Tuesday, May 08, 2007

MAKE/Boing Boing: National Highlights on Appalachian Such-Have-Yous

Here at HS we pride ourselves as being, well, relatively blogtastic. Ahem.

Blogtastic: (adj.) 'bläg-'tas-tik, 1 - to blog in a blogrific fashion; 2 - to be able to recognize the attribute of blogrificness in other bloggers; Etymology: From Middle English blogtastique to recognize the attribute of endlessly talking about stuff and things; From Gaelic blaugh-tas'm, a spirit, ghost, or other phantasm endlessly spouting off at the mouth
That said, our blogtasticness is generally limited to regional blogs - that isn't to say that we don't read nationally oriented blogs - we certainly do - but that we usually don't cover them on herein. I used to think this was largely a product of our subject matter being fairly region specific - you know, it was mainly that we cater to a small, but (pleasingly) growing audience. Then I decided to pull a Technorati move - I went through and searched each of the 100 most popular blogs according to the Great Green Monstrosity's ranking system and found, much to my chagrin, that virtually none of the sites had entries with either the word Appalachia or Appalachian. I considered doing similar searches for states (e.g. West Virginia), cities (Charleston), and sub-regions (e.g. Watauga), but then decided that I'd rather not have my eyeballs melt from my skull. Gurgle.

Two sites on Technorati's list did manage to cover us, at least a little bit, that probably warrant a little note - coincidently they are two of the best damn blogs on the internet, in my opinion, and I check them out at least weekly, and often more than that. What are they, you're wondering? Tell us Eric! you're screaming. Well, alright then.

The first of the two sites is Make - to quote the by-line, "Void your warranty, violate a user agreement, fry a circuit, blow a fuse, poke an eye out... Welcome to the Make Blog!" Yeah, it reminds me of my friend Joe from high school as well. Ultimately, Make (and its mother magazine, Make) is about modifications (or mods, for the hip amongst us), or more specifically, about how ordinary people modify found and purchased goods with the intention of improving their operation or making them more aesthetically pleasing. Thus, it is unsurprising that the folks at Make have landed on the Foxfire series, if only long enough to post some links - check out the comments for a hint as to where to download free scans of the old reliables. Of course, Make is also kind enough to throw out a couple more links - one on on Heirloom Technology and one on Forgotten Arts and Crafts. All good stuff, even if all do take the Appalachia-as-a-living-archaeological-site perspective (though again, they are short entries, so they can't even do that too hard and rough).

The second site, and you're probably rolling your eyes that I'd even bring it up, is Boing Boing. That's right, the globally renowned "Directory of Wonderful Things." This blog, by the way, rules - even if they do get censored in Boston and China (long story - moving on). Boing Boing is run by several folks, but they build on a global recommendation base - folks write in, recommend sites, and if their description is quite adequate, well, they link'm up with a little commentary (or a lot of commentary, occasionally).

Enough gushing, on to the big dance. Boing Boing gives us three Appalachia-specific entries with plenty of meat on their bones and active links - I don't want to over describe them, so just hit'm up. Specifically, the subjects are:

1) Our friends over at Appalshop, described as "digital music for wired hillbillies," (with a reference to one of my favorite books on the region ever, Noah Adams' Far Appalachia);
2) Kevin Scanlon's railroad photography - for those of you who put up with us for our photo-contributors, well, this is a delicious dish - I know you'll like it; and
3) Gary Monroe's artwork, featuring snake-handling Christians is powerful - Albrecht Dürer meets pre-World War II murals.

Just thought you'd be interested.

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