Hot Air

A Declaration

Y’know, it’s a damned shame I have to do this but considering the state of our bizarre, regressive, antediluvian, smug, arrogant state I have no choice.

Declaration

That last line, BTW, was originally written If you don’t like this, fuck you. Then I figured it’d be a tad more civilized the way it ended up. My original sentiment stands, though.

A Bold, Moral Stance

Kudos to the editors and publisher of the Indianapolis Star. Today’s front page is groundbreaking, even monumental.

Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s a welcome departure from the careerist, too-cautious, phony-baloney objectivity that characterizes corporate news media these days (with the exception of the amorally subversive Fox News).

Indy Star 20150331

 

Click Image To Read Complete Editorial

 

Let’s recognize the people who made this happen:

  • President and publisher Karen Ferguson
  • Editor and vice president Jeff Taylor
  • Editorial pages editor Tim Swarens
  • Designer Emily Kuzniar

Good job, folks!

Join The Club

A quick reminder: The second meeting of the Bloom magazine Book Club happens late this afternoon, 5:30pm, at FARM Bloomington’s Root Cellar Lounge.

Sanders

Scott Russell Sanders

Scott Russell Sanders will read from his latest, the novel Divine Animal, and will answer questions. The Pencil will be there, too. You don’t even need to have read the book. Just come to hear the author speak and rub shoulders with people who dig reading.

More Word-y Stuff

The southern half of Indiana boasts a second, beloved independent bookstore down by the Ohio River in Madison. Friends of Bloomington’s own Book Corner, Village Lights Bookstore props. Nathan Montoya and Anne Vestuto have been peddling new and used tomes since 2008 in the picturesque river town.

The two also stage Poetpalooza, an annual bash for local and regional versifiers. This year’s event takes place Friday and Saturday and will include readings by former Poets Laureate Norbert Krapf of Indiana as and Maureen Morehead and Richard Taylor of Kentucky. B-ton’s Tony Brewer will pound out Poetry on Demand on his old-school typewriter throughout the course of the affair.

Brewer

Tony Brewer Loads His Smith-Corona

Here’s the 2015 Poetpalooza schedule:

Friday, April 3

  • 5:00pm Open Mic Kick-Off Emceed by Alex Acosta (IN) & Harlan Kelly (IN)
  • 6:00pm Tom C. Hunley (KY)
  • 6:30pm Barbara Sabol (OH)
  • 7:00pm Bianca Bargo (KY)
  • 8:00pm Book Launch “Black Achilles” by Curtis Crisler (IN)
  • 8:30pm Katerina Stoykova-Klemer (KY)
  • 9:00pm Film Screening “Proud Citizen”

Saturday, April 4

  • 10:00am Book Launch “The Work of the Body” by Jill Kelly Koren (IN)
  • 11:00am Maureen Morehead, Kentucky Poet Laureate, 2011-2012
  • 12:00pm Norbert Krapf, Indiana Poet Laureate, 2008-2010
  • 1:00pm Tom C. Hunley (KY)
  • 1:30pm Barbara Sabol (OH)
  • 2:00pm Gerry Grubbs (OH)
  • 3:00pm Nettie Farris (IN)
  • 4:00pm Richard Taylor, Kentucky Poet Laureate, 2011-2012
  • 5:00pm Frederick Smock (KY)
  • 6:00pm Curtis Crisler (IN)
  • 6:30pm Katerina Stoykova-Klemer (KY)
  • 7:00pm Book Launch “Eavesdropping in Plato’s Café” by Jack Ramey (IN)
  • 8:00pm The Reservoir Dogwoods (IN) — Jason Ammerman, Tony Brewer, Matthew D. Jackson, Joseph Kirschbaum
  • 9:00pm Film Screening “Proud Citizen”

It’s a two-hour car ride from Bloomington to Madison via SR 46 and SR7 (catch it at Columbus). The view is delightful as you enter the Ohio River Valley, though, so make it a neat day trip.

Four Dead In O-Hi-O

It’s been 45 years since four young anti-war protesters were gunned down by Ohio National Guardsmen on the Kent State University campus.

