I think originality is overrated too, but...

I'm not sure what I think of these Stuckists, whose attempted donation of 160 works to the Tate was just rejected.

You can see some of the rejected works here.

Isn't there something that falls outside both the cult of genius originality, on the one hand, and the cult of quasi-spiritual traditionalism on the other?

If there is, you might find it here.


First Roe, then Griswold

A hint of where reproductive freedom may be heading comes in this scary interview with Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum.

Santorum says he has supported birth control legislatively because it's "not the taking of a human life," but he thinks it's bad for our country. So, once they make abortion illegal, presumably the next target is birth control...



Color: it's no accident

I've just been having a little discussion with a student about the fact that Aristotle and the scholastics thought of color as an accident -- which does not mean a train wreck (especially since there were no trains back then), but an aspect that does not partake of the essence or "substance" of a thing. For a cat to have four legs is part of the definition of "cat," but for it to be black or white or orange or gray is not.

Which brings me to this interesting fact: Did you know that Pantone 292, the color made famous by the Magnetic Fields' song "Reno Dakota," is the blue of Auntie Anne's pretzels? I bet you didn't. I bet you also did not know that Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields has created and named his own Pantone color, Carolyn Eve Green, Pantone 7498? (Or so this website says; the Pantone site seems not to agree.)



What happened to warehouse incest videos?

Searches that brought people to my site in recent weeks:

3 overease
3 she's the man
1 "capitalist running dog" phrase origin
1 "how to get out of the army"
1 "jack kingston"
1 "my condo association" collaboration
1 "small minds consistency"
1 "the vision of the face" levinas
1 eukabeuk blogspot
1 fund-raising stop in chicago, illin
1 merging cat households
1 movies with eggs overease
1 muslim hospital gowns
1 overease eggs
1 overease march
1 overease.blogspot.com
1 religious right scandals
1 religious scandals
1 the definition of discontents



September Project

We pause this blog to bring you a message from David Silver, founder of The September Project:

The September Project (http://www.theseptemberproject.org) is a grassroots effort to encourage public events on freedom, democracy, and citizenship in libraries on or around September 11. September Project events are activities of reflection, discussion, and dialogue about the meaning of freedom, the role of information in promoting active citizenship, and the importance of literacy in making sense of the world around us. Events take place on September 11, on the weekend of September 11, or throughout the month of September. In other words, whenever it works best for your library and community.

Libraries around the world are collaborating with organizations to host public and campus events, such as: displays about human rights and historical documents; talks and performances about freedom and cultural difference; and film screenings about issues that matter. Over 100 examples of events can be found at: http://www.theseptemberproject.org/pastevents.htm For events tailored to a more academic audience, please visit:

Currently, over 160 public, academic, school, and institute libraries in 13 countries are participating. Participating countries include: Bangladesh, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Nepal, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, the US, and Venezuela. You can view a map of all participating venues here:

If you plan to offer programs that explore these ideas, please sign up. Signing up takes a moment and places your library on the map of participants. Please visit: http://www.drizzle.com/~klockner/cgi-bin/tsp/2005/venue.cgi

I hope you and your colleagues will consider participating in this project, and please let me know if you have any questions and suggestions.


david silver

English: http://www.theseptemberproject.org/tsp.pdf
Espanol: http://www.theseptemberproject.org/tspespanol.pdf


Club G[i]'t'mo

These are the kids who used to torment kittens, all grown up.

If you don't want to see a really sickening display of American decline, don't click here.

I feel compelled to wonder about another new use of punctuation. Why does Rush put an apostrophe in Gitmo in his merchandising? -- i.e., "G'itmo." Yes, it's true that there are letters left out, but there are other letters added or changed. It's like abbreviating William to Billy and spelling it Bill'y.

I know. It's the secret "this t-shirt shows what a sicko I am" apostrophe.



Last and Final Blog Post

Well, actually, not. The Redundancy Avoidance Police (RAP) would like to lodge a brief complaint against the phrase "last and final." As in, "This is the last and final stop." The RAP would like patiently to explain (the RAP do not split infinitives) that the proper phrase is "next and final stop." Before each stop, the train announcer says "the next stop will be..." Thus, logically, it makes sense at the last stop to inform people not only that Randolph (say) is the NEXT stop, but that it is also the FINAL stop. However, "last and final" does not provide any information that either "last" or "final" alone would not provide. Hmf.

Also, it's hotter than hell in Chicago. Maybe that's why the RAP are cranky today.



Those Elitist Liberals, At It Again

So, I am mildly interested in Matt Bai's article on the framing craze in today's New York Times (go to bugmenot if you need a login name and password), but what really irritated me is this passage:

The facts of the filibuster fight hadn't necessarily favored them; in reality, the constitutional principle of ''checks and balances'' on which the Democrats' case was based refers to the three branches of government, not to some parliamentary procedure, and it was actually the Democrats who had broken with Senate tradition by using the filibuster to block an entire slate of judges. (''An irrelevancy beyond the pay grade of the American voter,'' Garin retorted when I pointed this out.)

