“Some believers accuse skeptics of having nothing left but a dull, cold, scientific world. I am left with art, music, literature, theater, the magnificence of nature, mathematics, the human spirit, sex, the cosmos, friendship, history, science, imagination, dreams, oceans, mountains, love, and the wonder of birth. That’ll do for me.” — Lynne Kelly
The most ironic story of the last few days is the news that Washington, DC, host city of the 2012 International AIDS Conference, has an HIV-positive rate of some 3 percent. That’s similar to some nations of Africa, a continent, we’ve been told, which is rife with HIV and AIDS.
AIDS 2012 Opening Day Marchers, Yesterday
It’s the perfect illustration of how weird and busted our health care system and overall economy are. Richest nation in the history of the world — millions of people uninsured, poverty-stricken, uneducated, and sick.
Oh, that invisible hand.
THE NATION’S HAND-HOLDER
Barack Obama showed up in Aurora, Colorado yesterday to console the families of the victims of that legal gun owner, James Holmes.
Obama In Aurora
You, know, Ronald Reagan perfected this aspect of the presidential portfolio. Say what you will about Saint Ronald — and I’ve said plenty about the most terrifying president of my lifetime — he was brilliant as our chief cheerleader, mourner, and tucker of the nation into bed at night.
Mike Royko once wrote that Reagan was a miserable prez for domestic issues and a riverboat gambler when it came to foreign affairs, but he was so good at the above-mentioned tasks that he ought to have been named king for life. He could handle all those warm and fuzzy duties while staying as far away as possible from the more pressing work of the White House.
And that was George W. Bush’s undoing. His abominable showing after Hurricane Katrina led to his downfall, the fracturing of his party, and the election of Obama himself. Reagan would have spent many an hour letting the folks of New Orleans he was with them.
Bush, for his part, seemed blase about the whole deal, his most memorable utterance being that famous frat-boy backslapping, “Brownie, yer doin’ a heckuva of a job.”
It’s Yucky Down There
Obama’s got this part of the job down pat.
HILLER THE WOODSMITH; HILLER THE WORDSMITH
Our own Nancy Hiller has a big piece coming out in the October edition of Fine Woodworking (#228).
From Fine Woodworking Magazine
The author of “A Home of Her Own” is a terrific keyboard banger.
A little shameless promotion here: we’ll be carrying the mag at the Book Corner. Oh, we’ve got the book, too. See you there.
CRAZY — TERRIFYINGLY CRAZY
This weekend I noticed a number of references on Facebook to the deranged theory that the Aurora, Colorado shooting was a false flag op carried out by one-worlders eager to strip the the planet’s citizenry of their sacred armaments
The theory goes like this:
The United Nations is pushing its Arms Trade Treaty. See, some of the nations of Earth are making tons of dough selling pistols, rifles, automatic weapons, rocket launchers, mortars, and every other conceivable firearm short of nuclear bombs to the poorer countries so those little guys can shoot themselves up good.
The UN is saying, Hey, let’s slow this biz down a little, huh.
Business As Usual
Natch, the gun people in this holy land think this is the absolute worst infringement on our rights imaginable. They feel the UN treaty is only the first slide down the slippery slope to the seizure of all guns from all god-fearing Americans.
Don’t ask me why they think that. I can’t begin to explain the psycho-sexual love people have for guns around these parts.
Suffice it to say, though, that the Great United States, Inc. is the world’s largest exporter of firearms. Every war in every corner of the Earth is being fought with Americans guns.
It couldn’t be that those simple folk fretting about our sacred rights are being set up by American gun manufacturers and dealers, could it?
Anyway, this weird, weird conspiracy theory holds that James Holmes is sort of a Manchurian Candidate who was hypnotized or drugged to do his dirty deed Friday night, thereby whipping up the namby-pamby nannies of the nation to shriek for gun control.
Yeah, I know, it can’t get any more psychotic.
In fact, I put a post up on Facebook myself the other day saying the next person who espoused this lunacy would be de-friended by me immediately and gleefully.
My old trivia competition pal Andy Wallingford of Louisville took note of my post. He sent me a message and a photo. “Remember,” he wrote, “when conspiracy theories were fun?”
The US Air Force Tunnel Borer
The conspiracy theorists have put forth a variety of reasons the United Sates Air Force would own the machine picture above. The top among them include the idea that the federal government is creating a vast series of underground mountain tunnels in the western United States, wherein our leaders can retreat and live in splendor while the rest of us die horrible deaths from disease, war, poison gas, asteroid collisions or some other such calamity.
Another theory holds that the tunnels have been created to house extraterrestrials who are working in concert with the feds to be able to skitter underground to all the nations on Earth and then implant their seed in unsuspecting humans.
Try to forget the fact that the proponents of these theories might be living on your block and just enjoy their beauty and unfettered creativity.
Look, I fantasize making sweet, sweet love with Anne Hathaway. My fever dream has about as much chance of coming true as those of the conspiracy theorists.
Oh, Big Mike…
My favorite baseball player of all time, Ron Santo, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday afternoon.
Here’s a portion of the acceptance speech given by his widow, Vicki Santo.
For the entire speech, go here.
Beautiful words: “God, how he loved the Cubs, and the Cubs’ fans.”
Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.
❏ I Love Charts — Life as seen through charts.
❏ XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”
❏ Skepchick — Women scientists look at the world and the universe.
❏ Indexed — All the answers in graph form, on index cards.
❏ Flip Flop Fly Ball — Baseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.
❏ Mental Floss — Facts.
❏ Caps Off Please — Comics & fun.
❏ Sodaplay — Create your own models or play with other people’s models.
❏ Eat Sleep Draw — An endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.
❏ Big Think — Tapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.
❏ The Daily Puppy — So shoot me.
Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.
◗ City Hall, Common Council Chambers — Wage Theft Summit, open to the public; 1:30-3:30pm
◗ The Player’s Pub — Songwriters Showcase: Host TBA; 8pm
◗ The Bishop — DJ Donovan; 8pm
◗ IU HPER, room 107 — Ballroom dance lessons; 8:30pm
◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center — Exhibits:
- John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This @#!%”; through July 30th
- Claire Swallow, ‘Memoir”; through July 28th
- Dale Gardner, “Time Machine”; through July 28th
- Sarah Wain, “That Takes the Cake”; through July 28th
- Jessica Lucas & Alex Straiker, “Life Under the Lens — The Art of Microscopy”; through July 28th
◗ IU Art Museum — Exhibits:
- Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
- “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
- Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
- Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
- “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
- David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
- Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
- Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
- “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st
◗ IU SoFA Grunwald Gallery — Exhibits:
- Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st
- Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; July 27th through August 3rd
◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery — “Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st
◗ IU Lilly Library — Exhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st
◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Closed for semester break
◗ Monroe County History Center — Exhibits:
- “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
- Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th