The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Rupert Murdoch is the most dangerous man in the world.” — Ted Turner

PAY ‘EM: DAY 4

Jerry Pritikin, who’s also known as the “Bleacher Preacher” (he sermonizes on the religion that is Chicago Cubs fandom), lives across Wells Street from Walter Payton College Prep School, one of the jewels of the Chicago Public Schools.

His high-rise window gives him a front row seat to the daily picket line outside the school’s front door. He snapped this shot early yesterday morning:

And yesterday Rupert Murdoch sloshed out of the primordial ooze that is his natural habitat to throw his support behind the intransigent Mayor Rahm Emanuel in negations with the Chicago Teachers Union.

Murdoch joins a roster of Emanuel’s anti-labor backers that already includes Romney, Paul Ryan, Rudy Giuliani, and everybody else who favors a for-profit, corporate-run educational system.

In case corporate school management doesn’t alarm you, keep in mind it is the private, for-profit sector that has given us global warming, job-outsourcing, the financial meltdown of 2007-08, monster SUVs, Khloe Kardashian, and KFC’s Double Down.

Oh, and another thing:

YOU WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT

As repugnant as Willard Romney’s lightning-quick politicization of the embassy attacks was to all serious-minded, concerned, right-thinking people — and even some members of his own Republican Party — his finger-pointing might have been a smart political move.

I reacted strongly on Facebook yesterday to his fatuous charge that President Obama “sympathizes” with the attackers:

Upon reflection, though, it occurs to me that Romney’s remarks might not have been as ill-considered as many wags and experts seem to think.

It’s becoming clear that Romney’s ceiling is 50 percent of those likely to go to the polls in November. As in, that’s the best he can hope for. If he wins, it won’t be because his party loves him to pieces nor because he inspires passion among the so-called independents.

In fact, his core constituency, whether he likes it or not, are those who are still scared to death of the brown “outsider” they consider Obama to be.

That’s whom he was speaking to yesterday. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Obama said that Romney shoots before he aims. Maybe, but not in this case. Romney was aiming directly at the limbic brains of people who already think Obama is an Arab plant in the White House. Romney and his strategists know that they have to get those folks out in bunches on Election Day.

Romney’s Opponent

You know as well as I do that plenty of people will be telling each other that Obama is cozy with Muslim extremists — and as proof they’ll repeat Romney’s slander.

Get ready for more of this: the election is only 54 days away.

WHY, MOM AND DAD, WHY?

Bloomington’s own John Mellencamp tops Ranker.com’s list of celebrity parents who’ve saddled their heirs and heiresses with absurd or grotesque names.

And just to show how preposterous the mania for baby-naming “creativity” has grown among those whose lives are devoting to begging for our attention, Frank Zappa’s decision to dub his daughter Moon Unit only ranks No. 6 on the list.

Here are Ranker’s top ten Most Ridiculous Celebrity Baby Names:

  1. Speck Wildhorse Mellencamp (parents Mellencamp and Elaine Irwin)
  2. Moxie CrimeFighter Jillete (Penn Gillette and Emily Zolten)
  3. Pilot Inspektor Riesgraf Lee (Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf)
  4. Little Pixie Frou-Frou Geldof (Bob Geldof and Paula Yates)
  5. Pirate Houseman Davis (Jonathan and Deven Davis)
  6. Moon Unit Zappa (Frank and Adelaide Zappa
  7. Fifi Trixibelle Geldof (Bob Geldof and Paula Yates)
  8. Jermajesty Jackson (Jermain Jackson and Alejandra Oaziaza)
  9. Audio Science Clayton ( Shannyn Sossamon and Dallas Clayton)
  10. Kal-El Coppola Cage (Nicolas Cage and Alice Kim)

Moon Unit Zappa Managed To Avoid Committing Patricide

Lest you think Nic Cage’s kid was named in honor of some hero of the Arabic-speaking world, “Kal-El” was actually the name of the kid from Krypton who eventually grew up to be Superman. In the comics, Nic.

Check out the list for 40 more names guaranteed to earn the average child daily beatings in the schoolyard. Some teasers: Larry King named his son Cannon and Bob Geldof makes the list a third time and Paula Yates a fourth.

HOLY MATRIMONY

Thanks to Deanna Goe-Truelock of Roots on the Square and the Siam House for pointing these cogent arguments out:

THE WISDOM OF THE OUTSIDE WORLD

Many people think the rest of the world possesses a wisdom and sensitivity that we in this holy land lack. That may be, but there are some powerful arguments to refute the claim.

To wit: the world beyond these shores has embraced the likes of Slim Whitman as well as “Baywatch” and David Hasselhoff.

It follows, then, that the non-US world concerns itself with a sport that’s almost as scintillating as living through a coma.

From XKCD Via I Love Charts

(Note: The “Football” in green is soccer. The “Football” in, um, vomit-after-a-night-of-drinking-cheap-wine red is American football — y’know, the sport of traumatic brain injury.)

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