The Greatest Canadian... Blog

Greatest Canadian... Blog?

Robert McClelland over at MyBlahg has been active of late. Not only does he run the Cavalcade of the Canucks, but he is accepting nominations for his brand of the Canadian Blogging Awards. Left or right, why not go down there and make a serious nomination? It looks like the vote is going to be taken seriously. Best Conservative Blog has its own category alongside Best Liberal Blog.

I’ve already received a nomination for Best Non-Political Blog. I’m honoured and a little surprised. Did the nominator not see the five categories of political posts on my blog? Or is it just a statement that I don’t blog for a particular political party, I just state my viewpoints and defend them? Is it a statement that I’m running a non-partisan blog?

Well, anyway, I’m honoured.

So, here are my nominations:

1) Best Blog - Peace Order and Good Government, Eh?

POGGE represents, for me, comfort food that’s intellectually stimulating. His heart is in the right place and he has a good attitude towards his fellow bloggers, and even the limited number of trolls who come and make trouble on his blog. At the same time, he’s up-to-the-minute with his latest thoughts on the latest issue of the news, and everything he says is interesting and thought-provoking. He is my favourite spot on the Canadian blogosphere, and in terms of his political postings, he puts me to shame.

2) Best Liberal Blog - Warren Kinsella, Latest Musings

No doubt that he’s a Liberal. Some doubt over whether or not he’s running a blog. There’s no permalinks, no commenting feature (though, with his enemies, that’s understandible), and he doesn’t archive his posts beyond a year. However, nowhere else in the Canadian blogosphere have we been given access this deep into the political machinations of this country — or one man’s political machinations, at least. He’s highly partisan, occasionally viscious, a middle aged punk, and proud of it. He’s always a fascinating read.

3) Best Conservative Blog - Andrew Coyne

Andrew Coyne’s libertarian credentials are impeccable, which in the false dichotomy of liberal vs. conservative means that his conservative credentials are impeccable, even though he annoys a lot of social conservatives with some of his laissez-faire ways (fine by me). Of all of the writers maintaining blogs, he’s the best. For the most part, he’s got a respectful attitude, though his points are so cutting, they can be mistaken for vindictive. He writes so persuasively, he almost makes me lean libertarian. The only reason Andrew Coyne isn’t being nominated for Best Canadian Blog of the year is because of his long unannounced blog vacations, but the man’s a writer first and a blogger second, which I suppose means he has his priorities straight.

4) Best Group Blog - Blogs Canada eGroup

Blogs Canada eGroup is the star of the Canadian blogging community, maintaining a diverse and respectful discussion between bloggers on the left, right and centre. Jim Elve’s contributions to the Canadian blogosphere cannot be overstated; his work has done more than anything else to forge a single big-tent community within the Canadian blogosphere. His eGroup is an achievement unto itself because it shows that Canadians of all political stripes, from NDP and beyond to Conservative and beyond, can interact and debate, without turning away from each other in disgust. The other major Canadian group blogs inadvertantly divide the Canadian community. The American blogosphere could do with more of what Jim is serving to Canada.

As Robert is being innundated with nominations for Blogs Canada eGroup, I’ll nominate a runner up. My second choice would go to the Greater Toronto Area Bloggers. These guys were one of the first to show up in the Canadian blogosphere, and were instrumental in bringing blogs to the attention of Torontonians. They were the first community I belonged to, and they deserve recognition for all their hard work; Rannie Turrigan especially.

5) Most Humourous Blog - Darren Barefoot

This is a bit of a stretch. Darren doesn’t try to be humourous, but there are few blogs out there that I read strictly for humour, and fewer still located in Canada. But Darren has a dry, sardonic wit about him, and an ecclectic collection of posts. He points out whimsy wherever he sees it: in the tech world, in politics or in society. He’s where I go when I want something different. Different is good.

6) Best Non-Political Blog - Photojunkie

Listen, if Rannie Turrigan and I were running in the same category (this one), I’d vote for Rannie. The man is arguably Canada’s greatest contribution to the wider blogosphere. He’s a major player in photobloggers associations worldwide, his work has received awards, and I cannot think of the practise of photoblogging without thinking of him.

7) Best New Blog (started in 2004) - Sinister Thoughts

This blog has gained attention surprisingly quickly since starting up just seven months ago. Greg writes with passion and intelligence and his handling of commentators has been effective and respectful. Definitely a blog to watch.

8) Best Blog Design - ?

I’m almost willing to nominate myself because I’ve got my blog just the way I like it, but that may only be on the browsers I tend to view my blog with. Getting a good design to apply itself consistently through thousands of different computers, each operating different browsers, is an incredible challenge, and I have minor issues with most websites’ designs. I love Darren Barefoot’s colour scheme, but I hate the fact that I get a horizontal scrollbar when my browser is less than 800 pixels wide. Too many other of the major blogs use a standard blogger template, and I’m sorry, but that orange is simply hideous. Get rid of it, or at least switch to what the Armchair Garbageman offers.

In the end, I’ve got to go with Rannie Turrigan’s Photojunkie. The most beautiful blog in Canada has the simplest design which lets the pictures do the talking. It displays well in all browsers and is user-friendly and easy on the eye. More blogs should be like his.

Further Comments

If I had one suggestion for next year’s awards, we need more arts and culture categories. Given Robert’s audience, I guess it’s no surprise that these blog awards are heavy on the politics, but the Canadian blogosphere doesn’t reflect that. The Best Non-Political blog category theoretically lumps novelists with photographers with visual artists with musicians with poets, and that makes the field very crowded indeed.

Spread it out a little. Let’s have a little less politics, and a little more culture. That’s my opinion.


Movable Type Releases Pi(e) in Time for Christmas

Movable Type gave users a nice little Christmas gift yesterday — especially nice for those who were still the targets of heavy comment spam, despite investing in the vital MTBlacklist. Version 3.14 (PI) improves the code and reduces the load Movable Type puts on system resources.

A small error in Movable Type has, for the past little while, meant that while comment spam hasn’t appeared on anybody’s websites, the spam comment’s request to rebuild the web page was still honoured. Some sites are being bombarded by tens of thousands of comment spams a month, so that’s tens of thousands of page rebuild requests a month. Pretty soon, that adds up to some real server load.

Version PI stops the error cold, and Jay Allen promises that the next version of MTBlacklist (due soon) will further streamline the system and make installations run smoother.

MT 3.14 is now on my system and appears to be running fine. Consider this a highly recommended upgrade. Thanks for getting on the ball on this one, guys.

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