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July 2008


I am officially reconsidering my atheism after perusing this site for many hours. With over 2800 deities currently in their database, how can one not find a deity worth liking? Looks to me like all major areas are represented—and lots of “minor” ones as well. Lest any Christians reading this might be tempted to feel slighted, Christian saints are here for your perusal.

There’s so much intriguing stuff at Godchecker that I haven’t plumbed every area yet, sticking instead to pantheons of most interest to me personally. I have been consistently impressed with both the fine scholarship and irreverent attitude of all the entries I’ve looked at. And if reading about god after god doesn’t thrill, one might find other items of interest, such as Tecuciztecatl and the Anti-Slug Party, Mythmatics, or Lego gods. And of course, there’s an oracle available for consultation.

An excellent place to find good information in an entertaining format, I highly recommend that one not visit Godchecker if one’s in a hurry. Even if all that’s sought is a good, unusual name for one’s gaming character, it will nonetheless be a challenge for all but the most disciplined to ignore everything else.

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Journey to Forever:

This web site’s aim is to “help people fight poverty and hunger, and to help sustain the environment we all must share”, primarily by documenting a road trip from Hong Kong to Cape Town. Along the way they’ll be visiting remote areas, assisting with community projects and collecting information. While that journey does sound interesting in and of itself, what caused me to squeal with delight (yes, it happens) were two unassuming links in the tomato-colored left sidebar, to their small farms and biofuels libraries.

I haven’t explored in great depth yet, but it appears that the term library is accurate: full texts of the books are available from the site. Subjects range from compost, earthworms, trees, weeds, and how to make handy farm tools to wood to oil conversion, sawdust as fuel, and conversions of several kinds of oil. I am not very familiar with biofuels, so I can’t fairly evaluate that stope. However, the small farms offerings look to be valuable for anyone interested in working the land in a friendlier way than the pesticide– and herbicide–heavy agribusiness model.

There’s much more to the site as well, including news items, projects for kids, and adult projects (e.g., city farming, composting, solar box cooking, and much more). A very interesting, wide-ranging resource!

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Kent’s “Hooligan Libertarian” Blog:

I don’t know Kent McManigal in person, but based on his writings here and elsewhere, I’d say that he chose an apt descriptor, in spirit at least. Kent’s irreverent, individualistic spirit shines through as he skewers statism on many levels; he also defies the sacred cows and concomitant pigeon-holing that is unfortunately becoming prevalent in the freedom community again. I still don’t grok how one can call oneself an anarchist and seek political office, which Kent is doing with an extremely low-key, write-in campaign for president; but since his blog devotes little space to electoral politics it’s easy to look past it and focus on the substantive content—of which there is plenty.

Site overview: A typical Blogspot blog setup, with a custom, repeated photo background that might be distracting to some viewers (particularly those with widescreen monitors). Other images are few, so load times should be fairly quick. RSS feed is available. Commenting might be confusing: the site runs both Haloscan (the first comment link at the bottom of each post) and Blogger commenting, which is open to anyone who can pass the captcha.

Content ranges from straightforward presentation of fundamentals to deeply personal, individualistic elements of pursuing freedom. A recently begun series called “the museum of government” is intriguing, but I tend to like his more anarchistic content, such as Inspiring Anarchy and his great idea, Random Acts of Anarchy. Kent McManigal might be the closest thing to a Thoreau living in our time. Whether others see him similarly or not is immaterial; with his straightforward style and keen focus on what matters most—that being freedom, and nonaggression—his place is well worth exploring.

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Pictures of the Tallest Buildings in the World:

I do consider myself more of a nature-girl type, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy interesting architecture. And ultra-tall buildings fascinate me, so it was hardly a surprise that I’d find a collection like this one eventually. It’s pretty self-explanatory, so I shan’t say more—well, for those on dialup, the pictures aren’t huge, so viewing shouldn’t be too painful.