Kent State became a touchstone term for a generation. It might well have been the most dramatic salvo in a general violent uprising — one that never really took place for a variety of reasons, many of which remain hidden or willfully unexamined to this day. A careful reading of the history of this holy land between the years 1954, when the US Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of the Topeka, Kansas, school district, and the January 27, 1973 treaty ending American involvement in Vietnam shows a nation perilously close to a second Civil War.

Kent State

Protesters Take Cover As Shots Ring Out (Image: Reuters)

PBS will air a new documentary, Kent State — The Day the ’60s Died Tuesday, April 28th, at 8pm. Documentary production company Room 608 Inc. and PBS also will release the 60-minute film on DVD. The program is part of a week of specials airing on PBS to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the end of our nation’s Vietnam War.

One more thing: Kent State gets all the ink and the attention but a mere 11 days later, Jackson police and Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers opened fire, killing two and wounding 12 students at Jackson State University. The campus, like hundreds of others across the nation, had been roiled by anti-war and civil rights protests that spring. Back in 1970, though, the killing of black students was deemed not as newsworthy as that of whites by the then-mainstream news media.

Things change, natch, even as they stay the same.

Hot Air

Religious Freedom

The question has been put to me (and others) by loyal Northern Indiana Pencillista David Paglis:

I wonder if those opposed to the Religious Freedom [Restoration] Act would be in favor of legally requiring Catholic hospitals to provide abortion services and if not, why not.

For whatever reasons, those Catholics who are most flamboyantly passionate about their religion seem to be passionate most about abortion. Capital punishment? Meh. War? Sometimes ya gotta do it. Nuclear proliferation? Silence. Abortion, though, gets the uber-Catholic blood to boil. The only thing approaching it as a sheer reactionary trigger is homosexuality.

A more pressing Q. might be What is it with Catholics and sex? But that’s a topic about as inscrutable as quantum electrodynamics.

Anyway, let’s tackle David’s query.

Acc’d’g to pretty much everyone’s interpretation, Indiana’s spanking new SB-101 2015, AKA RFRA, allows business proprietors to do things like refuse service to LGBTQ folks if their (the proprietors’) religion sees them (LGBTQs) as sinners bound for the eternal flames of hell. We’ll ignore the utter absurdity of our state legislators penning laws to accommodate peoples’ belief in inanities like eternal damnation and a flaming hell. A brief reminder: The calendar tells us this is the year 2015; hell, natch, is a Mesopotamian cultural concept, meaning it was a an attempt to understand our shared baffling mortality by the very first proto-civilized Homo Sapiens sapiens more than 5000 years ago.

I might hope we’d have learned a few things since then.

Nevertheless, an alarming swath of the American pop. still buys into the hell thing. So much so, in fact, that they loathe even being around those whom they’re certain are on a highway to the place. And so sure are they of this that they’ve pressured our democratically elected representatives to codify it.

Again, in the year 2015, in case you’ve forgotten.

The law tells us we can’t make people do things that are in violation of their religion’s tenets. Indiana University Maurer School of Law prof. Daniel Conkle (a supporter of the new law) suggested last week in an Indy Star op/ed piece that laws such as RFRA protect, for instance, Muslim prisoners in their practice of Islam within the confines of the joint. Conkle also cited a Pennsylvania state court ruling that people could set up soup kitchens in city parks in violation of municipal statutes if their religion demanded they feed the homeless.

The government wanted to make the Muslim prisoner shave his beard and hoped to force the soup kitchen operators to stop ladling broth in the park. Under similar “religious freedom” laws, per this argument, the gov’t was barred from doing so. Huzzah, Conkle concludes, for these laws.

No one, though, has attempted to argue that Muslims should be forced to eat barbecued (pork) rib tips at the Taste of Bloomington. Nor has anyone demanded that soup kitchen operators make their broth available to lawyers, doctors, and hedge fund managers. Quite frankly, those of us who despise this new law don’t give a good goddamn if Muslims eat pork or that hedge fund managers are being deprived of free soup.

