The beat-up 1989 Dodge van carries a sign with a question: "How has the recession affected you?" Along the side, a request: "Tell me your story."
Scrawled in marker across the orange paint are hard-luck tales: "My grandma lost her house and my dad is working less hours," signed Peoria, AZ. "I lost my job, my home, my car & was homeless for 6 months. This was the first time in 27 yrs I was out of work," signed Sue W.
The man behind the wheel is Aaron Heideman, 29, an artist from Grants Pass, Ore., who in the past year began sleeping in the van on a mattress he bought for a six-pack of beer and lost his job at a paint store. He hit the road July 1 with what he calls "The Man in a Van Project," angling for a $250,000 prize at an art fair.
"I just want to give people a voice," he said during a stop in Rhode Island, the 20th state he stopped in during what he calls a nationwide conceptual art piece. His media, as he describes it: a 50-yard roll of Tyvek, a Dodge van, and a homeless man (himself). His final destination is Grand Rapids, Mich., home of ArtPrize, where he plans to display his project in September and October.
During Heideman’s stops, he unscrolls several feet of the roll, lays it in front of the van with a couple of Sharpie markers, and encourages passers-by to pause for a minute and add their thoughts.
Boston.com writer Christopher Muther is tired of ‘hipsters’ - what about you?
I fancy myself open-minded and easygoing, which is why I was disturbed at my behavior last week when a pair of cyclists, riding side-by-side, blocked a lane of traffic and slowed my car to a speed that fell between trotting and brisk skipping. I laid on the horn, something I normally wouldna€™t do, while my passenger, a generally subdued gentlemen and an avid cyclist himself, yelled at them to get out of the way.
It was only the next day that I realized the reason for my aggressive behavior. I was annoyed with these two because they were grown men wearing cut-off skinny jeans, espadrilles, fedoras (instead of bicycle helmets), and - Ia€™m guessing - T-shirts that were dripping with irony, most likely sporting an iron-on transfer of Natalie from a€oeThe Facts of Life.a€™a€™
In other words, they were hipsters.
Even if you havena€™t heard the term hipster (perhaps your last name is Van Winkle and youa€™ve been napping comfortably for a few years), it is a subculture that has been well-documented, but lately has faced an increasing amount of scorn. Mocking hipsters has become a national sport, and it looks like Ia€™ve finally found a sport that Ia€™m interested in following.
19 May 2009 a€" A leading arm of the United Nations working to spread the benefits of information technology today announced the launch of the first ever tuition-free online university.As part of this yeara€™s focus on education, the UN Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technology and Development (GAID) presented the newly formed University of the People, a non-profit institution offering higher education to the masses.
a€oeThis year the Global Alliance has focused its attention on education [and] how ICT can advance education goals around the world,a€A Serge Kapto from GAID told a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York.
For hundreds of millions of people around the world higher education is no more than a dream, Shai Reshef, the founder of the University of the People, told reporters. They are constrained by finances, the lack of institutions in their region, or they are not able to leave home to study at a university for personal reasons.
Mr. Reshef said that this University opened the gate to these people to continue their studies from home and at minimal cost by using open-source technology, open course materials, e-learning methods and peer-to-peer teaching.
I would be mad too if I had to root for A-Rod.AA Every once in a while there is a straight faced news story with a whole bunch of gems.AA We’ve gleaned the good glean.
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) a€" New York has overtaken Miami to be voted the U.S. city with the angriest and most aggressive drivers, according to a survey on road rage released on Tuesday.
Miami topped the annual poll for the last four years but voters in 25 major metropolitan areas gave New Yorkers the prize for angriest, most aggressive drivers who tailgate, speed, honk their horns, overreact and lose their tempers.
The response of New Yorkers to bad drivers also helped push the city into the top slot for road rage.
"New Yorkers were most likely to wave their fists or arms. They were most likely to lay on the horn and they were most likely to make some sort of obscene gesture," said Michael Bush, of the marketing and consulting company Affinion Group, which commissioned the survey.
