Jokes aside, Cheney's hunting mishap heats up the blogs this week. Not to be outdone, Olympics bloggers are taking Torino by storm, and the XX Winter Games have some harsh cyber critics.
Dodging Cheney's Bullet
In what has become perfect fodder for late-night comedy, news of accidentally shooting his hunting partner spread like wildfire in the blogosphere. On Monday alone, a technorati search revealed 284,390 posts about Cheney, and the vice president was Blogpulse's most blogged about person.
Amidst about the hunting incident, bloggers mostly reacted to the news like they would many other political stories, with a predictable divide among conservatives and liberals. Liberal bloggers used the opportunity to find fault with Cheney and the White House. For example, BradBlog points out, suspiciously, that the owner of the property, Ann Armstrong, was on the Board of Directors at Halliburton when Cheney was hired as CEO.
Conservative bloggers, however, give Cheney the benefit of the doubt and decry the left's reaction. "Unfortunately, this is very bad news for the White House…The Dems will exploit this accident to smear Cheney as incapable of being trusted, weak of mind, etc. The resignation rumors will fly again," Michelle Malkin writes.
PunditGuy agrees, blogging: "Those who hate Bush, Cheney, or anyone associated with their administration will take any opportunity they can to make political hay from bona fide accidents that occur...I wish politics were just about politics."The Left Coaster writes. "What were they afraid of?" But Outside the Beltway sees nothing conspiratorial: "Perhaps the Whittingtons wanted time to call family members and determine the nature of the injury. One can't imagine that the White House thought they would avoid having this incident kept secret by an entire hospital staff."
Even the usually conservative John Podhoretz of The Corner writes, "It's disturbing as well that there was a news blackout that lasted nearly a day about this serious incident."
Perhaps Ian McGibboney put it best. "I always said I'd quit blogging the moment that real life officially took over satire. This is it. Bye."
Olympic Blogging A New Sport?
Are the Olympics still relevant? Aside from NBC, which paid $2.9 billion for exclusive rights to broadcast the next three Olympics, do people still feel the Olympic spirit, or care about the outcome?
Associated Press reporter Frazier Moore compares Olympics broadcasts to televised political conventions. "Unlike the Olympics, at a convention it sort of matters who wins," he concludes.
Many bloggers echo Moore's sentiment. "I'm a big sports fan. If it involves a round ball and points scored, I'm there," I See Invisible People blogs. "But I'm not that excited about the Olympics. I might watch a little hockey and maybe some downhill skiing, but that's about it."
"How do you justify spending $620 million on the 2010 Winter Olympic games when there are hundreds of millions of people stuggling to survive in the world?, Going Everywhere questions.
But the games do have some loyal fans, like Russell Arben Fox, who appreciate the pageantry of the events. "...I watched the opening ceremonies for the 2006 Olympics last night, and we'll no doubt watch quite a bit more over the next two weeks," Fox blogs. "The spectacle, the drama, the stories of striving and succeeding and failing get to us every time." He's not alone. Kissui blogs, "I watched the opening ceremony three times. I was just giddy and so happy and moved the whole time... The world (is) in one place at the same time in a ceremony that you get to host once every half a century or so - they're bound to be gorgeous."
Perhaps on a week when the news was dominated by , and , a peaceful event where countries unite is meaningful, if not unusual.
"The Olympics provide us with an escape...no, a vision of what the world could really be," Avalonstar blogs. "It's funny, if you were to compare this to say, our world online, there would be many similarities. From blogging to pro-gaming, we're breaking boundaries daily."
Will Blog For Money
Sponsors looking to include the online community in its traditional marketing efforts are increasingly courting bloggers. In late January, for example, the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions announced its "Bloggers in Amsterdam" promotion in which it agreed to send 25 bloggers to visit Amsterdam for a press junket. Among those attending were Jossip, CityRag, and AMERICAblog.
The latest? Olympic blogging for money.
Coca-Cola, which has sponsored the Olympic Games since 1928, enlisted a half-dozen lucky college students from around the world to blog about their trips to the winter games in Torino, Italy. There's just one catch: Each blogger must agree to keep their posts positive, probably an easy feat when you consider Coke is paying to fly and accommodate representatives from China, Germany, Italy, Canada, Austria, and the United States and give them a bird's eye view of the games. The site, Torino Conversations, features podcasting, photos, and comments from readers.
Blogger Kate, 23, from Canada was feeling pretty positive about the Olympics even before she arrived in Italy. In a Feb. 9 posting, she blogs: "It's been a whirlwind few weeks but in about a week and a half I'll finally be in Torino experiencing the fervor and excitement of the Olympics. The Games have always struck me as the sport events of all sport events - the disappointment, the joy, and every emotion in between."
Visa caught on to Olympic blogging too, inviting Olympic athletes, their coaches, fans, and journalists covering the Torino Games to contribute to its "The Journey" blog.
Emily Cook, competing on the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, is one of Visa's featured bloggers. She also keeps a personal blog, and described her first competition: "When I hit the ground I threw my arms up into the air knowing I had just stuck a nice, straight and big Lay Full. The crowd went wild. I celebrated."
Do You Powerloaf?
A 2005 study by Salary.com found the average worker admits to spending 2.09 hours per day...not working. Not surprisingly, personal Internet surfing ranked as the top time-waster. If you're reading this at work, perhaps you relate.
Sites like Powerloafing are not helping the situation. The online sitcom, featuring Cubicle Carl, is from the mind of Mike Upchurch, who has written and produced for "The Chris Rock Show" and "MadTV." If you imagine Dilbert cartoons being put to life online, it will give you a good idea of what the episodes are like. Screenhead calls it, "a 4 minute mini-sitcom centered around goofing off at work."
The most recent episode imagines the Starship Enterprise as a typical office environment. The Daily Flog is a fan, describing the episode as "Star Trek meets The Office...Beam me out of cubicle hell Scotty." A "brilliant little office sketch," Lair of the Vampires blogs.
In addition to providing an archive of episode clips, the site also features Cubicle Carl's blog. "If you need take your mind off of something like, I dunno, work, for instance, they will provide hours of distraction," Carl blogs.