Thursday, December 27

Another example of myopic corporate behavior: Number-two national drug store chain CVS is closing around 200 stores in various markets. This comes after the company (along with Walgreens and Rite Aid) went on a building rampage, often tearing down historic buildings in order to construct their plain vanilla, anti-contextual monuments to banality. The situation is a good illustration of dumb capitalism. Not only did they forgo their market research (the stores don’t have enough customers to support them), they also often enraged the communities in which they began operations. Now, that’s a sure way to win over a customer.

Wednesday, December 26

On Christmas, my sister gave me a CD by the group Si-Se. Inside the jewel case was a small product catalog from the label, Luaka Bop, with the note "Listen globally, buy locally." After doing much of my Christmas shopping online, it was a pleasant reminder to pay my local music and book shops a visit soon.

Monday, December 24

Happy Holidays!

Well, we hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday so far. We’re going to be taking a break from our daily commentary on OS for a couple of days. Enjoy the break, use it to rejuvenate, enjoy your time with family and loved ones, and give your mousing hand a rest! We’ll talk to you again shortly!

Saturday, December 22

Do you know the meaning behind the song The 12 Days of Christmas? I didn't, before I read these pages. The 12 Days are the days between Christmas and Epiphany (January 6), not the 12 days before Christmas as I had previously thought. The song was a mnemonic device used to help children remember the tenets of the Catholic faith. Interesting.

Friday, December 21

The long-awaited details for Opensewer 11 have been posted. Ponder the subject, won't you?

Thursday, December 20

Wednesday, December 19

“Activists have long complained that poor communities bear a disproportionately large share of the pollution burden.” The California Air Resources Board recently approved a policy that could help change that. How is your state enforcing environmental justice?

Tuesday, December 18

Color has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold of me forever. That is the significance of this blessed moment. Color and I are one. I am a painter.

Today is 20th C. artist Paul Klee's birthday, a painter whose childlike works seemed inspired by dreams and music. Reflecting upon his art, one is reminded that being curious and wide-eyed is perhaps not such a bad way to exist in this world.

Monday, December 17

Sunday, December 16

Wonderfully deranged photographer Lori Nix constructs miniature worlds--insidious landscapes of quiet turmoil--and then photographs them for us. Beautiful and unsettling, her images illustrate the anxieties and absurdity of modern life.

Lori was one of the very first artists to exhibit on Opensewer back in 1999. We are proud to continue to represent her by publishing her most recent series of images, “Ill Winds And Sour Waters.” Her earlier work, “Accidentally Kansas,” is also still available on Opensewer. We hope that you enjoy Lori’s work as much as we do.

Saturday, December 15

After 12 years of engineering work and careful construction, La Torre di Pisa has once again opened for visitors. I'm very happy about this, because it was still closed the last time I was in Italy. Unfortunately, however, this very likely means that we'll all have to endure more of these kinds of cheesy photos than ever. Why don't more people pay attention to the amazing Duomo and Baptistry? The leaning tower is merely one part of the wonderful Campo dei Miracoli (Quicktime VR link).

Friday, December 14

Segway or Megway? You be the judge. (Links courtesy of John Alston.)

Thursday, December 13

Special for the holidays: Flrt offers a PSA 01 about the christmas tree industry - What Do Trees Want? Flash required.

Tip of the hat to Get Crafty for the link.

People in those old times had convictions; we moderns have only opinions. And it needs more than a mere opinion to erect a Gothic cathedral.

--Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

Wednesday, December 12

Lance Arthur, a pioneer of the personal Web, has inspired tons of independent content and design producers worldwide, including Opensewer. This month marks the end of an era for his site, Glassdog. At the beginning of December, he said that he would write something new on Glassdog everyday this month – quite industrious for Lance. The occasion? He claims that he will be rebuilding Glassdog from scratch at the beginning of next year. So take this opportunity to check out Glassdog, read some classic Lance and remember why we do what we do. Thanks Lance, for continuing to be an inspiration to all of us.

Tuesday, December 11

When will America learn? Always bigger and better, fast and faster.
I know that I'm not digging very deeply for this, but how can I not link to this great article on Alternet about the manipulation of public opinion in times of crisis. Alternet is a great resource that must continue. Give them some money--we did.

Sunday, December 9

Well, weather-wise today should be a fairly mild day for most of us in America—temperatures somewhere in the 40s or 50s, with little or no precipitation. Today would be a good day to read this funny article about art, and then maybe go take a walk outside. Be sure to wear you big comfy sweater. (NYT article; username: opensewer; password: iswatching.)

Saturday, December 8

According to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, sub-prime or “predatory” lenders are encouraging low-income households to refinance their homes in order to consolidate debts. These companies, including Countrywide, Citigroup, Ameriquest and H&R Block, are promising borrowers that they will finally be able to pay off their mounting credit card debt, get some cash, and maybe, just maybe, buy some Christmas presents for the kiddies this year.

While these types of home equity loans can, in theory, help individuals consolidate their debts and pay off credit cards at a lower interest rate, they often end up costing borrowers tens of thousands of dollars over the course of the new loan—which is always longer and at a much less favorable rate than the original. Many borrowers are replacing loans originally issued by Habitat for Humanity, with interest rates as low as 1 or 2% over 20 years. The new loans are often issued at 12% or higher, with terms of 30 years. As a result of a recent swell in this activity, many low-income borrowers cannot meet their new debt service and face the risk of losing their homes to foreclosure.

Why are lenders doing this? Because they have developed sophisticated algorithms that accurately predict the default rates of “sub-prime” borrowers. Since the companies know the probability of their financial loss, they can hedge against it and continue to make money by exploiting the least affluent (and often least financially sophisticated) members of our society. Hence the term “predatory lending.”

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a non-profit citizen group, is fighting this trend, and the Federal Reserve Board is currently examining various courses of action to cure the problem. So, next time you see that television commercial urging you to consolidate your debts, think twice.

Friday, December 7

How not to treat your customers! Customer at Fleet Bank, who happens to be a web developer, saw a major flaw in Fleet Bank's webpage that exposed account information. Customer service reps failed to return his calls, failed to give him good service when he did finally speak with them, so he called and reported it to MSNBC.com, who featured it on their front page. Gotta love it! See, one person can make a difference.
Shame on them. Shame shame shame. Ten members of two fraternities at a southern university filed suit claiming wrongful suspension by the university president. This lawsuit was filed after our lovely male youth-of-tomorrow posted photos of a racially-charged Halloween party where they dressed in blackface-, KKK-, and simulated-lynching-type costumes. Not only are they racist pigs, they're stupid.

Thursday, December 6

No reason, just because.
It's recently been revealed that Ethel Rosenberg's brother, David Greenberg, lied under oath to gain a lighter sentence and to protect his wife in the Trial of The Century. Although evidence against Julius pointed to overwhelming guilt, there was never enough evidence against Ethel. Greenberg lied, and his sister fried.

