7.31.2007

Propaganda III


San Francisco's Start Soma Gallery is the launchpoint for Start Propaganda, a traveling exhibition of political art by some 300 international artists. Sometimes outrageous (beware the poster showing the severed head of a suicide bomber), occasionally poetic, it's a rather wonderful trip through the diverse world of free speech. Once the multi-city tour ends, the posters will be donated to the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Los Angeles. See the assembled artworks here.

Via Visual Resistance.

Model T beats Hummer in hill climb

A Model T speedster from 1921 beat a 2003 Hummer H2 in a hill-climb smackdown in Indiana recently. The old Ford, modified to have a 100hp engine, topped the 475-foot hill faster than the 316hp Hummer. Why? The heavy-ass Hummer weighs twice as much per unit of power, reports Forbes.

And Consumerist writes that Honda has developed a non-hybrid Accord that gets over 62 miles per gallon. The cars, which use a new generation of diesel engines, should be available for purchase in the US by 2010.

7.27.2007

Headline: "Guess Who Didn't Go to Iraq"

This image and headline ran on the front page of today's edition of The Times of India. Newseum, which catalogues daily covers from 580 international sources, confirms it's not Photoshopped. Here's the full-page view.

IronyWatch: Solar Parking Structure

There is a certain irony to a city trumpeting it's built America's first LEED-certified, solar-powered parking facility for 882 cars, and James Howard Kunstler is just the guy to point it out. Of Santa Monica's "sustainable" parking garage, he writes:
Apparently nobody informed these idiots that happy motoring is not a sustainable activity, and neither is the parking that necessarily attends it. This is apart from the sheer appalling monumental ugliness of the building. The official PR handout is a prime example of how America is blowing green smoke up its own ass.
The release says the solar panels will pay for themselves in 17 years. JHK's reply: "Ground control to Santa Monica: in 17 years the automobile age will be over."

They're back...

Over at the Walker we produced a new batch of our "Think about honking if you [heart] conceptual art" bumperstickers. Perfect for your beater pickup truck or bicycle. And we're giving a few away to commenters. Go here to see how you can get one.

Harptallica

Metallica's "Fade to Black," "The Unforgiven," "Master of Puppets," "...And Justice for All"... all performed on two harps.

7.26.2007

The Making of Hirst's Skull

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Greg Allen finds a surprisingly under-visited Flickr set showing the making of Damien Hirst's headline-grabbing, diamond-encrusted skull. The piece, For the Love of God (2007), is expected to sell for around $100 million -- but, so far, hasn't. For more images, see Supertouch.

Monbiot: Ethical Consumption is a new status symbol

George Monbiot, excerpted:

Last week the Telegraph told its readers not to abandon the fight to save the planet. "There is still hope, and the middle classes, with their composters and eco-gadgets, will be leading the way." It made some helpful suggestions, such as a "hydrogen-powered model racing car", which, for £74.99, comes with a solar panel, an electrolyser and a fuel cell. God knows what rare metals and energy-intensive processes were used to manufacture it. In the name of environmental consciousness, we have simply created new opportunities for surplus capital.

Ethical shopping is in danger of becoming another signifier of social status. I have met people who have bought solar panels and wind turbines before they have insulated their lofts, partly because they love gadgets but partly, I suspect, because everyone can then see how conscientious and how rich they are. We are often told that buying such products encourages us to think more widely about environmental challenges, but it is just as likely to be depoliticising. Green consumerism is another form of atomisation - a substitute for collective action. No political challenge can be met by shopping.

The middle classes rebrand their lives, congratulate themselves on going green, and carry on buying and flying as much as before. It is easy to picture a situation in which the whole world religiously buys green products and its carbon emissions continue to soar.

7.25.2007

Bush, decoded.

In Charleston, South Carolina, today, George W. Bush gave a speech on the "War on Terror." This guy highlighted the important bits: only the mentions of Iraq, al-Qaeda, 9/11, and Osama bin Laden. Starting to see a pattern, are we?

Cyclist tasered for riding bike at MSP airport

The Minneapolis-St. Paul airport is accessible by train, which allow bikes, and from the Bloomington side via a bike route. But the main entry was built without bike lanes. Interesting how car-centric design is somehow seen as the fault of the cyclist (who may have acted like a jerk, as police contend):
New bicycle racks have been ordered for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, but here's the catch:

It's illegal to ride your bike to or from the Lindbergh terminal.

