Hot Air

Legends Walked Among Us

Bloomington’s own cinema maven, Peter LoPilato was all dressed up with somewhere to go when he strolled into The Electron Pencil’s back office (some people call it Soma Coffee) yesterday AM.

This intrepid reporter grilled him re: his fancy duds — sports coat, collared short, freshly creased trousers and shiny (-ish) shoes.

“What’s up witchu?” sez I. BTW: I just happened to be uploading a pic of legendary film director and producer Roger Corman in my roll as online manager of LoPilato’s Ryder mag. The big feature this month is a long (repeat: lo-o-o-ong) profile of Corman, who just happens to be in town this weekend. Corman’s visit comes hot on the heels of that of mega-screen icon Meryl Streep who was in town earlier this week to cop an honorary degree from Indiana Unversity. Corman lectured at the IU Cinema yesterday afternoon and several of his films are featured there this weekend. (FYI: You missed The Wild Angels and The Trip yesterday. Today you can catch The Intruder, The Tomb of Ligeia, and a documentary, Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel.

Streep/IU

Streep Fêted

I mention Corman because, mirabile dictu, he’s why LoPilato was togged up.

“I’m going out to lunch with Roger Corman,” he said.

I, of course, could only gasp, “Wow.”

Corman/Price

A Young Corman (l.) On A Set With Vincent Price

I fondled Peter’s lapel for a moment, hoping some of his cool could rub off on me, then pressed my interrogation. “Where are you two going?”

Peter LoPilato merely smiled and said, “I’m not at liberty to say.”

Harrumph.

Anyway, I hope Corman paid for the meal. Every time I ask the boss for a raise, he motions back over his shoulder at a small crowd of waifs, shoeless and forlorn, staring at me with hungry eyes. “I would, I swear it,” he says, invariably, “but I’ve got a family to feed.”

Funny thing is I thought Peter only had two kids. The magic of Hollywood, I imagine. Well, like I say, I hope Corman picked up the check.

Superlative Celloloid

My absolutely fave Corman flick is The Attack of the Giant Leeches (he produced it and, to be honest, his fingerprints are all over it). Somehow, on a microscopic budget, Corman and director Bernard Kowalski manage to recreate a steamy, indolent Louisiana bayou world so faithfully that you find yourself perspiring just watching the thing. They get a workmanlike performance out of horror film vet Bruno VeSota, playing his usual corpulent baddie. I don’t know which movie I prefer VeSota in, this one or Daddy-o with Dick Contino. Either way, he’s a treat.

Giant Leeches

VeSota & Yvette Vickers in “… Giant Leeches”

Oddly, though, despite the loving care Corman & Kowalski take in presenting an oppressive, heat-wilted world, their titled giant leeches look about as leech-like as, well, so many papier mâché Chinese New Year dragons. Then again, it’s got to be a challenge trying to make a leech scary. Slimy and gross? Sure. Scary? Uh-uh.

Giant Leeches

A Leech Carries Off A Victim

As long as we’re playing the association game, noted LA gruesome murder chronicler James Ellroy wrote a novella entitled, Dick Contino’s Blues. You can find it in Ellroy’s 1994 short story collection, Hollywood Nocturnes.

Daddy-o

Dick Contino Makes The Scene in “Daddy-o”

Back to Hollywood-comes-to-IU: Roger Corman and Meryl Streep represent two extremes of what the American filmmaking industry does best. Either one is aces by me, as opposed to Hollywood’s current penchant for recycling superheroes and Nicholas Sparks books.

Huh?

From an article in Aljazeera America:

Aljazeera Screenshot

Click Image To Read Full Article

Notice in the subhead where it warns about isolating kids from “the digital world of multitasking”? As if that’s a horror that must be avoided at all costs.

When I first saw this, I figured it was a satiric story, you know, where there author turns you around by saying We’d hate to have our precious snowflakes not be able to be psychological overwhelmed by multitasking and productivity pressures because, hell, who wants a kid that isn’t developing a stomach ulcer by 13 and isn’t on antidepressants by 15?

The author says kids today are part of the “net generation.” They learn by absorbing tons of information merely by darting like hummingbirds from one web page to the other. Earlier generations dove into books and concentrated for long periods of time. That’s old hat.

Information is the stuff that’s liable to fill your mind so much that there isn’t any room left for knowledge (this is me speaking). “Information is not knowledge,” Einstein has been credited with saying. It’s also believed he said, “Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.”