Wednesday, December 5

And they call this progress? Damn.
As we all know, stem cell research has been very controversial, especially as it relates to cloning. Since so much has happened over the past two weeks I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the instant replay. A little over a week ago Advanced Cell Technologies announced that it had cloned a human embryo. Bush calls it “morally wrong”, calls for a ban and then three days later creates the White House Council on Bioethics. On Monday, the Senate voted on an amendment to impose a 6-month moratorium on human embryo cloning. It was defeated 1-94, mostly because it was bundled with another controversial measure that would have allowed oil drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. It’s scary how fast obviously beneficial research can be banned without much discussion beforehand. Just a reminder that it's never too late to let your elected officials know how you feel about this research.

Tuesday, December 4

Author Bjorn Lomborg was shocked when he read radical Julian Simon's claim that the "litany of the Green movement was ... hysterical nonsense." He decided to investigate the stats himself, and came back with a book titled, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State Of the World, which is making a lot of environmentalists very angry. His surprising conclusion, on par with Simon's claim, is that the World isn't in as bad environmental shape as we thought, however, we should continue to strive toward a cleaner, healthier world. Read the article here.

Monday, December 3

"...bloodshed breeds bloodshed." Pure insanity - when is it going to stop?

Sunday, December 2

Artist Lyle Carbajal attempts to capture the unintentional in his paintings. Drawing from his childhood, he seeks to understand the intellectual perception of that which is still in its purest and naive form.

Saturday, December 1

What can be said that hasn’t been said already? Today is World AIDS Day, and it is being observed by concerned citizens all over the world (including artists and webloggers). Forty million people currently have HIV, and the disease is spreading at an alarming rate in many places—most notably Sub-Saharan Africa (BBC stats page). The search for a vaccine continues, as human rights groups and drug companies argue over the definition of fair access to AIDS treatment drugs.

To me, the most frightening aspect of all of this is that while AIDS has been transformed from a death-sentence to a potentially survivable illness by expensive treatments, the availability of such treatments seems to have placated the Western World’s concerns about the spread of the disease. The epidemic has not been turned back. Focus on prevention should take priority above all other efforts.

Thursday, November 29

Okay, so the music's a little melodramic, and I think it's been around for a while, but the concerns about civil liberties are worth taking a look in this little presentation (Flash required). Here's the follow-up to it as well courtesy of Working for Change/Working Assets.

While you're at Working Assets, check out Adrianna Huffington's latest rant about her decision to not send Christmas cards this year! It's a hilarious read, with valid points.

Wednesday, November 28

Update: Opensewer artist Robert Banks has a few events coming up that may be of interest to you.
Update: The deadline for entries in the 4th Annual CAi Photography Competition has been extended to January 18, 2002.

Tuesday, November 27

According to the Environment and Energy Daily (November 16, 2001), the EPA will propose a new rule in 2002 and a final rule in April of 2003 that may allow pollution trading, a practice that would enable companies in some cases to purchase permits to pollute rather than further limiting their water pollution emissions. I know that the world is a complicated place and that tough decisions must be made all the time, but why must we so often act in ways that are completely contrary to common sense?
According to writer Norman Solomon, "If George Orwell had lived long enough to reach the 21st century, it's a good bet that--while treasuring the civil liberties and other freedoms that exist in the United States--he would deplore the deep patterns of indoctrination that undergo constant reinforcement in our society." This is a great article. And here is Orwell's preface to Animal Farm, which Solomon mentions.

Monday, November 26

Today is the anniversary of the first handwritten publication of Alice in Wonderland (originally titled Alice’s Adventures Under Ground). Lewis Carroll has been accused, by a number of conservative entities and individuals, of being under the influence on drugs while writing this story. Eighty-nine years after Carroll’s handwritten manuscript was given to little Alice Liddel, Disney produced an animated version of the story. Disney likes it when you buy stuff from them. Conservatives also want us to buy stuff, because it’s morally proper and it helps us recover from September 11 and the current economic slowdown. So, should I buy a copy of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland to support the cause, or will this be too ethically confusing for everyone?

Wednesday, November 21

Before we break for the Holiday, we want to remind everyone again about Buy Nothing Day this Friday. Talk is cheap - remember and observe The Day. You'll be able to look yourself in the mirror on Saturday morning, as your reflection gives you a big ol' happy wink in return for your good deeds.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, back on Sunday.

Monday, November 19

Don't forget, Buy Nothing Day is this Friday, November 23rd.

Sunday, November 18

Artist Wyeth Koppenhaver uses digital collage to transpose his grandfather's observations from World War II into the visual and social context of the present.

Saturday, November 17

Perhaps another Tom Hanks movie? The BBC informs us that "top Hollywood executives have met with a senior advisor to President George W Bush, to discuss ways the industry might spread the message of patriotism and tolerance." Hmmm... maybe we'll start seeing "Duck and Cover" or other classic Civil Defense Films as well! (Search for "Duck" - it's worth it!)

Friday, November 16

I told myself I wouldn't blog anything today about Bush, the War ... but I can't resist, because I found this article - reminiscent of what I wrote earlier about McCarthyism - claiming that the "message" of the voice of academe was "Blame America First," and alleging that these institutions are the "weak link in America's response to the [9-11] attack." Oh and by the way, one of the co-founders of American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), the organization mentioned in the article, is our VP's wife, Lynne Cheney and the other is Joe Lieberman.

For those of you interested, here's the report by ACTA which actually names names of individuals and universities who spoke out against America's response to 9-11. Among those are on the list are Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Jesse Jackson and various universities.

Thursday, November 15

The Harry Potter movie is opening this weekend! Are you excited? Have you been waiting for this? Are your kids excited? Coca-cola is excited, they are reaching a young audience which is smitten with the world of Harry Potter, a world in which there is Coca-cola, so it must be good right? You want some right now don't you? Some people aren't too excited about it - Save Harry is trying to teach people about just how bad liquid candy is and what it is doing to our kids.
I'm linking to this a couple of days late, but... Well put, Scott.
The economists as good guys and the humanists as bad guys? Whaaat?

Wednesday, November 14

Help our friends at Alternet.org - contribute today to this worthwhile website.
This article will make you think twice the next time you tell your kids to go outside and play.

Tuesday, November 13

As Bush hosts his Backyard BBQ with Putin, maybe he can ponder, while he's chompin' on a Texas Size Rib, Tony Blair's words that the West cannot enjoy "the good life" without tackling the world's problems. Think about that while you're lickin' your fingers, Bush!
It's fast approaching... it's coming your way on Friday, November 23rd. Here's an interesting article talking about it as well!

Monday, November 12

These aren’t all future Susan Sontags. Carrying tattered copies of ‘in’ books is a fashion statement for some.

