At the risk of throwing another colleague under the bus, this morning’s Daily Glean might have been just a bit alarmist about the potential demise of Star Tribune staffer James Lileks’ personal blog, or at least the daily feature that kicks it off.
Normally, some Stribber’s sidelight wouldn’t be a big deal around here, but lileks.com’s “Bleat” is more than a decade old, and — according to Newsbobber.com — is part of the state’s third-“hottest” blog, behind P.Z. Myers’ atheist-scientific colossus Pharyngula and rightwing tent-pole Power Line.
Lileks.com covers everything from the mundane to the cultural and political. Even if you don’t like the polymath’s quippery on some subject, he surely offers a feature you’ll appreciate. Personally, I’ll always be grateful for his compendium of Minneapolis architecture, and the matchbooks, too.
To be fair to our own Max Sparber, Lileks did title today’s Bleat “Goodbye. Maybe. Or not. Sigh.” This appeared to set up something of a ledge dance:
I need to do some long-term paying work, but I don’t want to give this up. On the other hand, keeping this up interferes with long-term paying work. Augh, this is killing me here. Why can’t we do both? We can — if the Bleat & the site turns into long-term paying work as well.
Donate or I jump?
When I exchanged messages with James this morning, the situation sounds less fraught. “It’ll be back,” he vowed of Bleat.
Noting he is finishing up work on his 472nd book (my estimate), he explained, “I’m just taking some time to finish the novel, and since other duties are really pressing, I had to cut some volunteer work.”
Lileks — who has never taken ads on the blog (“I really have to rethink whether to warn people not to pay for the secret of white teeth”) — hopes to have the book done in six months. He hopes donations will make Bleating sustainable when he returns. And even the daily posts aren’t disappearing.
“I hope to have something on the site every day, either a picture, or a comment, or pointing to something elsewhere,” he says, noting he took a similar break when he was a KSTP radio host. “But I have to train audiences not to expect a big essay every morning.”
Lileks did inform Bleat readers that his Strib version, “The Blog O’ Things” wil sport “a much bloggier format soon, so there will be posts there two, three times a day.” (Frankly, it’s hard to believe it didn’t already, given Lileks’ hummingbird-like productivity.) He says BOT will ditch the index-page format and entries will simply appear in full.