Nor do we, as a rule, care that Catholic hospitals don’t do abortions. In fact, many dioceses and hospitals have banned even the dilation & curettage procedure because it is often used as an alias for abortion. That’s like refusing to let customers to enter a bank lobby because bank robbers always use the lobby.

In any case, we should be demanding that Catholic hospitals, especially those that are the only health care facility for many miles around, provide abortion services. If you’re going to open up an ice cream parlor in this free society, you should be compelled to serve everybody who comes in except those causing mayhem, are public nuisances, or pose a threat to public health. Same with hospitals. Abortion is legal in this holy land. It’s a medical practice generally regarded as safe. If you open up a hospital, that means you should treat everybody who comes in the door using every therapy and procedure that’s been okayed by contemporary medical science.

Otherwise, don’t open a hospital. And try to think a little bit less about how gross sex is. And lose the habits and wimples while you’re at it. It’s 2015, for chrissakes.

Here’s Gov. Mike Pence signing RFRA last week, surrounded by officials of the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Israel, the Rashidun Caliphate, as well as various ascetics, mystics, and fundamentalists. In the year 2015. In case you’ve forgotten.

Pence RFRA Signing

Hot Air

Got A Quarter For A Cup Of Coffee?

Amid all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the installation (or, more accurately, re-installation) of downtown parking meters a year and a half ago, one hugely important factor goes undiscussed. That is, the city’s finances.

Oh sure, City Council-ites and outgoing Mayor Mark Kruzan might tell us how important it is to control the day-long parking habits of all those pampered IU students living downtown in mini-palaces their parents have gifted them. And others might point out that it’s now ever so much easier to find a parking space around Courthouse Square.

But the sine qua non of the meter decision was, pure and simple, dough. Bloomington’s raking it in on a daily basis at a dollar an hour per parking space. Lest you think Kruzan et al are sitting in their throne rooms showering themselves with hundreds of thousands of dollars in quarters, keep in mind that the city’s bank account just might be tapped out.

Panhandler

Can You Spare Two Bits?

The Pencil hears a whisper that the city might be unable to pay Monroe County its share of the million-dollar-plus emergency dispatch center software that’s been in use since September. Way back in the summer of 2013, the city and the county signed an interlocal agreement to purchase a maintenance policy from Spillman Technologies, Inc. The company would keep the dispatchers’ computer programs purring for ten years in exchange for a cool 1.2 mill.

The county and the city share a high-tech emergency dispatch operation atop the new $9.5 million Bloomington Transportation Center.

A source with intimate knowledge of the deal says that the city cried poor when payment came due. Acc’d’g to this person, the city and county now are hashing out a payment plan; in other words, Bloomington wants to borrow the scratch from Monroe County — scratch the city supposedly was good for when the interlocal agreement was signed.

The Herald Times reported earlier this week that some in the county don’t even like the looks of the prepay deal in the first place. Monroe County Council member Marty Hawk, for one, told the H-T a million bucks was pretty much a scary sum to commit to w/o even knowing how Spillman will perform.

Meanwhile, my source added that a financial whiz from one of the city’s departments recently has done an audit of the city’s tax/expenditure activities and essentially came away from the chore shaking her/his head sadly.

Two things:

  1. Think of how much worse our town’s financial picture might be without all those quarters. 
  2. Do Darryl Neher and John Hamilton realize what in the hell they’re trying so hard to get themselves into?

Sunshine? I’ve Heard Of It!

You know it’s spring when the city’s Farmers Market moves back outdoors. Well, it’s spring, at least acc’d’g to the calendar. The 2015 al fresco Market debuts a week from today, Saturday, April 4th, outside City Hall on North Morton Street.

And just to remind you what a kick the FM is, here’s some video footage of the Rogers boys’ band, Busman’s Holiday, shot by camera ace Duane Busick:

By the way, that brightness you see in the video? It’s called sunshine. I’ve got a ten-spot to bet that we’ll see some of that stuff next Saturday.

For more from Duane Busick, go to his YouTube page.

Go Dark

Hey, h/t to Linda Oblack for reminding us: Let’s all do Earth Hour tonight.

Turn off your lights, your devices, your mixers, your TV, your Hitachi wand, and any other thing powered by electricity from 8:30-9:30pm. Just a reminder of how much goddamned non-renewable energy we soak up every minute of every day.

Darkness

This Is What Darkness Looks Like

Suggestions for what to do while the juice is off:

  • Put together a jigsaw puzzle
  • Do a crossword
  • Read a book
  • Listen as the birds retire for the night
  • Talk to each other
  • Have sex (w/o the wand, natch)
  • Contemplate
  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Take a nap
  • Write a letter

Do something other than suck electrons out of a wall outlet.

Hot Air

God

I’ve never tried to conceal the fact that I’m an atheist, either in this space or in any other setting. At the same time, I’ve always felt it was best to take a kid glove approach to people who do believe in a god.

I figured, hell, this world is mad, this life is crazy, and if believing in a distant, invisible being who created the universe and who, albeit rarely, will grant your wishes helps you get through it, fine. I use things like music and comedy and red wine and perhaps another substance or two — unnamed, natch — to negotiate the insanity. Who says my crutch is better than yours?

Now, though, I’ve reached the end of my rope. I’ve had it. The gloves are coming off. This mad, maddening, mad-making, so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act that Gov. Mike Pence will sign in a private ceremony this morning is the deal-breaker for me.

Here’s the offending clause in RFRA, AKA Senate Bill No. 101, 2015:

Sec. 8. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), a governmental entity may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability

See what the bill says? The gov’t may not force a person to violate her or his religious standards even if her/his actions violate laws or the rights of another person. If the rest of us have to play nice and by the rules vis-a-vis other human beings under the law, you, homo-fearing, transgender-fearing, butch-fearing, effeminate-man-fearing, and — most importantly — god-fearing shop owner may deny service to those people whose appearance scares you to death.

All ya gotta do is say god told you so.

God

Enough. Stop the madness.

You want to believe in god, go ahead. But keep it to yourself. Don’t make rules and laws based on the supposed utterances of a deity or his representatives, the vast majority of which inspire constant discord and strife even among members of your own club. If there are three billion people on this planet who believe in god, there are three billion who disagree over precisely what god wants them to do.

Take pleasure and comfort in your supposed solidarity with an ancient, pre-technology, pre-literate, nomadic desert tribe. Just leave me out of it. And leave my city, my state, my country, and my world out of it. Burn all the incense you want. Raise your hands and pray that the most powerful entity in all creation is looking down upon you with paternal love in his eye. Give all your money to your preacher. Teach your kids that there is only one true god — yours, of course. That’s your right.

My right? Not to be bothered by your bullshit.

Horserace

Okay kids, here’s the early form chart for the 2016 presidential election.

2016 Odds

Business Insider Chart

You want some advice? Here it is:

1) Bet $500 on Hillary. You’ll make a c-note that way and the risk is really, really minimal.

2) If you can stand merely breaking even on the election in a worst-case scenario, drop another hondo on Ted Cruz. If he loses either in the primaries or the general e., you’re covered. But if he wins — which I don’t believe to be too deranged a proposition (well, yes, a Cruz presidency would indeed be deranged but the possibility of it happening is not) — you’ll cop a cool thirty-three hundred skins. That should take a bit of the sting out of a Cruz victory.

With the way things are headed in this holy land, I’ve got a funny feeling about a Cruz long shot.

[h/t for the chart to Rich Lloyd, Vanderbilt University prof. and player emeritus.]

Carson’s Diagnosis

This may be my fave headline of the month:

17983_10206042730892434_1570057174941120028_n

So, the leader of this holy land joins an elite club including such luminaries as Charles Manson, John Warnock Hinckley, Mark David Chapman, the Unabomber, and even Norman Bates and Patrick Bateman. Golly gee, thanks for the clarification, Dr. Carson!

Psychotics

We Now Have It On Good Authority

Hot Air

Cue The Kazoos

I was too lazy to attend the debate between the three Democratic candidates for mayor last night at IU’s Neal Marshall Black Culture Center. John Linnemeier, John Hamilton, and Darryl Neher sat together on stage without a brawl breaking out in the first of several such panels between now and the primary May 5th.

[View The Pencil’s schedule of debates and forums here.]

The Herald Times this AM reported on a rather dull affair with the three offering the obligatory array of political positions including their four-square backing of good government, honesty, and sunny spring days.

The frontrunners, Hamilton and Neher, have so little to separate themselves, philosophically and politically, that the danger exists whomever succumbs first to desperation will turn this race personal. Hamilton already has (gently) hammered on Neher’s transformation from Republican to Democrat. Last night Neher pointed out that five Hamilton underlings were convicted of swiping $1.6 million in taxpayer dough when H. was in former Indiana Guv Frank O’Bannon’s cabinet.

Personal to Hamilton and Neher: Don’t go there. Bloomington’s voters will turn quickly against anyone who engages in negative campaigning this cycle. See, nobody in the general public is so madly in love with either of you that they’ll forgive destructive mudslinging. Just my unsolicited advice.

Coats Leaving The Cloakroom

So, who wants to be the new junior United States Senator from Indiana now that Dan Coats is hanging up his Republican buckle-hat and breeches?

  • Todd Young?
  • Baron Hill?
  • Shelli Yoder?
  • Evan Bayh?
  • Richard Mourdock?

Altered Movie Poster

Well, maybe not Richard Mourdock, although America is noted for shocking second acts (Richard Nixon, Marion Barry, and ABBA, for examples). But how about these names, mentioned by The Hill, the daily hardcopy and online newspaper covering Congress?

A Luke Messer spokesgeek sez the 6th Dist. Republican US Congressbeing isn’t hep to the idea of running at this moment, The Hill also reports.

Tom LoBianco of the Indy Star adds these names:

LoBianco feels that Bayh, Mourdock, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz aren’t worth writing about in terms of the upcoming race.

Politico‘s Kyle Cheney does a thorough job of vetting Evan Bayh’s mindset as the seat comes open. Cheney figures there’s no chance Bayh — even with his $10 million war chest — will run.

Abdul Hakim-Shabazz of Indy Politics drops Bosma, Young, Stutzman, and Rokita’s names — adding Holcomb’s almost as an afterthought.

Coats so far is the third US Senator to announce he won’t run in 2016, joining Dems Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) in the glue factory line.

Be Divine

Hey, you’ve only got six more days to read Scott Russell Sanders’ new novel, Divine Animal. The current selection of the Bloom magazine Book Club, Divine… has been flying off the Book Corner‘s shelves.

Malcolm Abrams’ brainchild was a smashing success the first time around with Bloomington author Michael Koryta packing the house at Oliver Winery on the Square in February. Koryta’s Those Who Wish Me Dead was the Book Club’s first selection.

Sanders will read from his book and answer questions Tuesday, March 31st, 5:30pm, at FARM Bloomington’s Root Cellar Lounge. My advice? Get there early.

Sanders

Scott Russell Sanders

BTW, poet extraordinaire and IU Creative Writing prof. Ross Gay told me yesterday that Sanders — back when he was still teaching keyboard clacking there — was a terrific influence on a lot of young scribes, the tall versifier included. “Every time I’d see him in the hallway, he’d have something nice or encouraging to say,” Gay remembers.

Keep in mind encouragement is worth its weight in gold to an aspiring writer, especially considering careerists in that field see very little gold in their lifetimes.

Hot Air

Do They Follow Or Lead?

The Indy Star tells us this morning the “religious freedom” bill that passed the Indiana House yesterday is “controversial.”

Indy Star

Um, let me correct the equanimous editor who concocted that headline. The bill passed 63-31, which, in political horserace terms, is a goddamned landslide. You see, it’s obvious the entire nation is four-square against this gay marriage stuff and our esteemed statehouse representatives are merely reflecting that will of the people.

I mean, am I right? It couldn’t be that our state legislators are woefully out of touch with the zeitgeist of the 21st Century, could it?

Here in Indiana?

Send Him To Hawaii

As of nine o’clock this AM, Owen V. Johnson has raised only $70 of the $3000 he’s aiming for in his gofundme effort to get to Honolulu. He’s hoping to get there so he can participate in a ceremony noting the 70th anniversary of the death of Indiana’s own Ernie Pyle, the nation’s most famous and beloved combat correspondent during World War II.

Johnson is a retired Indiana University prof. of journalism and is known as the nation’s foremost expert on Pyle. He’s been invited to give the commemoration address at the dedication of a new gravesite for the legendary Hoosier. The only things standing between him and the April ceremony are 4200 or so miles, airfare, hotel accommodations, cab fare once there, and maybe enough scratch for a few decent meals.

Johnson

Owen Johnson

Johnson has set up the crowd funding page to cover his expenses. One of his biggest cheerleaders is City Council member Steve Volan who calls Pyle “one of the greatest Hoosiers who ever lived.”

Pyle, born near Dana, Indiana, in 1900, served in the US Navy Reserve during World War I and attended IU after peace broke out. He studied journalism here and edited the IDS. After graduation, Pyle went to work for the Washington Daily News where he eventually became something of a travel correspondent. His editor there described his writings as having “a Mark Twain quality.” His travel columns eventually were syndicated nationally.

Pyle became a war correspondent in 1942 and, unlike other journalists covering the action, he shunned hanging around the generals and commanders, preferring instead to hunker down in the mud with the grunt soldiers. His focus on the little guys endeared him to the nation’s newspaper readers. In fact, he even suffered what used to be known popularly as “battle fatigue” and was officially termed “war neurosis.” (It’s now called PTSD.) For instance, he wrote of visiting the French town of Falaise immediately after a vicious battle there: “Everything is dead. The men, the machines, the animals — and you alone are left alive.” Historian Rick Atkinson writes of Pyle’s mindset after Paris was retaken in The Guns at Last Light, the third volume of his Liberation Trilogy about the Western European campaign:

Among the Allied casualties was Ernie Pyle. “If I ever was brave, I ain’t any more,” he wrote a friend. “I’m so indifferent to everything I don’t even give a damn that I’m in Paris.” The war had become “a flat, black depression without highlights, a revulsion of the mind and an exhaustion of the spirit.” In a final column from Europe, he told his readers, “I have had all I can take for a while. I’ve been 29 months overseas since this war started; have written about seven hundred thousand words about it…. The hurt has finally become too great.”

Pyle recharged his batteries in the US and then went back to covering the war in the Pacific. On the atoll island of Iejima, he was riding with a regiment commander in a Jeep when the vehicle came under fire from a distance machine gun nest. Pyle and the lieutenant colonel jumped into a ditch until the firing stopped. The two peeked over the rim of the ditch and Pyle, smiling, asked the colonel, “Are you alright?” At that moment, he caught a machine gun bullet in the left temple. He was killed instantly. The date was April 18th, 1945.

Pyle

Ernie Pyle

Pyle was buried first at the Army cemetery on Okinawa and then transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery in Honolulu. He was one of the very few civilians awarded the military’s Purple Heart.

If you figure it’s worth it to kick a few dollars into Johnson’s kitty for the trip, do so. Go here.

Make It A Fair Fight

Al Jazeera America reported yesterday that the magnificent African elephant is nearly extinct. The cause? Poachers are killing the creatures for their tusks.

African Elephant

Beauty

As of now, the elephants are just a few decades from disappearing in the wild. The world has lost some 80,000 members of the species to poachers in the last eight years. Man, I wish elephants could fire guns, just so they could have a chance against the bastards.

Boggling The Imagination

The foreign-born Ted Cruz utilizes a secret weapon in his stump speech, according to a BBC online magazine post. He used the word “imagine” some 38 times during his candidacy announcement yesterday at Liberty University in Virginia.

Political reporter Anthony Zurcher writes that Cruz’s speaking style is a “cross between Atticus Finch and Tony Robbins.”

