News & Politics

NetNomad 12

Five offbeat, timely reviews of Web sites on the arts, politics and news -- with a dash of the absurd thrown in for good measure. This week: The Lomographic Society ... The Utah Baby Namer ... Coalition of Immokalee Workers ... Official Speakers' Corner ... Pollstar.
The Lomographic Society of the first questions asked -- and answered -- at this site is: What is Lomo? The Lomo ("Leningradskoje Optiko Mechanitscheskoje Objedinenie" ... which means "the Leningrad union of optics and mechanics") is a small, inexpensive camera made in St. Petersburg. The wide angle, high speed lens (1:2.8) produces an intensity in color that some users contend is hardly matched by more expensive equipment. But Lomography is much more than just a means to take pictures on the cheap. In fact in Vienna and elsewhere the Lomo has become a constant companion of thousands of people who roam about the city, snapping pictures from the hip, or midair or behind their back or ... The idea is a photographic free-for-all, where the main rule is that there are no rules at all. It's an in-your-face (quite literally) artform. If the art of photography has been shackled by professional artists until now, consider it freed by the lowly Lomo.The Utah Baby Namer Cari and Wesley Clark lived in Utah for about a decade -- she working on a degree in broadcast journalism, he finishing his studies in electrical engineering -- they found that the enjoyed the unique culture of Utah very much. Their fascination with Utah's rather unusual given names stayed with them long after they left, so much so that they decided to create a Website in honor of these unique names. Many of the names are related in some way to the teachings of the Mormon Church, of course, and follow many predetermined rules. Many names, they discovered, have a French-sounding prefix such as Le-, La-, Ne-, or Va- and many names appear to be combinations of the parents, such as Veradeane or GlenDora. Favorite names include Delecta, Choral, LaVoice, Tonilee, Capella, Seven, Seavenly, Twenty and of course the ever-popular Porsche. You'll find a full listing at this site.Official Speakers' Corner about everyone has something to say, but not everyone has someplace to say it. Spouting off in the privacy of your own home doesn't really count; which is not to say that we discourage such discourse, but perhaps the British have a better idea. In the middle of the 19th Century, London's Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park was created with the intention of allowing such public discourse. Those who have used the forum include Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, V. I. Lenin, George Orwell and Marcus Garvey. And of course hundreds and hundreds of just plain folk have followed suit. There is a movement afoot to encourage Speakers' Corners in every city and town in the UK and it wouldn't be such a bad idea to do the same here, either.Coalition of Immokalee Workers Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a community-based organization of "mostly Hispanic, Haitian, and Mayan Indian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the Southwest Florida region," the state's most important center for agricultural production. The organization was created in order to build a community capable of fighting for "a fair wage for the work we do, more respect on the part of our bosses and the industries where we work, better and cheaper housing, stronger laws and stronger enforcement against those who would violate workers' rights." A recent march by 230 workers did not succeed in meeting with the Florida farm owners as they had hoped, but they did receive a hearing with that other Boss, Bruce Springsteen.Pollstar you've heard a rumor that The Cure are hitting the road once again but have no idea where they might be playing, it's time to drop into Pollstar. This is a huge database of just about every group touring the country. Just type the band name into the fully searchable database and stand back. The results tell you where they are playing, the dates and the name of the venue. Searching may also be performed using just the venue or city option. The site also includes a healthy dose of gossip and is very good at adding new tour information quickly. And best of all, tour information is usually posted months in advance, so you can start planning your summer road trips right about now.
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