Stephan Orsak, a professional violinist from Mahtomedi, found that out last September. The cyclist's confrontation with two airport police officers culminated with a Taser blast and propelled him into a jury trial that ended last week.

Orsak, 50, sees his arrest as an attack on his civil liberties.

Orsak faced six misdemeanor charges ranging from obstructing legal process to failing to obey a traffic control signal. The traffic signal count was dropped, and on Friday a jury acquitted him of all but one count of failing to obey a lawful order from an officer, according to court records.

[...]

Orsak had returned home to the Twin Cities from California, unfolded his 21-pound bicycle and was pedaling along an airport road when two officers told him to stop.

The criminal complaint describes Orsak as using foul language and says he ignored police instructions before he was zapped with the Taser. Orsak says the behavior that got him into trouble was asking questions of officers about the airport's rules about bikes... Allowing bikes on the terminal's roads would be unsafe because of traffic merging from both sides and drivers looking up to read signs, Hogan said. And the main road dumps traffic out onto a stretch of Hwy. 5 that's a freeway.

[...]

Hogan says the airport doesn't really have any plans to change its bike access. The airport is out of room, he said, and "we have not had demand" for bicycle facilities. He noted that the airport used to have bike racks years ago but took them out because of lack of use.

After airport security chopped up a bicycle that was left chained inside a terminal last year, the airport will install new bike racks next month. The one at the Lindbergh terminal will be placed at the transit center, where the light-rail entrance and bus stops are. Hogan encouraged bike riders to bike to the most convenient stop on the light-rail line and take the train the rest of the way.

The Humphrey terminal is accessible by city streets via Bloomington, so it can be reached on bike, and when the light-rail station at Humphrey reopens in September, bicyclists could ride from there to the Lindbergh terminal. Rail service between the two terminals is free.

Bicycling advocates would like to see a better connection.

"There are very few airports that are not bicycle-friendly, and this is one of them," says Steve Clark, who works for Transit for Livable Communities. "There's always a way" to give bikes access, he said -- a restriping of roadways, for example, to make inside lanes narrower and the curb lane wider.

In Denver, where the airport is 23 miles from downtown, bike lanes run along a freeway linking the city to the terminal, said Chuck Cannon, an airport spokesman...

YouTube back up in Thailand

Shut down since April 3, YouTube in Thailand is back up and running, according to Myo Kyaw Htun. Government censors blocked access after videos likening the revered Thai king to a monkey appeared, a crime under Thai law. Boingboing writes that "part of the reason for the 'unblocking' is that YouTube offered to help the government block access to specific video clips considered offensive to the nation's monarch, Bhumibol Adulyadej. This way, the logic goes, Thailand's internet censors would not be compelled to block the entire YouTube domain."

7.24.2007

Bill Moyers interviews The Yes Men.

More on The Yes Men.

Gettywood

The images Bill Gates' Corbis doesn't own, oil-and-art magnate Getty probably does. This image posted by Joel Holmberg shows a possible future...

Poem for Kimiko Nezu

Thanks to Mark Gregory who wrote in to remind me about Kimiko Nezu, a Japanese school teacher who has been repeatedly punished through transfers and pay cuts for refusing to carry out the Tokyo School Board's 2003 edict that everyone must stand while the anthem "Kimagayo" is played. A pacifist, Nezu says she'll never show such respect for the song -- which became the national anthem in '99 and calls for the "eternal reign" of the emperor -- because it was played as the Imperial Army invaded Asia.

Since she came to the notice of the larger world in 2005 -- when she said she feared the "pacifists, the people who oppose nationalism in Japan [...] are gradually being silenced" -- I haven't heard of her. Does she still have a job? Is she still resisting?

One recent mention is a poem in her honor by Munihiko Ichino, translated by Tetsuro Tanaka, that's been added to the Union Song archives, excerpted here:
Order. Admonishment.
Threat. Sneer.
Blame. Ignore.

They fall in mountains on her.
But she's never frightened.
And she says "I'm a teacher.
I will never help destroy education even if they admonish me all they can"
You will remember a person standing in front of the gate
Facing the strongest power with a tender smile.

Mac Attack: Jobs fan rams NZ church in car

In New Zealand:

A 58-year-old woman is in an Auckland hospital with "life threatening" injuries after being hit by car as she left the city's Methodist Mission Church, 3 News reports.

The driver of the vehicle reportedly "deliberately drove" at the church after jumping several red lights at speed, narrowly missing several pedestrians. Witnesses report seeing the car approaching from a distance of half a kilometre on the wrong side of the road before accelerating towards its target.

[...]

The driver was "injured but conscious", and as police attempted to extricate him from his motor, he "clutched his laptop computer and screamed the name of Apple's CEO Steve Jobs". A fireman later told 3 News "he believed the man had a mental illness".

Catvac.

The story's actually kinda nice -- about this boy who's been volunteering at a veterinary clinic for four years -- but this award-winning shot of an anaesthetized cat by the Philadelphia Inquirer's La Shinda Clark is unnerving. Maybe because it's because the accompanying story was about spaying and neutering (note: that is not a neutering in progress).

7.20.2007

A typeface does not a presidential candidate make

When Design Observer's Michael Bierut was asked by Newsweek to critique bumperstickers of presidential campaigns, everything was fine -- until Jesse Ventura seemed to jump into the race. Writer Laura Bans twice misheard Bierut's reference to the typeface Futura, but Bierut's description almost seems to fit The Body himself: "Rudy [Giuliani]'s logo is like a brick wall. It uses an extra bold sans serif font, Ventura, and the design is squared off perfectly."


While Jesse Ventura hasn't said anything about running, some of his fans have started a draft-Ventura petition. Voters 4 Ventura already has over 300 signatures.

7.18.2007

So long, Sekou...

What if we were Life

Or Liberty

Or the Pursuit of something new?

Between the rocks below

and the stars above

What if we were composed by Love?



And what if we could show

that what we dream

is deeper than what we know?

Suppose if something does not live

in the world

that we long to see

then we make it ourselves

as we want it to be



What if we are Life

Or Liberty

and the Pursuit of something new?



And suppose the beautiful answer

asks the more beautiful question,



Why don't we get our hopes up too high?

What don't we get our hopes up to high?

High!

This passage is from the 51st dream state, a music-theater-spoken word performance by Sekou Sundiata, the poet, writer, and educator who passed away this morning from heart failure at age 58. I sat in on an interview with Sekou (and choreographer Bill T. Jones) for the premiere of his piece at the Walker and found myself inspired by his mix of political engagement, humor, aesthetic rigor, and love for the Enlightenment ideals -- seemingly threatened in times like these -- that have made America great. His death is a big loss for art, and I send blessings to his family.

Sekou was diagnosed with kidney disease in 1995 and had a successful transplant, about which he made the work blessing the boats. Appropriately, donations in memory of Sekou may be made to the National Kidney Foundation at 30 E. 33rd Street, Suite 1100, New York NY 10016

7.17.2007

What Michael Moore should've said.

The dustup between Michael Moore and CNN's medical expert, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, included Gupta's critique about so-called "free" healthcare systems in places like France and Cuba. "To just say to someone who doesn't have a sophisticated understanding of exactly how health care works that it's free is simply not true," Gupta said. Moore stuck by his belief that, despite taxpayer funding, those systems are free.

What he should've said?

"Their healthcare is free the way our Iraq War is free."

Yes, we pay, but we're not constantly reminded we're paying.

In war, we should have a more direct connection to the realities of what we're underwriting. In healthcare, perhaps it's fine to just know it's there when we need it.

7.16.2007

Uber Ducky

One of the works installed as part of the 2007 Loire Estuary exhibition of art along one of France's most esteemed rivers is this gigantic inflatable rubber ducky by Florentijn Hofman. Thirty artists, including Atelier van Lieshout, Minerva Cuevas, Anish Kapoor, Erwin Wurm and others, have installed works along a 40-mile stretch of the river. Via Wooster.

Feingold: Bigger problems than impeachment

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI):
It is clear that there are many people in this country, including myself, who demand accountability from this Administration for the terrible mess it made in Iraq and its egregious and even illegal power grabs throughout its six-plus years in power. I believe that the President and Vice President may well have committed impeachable offenses. But with so many important issues facing this country and so much work to be done, I am concerned about the great deal of time multiple impeachment trials would take away from the Congress working on the problems of the country. The time it would take for the House to consider articles of impeachment, and for the Senate to conduct multiple trials, would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for Congress to do what it was elected to do – end the war and address some of the other terrible mistakes this Administration has made over the past six and a half years.

7.13.2007

Scandal-prone "Democrats"

Remember Mark Foley, the Republican congressman who resigned after his sexually explicit text messages to underaged, male congressional pages were revealed to the media? When Fox News reported on the story, it three times referred to Foley as a Democrat.With the "D.C. Madam" sex scandal, it seems like deja vu all over again. MSNBC is identifying David Vitter, the Republican senator who resigned after his phone number was revealed on accused brothel owner Deborah Jean Palfrey's phonebill, as a Democrat.

