The Pencil Today:


“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.” — Thomas Merton


I played hooky from these precincts yesterday. It felt deliciously bad to be irresponsible.

On the other hand, it wasn’t as though I lolled on a beach. The Loved One had invited a pal over to watch movies last night and had asked me to clean the house. So I had a perfect excuse for not posting.

Cleaning the house reminds me: when I become King of the United States (a position last held by Garfield Goose), I will issue an edict that everybody must scrub their own toilets.


This isn’t as fatuous as you might think. I know of no sane human being who enjoys scrubbing the toilet but it’s a task that must be done. It’s one of the most humbling chores we have to do. Maybe the only thing more humbling is emptying bedpans at a hospital or nursing home. I did that when I was in and out of college in the late ’70s. It took me months to learn how to eat dinner without mentally flashing on what I’d done at work that day.

Anyway, emptying bedpans and scrubbing toilets remind us that, honestly, we as a species ain’t anything special, kids.

Now, we have to assume people like Donald Trump and Oprah do not scrub their own toilets. They have, after all, far more important things to do.

“I Certainly Will Not Scrub My Own Toilet!”

But the truth is there’s very little in life more important than scrubbing the toilet. On a practical level, we have to do it or else our bathrooms will essentially become oversized Petri dishes for the cultivation of dangerous microbes. And psychologically, it makes us feel invigorated to do our business in a relatively clean cube.

Perhaps most important of all, though, the simple but awkward task of sprinkling cleanser, brushing, and rinsing reminds us we’re no better than any other human being on this planet.

A lesson, I’m sure, that might benefit someone like Donald Trump.


Lousy news the other day about the Susan G Komen gang and Planned Parenthood, no?

(An update: the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization has reversed its earlier decision to cut off Planned Parenthood funding.)

I have a confession to make. I became sick of the color pink long ago. In fact, this whole breast cancer thing is getting to me.

Pink Baseball Bats At The Louisville Slugger Factory

Now don’t get me wrong — I realize breast cancer is a horrible problem and I hope nobody gets it and all the rest. I know a number of women who’ve suffered from it. For them I hope a cure is found by five this afternoon.

Early Detection

But years ago it occurred to me that the “battle” against the disease was becoming more of a cottage industry than something people wanted to see won and finished.

The cure walks and the swathing of everything up to and including the Sears/Willis Tower in pink seem more like in-group partying than anything else. Perhaps I’m wrong, wrong, wrong but I suspect that if breast cancer were suddenly and magically wiped off the face of the earth tomorrow morning, a lot of people whose livelihoods depend on “battling” it would be, well, bummed.

Anyway, if the Komen mob’s decision to cut off funding PP is any indication, preventing and curing breast cancer is less important than making sure women stop their nasty habit of having sex.

For a brief moment I was hesitant to write this screed. Surely, I thought, somebody’s gonna rake me over the coals for not genuflecting in the direction of those who walk or race for the cure. But then last night I caught a Facebook post from sexologist Susie Bright and I decided, hell, I’m gonna go with it.

Susie Bright wrote: “Am I the only one who’s thought Komen is full of shit since day one? They’ve always been nauseating, a pink GOP branding machine.” Bright then links to a fascinating bring-down of the Komen myth that ran on a website called Butter Believer.

Susie Bright Reading From Her Book, “Big Sex, Little Death”

The article’s author looked over Komen’s annual report and discovered that the organization spends fully 60 percent of its money on public health education, fund-raising costs, and administrative costs. And while that public education line might seem noble, it’s really mostly the tab for their pink-washing and self-congratulatory events.

Those things are, for all intents and purposes, advertising.

The author also charges that only a penny of every dollar spent on Komen’s licensed pink products actually goes to research to find a cure for breast cancer.

And, by the way, don’t try to start any kind of charitable organization using the word “cure” in its title. The Komen-ites likely will sue your ass off. “Did you know,” the author writes, “that Susan G. Komen for the Cure spends nearly a million dollars annually suing small charities over the use of the word ‘cure’…?”

The Real Cure

There is a silver lining to this story. Donations to Planned Parenthood have gone through the roof since the Komen cut-off was announced.