Yet, members of the net generation are happy as clams that their brain cases are crammed with data. Their parents, apparently, are giddy about this as well.

“Opponents to deep, immersive reading come from all directions. Among American boys, there remains a generations-old sense that books are for sissies; I remember this from my own childhood. For neoliberals and technocrats, reading novels is not ‘what the market wants.’ Concentrated reading doesn’t require ideological opposition to be endangered: The pace of contemporary life, even for children, means that there’s simply no time or energy left for it,” the author writes.

Man, that’s a lousy life.

Wither Our Nation?

So. I’m sitting in a booth at Opie Taylor’s with The Loved One and our friends Hondo & Les. We’re playing a raunchy, sick joke card game that Hondo’d bought on eBay because…, well, because the mere playing of it will condemn any and all participants to hell if such a place turns out to be real. I really think he’s daring the god neither of us believes in to damn him for all eternity. And, I guess, I’ll be following him.

Anyway, the talk turns, as usual, to how eff’d up this holy land is. The problem with guys like Hondo is they read and listen to too much Far Right palaver. It upsets their stomachs as well as their minds. The minute some minor candidate for the Nebraska statehouse says something like women enjoy being slapped around because then their slapping husbands and boyfriends go all out of their way to apologize and be nice to them, Hondo and his ilk send out urgent messages to the rest of us saying the whole country’s going insane.

Which it is. I just accept it, largely. Sure, I point out funny (in a sad way) wingnut things here on The Pencil and sometimes stamp my foot about Rand Paul or Kirk Cameron or Rick Santorum. But for the most part, I can’t really keep up with all the loons who have YouTube accounts or blogs through which they can lobby for the regression of America to those grand old days of the Salem witch trials.

Witch Trial, 1692

Good Old Days

I’m more attuned to the utterances of, say, the Reagan/Bush/Bush Supreme Court, especially when it rules that rich guys should own and operate all polling places. Then I’ll yell that the country’s going insane. Between the two of us, Hondo and me, we’ve got the wingnut-osphere covered, I suppose.

Back to lunch at Opie’s. I think it was Les who asked, “Well whaddya think’s gonna happen here over the next few years.”

Natch, I had a ready answer.

The sanctified, blessed, and exceptional Yewnited States of Murrica is in for some changes. As long as the Supremes have codified the establishment of a plutocratic ruling class, the have-nots among us are going to be more restless than ever. Sure, the US always has been run for the benefit of captains of industry and financial pirates, but throughout our history we’ve always pretended that the common citizen meant something herein. No more.

If you have scads of dough, you count much more than if you don’t. That’s law now. Once you shatter the illusion of equality, there is nothing left of the mythical American Dream. When dreams die, people panic.

Now, most of the pop. of this nation is too dense to grasp that a new overclass has been installed, officially, brazenly, and w/o apology. Too many of them think their grand old flag has been sullied by Mexicans sneaking over the border to become busboys and maids, women who want the gov’t to pay for their slut pills, gays and lesbians who want to eliminate every trace of heterosexuality in our precious snowflake children, and, of course, the Kenyan who has taken over as Dictator and Tyrant-in-Chief Forever.

And, yeah, a health care reform that’s turning us into New Stalinville.

While everybody’s shrieking over these imagine threats, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and their coatholders turned the keys over to the Koch Bros. and said, “Here. It’s yours.”

No matter why people think the USA has become the homeland of Satan, they’re fast losing any and all loyalty to the nation. The Bundy Ranch confrontation will be repeated with alarming regularity in the coming years. And one of these times, somebody’s trigger finger is going to get itchy. Once the first shot is fired, all bets are off.

Militia at Bundy Ranch

A desperate band of gunfondlers is coalescing these days, certain that the US has been taken over by the aforementioned evil people. They’re not terribly organized just yet; their only real commonality is the passel of hatemongers who bark at them daily over Right Wing talk radio and, to a lesser extent, via Fox News. But, book it, some demagogue is going to pop up. He’ll preach “defense” and separation. And a lot of people are going to fall into line behind him.

What have they got to lose? They don’t have jobs, money, or power.

Perhaps Texas will be the first state to make secession noises. Arizona and Utah may join in the chorus. Then we’re going to see some real breaking news.

Think it’s impossible? Why?

Hot Air

Gotcha Covered

So, now its closer to 15 million* people who’ve signed up for health insurance under the provisions of the ACA.

