Monday, December 30
Wednesday, December 25
Monday, December 23
Sunday, December 22
Sadly, infuriatingly, but not surprisingly, the horrible experience Nicholas Monahan went through in Portland, OR at the airport is just plain typical these days. And the real victims are his wife and child.
Friday, December 20
Writers on America is available online, and includes optimistic meditations from Richard Ford, Michael Chabon, and Billy Collins, among others.
Thursday, December 19
It's architecture as national healing. It's also architecture in a rush -- the owner is still coughing up annual rent of $124 million, even with two gaping holes in the ground -- which pretty much kills any hope of a memorial park being developed, rather than twin tower knock-offs. Only one of the proposed plans features a substantial swath of undeveloped land, but what are the chances Richard Meier's open spaces will get a go from them that pay the bills?
Wednesday, December 18
Tuesday, December 17
Monday, December 16
Friday, December 13
And Paul Krugman shares his excellent thoughts. NYTimes login for you freeloaders; login: opensewer; password: iswatching.
So tuned and controlled by speechwriters, so careful of offense are today's politicians that their at ease remarks are more revealing in regards to their personal feelings.
Wednesday, December 11
And what about that last paragraph - there are no quotes. Whose words are those supposed to be? The assistant principal's? The writer's? The bodiless voice of authority?
Tuesday, December 10
"Johnny calls me "da man!" That puts me at ease. It makes me feel comfortable, because I am Black and that's how Black folks talk to one another."
"Sally and Johnny give me ample opportunities to translate rap lyrics, reggae songs, and/or street slang! Like I'm a mouthpiece for many, many cultures of dark-skinned people."
Monday, December 9
Saturday, December 7
Friday, December 6
Thursday, December 5
Yeah, I only linked to an article about the show and not an official link to VH-1, because the idiots who put this one on don't deserve any links at all.
Wednesday, December 4
exploratory links inside
Friday, November 29
Just let me make a request…If that commercial resonated with you in any sort of positive way, if you actually would derive some joy from such activity, please do the following: 1) Take note of my photo (and Rosie’s) on the “Persona” page of this website; 2) Make any and all efforts to avoid coming into contact with us—we don’t want to talk to you.
Okay, that was a little harsh. But I guess it’s just my way of saying that Opensewer fervently, enthusiastically, without reservation, proudly, eagerly, passionately, earnestly, excitedly, industriously, avidly, ardently, zealously, fanatically and feverishly supports Buy Nothing Day, which is today.
Thursday, November 28
Wednesday, November 27
It's a curious paradox that the faith of this group compels it to seek approval from a religious body that treats it with such contempt. I wonder if they've ever heard that old Groucho Marx joke -- clearly they ain't interested in belonging to a club that would accept them. NY Times login: opensewer; password: iswatching.
Tuesday, November 26
To pull a quote from the article, "The cabaret law itself is absurd. It's totalitarian. Two years ago the only places it was illegal to dance were Manhattan and Afghanistan. And now you can dance in Afghanistan..."
Personally, I think the right to gather and dance is pretty fundamental, up there with free speech and assembly - it's a communal experience that, at its best, is transcendent and spiritual. But the dancing community has come under attack a lot from government lately.
And as Emma Goldman famously said, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be a part of your revolution."
Monday, November 25
Lastly, the entire point of my blog was to diss the pageant contestants who don't seem to have a clue about the stats of the violence but rather, are going for the glorious Miss Universe Title. I can't respect women - or anyone involved - like that.
So how surprised should we be that there is anger when an insult is perceived to have been made to a powerfully religious group's god or prophet? Similarly, is it so unbelievable that there is violent hostility to religious missionaries (in Lebanon)? Is it any crazier than the belief that drives the missionary work?
We European-Americans, us enlightened, rational folk, should remember our own history of fighting for souls, of the Crusades, the 30 Years War, and the Christian lead genocide of our land's first inhabitants. It's not that long ago. Free enterprise may be our gospel and might bring the internet to Lagos, but what does it do for their souls?
We have our own jihad instigators on this land of the free, too. And sometimes you can't tell them from our enemies.