Dallas/Fort Worth came in second as the worst road rage city followed by Detroit, Atlanta and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Miami ranked a distant seventh.
"In Washington, D.C., four percent of drivers admitted to slamming into another driver," said Bush. "They stand out in that one particular category."
How many people are surprised about this one?AA I’m not trying to be funny, but… I’m wondering what percentage of the people surveyed were Haitian.AA I’m just saying.
::[ read the rest of the article here ]::
Certain regional stereotypes have long since become cliches: The stressed-out New Yorker. The laid-back Californian.
But the conscientious Floridian? The neurotic Kentuckian?
You bet — at least, according to new research on the geography of personality. Based on more than 600,000 questionnaires and published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, the study maps regional clusters of personality traits, then overlays state-by-state data on crime, health and economic development in search of correlations.
Shouts go to John L…..
Back on this date in 1981, on the cusp of the Reagan era, it may have seemed like morning here in America. But at the very same time, the international Olympic movement looked out ahead and saw nothing but clouds on every horizon. As real-world crises kept intruding on and overshadowing the worlda€™s quadrennial sports celebration, the future of the Olympics increasingly appeared fraught with peril.
The Olympic crown jewela€"the Summer Gamesa€"had just witnessed a third successive disaster. Munich a€™72 had endured the murder of Israeli Olympians by Black September terrorists, a worst-case scenarioa€"Jewish blood spilt on German soila€"that was far worse than anything organizers ever imagined. Montreal a€™76 was not as infamous, unless, of course, you lived there; it left behind crippling debta€"finally paid off just a few years agoa€"and facilities that came to define white elephants. And Moscow a€™80 had been reduced to a private party, virtually ignored in the West after America and its allies boycotted the festivities to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
From the New School Free Press (Kate Hanselman):
Looking strikingly like an old Gloucester fisherman, with a full black beard and windblown hair, Dayyan Armstrong trudged through the afternoon drizzle at the Worlda€™s Fair Marina. Wearing a wool sweater over a plaid oxford, with an earthen mug in hand, he unlocked the pale blue metal gate leading to the docks. As he traipsed past rows of weatherbeaten boats bobbing calmly on their tethers, he explained that his situation was a little precarious. a€oeNo one really cares that Ia€™m here except this one guy who keeps asking me if I live here…I had to hide behind a bush once, but he saw me and waved,a€A he says.
Armstrong, a 23-year-old student in the New School Masters program for Economics, has been living on his 28-foot sailboat, Goose, since this summer, when he sailed her down from Maine. He lives in the marina between LaGuardia Airport and Shea Stadium in Queens and pays roughly $980 for the six-month winter season to moor his boat.
a€oeIn high school, for my stepbrother and I, it was, do we get a car or a sailboat?a€A Armstrong said.
That’s a really bad hit.AA We actually sat in the dojo all night thinking up a tasteless joke for this one - preferably related to seppuku - but we decided we could let this one get away.AA Read the snippet below or click on the link at the very bottom for the full article.
An actor slit his throat on stage when the prop knife for his suicide scene turned out to be a real one.
Daniel Hoevels, 30, slumped over with blood pouring from his neck while the audience broke into applause at the "special effect". Police are investigating whether the knife was a mistake or a murder plot. They are questioning the rest of the cast, and backstage hands with access to props; they will also carry out DNA tests.
Things went wrong at Vienna’s Burgtheater as Hoevels’ character went to "kill himself" in the final scene of Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart, about Mary Queen of Scots, on Saturday night
It was only when he did not get up to take a bow that anyone realised something had gone wrong.
Though bleeding profusely, Hoevels survived because the knife missed the carotid artery as it sliced into his neck. Wolfgang Lenz, a doctor who treated him, said: "Just a little bit deeper and he would have been drowning in his own blood."
For the curious, this is not related to the post below.