The Pencil Today:


Barney Frank wasn’t perfect but he was good enough for me.

He’s retiring from Congress and that body of lickspittlers, toadies, and mouthpieces for the plutocracy and the lunocracy will be the worse for it.

The highest ranking openly gay elected official in this holy land, Frank showed millions of Ma and Pa Kettles throughout the country that a homosexual man isn’t necessarily a swishing, mincing, cross-dressing, eye-rolling drama queen (although many of the gay pals I’ve had throughout my life were and I’d have been proud to support some of them if they decided to run for Congress.)

Any time we can smash a stereotype, we become a better people.

Frank was direct, powerful, at times courageous. If you hadn’t known in advance that he liked to have sex with men, you wouldn’t know it by looking at him or listening to him. He was a human being.

Forget his legislation and his rhetoric. You can agree with what he did and said or not. But you have to admit Barney Frank made much of America aware that a gay man is nothing more or less than a human being.

Revolutionary stuff, no?


Have you seen this sign yet?

It used to hang in the locker room at Owen Valley High School in Spencer.

The school district ordered this sign taken down in light of the recent school sports locker room child-sodomizing scandals.

The first time I ever heard of this type of sign was in Jim Bouton‘s groundbreaking book, “Ball Four.” Bouton explained that sports teams jealously guard their privacy. Never let the unwashed masses know what we do or say in this hallowed haven of sweaty jockstraps. Bouton, of course, gleefully thumbed his nose at the proscription, telling the world how the New York Yankees and Seattle Pilots drank, fought, cheated on their wives, and did other things that would have made a 14-year-old proud.

Memorably, he told of Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford leading a group of Yankees around the roof of Washington, DC’s Shoreham Hotel in the middle of the night, trying to peak into guest room windows and hoping to see women undressing.

Mantle & Ford — All-star Voyeurs

Much of what Bouton revealed was silly. Some of it was borderline criminal.

The only conclusion one could make was that sports teams didn’t want to be embarrassed if the general public learned what lunkheads they really were.

But when you create an atmosphere of secrecy, inevitably some member of your team is going to use that cloak of darkness to commit a truly ugly deed.

Kudos to the Spencer-Owen Community Schools.


We’ve got comix! See the latest installment of “Cats and Machines” by Grover & Sloan and a new strip, “XKCD” by Randall Munroe.

Laugh. That’s an order.

One thought on “The Pencil Today:

  1. Nona Schulz says:

    Love this daily email. I’ve long liked Barney Frank much to the dismay of my conservative friends. He’s done some stupid things but that just makes him more human. Above all I believe he had this country and his constituents at heart.

    As for the flippin’ sports stuff. Not a bit surprised at the recent revelations. We Americans make far too much of our sports heroes and accord them too much power. While the tragic events at Penn are criminal in my mind, perhaps if we view any celebrity with a jaundiced eye these things will cease??

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