Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Highbrow Magazine Website Reviews I

The Atlantic: A top-of-the-line highbrow magazine website, this one scores highly in the Freeloader, Archive, and Completeness categories. The Atlantic has been publishing online since September 1995 (only 4 years after Tim-Berners Lee unveiled the World Wide Web to the public) and most articles from each issue since then are still available today at no charge. In fact, for the most part one only has to pay for content that was published before the dawn of online issues (i.e., before September 1995): Older articles are only available from The Archive for a fee. (I say "for the most part" because certain articles in issues from January 2004 to the present have also been pay-only.) While the existence of a pay archive certainly requires a deduction from the Freeloader category, the size of this archive offsets this deduction with an increase in the Archive category, for The Atlantic's archive contains articles dating from 1857 to the present. To be fair, the magazine could also lose points in Completeness because not every article from every issue is online. However, I don't dock them for this because the articles that are not available online are apparently only missing because of copyright restrictions and the preferences of certain authors.

One caveat, however: The Atlantic may be heading further south on the Freeloader scale, as an atypically large number of articles in the current issue (June 2004) are unavailable online, and the Table of Contents page for this issue contains the following note: "Only selected articles from the current issue of the magazine are available free on the Web. Most articles with headlines in gray will soon be available for online purchase in our premium archive." Only time will tell whether this marks a new trend in how much of its content The Atlantic will be giving away in the future.

Sunday, May 16, 2004


I guess an opening statement is in order.

Welcome to my blog. I hope it doesn't suck too bad. Even though I may sometimes write things that make it seem like I think I have really deep thoughts and profound insights into the way the world works, I really don't think that about myself. I know that some of the stuff I will write will probably come across as pretentious crap, so I won't be offended if you feel that way. Really I'm just starting this because I think writing is a healthy activity and useful for getting ones thoughts in order, but I've never been able to stick with a traditional journal. Maybe, I figured, if I try out this public journal format I might write more. So the purpose of this blog is to drive me to write on a regular basis, no matter how bad the writing is.

Oh, and the name, "Hirsute Sea Bass," is meaningless. I chose if by flipping to random pages in the dictionary (American Heritage 3rd College Edition) and pointing my finger at a random locations on each page. I did this until inspiration struck and I decided what this blog should be called.

5 o'clock on a Sunday

It's 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, and for some reason I'm awake. I woke up about half an hour ago after having restless dreams for who-knows-how-long. I know what class of dreams they were, even though I can't remember what they were about. They're dreams that leave some emotional residue behind, as the feeling brought on by the dreams remains well after I awoke.

It occurs to me that I haven't seen this hour of the week in a long time. I haven't had a reason to be awake at 5 a.m. on a Sunday in a long time, so if I were awake it would have been due to accidents like this morning's dreams. It's like there's a whole world that I miss because I work on another clock. A tow truck is at the Amoco across the street, filling up. I guess 5 a.m. is when he (or she) starts his (or her) day. It's also striking that the change from night to morning happens fairly quickly: at about 4:45, when I woke up, I unequivocally thought it was the middle of the night, but just 30 minutes later it's pretty obviously morning. The light ramps up fairly quickly. And probably the first Metra of the day just went by on the South Shore tracks. Traffic on 51st and Lake Park now sounds regular, like daytime traffic, instead of intermittent, like nighttime traffic. There's a bit of a rumble in the background, presumably from Lake Shore Drive. A rumble even though it's a Sunday. And now, at 5:30, I hear the first birds making noise. 45 minutes or so since it started, morning has officially arrived.

And now I've got whatever it was out of my system (i.e., the dream-residue) and I am getting very, very sleepy once again.