In the Wall Street Journal this past Friday (11/9/01, page W-1), an article entitled Look Who’s Reading by Pooja Bhatia calls attention to the fact that reading has suddenly become hip in the under-25 set—the post-Gen-X generation. “It’s a backlash against MTV culture,” according to sociologist William Strauss, author of Millennials Rising: The Next Great American Generation. Well, a backlash against MTV culture is fine with me, but what’s not good is that this movement seems to be based more on image than anything else. I quote from the article:

No one would accuse Kathleen Dodge of being a slacker. The Berkeley, Calif., 25-year-old showed up three hours early just to get a seat at a local reading by [Dave] Eggers last summer. She wore a carefully chosen outfit—green cashmere sweater, long black shirt—that she felt connoted just the right mix of intellect and style.

Mmm-hmm.

Saturday, November 10

Friday, November 9

Get Local! See how your state ranks as far as who's making the political contributions as well as where the money's coming from.
An incident like this in America would be called Kent State; over there, it's called Crowd Control.

Thursday, November 8

oh that is so sad
Hey Megan, they do exist! You can even get your very own Condoleezza Rice card! Collect all 89!

Thanks to John Alston for the tip.

I actually find myself surprised these aren't real.

Tuesday, November 6

The media issuing apologies, newspaper editors getting fired for joking about Bush, talk shows (and hosts) getting canned for expressing opinions -- professional journalism/media post-September 11. Is our Nation becoming more sensitive, or is this war just a further impact on our rights to free speech?
"We have taken the superiority of our institutions and values too much for granted."

--Sir Iain Vallance, president of the Confederation of British Industry.

Monday, November 5

Bush reversed a decision made in the Clinton years about mining restrictions on public lands making it easier for a Nevada company to dig an open-pit gold mine in a part of the California desert considered sacred by a local Indian tribe. As always and still, making life easier for industry. (NYTimes; username: opensewer; password: iswatching.)

Sunday, November 4

Artist Sean Hopp has strange dreams. Fortunately, because he's a painter, we have a chance to see them. In his words, "a complete visual world philosophy is possible through the use of introspection and personal symbols."
"An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Good. Then everyone in the world will be walking around blind and toothless."

--Tevye, from Fiddler on the Roof

Saturday, November 3

Indeed, the gender gap in support for this U.S. military effort is unusually small. Historically, female support for war has lagged between 10 and 15 percent behind men's, according to Joshua Goldstein, author of War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa. But in a recent survey released by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 79 percent of women, compared to 86 percent of men, said they support the ongoing military intervention, a near parity Goldstein believes may be explained by the fact that the Taliban is anathema to women.

Thursday, November 1

Happy Dias de los Muertos and All Saints' Day to all!
Everyone's been hearing so much about the state of the economy since September 11th. Yesterday I saw on the news a proposal that would eliminate sales tax during the holiday season so as to encourage more spending. Yet ... I'm thinking this may be the opportunity for America to take a good, long, look at themselves and ask, "Do I really need this?" For starters, take a look at this organization, where you can even purchase your very own Starter Kit entitled, More Fun Less Stuff (irony duly noted). Add that to your Christmas Wish List?

Wednesday, October 31

Thank you, Joshua Glenn, for this very good piece of writing.
In America, if you stand out, you may be rewarded. But if you stand up, you may be punished. (Username: opensewer; password: iswatching.)
Happy All-Hallows Eve! And, with no intent of irony I'm sure, today is also the day that Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg, ensuring that the long-standing tradition of religious conflict in the world would continue for years to come. Shudder to think, what would the world be like without religious conflict?

Tuesday, October 30

A li'l reality check, here. (NYTimes article: Login-Opensewer/Password-Iswatching)

Monday, October 29

After years of fairies, little girls and sleeping babies the most vapid Ashton Drake collectable doll company presents the ever-so-cute Semper Fi Marine toddler doll just $80 in four easy payments! Despicable.

Sunday, October 28

The Crusaders' Giant Footprints, an article in the Washington Post last Tuesday, provides some insight into the mindset of Islamic culture as it relates to current events. Sometimes we seem to forget that the Earth has been patiently rotating for thousands of years, and not all of the most important things in history happened during the 20th Century. (Via Arts & Letters Daily.)

Saturday, October 27

Well, it's about time! No less than a full 19 days after the actual event, we now present to you full summaries and photographs of all seven Opensewer 10 Gatherings. Enjoy! We'll be posting information on Opensewer 11 sometime in the first half of November.

Friday, October 26

Criticize me if you want, label me way to the left... think what you want. But this article is a must-read, whether you want to admit it or not.
Here is a good article about the anti-terrorism bill that GWB is expected to sign today.

Thursday, October 25

C'mon sing along with me (to the tune of Mickey Mouse):

M-C-C -- A-R-T -- H-Y-I-S-M ! ! !

With the passing of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, if we're not careful, it's going to start all over again. Don't say I didn't warn ya.
This is exactly what I'm talking about when I wonder what to believe anymore ... but now I'm thinking that maybe it's not The Press, but rather, the Government! Don't say one thing in the morning, then take it back in the afternoon - which is it? What the hell?

Tuesday, October 23

An Associated Press article wonders about the fine line between patriotism and transparency, and restraint and good judgment by the Press. While I agree with the need for good judgment by the press relative to national security, what about censorship, freedom of the press and the right to know?

Monday, October 22

This week's On The Media reported about Viacom's president Mel Karmazin finding a silver lining in the current war. As if Viacom isn't controlling most of our entertainment already, they plan to use the current unrest to build an even bigger empire. Listen here.
Wanna know what really going on with the "war"? Don't read US websites - read others such as the BBC ... for instance, this story about a Coke factory in India getting attacked in "retaliation of the US bombing of Afghanistan." Think we'll see it on MNSBC or other similar sites? Nah... the gov's only going to tell us what they want us to know!
Ever think about where all the money to front the war is coming from? Well, here's where part of it is coming from: Your future social security check. Read here for details.

Sunday, October 21

To artist Carol Es, painting is an independent entity that both guides and humbles her. Difficult to fit into any particular genre, her mixed-media paintings represent a simple, powerful release of the generator inside.

Saturday, October 20

The question is, can you destroy destruction? Dropping more bombs on Afghanistan will only shuffle the rubble, scramble some old graves and disturb the dead.

Not very comforting, but insightful in many ways, The Algebra Of Infinite Justice examines U.S. retaliation for 9/11 from an Indian perspective.

Friday, October 19

"To fight what is a global threat, the world's nations are going to have to act globally." So states this article about a different kind of "war" that the world is facing now.

