Friday, May 08, 2009


The original idea of the “web blog,” from which the term “blog” evolved as a contraction, was to keep a record of websites one visited. In a sort of cross between bookmarking and reviewing, one used the new ability to use a pre-formatted website (free!) to suggest other places to visit. Since then there has been an explosion of these new “blogs,” all commenting on each other. It was a can of worms -- in a good way. So keeping a log with url bookmarks was a way of sorting worms and recommending them to your “fishing” friends.

This is a blog in the classic mode: a list of blogs that I like to visit, though lately I’ve been so busy turning out print for its own sake that I’ve not been visiting these “places” as much as I once did. And I’ve bookmarked so many url’s that I’ve rather lost track of what’s what. Still, I had a few categories that I kept better maintained, mostly because I visited them often. Below is the bookmark list from my category of emergency responders.

Working as an animal control officer put me right up against the whole issue of damage to mammals, including humans. The first question you get at 911 is “are there any injuries?” In Montana that includes livestock. To humans, suffering flesh is the ultimate emergency and we respond to calls for help as quickly as we can. Which sort of answers part of the question about why there is pain -- it’s because people will respond to it with help.

Law enforcement is the main emergency responder, with the fire department a close second. In my childhood there were no EMT’s because the doctor lived a few blocks away and he just came over with his black bag. But by the time my mother died in 1999 there were two different EMT companies standing at the front door fighting over who got to take the call. Animal control officers grew out of sheriff’s departments, a rural entity, and have run headlong into humane society investigators, an urban entity. Very awkward.

I’m sure the Superman/Clark Kent model of hero came out of emergency response. Most of the time the responder is Clark Kent, a desk jockey trying to keep order through bureaucracies like traffic monitoring, licenses, inspections, and so on. But now and then the responder must become Superman, able to outwit murderers, bank robbers, and all kinds of violence. Death itself. This combination of demands is pretty hard on most humans, who have a hard time switching from one mode to the other.

The list below is certainly not definitive, or even indicative, but they are writers I really enjoy reading. I’ve never found an animal control blog nor have I picked up any veterinarians nor have I looked for fire departments. After all, I’m hard-pressed to keep up with my own self-imposed blog goals and it would be easy to wander off into these real life narratives and opinions.

I think I enjoy the ones that are quite different in politics and culture from myself more than the ones who might be like me, but the truth is that not so many people like me go into emergency responder jobs. It was only an accident that I did. It’s just that there ARE some people well-suited for these jobs who, thankfully, are willing to reflect on what happens to them, what strategies worked, what it told them about human beings. At the very least there are a zillion stories here.

In the end these blogs are more interesting and useful than J.G. Ballard’s poeticizing and philosophizing of violence in a book like “Crash.” His experience of the reality was, after all, just one war and a few car accidents. For most of these bloggers, the war and the accidents never end.

This is a down-south lawman who loves his gun and is waaaaay to the right politically. He’s full of piss ‘n vinegar, opinions and cop jargon. I love him.
Here’s a member of a community of EMT’s who respond to life-threatening emergencies and occasionally accidentally kill someone, which really pisses this guy off. He lists a lot of the books by EMT’s. How come ACO’s (Animal Control Officers) aren’t turning out the books? All we ever get is bleeding heart humane society stuff -- which sells exceedingly well.
A big part of the fascination of this EMT stuff is the gizmos. This guys knows all about gizmos and gives lots of recommends.
Closed to intruders. The other fascination about emergency responders is the sense of a tight community that doesn’t let just anyone in.

Written by a female psychiatrist who stopped posting years ago, but it’s still intriguing to see behind the curtain.
Big commercial aggregator. Yawn.

This guy has a mordant sense of humor and a bigger heart than he gives himself credit for.

Short and snappy -- a Texas former military guy.

A sophisticated English version, remarkably similar to Yanks.

Quite sophisticated biology blog. You’ll find out what a pharyngula is.

Brisk and thoughtful doctor at war with gadgets and homeopaths.

About Autism Spectrum Disorders. Not medical -- just discussion.

This appears to be to be a medical columnist giving overviews. You can sign up to get emails.

A mellow guy who lives in a gorgeous place and is just beginning to teach EMT stuff.

A Denver EMT who writes “purple” but intriguingly. He’s evidently stopped.

I actually know someone who knows this guy, who’s in Seattle. He’s stopped posting here, but there’s a link to his new blog. This old one really suits me and I don’t even mind rereading old posts. What does it feel like to put your hand into someone’s guts? He’ll tell you.

This guy’s life is part sit-com, part stand-up comic, and often quite a lot of romantic tragedy. But he HAS lost a lot of weight.

Here’s a Boston liberal military guy. How many of THOSE can there be?

The kind of thoughtful guy I’d love to have for a doc.


Diggitt said...

Wow, Mary. This is a terrific list. I am forwarding it to my own [Westchester County, NY] village's public health commission members and to various medically-minded friends.

I'm also intrigued by a liberal medical military guy. As a 60-year UU and a Meadville Lombard div student, I rue the reality that liberal and military seem to be two mutually exclusive classes. It doesn't need to be that way -- I mean, look at George Washington! -- but the current liberal attitude toward the military inevitably means that it turns into something even scarier.

ACO461 said...

Hi Mary. I'm an ACO in California. I found your blog while searching for ACO blogs. Your is the only one I have found.
I have started my own ACO blog, and for the past 3 years have been working on a book about my field experiences. Working 10-12 hours 4 days a week and trying to find time for my family, my own animals and the non-animal hobbies I have to balance and keep sane, keeps me pretty busy.
But I also really want to write the book and blog.
I find the same thing that I think you mentioned. HSUS has the corner stone on the books and they seem not cover the reality of what most of us ACOs really deal with. Animal Planet doesn't do us justice either. While I appreciate that they have made us look a little better in the public eye, a LOT is not shown.
Anyway, I hope you have time to check out my little blog, and if you have any advice to offer for the book or blog I would very much appreciate it!
I'm still new to this blog stuff.