That’s no failure, folks. The combined 2012 US Census bureau population estimates for the three largest cities in this holy land — New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago — is 14,909,352. Let’s call it a draw; there are now as many people insured under ACA guidelines as live in the three most prominent American cities.

Anti-Obamacare

Really?

And the “fiasco” online rollout of the ACA exchange is only some six months on. The Republicans are hanging on to this issue by their fingernails. ACA works, even though the GOP has stood on its head to sabotage it.

Do I love ACA? Hell no. I want single-payer, universal health care like every other civilized country in the world has. But, I’ll say it again, ACA is better than what we had and it’s the best we can do right now as long as the social Darwinists of the Right have the legislative votes.

[*You've been seeing the 8 million figure that the corporate media is throwing around, but that only includes people who've become insured via the federal exchange. Some 6 million more are now covered under their parents policies, who have pre-existing conditions, had reached some arbitrary liftetime benefits limit, or qualified under Medicare and Medicaid expansion. All of them have benefitted from the ACA.]

Politics?

So, perhaps Mark Kruzan is running for yet another term as mayor of this sprawling metrop.

Yesterday he vetoed the plan to allow hunters to cull the deer population around Griffy Lake. Believe it or not, it’s the first time he’s vetoed a city council bill since he became Boss in Chief in January, 2004.

Can it be that he weighed the votes of those who hate deer eating their roses against those who hate the idea of Bambi being shot up like Sonny Corleone on the causeway?

From "The Godfather"

This may be bad news for any of those hoping to grab Kruzan’s chair in 2015.

In any case, the council can override Kruzan’s veto simply by re-voting on the bill — as long they vote 6-2 again. Council rules call for a two-third vote to negate a mayoral veto. My guess? At least one of those six is going to get cold feet.

The Jews Lose

And so, now we learn that virulent anti-semites constitute at least some fraction of both sides in the Ukraine dust-up.

This despite the strong possibility that those flyers demanding Jews register their families and property being circulated in the city of Donetsk may have been created by Ukraine nationalists trying to smear the Russian partisans there.

The New Republic magazine quotes Russian expert Fyodr Lukyanov, who believes the flyers are fakes: “I have no doubt that there is a sizable community of anti-Semites on both sides of the barricades, but for one of them to do something this stupid — this is done to compromise the pro-Russian groups in the east.”

Just a reminder that anti-semitism is ingrained in much of the pop. of Europe. It existed when England expelled the Jews in 1290. It existed when Spain threw its Jews out in 1492. It existed when mobs attacked Jews on Kristallnacht. And it exists today.

Anti-semitism

Why? Simple: There exists within every society a capacity to hate. It’s part of our genetic make-up. And it’s the greatest challenge we as a species face.

Hot Air

Big Talk

Who’s the coolest person in Bloomington?

Today, at least, it’s Nate Powell. The noted cartoonist and author of numerous top-selling graphic novels is grilled, pierced, gutted, and otherwise questioned online by the majordomo of this communications colossus in the new interview series Big Talk.

That majordomo? It’s me.

BigTalkRoundCorners

Big Talk, long-time readers of this series of shrieks already know, is the shiny new monthly run of colloquys co-sponsored by The Ryder magazine, WFHB radio, and, natch, The Electron Pencil. The whole shebang had a soft kick-off in mid-January with the first airing on ‘FHB’s Daily Local News of my interview with the author/drawer of March: Book One, Any Empire, The Silence of Our Friends, and others. As in any new endeavor attempted by creative types, getting this thing synched up has been about as efficient as the wrangling of a houseful of cats by a blind man, so the other shoe part of interview No. 1 finally hits the interwebs today.

Powell Cartoon

Powell By Powell

We’ve already run a second interview with poet extraordinaire Tony Brewer on WFHB, with his print chat set to hit the streets in the April edition of The Ryder, due out soonly. Slowly but surely we’ll get our radio, print, and online skeds to jibe, so keep your shirts on while we pretend we know what we’re doing.

To refresh, the whole idea is for me to find fascinating Bloomington characters and shine the harsh light upon them, sans the blackjack and the telephone book treatment. Honest, I try to treat my victi…, er, subjects nicely. We want to learn about B-Town’s cools, not gawk at their lifeless bodies. The resultant interviews will find their way to your ears and eyes via an 8-minute feature segment on WFHB’s Daily Local News, a much longer discussion in that month’s hard-copy Ryder, and then a web redux on The Ryder‘s site. Natch, all links will be accessible here, thanks to our (duh) Big Talk page.

