sad day on the LA Times blogosphere

today we say goodbye to Countdown to Crawford

Crawford was one of my favorite LAT blogs. not just because it was one of my first new blogs at the Times that blossomed into something far better than i ever imagined. not just because for a little while there was a blogger on Air Force One writing several times a day for the LA Times. but maybe because it was such a joy watching two seasoned journalists, Johanna Neuman and James Gerstenzang, take to blogging like they had been doing it all their lives.

at first Jim was concerned that he would have to spice up his posts with “spin” or “attitude” like our other political blog Top of the Ticket, but i assured him that not every blog needed humor or snark or sarcasm. i suggested that the Bush Administration was fascinating enough all by itself, that all he needed to do was tell us as much as he could about it. all this blog needed was a mirror, i said, not a circus mirror, but a clean one. they both played it straight, and once they got comfortable their sense of humor seeped through in a respectful way. it was perfect.

because of delays the first week (or was it two) was written primarily by Johanna because the launch was pushed back to right when Jim was to go on vacation. but even while he was on vacation he helped Johanna from the road. immediately they were a great team. two very different writing styles that proved that the idea of “voice”
was oftentimes overrated in terms of blogging, that indeed a good blog could be a duet or a chorus that could create a union a little different than the individual parts.

each month Crawford became more and more popular. always in the top 10 of our blogs (usually in the top 5), last month “the bush blog” attracted nearly 1 million pageviews, its all-time high. quite a testament to Jim and Johanna because think about October… all the news was about Sarah Palin and that black dude with a funny name. to be able to get almost 1 million pvs while covering an administration that noone was talking about, one that wasnt generating any news, is a damn miracle. keep in mind, they were able to blog multiple times a day, finding and posting photos, as well as moderating nearly 10,000 comments, all while maintaining their original responsibilities of filing different items for the newspaper.

i will miss working with Johanna and Jim a great deal, and we will all miss their terrific blog.

i must also thank two additional people for helping make this blog happen. the first credit should go to my boss Meredith Artley. she was the first person who i pitched the idea to. she has heard many blog pitches from me and many of them have gotten the thumbs down, rightfully. but when she heard this one she started brainstorming, she knew who should write it, and she knew who we should talk with to get it going. she believed in it immediately and without her support it wouldnt have happened.

the other person is National Editor Scott Kraft. when i went to Scott, a man i had never met before, i felt really uneasy because i didnt want to come across as disrespectful. i said, i liked the coverage that was often on the front page of the paper about the Bush Administration, but many of us news junkies wanted more. was there more? wasn’t it interesting that this group was flooring it as the clock ticked down whereas other administrations typically went on cruise control? arent there more stories than the one or two that hit the paper each day? could two or three people from the DC bureau write two or three posts and tell us some of the stuff that the paper would print if it had unlimited pages? thankfully Scott said, “im not sure, but lets see. lets try.”

so often people will say, “i dont see the possibilities, so, no.” Scott said, “i dont know whats there, but lets go for it anyways.” i have so much respect for that sort of attitude, and if Scott had said no it wouldn’t have happened. so major props to Mr. Kraft.

i only got to meet Jim and Johanna once. Johanna was out here during her summer vacation and Jim came to LA last month. both of them were blown away by their experience on Crawford. they both had the same wide-eyed thrill that you see from The Ticket’s andy malcolm. there is something about blogging that can energize veteran journalists in magical ways, and it was a total joy to see that in jim and johanna. i wish them both all the luck in the world.

dear amsterdam


amsterdamim writing you from your airport which is mellow and quiet and bright and clean. i miss you already.

last nacht you showed me whose boss. you led me to your bars and you sat me down and made me drink 130 of the 150 dutch beers that are worth a taste. they were all delicious.

then you introduced me to two people who knew a thing or two about the Canabis Cup and i knew i shoulda kept my mouth shut when i said that that stuff doesnt work on me any more, because these two dudes took me to a fancy club and we ordered the stuff and within 20 minutes i was spinning, and then i had to go outside to get my breath and then the cold winds slapped some sense in me but im only capable of a few seconds of sense and then im me again.