Garin didn't need to say this; he could have said "these are details, it's the principle at stake that matters." Sigh. "Leading Democratic pollsters" apparently have no qualms about insulting "the American voter." But I guess "the American voter" doesn't read the New York Times. If the Democrats really want to reframe the debate, maybe they could start by not insulting people.



I Love Karl Rove So Much I Have Lost All Capacity To Use Lower-Case Letters

Take A Look At The Republican Loyalty Oaths Here...

I Especially Love This One:

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA): “Karl Rove Who Did Not Even Know This Woman’s Name Did Not Have Any Information Of Her Acting In Any Covert Manner. It Is Just Silly.”



Fire Karl Rove Email #63203

Three emails in a row from different organizations asking me to fire Karl Rove. They're really keeping up the pressure on us lefties to email our minority senators, who can do absolutely nothing to initiate an investigation.

I sure hope he's going down, because if not, a whole lot of people will have egg on their face.



You too can have your own miraculous image

First it was Underpass Mary.

Now Streetlight Jesus.

Next up: The Holy Ghost of the.... [I'm too tired. Finish this sentence. A prize for the best entry.]

In other Chicago news, the Chicago Tribune's headline today was "Shrub poisoned zoo monkeys." My first thought: "Now he's finally stooped too low."

With apologies to the poor monkeys who died at the Lincoln Park Zoo.



Up really is down

George Will. Animal rights activist.


Youth culture research reveals novel use of punctuation

Talk about a "dog bites man" headline!

But...having just spent some quality time reviewing the Chicago Manual of Style policies on apostrophes and possessives (it turns out that consistent use of a lone apostrophe after a final "s" to denote a possessive is, while not preferred, grudgingly allowed), I was interested to see the lone apostrophe being used to conjugate a verb ending in "s."

The verb in question is "dis" (as in disrespect). Thus, this headline from teenmusic.com, "Grohl Hits Out At Backing Tape Bands: Dave dis' Linkin Park and Mötley Crüe."

I think the correct verb form is "disses." But that might just be me.

Whether the Foo Fighters and Mötley Crüe belong on a teen music site is another story. Linkin Park, maybe. (Did you know, by the way, that the reason Linkin Park is spelled that way is that the domain name lincolnpark.com was too expensive?)


Public service announcement

I just saw another one of those car ribbon magnets with "Covered in the blood of Christ" on it. Now, I have nothing against the desire to be covered in the blood of Christ, I suppose, but it got me thinking: someone needs to start making magnets that say "Covered in the blood of Iraq" or "Covered in the blood of the underclass." I can think of a few people who would be happy to slap them on some SUVs.

There's gotta be some activist entrepreneur out there who's done this already, but if not, get going!

Update: I mean on OTHER people's SUVs.


brave new world

Slumber party in-a-box

40,000 GIA Secret Agents are on call nationwide, ready to invite you into their bedrooms, to hang out with their closest friends...

So, as part of my new fiction-writing plan I am doing a little research into "what the younger generation is up to these days." So of course the first thing I come across is websites advising corporations on how to market to twelve-year-olds.

Oh my god.

This agency claims to have a "proprietary network of over 40,000 secret agent influencers nationwide." 40,000 twelve-year-old girls on their payroll, secretly promoting products to their friends. 40,000 walking product placements. It's like the freakin' teenage capitalist Stasi.

Of course "payroll" is probably too inflated a term. They're probably only getting free crappy products -- in exchange for promoting said crappy products to their friends. Their friends don't know they are agents of Conglomco. Only they know. They get secret meetings at headquarters. They get top-secret communiqués. They get to surreptitiously slide Conglomco's Crappyproduct™ into ordinary conversations. So they get a great fantasy out of the deal, too -- being a secret agent! It's like they're in a movie, or a video game.

And for Conglomco, it's cheaper than media buys, and doubtless more effective, and you get your own fantasy to slobber over: getting into the bedrooms of all those twelve-year-olds...



The Agenda: The Homosexual Plan to Abolish Moral Judgment

I have been placed, without my consent, on two radical-Christian-right mailing lists. And, I guess because it seems like useful information, I don't unsubscribe. I think it's "good for me." Opposition research. Or something.

Recently one of them informed me that I had to go to Amazon and pre-order this book. Instead, I went to Amazon and rated it one star ("I hate it"). For cheap and useless satisfaction, I highly recommend doing this. (Maybe it's only satisfying if you've had to endure all these emails.)



Staying on message

w said today that the "contrast couldn't be clearer" between the G8 leaders and the terrorists who exploded bombs in London today. The contrast couldn't be clearer between those who disregard human rights and callously murder innocent civilians, and the US government? Well, that's where some of us differ -- we think the contrast could and should be clearer.


I heart London

Having just posted about London's Olympic future, I feel like I should have something to say about the news today, but I don't have any eloquent commentary. London is a great city, as I was reminded on a recent visit, and I know a lot of people who live or work there, and I'm thinking of them today.

