Category Archives: Big Think

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” — e.e. cummings

DOWN WITH DEBATES

Here’s my outlandish suggestion for the day: Let’s do away with presidential debates.

After all, this isn’t the 1850’s where Lincoln and Douglas have to bring their respective messages personally to the people.

People on the farms of Indiana and Illinois and other points west of Trenton, New Jersey, weren’t sitting in their easy chairs reading Newsweek magazine, thereby gaining insights into the platforms of national candidates. They needed the pols of the day to talk to them more or less directly.

We don’t anymore. Ergo, the televised debates have become these silly little skits.

Now, everybody expects Barack Obama to come out Tuesday, six-guns blazing, after Mitt Romney mugged him on the 2nd. Is this any way to pick a leader?

Sneak Preview: The 2016 Presidential Debate

I, for one, don’t need the debates. I’ve already voted. Even if I hadn’t, I’d know for whom I’d ink in the box. It’s not like we’re learning anything about the men or the world through these debates.

WHERE’S THE HATE?

Want your kids to survive and even thrive as fully developed human beings?

Well, first, dissuade them from being Republicans, but, according to writer and journalist Andrea Chalupa in Big Think, you may also try to get them to be the reviled outsiders.

It’s the anti-bullying message in reverse.

Frankly, I’m glad I spent a few elementary school years being pushed into the bushes and having my books strewn all over the sidewalk. Honestly, who would want to be thought of as fitting in well with school children?

Not An All Bad Scenario

Anyway, Chalupa writes that our weird, weird corporate media world is teaching youngsters that the most desirable aims are to be accepted, liked, and by extension, to become famous.

She cites a survey in England that showed children’s most popular career choices are to become sports stars and pop stars. Note they’re not saying they want to become good or excellent athletes or singers or guitarists. Just that they want to be stars.

In the mid-1980s the same demographic told pollsters they wanted to be teachers, bankers, and doctors. How quaint.

“As for fame, the great ambition of today,” Chalupa writes, “it’s fleeting, it’s cheap, costing about the price of a leaked sex tape. Real value is created when one is self-directed, independent, and passionate.”

She concludes the piece by asserting it’s important to “help children understand that it’s okay to be hated, or rather, misunderstood. Let the others catch up.”

THE WORLD, EXPLAINED

From I Fucking Love Science

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

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

FOOD ◗ City Hall, Showers PlazaFarmers Market; 8am-1pm

BENEFIT BREAKFAST ◗ Bloomington American Legion Post 18For WildCare Inc.; 8-11am

WORKSHOP ◗ Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterSeven Trainings in Contemplation, Presented by Rigzin Drolma & Anne Klein; 10am-5pm

PUBLIC ART ◗ Monroe County Courthouse lawnGreat Glass Pumpkin Patch, More than 250 blown glass pumpkins on display; 10am-3pm

CLASS ◗ Hinkle-Garton Farmstead Historic SiteWire Wrapping: The Basics, Presented by Lara Hasler, Participants must bring their own wire cutters and round-nose jewelry pliers; 10am-5pm

ART ◗ Charlene Marsh Studio & Gallery Open House, Nashville; 10am-5pm

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

FAIR ◗ City Hall & surrounding locations, Columbus2012 Ethnic Expo, Parade, music, food, etc., Today’s performers: Southern Indiana Pieps and Drums, Indianapolis Minyos Dancers, Dem Reggae Bon, Mroth Star Capoeira, Griot, Richens/Timm Academy of Irish Dance, Dance Street, Hudsucker Posse, Craig & the Crawdads, Chicago Samba, see website for times and locations; 11am-10pm

BENEFIT ◗ Sherwood Oaks Christian ChurchRally for Regina Car Show, For Children’s Organ Transplant Association; 11am-5:30pm

ART BENEFIT ◗ Blue Studio GalleryChip-Art, Interactive installation, For Monroe County United Way; 6pm

HALLOWE’EN ◗ Haunted Hayride & Stables; Scary rides; 7-11pm

HALLOWE’EN ◗ Bakers Junction Railroad MuseumHaunted train; 7pm

FILM ◗ IU Woodburn Hall TheaterRyder Film Series: “2 Days in New York“; 7:15pm

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

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

FILM ◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Stars in Shorts“; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Rhino’s All Ages ClubClatter, Thorr-Axe, Thanasphere; 8pm

SPORTS ◗ IU Memorial StadiumHoosier football vs. Ohio State; 8pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGlenn Wool; 8pm

STAGE ◗ The Lodge (formerly Space 101)17th Annual Director’s Symposium, Scenes for Two, Presented by Monroe County Civic Theater; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceRuthie Allen Lincoln CD release party; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdHairbangers Ball; 9pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGlenn Wool; 10:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Bear’s PlaceJon Cheser, Jason Boren; 11pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopWaxeater, Honors; Midnight

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:

  • 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:

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“In my lifetime, we’ve gone from Eisenhower to George W. Bush. We’ve gone from Kennedy to Al Gore. If this is evolution, I believe that in twelve years, we’ll be voting for plants.” — Lewis Black

WISCONSIN IN ONE WORD

Damn!

WEDNESDAY BLOOMINGTON HAPPENINGS

Click the logo for the best events listings in our town.

THE ARCHAIC BRITISH CLASS SYSTEM BY MOONLIGHT

The transit of Venus wasn’t the only celestial event to hold Bloomingtonians rapt yesterday.

Did you catch the spectacular full moon overnight?

Sometime around 3:00am, Steve the Dog and I woke up and, as we often do, padded around the house aimlessly for a few moments. This time, though, we stopped in our tracks.

The world outside the Chez Big Mike windows was oddly bright. The full moon was so brilliant that I wondered if I could read by it.

I know, I know — I do strange thing in the middle of the night. So I grabbed the nearest book, a volume of PG Wodehouse‘s Bertie and Jeeves stories. I flipped the thing open and — whaddya know? — I was able to read it without the aid of a lamp.

Hugh Laurie & Stephen Fry As Bertie & Jeeves

Cool, huh?

I’ll keep you posted on further nocturnal experiments as they occur.

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE PROVES: FOODIES ARE JERKS!

Hah!

Even though I consider myself the smartest, most sensitive, fairest-minded member of our species, even this humble reporter can fall victim to the phenomenon wherein we read and believe that which we already hold to be true.

As an example, I nearly thrust my arms in the air and cheered when I came across an article with this headline in the Big Think this morning:

Take it from a guy who once worked for years at Whole Foods Market (in the education department, no less) — this article nails it.

My years at WFM only strengthened my preconceived notion that natural and organic food aficionados are merely mirror images of Puritans and Savonarolas.

See, foodies believe there’s a clean and pure way of living — a conceit I know to be false. They also believe that anyone who doesn’t agree 134% with them is either an evil agri-business lackey or is a deluded victim of the forces of Dick Cheney.

Don’t get me wrong: I do my best to minimize my intake of red meat, I refuse to eat veal or pate de foie gras, I try to stay away from hydrogenated oils and white flours and sugars, I strive to eat a variety of varied-color things, and I rarely buy salt-laden prepared foods.

But, see, there’s the rub — I try to do all those things. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I have a taste for a Big Mac. Sometimes I don’t have the time or energy to cut up fresh vegetables. Sometimes the siren song of that bag of Wavy Lays is too strong for me to resist.

I am neither a Puritan nor a Savonarola.

But by and large, I try to hold to a general foundation of healthy eating habits (save for the fact that my portions usually are about the size of those served to hippopotami at the Indianapolis Zoo.)

Let’s Eat!

Anyway, I’ve always felt that foodies believe they’re going to cheat death, much as the Puritans believed they’d attain eternal life through their belief in god. Like the Puritans, as well, foodies tend to think they must save the ignorant masses of unwashed humanity from themselves. And like religious zealots flagellating themselves or confessing their sins to cleanse the soul, food zealots purge and cleanse their alimentary canals in hopes of achieving some sort of higher level of existence.

To which I reply, Leave me alone so I can eat my Tombstone pizza in peace.

Yeah, foodies are pretty jerky. And now I’ve got science to back me up.

 

 

 

The Electron Pencil:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“I doubt if a single individual could be found from the whole of mankind free from some form of insanity. The only difference is one of degree. A man who sees a gourd and takes it for his wife is called insane because this happens to very few people.” — Erasmus

LOCAL WARMING

Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t these buds popping out on my front yard bushes?

MR. CLOSET SEES NO CLASSES

I’m not all that mercurial on these pages. That which I espouse or despise in November very likely will be the same in June.

But I have given the thumb to Michele Bachmann as my bete noir du jour. (Is that the French idiom equivalent of mixing metaphors?)

Anyway, Bachmann’s out and Rick Santorum’s in.

Mr. Closet (my new nickname for Santorum) justified my faith in him when he said these words during a weekend debate among candidates for the Republican nomination for president: “There are no classes in America.”

This is the socio-political analog to declaring that the world is flat. My god, Rick (or, more accurately, your god, Rick), have you visited a criminal courtroom lately? A jail? An unemployment office? A business school graduation ceremony?

I don’t think even Michele Bachmann would have had the balls to say those words (after all, somebody in her marriage has to have balls). Yes, she’s a loon. But — shock of shocks — she might not be as psycho as Mr. Closet.

I’d hate it if Ricky-girl did so poorly in tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary that he’d no longer be taken seriously as a contender. For a smart-ass like me, he’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Bloomington author extraordinaire Joy Shayne Laughter has nailed it. The other day she wrote to me: “Does anybody else get the feeling that the GOP nomination race has become little more than a Las Vegas lounge act? You have to have a pretty guy and a funny guy. Think Martin & Lewis.”

Martin & Lewis (Or Is It Romney &…?)

JSL says Mitt Romney is the Dean Martin guy — handsome, good hair, can carry a tune. But she thinks Ron Paul is the Jerry-like buffoon. Nah. It’s Mr. Closet.

Speaking of the man who swears he would never, ever, ever, ever kiss a man full on the lips, gently, with slightly open mouth so he might savor the taste, running his fingers through the man’s hair, feeling his heart begin to pound, sensing warmth in his…, um, oh, I mean Rick Santorum, blogger Kris Broughton on Big Think goes all Big-Mike on the not-so-cuddly Jesus-lover and gay-basher.

Broughton writes: “If these utterly myopic conservatives of the Republican Party decide to hitch their wagon to Santorum, this will be the culmination of the last three years that began with Anybody But Obama, devolved to Anybody But Romney, and is now flirting heavily with the latest Republican theme for the 2012 election season, Any Christian White Man With a Suit.”

ROMNEY’S RELIGIONS

One of the things about Mitt Romney that scares the poo out of the paleozoic wing of the Republican Party is his Mormonism.

The Mormon God, Or Gods, Or What The Hell Ever They Believe In

By the way, if you don’t know all that much about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, pick up a copy of Jon Krakauer‘s terrific book, “Under the Banner of Heaven.” Krakauer, who has taken on the Pat Tillman killing and cover up in Afghanistan, his passion for mountaineering, and that “Three Cups of Tea” baloney peddler Greg Mortenson in his books, exposes the tyrannical and even homicidal side of America’s fastest growing religion.

Anyway, Roger Ebert — my hero du jour — reveals that Romney’s favorite novel is the execrable “Battlefield Earth” by L. Ron Hubbard.

“Battlefield Earth,” The Movie

Who knows? Maybe Romney wants the world to to think Mormonism is not so bad, if only in comparison to Hubbard’s Scientology.

L. Ron Hubbard Made Joseph Smith Look Sane

OCCUPY BLOOMINGTON GOES TO WORK

This was the scene at People’s Park Saturday at noon.

No more tents. No more signs. No more Occupiers.

Occupy Bloomington may have been evicted but that doesn’t mean the revolution’s over in South Central Indiana. Stone sculptor Amy Brier points out that OB is now working with the striking limestone workers in Bedford.

We Do Facebook So You Don’t Have To

CRAZY

Yup. Patsy Cline does her bit on the Willie Nelson-penned classic.

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