fortunately everyone was ready to go since i looked so green. so we walked. we walked down your beautiful streets. i didnt want to stop walking. i rode my free macbike over your roads and i loved each peddal and there i was walking in the middle of the night through your alleys and sidewalks and i loved each step.

i needed to hurl but i didnt want to hurl into your clean streets and adorable canals.

i tried so hard not to be the typical ugly american but there i was wasted off the herb and burping up beer. it was something the man with the camera had mixed in the joint i kept telling people but they just laughed at me and told me my Lakers ski hat was on crooked. one day i’ll have to tell you about the local who wanted to fight me over that hat.

you can diss kobe in compton but outside the 310 you better give respect to my man or i’ll teach you what 81 points feels like.

but the dutch are like me, lovers and jokers, not fighters. the worst they’ll do is jingle their bike bell at you telling you to get off the road.

or they’ll take pictures as youre totally trying to keep it together as you wait for your hotel to spin by.

buzznet stickerjustagirl and i waved goodbye to the 5 to 9 people who had joined us for drinks at the successful buzznet meetup. i wish i could remember what had happened there but all i remember were handing out stickers and buttons and drinking everything they put in front of me and loving all of it.

how do you do it amsterdam.

i got a cot so my guest could have my bed but before the dude had rolled it to my room my dinner was being flushed my desert was being drained and every puff i inhaled was being exhaled and i was embarrassed cuz justagirl had recently called me her bloggod. oh the emperor has no game. i walked out of the room just in time to tip the bellboy and hunt for water water everywhere but so little in the two liter jug.

she laid on my bed taller and younger than in her blog. i laid on the cot next to the awaiting toilet and we talked all night. as in all night. as in we only got one hour sleep cuz we were talking so long. then she woke me up, i packed, and we took the train to the airport and she said she hadnt lost all respect for me for not being mr superstar totally cool dude, and instead, mr average and typical american joe.

and her train rolled on to rotterdam and here i am in the airport and im trying to spend all my dutch coins but how much water does a man need to rehydrate?

and amsterdam you beat me this time, but next time im bringing my skateboard, im bringing a scarf, and im sticking to only drinking.

i seriously cant believe that i got to come here for free. a week wasnt long enough, which is odd to say for a small city, but theres so much to do here, theres so much to experience. i do hope i can return when its warmer, but after the first day the weather was no longer shocking, if anything it helped make the nacht stay longer.

i will miss you amsterdam, i will buy your flag from ebay, and i hope to get a tshirt before i get outta this airport.

all my love,


bicyclemark was the mvp of the week

miss amsterdam kept me up till 9:30 in the morning

amsterdamwhich was fine with me except i had to be over at led zeppelin square at 4:20p. its murphys law that no matter what time you commit to being somewhere somebody or something will do something to make you have to set your alarm to wake up.

and although im in a room right off a busy alleyway where people love to honk and yell at each other and ringing their bicycle bells, i can pretty much sleep through anything. especially if im in a hotel room with those thick drapes i love so much.

i woke up at 14:30 and it took me until 14:32 to realize i wasnt late, that indeed i had two hours to crawl off the bed, shower, eat something, and make it across town. fortunately my man bicycle mark was downstairs waiting for me and we went across the street to rent me a bicycle.

MacBikes is giving all the blogger in amsterdam bloggers free rentals on bicycles. theyre not mountain bikes and theyre not ten speeds. in fact the dude asked me “would you like hand brakes or man brakes?”

man brakes, apparently, is when you brake by the old reverse pedal, like my first bike ever.

why arent there man brakes in america on mountain bikes?

america blogso me and bicycle mark rode through amsterdam and it was awesome but very cold. yes i have a jacket but i have no gloves. its three degrees out there. people dont have gloves or hats on. miss amsterdam had a skirt on and stockings. people are out at all hours. the weather doesnt effect them.

made it to the american cafe which isnt really a place id want to go to if i saw it in a brouchure, but its actually a super classy like super dooper classy bar. you feel like youre at the holland country club.

huge windows. people in suits drinking and cutting croissants with a knife. hot women looking for young bloggers to domesticate. huge glasses of beer.

we drank with john aravosis from the americablog, the one that broke the jeff gannon story because he had proof that gannon/guckert had posted onto gay websites that he was indeed a male prostitute.

now the americablog is in the Technorati Top 40 and with elections down the road, more success is in its future.

after drinks mark walked us across the square to a little italian place where all the pasta dishes were super cheap. in fact six of us ate and drank for 46 euro. i had a very rich lasagne that didnt skimp on sauce or cheese.

people can smoke at the table. i like that.

i dont smoke but i like it when people have freedoms to do things.

likewise i dont go to hookers, but i feel jealous of those who do go because it seems like fun. when i got here i decided that if i was going to have a hooker id get two of them because anyone can get one girl, but for most of us it will take money to get two girls at the same time. so save up. to pay for just one girl, thats just laziness and lack of creativity.

have i mentioned that its butt cold here? riding the bike even with my laker knit cap, my ears were absolutely freezing. as were my hands before i got some gloves at a convenience store slash head shop.

amsterdami asked mark if it was okay to smoke pot at the table and he said no its considered rude. that people smoke cigarettes at the table but not pipes or cigars or weed. for that he says people walk outside.

the place was packed, mostly with young people.

everyone at drinks and at dinner were democrats living abroad who knew everything about politics all around the world. and all the political bloggers, and all the columns, and all the news shows. conversations darted to one international topic to the next with ease and agreement and wonder and expertise. everyone knew all the characters, leaders, history, and fuckup.

and some of the attendees had no televisions.

john is funny, knowledgeable, polite, and alot like people i knew in chicago, where it just so happens he grew up outside of. he had no idea i was even a blogger until hours into the night, which is why i laugh any time anyone thinks im wellknown within the blogosphere.

bicyclemark is portugese who was either born or grew up in brooklyn has been here in amsterdam for five years. he speaks perfect dutch. lots of these nondutchies spoke perfect dutch. how do i know its perfect? never you mind.

i rode home in the cold but now i had gloves so it was so nice, except for the freezing ears, and stopped off to get a sandwich at the cafe slash head shop. got a two liter and a small can of ruffles. 10 euro. how a snack costs more than a sitdown dinner isnt something that i spend too much time thinking about.

mostly i think about how it is that i can sit in my room and watch the olympics in dutch in total satisfaction. it makes you feel like youre really watching the real olympics because its not so USA-centric. i sat through an hour and a half tonight and i havent seen one american.

apparently we’re not the only ones in the games.

got home and my room was a mess.

so i turned off the lights

and wrote this to you drew barrymore.

happy birthday yesterday.

drewseum + bicyclemark + americablog

dear xiaxue,

Xiaxue aka Wendyfirst let me thank you for linking to me and talking about me.

yes, it’s true that i posted your picture the other day and i didnt link to your site or mention your name. im a very bad man and somewhat rude, and i want to change that behavior because i know the rules of blogging and i know better than that.

i used your picture because you reminded me of a girl i dated who is just as beautiful as you. you both have gorgeous hair and some of your features are quite similar.

i like your blog very much and i am glad to hear that you are becoming so popular on the blogosphere, and im happy that youre a fellow blogger-user.

sometimes people write me nice emails and they tell me that im the greatest and its nice to hear but sometimes i want them to tell me what they like so much about my blog or me because deep down i fear that they arent really telling me that they like me as much as theyre telling me that they like the pictures of the hot babes that i put up or they like the pics of the funny things that i put up or they just like the fact that i call president bush an asswipe.

therefore i will tell you about my favorite post of yours.

i loved it when on saddam husseins’s birthday last year you talked about how you measured men’s penises. i particularilly enjoyed the fact that you didnt measure using the traditional means like we do here in the US: a ruler, a shoe, or a baseball bat.

once i was on the web cam with a nice young lady and she started taking her clothes off. then she invited me to take my clothes off. i live in california and it was warm that day so i obliged her and did as i was asked. her eyes got huge and she was all OMG OMG OMG.

i was all ????

she was all youre gigantic!

trust me, xiaxue, i am the furthest thing from gigantic. i am very average. painfully average. i asked this young woman how many pensises she had seen before and she told me and it was a reasonable number and i put the camera next to my thigh so she could get a closer look and she got the biggest smile on her face.

i was very afraid that if one thing led to another she would find herself at my house, or viceversa, and she would be incredibly disappointed, so i looked around my home for a ruler so i could show her that her perception was incorrect.