Not necessarily directly related, but also in the news today, as there has been in many recent days, was a rather casual reference to "al Qaeda in Iraq." (In this case, it was about the abduction of the Egyptian envoy.) Somehow we've come to accept, without even thinking about it, that there exists an organization known as "al Qaeda in Iraq." I don't remember hearing any reference in the media to the creation of such an organization. Was there such a thing before the US-led invasion? I don't think so.



Speaking of anti-choice

From the Save The Court rally I went to yesterday in downtown Chicago, I now have a NARAL sticker on my laptop that says "It's Your Choice...Not Theirs." I have to say it makes me wonder about the choice of "choice" as the political keyword for abortion rights (however many decades ago this decision was made). I know people have talked about this before, but I sort of pooh-poohed it. But "It's Your Choice" sounds so, well, consumerish to me. It seems like one of the things the more moderate antis object to is the idea that choosing not to bring a fetus to term is a decision that's given no more thought than what type of toothpaste to buy. Well, and everything about our culture tells us that the type of toothpaste we decide to buy is a deeply personal choice that's thoroughly intertwined with our individual identity as humans. And isn't there something twisted about THAT?

Well, so what are the other options? Why haven't "liberty" or "autonomy" gotten any traction?


Chirac should've kept his mouth shut

OK, I'm no fan of Tony Blair these days, but London has a great mayor. And I love Paris, but I've had plenty of bad meals there, where French cooking has, in many (not all) cases, become boring, inflexible dogma. Jacques Chirac needs to try out some of the more cosmopolitan offerings available in London. London is more hospitable to vegetarians and to international cuisine. Might just make it a good place for an international sporting event.



Another new misuse of language

"Populous" to mean "populace." I can't find where I saw this, but it's twice in the past week.


What if the fetus you were going to abort would grow up to be a soldier bringing democracy to a godless dictatorship?

OK OK, I know this is tasteless, but it is also hilarious, and I'm not in the mood to play nice with the anti-choice people anymore...

(Found through the adult Christianity site, which everyone should visit.)

(P.S. Also recommended.)



I guess I should take it as a good sign

that the kid who wrote this headline for Salon is too young to know that "coed" is -- or used to be -- a semi-pejorative term for women students. Since she's just using it as a synonym for "college student."



And if it's Turd Blossom who did it, he gets $6mil in Halliburton stock

A year and a half ago w had this to say about the Valerie Plame leak:

"If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," Bush told reporters at a fundraising stop in Chicago. "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of..."

Well taken care of, that is.


Indoor Cat Goes Out

So, my cat Slim is so desperate to go out during the summer months that every human departure from the apartment becomes a struggle with her clever stratagems. The usual is to hide under the coatrack as the door opens, then make a run for it. Not only that, but every time a human reaches for an article of clothing, shoes, or keys there ensues feline moaning and wailing and reaching for the doorknob. (I kid you not. She reaches for the doorknob.)

A couple years ago I decided to experiment with putting her on a leash and harness to see if it would be feasible to take her outside. It didn't work very well. She tends to feel like she's in a narrow space and huddles down and creeps along, wailing. So after trying this out in the hallway with negative results and in the basement with disastrous results (she freaked out and ran in every direction), I abandoned the experiment.

Until Kris suggested -- based on her own experience -- that maybe Slim needed to associate the leash with something good. Like, getting to go out--not just being put in a scary basement. A genius idea!

So, I've been taking Slim outside. I have learned several things.

1) Slim loves eating lily leaves and grass, in that order.
2) She also loves sitting in dirt.
3) I need a longer leash.
4) Birds don't notice the leash--they screech agitatedly at the barest sight of her.
5) Slim doesn't hear the birds. Whatever she is trying to do when she clucks at birds at the window, she's not trying to imitate whatever it is they're saying.

Here's a question for anyone who has tried this with a cat: is there any way to avoid trauma when you pick her up to take her inside? I've never been growled and hissed at so much (is it because she smells other cats?), though she seems to get over it quickly.



Thought for the day

"In a considerable number of countries which, for about a hundred years, have enjoyed a practically complete freedom of public discussion, that freedom is now suppressed and replaced by a compulsion to coordinate speech with such views as the government believes to be expedient, or holds in all seriousness. It may be worth our while to consider briefly the effect of that compulsion, or persecution, on thoughts as well as actions.

A large section of the people, probably the great majority of the younger generation, accepts the government-sponsored views as true, if not at once at least after a time. How have they been convinced? ... They have not been convinced by compulsion, for compulsion does not produce conviction. It merely paves the way for conviction by silencing contradiction. What is called freedom of thought in a large number of cases amounts to--and even for all practical purposes consists of--the ability to choose between two or more different views presented by the small minority of people who are public speakers or writers."

--some crazy leftist, I mean, um, Leo Strauss ("Persecution and the Art of Writing," 1952)


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