Thursday, October 18

Yesterday's Working Assets Radio focused on what this story in the New York Times didn't say, including what stakes the Bush family has in Saudi oil. When Bush Sr. left office he took a bunch of advisors and officials with him and joined a company called the Carlyle Group which has interests in foreign oil. As someone in the show said - no one is going to refuse a meeting with the former head of state from the US. Read the recap of the show here, and read about the Carlyle Group on Bloomberg here (a story cited in the show). For each show Working Assets Radio offers a great toolbox, I copied yesterday's:

Project Underground helps environmental, human rights and indigenous- rights movements carry out focused campaigns to counter abusive oil and mining activities. The organization seeks to systematically deal with problems the oil and mining industries create by exposing environmental and human-rights abuses and empowering communities facing mineral and energy development to achieve economic and environmental justice.

Corp Watch counters corporate-led globalization through education and activism. CorpWatch works to foster democratic control over corporations by building grassroots globalization - a diverse movement for human rights, labor rights and environmental justice. Find out how you can support CorpWatch online.

TomPaine.com. The online journalism site funded by the Florence Fund seeds the national public policy debate with the common sense ideas, opinions, and analyses the mainstream media usually misses. Heck, the site even offers essays on history!

What the World needs now is a Superhero, like this.

Wednesday, October 17

'Tis a sad state of affairs when this can be done so easily - yet it doesn't even surprise me. The scoop: People can easily access your long distance or cell phone bills for the last month. One way to protect yourself: Request that your telephone company password protect your billing records and other personal data. Here's the article.

Tuesday, October 16

Our Friend Fran emailed us recently asking about a link to show one's ecological footprint. In consideration of today's link about SUVs, we thought it was worth another mention - so here it is.
We have always bitched about SUVs - now here's a reason to think about not driving one, or, why you really really REALLY need that big ol' honkin' gas guzzler.

Monday, October 15

The RND# Project is currently a collection of six short films which explore our "increasingly bizarre dependence on and relationship with technology." Richard Fenwick conceived this idea and it is being sponsored by IDEO. Fenwick's intentions are that the project will eventually consist of 100 films. (Link via Memepool.)

Sunday, October 14

Sometimes Sunday is a good day to turn off your computer and go outside if you can. Other days are good for this, too, but Sunday particularly so.

Saturday, October 13

Friday, October 12

Two weeks ago we attended a wedding of two close friends. At the reception afterward, a friend of the bride requested to sing a song with the band. The band approved, but I’m sure thought to themselves, “Oh, boy, this should be a sight.” Well, it was a sight—the woman delivered the most rip-roaring, heart-warming version Janis Joplin’s “Me & Bobby McGee” the crowd had ever heard. This earned her the nickname “Little Janice” for the rest of the evening.

September 11 was still fresh in everyone’s mind, and the song resonated with the crowd. Thinking back now, one line from the song (though a bit out of context) stands out as particularly sobering:

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…

Thursday, October 11

Opensewer 10 is over! Judging by the Ithaca gathering and the reports we've received so far from other cities, it was a great success! I always feel buzzed for days after these meetings, and no, it wasn't what I had to drink. Please be patient as all of us coordinators write our summaries and develop our film--we'll post the complete story as soon as we can. In the meantime, email us if you'd like to be on the mailing list for the next gathering.

Wednesday, October 10

Opensewer 10 is meeting tonight! The gatherings are occurring in 7 cities, so there's likely one near you. Come and join us--share your thoughts about life in America after September 11, and the current threats to peace in the world.

Tuesday, October 9

From our "Gotta Love It" Department - an article by Michael Moore.

Monday, October 8

"Nearly all Americans support the U.S. bombing campaign against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, a NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found Sunday. A majority of those surveyed also said they believed that terrorists would strike the United States again." Bullshit! This survey is comprised of 513 people - 513! Nobody asked me!
Today is when Columbus Day is observed, and also the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Today, like yesterday and tomorrow, is a good day to live on the Earth.

Sunday, October 7

Artist update: The irresistible call of art, nature and Southern Culture convinced artist and former graphic designer Anthony DiFatta to leave the corporate world and pursue his true love.

Friday, October 5

I am aware that there are many obstacles in the way of peace in the Middle East, but these people (both sides) have got to knock it off! And Sharon needs to stop being a hothead - now!

Thursday, October 4

A little something to think about before we all "move on" and lose track of what's important.
Mark your calendars for Wednesday, October 10 and join us for Opensewer-10, "America: Life After September 11th" in seven cities across the United States. Our NYC Chapter will be discussing national security and privacy issues. More information can be found here.

Wednesday, October 3

First of all, what's with the buzzword "pundit" being used in practically every article I read these days?? But on to today's Blog: Like father like son? Let's hope not. And yes, the "U.S. government could make an enormously profound statement by bombarding Afghanistan with massive supplies of food instead of warheads." Naive thinking, but alas, a more-than-interesting thought.

Tuesday, October 2

Here's a little something from the "Do As I Say, Not As I Do" Department. How sad if all of this is true.

Monday, October 1

Visited The Onion lately? Gotta love it - we can all use their sense of humor right now!

Sunday, September 30

Thursday, September 27

It is Banned Books Week. In this time where willingness to give up liberties some Americans don't realize they are entitled to and don't appreciate, let's hope this will stay alive.

Wednesday, September 26

Let me apologize in advance for this--no, wait, I take back my apology. I decided long ago that I wasn't going to be ashamed for having an opinion, however unpopular. We tend to make a habit of saying unpopular things here. On September 17, Scott Lepera, a good friend of ours and someone who has given us invaluable assistance with Opensewer, said,

Thank God for the Internet, which not only allowed for normal folk like you and I to scoop the traditional media, but also provide an arena for those same people to express their ideas to the world.

Well, to that statement, all I can say is: I’m not sure the benefits are so clear. There is a lot of noise out there, but few signals. Opinions are a dime a dozen, but underlying truth is difficult to discern. Freedom of speech is a wonderful right--its benefits outweigh its drawbacks--but an overflow of information can do more harm than good. “Thoughtful” essays about the Tragedy become too numerous to be meaningful or even comprehend. Reading this opinion won’t make your vision any clearer, so please discard it when you’re done.

The worst offender in this mess is The Fray. Almost immediately after the Tragedy, Fray posted a group of personal stories called “Missing Pieces.” The tag line reads:

Holes in our lives, holes in the skyline, holes in our spirit.

This gooey, over-emotional sentimentality only disrespects the truth of the events and those who died. The thirteen or so stories offered generally display the same sort of extra-dramatic expositions of “deeply personal” experiences. I realize now that The Fray is not a community. It is a place for people who want visibility. There is some “truth” there, but it’s hidden behind ego.

Please listen, I want to make it clear once again that you should disregard this opinion as soon as you’re done reading it. I just wanted to jolt you a bit.

Is anybody out there listening?

Tuesday, September 25

Howard Zinn is right; we have learned nothing from the past.
As I read webpage after webpage and article after article, it strikes me as odd when people preach about not giving their two cents--yet still put in their two cents in doing so! If you wanna talk about the terrorist events, do so - but don't sit there and postulate about others and then proceed to throw in your mantra about what went wrong and how, blah blah blah.