EP Screenshot

Go Ahead, Click It; You Know You Want To

So, unless you want to be the most square square in this Indiana college town, listen to the Daily Local News, read The Ryder when it hits your local merchants and street newsboxes, and, well, read it again when each month’s issue comes out online.

And, of course, you have to read The Pencil every single day. No misses, No excuses. What — you want your neighbors to think you’re out of it?

Ideas, Babies

Oh, before I forget: Feel free to suggest people you’d like to see interviewed by me. I’ve already got a long list of potential subjects. Hard as it may be to believe, I might have missed someone of note, so I’m leaning on you, hep Pencillista, to help me out. Send in your suggestions via the comments section in these posts or at glabagogo@gmail.com.

Do your part, savvy? It takes a village.

Mea Culpa

Alright, I’ll admit it. I’m a human and I sometimes have evil thoughts. Herein, I’ll confess my latest.

For a hot minute, I really, really wanted that Nevada rancher flap to devolve into a shootin’ war. Yep. I wanted all those loony militia members converging on the Bundy Ranch as well as the Bundys themselves and their supporters to get the living crap kicked out of them by the Feds.

Bundy Ranch

Standoff

The very notion that these gun-fondlers, Tea Party “patriots,” and miscellaneous survivalists and supremacists should position their dopey stance as a fight for freedom makes me want to retch. The Bundys, pure and simple, are letting their cattle graze on publicly-owned land. They owe us rent. That is all, kids.

And they want to fight a war over it? Yeesh.

An alarming number of Bundy-ists believe in a twisted interpretation of the Posse Comitatus rule — that is, the only governmental authority they recognize is that of the county. The state of Nevada and the US Gov’t, to these people, are unlawful, tyrannical entities.

In short, they’re nuts.

Bundy Ranch

Yikes

And don’t buy the line that they are the moral equivalent of the Freedom Riders, Martin Luther King, and Rosa Parks. They’re not. Merely suggesting that they might be comparable to those civil rights activists insults anybody who’s truly risked life and limb for freedom and equality.

The Bundy-ists said they were prepared to shoot it out with Bureau of Land Management security forces. One of their tactics, it’s been revealed, would be to place unarmed women in the front rank of their picket line so that when and if the Feds started shooting, their sainted womenfolk would take the first slugs.

Nice, huh?

Just imagine if one of the Bundy-ists had squeezed off a shot to start the party rolling. The Feds, of course, would be obligated to fire back and, necessarily, those target dames would be riddled with bullets. And then the Bundy-ists could cry martyr.

That mean little part of me wished it would have happened. The devil within me said, Mow ‘em all down.

Now, my firmly-held believe is that it’s our second thoughts that make us human. My second thought was, Aw, hell, I don’t want to see bloodshed. But for that flash of a moment, I figuratively rubbed my hands together and hoped for the worst.

See, that’s the diff. between me and those Bundy-ists.

[BTW: The paranoiac, conspiracy-obsessed website Natural News is coming down four-square on the side of the Bundy-ists. More evidence that those of us on the crunchy, natural Left should stay away from Mike Adams' scare-mongering delusion-fest. As if his chemtrails fetish wasn't enough for you.]

Hot Air

And The Winner Is….

Let’s talk awards.

The Pulitzers Prizes are the Oscars of the newspaper and scribbling biz. If I were to reveal one dream that I’ve harbored all my life, it’d be that I’d win the Pulitzer.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Big Mike Glab.

Trips off the tongue, no?

Maybe. But it won’t trip off the Pulitzer judging committee’s collective tongue. Not at this late date. And there, kiddies, lies the bare-bones moral of pretty much every novel that’s ever won the Pulitzer itself. Dreams die.

Sigh.

Anyway, Donna Tartt won this year’s fiction P.P. for her book, The Goldfinch. It’s about 16,000 pages long, which makes sense, considering it’s only the third book she’s had published in her so-far 22-year pro career.

Tartt

Donna Tartt

I haven’t cracked open The Goldfinch yet but I did read Tartt’s The Secret History back in the ’90s. It was quite good even though it was about privileged, over-the-top neurotic white college kids. See, I’m not a complete bigot.

