Category Archives: Apollo 11

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“For me, the most ironic token of that moment in history is the plaque signed by President Richard M. Nixon that Apollo 11 took to the moon. It reads: ‘We came in peace for all mankind.’ As the United States was dropping 7.5 megatons of conventional explosives on small nations in Southeast Asia, we congratulated ourselves on our humanity: We would harm no one on a lifeless rock.” — Carl Sagan

PAY ‘EM: DAY 1

Give teachers the dough they deserve. Do not increase class sizes. Do not extend the school day.

And if necessary, raise taxes.

Let’s cut the bullshit now.

The Chicago Teachers Union strike is everybody’s business.

LUCKY US

Steve the Dog and I took a walk at dusk yesterday on the shore of Lake Monroe in the Paynetown State Recreation Area.

A blue heron flapped past a few hundred yards off, probably heading home for the night. Fish feeding on surface bugs splashed in the water around the marina.

This Is Minutes From Home

Paynetown was a bit lonelier than it’s been for months. The temperature hung around 64 degrees.

We walked fast — well, as fast as my creaky ticker would allow us. I may have to wear a long-sleeved shirt tonight.

Our hellish summer is nothing more than a memory.

KNOW THINE SELF

Author Philip Roth takes Wikipedia to task in the New Yorker this week.

Philip Roth

Apparently, the Wikipedia entry on his novel, “The Human Stain,” recently contained faulty info on the inspiration behind the story. Wikipedia says the book is based on an incident in the life of Manhattan writer Anatole Broyard. Roth says it’s really based on something that happened to Melvin Tumin, a noted researcher in race relations in America.

Roth states in an open letter to Wikipedia that when he contacted Wikipedia in an effort to get the entry corrected, he was told he was not a credible source.

Hah!

Apparently, Wikipedia needs its info verified by third-party independent sources. Roth, per the online encyclopedia’s own guidelines, is not.

All this makes a whisper of sense, when you think about it for a moment. Wikipedia doesn’t want people editing their own entries. Hell, I’ve been tempted more times than I can remember to create my own Wikipedia entry, describing myself as the Midwest’s greatest unheard-of writer. My newspaper and magazine articles, my books, my online posts have thrilled readers and moved them to tears. History, my fantasy entry would read, will recognize Mr. Glab in much the same way that Van Gogh in the art world was celebrated after his death.

Vince And Me

But then I remember that Wikipedia won’t allow me to define myself in its database at all.

Can you imagine, for instance, how noted self-admirers like Richard Nixon or Donald Trump would portray themselves?

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’ve occasionally fantasized hinting to someone I know and trust that I really deserve a Wikipedia entry. Now, I wouldn’t suggest anything outright, but if the person whose ear I bent might take it upon her- or himself to immortalize me thusly, well, who am I to protest?

Anyway, Roth goes on for 2677 words to correct the bit of false information. I suppose that’s what a prolific writer would do. The Philip Roth bibliography entry in Wikipedia states he’s penned 27 novels. He hasn’t challenged that bit of data.

A “writer” such as Ayn Rand could have easily dashed off, say, half a million distorted, specious, and borderline psychotic words correcting some minor point in her Wikipedia entry.

“Writer”

Writers write. Even “writers” write.

Roth’s open letter is fascinating because it reveals a bit about the life of Melvin Tumin, who was grilled for using “hate speech” in a classroom once. It seems he’d discovered in the middle of a semester that two students had not attended one of his classes. Taking roll one day, he asked the class if anyone knew the students. “Does anyone know these people?” he asked. “Do they exist or are they spooks?”

Ha ha. Spooks, meaning phantoms or wraiths. But at the time Tumin uttered the word, it also was a more “palatable” substitute for “nigger.” Archie Bunker on “All in the Family” regularly referred to black men as spooks.

Lovable Hater

Tumin was subjected to a grueling inquisition, even thought he’d been known for years for his sensitive work in race relations.

Roth’s letter, like the novel, explores the issues of character assassination, hysteria, and groupthink. In the letter, he also ruminates on what it means to be black.

