Category Archives: Lewis Black

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I don’t say we all ought to misbehave, but we ought to look as if we could.” — Orson Welles

ANOTHER SCHOOL SHOOTING — HO HUM

Gotta wonder why the Indiana State University shooting Friday in Terre Haute didn’t make a bigger splash.

Can it be that we’re becoming jaded about school and campus gunplay?

Let’s See — I’ve Got My Hall Pass, My Civics Book & My Pistol

Apparently, a couple of guys got into a beef with each other at a campus tavern. Next thing anybody knew, one of them pulled out the old equalizer and filled his opponent as well as a couple of bystanders with holes. One man died.

A 21-year-old ISU student is being held in the Vigo County jail on murder charges.

Is this kind of lunacy only newsworthy when a dozen or more poor souls are shot to death per incident?

Adding to the ridiculousness of the whole thing was the Indy Star’s four-graf story yesterday about ISU officials suspending the alleged shooter. Sheesh, I was suspended any number of times when I was a schoolboy for transgressions including ditching class to go to the Cubs game and spitting on the playground (or was it on another kid — I forget which.)

Anyway, blasting a guy into the next world seems to call for something more unpleasant than suspension.

MAD AS HELL

Martin Amis turned 63 Saturday. The author of the 1984 novel, “Money,” and many others, Amis has a well-earned rep as the most curmudgeonly — if not the angriest — man in the world.

Martin Amis

Comic Lewis Black bills himself as the angriest man in the world. But Black’s is an act. Amis really is a bastard. Amis has raised hackles by, for instance, calling for draconian measures to be taken against people who appear to be Muslims until the Islamic world polices itself and clears its ranks of radical extremists.

Amis, on the other hand, has long been a loud voice against nuclear weaponry.

So, like the rest of us, Amis is a puzzling, contradictory being.

Anyway, Flavorwire on the Brit’s birthday ran a list of “10 Things Martin Amis Loves to Hate.” Here are a few of them:

  • Growing old
  • Television and the media
  • Religion

I don’t know about you but so far he seems perfectly reasonable.

PRIVATE PARTY

How can you not love the one-in-a-million Hondo Thompson?

He posted this howler this morning:

IN THE YEAR 2525

This was the Number 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

It displaced “Love Them from Romeo and Juliet” by Henry Mancini in the top spot. Just goes to show how diverse pop radio was long, long ago. Now, of course, we can’t have such genre mixing. It isn’t “profitable.”

As a 13-year-old kid, I had to listen to a lot of horrifying crap before I could hear my fave songs like “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” Listening to Henry Mancini at that age was tantamount to hearing to a death knell. But at least I knew Henry Mancini existed.

And I knew my tastes weren’t the only ones that counted.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

From I Fucking Love Science

Present/&/CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

The Daily Puppy: Liv, The Border Collie Mix

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Music: Rich Groner; 6-8:30pm

Western SkatelandBleeding Heartland Rollergirls Roller Derby Skills Camp, audition for Bloomington’s WFTDA teams; 6:30pm

City Hall, City Council chambers — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidates Forum; 7-9pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Inglorious Basterds”; 7pm

The Player’s PubMusic: Songwriter Showcase; 8pm

◗ IU Memorial Union, Georgian Room — Free lessons, IU Swing Dance Club; 8pm

The BishopMusic: Sundress, Living Well; 9pm

The BluebirdDave Walters karaoke; 9pm

ONGOING

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th

  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th

  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th

  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th

  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st

  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012

  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st

  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • “Media Life,” drawings and animation by Miek von Dongen; through September 15th

  • “Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture”; through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“In my lifetime, we’ve gone from Eisenhower to George W. Bush. We’ve gone from Kennedy to Al Gore. If this is evolution, I believe that in twelve years, we’ll be voting for plants.” — Lewis Black

WISCONSIN IN ONE WORD

Damn!

WEDNESDAY BLOOMINGTON HAPPENINGS

Click the logo for the best events listings in our town.

THE ARCHAIC BRITISH CLASS SYSTEM BY MOONLIGHT

The transit of Venus wasn’t the only celestial event to hold Bloomingtonians rapt yesterday.

Did you catch the spectacular full moon overnight?

Sometime around 3:00am, Steve the Dog and I woke up and, as we often do, padded around the house aimlessly for a few moments. This time, though, we stopped in our tracks.

The world outside the Chez Big Mike windows was oddly bright. The full moon was so brilliant that I wondered if I could read by it.

I know, I know — I do strange thing in the middle of the night. So I grabbed the nearest book, a volume of PG Wodehouse‘s Bertie and Jeeves stories. I flipped the thing open and — whaddya know? — I was able to read it without the aid of a lamp.

Hugh Laurie & Stephen Fry As Bertie & Jeeves

Cool, huh?

I’ll keep you posted on further nocturnal experiments as they occur.

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE PROVES: FOODIES ARE JERKS!

Hah!

Even though I consider myself the smartest, most sensitive, fairest-minded member of our species, even this humble reporter can fall victim to the phenomenon wherein we read and believe that which we already hold to be true.

As an example, I nearly thrust my arms in the air and cheered when I came across an article with this headline in the Big Think this morning:

Take it from a guy who once worked for years at Whole Foods Market (in the education department, no less) — this article nails it.

My years at WFM only strengthened my preconceived notion that natural and organic food aficionados are merely mirror images of Puritans and Savonarolas.

See, foodies believe there’s a clean and pure way of living — a conceit I know to be false. They also believe that anyone who doesn’t agree 134% with them is either an evil agri-business lackey or is a deluded victim of the forces of Dick Cheney.

Don’t get me wrong: I do my best to minimize my intake of red meat, I refuse to eat veal or pate de foie gras, I try to stay away from hydrogenated oils and white flours and sugars, I strive to eat a variety of varied-color things, and I rarely buy salt-laden prepared foods.

But, see, there’s the rub — I try to do all those things. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I have a taste for a Big Mac. Sometimes I don’t have the time or energy to cut up fresh vegetables. Sometimes the siren song of that bag of Wavy Lays is too strong for me to resist.

I am neither a Puritan nor a Savonarola.

But by and large, I try to hold to a general foundation of healthy eating habits (save for the fact that my portions usually are about the size of those served to hippopotami at the Indianapolis Zoo.)

Let’s Eat!

Anyway, I’ve always felt that foodies believe they’re going to cheat death, much as the Puritans believed they’d attain eternal life through their belief in god. Like the Puritans, as well, foodies tend to think they must save the ignorant masses of unwashed humanity from themselves. And like religious zealots flagellating themselves or confessing their sins to cleanse the soul, food zealots purge and cleanse their alimentary canals in hopes of achieving some sort of higher level of existence.

To which I reply, Leave me alone so I can eat my Tombstone pizza in peace.

Yeah, foodies are pretty jerky. And now I’ve got science to back me up.

 

 

 

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Republicans have nothing but bad ideas and Democrats have no ideas.” — Lewis Black

OFFICIAL STATE GUN BILL REQUIRES A SEQUEL

So, the deep thinkers who populate the statehouse have sent a bill to Governor Mitch Daniels’ desk declaring something known as the Grouseland Rifle as the Official Indiana State Gun.

Daniels is expected to sign the bill.

A Hoosier Treasure

I hereby request my local state legislators, Vi Simpson and Peggy Welch, co-sponsor a follow-up bill that names an Official State Gunshot Wound.

I’ve done a little (believe me, a very little) research on the topic. According to the National Institutes of Health, the most common gunshot wounds occur in the extremities. Why? Search me.

Perhaps too many people who have no formal training mess around with firearms.

So, I suggest the Official State Gunshot Wound be a hole blown in the shooter’s own left biceps. Every time an aspiring gun lover accidentally puts a slug in his own arm, he’ll be brought to Indianapolis to display his wound to legislators. His photo will appear in the Indy Star, he’ll be taken for a nice lunch at Shapiro’s Deli, and he’ll get two free tickets to whatever game is in season.

And A Treasured Wound

He’ll be declared a True Hoosier, an honor I just invented. As such, he’ll receive a plaque as well as a little sticker he can affix to his drivers license.

Hoosier pride.

FAREWELL, LITTLE GUY

Super Tuesday, huh? Not so super for good old Dennis Kucinich. Perhaps the only remaining unabashed liberal (or progressive, or whatever) politician left in this holy land, Kucinich lost his Democratic primary battle with fellow Congressbeing Marcy Kaptur.

K & K: House Colleagues No More

Redistricting had combined Kucinich and Kaptur’s districts and the longest-serving woman in Congress wiped the floor with her opponent in her home county, providing her margin of victory.

