Category Archives: Elaine Irwin

Hot Air

Quick Hits & Snippets

Cold yet? Just wait. In the meantime, here are some news tidbits, opinions, and pontifications straight from The Pencil world headquarters. BTW: Chris Madsen, long-time voice of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and noted national media consultant, called my almost-daily word spurts “rants” yesterday. Hmm! Rants, eh? I’ll show you some rants.

Brrrrrr…., Grrrrrr!

Personal to Old Man Winter: Just go, will you?

Winter Ice

Music As Biography

Have you read the piece on John Mellencamp in the last Rolling Stone issue of 2013? It’s called “My Life in 15 Songs” and, in it, he describes how he’s grown, how his life has changed through the years as landmarked by certain hits. Pretty cool idea.

Now, I’ve never met Mellencamp, although I like to think we’re neighbors: He and I live on Indiana State Road 446. Of course, his lakefront mansion is some five miles south of my far more modest chez.

Anyway, when I first moved here, I’d hear people talking about M. and their stories generally went something like this:

My cousin’s brother-in-law knew him in high school and, man, was he an asshole. There was this one time….

None of the people who were so certain as to the character of the pop star-turned Americana singer-songwriter had ever seen the man, much less knew him.

I get the feeling that because he’d elected to live in So. Cent. Ind. people expected him to be chummy and warm with everyone he’d run into hereabouts, as if, rather than being a worldwide celebrity, he was everybody’s next door neighbor. So when he’d grunt in response to goggle-eyed fans accosting him at the Starbucks, they’d take it personally.

Mellencamp/Irwin

Jekyll & Bride

Conversely, his ex-wife, the stunning model Elaine Irwin, seems universally regarded as the nicest human ever to breath air in Indiana. I’ve got a theory about that, too, natch. See, people expect super models to be haughty, aloof, and utterly unapproachable. So whenever anyone might run into her in the Starbucks line, they’d hear her say please and thank you to the barista and come away convinced that she was, in truth, gushingly effusive and open-armed.

Face it, folks, we’re a weird species.

I’d Like You To Meet Someone….

Hey, as soon as I finish clacking this post out, I’m off to the recording studio to do an interview with big time graphic novelist Nate Powell. His latest tome is a joint production with Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia) and writer Andrew Aydin entitled March: Book One. It the first of a trilogy recounting the life of the civil rights leader from his days on a little Pike County, Alabama, farm through the 1965 voting rights march in Selma (where he got his skull broken by an Alabama state trooper) and on, triumphantly, to the halls of the US Capitol.

Nate Powell Artwork/John Lewis

Powell & Lewis

Powell’s well-known for his graphic novels, including Swallow Me Whole and Any Empire. He took a roundabout route to comix fame and we’ll be talking about it all today. My interview with him will be the first in a joint production venture between WFHB and The Ryder magazine. We’re looking to run a monthly piece in the mag featuring compelling folk from here in the Bloomington area as well as a companion audio feature on the Daily Local News. I’m excited as all hell about it.

Kudos and thanks to WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh and Ryder editor/publisher Peter LoPilato for joining the venture. BTW: I haven’t figured out what to call the thing yet. I’ve tossed around some ideas in my coconut and the best so far seems to be Big Mike’s People. If you’ve got a better idea, by all means pass it on.

Ready, Aim…, Duck!

Wow, here’s a shocker: Those Duck Dynasty hyenas are now pimping for a gun manufacturer. Imagine that! Bigoted people and guns. No one on Earth has ever made that connection before.

Tea Party & Guns

Poor Little Rich Boys

And, of course, the “affluenza” defense is becoming real, at least a version of it. Well, “real” in the same sense that, say, an accused rapist might plead he couldn’t help himself because that woman wore a miniskirt.

Ty Warner, the billionaire entrepreneurial genius who gave us Beanie Babies®, has been convicted of income tax evasion for parking countless millions of dollars in off-shore accounts. See, geniuses shouldn’t have to pay taxes like the rest of us slobs.

He has pleaded guilty in federal court to the tax evasion charges and now is trying to convince the judge in his case that he shouldn’t go to jail because he came from the most deprived of childhoods so how could she expect him to do the right thing when he became a bazillionaire?

Warner

The Tears Of A Clown

Warner faces five years in the federal pen; that’s in addition to the $53 million in penalties and $16 million in back taxes he’s already been ordered to pay. But his reasoning goes that rich geniuses shouldn’t have to go to jail for evading taxes, especially if they’d been forced to endure abominations like taking jobs as busboys and valet parkers when they were in college.

The horror.

Do I need to tell you how I hope the judge rules?

Room To Write

Resident of the Internet-iverse (although his corporal body can be found in Forest Park, Illinois), Bill Lichtenberg, happened upon some chilling stats. Chilling, that is, when one (me) considers the depth and breadth of the competition to get one’s (mine) novel published.