So it’s much more than a run of the mill letter to the editor demanding a correction. It’s a neat little look at us.

Aren’t you glad writers write?

THE LITTLE THINGS

Here’s a picture of sand, magnified 250 times.

From I Fucking Love Science

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.” — Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

STEEL WILL

Forget Columbus. Forget all the rest of the pirates and rapists and genocide artists and pathological acquisitors we were force-fed as heroes in elementary school.

Neil Armstrong and his mates, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, rode in a shiny white tin can a quarter million miles away from Earth to a place where there was no air, no water, no natives to beg for help from (then kill) — I mean, honestly, can you imagine any more audacious, courageous thing to do?

Aldrin, Collins & Armstrong

Farewell, explorer.

THE CAPITOL OF LIES

Make sure to catch this weekend’s edition of “On the Media.” Host Bob Garfield interviews former NPR Congressional Correspondent Andrea Seabrook, who quit her job, basically because she was sick of the bullshit spewing from the mouths of politicians these days.

Andrea Seabrook

Which is admirable — to an extent.

Seabrook tells Garfield she’s running from lies. “The lies that I’m talking about are just the complete and total disingenuousness of almost everything that’s said all day long in the US Capitol.”

She gives examples of how pols from both parties break the 8th Commandment as a matter of course.

The obvious question is, why do Seabrook and her colleagues let the bums get away with it? She acknowledges their complicity in the great lies. Journalists, she says, collude with pols “by covering what politicians say all day every day, rather than what they don’t say. As journalists, walking into a situation where we know it’s political theater and then recording those words and playing them back to the American people as if they were news plays into the game that they’re playing.”

House Of Lies

Still, she doesn’t say why she continued to play the game even after recognizing that she’d been drawn in. Why, for instance, did Seabrook never say to a pol who was lying, bald-faced, to her, “That’s not true! Why do you say such things?”

Seabrook is starting a new website called DecodeDC which, she promises, will dig beneath the lies.

The problem is only political geeks and policy wonks will go to her site. The vast majority of the citizenry will be stuck with commercial media reporters who not only play the game, but love it.

Maybe Seabrook is heroic for chucking it all. Maybe it would have been more heroic had she stuck it out with NPR and rebelled from within.

THIS. IS. SCARY.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

Skepchick: Click For Full Article

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present/&/CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

Click For Full Article

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Missouri State; noon

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Alice”; 3pm

First United Methodist ChurchVoices United: Benefit for Interfaith Winter Shelter, featuring Heidi Grant Murphy, Kevin Murphy, Grey Larsen & Cindy Kallet, Rachel Caswell, Tom Walsh, Jeremy Allen, Steve Zegree; 4pm

The Player’s PubMusic: Andra Faye & the Rays; 6pm

Bryan ParkSunday Outdoor Concert series: Creek Dogs; 6:30pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Surviving Life”; 6:30pm

Bear’s Place — Ryder Film Series: “Take This Waltz”; 7pm

ONGOING

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th

  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th

  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th

  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th

  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st

  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012

  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st

  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • “Media Life,” drawings and animation by Miek von Dongen; through September 15th

  • “Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture”; through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I look at an ant and I see myself: a native South African, endowed by nature with a strength much greater than my size so I might cope with the weight of a racism that crushes my spirit.” — Miriam Makeba

THE COLOR OF FEAR

NPR’s Linda Wertheimer this morning on Weekend Edition Sunday pointed out that this year’s presidential election will be the first in our history in which no one on the major parties’ tickets is a WASP.

Perhaps that explains why so many people are freaked out — still — about Barack Obama.

See? See? That’s The Nazi Salute!

The world that every American once knew and too many are terrified to leave, is gone.

And speaking of terrifying, yet another music star has blown verbal chunks about the Prez. Hank Williams, Jr., who last year compared Barack Obama to Hitler (natch, they were both half-black men who studied at Harvard Law), now ups the ante. Yesterday, the man who once asked Are you ready for some football?, declared the President of the United States to be a Muslim who not only hates the military but the rest of the nation, for good measure.