I may read The Goldfinch when it comes out in paperback, although I wouldn’t bet the mortgage payment on it if I were you. I shy away from exceedingly long books and movies these days. The Goldfinch actually is 784 pages in hardcover. That translates to at least two weeks of reading time. I just can’t see myself making that kind of commitment anymore.

As far as movies go, my limit is two hours. If you can’t tell me a story up on the screen in two hours, you can’t tell me a story.

The big news, as far as I’m concerned, is that the Washington Post and The Guardian US jointly won the public service award in journalism for publishing the Edward Snowden revelations. Long-time readers of this space know I find Eddie to be a repulsive little character but, just to show what a big man I am, I do allow that he performed an absolutely invaluable and heroic service for this holy land.

I just wish he hadn’t run off to hide in one of the world’s most repressive states after he did it.

For those of you who fret that our great nation is slip-sliding into a fascist, tyrannical police state, take heart in the WaPo/Guardian‘s award. It’s part of a long tradition of American news gatherers winning praise for embarrassing the bejesus out of, well, America. Think back to 1972 when the New York Times copped the prize for printing the Pentagon Papers. It could reasonably be argued that the Times‘s actions harmed Murrica.

Certainly the revelation that our generals, Defense Department officials, and even the President himself had been lying through their teeth about our ill-conceived war in Southeast Asia helped hasten the general populace’s demand that we get the hell out of there. In other words, the publishing of the Pentagon Papers just might have prevented our great country from maintaining its perfect score in the Mighty Nations at War League.

Now, gosh dang it, Murrica’s got that tainted 12-1 mark (not including our record in little exhibition excursions like Grenada).

Anyway, the Buck Turgidsons of the Pentagon in 1972 would have given half the medals off their chests to prevent the NYT from publishing Daniel Ellsberg’s photocopied documents. Instead, the Times got laurels.

From "Dr. Strangelove...."

Bomb The New York Times!

If America was a fascist state back then, it was a lousy one. Old Adolf H. would have called us a bunch of pansies.

Funny thing is, it’s more likely that invertebrate publishers are more responsible for quashing the free press than all the iron-fisted generals, FBI agents, and presidents combined. In 1966 Harrison Salisbury was the only American reporter resourceful enough to slip into Hanoi. His subsequent series of stories revealed that US Air Force bombs were hitting hospitals and schools and killing civilians. The Pulitzer jury the next year voted to award him their prize. The Pulitzer board of directors nixed Salisbury’s award because they didn’t want to risk the ire of the Pentagon and President Johnson.

The same type of thing could have happened this year. The Far Right would have us believe the Obama Administration is chock-full of jack-booted Nazi lesbian abortionists. Funny, though, how that despotic gang let the Pulitzer committee recognize the Snowden articles.

They must have been too busy having sex orgies in the Oval Office.

And the Pulitzer peeps aren’t even cowering in fear of the Obama Reich.

Some fascist state.

Anyway, huzzah for the Pulitzer committees, for the Washington Post and The Guardian US, and for Edward Snowden (even if he is a weird little fker). I dig my press free.

Happy Tax Day

Here’s an item that ought to make your red cells sizzle this AM. Apparently, the extremely profitable National Football League does not pay federal taxes.

That’s right; the org. that administers a $10 billion-a-year operation and whose chief profiteer, Roger Goodell, makes a cool $44 million a year, does not turn over any of that lettuce to the feds. This despite the fact that many of the NFL’s franchises play their knee-breaking, cranium-shattering games in palatial stadia bought and paid for by you and me, the people.

Just to clarify: the individual teams do indeed pay taxes on their kingly revenues. It’s the NFL office that doesn’t fork it over to the taxman. Still, we’re talking some hefty scratch that could be going to things like rebuilding Interstate Highway bridges, say, or fixing the ACA online sign-up system. The NFL office’s yearly take amounts to nearly $200 million in dues from its 32 teams plus whatever cuts it gets from licensing fees and other squeezes of the avg. football fan.

Total US tax bill: zero.

Football

Money From Heaven — Tax-Free!

You may wonder why. The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville explains: The NFL is a nonprofit. Yep. Just like Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County or WFHB’s parent, Firehouse Broadcasting. No lie.

What, you wanna argue with that? You think nonprofit status should only apply to crunchy, goo-goo, liberal-socialist outfits that, y’know, help people?

Pshh. What country do you think you live in?