Monday, September 24

Here are two interesting articles from The New York Times regarding the events of September 11 and its effects on artists. (NYTimes Login: Opensewer, Password: iswatching)

Sunday, September 23

Today is Sunday! Why don't you turn your computer off for the day?

Saturday, September 22

We have changed the topic for Opensewer Gathering #10 to "America: Life After September 11." The "bioethics" topic will be reserved for Opensewer #11. When the world changes in the blink of an eye, how could we ever justify ignoring it? As humans, we bond through our humanity, our intellect, our emotions...

Friday, September 21

...because this war is older than all of Europe that is surrounded by the sea, which swallows human life.

This is an excerpt from a letter to my Great Grandmother from her son, Micheleno (my Great Uncle). It was written while he was undercover somewhere in the trenches during World War I. Need I say more?

Thursday, September 20

re:constructions is a site focusing on the part the media plays in the current situation.

Wednesday, September 19

An interesting view of America.
The worst is not,
So long as we can say, 'This is the worst'

-- Lines from King Lear, quoted by Robert McCrum in an absolutely wonderful article where he encourages all of us, during these trying times, to find solace in the arms of literature.

Sunday, September 16

Saturday, September 15

Friday, September 14

The highest priority of every world citizen should be the avoidance of war.
And here's something else that might offer inspiration as we remember what has happened to America, yet struggle to get back to normal, whatever the definition of "normal" now is.
A little something to consider before we all plunge into mass hysteria.

Wednesday, September 12

Even as Americans pull together and show their resolve and love for one another in this terrible situation, they also talk of being willing to go to war. Let us allow justice and reason to dominate our actions, and be careful who we blame before real evidence is discovered. If we rush into a misdirected witch-hunt, we'll not only disrespect the victims of this attack, we'll also lose the trust and respect of much of the civilized world.

Tuesday, September 11

Some useful information:We hope that you and your loved ones are well.
We reel in pain together, and try to understand why hatred and violence continue to permeate human culture.
Hats off to Louis D. Boccardi, The Associated Press' President and Chief Executive, who is standing up to Bush and his League of Monkeys (including John Ashcroft and in this case, Senator Robert Torricelli, D-NJ) concerning freedom of the press. Our Government subpoenaed a reporter's home telephone records and Boccardi is fighting for symbolism and journalistic freedom, stating that "...symbolism is important in the delicate intersection of press and government in our nation."

Monday, September 10

"Redefining Progress is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization that seeks to ensure a more sustainable and socially equitable world for our children and our children's children." You can determine your Ecological Footprint - according to the quiz, the average American uses 30 acres to support his or her current lifestyle. You can get results for your own in both metric and those measurements Americans continue to insist upon.

Sunday, September 9

In his incredibly rich paintings, new artist Vince Torano attempts to probe the attitudes and behavior of society by exploring the grotesque, the absurd, and our deep-seated preoccupation with affluence and physical beauty.

Friday, September 7

Now this is interesting..."Christianity has been 'almost vanquished' in the UK says the Archbishop of Westminster." Read yesterday's BBC email debate on this topic between Madeleine Pym from the British Humanist Association and Steve Tomkins, a writer on church history and religious satire.

Thursday, September 6

I just purchased a textbook and it has advertisements all over it. This bothers me. (More on this subject later.)
Rose pointed out this Alternet article to me when it first appeared in the editorially weak Ithaca Times a few weeks ago. It's a die-hard lefty writing about feeling guilty for shopping at Wal-Mart (because he knows better). Gee, I thought that if you knew something was wrong, or that it had an adverse affect on society, the correct thing to do was pretty clear: DON'T DO IT. Did I miss the part where things got more complicated than that?

Tuesday, September 4

Sell out? I think definitely so. Ashamed? Of course not! In 2001, selling out is a virtue! To wit, Fay Weldon has written "the first novel commissioned to advertise a particular product." (NYT article; username: "opensewer"; password: "iswatching".)
What? So now "ugliness" is in. And bad 70's decore. What will be the next marketing ploy? We are a sad society - ugliness is not "in" for the right reason...
A quick word from Stephen Hawking about artificial intelligence.

Sunday, September 2

Just what is Big Tobacco smoking? Several weeks ago, OS reader Kory Johnson called our attention to a NYT article entitled, "Tobacco Industry Still Advertises in Magazines Read by Youth." Read the article, and then read Philip Morris' spin on the situation. (NYT login required; username: "opensewer"; password: "iswatching".)

Saturday, September 1

The decline of the brainless-men's-magazine era (i.e., FHM, Maxim, Loaded). Thank GOD! From the article: "As economic times harden...so male angst returns. Or perhaps laddishness was really about male anxiety all along."
Alternet's critical review of the PBS series PlanetWork contained a reference to a somewhat frightening global corporate practice that I first learned about from Franklin Becker at Cornell: Multinational companies are farming many tasks, including telephone customer service, to countries like India where wages are much lower. "Visit your doctor and there's a chance your file, dictated over the phone, will be typed up in India and shot back overnight into the physician's computer." But that's not really the scary part. The scary part is that the Indian workers might speak to you with a perfectly practiced Southern accent, just to make you feel comfortable.
Miriam Carey has mentioned Opensewer as one of the 365 Ways To Meet People In Cleveland (her latest book). It's available on Amazon, if you are interested.

Friday, August 31

"The commander of the International Space Station (ISS) has expressed his concern to the BBC at the impact mankind is having on the Earth's environment." You can listen to the real audio of this story as well. Also to take a look at a map of early warning signs of global warming. Note how many are clustered over North America. (Via Metafilter.)

Thursday, August 30

Only insecure people insult other people.
Pictures like this of the earth at night do not make me feel inspired, rather, they remind me about the need for more things like dark sky preserves.

Wednesday, August 29

How horrible can we possibly be to each other? This story makes me sick.
A burning question for UNESCO from Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, the Italian Minister of Agriculture: Should pizza be immortalized as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity?"
First, the Boy Scouts got in serious trouble with Conservative America for not being "straight" enough. Now, the Girl Scouts are in hot water for being tolerant. So let me see if I get this straight (no pun intended): being tolerant is a sin, but being judgmental is not. Hmmm, interesting.

Tuesday, August 28

Citizens banding together and reading the same book at the same time - what a phenomenal project. Read here for more details. You know the drill - it's a NYTimes article: login: opensewer / password: iswatching.

Monday, August 27

How sad, our navy is installing sonar despite that it may hurt sea mammals. Anything for a stronger military.
via Rebecca's Pocket

Sunday, August 26

New artist Jee Won Yang presents seven simple, beautiful paintings that abstract her personal impressions of Italy.