Dominic Smith, writing in the books, arts and culture online magazine The Millions, has found that there are way, way, way, way too many people trying to catch the eyes of traditional publishers these days. Smith writes:

After studying the data, I’m inclined to think there’s a million people writing novels, a quarter of a million actively publishing them in some form, and about 50,000 publishing them with mainstream and small, traditional presses.

That’s in America alone, babies.

Personal to other writers: Back off; you’re crowding me

Radio Talk

Finally, the newly-formed WFHB newsletter committee will meet again tonight. I can say that I’m on the committee and maybe — just maybe — tonight I can get the other members to give me permission to identify them. We’ll see.

Anyway, the committee last week decided to aim for March to put out the inaugural issue.

Stay tuned.

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.” — Christopher Morley

BARRY’S OKAY — JUST OKAY

I have no idea why but I feel I must defend Barack Obama these days — tepidly, of course, because his presidency has been rather ho-hum, for my money.

For all the excitement he generated among the commie, pinko, homo, abortion-crazed, tax-happy, put-the-white-man-in-jail, apologize-for-America, femi-nazi, Manchurian-candidate-cabalist population of this otherwise holy land when he was merely candidate Obama, Boss Obama’s reign has been pretty much a let down.

Every Right Winger’s Wet Nightmare

Many of my lefty pals feel their blood pressure reach quadruple digits when the current POTUS is mentioned. The radical lawyer Jerry Boyle goes so far as to call him a “traitor” (to the left‘s cause — not, as the other side would have it, to the nation.)

How can a guy be a traitor when he was never part of the club?

If anybody had paid a bit of attention to how he voted when he was Senator Obama, they’d know he was, in truth, the biggest Rockefeller Republican since that very man who passed from this vale of tears at the age of 70 while banging his secretary on her desk back in 1977. (Yeah, yeah, I know — allegedly.)

The Original Rocky (Bust In The Senate Gallery)

Anyway, as I’ve pontificated before, perhaps my happiest day as a voter and taxpayer in this greatest nation in the history of our corner of the Solar System was when Barack Obama was elected president. Not that I expected him to outlaw guns in cities, care for the sick, tend to the poor, pull the soldiers out of Iraq and Afghanistan the next day, and order the summary executions of Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon, but because the election of a (half) black man demonstrated that these United States had grown up a bit since, oh say, the 1970s.

That and the fact that Obama wasn’t George W. Bush nor was he craven enough to have chosen as his running mate a MILF-y knucklehead from Alaska.

Every Right Winger’s Wet Dream

The fact that Obama has surrounded himself with so many unindicted felons from the Goldman Sachs mob makes me want to retch. Then again, I never expected him to name among his advisers Dennis Kucinich, Howard Zinn, and Rachel Maddow.

So, that’s my roundabout way getting to the fact that I am categorically, incontrovertibly, without question or fail, voting for Barry come November. As long as nobody better comes along.

You think I want to see Roe v. Wade overturned? And all those Wall Street baboons given free reign? The privatization and profit-ization of basic human services? The digging for oil in every citizen’s backyard? Rush Limbaugh smiling?

Hell no, babies. I’m a staunch(ish) Obama man from here on out.

TRUTH — REALLY

Bloomington author Julia Karr waltzed into the Book Corner Monday, carrying the galley copy of her forthcoming book, “Truth.”

It’s the follow-up to her successful 2011 release, “XVI,” a murder chiller set in a dystopian future.

‘Truth” will go on sale a week from tomorrow with a book release party Friday, January 20, at Boxcar Books.

Julia Karr

Karr brought in “Truth” for our town’s Book Babe R.E. Paris, who’s reviewing it for Ryder magazine.

I was chatting with another customer at the time, a man whom I don’t know. When I told him he was in the presence of a big time pen lady and then told him about all the other successful authors in town, he said, “No kidding? I had had no idea this was such a center for authors.”

It is, pal. It is.

BLOOMINGTON’S BOOK BABE LOOKS BACK AT 2011

Speaking of R.E. Paris, I mentioned yesterday that she looks at the year in publishing in the current issue of the Ryder. Peter LoPilato, the Ryder’s majordomo, has been kind enough to let us run selected pieces from the magazine in these precincts.

The Ryder

So, let’s take a look at R.E.’s retrospective, no?

2011: The Year in Books, by R.E. Paris

In which I discuss some interesting titles from 2011, note others, and leave out yet many more worthy of mention among the hundreds of thousands of books published last year.

Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt, (Norton), is a very readable history of the intellectual inheritance of the Renaissance. Greenbaltt shows that history ties the modern world to the classical one…. read more

TRUE FAITH

New Order was born of Joy Division after that band’s lead singer committed suicide. Joy Divison had led the post-punk movement in the late 1970s and New Order took the sound to a new level with its incorporation of then-new electronic technology.

And, BTW, New Order has a bit of a Bloomington connection. The video for “Round & Round” featured the face of super-model and recent local divorcee Elaine Irwin (go to the 3:15 mark.)

Elaine Irwin Decorates New Order’s “Round & Round” Video

Anyway, here’s “True Faith”:

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