Hot Air

Church & State

Time to get scared, kiddies:

NO Times-Picayune Headline

Click Image To Read Article

Do I need to riff on this, or does the intrinsic insanity of it speak for itself?

Yeah, I’ll go with the latter.

Too Many People….

I hate to be a buzzkill to all those proud pappies and mammies who plaster zillions of pix of their trophy babies all over the interwebs, but my deeply held opinion is that we have way, way, way too many peeps on this planet.

I’ve heard humanity described as the ultimate invasive species. I won’t go that far but I cannot deny that the lot of us need too much of the limited tonnage of natural resources Ma Earth can provide. There’s flat-out not enough raw stuff to produce all the goods needed to elevate everybody alive to our Murrican standard of living. Not everybody can expect to drink water out of a plastic bottle, keep a calendar on a handheld electronic device, wear a pair of sneakers made by slave labor in China, and have a Double Quarter-Pounder with Cheese for lunch every day. Homo Sapiens sapiens would need two or three Earth-like planets to supply all the ingredients for that universal lifestyle.

Street Crowd

Oh, The Humanity….

Still, folks want us to go blithely and merrily along, procreating our way toward 8, 9, even ten billion cramped souls on this little rock, religious fundamentalists, primary among them. IDK why but the uber-pious loathe the notion of birth control in any form. I suppose it goes back to their codified worldview, which was formed and refined for a passel of pre-technological, pre-literate, overly-credulous, nomadic desert tribes in what we now call the Middle East. Nothing like having that forward-thinking gang set cultural and scientific policy for our 21st Century society, no?

Anyway, if you’re interested in reading both sides of the overpopulation argument, the New York Review of Books has a piece on a book by Jonathan V. Last entitled “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster.” Last’s argument — one that’s pretty much advanced by all anti-birth-control-ists — is that if the pop. growth of this holy land is in any way curtailed, even slightly, why then these United States will be wiped off the face of the Earth by whatever gang is busy humping its way toward elbow-to-elbow existence.

The reviewer takes issue with Last in no uncertain terms. If you want more, here are a few other links for reviews of the tome:

Conservative news outlets, natch, are hot for Last’s book,

Nobody’s Poor

Speaking of having not enough — or not having enough…, oh, you know what I mean — recent research has found that, in this holy land at least, even the poor don’t want to be classified as poor, so any pol trying to get votes by declaring himself a friend to the needy isn’t going to find much of a sympathetic audience.

Weird, huh?

If you’ve been following these screeds of late, you know my feeling that most Murricans harbor the fantasy that they’ll be billionaires one day, ergo the electorate’s patience with pols who do the bidding of the Kochs, the Ricketts, and Sheldon Adelson. In a sense, common folk think that whatever benefits the plutcocracy will one day benefit them.

Great Depression

Not Us!

Talk about fairy tales.

Ironic — isn’t it? — considering the fact that the divide between the haves and have nots is growing enormous-er every second of every hour of every day.

So, back to pols erring in their siding with the poors, that’s the conclusion arrived at by Anat Shenker-Osorio, a political communications consultant. She writes in Salon that progressive candidates and sitting office-holders have to start using new terminology to show how much they love the more unfortunate among us. Or the less fortunate. Whatever, you know what I mean.

The idea being you can’t say, “Hey, guys, you ain’t rich and I’m on your side.” Our American egos are so fragile that if you think we’re poor, we don;t want you on our side.

Like I said, weird.

Too Many People…, Redux

My least fave Beatle, sure, but Ram was a cool album. And this cut fits today’s post theme.

Hot Air

Make Me Laugh

Can’t wait to get my hands on the new issue of Bloom mag.

Bloom Mag Cover

Ha.

The Comedy Attic‘s Jared Thompson graces the cover. Inside, you’ll find out all about funny business in this town, natch, so grab one when you get a chance. You know, of course, that the Limestone Comedy Fest is fast approaching. This year the fest features as a headliner Patton Oswald.

Sure, he’s good, but can he rival last year’s appearance by Tig Notaro for getting Bloomington’s laugh-addicted pumped to the sky? Time will tell.

Spring Can Stink, Too

So I’ve been bragging and crowing about how fab these recent spring days have been. Y’know, sunshine, warmth, daffodils, forsythia, breezes, short pants, and the ebbing of crushing winter depression.

All true. Life has taken a decidedly more positive turn of late.

