Those who know me know how much I love rules. One of the appeals of ritual studies for me is that ritual, at the end of the day, is all about the rules. You need to perform any given ritual according to the rules or it just won’t work.
But, as many of you also know, I am also big believer in, to borrow an over-used phrase, reading the directions even if you don’t follow them. So, when the ever wonderful, martini drinking Alice over at not2wo tagged me with an Honest Scrap Award, I knew I’d better follow the rules and “brag about it.”
What is the Honest Scrap Award, you say? According to the Internets:
This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giverâ€™s opinion, brilliant. This award is about bloggers who post from their heart, who oftentimes put their heart on display as they write from the depths of their soul.
Moreover, the rules clearly state that I need to (1) brag about it, (2) choose a minimum of seven blogs that I find brilliant, and (3) list ten honest things about myself.
First, however, I’d like to say that I love this award. I think it plays to my over-developed proletariat, working class sensibilities. Something about being an honest scrap sits well with me. Secondly, I’d like to say what a wonderful little ego boost having unsolicited compliments can be. I know, I know. I’m a Buddhist. I’m not supposed to have an ego. But, c’mon. As I’ve said time and again, I’m a Buddhist, not a Buddha. And even if stoking someone’s ego isn’t necessarily enlightened of us, we could all use some joy in these otherwise dark, swine-flu-infested times, regardless of where it comes from.
Moving right along. It took me a very long time to compile the following list of blogs (and one them, technically, isn’t a blog). It took me a long time because I got hung up on that “honest” part of the award. I read a lot of stuff online. But some of it isn’t necessarily honest in that “writing from your heart” sense of the word. But then I was reminded of the “brilliant” part of the award, and in one way or another, these seven sites all fit both those bills.
However, there’s three notable absences here. The first absence is explained by the fact that the blog in question is still a work in progress. My inexplicably talented wife, Dana, is in the process of setting up a blog for her photography; and when it’s done, it’s going to blow your socks off. So, in the meantime, click “bookmark” and check back in a bit.
The second two absences are two very good friends of mine, Diedra and Carrie Love. To the best of my knowledge, their formidable online presences do not include blogs (at least not publicly available ones). But if they did, I am confident that the words “honest” and “brilliant” would take on a whole new meaning. I mean, with the family name “Love,” how could you go wrong?
So, without further ado, a smattering of honest brilliance:
- The Rev. Danny Fisher’s blog does not often deviate too far into his own personal trials and tribulations, as far as I can tell. But what he may lack in the Too Much Information category, he more than makes up for in terms of resources resources resources on a wide array of Very Good Causes. We are all in your debt, sir.
- You knew I’d have to mention the good folks over at the Dharma Folk blog. And while they’d get this award on the merits of Arunlikhati’s recurring angry Asian posts alone, he and the rest of the crew provide us with enough reminders that the Dharma isn’t something restricted to words but is something lived, something felt, every day.
- Speaking of angry Asians, the Angry Asian Man himself deserves more credit than credit is due for pointing out just how hypocritical and ridiculous this country can be in regards to its love-affair with all things Asian. Brilliant? Check. Speaking truth to power? Double check.
- Speaking of speaking truth to power, I feel no list of Things to See on the Internet Before You’re Dead is complete without mentioning History is a Weapon. The not-technically-a-blog entry (they have one, but they’re more than that), this site is an extremely good resource of all the bits of history you never learned in your high school (or college) American history course.
- Sliding back into the realm of the Dharma, I bring you Enlightenment Ward. In addition to her reflections on life in the subcontinent, her own struggles with practice, the occasional poem and photograph of a blind mule, NellaLou isn’t afraid to tell it like it is and step boldly into the fray.
- Speaking of photography, sometimes the best pictures are the ones you never actually take. Michael David Murphy know this all too well.
- And last but by no means least, mention must be made to a recent discovery (and a hat tip to my lovely wife for bring her into our world): Bestiarum Vocabulum. This little site is devoted to a different kind of truth, an absurdist-naturalist one. That is, ours is a strange and a beautiful world filled with magical beasts that are, at the end of the day, familiar and close. SJ, as you struggle through your dissertation, use your own blog as a reminder that you can write.
Spreading the joy.
Oh wait. I’m not done. I still need to list ten honest things about myself. Hem. Haw. Here we go.
- I swear. A lot. But almost never around my mother. I think the “malicious” part of the precept against false and malicious speach points squarely at the adage “know your audience.”
- I have a hard time with the precepts in general. Except two of them. Hey, two outta three ain’t bad.
- I don’t believe in luck, in fate, or in destiny. I’m a big fan of karma, though, which has nothing to do with luck or fate or destiny which imply that things both happen without any cause and that we have no free will. (Boy, talk about a good topic for a blog post.) Despite the fact that I don’t believe in luck, though, I wake up every day and think to myself how lucky I am that I found Dana.
- Despite my online persona, I don’t get all that riled up in real life. I think most people think I’m a fairly even-tempered guy. At least, I’d like to believe that they do.
- Even though I like to see myself as a fairly even-tempered guy, I swear the most, I get the most riled up, when I’m driving. It will be my undoing.
- I don’t own a car. Dana and I are effectively sharing her car. So lucky for all you motorists out there, I don’t drive all that much.
- I have a wide and disparate circle of friends, many of whom don’t know one another, and have always been secretly jealous of sit-coms that feature close knit groups of friends who seem to never be parted from one another.
- I really want to be a linguist. But I am lousy at languages. And the other day, it took me several tries before I could finally pronounce “foyer” correctly, much to Dana’s glee. (How did I ever become a teacher?)
- Whenever I am asked to write a list like this, I worry about being egocentric. This fear of thinking too much about myself before others is not, however, a side-effect of my Buddhist practice. If anything, my Buddhist practice has only exacerbated a pre-exisitng neurotic tendency to put others before myself, often to my own detriment.
- I am slowly learning my limits. This has everything do with Buddhist practice.