Down, Down, Down Into a Tepid Ring of Babble
by Jeff Lewis

Web rings—in case you aren’t familiar with them—are symbiotic groups of websites that link together, usually because they share a common theme.  Somewhere on each site is a web ring button that enables visitors to jump to the next site in the ring.  If you keep clicking on each link button in the ring, you’ll eventually travel full circle, back to the original website.  I first noticed this phenomenon when I was searching for Dio lyrics for a past Babblog article and I happened upon the Dio Magic Web Ring—dedicated to “The Man With The Golden Throat,” Ronnie James Dio.

Initially, I feared that the Dio Magic Web Ring was a portal for an online heavy metal druid eCult, or some similar iCCULT chicanery.  Nonetheless, like Pandora, I looked, and instead of sturm und drang I found another Swede’s center-justified Dio site—and then another and another.

As is often the case with personal discoveries, I began to notice web rings frequently.  In fact, there are over 50,000 registered web rings out there, which you can explore through an organization called WebRing.  Through their website, you can find web rings dedicated to—among other things—tomatoes, the San Diego Padres, salt & pepper shakers, and four-time world champion figure skater Kurt Browning.

I wondered how this would apply to Babblog, which doesn’t have a core subject.  Not surprisingly, there isn’t a web ring devoted to babble, so I decided to search the web for the other sites out there that use the term “Babble blog.”  Perhaps, I thought, there’s an innate solidarity between these sites’ owners; I’ll let you be the judge of that.  Here are Babblog’s second cousins—the highlights of a Yahoo! search on Babble blog (not including the German Sex Cams in the search’s results):

ibbable by heather – heather asks tough questions like, “What’s the sexiest thing about a guy?” and “Don’t you think that sometimes even if you try not to be involved, if you try to keep your own little world, the drama just has a way of finding you?”  She hasn’t yet come to conclusive answers, but she welcomes your opinions.

Strengths:  Youthful exuberance, lots of posts.  I highly recommend reading heather’s “10 steps to cleaning my part of the bedroom.”

Weakness:  Needs to find an editor that objects to overused ellipses.

Notable Quote:  “Umm.  I was going to say something else...what was it...? Oh yeah, new link.  Jade.  She’s 10 years old & posts lots!  So there’s always something new to read, which I like:)

Xu’s Babblog - This site is notable because of the use of the Babblog name, but Xu doesn’t post entries very often.

Strengths:  Simplicity

Weaknesses:  Very little content

Notable Quote:  “ok, i just finished the other half of my lunch (had to go observe a class before i could finish lunch)... life is crazy sometimes...”

Filmbabble – A movie site that favors lists—“Top Five Movie Classics That Roger Ebert Hated,” “10 Movies That End With The Protagonist Writing Or Haven [sic] Written Or Made A Book Or Movie About Everything That Happened In The Movie”—and the movies of Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunset).

Strengths:  List crazy; I’m a sucker for lists.

Weakness:  Font crazy

Notable Quote:  “5 worst movies of 2004:  1. The Stepford Wives 2. Godsend 3. The Butterfly Effect 4. Closer 5. The Terminal

The Citizens – Describes itself as “An informed discussion about politics.  Hosted by a mathematician, a lawyer, a political scientist, another kind of political scientist, and a military analyst.”  This site is included in the list because it contains a link to Babblog.

Strengths:  Lots of posts containing the site’s political opinions; admits when a posting was ill-advised.

Weakness:  Has yet to develop a fool-proof solution to the troubles in the Middle East.

Notable Quote:  “The lawyer defending one of the soldiers charged in the abuses at Abu Ghraib says there's nothing wrong with what was shown in the pictures.  He likens the scenes to cheerleading pyramids and the tethers some people use to keep track of their children!”

Babblog! parole, deliri, frasi e detti dei mitici Babbi! and iobloggo - Two Italian websites with lots of Italian words.

Strengths:  Italy is a nice country.

Weakness:  Babblog’s core readership is not proficient in Italian.

Notable Quote:  “Che ne direste di scambiarci delle ricette??  Mi piace provare sempre cose nuove!!  Dal canto mio vi posso dire che oggi ho fatto un disastro con il sugo alla carrettiera, ma me la cavo abbastanza bene, di solito!! ;))”

babble-mode – Frequent posting from a woman with an office job in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Uses the phrase, “sucking ass out loud.”

Strengths:  Has a nice picture of ferns on the website.  Also, produces notable dialogue, such as this overheard conversation:  “girl 1:  ‘Do pigs have udders?’  girl 2:  ‘Of course they do.  Are you stupid?’”

Weakness:  The site’s proprietor is not feeling well, as of late.

Notable Quote:  “a conversation with my dad—him:  ‘I’m glad your Honda was found.’  me:  ‘Me, too.’  him:  ‘because your stepmother was going to make me buy you that Mini.’  me:  *facepalm*” – Personal blog of one of Martell’s colleagues, who kindly linked the site to Babblog.

Strengths:  Humor, business school anecdotes, many pictures of room interiors and cars on the street.

Weaknesses:  Takes a lot of clicks to find the pictures of room interiors.

Notable Quote:  “Help me Amtrak, you’re my only hope!”

articulatebabble - As describe by its proprietor, vince (small v), this site is “random thoughts given shape and form.”  vince is a tech-savvy guitarist for the Chicago-based rock band Thermis, who has a propensity for dropping f-bombs.

Strengths:  Enthusiastic advocate of Thermis.  Explains why computer science research papers generally suck.

Weakness:  Potty mouth.

Notable Quote:  “We offer no data to back up our conclusions, only half-baked parody and lame sarcasm.”

The Food Section - Very nice food-themed site, based in NYC, that had the good sense to employ Kristin Franklin as a guest editor during December.

Strengths:  Very professional looking, good content, nice pen and ink-style images, innocuous ads.

Weakness:  Only one week of Kristin, although their loss is Babblog’s gain.

Notable Quote:  “[Franklin] unwittingly waded into one of the more important culinary debates of our times—can one order fries "animal style" at In-N-Out, or are they just an urban myth?”

Copyright © 2005 by Jeff Lewis