Proof!

Williams, Jr. sings something called “Take Back Our Country.” He needn’t add, …From all those scary brown people.

LET’S GO TO INDIANA!

Lauren Spierer’s disappearance last year raised a puzzler.

Why do so many Indiana University students come from suburban New York City?

IU’s Prep School Attendance Boundaries

With a record 7590 freshmen expected to attend IU this semester, many of them will come from  the tri-state area including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The Spierer family hails from Edgemont, north of the big city.

Edgemont is a part of the town of Greenville in Westchester County, a tony enclave that through the years has been home to the likes of Linda McCartney, Bugsy Seigel, Walter Winchell, and Billy Collins, the former US poet laureate.

It’s funny how certain campuses become desirable destinations for specific matriculate populations. For instance, it was well-known in my old Chicago area that the University of Wisconsin in Madison drew a disproportionate number of northwest suburban Jewish kids.

I suppose the Madison thing makes sense because it falls into that Goldilocks zone for college students: far enough away from mom and dad to not worry that they can drop in at a moment’s notice but near enough to dash back home for a laundry run and a good warm meal, PRN.

Bloomington, Indiana seems an odd choice for Eastern Seaboard kids and their megalopolis classmates who might want to run back home in a six-hour or less drive.

Any ideas?

GLEE

Indulge me for a moment. Today is the 43rd anniversary of the most exciting moment I’ve ever experienced as a rabid Chicago Cubs fan.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, August 19th, 1969, my fave Cubs pitcher, Kenny Holtzman, tossed a no-hitter against the mighty Atlanta Braves.

Bliss

The Braves that afternoon were led by one Henry Louis Aaron, who’d go on to become baseball’s all-time home run king.

The sun was bright, a pleasant lake wind blew in from the northeast, and the Cubs were in first place, on their way to their first World Series since World War II and — fingers crossed — their first championship since the Peloponnesian War.

In a summer during which two human beings had stepped on the moon and nearly half a million people jammed Max Yasgur’s farm just to be able to brag to their grandchildren that they’d attended Woodstock, the Cubs racing for a World Series was the most jaw-dropping miracle yet.

And the high point of the season was Kenny’s gem.

Basking In The Glory

I watched that game from a bleacher seat under the centerfield scoreboard at Wrigley Field.

I was 13 years old.

Even now, nearly half a century later, I still believe had I died that afternoon, I’d have gone happy.

Have pity on this aching soul: don’t ask me to recount the ensuing weeks. Nor, for that matter, the ensuing decades.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present & CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Click Image For Full Article:

Present/&/Correct: 44 Old Typewriter Instruction Manuals

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

The UniverseA Facebook community of astrophysics and astronomy geeks.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Eat Sleep Draw: Illustration by Rachel Sanson

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Oliver WineryCreekbend Vineyard tour; Noon-2pm

Monroe County Public Library — Basic Literacy Tutor Training, session 2 of 4; 1:30-5pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreDrama, “Solana”; 2pm

◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Ohio; 2pm

Bryan ParkOutdoor concert: O2R Blues Band; 6:30pm

Bear’s PlaceRyder Film Series: “The Well Digger’s Daughter”; 7pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; 7pm

The BluebirdBoDeans; 8pm

The BishopJamaican Queens, Fly Painted Feathers; 9pm

ONGOING:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th

  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th

  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th

  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th

  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st

  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012

  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st

  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th

  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun.” — Martin Amis

AMERICA, I TOLD YOU BUT YOU WOULDN’T LISTEN

Two things about the mass shooting outside Denver early this morning:

  1. I demand that reporters and announcers cease and desist obsessively referring to the opening of the new Batman movie. It’s as though they’re already writing the dramatic narrative for the shooting: To wit, it’s a movie dealing with darkness and evil and, poetically, a dark and evil event followed. No. It was an atrocity and it doesn’t need poetic spin
  2. I’ve said this too many times already: America, stick your guns up your ass.

