Archive for the Blog Reviews Category

The Cartoon Lounge

Posted in Blog Reviews on January 12, 2009 by jessicapruitt

If you ever wondered what your nerdy comic book-reading, magic card-playing friends from high school might actually be thinking, The Cartoon Lounge has the answers. From the minds of The New Yorker cartoonists, we see posts ranging in variety from the bizarre to the obscure: always strange and always hilarious. With dramatic posts such as the “Best & Worst Elevators To Be Trapped In Of 2008” and dire predictions for 2009 (“Tidy Cats cat litter will get a new look and amp up its performance”!) you’ll get all the import of real news, without the news! I wouldn’t exactly call it literature of the informative type and reading it probably won’t make you a better, more worldly person, but then again, I’m not really the self-improvement type. If, however, you’re looking for a hearty dose of satire and a good measure of dry wit, then this is the place for you.

With every post so chock-full of hilarious banter, I just can’t choose a favorite, but I will say that any blog that describes itself as “a consistently tasteful shade of yellow” holds the key to my heart. Even if I wanted to stop myself, I’m pretty sure this blog will make it onto my bookmarks toolbar. If my newfound addiction becomes a problem, I would kindly ask you to hold an intervention. Thank you.

Dot Earth: Nine Billion People. One Planet.

Posted in Blog Reviews on January 12, 2009 by jessicapruitt

Dot Earth blog provides a unique, highly specialized way in which to read the news. These days, the environment is of pressing concern to, oh, let’s say, all inhabitants of the planet earth. Let’s face it: global warming scares, endangered spider monkey ants (disclaimer: may not be a real species), and whether or not you should plug your electric car into a living room outlet have been making front page headlines for years. It’s about time there was one specialized news source devoted entirely to our beloved home: the earth. In this way, Dot Earth differs from traditional news coverage, which is limited by how broad it must be in spectrum, topic and audience.

Knowing that it covers topics of dire import, the blog is generally serious in tone, becoming satyric only when angrily criticizing this or that environmental offender. The posts tend to be thorough but concise, using only a couple of short paragraphs to convey important information on the environment. And, though the blog is definitely opinionated, posts tend to convey news and news alone, legitimized by numerous linked references to other articles on the subject. Definitely a blog for serious environmentalists, but still accessible for the general newsreader.

For me, this type of news coverage is generally the sort of medicine best taken with a spoonful of sugar. The multimedia aspect of embedded videos and wide range of innovative topics for posts, however, gives the blog a certain readability for me. Who wouldn’t, after all, mind speculating on 11 questions posed to Obama’s science team or Steve Irwin’s role in the “whale wars”? Ultimately, Dot Earth provides all the traditional environmental coverage while still offering a fun and slightly off-topic slant. This blog may take a spoonful of sugar to go down, but I’m going to bookmark it–and try my hardest to actually click on the link.

PopWatch: Keeping An Eye On Pop Culture

Posted in Blog Reviews on January 12, 2009 by jessicapruitt

From Entertainment Weekly comes a punchy blog that keeps more than just an eye on pop culture–it keeps an ear (and sometimes even a nose!) on it too. The blog covers a wide range of popular media, commenting on film, television, music, the internet and more. Posts tend to be a few short paragraphs which are supplemented by an embedded clip or photo–just the right combination to keep this reader’s rather short attention span interested. The blog is so engaging, in fact, that once I started reading PopWatch, I went into a multi-media trance, waking up hours later to find myself on the up and up with popular media today.

What gives this blog its particular pizazz, however, is the writers and their playfully idiomatic, pop-culturey approach to language. Though most likely pretentious, these writers at least don’t have their panties in a bunch over proper operatic and balletic vocabulary. And with topics like Tracy Jordan (30 Rock‘s resident bad ass), they don’t really have to. I will say, however, that the writing can sometimes be so satyric that I’m not really sure whether it is meant to be serious or not. Particularly alarming was a post concerning Kelly Clarkson, in which the writer asks “Is it possible for 30 seconds of music to make your day? Hell yeah — if that 30 seconds is a snippet of a new Kelly Clarkson song.” I’m going to give Entertainment Weekly the benefit of the doubt and assume a particularly wry wit. Otherwise, the post would seem out of place among the blog’s usual choice of content, which leans toward the sub-culture and the obscure. It must be said, however, that PopWatch, like Entertainment Weekly, appeals to a broad audience. The content covered is neither too specific of an obscure milieu nor too mainstream. It is just edgy enough for one who proclaims to disdain all things Starbucks and rom-com, but mainstream enough to appeal to the older and more conventional.

Unlike traditional entertainment news (read: Entertainment Television), PopWatch is able to branch into a wider range of subjects, from Paris Hilton’s Oscar outfit to newly released indie films. In this way, it is both a fun and valuable source of up-to-date information on all things pop-culture. Seek out your own Youtube videos and dig around on Pitchfork if you prefer, but as for me, I’ve got some reading to do.

The XX Factor

Posted in Blog Reviews on January 7, 2009 by jessicapruitt

To be perfectly tongue-in-cheek, Slate’s gynocentric blog, The XX Factor, indeed has something of an x-factor. With a feel that is both playful and serious, the women of Slate offer up a wide range of posts with the type of jeux d’esprit that makes for a very readable blog. A conversational and often joking tone pervades posts, making the serious issues blogged about approachable and fun to read. Furthermore, the blog often addresses the reader or other Slate writers specifically, making the reader feel that he or she is engaged in a convivial and heated discussion of politics.

Ultimately, however, it is the mixture of “politics” and “etc…” that makes the blog so intriguing. If you want to muse on why Caroline Kennedy has opted out of Botox or the “hottie white house” that Obama is putting together, you can. If you prefer, instead, to enter into a serious discussion of the recent economic crisis or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the blog does not fail to provide. And that is why I can say, with some level of sincerity, that this blog does possess an x-factor, something undefinably delightful about it. The writers never quite put their finger on their tone or topic, and neither can I, making the blog unpredictably good.

The blog does not cater to my interests specifically and is seemingly targeted at a slightly older audience of women. Nonetheless, anything that comments (albeit flippantly) on Obama’s main change in D.C. as the “serious second-generation eye candy” that he is bringing to the white house is something that I can get behind. Definitely an interesting and informative blog that I wouldn’t mind perusing in the future.