Periscope Depth

o come all ye faithful

My Christmas gift to you: some of the blogs I like to read.

Whatever It Is, I’m Against It: Droll recaps of news headlines, Presidential press conferences and other items of world import. Also features the “Today -100″ segment, which offers commentary on what was happening a century ago today as reported by the New York Times.

December 23, 1910: Members of the Chinese National Assembly are demanding a reduction in the production of opium and a ban on its importation from India. The British government is trying to prevent these “sentimental” measures which threaten state revenues in India, and they did after all fight the Opium Wars to force open the Chinese opium market.

The Kill Zone: A panel of five thriller authors talks about the writing process and the business of selling a novel. A great place to get writing advice from published authors, and the variety of tones keeps things interesting.

Futility Closet: Historical trivia, math puzzles, riddles and the occasional bit of doggerel. It’s like one of those collections of “fun facts!” you read as a child, but meant for grown-ups. And digital. And free.

Joel Grus doesn’t update his blog as often as he used to (SHAME!) but I know that’s because he’s working on another book. His first one, Your Religion is False, is a hilarious tour of world religions and theological thought. His next one might not be quite as side-splitting, but I’m looking forward to it anyway.

If you want to read someone who posts more often, check out my friend Shannon at I Once Was. Shannon has been going through her LiveJournal entries from eight years ago, back when she was still in school. She updates us on what’s happened since then, in addition to critiquing her teenage self on language, tone and attitude. I don’t have the stones to do that myself (although you’re welcome to take a crack at it), and I definitely wouldn’t be as funny if I tried. Shannon’s touching and hilarious; give her a read.

If you want some good artistic analysis and criticism, check out Scott Erik Kaufman or Todd Alcott. Kaufman teaches a class on visual rhetoric, particularly as seen in movies and graphic novels. He also talks politics on occasion. Alcott’s a screenwriter who’s great on doing arc-by-arc breakdowns of contemporary and classic films.

Most of the other blogs I read regularly – IOZ, Popehat, Bruce Schneier, Mimi Smartypants, and many others – are big enough that I don’t need to recommend them. But they’re worth checking out, too.

There. That’s my Christmas gift to you. It’s not much, but we never said we’d be getting things for each other so I didn’t want to make you feel awkward.

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