Category Archives: Whooping Cranes

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge in every country is the surest basis of public happiness.” — George Washington

OUR GAL VI

The local Facebook-iverse was abuzz last night over the mention of one of our own in the Village Voice.

Seems that those city slickers suddenly have realized that there are actually people out here, and not just goats. And some of us Hoosiers can read and write and – gasp! — think.

State Senator Vi Simpson, top dog of the Democratic caucus, came in for the imprimatur on the Voice’s Scientology blog (golly gee, I didn’t know there was a crying need for such a thing). Writer Tony Ortega breathlessly marvels over the mere existence of Vi, who cleverly introduced an amendment to weaken a Republican bill to get creationism taught in Indiana public schools.

Clever Simpson

Creationism, for those of you who understandably ignore the bleatings of the god-fearing Right, holds that the Earth is only 6000 years old and that a couple of white people named Adam and Eve ate some piece of fruit, causing all subsequent generations of humans to be born evil. Oh, and that a talking snake persuaded them to munch the honeycrisp.

“Go Ahead, Eat It.”

I figure I’d be god-fearing, too, if I believed in a deity that deranged.

See, GOP Senator Dennis Kruse had introduced the original bill, SB 89, presumably because he thinks teaching evolution, biology, and geology are frightful wastes of our education dollars. The Indiana Senate actually passed the bill, leading me to wonder if those city slickers are right — perhaps we are just a bunch of illiterate goats out here.

Hoosier?

Vi Simpson, though, proved at least some of us possess Homo Sapiens sapiens genetic material.

Her amendment called for the teaching of the creation myths of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology as well. Lo and behold, her amendment was passed, probably because, y’know, half to three quarters of those minty-fresh Tea Party legislators probably can’t read anyway.

And the kicker: Simpson received complaints from various minor religion zealots who were put out because their fave fairy tales weren’t included.

“Hey! What About Us?”

In any case, the bill is now watered down enough to make it essentially toothless as well as brainless.

Here’s a hat tip to FB eagle-eyes (and Pencillistas) Michael Redman, Miles Craig, Susan Sandberg, Jim Manion, Steve Johnson, Mike Cagle, R.E. Paris, and Joy Shayne Laughter for catching the Simpson story.

And — huzzah! — those fancy folks from the Big Apple like us, they really like us!

KILL ‘EM ALL AND LET GOD SORT ‘EM OUT

Great. Now some knucklehead with a gun and a teensy package has shot and killed a bald eagle in Morgan County.

The Herald Times reports this morning that the eagle carcass was found earlier this month near Eminence.

Target Practice

Keep in mind that a couple of whooping cranes were gunned down late last year as well. Folks, can we please go back to shooting tin cans off fence posts?

I said this a little more than a year ago, after Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others were pumped full of lead in Tucson, and now it looks as though I’ll have to say it again: America, stick your guns up your ass.

LOCAL ARTISTS SHOWCASE

Can you pony up two bucks?

That’s all it costs to see scads of local Bloomington artists show their stuff at — what else? — the Local Artists Showcase, Saturday, February 25, at the Bloomington Convention Center.

Bloom magazine bwana Malcolm Abrams sauntered into the Book Corner the other day in search of baseball magazines — yes, it’s that time of year — and to pass out flyers for the event. Bloom is sponsoring the bash along with Ivy Tech.

Some 67 local painters, scultors, mixed media artists and many others will be on hand.

With tix so cheap, you’ll have plenty of dough left over to buy some nice pieces, no?

CHICKS WITH DISCS

Have you caught Womenspace on WFHB yet?

If not, why not? Great music by a revolving cast of XX-chromosome DJs, including Carolyn VandeWiele, Catharine Rademacher, and Liza Pavelich. Check these Spinitron playlists for the show so you can see what you’ve been missing.

VandeWiele, Rademacher & Pavelich

Womenspace airs every Thursday, 9-11PM. Women spinning women, baby. Catch it.

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

From the movie, “The Apartment,” by Billy Wilder:

C.C. Baxter: “Did you hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you.”

Fran Kubelik: (smiling) “Shut up and deal!”

TRAPPING THE WORLD IN MY WEB

So, I got some news yesterday morning. Good news. Problem is, I don’t know if I should brag or play it cool.

Aw, you know me. I’ll brag.

According to my WordPress.com Site Stats, The Electron Pencil has been viewed by people in the following countries: the US (natch), Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, Iraq, India, the UAE, and Australia.

The Mighty Electron Pencil Tower, In My Backyard

This being the Internet, I assume at least some of those hits are accidents, people misinterpreting a category listing for porn, or scammers trying to empty my checking account. Still, that’s 17 countries spread across all six habitable continents.

Cool, huh?

ONE LESS WHOOPING CRANE

Some son of a bitch shot another endangered whooping crane dead recently. The incident was reported Friday to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. One of only 500 or so of the rare birds left in the US, the crane was found in the Muscatatuck River basin near Crothersville in Jackson County.

The current population of whooping cranes has increased from an alarming low of 21 in 1941. Of the birds now living in the US, some 70 percent are wild; the rest live in zoos and private sanctuaries.

Some whooping cranes can grow as tall as five feet. They graze in marshes and fields, pecking for small animals, fish, berries, and grain.

Adults are brilliant white with black wingtips and red and black masks. A whooping crane liftoff is a spectacular site.

A Whooping Crane In Flight

Did I mention the guy or guys who killed the crane are sons of bitches?

AIN’T THAT AMERICA?

Here is the defining snapshot of our holy land thus far in the infant year, 2012:

Billionaire big-city boss Michael Bloomberg smooches talent-free superstar Lady Gaga at the Times Square ball-dropping ceremony. Moments like these make me think it’s midnight in America, babies.

ROMNEY’S MATE

Look, Mitt Romney’s going to be the Republican nominee for president. He’s that party’s only near-centrist and he’s the savviest politician among the lot of them still in the running.

He’s The One

Remember how he dropped out of the 2008 race even though he was running virtually neck and neck with the eventual nominee, John McCain? Romney’s political instincts told him that the 44th Presidency was going to be defined by nothing so much as the nearly moribund economy.

I mean, Barack Obama’s in hot water only because the fallout from the Great Recession still is raining radioactivity upon us. People blame him for service cutbacks and unemployment even though he inherited from his four predecessors the conditions that caused those ills.

Four years ago, Romney figured, Why should I be the one to take that heat?

Smart choice.

So, when the GOP convenes in Tampa in August, that crafty pol will be the one telling the nation how fabulous things will be with him in the White House.

And Romney will hold up the arm of his running mate. But who will that be?

Mark it, dude, it’s going to be the right winger from our worst nightmares. The GOP’s most energetic base still considers Romney to be Abbie Hoffman with an expensive haircut. He’ll have to throw them the veep of their choice as a bone.

I get this creepy feeling we’re going to be longing for the good old days of Sarah Palin next November.

HELLO 2012

New Year’s Eve was a quiet affair at Chez Pencil. The Loved One and I stayed in and made some homemade pizza vanish.

We watched a couple of movies that, by happy coincidence, contained New Year’s Eve scenes: Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment” and Charles Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush.”

The Little Fellow Awaits His New Year’s Eve Guests

The years, oddly, seem to be getting shorter. I wonder if calendar makers are cutting back during these tough economic times.

WE DO FACEBOOK SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO

A no-spamily, no brattle zone.

Retro-junkie and film/vid producer Mike Flores posted a link to this old Bob Hope wisecrack last week.

Funny thing is, Hope could have told the joke exactly the same way except substituting “Republican” for “Democrat” and the other half of the country would have roared and said, “How true!”

We all think we’re brilliantly perceptive and the other side is either stupid or mesmerized.

IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR

This is a gem, a clip from a 1965 documentary on Frank Sinatra. Say what you will about him, he was an artist. This clip, in fact, features three artists: Sinatra, of course; the conductor Gordon Jenkins; and the announcer, Walter Cronkite.

Sinatra in the studio was demanding, mostly of himself. His phrasing and articulation were stunning. His ear was almost inhuman in its sensitivity.

Sportswriters talk about superstars who raise the game of their teammates. That’s what Sinatra did for the other musicians in the studio with him.

Well, we didn’t blow ourselves up in 2011. We’re still here and plugging away, albeit clumsily and often stupidly. In that sense, it was a reasonably good year. Let’s see if we can get another thing or two right in 2012.

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