It Happened At The Movies

DON’T CONFUSE ME WITH THE FACTS

So, farmers in Indiana and much of the rest of the Midwest will lose their crops this summer, thanks to the drought and the unusually high temperatures.

Experts say drought conditions are exacerbated by higher temps which cause faster evaporation.

Experts also say human activity is causing global warming and global weirding.

Goddammit, how many times do the sane among us have to say this?

We sell Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe‘s book, “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,” at the Book Corner. For the longest time it was on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list (which is ironic considering the book’s premise).

Inhofe has been verbally vomiting on this topic for more than a decade now.

Back in 2006 in an interview in the Tulsa World newspaper, Inhofe had this to say about global warming:

“It kind of reminds… I could use the Third Reich, the big lie. You say something over and over and over and over again, and people will believe it, and that’s their strategy.”

Whoever “they” are is never revealed. Make no mistake, though, it’s a conspiracy. Neither does Inhofe explain why any group of misguided souls might want to conjure up such a hoax.

The Environmental Protection Agency, according to Inhofe, is just another Gestapo. He often cites biblical passages to back up his “arguments” against global warming

Inhofe’s stance on the “hoax” has changed only slightly over the years. What he now characterizes as the greatest hoax he only ranked number two in his early years in the Senate. The biggest hoax at that time, he felt, was the idea that the framers of the US Constitution were in favor of a separation of church and state

Inhofe’s slogan when he first ran for the Senate in 1994 was “God, guns, and gays” — as in, they were the three most important topics on which he’d concentrate.

From God’s Lips To The Senator’s Ear

In short, the man is a dick.

Want more evidence? Try this, something he spewed during a debate on gay marriage:

“I’m really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we’ve never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship.”

Anyway, there isn’t much the average citizen who can read and write can do about tailless monkeys like Inhofe. But I’ve found one thing: I always make sure his book is hidden behind a bunch of other books.

Every little bit helps.

Oh, another thing we can do is vote. For instance, Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence often appeared with Inhofe on right wing radio and TV shows. The two also worked on joint legislation including quashing the Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting.

TRANQUILITY BASE

The majority of human beings on this planet were not alive when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin gamboled on the moon back in the summer of 1969.

The Lunar Excursion Module “Eagle” landed on the surface of the moon 43 years ago today, at 2:18pm our time. Some six and a half hours later, first Armstrong, then Aldrin bounded down the LEM’s ladder to leave their footprints on extraterrestrial dirt.

I was 13 at the time. I was also transfixed. Swear to god, I stared at the moon that Sunday evening, hoping against hope that I could see something like the LEM’s rocket engine firing.

That first moon landing remains one of the defining moments of my life. It happened during the summer of Woodstock, Kennedy at Chappaquiddick, the Manson Family, and the Cubs surely on their way to their first World Series appearance in my short lifetime. I considered all of them part of a package. Peace, love, politics, music, hippies, horror, unbridled joy, crazy hope, and crushing disappointment.

Unbridled Joy

I once assumed that everyone — even those born after ’69 — considered the moon landing something, well transcendent.

Many don’t.

I was walking down Michigan Avenue with my brothers and his three sons one Sunday afternoon ten or so years ago. We approached the Tribune Tower which is famous for having bricks, stones and other chunks of famous buildings embedded in its walls. There are pieces of the Alamo, the Berlin Wall, Westminster Palace, the Great Wall of China, the Great Pyramid at Cheops, the Parthenon and many, many others.

There also is a moon rock on display. It’s not embedded in the wall, of course, considering it may be the most expensive hunk of stone in existence. It’s behind a several-inch thick slab of bullet-proof glass next to the main entrance of the Tower.

I’d passed it dozens or even hundreds of times in my life and never had neglected to stop and look at it. There is a hunk of the moon, I’d think as I gawked. Holy fk!

Moonrock Encased In Lucite At The Tribune Tower

So, as the five of us came off the Michigan Avenue bridge I said to the boys, “I wanna show you something so cool you won’t believe it.” Ranging in age from their early to late teens, they seemed skeptical. Only the appearance, say, of Batman himself or the spectacle of a man leaping from the top of the Tower to his certain death was likely to impress them.