Sunday, November 24
Friday, November 22
Thursday, November 21
Wednesday, November 20
Tuesday, November 19
Monday, November 18
So far, I find Richard Goldstein’s take on M&M’s current fame to be the most in line with my notions on the subject—I wish I were as articulate:
"What does it mean when our most powerful public reveries are dedicated to male dominance and female submission? This is the crucial question posed by the triumph of Eminem—one most critics won't touch. Instead, they ratify the consensus, making it legit. Male dominance, the populism of fools, becomes something to celebrate. And when culture is on the same page as politics, you've got hegemony."
Friday, November 15
Thursday, November 14
"In the 1920s, John B. Watson, a president of the American Psychology Association who dreamed of motherless baby farms, warned: 'When you are tempted to pet your child remember that mother love is a dangerous instrument.' Sounds a little crazy these days, but we have a man who tortured monkeys to thank for changing this attitude.
Wednesday, November 13
Finally, let's talk about the real issue here, which really amazes me: Chicks dig him.
Whether you're with him or against him, bunches of articles here, here and here. Enjoy.
Tuesday, November 12
Monday, November 11
Sunday, November 10
Friday, November 8
Thursday, November 7
-- That's Yann Martel, the Canadian writer, oozing ego by way of explaining the inspiration behind his $75k-Man-Booker-Prize-winning novel, Life of Pi, which recounts the adventures of an Indian boy shipwrecked with a tiger. Scliar's book, published in Brazil in 1981 (and now out of print), told the tale of a Jewish boy shipwrecked with a panther. Ring any bells? Here's some more choice Martel:
"Oh, the wondrous things I could do with this premise. I felt that same mix of envy and frustration I had felt with Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea, that if only I had thought of it I could have done something great with it. But — damn! — the idea had been faxed to the wrong muse.... I didn't really want to read the book. Why put up with the gall? Why put up with a brilliant premise ruined by a lesser writer."
Such bombast might be forgiven in a writer like Nabokov (whose muse never barked up the wrong fax). Creative juices are mysterious juices, and it's hard to say at this point if Martel is guilty of anything but a cretinous lack of humility. But if you're going to win awards for the "inventiveness" of a borrowed premise, and then provide source details that don't add up, it might help if your novel wasn't such a bore.
Wednesday, November 6
Wait - can I have more lifestyle publications please? I forgot how to tie my shoelaces and want to make my apartment fit for entertaining. I don't want to live, I want to be lifestyling.
Here's how you do it, girls.
Tuesday, November 5
Monday, November 4
Sunday, November 3
Friday, November 1
Thursday, October 31
Wednesday, October 30
Tuesday, October 29
Monday, October 28
Sunday, October 27
I have bought (and plan to buy) many more CDs than I would have if I had not downloaded all this music. The simple reason is, downloading alone does not satisfy you. It introduces you to good (and bad) music but a) it’s tough to acquire a whole album with all the tracks at the same loudness level/bitrate, and b) an average bitrate of 96-128Kbps only satisfies the ear for so long. CDs, at 196Kbps and up, are far superior in quality to MP3s. Long story short, I am a more avid music buyer because of file sharing. Let this post serve as Opensewer’s unabashed promotion and support of online file sharing.
Saturday, October 26
Friday, October 25
That said, it makes me uncomfortable -- and not in the real-art-is-meant-to-be-disturbing way. I get the feeling most people who love The Sopranos love its surface (funny, action-packed show about criminals), and don't bother questioning its so-called subtext (we're all basically alike, the average hit-man is just as confused as you are in this willy-nilly modern world of ours, and ain't that a laugh riot).
I dunno, maybe it is. Maybe I should just stick to my own favorite show, learn to love the mob and stop worrying about all you sophisticated whack-jobs out there who think life-like murderers are cute.
Thursday, October 24
Step inside the National Association of Convenience Stores Show.
Wednesday, October 23
Well, sure enough I got caught, and I had to pay. Funny thing is, Metro tickets were only around 80 Florints then (I think), which is about 32 cents. My fine was 3,000 Florints, or around $12, or nearly 38 times the cost of a ticket! Anyway, this is what Martha’s going through right now. Penalties must be steep or they won’t discourage anything. Be sure your sins will find you out, cha-ching.
Monday, October 21
Standard stuff for evil--pain and suffering ignored, the sick treated in unsanitary conditions, while meeting and memorializing oppresive dictators and receiving million dollar gifts from convicted felons. Sounds like typical fare one of the top ten evil, right?
But for one of the top ten good? Of all time? Soon to be a Saint, Mother Teresa...
Yes, it's old news to some of us, but with her sainthood approaching soon, it's still worth considering.
Sunday, October 20
...growing sales of Provigil are also raising questions about the company's promotion of the drug and about society's use of it. Already, some doctors say, Provigil is showing signs of becoming a lifestyle drug for a sleep-deprived 24/7 society, used by people who need to pull all-nighters for work or school or who just want to sleep less so they can work or play more. (Login required; user name: opensewer; password: iswatching.)
Uh, mmm hmm. This can't be all that good.
Friday, October 18
Thursday, October 17
Wednesday, October 16
Friday, October 11
Thursday, October 10
Monday, October 7
Saturday, October 5
Thursday, October 3
Wednesday, October 2
So America prepares itself for war...by cheating?
Tuesday, October 1
Monday, September 30
Friday, September 27
The most affluent fifth of the population received half of all household income last year, up from 45 percent in 1985. The poorest fifth received 3.5 percent of total household income, down from 4 percent in 1985. Average income for the top 5 percent of households rose by $1,000 last year, to $260,464, but the average declined or stayed about the same for most other income brackets.
Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research institute, said, "The census data show that income inequality either set a record in 2001 or tied for the highest level on record." (NYT: user name: opensewer; password: iswatching.)
Thursday, September 26
Wednesday, September 25
--Franklin D. Roosevelt on his Reelection Campaign, trying to get the Big City Ethnic Vote.
50 years or so ago, the Italians experienced extreme prejudice. Today, Italians are loved and emulated with restaurants like The Olive Garden ("Benvenuto! When You're Here, You're Family!") and Buca di Beppo ("A Smithsonian of Italiana!"). So all you Middle Eastern people out there don't you worry: in 50 years you'll have your own stereotypical restaurant and the Americans will love you just as much!
Tuesday, September 24
Monday, September 23
Saturday, September 21
Friday, September 20
-H.L. Menchken (1880-1956) American Writer
Thursday, September 19
Wednesday, September 18
Tuesday, September 17
- Christopher Reeve, Blaming the Catholic Church and President Bush for Research Obstruction
I miss a lot more than the Huletts.
The cables singing over my head, pellets raining down on my hardhat.
Crunching taconite under squealing wheels.
The haulage cable rising up as the grip locks. Walking them down the line.
Drifting into the next spot.
Watching the carp chasing the minnows as the snubs tighten.
Having money in the bank.
Unfettered American manhood.
Albert Cincerelli seventy-two years old working with broken ribs.
Slamming one load and five empties into three loads to get 'em going with the larry car dumping on the fly.
Hot July nights.
Cold November mornings and Steve Massi - with shirt open half way.
Red waterfalls in the January snow - flushing rivets.
Screeching spring seagulls.
Andy "Rats" Roskovitch in the morning.
Lyons and Sulin. John Palo.
Franko Perry getting the cars moving when nobody else could - one arm ballet.
Uncle Joe Barbato's hands after gripping his whole career.
War stories from the veterans.
Good days pardner - make no mistake.
Never had better work - never made better money.
Monday, September 16
Nelson Mandela on the United States. Ouch, but so true.
Friday, September 13
Thursday, September 12
Ari Fleischer, Shrub's spokeperson. And don't forget his other warning soon after 9/11/1: Watch what you say.
The Village Voice's Alisa Solomon writes an incredible article, What We Lost In The Fire, about Shrub's assault on the Constitution. Read it all here.
Wednesday, September 11
Tuesday, September 10
Sunday, September 8
Saturday, September 7
Friday, September 6
Thursday, September 5
Yeah, right, Colin. That's such a load considering it is reported that he spent more time at the Earth Summit talking about Iraq than the environment.
Wednesday, September 4
Tuesday, September 3
Ladies and gentleman, our president.
Monday, September 2
Friday, August 30
I hate the war on terror. Hate it. Just like I hate the war on drugs. We have not caught them, we have not stopped them, we have only taken our own freedoms, our own lives. If, as Bush said, the war on terror will go on forever, then we will never win. Nay, we have already lost. If we are not fighting for freedom, what are we fighting for? Our masters. We are letting this happen, we are the idiots, we are the damned, we are America and we suck right now.
Thursday, August 29
Welcome to America, buddy. Learn the rules.
Wednesday, August 28
Tuesday, August 27
Saturday, August 24
Thursday, August 22
For about a year now, I've been doing something that I want to encourage all of you to do as well: wait for the person behind the counter (whatever counter that may be) to ask, "May I help you?" Over the course of the past, say, ten years, this polite and once ubiquitous custom seems to have gradually disappeared. But it shouldn't disappear--we're all still humans, aren't we? We still need to relate ourselves to one another, right? So I have resolved to not place my order (etc.) until I am asked.
This decision has, at times, resulted in long, nervous, awkward periods of silence--situations in which the person behind the counter and me stare at each other in an intense battle of will. It has also resulted in disdain from both the service worker and the other customers in line. But I don't care--I'm trying to make a point. Besides, it's fun dammit.
One thing to remember when you do this is that even though you're "fighting" something that's wrong, you should always remain polite. Being mean defeats the purpose. So, try this little social protest for yourself. You'll walk away with a wonderful sense of victory and tingly feeling of righteous indignation.
Wednesday, August 21
Tuesday, August 20
Monday, August 19
Sunday, August 18
Thursday, August 15
Tuesday, August 13
...sentimentality is an excess, a distortion of sentiment usually in the direction of over-emphasis on innocence and that innocence whenever it is over-emphasized in the ordinary human condition, tends by some natural law to become its opposite. --Flannery O’Connor
No, it's not.
Monday, August 12
So on that front, it was a good article. However, I found myself disgusted by the shameless reference (read: plug) of the recent mediocre film, “Signs.” Belkin seemed to just force it into the seventh paragraph, and it looks suspiciously like someone paid her (or her editor) to do it. If that sentence hadn’t been in the article, it would have been a clip-n-save for me—but now it’s going straight into the trash. Like our own Josh mentioned here a couple of weeks ago, guerilla marketing is increasing in frequency, and it’s despicable. This growing trend makes critical thinking skills more important than ever, but unfortunately those skills seems to be increasingly rare among our compliant, starry-eyed, media-adoring youth.
Incidentally, why is the media pushing “Signs,” a lukewarm film by any standard, and its young director, M. Night Whatever, so hard recently? Is quality of work making the star director here, or hidden money and cronyism?
Friday, August 9
Thursday, August 8
Yep, they are.
Wednesday, August 7
Tuesday, August 6
Thursday, August 1
The next day you meet one of your friends for breakfast. While you're eating, they begin to tell you about a person they met last night at a bar - a completely different bar on the other side of town. This person intrigued your friend because they seemed interesting, but what was really interesting was that they had the most high tech phone with a bright color display that even took pictures.
Surprise! You've just become a part of Sony Ericsson's new marketing campaign! Welcome to the future: where marketing reaches a new level of deception.
Wednesday, July 31
We're probably not going to see the end of the SUV any time soon and in truth, to the extent that new models are created that do not harm the environment and do not present a threat to public safety (wishful thinking), let them be. That said, I do have hope for one thing: Perhaps the death of the most excessive SUV is a sign that the chasm between "what's good for the environment" and "what the market wants" will become narrower in the future. Every citizen of the world has to hope that in the very long run, what we want and what is good for us will become one in the same.
Tuesday, July 30
Monday, July 29
When studies last year showed that the share of the nation's children living in single-parent households had declined in the late 1990's, many welcomed the results as signs that the 1996 welfare overhaul was working.
But new research underscores a smaller, unwelcome trend: a rising share of children, particularly black children in cities, are turning up in no-parent households, left with relatives, friends or foster families without either their mother or their father. (Username: opensewer; password: iswatching.)
Sunday, July 28
Thursday, July 25
The perception of the child as a consumer is clearly more dominant than it was a few decades ago. A relatively innocuous example is the familiar 'tie-in,' the association of comics, sweets, toys, and so on with a new film or television serial; the Disney empire has developed this to an unprecedented pitch of professionalism.
And Welsch, too--my kind of guy.
Wednesday, July 24
Tuesday, July 23
Hard as it may be to believe in these days of infectious greed and sabers unsheathed, scientists have discovered that the small, brave act of cooperating with another person, of choosing trust over cynicism, generosity over selfishness, makes the brain light up with quiet joy.
Can it really be true? Is there hope for us yet? Read all about it here (login: opensewer; password: iswatching).