News Chum Stew: Reusing Pens, Disney U, Rerecording Classics, and Herschel

userpic=observationsContinuing to catch up after vacation, I’ll take this morning to clear out the links of some miscellaneous articles. Still to come this weekend will be a sample ballot analysis, and (quite likely) a review of Fame at Nobel MS.

  • Disposable Pens. If you are like me, you accumulate pens from conferences and all those places that give them away as advertising promotions. Ever wonder what to do with them? A student at CSUN has an interesting use for them: he has created a non-profit organization called The Power of Pens that distributes writing utensils of any kind to developing countries where these are not easy to come by. The purpose of the organization is to provide utensils that will help educate children and adults who don’t have an exposure to pens or pencils. The organization relies on donors, varying from companies to people, who can spare a pen. Any type of writing utensil in any condition is accepted. They also look for volunteers to distribute the pens. This sounds like a great idea that needs more publicity. According to the article, those interested in donating or obtaining further information on the organization can send an email to; they also appear to have a Facebook page.
  • Disney U. Here’s an interesting waste of time: An artist has imagined animated Disney characters as university students. I have a number of quibbles with this, most notably that they all wrong to me. All the female characters have this “come hither” look (and the look is especially wrong for Belle), whereas the guys all look like surfers or slackers. What do you think? Do these look like college students to you, and do they look like the Disney characters would look if they went to college?
  • Under The Covers. A really interesting article from Slate looks at the practice of the original artists rerecording classic hits and passing them off as the original. Why is this done? Simple — royalties. In the original days, the artists earned nothing on royalties. Rerecording allows them to regain control of the royalties from the rerecording… which can be significant. This often happens on “Greatest Hits” albums, which I often thought were just cheap reassemblies of songs. Not always, it seems.
  • Seeing the Universe. The Herschel telescope is shutting down, and the Atlantic has posted five of their favorite images from Herschel. A lovely way to close out this post.

Music: Tintypes (1980 Original Broadway Cast): “Rich And Poor – Then I’d Be Satisfied With Life”