The Recently Discovered Religious Artwork Scandals

Art historians of my acquaintance recently received a request from a company called Silver Sword International for an expert to be interviewed in an upcoming documentary. Silver Sword International, it turns out, bills itself as "Merging Media with Morality." Looks to me like porno for the Christian right:

The satanic and sexual imagery that is being distributed by trusted organizations has caused the demand for expert analysis and education on the subject, which has affected a vast multitude of churches and millions of people.

The shocking images and deceptive techniques which were primarily aimed at children will be clearly identified, and include the investigations utilized to uncover the scandals, resulting in a must-see feature documentary.

Isn't it interesting how those who claim to be the guardians of traditional morality are always the ones most deeply entranced by the salacious.

P.S. This is as specific as they get. I suppose they don't want to reveal their shocking secrets. However, the website is vague enough that I wouldn't be sure a film was actually being produced at all, if phone contact had not been reported.



First genius, now this

We in the lexico-grammatical purist community wish to express dismay at a rampant new phenomenon: the use of "disperse" to mean "disburse." As in, "the funds will be dispersed on July 1." Shudder.

That is all.



Small creatures

Fate threw my next blog topic right in my path...literally. I sometimes wonder if, in fact, fate throws more injured creatures in my path than into those of others. Is it just that I notice hurt birds that everyone else would just walk by? Or are there more hurt birds in my vicinity?

Anyway, today's story is a sad one, and possibly a scary one. I was walking home from work when I saw a strange package, like a black plastic bag with something in it, blowing in the wind. Actually, first what I saw was a young woman standing looking at something. As I approach she began to walk away (deciding the package was now my problem? or ashamed to have cared?). I stopped to look; it was, in fact, a crow with one non-functional wing. It was on its back, spinning, skidding, and bobbing along, every once in a while managing to get up on its feet and then falling again. As I looked, the woman who'd started to walk away came back, and I left her with the crow as I went home to get the car in case the vet would take it. I'd called the vet and the person who answered the phone had to find out from someone else what to do, so she said she'd call me back. She did, with various other numbers to call.

My immediate assumption was that it had been hit by a car; I still think this is probably what happened. However, CROW + SICK/HURT in Illinois these days, it seems, means one thing and one thing only to people in the animal care business.


Now, I don't know how the various animal care institutions to which the vet referred me would have handled the situation. They were all closed -- it being 5pm. So I called "Animal Care and Control." Did you know you can reach them by dialing 311? Well, you can, in Chicago anyway.

I knew that calling Animal Control probably meant the end of the road for the poor creature that had trained its dark eye on me pleadingly (or so I imagined). I don't think I had much of a choice. Someone would have called them if I hadn't; and I wasn't about to bring the thing home (even taking all precautions, it would not have been a good idea, with three cats in the house). I'd walked home by that point, and as soon as I called I got in the car and drove back to where I'd found the crow. An Animal Control van WAS THERE ALREADY. I don't know if someone else called, or if my call brought them out in less than a minute. Either way, they really worry about this whole West Nile Virus thing. It's not just the disease itself--it's the PR, too. The guy was really nice; he said they'd test it out but that they had to put it out of its misery. It was "too strong" to have been hit by a car--there was no blood. (Couldn't it have been a glancing blow? But what do I know?) And there was another bird, dead, across the street. Any time there are multiple dead birds in an area they have to put them down, he said. (Don't suppose there's any poisonous fertilizer in use around there for all the nice landscaping?)

Or maybe it really was infected with West Nile, which would explain my sore throat...just kidding (well, not kidding, but I've had it since yesterday). But it would be worrisome.

What I want to know is, why me? Why all the sick and injured birds in MY path?



OK, I admit it

OK, yes, I admit it: I Have Not Been Blogging Much Lately. It's been the end of term and all that, but that didn't actually make for a huge amount of work for me, this time around, thankfully. It has meant a lot of end-of-year social activities, and that's taken up some time. I think I've been digesting two things: one, some stuff at work that's been so unspeakably bad that I couldn't write about it even if I wanted to (the worst of which is over, the rest of which is simply on hold until the fall); and two, a teaching experience, that is, a class, that was incredibly intense, and tough and complicated in various ways. I've been wanting to write about that, but haven't been sure yet what to say; it's required some processing (and some distance).

I've also been trying to put some of my creative energies into my "own work," i.e. research and writing, which in its own weird way doesn't leave as much energy for blogging, following politics, reading other people's blogs, etc., as I seem to have while I'm teaching. Blogging has been for me an outlet for channeling those energies when there was no extended time available to do the kind of thinking I'd need to work on my research projects. So, I've been getting a start on some of those things. Will report back on this...



Outrageous and depressing

Stooping to nineteenth-century depths of racism -- OK, well, twentieth-century -- the Augsburg Zoo is putting on display an "African village" with human inhabitants.

Letters of protest can be sent to Frau Dr. Barbara Jantschke (Director Zoo Augsburg) at barbara.jantschke@zoo-augsburg.de.

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