C O M M E N T A R Y   I N D E X  (2001 to the present)

 
Is Photography Art? is by featured June photographer Robert Balcomb. His article is another in a long-continuing dialog in the debate between the purists (Ansel Adams and the Group f/64, for example) and those whose creativity extends beyond the click of the shutter.
The editor explores the possibility of a genetic difference between Artists and the Rest of the World. Doesn't every household have Strathmore paper, Grumbacher oils, sable brushes, turpentine, India inks, technical pens, T-squares, Luxo-lamps, and shelf after shelf of books, books, books?
Our resident English professor, John Kilgore, suggests that students "despise the way we substitute tame toothless pseudo-poems for the real thing, or turn real poems into pseudo-poems with our half-baked readings..." in "Why Teachers Can't Read Poetry."
More solecistic nit-picking of our use and misuse of the English language in "Well, basically...."
"If there is to be a 9/11 memorial, let it not be of stone and steel." Read "Make it Green," by Roger Ebert.
In "Day of Mourning," retired Canadian minister Don Murray says that "we must painfully reëxamine the values we live by," and calls for understanding and love amidst the atrocities of today's darkest hour.
Jesse Walker, associate editor of Reason magazine, offers "What Happens Next?—Six options beyond war and peace."
We are a society of unethical used-car salesmen, chain-saw sculptors, fix-it-with-a-band aid repairmen, and defense lawyers arguing about the meaning of the word "is." Ouch. The editor challenges modern integrity and craftsmanship via his attack on Gorilla Gardeners in "Blow & Go."
A film about Arab terrorists attacking New York? "The Siege" was in theaters three years ago. Val Zavala of PBS station KCET in Los Angeles interviews director/producer Ed Zwick about the controversy then and now.
"Let Slip the Dogs of Metaphor," by John Kilgore, examines war, patriotism, the Bush Doctrine, and the pursuit of terrorists.
A welcome addition to the TheScreamOnline is Rob Woutat (rhymes with "Utah"), a frequent contributor to newspapers, magazines, and National Public Radio. Right up our alley is his "homo domesticus" and "That's ‘Mr. Sweetie' to you."
The United States Attorney General went to great lengths (and cost) to protect the American public from the morally-corrupting and indecent display of a metal breast in the Hall of Justice. Read Claire Braz-Valentine's "Open Letter to John Ashcroft."
"The Blooming of Wisdom," by Doug Fulcher, states that "to ‘defeat' [our] enemies is to address the causes for their presence," thereby creating the "potential to transform the planet in a very positive way."
Rob Woutat gives a spelling lesson to a young Vietnamese immigrant in "Ngoc," and addresses our penchant for using euphemisms in "Three Cheers for Bowels."
Doug Fulcher's Flecting and Reflecting deals with symbology and how our fascination with symbols has much to do creating the world as we know it today.
Rob Woutat analyzes the raison d'être of "My Serial Killer" (of the feline disorder) and contemplates acting one's age in "Thoughts from a Late-in-the-Week Guy." Eat your hearts out, Art Buchwald and Andy Rooney.
The editor proposes that we all are given the same amount of time each day: 24 hours. Each person, however, has a finite and ever-diminishing number of Heartbeats left. How do you plan to use yours?
In the mere blink of a four-million-year-eye, "cute little bipeds" went from standing up straight to "decoding their own genomes." Their crocodile tears for the rest of the savanna are exposed for what they truly are in "History of Abuse."
Has the The Fountain Pen become the "dodo bird" of the twenty-first century, going the way of the book, the handwritten Christmas card, doing math problems in your head, and the walk to Grandma's house?
Resident TheScreamOnline writer/photographer Larry Lytle talks about The Reconstruction of Time, and how digital editing can create yet new realities to freeze in time.
Rob Woutat studies the "Sex Life of the Gingko" and analyzes his own sin quotient in "The Annals of Sin."
Shortly after World War II, representatives from forty-six nations met in San Francisco to negotiate the terms of a legally binding charter upon which to base the United Nations. December 10, 1998, marked the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was created by Eleanor Roosevelt and the Commission on Human Rights, negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations, and adopted (without dissent) by the UN's General Assembly. It is well worth the read.
Rob Woutat laments the continuing demise of the English language in "So I'm Like, Who Cares?" —and not to be outdone by Edgar Allen Poe, he presents us with "The Curse of Donald MacCrimmon" (not for the squeamish or faint of heart).
