The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Loving Chicago is like loving a woman with a broken nose.” — Nelson Algren

BLOOMINGTON WARMING

Get over to Rachael’s Cafe tonight a 6:30 for another session of Bloomington’s Science Cafe.

Host Alex Straiker will introduce environmental physicist Ben Brabson. The topic: “Climate Change and Bloomington.”

Why?

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

My guy in Monroe County government says the newly refurbished digs in the old courthouse are fabulous.

He says the place actually smells new.

The Monroe County Courthouse, in case you missed it, has been closed since spring 2011 for a massive renovation. Workers replaced utility pipes, restrooms, carpeting, and much else. They painted the walls and installed a high-efficiency heating and cooling system. Sometime in the middle of the project, it was found that the 100-year-old main floor was in danger of collapsing. So the cost of a whole new floor had to be added on the the original $4 million pricetag. The Courthouse reopened yesterday.

I asked my guy if he jumped on the new floor to test it. Laughing, he says he just might organize his co-workers to gather in a spot and all jump simultaneously.

READY…, JUMP!

Which reminds me of that old trivia chestnut, What if all the people in China jumped at once?

Would we feel the bounce here on the other side of the Earth? Would the planet’s orbit be affected?

Boi-oi-oi-oi-oing!

My old colleague at the Chicago Reader, Cecil Adams, known far and wide for his spectacular knowledge of useless information, was asked this very question as far back as 1984.

China’s population at the time stood at a tad more than a billion (it’s up to 1.34B now). So Adams, who penned the Reader’s Straight Dope trivia column, imagined all the women, men, and snotty kids in China climbing up on chairs and leaping off at precisely the same moment. Then Cecil did some back of the envelope ciphering.

He concluded that the impact of those two billion feet on the surface of the world at once (give or take the few tens of millions of feet that had been amputated during wars and torture sessions) would produce an impact equivalent to that of the explosion of 500 tons of TNT.

Sheesh, I would have thought such an impact would result in more of a bump. Anyway, 500 tons of boom is not nearly enough to jar the planet off its year-long path.

So there.

Anyway, you ought to check out Cecil’s The Straight Dope column. You can learn, for instance, what Reichs 1 and 2 were (you know, the ones preceding Hitler’s Third Reich.)

OBAMA IS A POOR EXCUSE FOR A KING

This pic is making the rounds on the interwebs these days:

You know, because when we elected Obama King of the United States with absolute powers over everything, including the very prices of all consumer goods and services, we expected him to forbid this sort of thing from happening.

NOT FAT, NOT WHITE, DOESN’T SMOKE CIGARS

And speaking of the man who will hold on to the White House on November 6th, one of the Right’s biggest canards against him is that he’s a “typical Chicago politician.”

As in a fat, cigar-chomping, back-room-deal-making, vote-stealing, bribe-taking, in-bed-with-the-Mob, white man.

Historian Rick Perlstein points out in an essay in Chicago mag that the GOP strategy has been to link Obama with all those famous venal Windy City pols of the past. Notoriously corrupt Alderman Hinky Dink Kenna once famously observed, “Chicago ain’t ready for reform.”

In truth, Obama has nothing at all in common with the likes of Jake Arvey, Richard J. Daley, Fast Eddie Vrdolyak, Bathhouse John  Coughlin, and Big Bill Thompson.

Perlstein writes: “Indeed, the president’s biggest problem, come the election on November 6, isn’t that he’s too Chicago. It’s that he’s not Chicago enough.”

He wrote the piece before the first debate last week, which only proves Perlstein’s point. I mean, honestly, would a tough-guy Chicago pol have let Mitt Romney get away with all that murder?

Rick Perlstein

When all is said and done, Obama represents the most impotent of the stereotypical liberal politician’s characteristics. He believes if he’s a mensch, everybody’s going to embrace him. Perlstein writes: “Obama seems to think that if he shows himself to be a trustworthy steward of the public purse, Republicans will respect him and the voting public will be grateful.”

Liberals long have believed that if you could just reach Ma & Pa America with the unassailable logic of your argument, they’ll happily become liberals too. Or, as Matt Taibbi once opined, only liberals would think that by watching a documentary you can change the world.

Here I am, opening myself up to the charge of being cynical again, but I can’t help it — what I’m about to say is demonstrably true. People, by and large, are stupid. Not only that, they’re happy to be stupid. They want to be stupid.

In the words of a long-ago National Lampoon writer, Don’t you think? Or don’t you?

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

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

STUDIO TOUR ◗ Brown County, various locationsThe Backroads of Brown County Studio Tour, free, self-guided tour of 16 local artists’ & craftspersons’ studios; 10am-5pm, through October

CLASS ◗ Ivy Tech-Bloomington, Lamkin HallSolving the Credit Mystery: Credit Counseling Expert Panel, Fincaila experts from Fifth Third Bank, IU Credit Union, & Regions Bank; Noon-1pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallDoctoral Recital: Stephen Price on organ; 5pm

FILM ◗ IU Swain Hall East — “Un Cuento Chino,” (Argentina, 2011); 6pm

LECTURE ◗ Rachael’s CafeScience Cafe Bloomington, “Climate Change & Bloomington,” Presented by environmental physicist Ben Brabson; 6:30pm

CLASS ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryLights, Camera, Write: An Introduction to the Art of Screenwriting; 6:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleDon Ford; 7-9pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallStudent Recital: Janelle Davis on viola de gamba; 7pm

CLASS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryWe”re Off to See the Wizard!: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; part of the IU LIfelong Learning Series; 7pm

PERFORMANCE ◗ Unity of Bloomington ChurchAuditions & rehearsal, Bloomington Peace Choir; 7pm

STAGE ◗ Brown County Playhouse, Nashville — “Last Train to Nibroc“; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallChamber Orchestra, Uriel Segal, conductor; 8pm

ASTRONOMY ◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryOpen house, Public viewing through the main telescope; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Bear’s PlaceAnimal Parts, Shell, Moor Hound; 8pm

DANCING ◗ Harmony SchoolContra dancing; 8-10:30pm

GAMES ◗ The Root Cellar at Farm BloomingtonTeam trivia; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdWolfgang Gartner; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopLost in the Trees, Midtown Dickens; 9:30pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists; through October 14th
  • “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
  • Embracing Nature,” by Barry Gealt; through December 23rd
  • Pioneers & Exiles: German Expressionism,” through December 23rd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • Ab-Fab — Extreme Quilting,” by Sandy Hill; October 5th through October 27th
  • Street View — Bloomington Scenes,” by Tom Rhea; October 5th through October 27th
  • From the Heartwoods,” by James Alexander Thom; October 5th through October 27th
  • The Spaces in Between,” by Ellen Starr Lyon; October 5th through October 27th

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

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

The Electron Pencil. Go there. Read. Like. Share.

One thought on “The Pencil Today:

  1. Hondo says:

    “if you make people think that they think,
    they will love you.
    But if you make people think,
    they will hate you.”

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