Blu's Evolution

Check out this amazing panorama of the march of, ahem, progress, installed in London by Blu (last blogged about here).

Thanks, Kate.

7.12.2007

Bush on Plame leaker: No big whoop

Three years ago, George Bush talked tough about whoever leaked the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of," he said. Many of us thought that meant the leaker would be, you know, fired. Instead, the perp, Scooter Libby, was "taken care of" in the best sense of the term: his sentence was commuted by Bush.

Today, Bush offers little more than a shrug of the shoulders in admitting that "somebody" on his staff outed a covert agent:
"I'm aware of the fact that perhaps somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person," Bush said. "I've often thought about what would have happened if that person had come forth and said, 'I did it.' Would we have had this endless hours of investigation and a lot of money being spent on this matter? But, so, it's been a tough issue for a lot of people in the White House. It's run its course and now we're going to move on."

AZ lawmakers try to ban antiwar t-shirt

PHOENIX -- State lawmakers voted Monday to enact new laws designed to stop the sale of anti-war T-shirts with the names of dead soldiers -- a measure a veteran media lawyer says is "unconstitutional about three or four different ways."
On a 28-0 margin, the Senate agreed to make it punishable by up to a year in jail to use the names of deceased soldiers to help sell goods. The measure, SB 1014, also would let families go to court to stop the sales and collect damages.

Dan Frazier, a Flagstaff businessman who is selling the T-shirts that have caused all the fuss, told Capitol Media Services he doesn't intend to halt the sale of the $20 shirts even if Gov. Janet Napolitano signs the measure. He said it's an illegal infringement on his First Amendment rights.

Rep. Jonathan Paton, R-Tucson, a backer of the measure, doesn't see it that way. He said because Frazier is selling his shirts for a profit means it is not constitutionally protected political speech.

But attorney Dan Barr said the question of whether someone makes money is legally irrelevant. "The fact that these people died in Iraq is nothing more than a fact," Barr said. And he said listing their names on a T-shirt -- whether sold or given away -- doesn't change that....

7.11.2007

Sky-pography & Toypography

Look up to see this typeface, created by buildings jutting into the sky. Also interesting is Toypography, a toy/typeface by Dainippon Type Organization that can be reconfigured to make the same expression in both English and Japanese.

7.10.2007

Guerrilla flowerboxes


Street artist Posterchild takes on guerilla gardening in this project, in which flowerboxes filled with celosia plants were erected on telephone poles around Kensington Market in Toronto.

Republican marriage defender admits ties to "DC madam"

A Republican senator who campaigned to "protect the sanctity of marriage" and complained that the "Hollywood left is redefining the most basic institution in human history" now admits his number was in the phone records revealed by the so-called "DC madam." Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) apparently used Deborah Jeane Palfrey's escort service, which is under investigation as a front for prostitution.

"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible," said Vitter, who co-authored the "Federal Marriage Act," which sought to prevent same-sex marriages. "Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there-with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way."

7.09.2007

Par Ridder, Blogger?

Par Ridder's favorite film is "Point Break."

Or so says the profile at Par Excellence, a satirical blog written from the Star Tribune publisher's perspective.

The anonymously authored site features the words of "Par," whose writing voice is half clueless optimist, half sans-a-frat fratboy. "Yeah, Calhoun isn't top notch," he writes in a post about Vita.mn's reporting on a swimsuit show it sponsored at Calhoun Beach Club. "But still, hanging out by a pool and getting front row seats to watch swimsuit models kicks ass." In another, titled "Ganging up on me," he writes that if anybody -- including recent Ridder critics Brian Lambert of The Rake or KSTP's Ron Rosenbaum -- "think[s] I got my new job as publisher just because my parents are close to Avista, you're wrong."

And another cites Minnesota Monitor's reporting on Ridder's apparent purchase of the $2.76 million house once owned by former KARE-11 anchor Paul Magers. "It was Magers that added the golf simulator, not me," complains "Ridder."

With a more serious tone is the new website SavetheStrib.com. Run by the Star Tribune's unit of the Minnesota Newspaper Guild, the site features the tagline, "Preserving the role of the Star Tribune in our communitiy." Currently, little more than a home page, it'll eventually have news and bulletins sections. The home page features a statement, signed by Star Tribune employees and readers, decrying the cuts to the newsroom staff, the death of the paper's philanthropic foundation, and shrinking news holes for national and international news.