all i could find were cd cases so i put my fella up next to a cd case and she was very impressed with the comparison. she typed “cd’s are about 5 inches and youre bigger than that by a lot!”

so i found a standard peice of paper which was 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches. (do they have inches in singapore?) and she was still smiling and laughing, in a good way. so then i put everything i could up against it, my shoe, my boom box, my remote control, my bowling ball, my coffee table. it didnt matter what i put next to it she just laughed and laughed and gave me the thumbs up via the web cam.

so im glad that you have figured out a better standard in which to measure, so thank you.

and again, please accept my apologies for not identifying you and linking to you. i meant no disrespect, i just didnt want people to think that i was talking about you when i was talking about someone very dear to me who simply resembeled you oh so slightly.

continued success in all of your blogging adventures, sweet xiaxue. i promise that i will not only link you as soon as i get home but when my camera is returned from the shop i will join all of you funloving kids in mr. brown‘s “im too sexy for my blog” conga line of photographs.

much love from hollywood,

mr pierce

xiaxue + xiaxue + xiaxue

the hottest asian pregnant blogger

zulieka, today writes about being referred to about being Asian, and wonders if i get weirded out by being deemed a Black blogger.

great question zulieka!

no i dont mind being called a Black blogger because here on the web its very difficult to see colors and sometimes it would be great if we never saw them and sometimes it’s important.

there are still negative sterotypes and misconceptions about race. i feel very proud about this blog. if this blog can break down negative connotations that are sometimes hurled upon the african american experience or africian americians in general then awesome. some of those might be that we’re dumb, that we’re uneducated, that we’re lazy, that we dont know anything about computers, that we’re only interested in sports and tap dancing.

true those are old school stereotypes but theyre still lingering out there and if i can be one of many who can prove by example that its no longer the case then great.

also, i think its important that this blog be known as being written by a Black american man because there are a lot of people who dont have any Black friends or who dont have any Black columnists writing in their newspaper or who dont see Blacks on the daily other than when they put on MTV.

well, you have one here. every damn day. i know i dont sound like ice cube when i write, i know i dont look like dr. dre, and i know i dont dance like sammy davis, but i am just as Black as they are and i look at the world much more through their perspective than you probably think.

for example, when i see guys like Randy Moss getting fined, the first thing that comes up to me is racism. when i see bumblefucks like Dubya running the nation and studs like Gen. Powell feel the need to step down, the first thing i think of is this is a racist fucking nation.

and when i see that some companies dont take Martin Luther King Jr. Day off i get a little irritated cuz whats up about not taking MLK day off?

no, im not a homie from the hood cruising in my 6-4 but i was called racist names in school and when i beat those motherfuckers up i said say it again say it again say it again fuckr.

and the next day they got a bunch of kids to hold me as they said it again and beat my ass.

so yes im Black and im proud and this is a black americans blog.

the web is great cuz we are judged mostly on what we write and how we write it, but the people who do the blogging have backgrounds that helped form them.

and mine is not the same as most.

zulieka + sk smith + my beautiful wife celebrated a birthday this weekend, shes 24

i will be making a special announcement TONIGHT on the radio.

loves me

virginia hawthorne, of was kind enough to invite me on her college radio show and i will do my best to make the most of the night.

and hey, kristin of will also be on the air with us!

a blogger threesome, some might say.

virginia attends Goucher college in Maryland and their radio station is smart enough to let the world listen in via Real Audio.

if you would like to listen to virginia, kristin and i discuss death metal, gangsta rap, legalization, the internet, and proms, please follow this link at 11pm Eastern (8pm Pacific) and click the Listen Now link on the left.

You’ll be listening to “The Virginia Hawthorne Radio Show”.

and i will have a special announcement.

it will be good news, dont worry.

so tune in, ok?

i gave her some Tsar songs to play so lets cross our fingers that they get on.

anyway, yeah. tonight. rock n roll radio MD-style.

and let me tell you something, if you havent gotten the chance to hear Kristin Pony’s cute lil oklahomian accent, thats worth the trouble of downloading RealOne or Real Player or whatever it’s called these days.

I’m gonna download it for that myself.

virginia + real networks + madpony + click here for the radio show!