Saturday, August 25

An interesting article in The Atlantic dated August 8, 1901 takes the position that sculpture depicting nude figures should be isolated from the general public. I went to a Christian high school, and took nearly all of the classes offered by our school’s limited (because is wasn’t a priority) art program. I had to do my figure drawing in secret, because the unclothed human form wasn’t allowed in visible sight. Most of the adults at that school had a mentality kind of like this guy from British Columbia. What is the state of art in America? Is it strong, or is it weak? As much as we deal with artists here at Opensewer, I’m not even sure. How large of a role does art play in American culture? Has anyone tried to quantify this? Apparently, art has enough teeth to get editorials like this one from conservative groups. I’ll get back to you on this topic.
If I was online more I probably would have found this a long time ago. Which leads me to this, a wonderful parody. Bow down to Metafilter--the website that will always know about everything before you do.

Friday, August 24

Tuesday, August 21

Monday, August 20

Yes yes yes yes YES…another excellent article on Alternet about the myth of race, color, crime and suburbia. White upper-middle class suburbanites are again surprised when one of their young turns out to be a cold-blooded criminal. From the article:

“…although underreported, drug data has long confirmed that the stereotypes of users and dealers (poor, black or Latino, and urban-dwelling) are not only racist, but also wrong. According to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Department of Health and Human Services, whites are equally or more likely to use drugs than their African American counterparts, despite common misperceptions to the contrary.”

Saturday, August 18

Ever wonder what impact you, personally, have on the environment? AirHead has a quick little emissions calculator so you can find out - it might be shocking, the national average is around 1600 pounds. Listen to that: 1600 pounds of pollution per household per month, a household being an average of 2.64 people. Air Head also keeps together environmental information about news, laws, products and what to buy and what to avoid, many many statistics, tips on how to cut down on polluting on a personal level, and community bulletin boards. A great way to scare yourself into treading a little more carefully.

Friday, August 17

Friday entertainment: Dialtones: A Telesymphony A concert performed entirely through the ringing of the audience's mobile phones.

Thursday, August 16

Tolerance.org has a US map of hate groups - you may be surprised to find one right in your own town. They talk about what you can do to fight hate, what communities and groups are doing, and offer tests for hidden biases. [In the test section they do ask you to fill in information about your age and where you live - you can leave it all blank.] via dollarshort

Wednesday, August 15

Tuesday, August 14

Using children to do their marketing for them, at the NY Times (username: opensewer; password: iswatching). Thanks to Rebecca.
Clearer Guidelines Help Britain to Advance Stem Cell Work. “While American researchers wait for politicians to issue rules on research involving human embryos, scientists in Britain are working under a less restrictive and more predictable system that allows many forms of research on embryonic stem cells and cloning.” (New York Times article; username: opensewer; password: iswatching.)

Monday, August 13

NPR this weekend had some good stories on the recent Federal funding for stem cell research. The one that caught my attention was by Weekend All Things considered ("Stem Cell" and "Ethicist," listen here) about the decision affecting which stem cells can be studied. Most of the existing stem cell lines, which Bush has allowed federal funding for research on, are owned by private corporations. They are trying to get permission to patent any treatments developed by the research which is paid in tax dollars. This would allow them to sell those treatments back to us at whatever price they would like. By limiting funding in this way Bush is allowing businesses, not researchers, great benefit. We don't hear the private biotech corporations complaining do we?

They also talk about the fact that while people who oppose stem cell research on lines originating from human embryos on moral grounds are focusing on protesting the federal funding, there are no rules in place to stop private corporations from doing whatever type of research they would like. Private corporations are even starting to approach couples with extra embryos from fertility trials to purchase the embryos in order to develop stem cell lines. These are things we will need to address soon, and shouting about funding money isn't helping.

NPR has put together a special reports page collecting stories here.

Sunday, August 12

New artist Jason Goad illustrates a world of fallen angels, unfortunate events and bad girls.

Friday, August 10

Thursday, August 9

I find it incredibly sad that certain types of shows are doing well enough to inspire the Miss America Pageant (insipid and offensive to start with) to include reality television and game show tactics in the pageant this year. I suppose next year they'll include mud wrestling and beer chugging.
Here's an Alternet article discussing the CEPR study linked yesterday.

Wednesday, August 8

Are low and middle-income countries making greater progress in the period of globalization than in the prior era? According to this recent study by the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR), the answer is a resounding “no.” (If you can’t bear to read the entire somewhat dry report, then just read the executive summary, introduction, conclusion and some of the charts at the end.) The study makes a strong (although sweeping) argument that the policy changes implemented by countries around the world during the era of globalization (1980-2000) have actually slowed economic growth, reduced progress in life expectancy increases, slowed the rate of reduction of infant mortality and slowed world progress in education. This is quite contrary to the daily overzealous praise we are fed about the benefits and joys of an unrestricted global economy. It’s not so bad to be skeptical.

Monday, August 6

Bad news—due to a death in the family of our New York City coordinator, Opensewer 9 NYC has been cancelled. Our hearts and minds are with you, Tiona.

Look for photographs and summaries of all the Opensewer 9 gatherings soon.

"It's the American dream updated." - Robert E. Lang, on census data showing that people have larger mortgages and longer commutes. This article is another good commentary in conjunction with Opensewer 9: The American Dream (NY Times article - login: opensewer, password: iswatching).

Sunday, August 5

Yum, yum…more goodness from Alternet. First, Davey D asks the eternal question, “If I'm a Nigga Is J-Lo a Spic?”—an interesting look at the development of the N-word over time, and the hot racial issues associated with it. Second, Wiretap, the youth-run information source backed by Alternet, reports some interesting statistics that may surprise many who like to make sweeping generalizations about contemporary youth culture (the stats are in the yellow page inset).

Saturday, August 4

Overgrown suburbs—and my guess is that most people don’t even see this as a problem. According to recent census data, suburban areas are outgrowing center cities all around the country. It’s a “lifestyle choice,” and what right do snooty urban planners, environmentalists and liberal politicians have to tell people how to live? (Did you detect my sarcastic voice?) I hate to sound like a broken record, but we all know that this is not sustainable behavior. This kind of selfish growth will, in the long run, weaken America in relation to the rest of the world. Many parts of the world already resent us for our rampant growth and conspicuous consumption of resources. If only everyone in the world had the privilege of our excessively comfortable lifestyle choices…

Friday, August 3

The president is taking a vacation twice as long as most Americans get in a year after only six months in office. Truly a people's president (via Metafilter).
First Catcher in The Rye, now this.