Cruz

Imagine This Man As President

Zurcher cites political strategist Frank Luntz re: “imagine”:

‘Imagine’ is still the most powerful word in the English language because it is inspiring, motivating and has a unique definition for each person. When you want to inspire, imagine is the language vehicle.

In other words, “imagine” conjures up whatever the hell the listener wants to believe. Which pretty much encapsulates the strategy of too many of today’s pols.

Me? I see Cruz as a lot like Robbins and not so much at all like Atticus.

Groupie Nuns

Sounds like a punk band name, no?

A gaggle of cloistered nuns almost knocked Pope Frankie over during his visit to a cathedral in Naples this past weekend. They charged him in an effort to touch, presumably, the hem of his garment.

Pope Francis

Rock Star

On the other hand, one cardinal also in attendance shouted as the nuns surrounded the Pontiff, “They are going to eat him! Sisters! Sisters!”

Can the Catholic church get any psycho-sexually weirder?

Selfie Nonsense

I thought you’d get a kick out of this:

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 1.10.45 AM

In the real world that I inhabit, this poor dope would either be sucked out of the cockpit and tumbled to his certain doom or the force of the near 600-mph wind drag would sever him at mid-thorax like a deli slicer cutting through a fresh Genoa salami. That is if he could even get that cockpit window open, which he couldn’t because it’s a pressurized cabin.

The kicker is there are enough people in this mad, mad world who believe this kind of bushwa to constitute, say, an entire political party.

Our World, Take It Or Leave It

From New York University prof and social media marketing guru Peter Shankman:

11082538_10152701891826674_5229822590113059868_n

Hot Air

If You Poison Us, Do We Not Die?

Hey babies, just in case you’re contemplating bumping off a loved one this spring, Bloomington’s Science Cafe has the session for you. Tuesday night at Finch’s Brasserie, Indiana University chemistry prof Kate Rech‘ll fill you in on all the ins and outs of dosing your wayward spouse.

Pay no att’n, BTW, to the S. Cafe’s website which states the The Science of Poison will be March 31st. It won’t be. It’s the 24th. Got it?

Poison

No, No, Not This Poison

Anyway, including Tuesday’s there are only three more Cafes before the semester concludes. Trust me, you have to take advantage of this thing. It’s one of the great perks of living in a college town. Think of it: free basic college-level lectures at a pretty good eating and drinking establishment. You can have a tasty bowl of soup or a gourmet pizza or you can get sloshed on good vino all while improving your mind. Sounds like heaven to me.

If you’re not interested in poisoning anybody, you might catch April’s session, Halting Climate Change by 2050, presented by chemist and ocean conservationist Norman Holy.

Kate Rech’s speil will begin at 6:30pm in the upstairs meeting room and bar.

Speaking of mind improvements, The Pencil always pretends to be informative. F’rinstance, here’s 19th Century journalist and author Ambrose Bierce on one particular variety of poison, from his delightful book, The Devil’s Dictionary:

Belladonna, n.: In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.

Bierce

Ambrose Bierce

From The Ashes

Bob Costello, majordomo of the eatery empire centered around the Grant and Kirkwood intersection, tells The Pencil the rebuild of his Village Deli is moving along on schedule. The place is still on a pace to reopen the second week of April. If all goes well, acc’d’g to C., he’ll throw the doors open again Monday morning, April 6th.

Since the back end of the joint burned down in January, the V.D.’s 60 employees have been getting paid, thanks to Costello’s top-end business insurance policy. Plus, he tells me, he’s been offering his people a deal wherein for every hour they put in as volunteers at one of the many service orgs. around town, he’ll pay them two hours of their normal wage. He expects at least 80 percent of his staff to return when the Deli reopens.

Costello and his wife Kari also own Soma Coffee and the Laughing Planet.

Where Was Ted Bred?

So, Ted Cruz is set to make his big announcement in a Monday press conference.

Yup, he wants to become the first foreign-born president of this holy land and how delicious an irony is that? I wonder how many white people will shriek and moan about his birthplace.

Cruz

Foreigner

Born In The USA

Well, at least our current Prez was.

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