Best of: Night Writer, the early nights

I have an intense schedule the next 13 days, leading up to me “live-blogging” our European vacation. It’s going to be tough to post regularly before the trip, but I really appreciate the readers of this blog and the readership growth it has experienced (pretty meager by most standards, but still higher than I expected). I feel an obligation to try and have something interesting here for anyone who visits or just stumbles in, so while my nights and lunch-hours are being used for pressing, non-blogging things I’m offering a retrospective of some of my favorite posts from the past 15 months, especially early on. Granted, that might stretch the definition of “interesting” but if you’ve liked what you’ve seen here the past few months, perhaps you’ll like some of the older things as well.

Naturally, some of my first posts were about why I started blogging. Below is my first ever post comparing blogging and CB radio, followed by an excerpt from another post explaining why so many Minnesota bloggers are conservative.

10-4, good buddies — I mean, bloggers
I was in high school when the Citizens Band (CB) radio craze was at its peak. In the rural part of the country where I lived, it seemed as if everyone, including all my friends I rode with, had a CB radio except me.

For those too young to remember, folks would install CBs in their cars and drive around talking to their friends or anyone who happened to be listening in. Ostensibly (a word seldom used by CBers) drivers were on the lookout for “Smokies” (as in Smokey the Bear), which was code for the Highway Patrol – the sworn enemy of drivers and CB enthusiasts who liked to exceed the new 55 mph speed limit. Since sharing the location of Smokies was borderline illegal, and speeding definitely so, most radio users also came up with clever radio names, or “handles” for themselves to mask their true identities – or to project a certain image. An entire jargon of code words and numbers developed to further identify membership in the subculture.

In reality, though, folks just liked to talk and to feel like a part of a community – especially one that had a kind of renegade populist sensibility – and to revel in the semi-anonymity their radios gave them. Some spouted their colorful (in their minds, anyway) philosophies, others talked about the mundane, and some, well, were just adding to the noise.

Not to stretch things too far, but I see a lot of similarities between blogs and CB radios. Growing popularity, community, clever aliases, a unique jargon (MSM, trackbacks, pings, trolls, memes and much more) – and, regardless of political philosophy, that delicious sense of rebellion. I never did get a CB radio, but now I’ve got a blog – and my own chance to add to the noise.

Roger that.

Top 11 Reasons Why Conservative Minnesotans Blog

  1. Plagues. Minnesota is plagued by mosquitos and liberals. While slapping a mosquito brings some satisfaction, slapping a liberal gets you sent to Anger Management. Therefore we blog.
  2. The need for an outlet. The StarTribune and Pioneer Press only publish one of our letters to the editor for every 8 or 10 from the left.
  3. Familiarity breeds contempt. No one knows better that socialism doesn’t work than someone who has experienced it up close.
  4. Perspective. Transplants such as myself know that Republicans in Minnesota sound like Democrats in at least 46 other states.
  5. A target-rich environment. If you can’t find an example of mushy thinking or stubborn wrong-headedness every day, your body may have assumed room temperature (if it has, don’t worry, you can still vote in Washington State).
  6. Size of Audience. Each year you can be fairly certain that at least 50% of Minnesota high school graduates are able to read.
  7. Frustration. “Conservative” leaders here are often as elusive as our walleye – and put up about as much fight.
  8. Hope. Hubert Humphrey ran the Communists out of the Democratic Party here once; maybe it can happen again.
  9. Wildlife management. We love the sound of a loon calling across the lake, but not from the editorial offices of the Strib.
  10. Because ice fishing isn’t as exciting as you might think.
  11. Because it’s not Nice.

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