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a federal law requiring public libraries to install web filtering software or lose their funding. Which sites have been blocked from public access for using the word "breast"? Stay abreast of the situation by reading Zeldman.com (scroll down to "Supremes blow it: bad filters are here to stay").
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." —President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The cost of the war in Iraq, to date.
In 1886, one man committed an act of forgery, thereby signing into law the granting of individual rights to U.S. corporations. Read "The Railroad Barons Are Back — And This Time They'll Finish the Job," by Thom Hartmann.
"The new so-called conservatives claim the power to violate citizens' private lives because, they say, there is no ‘right to privacy' in the United States." Read "Dear Clarence Thomas: It Happened on July 4, 1776" by Thom Hartmann.
In "Yearning for Melvyn Douglas: A Toast to the Suave Man," Danusha Goska revisits one 1930s Hollywood take on masculinity. Men who "didn't need ‘Queer Eye' to tell them how to dress," she argues, were more than slick mustaches. Characters portrayed by Melvyn Douglas, William Powell, and others offer provocative commentary on our own current political and cultural moment.
Thom Hartmann writes in The Goddess of Democracy: A Sacred Archetype to Heal the World that, in light of the terrorism plaguing our world today, the real war here is between the 11th century and the 21st century.
In Claire-France Perez's "Hey, What Happened to My Presidential Prediction?" the challenge of predicting a presidential election had some terrible moments. Getting it wrong may actually be what is right. The Astrologer asks the stars for answers on her failed prediction, putting the chart of the US on the consulting room couch for its hour of analysis. The challenges of the titans follow.
Millions of Christian fundamentalists may believe that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed — even hastened — as a sign of the coming apocalypse. Read how Christian-right views are swaying politicians and threatening the environment in "The Godly Must Be Crazy" by Glenn Schere (off-site link).
They Rule is an interesting interactive website which looks at some of the relationships of the US ruling class by comparing the boards of the most powerful US companies, many of which share the same members.
"Question arose recently as to whether Grants as in Grants Pass in southern Oregon is possessive or plural: actually it's not Grants Pass, it's Grunts Pass, plural, because of..." by Robert Balcomb.
This one is scary: new textbook stickers (off-site link).
"The Terrible Beauty of Pope John Paul II: Why Even Those Who Disagreed with Him Cheat Themselves and Their Causes if They Miss the Chance to Learn From His Life, and His Death," by Danusha V. Goska.
Ron Roizen's Omphalos looks at the "apparent disagreement between the enormous age of the earth suggested by the geological record and the comparatively much shorter six-thousand-year age suggested by the book of Genesis."
Sheron Mariah Steele was wounded in the Middle East, and as her shattered knee was healing she wrote a most poignant Easter greeting to a friend, titled "Survival 101."
Unhealthy Vegetable Oils? Does the food industry ignore science regarding polyunsaturated oils? —by CJ Puotinen.
"In the past eight years, eight young foreign students have passed through our house, all of them wanting to improve their English. By the end of the year they certainly spoke faster; and their vocabularies certainly expanded. But in other ways some of them made long strides backward." So, I'm like, who cares? by Rob Woutat.
"Stay Awake" is the title of photographer Sean Kernan's commencement speech to the 2005 graduating class at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. What he has to say is a timeless message for us all.
"The Energy Road Ahead" World-renown renewable-energy authority J. Douglas Balcomb's plan for a sustainable future is simple enough to be expressed using just one graph, with one page of explanation.
In "C'est le Vol" John Kilgore writes "The argument against paying everyone exactly the same wage is not that it violates fundamental rights, but simply that no one has yet figured out how to make such a system work."
The World Is Made Of Stories "For the most part, we have lost the kind of entertainment that's still found in those rare places where old and young gather and stories are told," writes Sam Crespi, writer, seeker, mother, activist.
The End of Creativity Did Johann Sebastian Bach exhaust the melodic combinations forever, sadly deeming all future composers "thieves"? by Stuart Vail
Leadership Lessons From Dancing Guy CD Baby founder Derek Sivers talks about how a movement is started. Also, a profile on the man who donated his $22-million company to charity.
The World Is Made Of Stories "Being a Change Maker Has No Age Limits: 12 Tips for Daring Older Women" by Sam Crespi.
Notes From Planet America "Blame the right, blame the left if you like, but please, do not pretend that any of this was an accident. This is democracy, American style." John Kilgore, on the shooting of Gabby Giffords.

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