Still, I believed this piece of a celestial body 238,000 distant would give them goosebumps.

It didn’t. I may as well have pointed out a common house brick. The only one of my nephews who was moved to even comment on the rock said, “So what?”

I was crushed.

BTW: Author Joy Shayne Laughter quoted this morning from some anonymous philosopher (neither of us could remember who said it), “We went to the moon on 126K of RAM. Now, it takes six megabytes to open a Word doc.”

ELMO TAYLOR

Pay no attention to the Muddy Boots Cafe calendar listing that has the band Elmo Taylor playing there Sunday night.

I was all set to plug the appearance here when Tyler Ferguson, rhythm guitarist for the band, came into Soma Coffee and plopped down next to me.

“So,” I said, “Sunday night at Muddy Boots, eh?”

Elmo Taylor

“What the hell are you talking about?” she snapped. Today seems to be a chocolate day for the usually ebullient Ferg.

It turns out Elmo is not playing at Muddy Boots this weekend. ET junkies take heart: the band is playing at McCormick’s Creek State Park amphitheater at 7:30, Saturday night.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Ivy Tech, Bloomington Campus — Breakfast Learning Seriea: Depression, Suicide, and Our Aging Population”; 8am

◗ IU Dowling CenterEnglish Conversation Club, for non-native speakers of American English; 1pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsOpening reception, “Abstracts on Canvas,” by Rick McCoy; 6pm

◗ IU Art MuseumJazz in July, Monika Herzig Acoustic Project; 6:30pm

Monika Herzig

◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Oslo, August 31”; 7pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Indiana Boys; 7-9pm

Bloomington SpeedwayIndiana Sprint Week; racing begins at 7:30pm

Oliver WineryLive music, Mike Milligan & Steam Shovel; 7:30pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreMusical, “You Can’t Take It with You”; 7:30pm

Buskirk-Chumley TheaterMary Chapin Carpenter; 8pm

◗ IU Musical Arts Center Summer Arts Festival: Symphonic series, works by Strauss, Mahler & Schubert, conducted by Cliff Colnot; 8pm

The Player’s PubLottaBLUESah; 8pm

◗ IU Woodburn Hall Theater — Ryder Film Series: “Elles”; 8pm

Juliette Binoche in “Elles”

The Comedy AtticHannibal Buress; 8 & 10:30pm

Cafe DjangoMr. Taylor & His Dirty Dixie Band; 8:15pm

◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Gerhard Richter Painting”; 8:45pm

The BluebirdTodd Snider; 9pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Cade Puckett; 9:30-11:30pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th
  • Claire Swallow, ‘Memoir”; through July 28th
  • Dale Gardner, “Time Machine”; through July 28th
  • Sarah Wain, “That Takes the Cake”; through July 28th
  • Jessica Lucas & Alex Straiker, “Life Under the Lens — The Art of Microscopy”; through July 28th

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st
  • Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; July 27th through August 3rd

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Closed for semester break

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Well, the future for me is already a thing of the past.” — Bob Dylan

A PEEK INTO THE FUTURE

When I was a kid I would have this scifi-like fantasy that I’d been transported into the past, say, into my mother’s Little Sicily neighborhood on the Near West Side of Chicago or my father’s Polish enclave on the Northwest Side.

There, I’d be celebrated as The Kid from the Future, the one who knew all the answers, whom other kids and even adults would visit to learn about the wonders of the Space Age 1970s.

“Aw sure,” I’d say casually as my wide eyed audience would hang on my every word, “we sent guys to the moon. Nothin’ to it. We saw it on TV.”

Gasp

Or, “Everybody has a refrigerator and air conditioning, right in their homes. And our cars are low and sleek.”

This little conceit presaged “Back to the Future” by fifteen years or so. Only, unlike Marty McFly, I didn’t have to hide my true origins. I’d be a big shot. Newspaper reporters would flock around me, grilling me about events to come.

“Be prepared,” I’d warn dolefully, “there’s a horrifying world war on the way.” Reporters and kids alike would glance at each other in apprehension. I’d calm them. “But we survived it,” I’d say, as if I had experienced its horrors myself.

Gasp

So play along with me. Let’s pretend we’re the people from the future. We find ourselves in Bloomington in the year 1973. It’s January. It’s drizzly and the temperatures are hovering in the high 40s. We’re sitting at a table in a new little vegetarian diner called The Tao, surrounded by locals. They have a ton of questions.

The political science professor asks, “What’s going to happen with all this Watergate business?”

The campus ROTC officer asks, “Now that President Nixon has ordered a halt to offensive action in Vietnam does that mean the war is over?”

Newly-appointed Hoosiers football coach Lee Corso stops by. He asks, “Does George Foreman have a chance against Joe Frazier?”

A woman wearing a blue “ERA Now!” button asks, “What will the Supreme Court rule in the Roe v. Wade case?”

A soft-spoken philosophy major wearing long hair and a tie-dyed T-shirt asks, “Have the people of 2012 achieved a state of higher consciousness?”

We, of course, have all the answers. “Nixon’s going to resign in a year and a half,” we say. People’s jaws drop.

We continue. “Sorry to say, the war’s going to go on for a couple of more years.” The folks in our audience shake their heads.

“Put your dough on Foreman,” we advise the coach. He says, “Not so fast, my friend!” and points out that Frazier is a 3:1 favorite. “Trust us,” we assure him.

We turn to the woman wearing the blue button. She shifts in her seat excitedly.

“The Court,” we say, “will rule in favor of Roe.”

The woman thrusts her fists in the air, throws her head back, and shouts “Yes!”

The semi-circle of people around us begins to talk among themselves. The woman is giddy. So is Lee Corso. The ROTC officer speculates that with two more years of fighting, maybe — just maybe — the United States can pull out a victory in Southeast Asia. We haven’t the heart to set him straight.

“What else can you tell us,” someone asks.

“Let’s see. Oh, Ronald Reagan will be elected president in 1980.”

“Ronald Reagan?” the political science professor says, shocked.

“Yep. Not only that, he’ll be reelected in one of the greatest landslides in history. And get this: we’ll re-fight the Vietnam War in the ‘Rambo’ movies and we’ll win!”

Our National Do-Over

The young woman’s shoulders slump. “You’ve got to be kidding,” she says.

“Nope.”

On the other hand, the ROTC officer’s mood improves considerably.

“Cheer up,” the political science professor says to the young woman, “Nixon’s going to quit.”

We interrupt him. Nixon, we reveal, will transform himself into an elder statesman. He’ll write books about world affairs. When he dies, his successors in the White House, both Republican and Democrat, will eulogize him.

“That’s odd,” the political science professor observes. “The future looks awfully baffling.” He turns again toward the young woman. “Still, at least the divisive issue of abortion will be settled. You’ve won.”

Not So Fast

“Um, hold on a second there, Professor,” we say. “The abortion issue not only won’t be settled, it’ll be hanging over the country like never before. States will curtail access to abortions. Candidates will run on planks of little more than rolling back Roe v. Wade. In fact, as we left 2012 to come visit you here in 1973, the State of Indiana is fighting with the federal government over abortion. Governor Mitch Daniels and Republican legislators want to cut off Medicaid payments for low income women’s abortions. The feds say the state can’t do that but Indiana’s Attorney General Greg Zoeller has promised to fight for the cut off.

“In fact,” we add, “if states like Mississippi have their way, abortion will be outlawed, period.”

“But I thought you said the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Roe,” the young woman says, plaintively.

“Um, uh…, well, yeah,” we say. Then we shrug.

The people forming the semicircle around contemplate all this for a moment. Finally, the soft-spoken philosophy major  breaks the silence. “You haven’t answered my question,” he says. “Have the people of 2012 achieved a state of higher consciousness?”

You and I glance at each other. Someone’s got to break the news to him. “Well kid,” I say at last, “you really don’t want to know.”

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

People’s ParkLunch Concert Series, Scott Frye, acoustic country blues; 11:30am

Lower Cascades Park, Sycamore Shelter — Bloomington Serious Mac Users Group annual picnic; 5:30-8:30pm

The Venue Fine Art & GiftsThe Art & Poetry of Shana Ritter; 6pm

Jake’s NightclubKaraoke; 6pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Ken Wilson; 6-8:30pm

◗ IU Ford-Crawford Hall Summer Music Series, The Steve Houghton Trio; 7pm

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Music Series, Chamber music by the Cecilia String Quartet; 8pm

Cecilia String Quartet

The Root Cellar at Farm Bloomington — Team trivia; 8pm

The Player’s PubBlues Jam hosted by King Bee & the Stingers; 8pm

The BluebirdBloomington’s Got Talent, hosted by Leo Cook; 9pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th
  • Claire Swallow, ‘Memoir”; through July 28th
  • Dale Gardner, “Time Machine”; through July 28th
  • Sarah Wain, “That Takes the Cake”; through July 28th
  • Jessica Lucas & Alex Straiker, “Life Under the Lens — The Art of Microscopy”; through July 28th

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st
  • Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; July 27th through August 3rd

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Closed for semester break

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” — Bob Dylan

WHAT’S GOING ON?

Okay, so we’re in the midst of a more-than week-long run of high temperatures in South Central Indiana. Each day’s high during this streak has been about 30 degrees above the normal. Monday, the high was a full five degrees greater than the previous record for that date.

Think about that. Usually, when record highs are set they beat the old record by a single degree, and if the heat wave is amazingly severe, perhaps two.

Five degrees.

Except for the deluded and deranged among us (in other words, Republicans) who deny the evidence of climate change, everybody’s talking global warming.

Lois Nettleton Schvitzes in The Twilight Zone Episode “The Midnight Sun”

Here’s where my professional contrarianism kicks into high gear. Generally, during weather extremes I caution people not to see the anomaly as evidence of the norm. In other words, just because today’s remarkably hot, it’s not proof the climate is changing.

Besides, climatologists see global warming as a half-degree, a degree, or maybe two-degree uptick in the average temperature over a period of years. It’s the sustained rising of temperatures that’s dangerous, not the odd heat wave.

But this thing is making me think twice. The new battle cry to replace global warming should be global weirding.

I admit this is anecdotal but something I heard this morning on the radio gave me pause. Apparently, a huge storm system parked over Texas produced thunder so severe that it caused seismic instruments to jump.

Now think about that.

Fine-tuned, delicately balanced sensors that measure the very slightest rumpling from deep within the Earth’s crust recorded thunder claps. These instruments are not supposed to be affected by outside clutter. Yet the needles flicked because of thunder

What in the hell kind of storm is that?

Storm Batters Kentucky Earlier This Month

I’m in a hurry this morning and I can’t spend the time researching this. Maybe seismographs record thunder claps all the time. I don’t know. I’ll get on it tonight after my Book Corner shift.

For now, though, I just might be beginning to think 2012 is the year we justifiably get the crap scared out of us by nature.

BACKSEAT PORN

So, Dan the Jeweler, Crystal Belladonna, and I were gabbing of this and that at the Book Corner yesterday. Somehow the conversation turned to the year 1969. And somehow it turned to public porn.

Why don’t I just give you the dialogue from memory?

Crystal Belladonna (rummaging through the magazine shelves, weeding out old issues): Look at this — November 2011. What’s this doing here? It’s 2012, isn’t it?

Me: Why no. It’s 1969. Man, I’m gonna go to that big Woodstock thing in New York. And I can’t wait for the moon landing.

CB: Wise ass.

Dan the Jeweler: Do you remember where you were during the moon landing?

CB: I wasn’t even a twinkle yet.

Me: It was a Sunday night. I was staring at the moon just on the odd chance that I could see something, like the Command Module rocket firing or something.

CB: Geek.