In fact, I threw every window in the house open yesterday. The months-old atmosphere redolent of garlic, olive oil, my socks, me, dog, cat, and other foulings of air were swept out forthwith and, within minutes, the joint smelled like a delightful cabin in the woods.

It was so warm last night that most of the windows were still open when Steve the Dog, Sally the Dog, Kofi the Cat, and I all fell asleep on the two living room sofas. It was as peaceful a sleep as four creatures could experience together, all of us lulled by the rustling of budding trees and bushes in the soft wind and the occasional distant hoot of an owl.

But then an unseen skunk shot a blast of self-defense at some threatening critter and the first wave of reek blasted the four of us out of the arms of Morpheus. Steve and Sally began barking and howling like mad dogs, my eyes began watering, and Kofi went so far as to stir, stretch, and resume his snooze.

Skunk

Sleep Wrecker

I had to slam shut every single window in the house and somehow explain to the hounds that they weren’t going out no matter how much they begged and whined. My explanation consisting solely of the repeated words, “Shut the f_k up!”

So, I’m still pretty deliriously happy about spring, only I’m now reminded nothing’s perfect.

WFHB Board News

The WFHB Board of Directors will have a new look after the station’s annual meeting June 7. That’s when the general membership will vote to fill three open spots.

Current Board members Carolyn VandeWiele and Matt Pierce (also state representative from the 61st District) are giving up their seats and Hondo Thompson quit the Board a while back, with his seat filled on an interim basis by Richard Fish. Fish is running for a full term this time.

Here are thumbnail descriptions of the four candidates for the three open spots, as selected by the current Board’s nominating committee.

Sarah Borden is new to the WFHB  family but has been seeking the best way to volunteer her skills at the station for some time. She has a business background and offers skills in accounting, bookkeeping, tax filing, payroll, budget preparation and monitoring, financial planning, grant research, writing, submission, and management and specific HR duties which could be very useful to the station.

Richard Fish has served on the WFHB Board since March 2013 when he was appointed by the board to finish out the term of a member who resigned and is seeking re-election.  Richard is a founding member of Bloomington Community Radio and long time host of Bloomington Beware and The Firehouse Theatre. Richard states that he feels that he can “help most in the area of planning and visioning. WFHB is — and will be — facing some serious challenges and changes in the foreseeable future.”

Benjamin Loudermilk comes to us through the on-air appeal for persons interested in applying for the WFHB Board of Directors. He writes “I have been a proud supporter and listener of WFHB since it was launched on the airwaves 20 plus years ago. When I learned of the upcoming open seats, I was excited at the prospective opportunity to seek candidacy to serve on WFHB’s Board of Directors.” Benjamin is a native Bloomingtonian, currently employed as a Paraeducator at BHSNorth, and an IU alumnus. He has been active in the local Arts community for over 30 years. He feels his strongest skills are in communication, research and networking.

William Morris has been associated with WFHB for nearly five years – as a DJ (“Brother William”) on several music shows, as a roving reporter and news reader with the Daily Local News, and as an interviewer/producer on Interchange. He states “Now, I’d like to participate in a broader, more-constructive and (hopefully) more productive way as a member of the Board of Directors….  As an attorney, I believe I can help the station think through and resolve legal matters that it will face in the next several years. As a former journalist and big-time music fan, I hope I can help the station look at programmatic, artistic and creative decisions.  And, as a five-year member/volunteer of the station, I hope I can share my enthusiasm for WFHB with others in a way that fosters greater community, camaraderie and achievement.

Other candidates can still get in on the fun through a petition process. One of those is Maryll Jones, who started the Friends of WFHB Facebook group. The Friends arose in reaction to the Board’s selection of Kevin Culbertson as general manager last fall. Culbertson’s nod sparked a firestorm of controversy when it was revealed he’d been instrumental in operating a number of Christian radio stations out west and that he wasn’t a member of the Bloomington community. Jones is collecting signatures at this time.

Speaking of Jones, she applied to the nominating committee but was rejected. Word is the Board is keeping its distance from her because she’s the boss of Friends. Because of the negative reaction to Culbertson’s hiring in Friends and his subsequent decision not to accept the position, there’s been talk he could, if he so chose, institute some type of legal action against the station. If anything, the scuttlebutt goes, Culbertson could claim something on the order of workplace religious discrimination. When he informed Board President Joe Estivill he wouldn’t be taking the job in a letter dated November 20th, 2013, Culbertson wrote:

Never in my 30 plus years of working in broadcasting and media have I seen such hostility in a work environment.  The slanderous statements and cyber bullying have passed the point, in my opinion, which any reasonable person would believe there would be an expectation of being able to accomplish the objectives of the station in due course.

