No bargains here, just the news and notes that caught the eye of esteemed scholar and infomaniac Larry Gross.

(Almost) every day, Truthdig brings you the news items and other odds and ends that found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

We’ll continue to update this entry with new items as Larry sends them to us, with the newest bits on top.Things You Didn’t Know to Worry About: ‘Meeping’ in Public Schools

In defiance of the ban on the word “meep,” at least two Massachusetts high school seniors wore blue “Free meep” T-shirts to school yesterday, saying they would like to sell these shirts to raise money for a scholarship or grant.

Military Takes Recruiting to Kindergarten How old is old enough for students to be approached by military recruiters?

Prescriptions Now Biggest Cause of Fatal Drug Overdoses Debra Jones didn’t begin taking painkillers to get high. Jones, 50, was trying to relieve chronic pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Department of Hmm … “Party Crashers” had five-year relationship with Obama before state dinner.

Palin Flew in Private Jet While Pretending to Be on Bus Tour On her book tour, Sarah Barracuda pretends to be one of the people. But she’s really winging across the country on a private jet.

Great Moments in Safety Research It’s a peril that only a crack team of health and safety experts could have uncovered.

Summers Handled Harvard’s Funds as Badly as Ours Advisers told Summers, others not to put so much cash in market; losses hit $1.8 billion.

Department of Deja Vu Current and planned U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, laid alongside the buildup in Vietnam, 1960-1965.

AOL’s Assembly Line AOL’s new high-tech method of mass-producing news and other online content raises some interesting questions.

When Artists Dry Up Samuel Johnson wrote less as he grew older, a fact that vexed his friends. One night in 1766 they ganged up on him and asked why he’d fallen silent.

The death of uncool It’s odd to think back on the time—not so long ago—when there were distinct stylistic trends, such as “this season’s colour” or “abstract expressionism” or “psychedelic music.” It seems we don’t think like that any more. There are just too many styles around, and they keep mutating too fast to assume that kind of dominance.

The Future of TV We’ll be ordering up our own video, ads and products on a Web convergence device. But who will reap the revenue?

Housing Meltdown, Ground Zero Talk about a devastated landscape … Any which way you look, the housing numbers are relentlessly bad.

Aetna Prepares for Loss of 600,000 Members as It Raises 2010 Prices Back when it was the largest private health plan in the country, Aetna downsized its membership by millions but boosted profits during an overhaul of its business several years ago.

Barack Obama: Manchurian Candidate Version 2.0 I once wrote an article about former President George W. Bush saying that he was a perfect Manchurian candidate.

They’re Getting Tired of Being Taken for Granted Supporters of marriage equality have decided the enemy isn’t those who oppose it but the politicians who string them along with empty promises of consideration.

Afghanistan: Our 177th Colony During a televised football game Sunday, an announcer welcomed the members of the U.S. military viewing the game in 177 nations around the world. When the news came on, the topic was the same one it’s been for weeks, speculation as to whether and how much a single individual will escalate war by sending tens of thousands of additional troops to nation number 177, Afghanistan.

‘Spotaneous’ Musicals

Derisionist History Avi Shlaim burst upon the scene of Middle Eastern history in 1988, with the publication of “Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine.”

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