The Pencil Today:


“Politics is just like show business. You have a hell of an opening, coast for a while, and then have a hell of a close.” — Ronald Reagan


So, the coat-holders go after each other tonight on national TV.

Vice president Joe Biden and Willard Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, meet in Danville, Kentucky’s Centre College and begin throwing food at each other at 9pm.

No sense wasting time watching it as “the winner” already has been determined, according to experts in the mass obfuscation biz.

See, because ol’ Willard leapfrogged so dramatically over over the president after last week’s “debate,” the heat is on Biden to rescue the Dem ticket from the humiliation of a single-digit fate.

Not a single-digit deficit, mind you, but an actual vote count on November 6th of less than ten percent. In fact, some experts believe Obama now will be the first incumbent president to garner fewer than 500 votes nationwide after his disappointing performance eight days ago. That would translate into the greatest landslide in world electoral history, with Romney receiving 99.999996 percent of the vote.

All because Barack Obama telephoned his performance in on the 2nd.

Wise men before that debate said it was going to be Romney’s “coming out party.” Disappointingly, he did not use the event to reveal to the American public he is gay, but, say those experts, to show us who he really is. Which is good — I’d previously had him pegged as a homeless man.

In any case, the experts are saying the same thing about Paul Ryan today. The American people will get to know him tonight. Local polls have indicated that most Bloomington voters believe Paul Ryan is a male stripper at Uncle Elizabeth’s.

Ryan (right)

If recent history is our guide, he’ll trounce Biden.

Well, I voted Tuesday at the Curry Building. I filled in the box for Obama/Biden. At least the election won’t turn out to be unanimous.


Just finished reading the account of the operation to capture or kill Osama bin Laden in the current issue of Vanity Fair.

The piece is an adaptation of Mark Bowden’s forthcoming book, “The Finish,” about the raid that resulted in the death of the millionaire warlord.


Here’s a spoiler for you: There never was any chance that bin Laden would be taken alive. The SEAL team that entered his compound in Abbottobad on May 2nd, 2011, was made up of shoot-first, ask-questions-later guys.

It’s a riveting story. The president showed a lot of steel by okaying the plan in the face of uncertainties about whether or not bin Laden was actually the white-robed guy observed by spy drones at the compound or even if the operation could succeed.

Don’t let those Republicans fool you with their blatherings that Obama is too soft to be president.

The whole episode hardens my conviction that the GOP is brilliant at putting on a show. For instance, Obama went on live television to announce bin Laden’s death at 11:35pm EST. Which means all of sixteen people actually saw him.

The Big Newz-z-z-z-z-z-z-z

The Republicans would have been smart enough to sit on the news until 9:30 the next morning when it would flash on everybody’s computer screen at the office.

Say John McCain had won the 2008 election [Big Mike pauses for a moment to allow his loyal readers to steady themselves].  And say, even more improbably, that McCain and Company had been in charge of the raid.

(Remember, Obama was being advised in part by his vice president — ergo, it’s safe to assume McCain would have had to listen to Sarah Palin’s bleating. “Mr. President,” she’d say, “we already beat Obama, why do we have to go after him again? Wait, you didn’t say Obama?”)

Anyway, the Republican Party entertainment division (read: Fox News) would have had McCain rappel onto the Rose Garden from a hovering Chinook helicopter to deliver his We-got-‘im! presser.

Say what you will about Georgy Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” arrival on that aircraft carrier back in ’03, I’ll bet millions of GOP chicks still get dewy-eyed (euphemism, natch) thinking about it.

Hail To The…, Oh, Mr. President!

Personal to the President: Take a cue from the Catholic church — give ’em some theater.


Don’t miss this: Laura Grover and her Bloomington Storytelling Project mates will throw a Hallowe’en frightfest Saturday, October 27th, at Max’s Place.

Grover et al have put out the call for storytellers to come on stage that night and scare the bejesus out of the citizenry.

Have you made it to a BSP extravaganza yet? If you haven’t, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Jes’ plain folks come up and tell tales — some of them even true, I’d guess. None of it is rehearsed or scripted, so you’ll have a gay old time on the edge of your seat wondering how the speaker will wriggle out of whatever snag she or he has gotten into.

Bloomington, of course, is home to some renowned raconteurs and whopper peddlers. I’d think that legendary stump speakers like Charlotte Zietlow and Hondo Thompson would be perfect for the BSP circuit. One of the big stars of any BSP event is Marc Haggerty, who’s known far and wide in these parts as the only man alive who can fill his own shoes. Anyway, if Haggerty is on the sked to spin a yarn on the 27th, that alone would be worth the price of admission.

Send an email to if you’d like to get on the Hallowe’en show roster, otherwise, just show up and listen.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Thursday, October 11th, 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

SOCIAL SERVICE ◗ Bloomington American Legion P0st 18South Central Indiana VA Stand Down, Helping struggling veterans, services include health screenings, food & clothing donations, flu shots, haircuts, counseling, etc.; 10am-2pm

LECTURE & BOOK SIGNING ◗ IU Maurer School of Law — “America’s Unwritten Constitution,” presented by Akhil Amar; Book signing at 11am, Lecture at Noon

LECTURE ◗ IU CinemaJorgensen Guest Filmmaker Series: Benshi Kataoka Ichiro; 3pm

CLASS ◗ IU Maurer School of Law, Moot Court RoomPractice before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal, Continuing legal education credit; 4:30pm

FINANCIAL COUNSELING ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryIt’s Your Money series: Talk to an Expert, Financial experts available for confidential counseling; 4:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Bear’s PlacePost-Modern Jazz Quartet; 5:30pm

WORKSHOP ◗ BloomingLabsIntro to Programming; 6:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “An Inn at Tokyo“; 7pm

STAGE ◗ Bloomington Playwrights ProjectComedy, “Rx“; 7:30pm

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

DISCUSSION — IU Radio/TV Building, Room 245Making Ethical Decisions During War: One North Vietnamese Soldier’s Story, Part of IU’s Themester program, “Good Behavior, Bad Behavior“; 7:30pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGlenn Wool; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallMasters Recital: Vanessa Rose Catsillo on Baroque violin; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdVictor Wooten; 8pm

SPORTS ◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Purdue; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopBelievers; 9:30pm


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:

  • 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.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: