Wednesday, March 28, 2007

We Are the Champions...

One of my favorite (even more favorite now) bloggers Natalie (Almost Interesting Musings on Life), has bestowed me with an honor, the "Thinking Blogger Award." I'm quite flattered. My wife and I both read her blog and have commented on what a nice person she seems to be. She calls her posts at times "silly drivel," but they're always thoughtful, personal and very much her. I also really enjoy the recipes she puts up-- it gives me a lot of ideas for my own cooking!

Here's what she said:

"Here Comes Johnny Yen Again- Johnny Yen has mastered the art of hilarity in the face of rough conditions. He finds a way to relate the happenings of daily life to the broader human condition in a seamless way. His political posts are informative, entertaining, and never fail to make me chuckle. I always look forward to his posts."

As part of it, I'm supposed to choose my own five "thinking bloggers." That is tough. I don't know if I can hold it to five. I'd actually been thinking of a post about why I read some of the bloggers I read, so maybe I will do it that way. I think it'll run over five.

The first blog I usually turn to in the morning is Bubs' Sprawling Ramshackle Compound. Bubs, a pioneer in the field of Narcozoology-- in fact, as far as I know, the only serious scholar in the field-- has a wonderful mix of humor, political outrage and fun that makes me miss him the days he cannot post. He works a job that would harden most people, yet approaches life with zeal. He's a loving husband, doting father-- and still a punk rocker at heart.

I love his regular features-- among them are "Freak of the Week," tales of animal attacks, the drug-addled behavior of citizens, "Germany or Florida", and his newest one "The Future, The Way It Used to Be."

Blogger Vikki won Grant Miller's "Least Politically Influential" Award, (more on Grant Miller in a moment), which of course, was tongue in cheek. Vikki is my favorite political blogger. It's like being out at a bar with James Carville, Al Franken, Hunter S. Thompson and Molly Ivins. Her observations are as eloquent as they are caustic, and always spot-on. She also writes about life in LA, music and of course her beloved Spooney.

The aforementioned Grant Miller is another favorite. His political writing is as pithy, spot-on, and perhaps even more sarcastic than Vikki's (if that's possible). Like Bubs, Grant has regular features, all of which I look forward to: "The Best Things That Ever Happened to Me," "The Worst Things That Ever Happened to Me," a newer feature, "Lies People Have Told Me," and "Men My Mom Would Have Dated," along with assorted other posts, are unfailingly not funny, but hilarious, and frequently insightful.

Can't-miss blogger #4 is Erik over at Erik's Choice. Erik is as concise as I am verbose (yes, I realize it). He has a remarkable range of interests-- literature, music, politics, history-- and writes well about all of them. He, like me, seems to be committed to at least a post a day, so it gives me something to look forward to on the frequent bad days I have here at work.

I almost have to put Erik in as a companion blog to that of JR, of JR's Thumbprints. They are like ying and yang. Both are about my age (I'm 45), both are terrific writers, both live in the Detroit area-- but while Erik writes something fascinating every day about a different subject, JR writes something fascinating every day usually about the same subject-- his job as a prison high school teacher. Erik and JR share a clean writing style, wryness and intelligence, while covering very different subject matter. I really enjoy their blogs.

If I can get away with putting Erik and JR in as one entry, I can sneak in Blogger #5, Kristi, over at Two Minutes In the Box. She'd be high on my list just for the great double entendre in the title of her blog alone. Being a fellow hockey fan is a big plus, but her posts, which run from the very personal, to the political, and in between are consistenly interesting. I've enjoyed posts she has on her hobbies, on the environment, relationships, and memorably a marvelous and heartbreaking recent post.

She also happens to the sister of another of my favorite bloggers, Vikki

I'd have my wife on the list, but sorry, it states clearly in the rules "Employees and their families are ineligible."

If I could add five more, I'd add:

Deadspot-- Yeah, okay, he's one of my oldest and best friends, but he's a funny, smart and a great writer. I'm glad I talked him into blogging. And he makes a hell of a burger.

Dear Bastards...-- Another one who posts every day, bless his heart. A personal journal, with great insights on movies and media.

Land-o-Lulu-- A fellow teacher who I've actually known for years-- we wandered into one another on the blogsospher-- who is pithy, funny and passionate about the things that are important to her.

Bad Tempered Zombie-- I always enjoy Barbara's ruminations on life, children, music, work, and art.

Anonymous Blogger-- I enjoy reading the adventures of this single mom/child and pet medic/Macguyver as she builds her home in the desert and raises "Thing One, Thing Two and Thing Three," as she calls them.


Erik Donald France said...

thanks man, much appreciated! Glad we've gotten connected, thanks to Danny T in Tokyo and also to Iggy Pop ;) The whole Chicago connection has been a great boon for reading and thinking about life. Always look forward to reading your posts and comments -- Cheers!

kim said...

First mistake, you don't put me on your list?

Natalie giving you that award is like giving Coke to John Belushi. Just call me when your battery dies.

lulu said...

Thanks for the honorable mention! Andi actually nominated me for one a couple weeks ago, but with the play and all I haven't been able to sit down and draw up a list...I guess I can scratch you off unless you want a matched set of statuettes for the mantelpiece.

busterp said...

First, congrats. Your posts jump all over, which I like (and are somewhat local to me). And thanks for mentioning some others I can check out.

I'm imagining being at a bar with James Carville, Al Franken, Hunter S. Thompson and Molly Ivins. I'd add Ann Coulter just for grins. Ha. Hunter could make the drinks.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Congrats on the Thinking Blogger Award. Yikes, that would be a lot to live up to!

Thanks so much for the shout; I am quite chuffed to be mentioned in such esteemed company. I know a few of the other bloggers you mentioned but will certainly need to read the others, since they come so highly recommended.

GETkristiLOVE said...

Vikki always beats me at everything. I'm telling dad!

Seriously, thanks. It's an honor to be mentioned in such good company.

Anon. Blogger said...

Natalie is so right. I also really look forward to reading your blog!

Thanks so much for the honorable mention! It is indeed an honor.

Dale said...

Congratulations Johnny Yen. Wunnerful picks and I'm happy to already read and enjoy most of them. If I'm able to find a way to extend my day, I might squeeze a couple more in.

Mob said...

Thank you so much for the kind plug, sir, especially to be mentioned in such good company.

Congrats, you deserve many accolades for the touching, personal memoir nature of some of your best posts.

deadspot said...

Thanks, man.

You know, it's funny (funny weird, not funny ha ha), but I was just thinking yesterday afternoon that I really need to learn to write. What I'm doing is staring off and then sort of rambling until I finally get around to my point. Sometimes it happens quickly, and sometimes it takes forever, and sometimes I totally forget where I was going.

That giant post yesterday? I ripped out several tangents to get it down to its current just-short-of-War-And-Peace length, including the bits about the vast numbers of shirtless people wandering the streets, the Jimmy John's that wouldn't make 6 sandwiches because they were afraid they might run out of bread later, and stopping at the original non-chain Burger King in Mattoon (which was just a little surreal).

When I write, I have trouble getting from point A to point B without a detour through inbred hillbilly-infested points G and K. I should get a map or something.

What was I talking about?

Oh, right. Thanks for the honorable mention.

Danny Tagalog said...

Hey Johnny - Erik's site is tops. I agree - but he's got me influencing me too much - Nico and Leonard Cohen have sliped to the forefront of listening needs, and now Bubs has got me back to Nick Cave. And you - you got me back into Superfly a while back. Funny how blogs infiltrate parts of offline life, eh?

Kathy said...

We are happy to know about your blog, and that people are reading it and appreciating it!

Phil said...

I'm alittle diappointed the image you used is a Redwing holding a tophy.

Natalie said...

Great picks. I read some and will start to read others. I wouldn't have nominated you unless I trusted your opinion.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Hey, thanks! And I guess I have to thank you for also mentioning my sister, even though she copies me in everything!

GETkristiLOVE said...


JR's Thumbprints said...

Putting my blog along side Erik's blog is the ultimate compliment. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Bubs said...

Hey! That was really nice!

Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for recommending some new people for me to read!

Johnny Yen said...

My pleasure-- thanks for the always-great reading.

Are the Stooges playing in their hometown, and did you get a ticket?

No coke-- Diet Dr. Pepper...

I'll take every award I can get-- I want to do the whole star thing-- awards, wealth, rehab...

I'd love to be there to see Jim Carville destroy Anne Coulter.

I'll let you know how it goes as soon as I'm out of rehab

Who said it was in order?

And I thank you for all the good reading

When I went down there a couple of months ago to hang with Andreas, we noticed that the original Jimmy John's is being made into a museum-- I'm not making this up. I wonder if they'll mention that Jimmy John got his start as a pot dealer?

I love the logic of not selling sandwiches so you can sell them later. Ah, Central Illinois.

Agreed. And in addition to bringing up old favorites, it's got me listening to new music.


I'd have put a picture of a Chicago Black Hawk holding the Stanley Cup, but the last time they won it, the camera hadn't yet been invented.

Thanks again!

Vikki and Kristi- so help me god, if I have to pull this car over....

You're very welcome. Thanks for all the great reading!

You're welcome!

Grant Miller said...

Thanks!! You, are the man.

I've heard of those other blogges too!

deadspot said...

I normally wouldn't give that asshole any of my money, but the girls left the cooler of food back at the school and Sue was getting desperate to find a sandwich place.

I used to work for him back in the day. He's a real piece of work. You should have heard the way he talked about women and minorities when there weren't any customers around. What a dick.

Anybody remember what Jimmy John was doing back in '93? Dodging a date rape charge here in Champaign-Urbana. I bet that doesn't make it into the museum either.