Kucinich was probably the one national pol nearest to me in philosophy, save for his initial antediluvian views on abortion. He was a strong opponent of the Iraq War, pushed for universal health care, was big on workers’ rights, and even once proposed a Cabinet-level Department of Peace. Still, I never would have wanted him to be president.

He ran for the White House, you know, in 2004. That’s when he suddenly realized he was for abortion rights. I don’t demand that my fave pols walk in lockstep with me on every single issue, and I suppose I cut Kucinich slack because his early abortion stance likely was based upon the ideal Roman Catholic notion of respect for all life. He did oppose the death penalty as well so he seemed to be consistent in that regard.

But President Kucinich? Never. He would have been chewed up and spit out by the big-money boys. That’s the sad thing about today’s America, I guess. The nearest we can ever come to having a real liberal (or progressive, or whatever) in the White House would be the pair of Rockefeller Republicans who’ve carried the Democratic banner to victory in the last 20 years.

Anyway, Kucinich’ll be gone from Washington come the new year. And the nation continues its inexorable move to the right.

STAND-UP RICK

Come on admit it: With Rick Santorum’s chances of gaining the Republican nomination fading ever so gradually, you know you’ll miss him when he’s gone.

As long as it remains highly unlikely he’ll ascend to the chancellorship in November, Santorum serves as the evil jester of the 2012 presidential race.

Take these little tidbits dug up by the folks at Mother Jones. When Rickey-baby was running for Senator from Pennsylvania back in 1994, he had lots to say about single mothers. Not that theirs was a thankless task, nor that we as a people ought to lend a hand to women trying to raise families and keep jobs without the assistance of partner daddy-o’s.

Wrecking The Nation

No. Santorum told supporters at one point, “We are seeing the fabric of this country fall apart, and it’s falling apart because of single moms.”

Oh.

A couple of weeks later, he amplified this view. “What we have,” he explained, “is moms raising children in single-parent households simply breeding more criminals.”

Let’s not even trouble ourselves with his faulty logic and his obsessive need to blame people’s sexual behavior for everything that’s wrong in the lord god’s creation. Just consider his use of the word breeding.

You know, as in what we humans do with livestock.

Breeding

There are a million scary places in this world but the scariest of all just might be the inner recesses of Rick Santorum’s mind.

THE HILLER POST

Bloomington’s own Nancy Hiller writes in her blog about the first time she saw Arianna Huffington speak publicly back in 1978.

The young Huffington took to the rostrum in England, where Hiller spent part of her callow youth. Hiller writes glowingly of the then-28-year-old future media magnate. Hiller also expresses gratitude for The Huffington Post naming her tome, “A Home of Her Own,” one of its Books We Love last year.

Now, Hiller’s the ideal role model for young girls. She has struck out on her own to create a successful business, she makes art, and she has thrived in a trade usually dominated by men.

It’s understandable that Hiller would speak kindly of Huffington, who also has made it big in a man’s world. I’m happy Hiller’s getting ink (and electrons) for her terrific book. And, hell, I’m a regular reader of The Huffington Post. But I’m gonna throw a bucket of ice water on this Arianna love fest.

Born Arianna Stassinopoulos, she has been working her way up the ranks of the world’s most opportunistic human beings for all of her 61 years. She has tied her star to men who could advance her career since she was a schoolgirl.

Fresh out of college, she hooked up with British television personality Bernard Levin, known as the most famous UK journalist of his day. He was also a game show panelist. She helped Levin become an adherent of a woo religion and he helped her write books and get them published. She called him the love of her life.

In the mid ’80s, she took a job as the closeted wannabe-politician Michael Huffington’s beard. She got tired of that charade in 1997 but has been known as Arianna Huffington ever since.

Huffington started her American media career as a conservative commentator when Bill Clinton was in office. Lots of conservative talking heads made hay back then. But as time passed and it appeared there was only room for the likes of Rush Limbaugh and some other blowhards, she switched to the liberal side. It was an inspired career move.

She started up The Huffington Post and built it into a powerhouse. She sold the shebang in 2011 for $315M. That’s a pretty nifty payday. Oh yes, payday. A concept whose absence she employed to make that concern wildly successful. Arianna Huffington was a capitalist visonary: she finally found the way to get labor to work for free.

I suppose what I’m really trying to say is Nancy Hiller is a far better person than Arianna Huffington.

It’s Huffington who should be expressing admiration for Hiller rather than vice-versa.

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