Thursday, August 2

Quite a buzz is beginning to form about the decade-old cafés philo movement, in which Opensewer has been rabid participant for nearly three years now. Even young hip (?) lawyers in Washington, D. C. are starting to get involved. Oh, my…could it be that…no, it can’t be true…could it be that this could become…popular?
Just when you thought humanity couldn't get any worse now comes along this. And there are more like this, but the first one is unbelievable. By the way, bids from tobacco companies, pornographic producers, or weapons manufactures will not be accepted. And hey, how about those shipping terms? C'mon, sing along with us: One Boy, boy for sale. He's going cheap. Only seven guineas. That or thereabouts...
People are starting to catch on that we are over fishing our waters. Some responsible markets and restaurants have stopped offering endangered fish, for the rest of us there is the Seafood Choices Alliance. They track species and what various organizations feel about them, and let you know if it is safe to eat the fish in their SeaSense database. Chilean Sea Bass for example might be delicious and trendy but the National Audubon Society, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Environmental Defense recommend you avoid it. They even offer an alternative, and if the fish is ok to eat, recipes. A good resource to check before you head to the market.
We knew it was coming but it is still bad news.
A letter from our "Beloved and Respected Comrade Leader George W. Remedial Bush" regarding the tax refund check!

Wednesday, August 1

I can’t believe people are falling for this. Disguised as fun, “Human for Sale” is collecting detailed demographic information about you, and associating it with your email and IP address! If this website were purely recreational, they wouldn’t request your email address before giving you the results. Read their privacy statement—they actually tell you what they will do with the information! Do you really want someone to know your breast/penis size and how often you visit adult web sites? Come on! Very misleading…I’m amazed more people haven’t seen through this scam yet.
Opensewer 9 Cleveland is tonight!
Instant gratification. Give me a body that will make people look at me, and give it to me now. Will somebody please remind me, when did we start believing that children knew what was best for them? Because, uh, they don’t. That’s why parents used to say things like, “You don’t understand now, but you will when you’re older.” I don’t think many parents use that phrase anymore.
Recycled link of the day: The Olive Garden, a restaurant we like to refer to as the “Ford Escort of Italian food,” is implementing a program called “H2NO” in an effort to discourage customers from drinking water at dinner. They claim that the goal of this effort is “increasing overall guest satisfaction”—oh, and by the way, it also might increase revenues. Duh. First, they broadcast the most insulting television advertising campaign in history. Then, they create embarrassingly stupid faux-Italian words like “Hospitaliano.” Now this. Ah, bourgeoisie marketing (via Metafilter).

Tuesday, July 31

Snicker!
So parents think kids these days are more spoiled than in past decades. Coincidently, in one of the articles linked for Opensewer 9/"The American Dream," a quarter of the teens surveyed think they will be "millionaires" by the time they're 40 - their aspirations are not to be "doctors," "astronauts," or "teachers," but specifically, "millionaires." Read here and attend (or start) an Opensewer gathering in your town to discuss this interesting topic.

Monday, July 30

Late last week there was a lot of talk on Metafilter (via Megnut) about Bush's tax rebate not really being a rebate at all, but rather an advance payment on next year's refund. We told you about this back in June.
A majority of Canadians support restricting car use on smoggy days. Would we ever see support like this in America?

Saturday, July 28

Anne Sterrett's photographs of strangely familiar organic surfaces explore the similarities between body and landscape.

Friday, July 27

Location for Opensewer 9 Cleveland has been announced. Go >>
Good news NYC people! Tiona has just confirmed the New York Opensewer date: Wednesday, August 8. More details >>
Sincere apologies to all - we've recently noticed that visits to our "Guestbook" also include a pop-up ad. Oh, the horror! We're working on getting a new provider who doesn't do ads. Bear with us...
Good or bad development? Is there really a way to distinguish complex human motion?
Moles but not rats, and Stephen King does Lars Von Trier's The Kingdom. (Do these people know when to quit?) Ummmm ummmm - dynamic fall lineup for ya!

Thursday, July 26

Opensewer 9 starts tonight in Columbus. Wes has provided even more reading material with which to arm yourself before the meeting. Pick and choose as you please--there's too much there to read it all!
Corporate sponsorship of cities.
Senator John Edwards, a Democrat from North Carolina, has introduced to the Senate a bill called the “Location Privacy Protection Act.” This bill, if it were to become law would prevent any entity that gathers location information about you (via cell phone, PDA, vehicle navigation system, etc.) from using it beyond the purposes of the transaction for which it was generated. However, it doesn’t prevent the government from using the information as it pleases.

Wednesday, July 25

Tuesday, July 24

Another update: Thanks to Josh for some additional reading material on the American Dream topic for Opensewer 9. Good stuff!
Go ahead. You know you want to!
Update! Update! The Cleveland Chapter of the next Opensewer gathering is being held on Wednesday, August 1st rather than Thursday, August 2nd as previously announced. We're still confirming the location so keep checking back for details.

Monday, July 23

This week there is an excellent article by Nancy Updike in the LA Weekly about the state of artist’s rights in America. Since we at OS deal with indy artists on a regular basis, we see many of these issues in action. According to Updike, many Americans view artists as “…weird, potentially dangerous people who often care less about money than is acceptable…”—and our national policy on copyright reflects this (via Metafilter).
Christopher Phillips has been promoting Socratic thought and organizing informal gatherings of philosophical inquiry for some time now. He first started gaining recognition back in 1998, before Opensewer even started, and since then has toured the country promoting “philosophy for the common man,” and written a book. His cause is similar to (though not exactly the same as) ours, and we greatly admire his efforts. You really must respect someone who decides to uproot himself and do this kind of thing full-time. Opensewer still operates “in the margins”—in the stolen moments that aren’t dedicated to life’s other necessary and unnecessary endeavors.

Whether you join an OS gathering, a Socrates Café, or delve into the meaning of things on your own, time spent looking inward is time well spent. Take a long, hard look at Christopher’s very well put together website, Philosopher.org.

Saturday, July 21

Friday, July 20

Trust no one.
So you say you want a revolution weh-ell you know, we all want to change the world--there are better ways to accomplish this.
Today in Salon: The Napster diaspora. "...the crackdown on Napster is now leading directly to the widespread adoption of alternatives that are less legally and technically vulnerable to the kind of attack that has hamstrung Napster." Grassroots--in action. Most of these alternatives have been out there for a while, and are already in use by people who spend a large percentage of their time on the internet. But now, with Napster down, everyone's learning to exploit peer-to-peer file sharing.

Thursday, July 19

NBC executives defend reality TV shows. Can you say the lowest common denominator?

In other news, after Chris and Luke were derided by the likes of us last year, someone on Metafilter today is actually, in a sense, congratulating them on their first sponsor. Yipes!

They Rule "aims to make some of the relationships of the elite of the US ruling- class visible". Track from a corporation to its board member and on out, to see who is actually ruling the world. Incredibly useful and done with a fabulous interface. And you can add notes and maps of your own. Gotta have flash, sorry. Very worth checking out.

For a quick example of how it works, click on "load map" and then click on the first one, the most popular, "pepsi vs. coke" to see just how snuggly close they are.
Wink wink! (Article suggested by John Alston. Thanks John.)