WFHB honchos are hyper-sensitive to the possibility that Culbertson might file suit. Even a suit without much legal basis would have to be answered in court, meaning the station would incur potentially devastating expenses. It’s been decided that since Friends is an independent entity, the station shouldn’t have any connection with it as long as WFHB still has exposure to legal action. Ergo, Maryll Jones won’t be getting an official imprimatur from anybody connected with Firehouse Broadcasting any time soon.

Hot Air

Primavera

I’ll say this: If you don’t like what the sky, the winds, and the greenery are doing to us these days, you’re beyond help.

LMonroe20140405

Lake Monroe At Sunset, Saturday

Ready, Aim….

You didn’t catch this in today’s Herald Times because the City Council didn’t get around to voting until well after the paper’s midnight deadline, but our dear elected leaders voted to allow that controversial deer shoot around Griffy Lake.

Deer

… Fire!

Only Dorothy Granger and Steve Volan voted against it. Council chambers were packed yesterday with folks railing against the cull.

I’m in favor of whacking the deer if their meat can be harvested to feed the homeless. Same with Canada geese.

Greed Is Good

Ben Stein, whose greatest contribution to society thus far has been the movie line “Anyone? Anyone?”, opened his caviar hole again the other day and told us how lucky we are that our species can boast among its membership the subspecies, billionaire.

“They fund symphonies and ballets and schools for inner city kids. They are a bulwark against tyranny because they can afford lawyers to fight overweening government,” Stein said, as reported by Raw Story.

Y’know, because the poor keep all their money to themselves, the selfish slobs.

Food Stamp

The Poor Keep Their Assets To Themselves

Not content with elevating the likes of the Koch Bros. to sainthood, Stein also pontificates upon the poor.

“My humble observation is that most long-term poverty is caused by self-sabotage by individuals. Drug use. Drunkenness. Having children without a family structure. Gambling. Poor work habits. Disastrously unfortunate appearance. Above all, and counted in the preceding list, psychological problems (very much including basic laziness) cause people to be unemployed, have poor or no work habits, and enter and stay in poverty,” he said.

No word yet on whether Stein solved the eternal chicken-or-egg conundrum.

More evidence that a certain percentage of people in this holy land see the accumulation of wealth and those who obsessively participate in it as, de facto, good.

Mr. Pennybags

Whee, Me!

Again, for the benefit of those on my side of the fence who wonder aloud how folks can keep voting for candidates whose raison d’etre is to further grease the already-frictionless path for the pathologically rich, lots of our national brethren and sisteren truly believe wealth — gobs of it, obscene piles of it, more than anybody could ever need in one lifetime or ten — makes the holder thereof morally, ethically, philosophically, and evolutionarily superior to the rest of us.

And it isn’t just the wealthy who buy into this — if so, coatholders for the plutocracy such as Paul Ryan or Scott Walker would never win an election. The 1% (in truth, more like 0.01%) has all the dough, sure, but they by definition constitute only that eensy sliver of the electorate. No, the mids and the poors revere wealth just as much as Sheldon Adelson or Joe Ricketts do. They think that if they’d just played their cards right and the breaks all had fallen their way, they, too, would have amassed a fortune big enough to buy elections, legislators, and, well…, heaven here on Earth.

Let’s go a step further: most of the mids and poors still dream that they’ll reach the rarefied heights of billionaire-dom one day, no matter how entrenched they are in their caste today.

That’s the American Dream: One day I’ll be richer, and better, than you.

Frenemies

OTOH, how to explain the continued love affair half the electorate has with the Republicans, 100 percent of whose Senate members voted, essentially, against the equal pay bill?

I assume women vote Republican. And, if so, why? The GOP as far back as the 1970s demonstrated its loathing for dames by killing the Equal Rights Amendment. They haven’t done anything since to indicate that their view of females as brood sows and fap objects has changed a whit.

Being a double-X chromosomer and voting for Republicans is like being an Oglala Lakota and pulling for the 7th Cavalry. You’re all mixed up.

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse: “Go, Custer!”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 171 other followers

%d bloggers like this: