Sunday, March 31

So, this fine warm day we're happy to present three best-quality products for your intellectual stimulation: New poetry from Philip Vassallo, The Cult of Jared by Robert Stribley, and, as noted below, strange photography from Nick Dunfey. Please share and enjoy with your loved ones.
One of our favorite benefits of running Opensewer is having the ability to give exposure to young, less established artists, right alongside those with years of experience and exhibitions. So we present…

Photographer Nick Dunfey’s strange interpretations of ancient and classical themes ignore the traditional sense of beauty, and instead focus on the sinister undercurrents that lie beneath the surface.

Friday, March 29

Why is the United States providing reassurances to Saudi when the U.S. can't even control Sharon? Why isn't the international community getting involved here?

...Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah told Reuters that he had received assurances from the United States that Arafat won’t be harmed...

Oh wait, there's more:

...NBC’s Fred Francis reported that the so-far muted response from the United States suggests that the White House had been aware of Israel plans...

In conjunction with our recent post about Michael Moore's problems with publishing his book, I offer you a reminder-list of Banned Books due to censorship, some of which have included the Bible, Lysistrata, The Canterbury Tales, and Little Black Sambo.

Thursday, March 28

Another great link from John Alston: Deadmalls.com.

Despite typos, this is a pretty interesting site. Make sure you visit Dead Mall Features and look at all the photos.

Wednesday, March 27

This is a fascinating story because it shows what a free society does when confronted with a crisis. Do we maintain our sense of freedom and liberty and dissent and open discussion of the issues? Or do we start putting the clamp down? ... I'm really proud of this book, and I'm dying for it to get out there.

Michael Moore, on his publisher's insistance that he rewrite his new book, Stupid White Men and Other Excuses for the State of the Nation, to be less critical of President Bush. Story here.

And following up on Megan's post on Monday about music copyright, here's an excellent article about the future of music distribution. (NY Times article; username: opensewer; password: iswatching; via Rebecca Blood)
Following-up my post on Monday about the Thomas Kinkade-inspired housing subdivision, here is a very well-written book review from Salon (2 years ago) that encapsulates many of the key issues in the debate over suburbia. On one hand, suburbia is a condition within which 90% of America (happily?) lives. On the other, it is a reprehensible urban form that uses too much land and fails to promote community and civic involvement. The two books, "Suburban Nation" and "Picture Windows" offer, respectively, practical and ideal critiques of the suburban landscape. The divergence of the critiques represents the inherent tension that exists for those (myself included) seeking long-term solutions to the societal problems caused by suburbia: Progressive developers and planners "ask what can be done, given the realities of the marketplace, and the academics ask what ought to be done, even if it's impossible."

Tuesday, March 26

Not sure of my feelings for Charlotte Allen's article about manhood being back in fashion. Seems like everything is different now due to 9-11. Is this a good thing - for men, for women, for all of us? With all the strides taken, all the progress, will 9-11 serve as a set-back rather than a push forward for humankind?

Monday, March 25

I'm not a thief. I'm a customer. When you treat me like a thief, I won't be your customer.

via boing boing
Phun Facts: The triangular shape of the Flatiron Building (an early skyscraper on 23rd Street in Manhattan) produced wind currents that made women’s skirts billow and caused police to create the term ’23 skiddoo’ to shoo gapers from the area.
Oh. My. God. Ticky-tacky houses from "The Painter of Light™" (thanks to Thomas Otto in Cornell's City and Regional Planning Department for the link).
Truth in advertising, especially for our recent Guest Book Entry #109. (3.7 MB Quicktime movie; link courtesy of John Alston.)

Sunday, March 24

In case you're wondering why we were so quiet this weekend, Rosie and I were enjoying a nice mini-vacation in Montreal. We had a very nice time, thank-you, and "business" will resume on Monday. (Jean and Sylvain, thanks for your wonderful hospitality!)

Wednesday, March 20

The Bush Administration is pushing for federal measures to shrink endangered species habitats. (username: opensewer; password: iswatching)

"Is the cost to society at large greater than the potential benefit to the species?" asked David Smith, general counsel of the Building Industry Association of Southern California. "That's what the government is supposed to consider."

And that's what we are supposed to decide.

Tuesday, March 19

Past education secretary and self-proclaimed virtues-czar William Bennett's greatest fear: Professional and amateur critics of America finding their voice. Story.
Ahhh, The Oscars. Now, the editors at Alternet present you with the The Keanus, awards which are named after Keanu Reeves in honor of the next "Actor Most Able to Make Bad Movie After Bad Movie, with Little Real Acting Skill in Evidence, and Yet Emerge Unscathed and Well-Loved." Cast yer vote now!

