The Pencil Today:


“We who are about to die salute you.” — Spartacus, et al


One of the odd things I’ve learned since moving to the bustling metrop of Bloomington, Indiana, is that graduation day is considered a major event here — and I’m not referring to the viewpoint of the graduates.

We in Bloomington long for the final day the 40,000 or so students will be in town because it’s the start of three months of bliss around these parts.

State Road 45/46 Congestion During The School Year

We’ll actually be able to park around Courthouse Square. The grocery stores won’t be jammed with students and their parents filling shopping carts with competing lists of products (the students loading up on frozen pizzas and the parents stuffing salad greens into the carts.) And nineteen-year-old kids won’t be clogging up the town’s arteries with their bought-and-paid-for luxury SUVs.

So, we’ll enjoy our brief respite from the little darlings. Come August, though, we’ll be starting to feel a tad nostalgic for all their parents’ money we can squeeze out of them.


So I lied yesterday when I said I’d put up some Hot Air around three o’clock, after my pre-surgery appointment with the ophthalmologist.

Well, it wasn’t a lie exactly. I’d fully intended to pound out a screed or two later in the day when I published yesterday’s mini-post. Only after having my pupils dilated to the size of dimes and having a passel of eye techs poke and probe my cornea and measure my ocular jelly ball from every possible angle for three hours, I decided the world might survive without my daily dose of wisdom just this once.

Anyway, here’s the prognosis — the doc over at Old Man Grossman’s Eye Center has me scheduled for surgery two weeks from this past Thursday. He promises that, with the help of lasers and drugs, he’ll restore sight to my left eye. Cool. I’ve been a virtual cyclops for a couple of years now.

The doc marveled at the size of the occlusion in my lens. He called it a hyper-mature cataract. He also assured me the Grossman operation has the heavy equipment to demolish it and cart the debris away.

The only thing that bugs me is having an old man’s ailment. But I’m not one to shy away from the truth (much) so let me state for the record here and now: I am now officially an old man.


Can we now all agree that football is the dumbest-assed of all sports?

The NFL’s Latest Victim

Former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau is only the latest NFL vet to take his own life, ostensibly because his brain had been turned to mush by the tens of thousands of body hits he’d taken in his life.

With mind-addled players dropping like flies, you’d think the NFL might actually do something about all the trauma. But no, we Americans dig it all too much.

Callers to radio sports talk shows and even an NFL player or two have said, hell, guys like Seau made bushels of dough playing the game, that everything they have they owe to football, so stop all the hand-wringing and sob-sistering.

In 2000 years, the only significant change we’ve made to the spectacle of gladiators facing off in an arena is that we don’t tolerate them actually taking each others’ lives in front of our eyes.

Now we prefer them to shoot themselves in the privacy of their own bedrooms.


You only have two more chances to vote in the 2012 Indiana primary: Monday and Tuesday. No excuses; it’s the least damned thing you can do.

Wear This Or Just Shut Up

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

Saturday, May 5, 2012

City Hall, Showers PlazaFarmer’s Market; 8am-1pm

◗ Bloomington B-Line Trail between 4th & 5th streets — The Really, Really Free Market, products, services, food; 10am

Hardin Ridge RA, Hoosier National Forest — “Take Pride in America Day,” annual volunteer call out sponsored by US Forest Service; 9am-5pm

IU Assembly HallUndergraduate commencement ceremony; 10am

Habitat ReStoreGrand reopening; 10:15am-5:30pm

Vintage Phoenix Comic BooksFree Comic Book Day 2012, annual comic book giveaway; 11am-7pm

IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits, “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”; through July 1st — “Esse Quam Videri (To Be, Rather than To Be Seen): Muslim Self Portraits; through June 17th — “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”; through July 1st, 9am-4:30pm

IU Grunwald (SOFA) GalleryMFA & BFA Thesis 3 exhibitions; through May 5th, Noon

IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze”; through June 29th, 1:30-5pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsExhibit, Daniel Lager; through May 17th

The Solution LabConference, Bloomington Startup Weekend, for developers, designers, entrepreneurs, etc.; through Sunday

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center Exhibits at various galleries: Angela Hendrix-Petry, Benjamin Pines, Nate Johnson, and Yang Chen; all through May 29th

“Vicissitudes” By Yang Chen

Sembower FieldIU Baseball vs. Nebraska; 1pm

IU Assembly HallUndergraduate commencement ceremony; 3pm

Cafe DjangoRon Kadish on bass & Kevin MacDowell (Kid Kazooey) on guitar; 6:30-8:30pm

Brown County Playhouse“Under the Umbrella: Life Is a Circus” by Steven Ragatz; 7-8:15pm

Paynetown SRA, Monroe Lake — “Sunset on the Water,” Interpretive naturalist Jill Vance leads a paddling tour of the lake shore, bring your own canoe or kayak; 8pm

Comedy AtticTJ Miller; 8 & 10:30pm

Rachael’s CafeIrene & Reed; 8pm

The BluebirdDot Dot Dot; 8pm

Dot Dot Dot

Max’s PlaceBluesky Back; 8pm

Cafe DjangoLuke Gillespie Trio; 9-11pm

Bear’s PlaceThe Unknown; 9pm

◗ Farm Bloomington, Rootcellar Lounge“The Booty Basement,” all-vinyl ’70s disco party; 10pm

4 thoughts on “The Pencil Today:

  1. Nona says:

    Good luck with that eye surgery!!!!

  2. Larry E says:

    On the subject of cataract surgery — I have had both eyes done. Beforehand, I was, naturally, terrified to let someone go cutting on my eye. But I had gotten to the point where I was going to wreck my car if I didn’t do something, so I had to weigh the alternatives.

    The actual surgery was a breeze. They kinda doped me up, so gently and gradually that I didn’t even feel it coming, but then I was just pleasantly gaga and loopy. Then I heard a kind of Whrrrr sound for about ten minutes, and badda-bing, badda-boom, I was done.

    The terror beforehand far outweighed any actual unpleasantness of the procedure, is what I’m trying to say.

  3. Thanks again for “Go.” I need to get over to the Mathers and the Kinsey museums … museii? museae? Them places.

  4. John Bergman says:

    Jesus, Mike, you’re only as old as you…oh, never mind…..

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