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Baking Soda Book:

The online contents may or may not represent the book in its entirety, but no matter. There’s a wealth of good information here about using baking soda—alone or in combination with other simple ingredients, such as vinegar’to clean and deodorize many things around the house or garage. But that isn’t all; other tips encompass cooking, dealing with pests and pest stings or bites, and many other tasks. The Resourceful and Ingenious uses of Baking Soda is an excellent start for anyone interested in learning how to clean, sanitize, and accomplish other things inexpensively and without harsh or heavily scented products.

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The Freedom Symposium:

A fairly young blog (begun in December 2007), Joey’s focus is “anything related to personal freedom”. He first came to my attention via a comment on my blog fairly recently, so there’s a lot of backlog for me to explore; so far, I have mostly liked what I’ve seen.

The long list of labels in his sidebar provides a nice overview of the diverse topics Joey considers in his quest to advance personal liberty. Given how wide-ranging the posts can be, exploring via that list might be the best way to acquaint oneself with the site’s content. Sometimes Joey’s efforts to summarize an ongoing conversation can make for difficult reading; if your browsing leads you to posts like that I urge you not to bail out. Other posts are short and to the point; and usually at the end of the summary on the long posts there will be new content worth considering.

Site overview: Blue-themed Blogspot site that’s pretty easy on the eyes; RSS feed is available. Lots of small graphics in the right sidebar, and frequent embedding of YouTube videos in blog entries, may slow load times for some viewers. The lack of accompanying links to a vid on YouTube is a pet peeve of mine, and might also be for those who block flash files. Commenting is open to anyone who can pass the captcha test. I don’t know if the recent decline in posting frequency is due to the typical summer phenomenon, or whether Joey is losing interest in blogging. I for one hope it’s the former, as I find his ideas and perspective a refreshing change from much of pro-freedom blogging.

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Shorpy: History in HD

It’s no wonder it’s taken me so long to get this Salon issue out, what with all the time-intensive sites I’ve featured. Shorpy is an excellent site for providing a varied examination of the America of old, from child workers to rural life to railroads to bathing beauties. Although the subtitle of the site reads “the hundred-year-old photo blog”, I’ve spotted a few photos from the 1950s—which should not be taken as an implication that they’re unwelcome. That era is as unfamiliar and intriguing to me as the roaring 20s—and the glorious color of those 50s photos is a welcome treat to the eye after perusing lots of black and white shots. All images are high quality originals, somehow accurately converted to digital format.

Usually the text is sparse, but not always. And occasionally a family member or long-lost neighbor will contribute via the comments. Categories are broad (e.g., kids, cities, mining, and pretty girls), which means most are brimming with a wide variety of intriguing images of days long gone. Every time I visit I linger far longer than I should. If you like vintage photos, you probably will too.

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The Doctor Within:

While doing some housecleaning at my blog, I rediscovered The Doors of Perception. Skimming through it, it seemed more powerful this time around; so I began opening other pages. Soon I was immersed in this site, which seems to have as its primary objective waking individuals up to massive manipulation of information in the areas of health and nutrition.

That is not to say I enjoyed all I read. Despite having encountered independent support of some of the author’s ideas and assertions, the vast and wide-ranging amount of material scrutinized can leave one feeling overwhelmed by conspiracy theory and helplessness. Only it isn’t a conspiracy per se; and individuals aren’t completely helpless—although it does seem the odds are stacked against those of us who want to leave behind the overly-processed agribusiness and pharmaceutical qua medicine industries.

Whatever one might think of the 911 content or the rejection of nearly all modern, allopathic medicine, there is a lot of good, thought-provoking content here. After reading the aforementioned essay, take a break (all these pages are very long) and then consider Alternative Lite, Water, The Magic Bean, or perhaps To the Cancer Patient as a cautionary tale if you aren’t a member of that set. Yes, just one of these essays can seem like overload. And I am not saying I agree with it all—what I am suggesting is there’s a lot of truth here about how to live more happily and healthfully. Two keys to credence for me are these: a lack of advertisements of any sort; and a very short, blunt list of recommended products. I plan to keep reading, and thinking, and learning.

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