Wednesday, July 18

Since the Webby awards will be celebrating the internet today with uproarious glee, it’s probably a good day to remind ourselves of the digital divide:

Contrary to the utopic [sic] vision of the Internet creating markets without barriers, the bite of reality left fairly deep marks this weekend when the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the consulting group Accenture presented their report to world leaders, revealing that that the vast majority of the world's population remain cut off from the economic benefits rendered by the Internet (Markets and Exchanges).

In another interesting wrinkle, it seems that the digital divide in America is not so much purely defined in terms of race and privilege—but also by differing levels of physical ability. For example, 74% of people with a walking problem have never used a computer. Sixty-four percent of people with hearing problems have never used a computer. Our spin on this: the internet does not accurately represent America, or the world—and we shouldn’t pretend that it does (because we do). Read the report >>>

Tuesday, July 17

VPs Cheney, Gore - whomever... does anyone find $186,000/year in electricity bills a bit outrageous? Granted it's a 33-room mansion. I say, put on an extra sweater and conserve! What's more, the Navy's been footing the bill. (NYTimes article: login - opensewer; password: iswatching)
Jason made a t-shirt that reads, "I Hate Professional Sports" on the front and has our Opensewer logo on the back. It's amazing to watch the responses he gets when he wears it, some in agreement and some not. This matter supports the tee. I mean c'mon folks, a $1,000,000 claim for injuries sustained while attending a baseball game? Have we forgotten what it's all about? Gimme back Billy Martin and a good old fashion fight with Steinbrenner anytime.

Monday, July 16

Yes yes yes yes yes. My hope for humanity restored! Has the revolt against reality television begun?
This is utterly ridiculous.
I agree, Megan. And, if you’ll pardon me for blogging out of turn, I just want to give a little dose of flaming derision to Big Brother 2, the latest infection from the plague of reality television. This People-magazine Weekly-World-News rotten-cotton-candy shallow gossipy-blue-haired-old-lady National-Enquirer Entertainment-Tonight-style crap has—not zero—but negative socially redeeming value. Watching this stuff is like eating your own excrement. It’s like drinking a twelve pack of Colt 45 malt liquor in 10 minutes—ultimate brain cell destruction. It may be time to wage war against reality television. Of course, we’ll lose. In the long run, we’re all just animals. The tawdry, the mindless, the sensational—this stuff always wins. From dust we came and to dust we return. Why bother aspiring to anything great in between?
I am ashamed to live in a country where this just isn't a surprise.

Sunday, July 15

New sculptor Seth Augustine explores the relationship between industrial materials and natural forms.

Saturday, July 14

Did you see this article about traffic in USNews back in May? It’s pretty interesting. So is the New York Times forum where I found it. Username: opensewer. Password: iswatching.

Friday, July 13

Ahhh but I couldn't resist posting something about Bush! The Nostradamus quote at this site made me do it.
I woke up this morning in the mood to bitch about Bush but then saw this about The Bunny. (NYTimes: Login-Opensewer, Password-iswatching)

Thursday, July 12

We're talking about banning soft money and we'll continue to talk about it until it's done... a long time from now.

Wednesday, July 11

Today is a day for art.

Here’s something nice: Inspired by this morning’s sale (for around $8.4 million) at Sotheby’s of a recently discovered Michelangelo sketch, the Guardian has produced a yummy bite-sized history of the highlights of the artist’s life, supported by oodles of interesting links. Spend half an hour there, if you can spare it.

FYI: We will be publishing a new artist on Opensewer this coming weekend.

Tuesday, July 10

"Before, I used to have to talk people into telling stories," she said. "Now I am getting 20 names in the hat." Good for Moth. (NY Times; Username: opensewer; Password: iswatching)
More details for Opensewer 9 have been posted. Mark your calendars!

Monday, July 9

A study finds that votes of the poor are less likely to be counted. Sigh. (NY Times; Username: opensewer; Password: iswatching)

Friday, July 6

OK so at first I felt bad about Eunice Kennedy Shriver getting in an auto accident, thinking to myself, "Those poor Kennedys. They just don't have any luck." Then I discovered in this article that she was driving a truck whose registration was expired and she wasn't wearing a seatbelt. I wonder what kind of charges will be filed, and I also wonder what would happen to someone if they weren't a Kennedy...
Lordy. A mayoral candidate who actually makes Rudy Giuliani look good. This is a crazy world we live in, Pilgrim.
Um...sorry about the down time. We had some DNS problems on Wednesday and Thursday, but now everything is back to normal and happy. Additional details for Opensewer 9 will be posted this weekend, thank-you.

Wednesday, July 4

In a recent poll taken by Gallup, one in four Americans couldn’t correctly identify the country from which we declared our independence 225 years ago. One in six of our citizenry did not recognize the connection between July 4th and the birth of the United States. (Source: The Gallup Organization.)

In the first quarter of 2001, the Home Shopping Network offered an attractively-priced digital camera. They sold more than 20,000 in one day. A few days later, ten percent of these customers returned the camera dissatisfied, saying that they couldn’t find anywhere to load the film. (Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.)

Conclusion? We can rest, assured that Americans are smarter about their shopping habits than their history.

Tuesday, July 3

A friendly reminder from our Friends at Adbusters: Participate in the Independence Day Flag Jam this 4th of July! Also check out the list of cities where the Corporate US Flag will wave in the wind! Be there!

Monday, July 2

I am so glad that my television is watching me, that companies will know so much about me that they can give me only the advertising I need. Such a relief.
It's almost like they're playing a big joke on these wealthy patrons of the arts...and someday the artists are just going to yell, "Gotcha!" and walk away happily with all that cash (via Metafilter).

Friday, June 29

If you haven't seen it yet, please give the documentary Live Nude Girls Unite! a chance. To quote from their website, "This first person documentary follows Julia Query, lesbian/stand-up comedian/ peepshow-stripper, and daughter of a feminist activist, on her raucous journey to help organize the only union of strippers in the United States." Sure, the subject is tantalizing, but what's more important is that individuals stood up and fought about unfair treatment, and made things work on their terms.

Thursday, June 28

The AFL-CIO presents Executive Pay Watch - "your online center for learning about the excessive salaries, bonuses and perks of the CEOs of major corporations." Look up the company you work for today!

Wednesday, June 27

Hmmm...a recent study reports that land developers aren’t adequately replacing the wetlands they destroy to make way for new construction projects. The new wetlands they do construct fail to function as they’re supposed to. Is this news supposed to come as a surprise? I mean, when no one's watching the cookie jar...

Tuesday, June 26

"Leftists." "Rabblerousers." "Big mouths." "Don't judge." Now lots of people are joining in the effort to ban this, with more repercussion to follow. And did we tell you about that pesty li'l potential radiation problem? Ahhh, but you knew we'd have something to say about this, didn't you? Oh and one more thing: Visit this site. This is how easy it is to listen in on a person's cell phone conversation!