50 Coolest Websites 2005: Blogs

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PSSST: Overheard In New York dishes

Overheard in New York
Amusing verbatim accounts of stuff people say to each other in public. Anybody can submit; just email your (brief) transcript to the editors for consideration. Overheardintheoffice.com is equally hilarious. Warning: on both sites, some material is not suitable for children, and profanity, stupidity or bigotry is generally kept intact.

Jalopnik, Autoblog
www.jalopnik.com, www.autoblog.com
Crazy about cars? Between these two blogs, you should be able to feed the beast within. Jalopnik's scribblings have more personality ("Volkswagen continues to tease us like the self-hating louts we are, releasing another teaspoon's worth of details on its yet-unnamed convertible....") while Autoblog delivers industry news straight-up ("Hybrids are Hot: Honda sells 100,000"). Bonus link: 10 Hot Vehicles for Techies, from the new cars.cnet.com.

Celebrity Slams
Go Fug Yourself
A daily shredding of the sartorial choices of Hollywood stars, complete with photographic evidence. To wit: Parts of Courtney Love's new, larger body "are sort of sloshing around, uncontained, like a Big Gulp spilling all over your gear shift when you take a turn too fast." Chloe Sevigny proves "high-waisted pants are the spawn of Satan's sewing machine."

Confessional Art
A fascinating public airing of private thoughts—some dark, others funny, endearing or disturbing—written on homemade postcards and collected by blogger Frank Warren of Germantown, Maryland. Anyone can contribute, and thousands have. Just make a card and mail it to Warren—he suggests that you be brief, legible and creative—and, if he likes it, he'll scan it and post it on his site. The range of efforts (meticulous, sloppy, artful, ponderous) will astound you.

MoCo Loco
Blogger Harry Wakefield of Montreal keeps you plugged in to the world of modern contemporary design and architecture. Whether you're a serious buyer or only wish you could be, you'll enjoy scrolling through page after page of photos and descriptions of cutting-edge products, materials and decorating concepts, organized by category (furniture, lighting, jewelry, bathroom fixtures, wallcoverings and more). Entries include links to manufacturers and retailers.

EBay Watch
Bayraider ferrets out the silliest, freakiest stuff being auctioned on eBay and other auction sites—a laser-etched Buddha, say, or the Slightly Used and Possibly Defective Husband kit—and provides direct links to where you can place your bid. There are things you may actually want, too. Discoveries are organized by category (Music, Sporty Stuff, Weird). New from Shiny Media, a U.K. weblog company.

Allen's Blog
Allen Morgan, managing director at Mayfield—a venture capital firm in Menlo Park, California—backer of Beatnik, PlanetOut, Tribe and Pluck —guides entrepreneurs on how to pitch ideas and get financing. The recent "10 Commandments" series on how to handle those critical meetings with VCs is a must-read.

Chocolate and Zucchini
The blogger here is English-speaking Parisian Clotilde Dusoulier, who professes to love every food-related act, from shopping for ingredients to garnishing a plate to consuming the results, and recounts all of it with unpretentious aplomb. Recipes are indexed. Extras include a Bloxicon page, where you can brush up on French culinary terms from cassoulet to ganache, and a helpful Conversions cheat sheet. Honorable mention: The Accidental Hedonist, written with flair by one Kate Hopkins. Newsy, political and practical all at once (she offers 14 pointers "for better enjoyment of your cheese" in a May 27 post). The quotes on each page ("My favorite animal is steak." -Fran Lebowitz ) are like the cherry on top.

General Interest
Boing Boing
A grab bag of links to cool, odd and interesting things happening online and off—like the bit about the engineering student who cobbled together an air conditioner using a fan and a bucket of ice water, and the Florida couple who found the image of Jesus on a Lay's potato chip. Gadget news, kitsch, digital art and disturbing consumer trends are all fair game for the Boing Boing team, which solicits, and vets, suggestions from the audience.

Anonymous Lawyer
Deadpan and ironic, this delicious insider account of life at a big law firm is pure fiction—and should be required reading for attorneys who haven't yet learned how to laugh at themselves. Being a lawyer, according to the author, boils down to "fooling clients into believing [we] have some real expertise and using fear and manipulation to extort excessive hourly fees." He rails against idiot clients, partners and associates, admitting "you can't work at a place like this and have integrity." But he's not offering apologies, only rationalizations. What separates him from the "truly evil," he writes, is this: "I know when I'm over the line. I do it anyway, but I know."

Hilarious personal blog by one Heather B. Armstrong of Salt Lake City, Utah, a whip-smart, sassy (and sometimes vulgar) stay-at-home mom. Even the exploding poop stories are good. Also: DotMoms links to dozens of blogs written by parents about parenting. Not all of them are "momoirs;" some of the bloggers are dads.

Instead of text, each daily post is a single (beautiful) photograph taken by amateur enthusiast David J. Nightingale of Blackpool, England. Tiny arrows at the top left-hand corner of the page allow you to view other images; to scan Nightingale's entire online portfolio (some 543 images to date), click on Thumbs. The Archives section offers a detailed description of each image, including how it was shot (which camera, type of lens, shutter speed, etc.). The Snowsuit Effort is also excellent; featuring close-ups of the individuals photoblogger Ryan Keberly meets on the streets of Detroit and the things they say. For a Top 100 list of photoblogs and a directory organized by country and language, visit Photoblogs.org.

SportsBlogs Nation
Home base for nearly two-dozen baseball blogs, most of them devoted to specific teams. There's Lookout Landing (for Seattle Mariners fans), Fish Stripes (about the Florida Marlins) and Amazin' Avenue (Mets), as well as the terrific Beyond the Box Score and John Sickel's Minor League Ball. And each one has a diary where readers can chime in—a feature SportsBlogs Nation co-founder Markos Moulitsas Zuniga ported over from his popular (leftie) political blog, Daily Kos. If you blog about a team not yet represented here, make yourself known—score a spot on the roster and you get a piece of the ad revenue. Also good: BaseballBlogs.org

"Don't live to geek; geek to live." This site, one of the latest blogs from Gawker Media (backer of Wonkette, Fleshbot, Gizmodo and a slew of others, including our next pick), dispenses sound tech advice with the understanding that computers can be frustrating, time-sucking monsters that we can't do without. There's an invaluable set of links running down the right-hand side of the home page, covering spyware cleaners, spam filters, online photo sharing and more. For the fashion-tech report (Hello Kitty cell phones, desktop fondue) visit PopGadget.

Its mission: to "scour" the web for juicy tidbits on urban travel, nightlife and culture, "with one eye on sophistication and the other on playful debauchery." Posts point out neighborhoods, restaurants and activities you probably won't read about in other guides, with a healthy mix of the practical and self-indulgent. A typical entry might cover a summer music festival or obscure art exhibit, or link to the World's 100 Sexiest Hotels.