On the Sunny Side of the Blog

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Let's face it--we may have a grand old time ricocheting ideas around here in the blogosphere, but every now and then we can get (what's a good word for this?) um....strident?

To that end, Paul Gilbert, a San Francisco writer-producer and author of the forthcoming book, So What's the Good News?, decided it would be nice to carve out a quieter corner of the ether--and he's put his money where his mouse is. A few months ago, Gilbert launched his own blog, aimed squarely at cultivating a sense of what he calls "practical optimism."

Not that Gilbert is naïve to the fruits of the more constructive bickering that goes on in the blosophere--he's just offering an alternate, perhaps less combative voice. And in addition to encouraging visitors to engage in a dialogue, he's also asking them to start doing something about their convictions.

"When I talk about optimism," he writes in an early post, "I don't mean some sugary, 'Oh, isn't everything wonderful?' mindset. Optimism means looking at the world realistically, with all its pain and suffering, but still finding positive things to focus on, and committing to making things better. It's an attitude that requires you to get off the sidelines and take action, however large or small."

Injecting his commentary with a healthy hint of sass (the guy's a transplanted New Yorker), Gilbert occasionally points visitors to a variety of uplifting links, among them NetworkForGood.org, a web directory of worthy charities; Gratefulness.org (check out the semi-spiritual candle-lighting page-- it's a beaut); and MakeaDifferenceday.com, which serves up a virtual banquet of do-goodism ideas.

"Couldn't we all use more gratitude and hope?" Gilbert asks. "Rather than succumb to a bleak diagnosis for our future, think of this as an opportunity to show that the human spirit is still alive and well."

So log on and say hey. The site's pretty new, so I'm sure Gilbert will appreciate your feedback. But maybe take a moment first to ask yourself, "So what is the good news...?"