Friday, August 22, 2008

Lights Out At The Carpetbagger Report

This was kind of a sad day for me because my favorite political blog, The Carpetbagger Report, helmed so brilliantly by none other than Steve Benen, cleared the floor and turned off the lights with today's final Mini-Report and open thread. I've been reading Steve's musings and analysis on politics there for over four years now, and he had created a real community over those five years the blog was up. It was one of those rare blogs where not only were Steve's posts incisive, extremely well written and witty, but the commenter community that developed there was comprised of mostly very intelligent, civil and articulate commenters, who had very few spats amongst them, (though I got zinged a few times around Iowa Caucus time), but compared to other blogs, these folks were (and still are!) a great group of people. Steve's writing and analysis got me there, and once I was hooked, the commenters generally kept me coming back first thing every day. Thus, Steve Benen became my go-to guy on politics very quickly. Of course I read other blogs and have a lot of respect for some of the bloggers, but Steve has always stood out as the one to beat in my book.

This is starting to sound like a lament for a lost blog, but that's really not the point of this post. The reason Steve closed down TCR is that he's moved up in the world! He will be replacing Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly's blog, Political Animal, starting tomorrow August 28. Though I'm not crazy about WM's format for the blog (it's difficult for me to read with all the clutter on the page), I'll be following my favorite blogger there, because a day without reading Steve Benen's work is a day when I know I am going to be sadly uninformed on the issues that matter most to me in politics. So, that's the imperative: follow this man wherever he goes to write.

I've had him linked in my political blog section of the sidebar since the inception of Urban Oasis, and his closing down TCR made me venture into the template to change his linkage. I have no idea if anyone who ever read here used it to check out TCR, but I hope some did, and were pleased with what they found there. I've updated it now, and while I was at it, I reorganized the garden blog links a bit and added a couple of new ones I've been reading lately.

One of these days, I need to do a major overhaul on the template and overall look of this blog, but I'm still HTML challenged and fear messing the whole thing up, but it's going to happen eventually, perhaps this fall or winter when there's less going on in the garden and I can devote more time to the new look.

And I guess this is as good a time as any to let you in on a little project I have going on the side ... Fernymoss and I will be putting together an Urban Oasis 2009 calendar, but it's still in its gestational phase. We pretty much have the flowers for the months mapped out (though we haven't yet chosen the photos), but also want to include gardening tips, when/where to plant and other info, as well as significant or fun dates to commemorate on a calendar. We haven't got the logistics of printing it worked out yet, but we did inherit a very nice HP photo quality printer a while back (one of the fancy ones), so we hope we can print the initial run on it, but I haven't gotten the printer up and running and talking with the network yet, so that's going to take a while.

So ... if readers (regular or otherwise) would like to make suggestions as to things they think would be cool to include or point out any particular photos you think would be good to use, I'm certainly open to hearing what you have to say! I'd also like to say that we came up with this idea not with the intention of making money, but rather as a way to create a personal Christmas gift for friends and relatives, that's all. As this project progresses, I'll fill you in on the details if the interest is there, but I figured that now I have software capable of producing such a project, I should take advantage of it, and this was the first idea ...

Just a little green, like the color when then spring is born, there will be crocuses to bring to school tomorrow .... -- Joni Mitchell


Shady Gardener said...

Things constantly change, don't they? After reading your remarks about Steve Benen and The Carpet Bagger Report, I was afraid of something terminal. I'm glad you can still enjoy his writing, after all!

I'm excited about your calendar idea! I know you two will be creating a very beautiful product, and you always have great advice. I'll have to think about whether I might have any ideas at all. ;-)

Looking forward to next week's visit. :-)

Shady Gardener said...

PS I have subscribed your site on my title bar, so I never get to see your whole blog. Only the postings that I pick. I'm missing things, aren't I?

Roses and Lilacs said...

This new calendar will be a newsletter or a blog? My mind is a little foggy this morning. When you said printer, I thought printed, mailed out newsletter.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady,
Yep, but this looks to be a good one for Steve... was by there reading earlier and it's pretty much as always, but in a different spot. They do seem to making him go shorter than he did at his own place, which is a bit of a shame.

We hope we can turn out something nice, but there's a lot of work still to do... Like me actually starting to put it together in the software... but I think we can pull it off.

I'm pretty ignorant about feeds/subscriptions and such ... I've never used them!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
No, just a flower calendar you can hang on the wall ... I'd never find enough time to do a newsletter thingie!

The printer is one of the fancier HP Photo printers (bells and whistles land) that came from an architecture office where Fernymoss' dad used to work. I've just not gotten it installed and up and running yet...

Shady Gardener said...

IVG, I'm Very ignorant about feeds, etc. And I really don't care! ha. However, if you look at your address "window" in your title bar, do you see a little orange box with a dot and two curvy lines? If you do, you can click on that when you're at someone's blog. You'll get a window that says "Subscribe to this feed using" Live Bookmarks. Click Subscribe Now and you'll get a line underneath your title bar with an orange square and the name of the site. :-) Is that as clear as mud?

Daisy said...

Well, since others have mentioned it, I can't help but chime in. I restrict my feed so others can see when I post, but to see the whole post, they have to come to my blog. I spend time on my banner and (in the future I'll be spending more on my layout) so I like to think that people will see it... I suppose there are arguments for and against it.

As for the calendar, don't dare leave that Kopper King out... I do believe his feelings will be hurt if his good looks are overlooked.

boran2 said...

Congratulations on your calendar project, IVG! It sounds like a great idea. I look forward to seeing it.

boran2 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi B2,
You'll definitely see it when it happens, I just need to build a fire under myself soon to start working it up.

If you have any photo suggestions or feature ideas, let me know!

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