Thanks to John Alston for the link.

Monday, March 18

Last November, Phillip Morris proposed to change it's name to Altria. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey C. Bible told employees the change is being proposed for two reasons: clarity and evolution. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids points out the third reason with this short movie, however melodramatic it might be. (via Signal vs. Noise)
Two very different tones from articles outlining VP Cheney's Middle East trip, one from The Independent and the other from MSNBC.

Sunday, March 17

Artist J. Phillip White’s bizarre, meticulous and often humorous photomontages draw on inspiration from the surrealists to illustrate and critique man’s inhumanity to man.
On the sidewalks, encased in spotless plastic bags, the remains of yesterday’s Leonia await the garbage truck. Not only squeezed tubes of toothpaste, blown-out light bulbs, newspapers, containers, wrappings, but also boilers, encyclopedias, pianos, porcelain dinner services. It is not so much by the things that each day are manufactured, sold, bought that you can measure Leonia’s opulence, but rather by the things that each day are thrown out to make room for the new. So you begin to wonder if Leonia’s true passion is really, as they say, the enjoyment of new and different things, and not, instead, the joy of expelling, discarding, cleansing itself of a recurrent impurity.

—from Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, 1972.

Saturday, March 16

Low-income nations cannot solve their health problems without assistance. The World Health Organization’s Commission on Macroeconomics and Health estimates that annually between $30 and 40 per person is needed to cover “essential interventions” to minimize the impact of the greatest health threats to the world’s poorest nations. These include HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, childhood infectious diseases (many of which are preventable by vaccination), maternal and perinatal conditions, tobacco-related illnesses, and micronutrient deficiencies. Read the executive summary of the report—it’s less than 20 pages (PDF).

Currently, about $6 billion per year of donor financing is provided to the WHO from all nations. It is estimated that this needs to increase to $27 billion per year by 2007. To put things into perspective, please note that world citizens purchased $20 billion of Coca Cola products last year, $25 billion worth of Disney goods and services, and nearly $1 billion worth of Beanie Babies. (Link to full report here.)

Friday, March 15

It's official: Andersen indicted (PDF, via NYT). Here's the story. (NYTimes; user name: opensewer; password: iswatching.)

Wednesday, March 13

Be inspired.

Art is not a mirror to reflect reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.
- B. Brecht.

Adbusters
Undesign
Arts Journal
Rhizome

Tuesday, March 12

A sign of the times: Recycling is being reconsidered due to the numbers on the books--i.e., not profitable. It's another setback for America, starting with New York City. As an aside, here is an informative page on recycling efforts in Europe. (First article is in the NYTimes; login: opensewer; password: iswatching.)

Monday, March 11

What the hell, let's bash Bush again. Wake up, America: Six months later, are we getting to comfy and turning a blind eye as the Bush Adminisration recklessly changes everything? David Corn reports.
Following up on Josh's post, The Independent reports about the U.S.'s contingency plans for possible nuclear strikes, and describes the situations where nuclear strikes might be needed - one of the situations is, "...in the event of surprising military developments." Hmm. Here's the article.

Sunday, March 10

In recent months, when Bush administration officials talked about the implications of Sept. 11 for long-term military policy, they have often focused on "homeland defense" and the need for an anti-missile shield. In truth, what has evolved since last year's terror attacks is an integrated, significantly expanded planning doctrine for nuclear wars.

William M. Arkin of the LA Times provides a very disturbing commentary on previously secret nuclear plans.

Friday, March 8

Wednesday, March 6

Supporters of Intelligent Design Theory "accept that the earth is billions of years old but they dispute the idea that natural selection -- the force that Darwin suggested drove evolution -- is enough to explain the complexity of the Earth's plants and animals. That complexity, they say, must be the work of an intelligent designer." Critics such as Dr. Eugenie Scott respond (login: opensewer; iswatching) by describing it as "a repackaging of the antievolution movement to try to withstand court challenges by avoiding the C-word."

Bill Berkowitz discusses the politics surrounding this controversal theory.

Sunday, March 3

Artist Stafford Smith uses photography to increase our awareness of the depth of mass media's intrusion on our lives. He exploits the belief that the camera never lies to "document" events we can only hope are not real.
Artists may be interested to know that we've posted our "official" submission guidelines in the Art section of the website.