The Pencil Today:


“All I’ve done is run fast. I don’t see why people should make much fuss about that.” Dutch Olympic sprinter (1948) Fanny Blankers-Koen


Very little that happens in London interests me. The royal family are a bunch of bores. Tony Blair was a puppy dog for George W. Bush. Soccer is a sleeping pill. The food is tasteless.

Bangers & Mash: British “Food”

And now the world’s most boring spectacle, the Olympics, is coming to the world’s most boring city.

Starting at the end of this month, the Olympics will be splashed on every newspaper, TV and radio station, and internet news site for two and a half weeks. Anybody looking for me during that span will find me easily — I’ll be the one who’s snoring.

Guaranteed, there’ll be endless pix of that new princess woman — what’s her name? Kate? Even her name is boring — attending one sporting event or another with equally endless analyses of what hat she’s wearing at the time. And, for pity’s sake, the damned country still has princes and princesses. In the 21st Century!

Princess Kate With A Growth On Her Head

The Olympics is an orgy of jingoism, tribal exhibitionism, nationalist pretension, and dozens of athletic events that are less riveting than watching a cat toy with a spider.

I won’t even mention the orgy of eye-rollingly predictable “personal stories” that’ll be forced upon the viewing public during the Games. Seems as though every elite athlete has a sick little sister who’s on her mind as she tries to out-pole vault some similar genetically exceptional gravity defier from, say, Gabon.

I Wonder How My Sick Little Sister Feels Right Now

I figured I had a few weeks of freedom from the Olympics before the big shebang commences on July 25th. (Yeah, yeah, the Opening Ceremony is slated for Friday, July 27th, but — go figure — soccer matches are scheduled to begin two days beforehand. When the Olympics isn’t boring, it makes no sense.)

My Olympics-free idyl, sadly, has ended early. Apparently, there are a bunch of Olympics trials going on right now here in this holy land. My neighbor Tom has been telling me he’s been watching the trials for days now, a piece of news that slipped right out of my skull seemingly before the sound of his words dissipated. The fact that athletes and the US Olympic Committee don’t even know at this late date who’s going to be battling for the gold seems fairly weird to me, but what do I know?

Runner 1: “So, You Going?” Runner 2: “Search Me.”

Anyway, the big news today is the cancelled run-off between a couple of women sprinters. The race was supposed to take place last night. All the news cameras were in place. People were actually talking about track and field. Then, suddenly, one of the participants up and quit.

Jeneba Tarmoh sent a message to USA Track & Field, the governing body for amateur athletes in the sport, saying she wouldn’t race Allyson Felix, whom Tarmoh had tied for third in an Olympics qualifying race a week and a half ago. Whoever finished third in that earlier race would be the final 100-metter sprinter to qualify for the USA team. Since Tarmoh and Felix tied, officials had to scramble for a way to determine who who’d be the anointed one.

Tarmoh & Felix Tie

The fact that it took officials more than three seconds to come to the brilliant conclusion that the two should, well, race against each other illustrates just how full of holy horseshit Olympics people are.

Swear to god, it was a week before USATF announced there’d be a run-off between Tarmoh and Felix. A week! USATF officials spent the intervening time wracking their brains trying to figure out how to determine which of the runners was faster.

Presumably, they ruled out a trivia challenge, an arm wrestling match, and a pie baking contest.

Tarmoh’s Pie Is Delicious — She Wins The Race!

Incredibly, officials first offered the two runners a choice between a run-off and — I’m not lying — a coin flip. Tarmoh and Felix wisely elected to race each other.

USATF President Stephanie Hightower said, “The bottom line is that this is, in my opinion, the best way to be able to resolve this issue.”

No kidding, professor.

Still, the run-off caused controversy. Fans, commentators, and commenters on sports and news websites actually argued over whether the runoff was appropriate.


No matter now. Tarmoh has quit the runoff so the whole issue is dead. The way I’ll wish I’ll be while the Olympics is going on.

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

◗ IU Theater AnnexChildren’s musical,  “The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs,” presented by Indiana Festival Theater; 11am

People’s ParkLunch Concert Series, Kid Kazooey & the Ballroom Roustabouts; 11:30am

◗ Madison Street next to Bloomingfoods, west storeTuesday Farmers Market; 4-7pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsArt Hootenanny featuring patriotic singing; 5:30pm

Jake’s NightclubKaraoke; 6pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — The Indiana Boys host the Muddy Boots All-star Jam; 6-8:30pm

The Player’s PubBlues jam; 8pm

The BluebirdBloomington’s Got Talent, hosted by Leo Cook; 8pm

◗ IU Auer HallChamber music, Afiara String Quartet; 8pm

The Afiara String Quartet

◗ Farm Bloomington, The Root CellarTeam trivia; 8pm


◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibit, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%” by John D. Shearer; through July 30th

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibit, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts by Qiao Xiaoguang; through August 12th — Exhibit, wildlife artist William Zimmerman; through September 9th — Exhibit, David Hockney, new acquisitions; through October 21st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryKinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st, 11am

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

One thought on “The Pencil Today:

  1. John Bergman says:

    And yet you follow the…CUBS?

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