The Pencil Today:


“The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.” — BF Skinner


Rick Dietz‘s Humanetrix outfit started up The Combine three years ago to help Bloomington area tech geeks get even geekier.

Rick Dietz

Humanetrix is a non-profit dedicated to helping technology savants meet each other and find opportunities to grow and earn in this crazy, mixed-up world. The Combine is an annual weekend orgy of gamers, hackers (in the positive sense of the word), electronics wizards, and other advanced forms of life getting together and listening to big shot entrepreneurs who’ve rolled sevens in their chosen tech fields. With luck one or two of them might interest a venture capitalist into funding their idea to wire everybody’s cerebral cortex into a worldwide network.

The Combine starts tonight at The Atlas Bar (no website) on South College Avenue with bunches of cerebra on legs giving 5-minute presentations on their utopian, wild brain children.

Dietz et al call the weekend “3 days of tech-y goodness.” You ought click over to Humanetrix to see what’s what with local efforts to foster cutting edge creativity. You might even want to pitch in a few bucks for the cause.


Sex-positive cool chick Susie Bright points out a story that illustrates how different people can look at the same snapshot and see two different things.

Here’s the shot:

Yeah, it’s two guys holding hands and smooching in front of the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s their official engagement picture, taken by a professional photographer. See, they love each other and probably will have sex at some time in the near future at the moment the shutter is clicked. It’s all happy and, well, gay.

And that sickens too many folks in this holy land.

Among the nauseated many who’ve viewed this tableau were the prigs of some holier-than-thou gang that calls itself Public Advocate of the United States, although it must be noted I never asked these dopes to say anything for me. PAUS essentially stole the photo and turned it into a couple of polemic campaign mailers against some godless commie liberal abortionist Satanist Democratic candidates in backwater states. Here’s what the photo looked like after PAUS got their lily-white hands on it:

The Jean White in the doctored photo’s overlay was running in the Dem primary in Colorado earlier this year. PAUS PhotoShopped the New York City skyline to a more Colorado-friendly pine vista. Because, you know, those sick New York fags are gonna be taking over our virgin forests before you know it unless you vote against civil-union advocates like Jean White.

Someone had to do a lot of thinking about men kissing and having sex together to come up with this piece of work.

Which reminds me of a neat Tweet put out by the voice of god, Morgan Freeman:


Good news from Sarah Sandberg. Her sister Susan, a charter-member Pencillista and political animal around town, came out of thoracic surgery yesterday morning alive and kicking.

Well, as much as anyone emerging from general anesthetic can kick.

Sarah sez sis Susan is going to lay low for a time till she gets her jungle cat strength back. Susan already is prowling hospital halls even though she’s still hooked up to enough tubes and wires to make her look like a deep sea diver.

Actually, according to Sarah, because Susan hasn’t had the opportunity to wash the surgical Betadine off herself yet, she looks sort of like an Oompa-Loompa.

Where’s Susan?

In any case, Susan was a Chicago chick for a time in her callow youth, so that means she’s tough as nails. Can’t wait to see her at the Book Corner again.


From one of my fave 60s garage bands, The Buckinghams. Dedicated to you know who (NB: I only like Susan, so don’t take the band’s lyrics to heart — plus, I’d hate to have The Loved One clunk me on the head with a frying pan.)

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Brought to you by The Electron Pencil: Bloomington Arts, Culture, Politics, and Hot Air. Daily.

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center, outside WFHB StudiosParticipate in the construction of “The Messenger,” recycled metal sculpture to be installed at B-Line Trail; 9am-5pm

FAIR ◗ Monroe County Fairgrounds, Commercial Building West29th Annual American Red Cross Book Fair, +100,000 used books, CDs, DVDs, games, maps, sheet music, etc.; 9am-7pm, through October 2nd

WORKSHOP ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryIt’s Your Money: Talk To an Expert, free, confidential consultations with financial professionals; 4:30-6:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleDobbs Project; 6-8:30pm

WORKSHOP ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryArtists After Hours: Digital Artists & Web Designers, presented by Arts Alliance of Greater Bloomington; 6-9pm

SEMINAR ◗ Various venuesThe Combine, 3rd annual display of talent , innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit, featuring speakers, workshops, idea pitches, and mixers; through Sunday, September 30th, today’s event:

The Atlas Bar, 209 S. College Ave.Ignite Bloomington #9 — 5-minute presentations by area tech geeks; 7pm

POLITICS ◗ Ivy Tech-BloomingtonLeague of Women Voters Candidate Forum, candidates for Monroe County Community Schools Corporation board; 7pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumUB Films: “Katy Perry: Part of Me;” 7pm

STAGE ◗ IU Halls TheatreDrama, “When the Rain Stops Falling;” 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoUp Folk! with Travis Puntarelli & Friends; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubOpen mic hosted by Martina Samm; 7:30pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGreg Behrendt; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallNew Music Ensemble, David Dzubay, director; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceAmericana showcase; 8pm

GAMES ◗ Serendipity Martini BarTeam trivia; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdMurder by Death, Maps and Atlases; 9pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumUB Films: “Perfect Pitch,” sneak preview; 11pm


ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • What It Means to Be Human,” by Michele Heather Pollock; through September 29th
  • Land and Water,” by Ruth Kelly; through September 29th

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works; through October 11th

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits opening September 28th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners;” through December 20th
  • Gender Expressions;” through December 20th

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibit:

  • “CUBAmistad” photos

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit:

  • Outsiders and Others:Arkham House, Weird Fiction, and the Legacy of HP Lovecraft;” through November 1st
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections form the Slocum Puzzle Collection

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s OnExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Culture: “CUBAmistad photos; through October

ART ◗ Boxcar BooksExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Papercuts by Ned Powell; through September

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • Bloomington: Then and Now,” presented by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • “Doctors and Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical professions

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One thought on “The Pencil Today:

  1. david paglis - the lake county republican says:

    hola mike: back from a couple of days in colorado visiting my daughter. good story on the gay marriage subject. i used to be against it but the arguments for it were just too strong so i changed my mind. i would like to say the issue is a distraction from what i feel is the only important issue – gov’t spending and the national debt. best wishes from the right wing for a speedy recovery for your friend ms sandberg.

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