The Pencil Today:


“It’s useless to hold a person to anything he says while he’s in love, drunk, or running for office.” — Shirley MacLaine


One of the advantages of being a relative newcomer to Bloomington is that I’m still hearing the town’s lore with a fresh ear.

For instance, I had a sit-down with a long-time local pol the other day. We tried to impress each other with our predictions of how the election would turn out. We pretty much agreed on all the races save for Shelli Yoder, whom I backed even though I knew she was going down hard.

If At First…

BTW: I told the pol that Shelli should view this election the way a baseball manager looks at spring training games. It’s only practice. Yoder will be a force in South Central Indiana and, eventually, statewide politics for years to come. I threw a hunk of chum out: What about Governor Yoder?

My pal the pol shook his head. That tears it for me: Yoder’s future doesn’t lie in the executive branch. But she’ll be a legislator. My bet is she starts thinking statehouse for 2014.

Anyway, my pol friend and I agreed, pre-vote, that Tea Party sweetheart Richard Mourdock’s spectacular flameout was the biggest surprise of the race. He tanked his bout with Joe Donnelly for the US Senate when he tried to channel the thoughts of his god vis a vis rape, pregnancy, and abortion.

Mourdock Watches His Chances Slip Away

“Man,” the pol said, “he really drove his car into a tree, didn’t he?”

I nodded, figuring the pol was simply using colorful language.

“You don’t know what I’m referring to, do you?” he asked.

I shrugged.

“Okay, I’ll tell you. You’ve heard of Frank McCloskey, right?”

Naturally. Frank McCloskey is a legend in these parts. He started out his adult life as a newspaper reporter in both Indy and Chicago and then, improbably, became the first Democratic mayor of Bloomington in 1971, after years of GOP dominance here. He was reelected mayor twice and then decided to try for a seat in the US House from what was then Indiana’s 8th Congressional District, also known as the Bloody Eighth.

A Legend

The District, you see, had been notorious for upstarts unseating incumbents. Still, McCloskey wasn’t expected to win. He was running against the Reagan economy in 1982 and even though this immediate area had suffered under rising unemployment figures and Reagan-era service cuts, well, a smart politician in Indiana didn’t run against Saint Ronald.

The two-term incumbent Congressbeing, a fellow named Huey Joel (Joe) Deckard, was fused at the hip with Reagan. My pal the pol can take over the story here. “Oh, Deckard was a winner,” the pol says. “All he had to do was keep his mouth shut and not do anything stupid. Famous last words, huh?

“So, one night he was driving home and he crashed his car into a tree. The police got there, took one look at him and knew he was drunk. They ran him in and he refused to take a blood test. Well, this was huge in the newspapers and on TV the next morning. He got hit with a driving under the influence charge and just like that his lead started disappearing.”

Deckard In 2010 (Herald-Times Photograph)

McCloskey won, of course, and went on to make a national name for himself by opposing Reagan’s Star Wars scheme and George H.W. Bush’s first Iraq War. He fought for an assault weapons ban and called for US intervention to stop the atrocities in the Balkans in the early 90s. He was as big a liberal as could be found in Congress.

Ironically, McCloskey was challenged twice by Richard Mourdock, in 1990 and 92, repelling the coal mining company executive both times. McCloskey would lose his seat in the 1994 election, AKA, the Republican Revolution.

McCloskey had a nice run, though. And he owed it all to a tree that jumped into the road in front of his opponent.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

LECTURE & DISCUSSION ◗ IU Poynter CenterPhotographing Patients: Clinical and Ethical Considerations, Led by John Woodcock; 4-5:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallMaster’s Recital: Hannah Robbins on viola da gamba; 5pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallDoctoral Recital: Gulrukh Shakirova on piano; 5pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Sweeney HallDoctoral Lecture/Recital: Joy Yeh on harp; 5pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Woodburn HallBurke Lecture Series: “Performing Painters: Hands, Brushes and Palettes at Work,” Presented by Philip Sohm of the University of Toronto; 5-6pm

LETTERS ◗ Rachael’s CafeNational Novel Writing Month Write-In; 6-9pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubCathy Gutjhar; 6:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “The Intruder“; 6:30pm

CLASS ◗ BloominglabsIntro to Programming; 6:30-9pm

CELEBRATION ◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryCarl Sagan Day, Tour the observatory, Miscellaneous activities, Refreshments, Presented by the Secular Alliance at IU; 7pm

BENEFIT ◗ Oliver WineryConcert: “The Life and Bassoon Works of Roger Boutry“; 7pm

OPERA ◗ IU Musical Arts Center — “Cendrillon (Cinderella),” Presented by IU Opera Theater; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleTom Shinnes; 7-9pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center Recital HallChamber Music Stduio Recital: Stduents of Sung-Mi Im; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallFive Friends Master Class Series: Judy tarling on Baroque viola and violin; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Bloomington High School NorthFall Concert: “Remembering Our Heroes,” Performed by the Southern Indiana Wind Ensemble; 7-8:15pm

STAGE ◗ IU Halls TheatreDrama, “Spring Awakening“; 7:30pm

STAGE ◗ IU Sweeney HallComedy, “Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Steps“; 7:30pm

STAGE ◗ Bloomington High School North — Comedy/drama, “Ondine”; 7:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Radio/TV Center — “Through the Gift Shop,” Presented by the IU Folklore and Ethnomusicology Student Association; 7:30pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGreg Hahn; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceThe Hot Carls; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallDoctoral Recital: Soojin Joo on piano; 8pm

FILM ◗ The Bishop — “Handmade Nation“; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center Recital HallDoctoral Lecture Recital: Matthew Cataldi on piano; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdRumpke Mountain Boys, Trashgrass CD release party, New Old Cavalry; 9pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Holy Motors“; 9:30pm


ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “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
  • Threads of Love: Baby Carriers from China’s Minority Nationalities“; through December 23rd
  • 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 through December 1st:

  • “Essentially Human,” By William Fillmore
  • “Two Sides to Every Story,” By Barry Barnes
  • “Horizons in Pencil and Wax,” By Carol Myers

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits through November 16th:

  • Buzz Spector: Off the Shelf
  • Small Is Big

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits through December 20th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners
  • Gender Expressions

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 LibraryExhibits:

  • The War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library“; through December 15th
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections from the Slocum Puzzle Collection

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibits:

  • Doctors & Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical Professions
  • What Is Your Quilting Story?
  • Garden Glamour: Floral Fashion Frenzy
  • Bloomington Then & Now
  • World War II Uniforms
  • Limestone Industry in Monroe County

The Ryder & The Electron Pencil. All Bloomington. All the time.

2 thoughts on “The Pencil Today:

  1. Michael says:

    Nice to remember Frank McCloskey. Part of his “legend” should be that he was the leader of a faction of one that kept insisting from the floor of the House that the administration (first Bush, then Clinton) stop the war in then-Yugoslavia. At the end of his life, he would have led the U.S. contribution to the rebuilding effort in that war-torn country, had he not passed from cancer at an unseemly age. He was truly an amazing person.

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