August 3rd, 2006

VERMONT DAILY BRIEFING VOTED 2006 “BEST VERMONT BLOG”; Analysts Credit Site’s “Whining and Begging” in Dark-Horse Win; $250 K Prize to Fund Network of Blogger Convalescent Homes

by Philip Baruth

In three words: we’re not worthy.

Really, winning the Daysie for Best Vermont Blog is a fairy-tale come true in its own right. But when you add in the $250,000 award — it’s like, pinch us. Pinch us wicked hard.

bush, in denialOf course, it’s been a long time since we checked out the actual rules governing the use of the prize money, but the minute we saw Cathy Resmer’s early post on the contest outcome, we had a vision, a vision that came upon us unaware: A network of convalescent homes modeled after the Veteran’s Administration (VA) hospitals — but these facilities would be reserved exclusively for bloggers, those who’ve managed to survive the internet combat of the last decade.

And the vision doesn’t end there. Not by a long shot.

There would also be social clubs in every city and town, dark, sleepy places where aging bloggers could go to kick back with others like themselves, people who would really understand the cyber-hell they’ve been through.

They’d be known as BFW Clubs, for Bloggers of the Flame Wars.

Someday you’ll be able to take your kid down to the BFW, and sit the little guy or girl up at the bar and swap stories with other old bloggers, stories about how you took down Sean Hannity or Rich Tarrant with a hail-Mary post back in ‘06, and saved your entire ideological company, just when all hope seemed lost. You’ll rip open pull-tabs and shell peanuts and drink warm draft beer, and feel like a man/woman again.

More soon, after we scope out the full stipulations of the Daysie Awards. But rest assured, we thank you all from the bottom of our jaded, political heart.

Update, August 3, 3:01 pm:

Okay, a bit of a reality check here, people. A small flood of email has come in, pointing out that apparently we’ve mixed the Daysies up somehow with the MacArthur “Genius” Grants, which come with something like a quarter of a million dollars, etc. No one seems quite sure how much goes along with a Daysie, but it’s safe to assume that it’s substantially less.

But that doesn’t mean the Vision dies — we just scale it back.

One BFW, then, a really, really nice one, located somewhere in Burlington, maybe in one of those high-buck apartments high in the air over Church Street. The kind with the crazy sharpened wires sticking up from the window sills, to keep the pigeons from squatting. One place in this crazy world where bloggers could go to lick their wounds.

More as details come in. And thanks again, so very, very much, all who voted. Really. And to Cathy at Seven Days for nurturing the blogosphere here long before anyone else could pronounce the word. You’re aces, Cathy.

Late Update, August 3, 4:22 pm:

Okay, so apparently there’s not one freaking red cent that comes along with this award.

Seriously, I just got off the phone with Cathy, and she hauled Pamela and Paula — the editors of Seven Days – into a long, brutal conference call, with everybody accusing everybody and swearing a blue streak and threatening lawsuits. But the long and short of it is they claim they never “offered or implied” any monetary award, and I claim that I could totally use the money.

But I extracted one hard-won concession: there won’t be any prize money next year either. If VDB can’t found a string of convalescent social homes for bloggers with Carpal Tunnel and severe eye-strain and acute paranoid psychosis, we’ll be damned if anyone else will either.

Which is to say, we’re really not worthy.

Latest Update, August 3, 5:46 pm:

If this is your first visit to the site, and you’ve managed to wade down three layers of irony to this point, you’re our kind of reader. A few things to point out, by way of an abbreviated tour:

* On the sidebar, you’ll find long, in-depth interviews with candidates active in this cycle. The Donovan and Shepard interviews should be particularly interesting as the primaries approach; the Welch interview is a must-read for those still uncertain about exactly why Vermont should put a Democrat in Bernie’s reliably-progressive Congressional seat.

You’ll also find some favorites from VDB’s ‘06 coverage, filed under “Greatest Hits.” Among the high moments: Barack Obama ragging on Bernie’s choice in suits, and Bernie ragging in turn on Howard Dean’s choice in pants — and Rich Tarrant selecting “Taking Care of Business” as his campaign theme, a song from the ’80s in which a very rich man mocks his workers for being, in a word, poor.

cheney, with loaded gun* The brilliant cartoons that mark the site are the work of Marc Nadel, a savage political caricaturist and a wonderful next-door neighbor. Marc is currently working on a Bernie/Tarrant tableaux, timed to coincide with the last heated days of the ‘06 Senate race. Danziger has also been good enough to allow us to run his own surgical political cartoons occasionally, and we do so, with great relish. Enjoy.

* Finally you’ll also note the sharp, signature design work of Burlington’s finest web designer, Ines, and the photographic skills of Kathy FitzGerald, Anita Long, and the inimitable Yusef on these pages. Many thanks to them for their (regrettably) unpaid contributions.

One final, crucial note. Given that blogs are, by definition, collective efforts, with one political junkie linking to another, and another, and another — and all of those linked addicts forming one semi-potent blogosphere — a single award for Best Vermont Blog is hopelessly misleading.

It’s something like picking out a single brain cell in the head of a really smart person, more or less at random, and handing it a “Best Dendrite” Award.

Things are happening in the Vermont political blogosphere, without a doubt, but as the result of critical mass, rather than any single effort. And so we’d like to bring in a good part of the rest of the brain here, at least visually. It makes VDB’s normally consumptive chest swell with pride, to blog in a company like this one.

The Good, the Bad, and the Bloggish
A motley but stalwart crew: (standing, left to right) Steve Benen, Eve Benen, last year’s Daysie winner Bill Simmon, Neil Jensen, Christian Avard, John Odum, Charity Tensel; (kneeling, left to right) Haik Bedrosian, Koko, and me.