D the J: Believe it or not, that night me and my friends were at an outdoor pornographic movie. We left it and drove around to look for a TV so we could watch the landing.

CB: I know just what outdoor theater you’re talking about!

D the J: It was on Route 46, on the way to Ellettsville. It was an outdoor pornographic theater for years. Right next to a trailer park.

CB: Yeah, yeah! Whenever my mother would drive by it at night, I’d strain my neck to see the screen.

D the J: Yep. The fence had gaps in it.

CB: Uh huh!

D the J: It was near a railroad crossing and when a coal train was going by, traffic would be backed up all the way to Bloomington.

CB: Yeah, my mother would always wonder why I’d be saying, “Ma, could you move the car up just a bit?”

D the J: It’s not there now.

CB: No, they knocked it down. There’s an old people’s home there now.

Who says people don’t have a rich sense of history anymore?

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity — and I’m not sure about the former.” — Albert Einstein

A HEAVENLY PIONEER

Bloomington’s own Camilla Williams, international opera star and professor emeritus at IU, died Sunday. She was 92.

Williams

Williams was thought to be the first black woman to appear with a major US opera company, the New York City Opera in 1946. Her late husband, Charles Beavers, was an attorney for Malcolm X.

MASTER OF MINIMALISM

Philip Glass is 75 today. He is also still very, very cool.

Glass

Do yourself a favor and download the documentary, “Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance.” It is a gloriously beautiful and ugly examination of life on late 20th Century Earth. It has no narrator; no human’s voice is heard throughout. The only sound you’ll hear is Glass’s musical score.

Glass presaged trance music by decades. And the composer certainly influenced Brian Eno, whose ambient forms beginning in the mid-1970s helped save the world from the navel-gazing pap of the likes of Kansas and other uber-pretentious prog rockers.

Eno

Glass may well be the composer music students in the year 2512 revere as they do Bach or Wagner today.

INDIANA: THE SQUARED STATE

Now that the great state o’Indiana is considering teaching the myth of Intelligent Design in our public schools, it’s worth keeping in mind that our fair fiftieth of this holy land once before attempted to throw a caveman’s club into the gears of intellectual progress.

Mental Floss points out that in the 1890s, an Indiana chucklehead by the name of Edward J. Goodwin fantasized that he’d discovered a method to “square the circle,” a long disproved mathematical exercise. Goodwin was convinced that by equating the circle with a square, one could easily find its area.

Part of Goodwin’s fever dream was to jigger with the value of pi, the constant that allows the sane among us to calculate a circle’s area. It was the equivalent of NASA navigators saying, “Aw, what the hell, let’s just call the distance to the moon 240,000 miles — what’s a couple thousand miles one way or another?”

Given that attitude, the mummified corpses of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin might today be floating several billion miles outside our Solar System.

Just Point That Thing Toward The Moon, Boys

Goodwin — from the town of Solitude, appropriately enough — told the world in the 1890s that he’d found the secret to squaring the circle. In the grand tradition of many another snake oil salesman, Goodwin was more than willing to let mathematicians and educators use his secret formula — for a price.

But he had a soft spot for Indiana and offered to let Hoosier State schools teach his method for free as long as the state legislature would enact a statute declaring his crackpot idea the real thing.

And guess what — several Indiana House committees studied his equations, including his insistence that pi should be 3.2 (as opposed to the accurate constant 3.141592653589793….) The committees approved Goodwin’s methods and wrote up a bill declaring pi to be 3.2 and the circle, legally, squared.

And then the full House approved the bill unanimously! By the time the nation’s newspapers got hold of this news and began to bray with laughter at Indiana, the state Senate defeated the bill. Even that vote was iffy after a Senate committee passed it onto the floor.

Science and Indiana — I wonder if this is the first time the two words have ever appeared together in print.

GIRL OF MY DREAMS

Another chestnut from my college radio years, by Bram Tchiakovsky.

Pure power pop poetry:

Judy was an American girl/

She came in the morning/

With the US Mail.

Enjoy the soaring melody, goosebump harmony, and bell-ringing rhythm chord progressions.

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