Summertime, and the MSM (mainstream media, for my Amish reader) disappears until Labor Day. Take today's New York Times, for example. Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd are both on vacation, leaving me to read a column by the always entertaining Wesley Clark. The New York Post, my favorite paper, takes summer reporting to a new level: on page three of today's Post, they have a picture of an 18-year old girl in a mini-skirt, and her comment is that she doesn't wear underwear because it gives her one less thing to think about in the morning.
If you listen to the radio, Howard Stern and Ryan Seacrest are on vacation (not together). If you watch late night TV, Letterman's away. We have three more weeks of the summer hiatus, in which we get the MSM's on a French vacation schedule, while we're stuck at the office because of our Puritan work ethic.
Well, maybe not so Puritan; most people spend part of their day surfing the Web. Each morning, I turn on my MacBook and I check out the same sites. Many of you have asked me for my recommendations, and so I'm happy to pass along 10 sites I look at every day (aside from The Huffington Post). These aren't the sites that I think are the coolest, or the sites that are the most practical; these are the sites I read because I enjoy them.
Andrewsullivan.com -- Andrew is a former editor of The New Republic, and The New York Times magazine. He is a Republican, and he supported the Iraq war, however, he is now firmly opposed to George W. He is now fervently for Barack Obama, and anti-Hillary. While I don't always agree with him, I enjoy reading his posts. When he's on vacation, he has excellent writers fill in for him and the new posts are frequent.
Funnyordie.com -- This great new site featured my favorite video of the year: a nine months pregnant Jenna Elfman playing pick-up basketball and trash-talking. For example, Jenna improbably dunks, then turns to her male opponent and says: "I wanted to name my baby after you, but I don't want to name it bitch!"
Thesuperficial.com -- Funny gossip site, and a bit mean spirited.
Slate.com - The news site usually offers a different take on the day's events. For example, a recent piece was on why scientology is no better or worse than other religions. John Dickerson, Fred Kaplan and Jack Shafer are three favorite writers.
Bill Simmons, "The Sports Guy," on espn.com -- Bill Simmons is the best sportswriter in America. He's not prosaic, like Frank Deford, or Gary Smith; he's merely brilliant at putting together sports and pop culture.
Observer.com -- The site for the New York Observer newspaper, which is published on Wednesday's. I check the site each Wednesday for the latest news on politics and culture, with the Observer's unique, snarky perspective making it stand out from the usual ho-hum political coverage.
TMZ.com -- I met Harvey Levin a few years ago, and I've known him now for awhile; I've always thought he was a great guy. He was a respected reporter here in Los Angeles, but his entrepreneurial nature made him say goodbye to local news, and hello to the Web. TMZ uses video to chronicle the latest goings-on at celebrity hot spots. It appears that the site is venturing into the political scene, too, as it's had a couple of scoops lately about goings-on in D.C. and in the fundraising world.
LAObserved.com -- For a quick synopsis of the latest news in Southern California, I always go this site first thing in the morning.
Peter King, "Monday Morning Quarterback," si.com -- Peter is the best of the NFL writers. Each week, he pieces together the latest tidbits from around the NFL, and synopsizes his views neatly in his "10 Things I Think I Think," and his recaps of the Sunday games. I don't spend much time reading about his coffee obsessions, but I love his football acumen.
Alyssa.mlblogs.com -- I don't watch a lot of baseball anymore, but I do enjoy reading about it. Buster Olney on ESPN and Jon Heyman on SI are two of the best baseball writers today, but Alyssa Milano, that's right - the actress, has become the Voice of the Fan.
I also read other sites -- such as politico.com, salon.com, cbssportsline.com, rotoworld.com -- that are closing in on required reading status, but, unlike the MSM, I can't spend the day surfing the Web from my vacation house in East Hampton. I actually have work to do.
So go ahead and tell me what you think of my choices (as if I have to ask you to), and please let me know which sites should be required viewing.