Somewhere along the line, blogs became “Important.” Or even “cool,” since Gawker Media started throwing swank loft parties. But if you’ve seen the sun recently, you probably don’t read blogs much. There are literally millions of blogs contributing to the new self-publishing phenomenon (and scourge) known as bloghorrea, so to jump in now requires a catch-up guide. Here, in no particular order, is a sample of some quality blogs, from old standbys to new curios. It’s online cultural literacy for the lazy. You’re welcome.

Balloon Juice Penned by frustrated conservative John Cole, it’s become the primal scream of a true-blue (red?) republican unable to stomach torture, deficits, and rampant corruption.

Opinionista A beautifully written (if occasionally overwrought) travelogue of the hell that is being a young lawyer at a Manhattan megafirm. This is the blog that made avoiding law school a major life goal of mine.

Hullabaloo Written by pseudonymous blogger Digby, Hullabaloo features the sharpest writing and most impassioned polemics accessible via keyboard. Digby’s also a one-stop shop for scandal coverage, too.

Go Fug Yourself Think of US Weekly’s Fashion Police. Now imagine if it were funny. Here’s a taste: “I fear the top of actress/producer Julia Verdin’s dress was gnawed off by whatever it is that attacked the bottom. As for the rest . . . well, she’s on her own. But that thing around her waist is either the world’s largest merit badge, or the World Embroidery Championship’s title belt. Because it sure as hell doesn’t belong attached to a metallic-silver bra and a BeDazzled skirt.”

Political Animal Written by Irvinite Kevin Drum, Political Animal used to be CalPundit, but was eventually absorbed by a D.C.-based magazine. The content, however, has remained the same incisive mixture of political analysis and occasional pictures of cats. Drum’s a crystal-clear writer and an inveterate wonk. I do not hesitate to declare that reading him makes you smarter. www.washington

Pharyngula The best science blog around, the name is a term from developmental biology, where its author, Paul Z. Myers, labors as a researcher. Look here for the latest on Bush’s war on science, the sex habits of invertebrates, and the shocking news that squid- flavored ice cream tastes nasty.

Crooks and Liars Hyperkinetic Angeleno John Amato exploded this year as the go-to guy for video clips of insane, important, or amusing televised happenings, with a heavy emphasis on the political. If you heard about Ann Coulter’s nipple slip or Pat Robertson asking the Lord to assassinate Hugo Chavez but didn’t have your TiVo on, you’ll find the clip here.

Fafblog! A treasury of absurdist satire with an emphasis on political, historical, and pie-related subjects. Fairly impossible to describe, although this is how Fafnir, its creator, puts it in the banner: “This is a good blog. This is the best blog. It is about god and the universe and those horrible screaming monkeys and that time I made a pizza out of an old tire and a can of whip cream. It is the Fafblog.”

LA Weekly