I was trying to explain to a newspaper friend once why I found blogs so appealing. And it wasn’t the “they’re reporting the stories the newspapers won’t” aspect; any one news source will have something others won’t have, otherwise there’s no point to using multiple outlets as any well-informed person should.

No, what I loved about blogs back in the dark days of 2003 was the commentary. Newspaper columnists, too often, are bloodless. When was the last time Charles Krauthammer got worked up over anything besides how the chef at L’Etoile served his steak? The Sun-Times, every day, is a parade of people writing about themselves, what they saw on the way to work that morning, what their kids are doing in school, how something made them feel, as if I give a shit what curdles Jay Mariotti’s morning latte. Maureen Dowd’s on about who’s wearing a sweater on the campaign trail. Honestly. Where’s the passion? Where’s the rage? Where’s the dancing-in-the-streets joy and the advocacy and the agenda-setting demands that somebody listen and solve society’s great questions? The Chicago Tribune runs this odious thing called “What’s Your Problem?” where they get money back from the phone company for people; that’s how they use their power? Where’s the clarion call? I wasn’t seeing it in my newspapers anymore, but I was finding those piercing voices online and glorying in them.

But man, sometimes it takes an old-timer writing on a dead tree to show everybodye else how it’s done in the NBA. Breslin:

“We didn’t know,” Erin Tinsley, 37, was saying late Friday. “We didn’t know what they were here for. Two military women.”

Erin was in the hot 10th-floor hallway of the Alfred E. Smith houses on the downtown East Side. Two doors down from her lived the parents of Haiming Hsia, an Army specialist who died Tuesday in an explosion in in Iraq.

“The father let the military women in and then when they came out, he stood there and seemed fine. I thought that they had brought an award for his son.”

Go read the whole thing. Just … holy Mary mother of God.