What’s the worst crime you can commit in these United States? Arson? Kidnapping a child for nefarious purposes? Robbing a bank?

Nope. The answer is messing with the Super Bowl.

WRTV Channel 6 in Indy breathlessly reported Thursday that union members unhappy over the Indiana State Legislature’s passing of its union-busting bill are threatening to disrupt the Super Bowl Sunday.

Sunday Service

The Super Bowl, of course, is this holy land’s holiest event. I’ve long endorsed the idea that Super Bowl Sunday should be declared a national holiday. Football is a game that is run by men, involves violence, employs strippers disguised as cheerleaders, and rakes in literally billions of dollars a year for teams, television, bookies, athletes, anthem singers, halftime entertainers, orthopedic surgeons, criminal defense attorneys, and many more.

What’s more American than that?

Game day coverage of the Super Bowl this year begins at eight o’clock in the morning — kickoff is scheduled for ten and a half hours later.

Guaranteed, more people know the name of the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots than can identify the current Secretary of State of the United States.

As for the aggrieved unionistas, they’ve been overruled by their higher-ups. Indiana AFL-CIO chief Nancy Guyott promised union members will not blaspheme Sunday’s sacred rite at the Lucas Oil cathedral.

House Of God

She probably figures union membership has suffered enough in recent years and Super Bowl security forces likely will shoot to kill anyone who messes with the event.

8 thoughts on “The Pencil Today:

  1. Susie Bright is and always has been a fearless genius. “Pink GOP branding machine,” indeed! Check this out:


  2. And our Brother in Music, Nate Johnson, had this on Facebook, although the “share” option somehow disappeared from his post:

    “People are saying that Mitch made a huge mistake timing RTW during the super bowl, but I don’t think so. I’m betting it was a budget and policing decision. If there is civil disobedience this weekend, then IPD won’t be dealing with it on their own. There is a HUGE Homeland Security presence in Indy right now: federal agents, gamma ray cargo and vehicle scanners, a mobile Fusion Center. It is a National Security Special Event.”

  3. Susan Sandberg says:

    Another great post, thanks! Wanted to update you on the great Sendak scandal at Binford. According to my very good and reliable source, “the book (In the Night Kitchen) is still in circulation as a review committee, as prescribed by policy, reviews the complaint which was filed. The review committee is appointed by the principal, with the concurrence and assistance of the certificated library media personnel, and will include media professionals, representatives from the faculty, one or more parents, and one or more students.” Board Policy #2521. So good Pencillistas, Sendak has been cleared of all wrongdoing! Something to celebrate in the fair City of Bloomington, yes?

    • Susan Sandberg says:

      Apparently Sendak has only been suspended with pay, not totally banished yet at Binford while the review committee does its review thing. A call to celebrate was premature. Too bad some educated adult in charge couldn’t just stand up and say “What part of we’re not removing classic childrens books from our school library shelves do you not quite get?” But no, we’ve got to form a task force to study the foolish matter. Hopefully adult sanity will prevail, perhaps with the assistance of a smart student representative or two.

  4. Helen says:

    Komen has not reversed their stance against PP. they have sent a confusing message of backing down but firmly still support that awful woman and will not commit to any future funding for PP.

  5. Hey, does the SGKomen political sell-out change the meaning of the pejorative, “pinko”?

  6. John Bergman says:

    I was beginning to smell a conspiracy between Komen and PP to charge up members and boost support and donations, but I’m (gladly) wrong.

    As for the color pink? Yeah, I’m tired of the ribbons and all. But it always seemed that the real point of the walks was the “sisterhood of survival” and, I suppose, commemoration of those who didn’t make it. Just the groundswell of support for what can be a very lonely battle is inspiring, on a personal level. I know this generation doesn’t suffer from any lack of publicity, but when we were kids the older folks couldn’t even say the word cancer, it was so dreaded. That it’s been mainstreamed is largely the result of Komen’s efforts, and should be applauded. Now, what they do with the donations, and to what ideological ends they use them, is a matter for donors to decide. It’s obvious there’s room for another organization to do much the same thing, for the same cause, though without all the politico/religious baggage. And with perhaps a new color scheme.

  7. Candy says:

    Candy Apple Red!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: