Category Archives: Don Belton

The Pencil Today:


THE QUOTE

“…[T]he fact is, most people are not going to be rich someday.” — Roger Ebert

THE WAGES OF SIN

So, the state Court of Appeals reduced Michael Griffin’s sentence by five years. They’re saying the fact that he had to suffer the horror of homosexual sex is as onerous as five years in the joint.

Don Belton: Dead

See, Griffin, who summarily executed IU professor Don Belton during the Christmas season 2009 claimed during his trial that Belton orally and anally raped him while he (Griffin) was passed out drunk after a party. And because Belton did that bad stuff, he (Griffin) felt compelled to stab him 21 times with his Marine combat knife a couple of days later. Did I mention that Griffin also slashed Belton’s throat?

Griffin was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison. Monday, his sentence was reduced by the higher court. The reduction was based on that claim that Belton committed a crime.

Michael Griffin: Five Years Closer To Freedom

Does this mean that every time Hooisers are sentenced for crimes, all they have to do to get years shaved off their sentences is to claim their victim did something bad first? Without any corroborating evidence?

Just wondering.


WHO WAS FIRST?

The Bloomington Science Cafe convenes again tonight at Rachael’s Cafe on Third Street at 6:30.

The bi-monthly caucus of certified knowledge geeks and the folks who dig them (me, et al) will hear IU archaeology doctoral student Matthew Rowe discuss the peopling of the Americas at this second confab of the season.

Who Were These People?

Organized by Alex Straiker and Jim Wager-Miller of IU’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, our town’s Science Cafe brings topics of pressing import to the knowledge hungry masses of Bloomington. IU physicist Michael Snow wowed the crowd with a trippy explanation of antimatter two weeks ago.

Rowe’s gabfest, entitled “The First Americans: New Insights into Ancient Migrations,” will address the question of whom, if not the Clovis people, were the first Americans.

Get to Rachael’s early if you want to find a seat.

VI ON RICHISTAN

The race for Indiana governor between Tea Party darling Mike Pence and Dem John Gregg may be a close one.

Gregg earned high praise for selecting as his running mate former State Senate minority leader Vi Simpson. She’ll give a talk today at the Indiana Memorial Union Dogwood Room on “The War on the Middle Class.”

Vi Simpson & John Gregg

The topic is fairly timely for me. I’m reading a book called “Winner-Take-All Politics” by Yale’s Jacob S. Hacker and Cal-Berkeley’s Paul Pierson. Hacker and Pierson are as liberal as the Republican Party fears all university-employed political scientists are. Their thrust is the Republicans have engineered an economy and a federal legislative system in the last 40 or so years that’s geared to funnel more and more dough in the pockets of the plutocracy — at the expense of the middle class

Funny thing is, the Tea Party, which trumpets itself as the voice of jes’ plain folk, really is in the bag for the billionaires of this holy land.

Check out Vi if you have a chance. She’ll speak at noon.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Brought to you by The Electron Pencil: Bloomington Arts, Culture, Politics, and Hot Air. Daily.

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center, outside WFHB StudiosParticipate in the construction of “The Messnger,” recycled metal sculpture to be installed at B-Line Trail; 9am-5pm

POLITICS ◗ IU Memorial Union, Dogwood RoomIndiana Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor talks about “The War on the Middle Class,” free and open to the public; Noon-1:15pm

DISCUSSION ◗ Meadowood Retirement Community, Terrace RoomIssues & Experts series, bi-monthly talk by an IU faculty member on an issue of local, national, or international importance, today: Tim Grose of Central Eurasian Studies discusses Economic Disparities & Consumer Confidence in the People’s Republic of China; 12:15-1:45pm

SCIENCE ◗ Rachael’s Cafe — Bloomington Science Cafe, bimonthly discussion led by an IU faculty member on a selected topic in the hard sciences, tonight: Matthew Rowe discusses “The First Americans: New Insights into Ancient Migrations;” 6:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoDave Gulyas & Dave Bruker; 7pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumUB Films: “Perfect Pitch,” sneak preview; 7pm

SPORTS ◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier men’s soccer vs. Notre Dame; 7pm

PERFORMANCE ◗ Unity of Bloomington ChurchAuditions and rehearsal for the Bloomington Peace Choir; 7pm

STAGE ◗ IU Halls TheatreDrama, “When the Rain Stops Falling;” 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubStardusters; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallPro Arte Singers, William Jon Gray, conductor; 8pm

DANCE ◗ Harmony SchoolContra dancing; 8-10:30pm

ASTRONOMY ◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryOpen house, public viewing through the main telescope (weather permitting); 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Buskirk Chumley TheaterAni Difranco; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdRod Tuffcurls & the Benchpress; 9pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • What It Means to Be Human,” by Michele Heather Pollock; through September 29th
  • Land and Water,” by Ruth Kelly; through September 29th

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works; through October 11th

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits opening September 28th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners;” through December 20th
  • Gender Expressions;” through December 20th

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibit:

  • “CUBAmistad” photos

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit:

  • Outsiders and Others:Arkham House, Weird Fiction, and the Legacy of HP Lovecraft;” through November 1st
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections form the Slocum Puzzle Collection

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s OnExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Culture: “CUBAmistad photos; through October

ART ◗ Boxcar BooksExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Papercuts by Ned Powell; through September

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • Bloomington: Then and Now,” presented by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • “Doctors and Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical professions

The Electron Pencil. Go there. Read. Like. Share.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“That isn’t writing at all; it’s typing.” — Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac‘s work

ZOMBIE MORNING

A courtly hat-tip to the one of the demi-bosses over at Soma Coffee, Lindsay Taylor.

She turned me on last Sunday to the fabulous Zombies disc, “Odessey and Oracle” (sic). I immediately ordered it online and it came in the mail yesterday.

The Loved One and I listened to it in part on the way to my Sunday morning headquarters.

Do yourself a favor and get it. Trust me.

LOVE KILLS

I was re-reading a part of David Halberstam‘s indispensable history of the 1950s entitled, appropriately enough, “The Fifties.”

One of its chapters covers the Beats, natch. Halberstam tells the story of how Allen Ginsberg met a fellow named Lucien Carr in his dorm room at Columbia University. Ginsberg immediately fell in with other Columbia students and hangers-on like William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and the rest. Carr was acknowledged as the untitled leader of the gang, then referred to as the Libertine Circle, that eventually became the Beats.

Burroughs, Carr, & Ginsberg (1953)

A dramatic episode in Carr’s life brings to mind one of the biggest news stories in Bloomington in years — the stabbing death of IU English professor Don Belton.

The Belton story broke a mere three months after T-Lo and I arrived in Bloomington. He may or may not have had sex with some kid who was a former Marine and had served in Iraq. The kid went to Belton’s house one morning, stabbed him repeatedly with his hunting knife, and allowed him to bleed to death on his kitchen floor.

The kid was convicted of murder in short order, despite claiming that he was driven to a murderous rage only after Belton had made sexual overtures to him.

Don Belton & Michael Griffin

When Lucien Carr was a teen, he was involved in a similar manner with a man who was 14 years older than he was.

This fellow, David Kammerer, was the leader of a youth group that Carr had belonged to isn St. Louis, where he was raised. Apparently, Kammerer fell head over heels for the tender teen. Carr’ mother moved him to a number of private prep schools in New England to get him away from Kammerer but the man followed the youngster to each new locale.

After high school, Carr enrolled at the University of Chicago and Kammerer again moved to be nearer him.

Carr attempted suicide by sticking his head in an oven while at Chicago. He told school officials it was an act of “art.” He told his mother he wanted to kill himself because Kammerer was driving him batty. Carr was committed to the psych ward at Cook County Hospital for a few weeks after the incident.

Carr’s mother transferred him to Columbia in New York City. Kammerer followed.

Carr swore up and down to his new Columbia chums that he’d never had sex with Kammerer but some historians suspect otherwise.

Jack Kerouac And Lucien Carr

In any case, Kammerer became a fringe member of the Libertine Circle. He and Carr often hung around together but, just as often, Carr would freeze the man out.

Anyway, one night in August, 1944, Carr and Jack Kerouac got drunk together in the Libertines’ hangout, The West End. Kerouac left the place and ran into Kammerer on the street. Kammerer asked where he could find Carr and Kerouac directed him to The West End.

Kammerer and Carr went for a walk and wound up in a park near 115th Street and the Hudson River. The two lolled there for a while and, according to Carr later, Kammerer came on to him. A scuffle ensued, Carr pulled his Boy Scout knife, and stabbed Kammerer to death.

Carr bound Kammerer’s body, weighted it with rocks, and dumped the corpse into the river. He buried Kammerer’s glasses in the park.

Carr immediately went to William Burroughs’ apartment and told him what had happened. Carr even brought a blood-soaked pack of Kammerer’s cigarettes as proof. Burroughs disposed of the pack and advised Carr to go to the police. Carr didn’t care much for that idea.

Instead, Carr went to Kerouac’s place the next morning and told him about the killing. Kerouac and he went out and dumped Carr’s Boy Scout knife down a subway grating. Then the two went to the movies and the Museum of Modern Art.

Finally, Carr went home and told his mother about the slaying. She brought him to the New York DA to confess. The cops fished Kammerer’s body out of the river and found the dead man’s glasses. Carr was charged with second degree murder.

Newspaper coverage at first tended to be hostile to the wealthy college boy killer. Then, his story of fighting off the advances of the older homosexual before resorting to homicidal violence touched the sympathies of a homophobic public. One newspaper termed the incident an “honor” killing.

Carr eventually copped to a manslaughter plea and served a mere two years in the juvenile section of the Elmira state prison.

A Monroe County jury last spring hung a murder conviction on Michael Griffin for the killing of Don Belton. Griffin is now serving a 45 to 65-year sentence in state prison.

Things change — or do they?

Men still kill men for the “sin” of homosexuality but at least we’re putting those killers away for a good long time now.

SKY KING

Hey, don’t forget about today’s solar eclipse. We may be able to see the moon’s disc cover a small part of the sun’s from our vantage point in South Central Indiana, although our sky won’t be darkened to any appreciable extent as it will be in the southwestern United States.

But you can follow its progress on a number of websites.

Sky & Telescope Viewing Map For Today’s Eclipse

This particular eclipse is classified as annular, meaning because of the particular points in their orbits at the moment of totality, the moon’s disc is smaller than the sun’s. Ergo, a dramatic circle of the brilliant sun’s orb will surround the moon.

How cool.

An Annular Eclipse

Oh, and don’t forget, the planet Venus will transit the sun’s disc in two and a half weeks. It’s another rare sky spectacular. I’ll remind you about it as we get nearer the date.

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