Category Archives: B-Line Trail

Hot Air

The Mob

Ralph Nader quotes Jim Hightower in Saturday’s Huffington Post:

Assume you ran a business that was found guilty of bribery, forgery, defrauding homeowners, fleecing investors, swindling consumers, cheating credit card holders, violating US trade laws, and bilking American soldiers. Can you even imagine the punishments you’d get? Howe about zero? Nada. Nothing. Zilch. No jail time. Not even a fine. Plus, you get to stay on as boss, you get to keep all the loot you gained from the crime spree, and you even get an $8.5 million pay raise!

The hoodlum H-tower speaks of would  be the big boss of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, a man whom, Nader reminds us, proclaims for all the world to hear that he is “so damn proud of this company.”

Dimon

“Proud”

We keep forgetting that reprobates like Dimon were responsible for crashing the entire world’s economy back in the mid-aughts. It wasn’t socialism, or communism, or same-sex marriage, or legalized pot, or a Manchurian Candidate president from Kenya, or even god’s will that millions more Americans now live below the poverty line, millions are unemployed, municipalities are going broke, school budgets are being slashed, libraries are closing, and…, and…, oh, it’s all too depressing.

All those ills were brought to us courtesy of the Liar’s Poker, casino-mentality, degenerate gamblers in fancy Wall Street offices (and their coat-holders in Congress).

They all are the very definition of mobsters.

Trade Rumors

Here’s an idea regarding the development of some land along the B-Line Trail that cuts through central Bloomington. Habitat for Humanity wants to develop a little strip of woods along the Trail, just northwest of downtown B-town. So the city’s angling for a zoning variance to allow HforH to build a couple of dozen homes for the needy there.

Habitat/B-Line

Habitat’s B-Line Neighborhood Is Next Door To…

And, according to folks who don’t think much of the idea, the city’s positioning the question as an either-or: either you want to help Habitat do its good works or you don’t. The problem acc’d’g to some, is that Habitat’s property is the last lush green space near downtown. That, and it is apparently going to be difficult to develop.

Instead, say a group of petitioners, the city and Habitat should swap land. The city-owned Certified Tech Park butts up against the Woods parcel. The CTP already is zoned for high-density residential development, the argument goes, and much of the land is cleared.

Bloomington CTP

…Bloomington’s Certified Tech Park

The simple solution? Let HforH build its homes on the Tech Park site and let the city take over the Woods and transform that land into a Parks & Rec facility.

If you buy this argument, slap your sig. on the petition calling for the land swap.

Then again, if you think the city’s gonna let low-income folks live in its shiny new neighborhood, you must believe you live in a liberal college town.

A Dickens Of A Tale

Overheard at Soma the other day, a barista talking to a customer:

My parents told me my actual last name was Nintendo. When I was about six, they said I was the heir to the Nintendo family fortune but that my original parents disowned me because they didn’t like the way I looked. So I was adopted.

Does too much coffee do that to people?

The End Is Near — Maybe

And finally, it took a foreign newspaper to report on disturbing study by this holy land’s own NASA. Our Murrican space geeks have sponsored some alarming research with the help of scads of scientists from a variety of disciplines that show humanity’s present rate of consumption and excretion could potentially topple our whole house of cards within a few decades.

Fin

We’re using so much stuff and belching so much of our wastes into the air, the water, and the soil that our civilization itself could collapse of its own weight. Don’t laugh — countless civilizations before us have gone all to hell for a screwing up what they knew of the world a lot less than we are.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has submitted the study to the peer-reviewed journal of the International Society for the Journal of Ecological Economics. That gang contemplates stuff like this; you know, how much it costs us as a species to make sure everybody’s got all the latest hand-held devices and to keep our petro-plutocracy in charge of, well, everything.

Natch, Murrican newspapers and TV news outlets haven’t touched this thing yet because it has nothing to do with Justin Beiber or a white man shooting an unarmed black kid. Those, of course, are the only topics of import in this mad, mad, world.

Anyway, the study doesn’t come right out and say we’re doomed, only that we could be. There’s a chance, see? Except folks who think scientists are a political party would pooh-pooh the report out of hand, if only they had the intellect to understand it.

Inhofe Book Cover

And here’s a conclusion the study makes that’s sure to make Ma & Pa Kettle bristle: We ought to stop having so many kids. Yup, overpopulation is strangling us, the study sez. There ain’t enough raw stuff on this planet to manufacture the products needed to satisfy all 7B of us. The conclusion is, those of us who have need to make sure that the rest of us have not; otherwise, we lucky few won’t have as much as we want.

Yeesh. So, when’s the last time you read the word overpopulation in your morning newspaper? Or heard the word uttered by a blonde, lacquered anchor lady?

Today: Saturday, November 5, 2011

THE BIRTH OF A SENSATION

Welcome to the newest reason to love Bloomington.  You’ve arrived at the online news, arts, culture, and opinion extravaganza we call Electron Pencil.


We swooped down to these environs from the big town on the shores of Lake Michigan a little more than two years ago (after a brief side stay in Louisville, Kentucky.) Now we’ve found our home.

We’d been part of The Third City communications powerhouse from November, 2008, starting up that whole shebang with the estimable journalist Benny Jay. Like Martin & Lewis and Frank & Jamie McCourt, we went our separate ways this past August.

Hoping to carry over our success from the Windy City, we’ll be trying to tie together all the mini-communities that make this 70K-pop. micro-lopolis one of the most cosmopolitan in this holy land.

Over the next few weeks look for us to present a daily updated art gallery featuring painting, sculpture, photography, videos, and other eye candy. We’ll also offer fresh short fiction and movie, TV, live performance, and stage reviews. There’ll be podcasts of poetry readings, essays, and rants.

And you can begin each day with the well-reasoned, scintillating, and invaluable opinions of Big Mike Glab.

We’re glad you’re here. Dig in!

MOB JAMBOREE

Bloomington’s own franchise of the Occupy movement that huffy Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Va) not long ago characterized as a “growing mob” is still sleeping in tents at the appropriately monikered People’s Park.


America’s Been Very, Very Good To The Cantor Family

I honestly don’t know which “mob” imagery he was trying to evoke. There is of course, the Mob of “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas.” But he may have been trying to channel his own inner Laurence Olivier as the uber-ambitious Crassus in “Spartacus,” denouncing the growing sentiment of Power to the People in Stanley Kubrik’s version of ancient Rome.

“Did you truly believe,” Crassus roars at the republican (small-R) Gracchus in the  Senate, “Rome could be so easily delivered into the clutches of a mob?”

Yeah, I see Cantor more as the cock-of-the-walk defender of the patricians. I also see him being ministered to by a body slave in his private bath, as portrayed in the director’s cut of the 1960 classic.

Rome Was Very, Very Good To Crassus

You remember that scene don’t you? Tony Curtis plays the body slave, Antoninus, squeezing a sponge over Crassus’s bare back. Crassus asks the scantily clad Antoninus if he’s ever eaten oysters or snails. Antoninus says he has never had a snail.

Crassus then asks if he considers the eating of oysters or snails to be a moral question because — duh — he’s not really talking about oysters and snails.

Antoninus is far less than thrilled about where the conversation is headed.

Uh, No Thanks, I’m Not Very Hungry.

After Antoninus towels him off Crassus reveals that he prefers both oysters and snails. Then Crassus stands near a window proferring a magnificent view of the imperial city on the river Tiber.

Crassus: “There, boy, is Rome! … There is the power that bestrides the known world like a colossus. No man can withstand her…. How much less, a boy!

“…There is only one way to deal with Rome, Antoninus. You must serve her. You must abase yourself before her. You must grovel at her feet. You must….” (Crassus pauses for effect) “…love her!”

Crassus turns back toward Antoninus and discovers that his slave — who has seen his master’s snail and has no taste for it — has run away.

Now I’m not saying Eric Cantor prefers snails as much as he prefers oysters (although Max Blumenthal, in his 2009 book “Republican Gomorrah,” posits that the GOP is chock-full of closet snail eaters.)

I’m jes sayin’ he loves gazing out at the vista of the colossus that bestrides the known world, circa 2011 — the same vista Occupy Wall Streeters are as unenthusiastic about as Antoninus was about escargot.

Bloomington’s “mob” is holding strong even as the weather grows inexorably more crappy. Thursday would have been a perfect day for Occupy Bloomington campers to call it a season. They haven’t. This thing looks as real in our town as it is across this colossus.

(The following pix were shot at noon, Thursday, November 4, 2011, at People’s Park.)

PUBLIC RADIO NEEDS YOUR DOUGH

Stumbling into Soma Coffee for my fix this morning, I almost crashed into WFIU’s jazz boss, David Brent Johnson, and his delightful bride, Brenda McNellen. (And isn’t she the sweetest human on record? She grinned at me as she always does despite the fact that I grunted at her.) Seeing the two reminded me that pledge week started yesterday. “Go raise some money,” I said to DBJ. He promised he would.

Do your part.

TRAINED EYE

Videographer Steve Llewellyn tells us about the grand opening of a new art space all day (mostly) today.

Trained Eye Arts Center will offer bands, hot air balloon rides, wine and finger food, folk dancers, comedy improve, poetry readings and more, all for a fin (four bucks if you say you arrived via the B-Line Trail.

The new headquarters for the arts collective is at 615 North Fairview. Doors open at noon and the fun goes on until midnight.

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