You may have noticed that Hungry Blues has changed its look. After more than two and a half years with my heavily modified versions of Scott Wallick's VeryPlainTxt theme, I've been feeling the urge to change up the look of my site. When I came across Lucian E. Marin's Journalist theme a little over a year ago, I wanted to switch to it right away. When it was first released, however, it didn't offer widgets for managing the sidebar, and I didn't have the time to learn how to widgetize it myself. But the Journalist theme is now fully widgetized, so I've made the switch (and a few modifications).
In addition to changing the design, I've added the Disqus comment management system, I've pared down the sidebar, and I've added pages for my Opentape and for my other activitiy around the web (twitter, flickr, tumblr, last.fm, ma.gnolia, etc.) via friendfeed.
I made one other change, which, for me, was the biggest. When I launched this blog in 2004, the tagline was "Searching the life and times of my father, Paul Greenberg," and that has remained the tagline until this redesign. Now the tagline is the much blander "Ben Greenberg's weblog." One reason for the change is that the original tagline has sometimes misled new visitors to site. I've received a good number of comments and emails addressing me as Paul. While it's an honor to be mistaken for my dad, I'd rather avoid the confusion.
But the main reason for changing the tagline has to do with how other things have changed since I began this blog. When I started Hungry Blues I was figuring out, through my blogging, what my father's history had to do with my present. That isn't really a question anymore. I've made the connections, and it's changed the course of my life. Around the time I moved this site from the hosted Typepad blogging service over to my own WordPress setup, I wrote:
Starting this blog has led me to friendships and political activism with Movement veterans. It has taken me to Mississippi and Alabama. Hungry Blues has led to my current work as a journalist and in internet communications for a human rights organization.
The focus of Hungry Blues broadened, but most everything on the blog has been part of "searching the life and times of my father." This is still the case, and it will continue to be explained on the About page.
Today is the fourth of Cheshvan on the Jewish calendar---my father's eleventh yahrtzeit (anniversary of death). It just so happened that in 1997, the fourth of Cheshvan fell on Election Day. It was oddly apropos for my dad. He fought for voting rights in the South as one of Dr. King's lieutenants, was an expert on proportional representation, designed and implemented the overhaul of New York City's method of school board elections and was a director of and advisor to many electoral campaigns—perhaps most notably those of New York City Mayor John Lindsay.
It's sad that my father did not live to see this presidential election. He would be so thrilled with Barack Obama quite possibly on the threshold of becoming America's first Black president—and with how Obama's campaign has been so expansive and revitalizing for American politics. (I can also imagine the arguments he would get into about whether Obama is a progressive candidate; the main thing would be to argue, not to settle on a position.)
Thank you to the readers and commenters at Hungry Blues, to the people from my father's past who have contacted me through this site, and to all of the new friends and contacts I've made through the work I started here.
(More information about the photo of my dad and John Lindsay is here.)