? but anyway if they picked the same article then I can only say that great minds think alike haha.
hey JH, thanks for the encouragement. Im a big fan of paul craig roberts also. for awhile I wondered why I never got EPs and still feel a small pang of pain over that, I admit it was a goal when I joined & didnt think it would be so personally difficult. my cover story is that the real reason Im barred/blacklisted from the front page is that Im "against capitalism". just like ee cummings if you get the joke haha. yes there are many other great writers on here who've gotten no EPs so I cant complain too much. the site structure allows me to soldier on via other, shall we say, more egalitarian and less elitist mechanisms. (respectable ratings, favorites, hits.) so I aim to be a man of the people instead a servant of the gatekeepers. but I must say if a better option than open salon came along, I wouldnt have a whole lot of loyalty to this site for future content. but, blogs will never have a whole lot of cachet, and frankly I think we're rather lucky to even have this site that generally works well for its intended purposes. frankly sometimes Im pretty surprised it hasnt been shut down by now, either by OS or some illegitimately overreaching govt agency.... as I say in my post, I feel what we have here is still fragile.
oops that was a typo sorry. BBC not NPR. & rw00[5]g, I guess we now know why I picked that many haha.
This one's a keeper. I intend to go back to it from time to time for reading tips. Thanks! r
Impressive! I hope to work my way through your recommendations. Happy blog-aversary.
Thank you for including my story about Kim Cattrall on your list. I am most honored!

thank you, v. (Now that we have known each other a while may I call you v?)
Happy blogoversary early! You have been such a supporter of me from day one and I am honored to have a post on your list! I love the love that comes from what you've written here, and how cool of you to share a list of posts you've enjoyed in your time here. I will be reading those I've missed.

All the best to you and many happy returns!
Nice article. Guess I haven't hit yet.
Absolutely gorgeous...a museum of note. How do you do that? You have a link on each article that takes you there?? I love how you said "getting in a strong disagreement & taking an opposite position with a highly articulate and opinionated writer"....I am so with you!!! Well done.
The 1st 2 reccos name-check Megan Fox and Jane Austen... you can't go wrong with a list that starts off with fox and Austen at #1 and 2!

Seriously though, this is great work putting up this list, and thoroughly enjoyed reading about your 3 year journey too.

"the julie powell "julie & julia" movie phenomenon and the mass influx of new bloggers as a result." - Wish I was around for that - I've never seen a better movie about food, and about the creative process.
Excuse the delayed response, this must have fallen off the top eight during my absences and I don’t always keep up with the archives. Your concerns about 9/11 are justified but as I said before, but your theories are either too big or too small. There clearly has to be more to it even if it involves things that are in the open which don’t fit the definition of a conspiracy. Still nice to see someone sputter about you though.

Blog responses from strangers especially those without accounts aren’t something to worry about; there should be no doubt that if they’re being read they will probably have some kind of an impact eventually although there will be no way to know what. The disappearances here are annoying two of the first people I encountered were disappeared for one reason or another and that could have been handled better. Other sites only delete what they have to and in some cases they even post a notification. Even this is annoying but it means they’re up front about it. Censorship can also be done by flooding a site with crap and turning people off so there are tough calls.

I read some of your posts; did you really expect to get EPs? ;-)

Thanks for the cite.
shit. this is kinda invaluable.
you sure take os seriously!
you are like, uh, an os scholar.
that is not an oxymoron...
or is it? i am uncertain .

i am still looking for keiko's tanlines, ha.
This is a great list. OS is definitely a great place. I know sometimes it feels like I'm sitting in a dark bar late at night just talking amongst a big group of friends. ...I'm a little offended though. Apparently, you don't love me as much as I thought you did. I'm not on the list at all? :( j/k kinda
still luv ya darla. your blogs are more like a horror movie at times haha. a good one. kinda. j/k. sortof :p
ok, ok. heres a fully deserving official addition to the list =)
reasons not to have a 3some
I also liked the blog where you describe meeting your future husband in your 1st 3some which *you* arranged. actually not sure if you described that all in the same blog.... haha
by the way darla youve already been honored/cited in my other recent compilation on polyamory
You "walk the line" just like Johnny Cash did. Your posts are unique and vive la difference.
You "walk the line" just like Johnny Cash did. Your posts are unique and vive la difference.
Wow. I've put in less effort when writing grants! This is a treasure! R
Wow. I've put in less effort when writing grant proposals! This is a treasure! R
Impressive list. I'll have to check out what Catherine Forsythe wrote about Tiger. In the past few years I've only intermittently checked into Open Salon but now that my downward slide has been abated (temporarily no doubt), I'll have to read more here.