It seems to suggest a shift in strategy: don't mourn the loss of newsroom jobs; worry about the effect the cuts will mean for all of us -- the community (a word that appears eight times on the home page).

Before encouraging visitors to urge Avista to "make a new commitment to once again make the Star Tribune the great newspaper this community deserves," the site makes a prediction:
We recognize that this is a difficult time for newspapers. But we also believe that the current strategy of deep cuts will accelerate circulation declines and the downward spiral in the newspaper's revenue. It also erodes the checks and balances that a strong newspaper provides the public and our democracy.

After his 5th call-up reservist sues Army

Erik Botta, a first-generation immigrant to the US, signed up to defend his adopted country after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. He was sent to Afghanistan as a reservist. After he came home, he was shipped off to Iraq as part of a special ops team. He was later deployed to Iraq a third time and then a fourth. But, now a sergeant, he's had enough: he's suing the Army to either prevent or delay a fifth deployment.

Branding Terrorists

Ironic Sans offers an interesting and somehow disturbing look into the branding of terrorist organizations. Who designs their logos? Is the point to strike fear or be memorable or both? David clarifies that he's not trying to glorify these organizations or make light of the devastation they wreak. He writes:
Terrorist groups, like any organization, need brand identities. With so many groups claiming credit for terrorist acts, and so many videotapes being put out featuring men in ski masks, it’s hard to keep track of which group committed what violent act. So terrorist organizations have logos. It recently occurred to me that someone had to actually design those logos. But how did they decide who gets to do it? Did the job go to whichever terrorist had a copy of Adobe Illustrator?

7.08.2007

Halliburton not "named and shamed" in SEC terror list

The US Securities and Exchange Commission, writes the BCC, is out to "name and shame" companies that are doing business with "state sponsors of terror," as identified by the Secretary of State. A "terror list" on its website features names of firms who listed business dealings with Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria in their 2006 annual reports.

Some groups are displeased, like the oil firm Baker Hughes, which makes the list even though it says it stopped doing business with Sudan two years ago. A glaring omission: Halliburton, Dick Cheney's old company, has for years done business with Iran through an off-shore subsidiary it set up in the Cayman Islands. It ceased operations in Iran in April 2007.

7.07.2007

Return to sender

In the six years I've been working on my Signifier, signed... project, I've mailed letters to more than 400 celebrities. Of those, around 70 have complied with my weird autograph request -- that they sign my name instead of their own. Another two dozen offered signatures when I met them in person, at book signings or concerts, lectures or art openings. The hard part of this project, as any real autograph collector knows, is finding legitimate addresses for celebs: Actors change agents frequently, post office forwarding orders expire, elderly starlets wanting a little peace (I'm talking about you, Shirley Temple) return unopened letters emblazoned with text indicating as much.

In looking over stacks of returned request letters, I noticed slight variations in the return-to-sender rubber stamps. How'd the pointing finger become the universal symbol for this? Isn't it a tad rude? I may be reading too much into it -- it's just an administrative stamp applied ad tedium by civil servants -- but in certain instances the accusatory finger seems fitting. A letter sent to Woody Allen came back neurotically marked up with triple fingers, deeply indented hashmarks, and (in case I missed the point) an all-caps notice that the forwarding order had EXPIRED. Another intended for Mr. T. came back unopened. His "I pity the foo'!" catchphrase was always delivered down the barrel of an outstretched index finger.

7.06.2007

Fox anchor: Nothing wrong with the "N-word"

From Philly.com:
FOX 29 anchor/reporter Tom Burlington has been suspended by the station follow-ing what sources describe as a "bizarre" and "shocking" sermon in which he insisted there's nothing wrong with a word most commonly referred to as "the N-word."

Burlington, according to colleagues, used the word more than a dozen times as he argued that doing so was not such a big deal.

The word wasn't directed at anyone, so colleagues were hestitant to label his remarks as racist, instead pointing toward Burlington's insensitivity and apparent lack of common sense.

Sources tell us that Burlington, who joined Fox 29 in 2004 and previously worked at NBC-10, offended staffers of all races with his remarks, and didn't know when to shut up, even after colleagues politely suggested he cool it. His comments took place in a news meeting after a discussion of a story about the NAACP Philadelphia Youth Council, which had held a mock funeral for the N-word at Dobbins High last Saturday.

Burlington argued that it was irresponsible to report about the word without using the word itself. Both the Daily News and the Inqwaster used the word in their stories on the issue.

A Fox 29 spokeswoman confirmed that Burlington had been suspended, but it would not comment on the reason for the suspension, or how long it would last. Burlington did not return messages we left on his work and cell phones Tuesday and yesterday.

Via MediaChannel.

Hulk Dog

Yow. From the Victoria, Canada, Times-Colonist:

People mistake her for a pitbull with a pinhead, but Wendy the whippet is one rare breed.

So rare that the Central Saanich dog recently graced the New York Times. She also had several of her photos shown on The Today Show, all because of a rare genetic mutation that has led to her being the Incredible Hulk of dogs...

...Wendy was recently part of a genetics study done in the U.S. on mutation in the myostatin gene in whippets, which resemble greyhounds in appearance. The National Institute of Health study reported that whippets with one single defective copy of the gene have increased muscle mass that can enhance racing performance in the breed, known for speeds up to 60 kilometres an hour.

But whippets with two mutated copies of the gene become "double-muscled," like Wendy. It has been seen before in one human, and also in mice, cattle and sheep, says the study.

Scientific Americans? Not so much.

While scientific literacy has doubled over the last 20 years, the vast majority of Americans -- the ones mobilizing and voting around issues like abortion, global warming, and stem cell research -- "don't have a clue," says Dr. Jon D. Miller of Northwestern University. A New York Times profile on Miller, who for three decades has surveyed Americans on their attitudes about and knowledge of science, reveals the startling gap in knowledge between what the Times calls the scientific haves and have-nots. For instance:

• Less than a third of Americans can "identify DNA as a key to heredity."

• Approximately one in ten know what radiation is.

• "One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century."

Health Insurance Co's response to SiCKO

Michael Moore was leaked an internal memo by Barclay Fitzpatrick, the VP of Corporate Communications at Capital BlueCross. Complete with audience reactions and talking points to counter claims in the film, the memo gives a good glimpse into how healthcare execs think and how dangerous they seem to think this film is.

"You would have to be dead to be unaffected by Moore's movie," he writes, later saying that SiCKO leaves audiences "ashamed to be...a capitalist, and part of a 'me' society instead of a 'we' society."

He's also concerned that, as the "market leader," Blue Cross will be affected by this film:
As a health care industry educated viewer it is easy to pick out where Moore is cultivating misperceptions to further a political agenda, but you will also recognize that 80%+ of the audience will have their perceptions substantially affected. In demonstration of its impact, an informal discussion group ensued outside the theatre after the movie. While some people recognized how one-sided the presentation was, most were incredulous and "I didn't know they (the insurers) did that!" was a common exclamation followed by a discussion of the example.

7.05.2007

Tagged: The Musical Skeletons Meme

I'm so not cool. That's what you'll learn in the next few minutes, thanks to Taylor tagging me with the "What are the biggest musical skeletons in your closet?" meme. My closet rattles, man.

Skeleton #1: I once said (truthfully), "I listened to The Gin Blossoms before they were popular."

I probably said the same thing about the Dave Matthews Band.





Skeleton #2: In 7th grade, I lip-synched the song "Heavens On Fire" as a member of a mute, faux version of Animalize-era KISS in the St. Francis Cabrini Middle School gym. I cut the sleeves of a baseball shirt the long way to create a flouncy, Dee Snyderesque look while simultaneously unleashing my 13-year old pipes (that's biceps, ladies). I wore white Levi's, bleached in a 5-gallon white plastic pickle bucket in the garage. Using a permanent marker, I drew zebra stripes all over the pants. Stinky. To cap it off, I used as a prop the electric guitar I'd yet to learn to play -- a replica (read: knock-off) of Eddie Van Halen's red and white striped guitar. The nuns? Nonplussed.

Skeleton #3: I sang a White Lion song at a high school talent show, solo.

And I wore a pink sweater and acid-washed gray Levi's while I did it.

I Tag: Mark, André, Chuck, Hans, and Justin.

7.04.2007

Rev. Billy arrested for reciting 1st Amendment

While I haven't dug into the details -- and there's probably a bit more to the story -- it does seem ironic that culturejamming anti-consumerist preacher Rev. Billy was arrested in Times Square for reciting the First Amendment. According to Laughing Squid, his performance, part of a Critical Mass bike ride, was deemed "Harassment of a Public Official" by the NYPD.

Blu's Backjump Mural


Artist Blu created this amazing (and evolving) wall piece -- here, looped twice -- for Backjump #3, apparently an exhibition at Berlin's Künstlerhaus Bethanian.