Category Archives: Bundy Ranch

Hot Air

The Daily Double

Two posts today, one on cancer and the other, this.

BTW: You must have noticed by now that I’ll be journaling my cancer experience pretty much daily from now until — please, please, please! — I’m declared cancer-free. In fact, I’m charging up the battery in my camera as we speak so I can bring you images of the people who will care for me, the machine that’ll nuke me, and things like the mask I’ll have to wear under the beam, etc. (Hey, I’d even show you a picture of my neck where the tumor is but it’s too small to be picked up by the camera; it’s about the size of a black olive pit.) The cancer journal posts will always be entitled Malignant while these screeds will continue to be called Hot Air. So if the very idea of cancer freaks you out, skip the Malignant posts but keep reading H.A., O.K.?

A Temporary Back Office

Today I’m writing at a new coffee joint, Crumble, in the little shops plaza at the Renwick development. My normal (new-ish) headquarters, Hopscotch, over on the B-line Trail at Dodds St., is closed this week for construction. Owners Jane and Jeff are expanding into the next storefront space so that’ll be a great boon for those looking to park their fannies in the joint.

Crumble is clean, bright, and neat. The music is so unobtrusive as to be nearly inaudible. It’s half-filled with healthy folks speaking in hushed tones. The coffee mugs are spotless, the silverware shiny. The baristas are as civilized and helpful as hotel concierges. Plus, they don’t appear prone to want to foment civil insurrection.

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Not Dank And Dark At All — How Depressing!

In short, the joint is hellish. Not my idea of a coffeehouse at all. The first indication I got that this place’d be so radically different came when I was walking up from the convenient, ample parking lot  toward the front door. A guy driving a fancy luxury Audi pulled up in front of the place in a clearly marked no parking zone (there are signs all around and huge cross-hatching painted on the pavement), turned his hot rod off, lazily exited it, and strolled in as if he had all the time in the world and none of the guilt.

Anyway, the coffee is good, I had a terrific pear and honey muffin, and the big window next to me is affording me the opportunity to sunbathe in the middle of winter. So there’s good and bad here.

Somehow, I hope, I’ll be able to get work done at this place for the time being.

Oregon’s Bird Cage

If the FBI and the rest of the US Justice Department hadn’t gone all gun crazy at Ruby Ridge in Idaho and the David Koresh compound at Waco, Texas in the early 1990s, all these Bundy loons and their ilk making brat-ish trouble in Oregon would have been locked up where they belong long ago.

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Ryan Bundy, Playing Cowboys & Indians

[Image: Rebecca Boone/AP]

But since the gov’t decided to attack the Branch Davidian encampment with a fire-spewing tank resulting in the deaths of some 76 humans including a bunch of kids who hadn’t yet developed into the psychotics their elders already were, and FBI snipers picked off Christian fundamentalist and survivalist Randy Weaver’s wife and son, the G-men have been unduly shy in dealing with white maniacs.

Hell, one white maniac blew up an entire goddamned federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 in revenge for the Koresh and Weaver debacles. The rest of separatist militia nation has come together and multiplied like noxious weeds since that time. The election of Barack Obama, natch, helped push this madman movement along.

I don’t know how strong or threatening these survivalists and anti-government types are but the US suffered two  horrible PR blows in a row in Waco and Ruby Ridge. And gov’t agencies fear bad PR far more than they fear domestic terrorism.

The last thing the feds wanted to do was get into a gunfight at the Bundy ranch and they sure as hell ain’t gonna get into a shootin’ war over a bird sanctuary in the dead of winter now.

BTW: the Waco and Ruby Ridge fiascoes ought to be ample evidence that you just can’t go bombing and shooting your problems away, as many are suggesting we do to ISIS, al Qaeda, and the Taliban.

Linda’s Place

Hey, IDK if you’ve happened upon Linda Oblack’s regular and compelling “Goings On At My Place” Facebook posts but, man, this stuff is goo-o-o-od.

I keep telling her she ought to start her own website and make regular posts. Linda was an editor over at Indiana University Press until she retired a couple of years ago. Her writing is at least equal to — and in many cases, superior to — the best of the publishing house’s stable of authors. Sorry, Michael Martone, but you’ve got competition, baby.

Join me in haranguing her until she comes around to this blogging racket, okay?

Hot Air

Legends Walked Among Us

Bloomington’s own cinema maven, Peter LoPilato was all dressed up with somewhere to go when he strolled into The Electron Pencil’s back office (some people call it Soma Coffee) yesterday AM.

This intrepid reporter grilled him re: his fancy duds — sports coat, collared short, freshly creased trousers and shiny (-ish) shoes.

“What’s up witchu?” sez I. BTW: I just happened to be uploading a pic of legendary film director and producer Roger Corman in my roll as online manager of LoPilato’s Ryder mag. The big feature this month is a long (repeat: lo-o-o-ong) profile of Corman, who just happens to be in town this weekend. Corman’s visit comes hot on the heels of that of mega-screen icon Meryl Streep who was in town earlier this week to cop an honorary degree from Indiana Unversity. Corman lectured at the IU Cinema yesterday afternoon and several of his films are featured there this weekend. (FYI: You missed The Wild Angels and The Trip yesterday. Today you can catch The Intruder, The Tomb of Ligeia, and a documentary, Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel.

Streep/IU

Streep Fêted

I mention Corman because, mirabile dictu, he’s why LoPilato was togged up.

“I’m going out to lunch with Roger Corman,” he said.

I, of course, could only gasp, “Wow.”

Corman/Price

A Young Corman (l.) On A Set With Vincent Price

I fondled Peter’s lapel for a moment, hoping some of his cool could rub off on me, then pressed my interrogation. “Where are you two going?”

Peter LoPilato merely smiled and said, “I’m not at liberty to say.”

Harrumph.

Anyway, I hope Corman paid for the meal. Every time I ask the boss for a raise, he motions back over his shoulder at a small crowd of waifs, shoeless and forlorn, staring at me with hungry eyes. “I would, I swear it,” he says, invariably, “but I’ve got a family to feed.”

Funny thing is I thought Peter only had two kids. The magic of Hollywood, I imagine. Well, like I say, I hope Corman picked up the check.

Superlative Celloloid

My absolutely fave Corman flick is The Attack of the Giant Leeches (he produced it and, to be honest, his fingerprints are all over it). Somehow, on a microscopic budget, Corman and director Bernard Kowalski manage to recreate a steamy, indolent Louisiana bayou world so faithfully that you find yourself perspiring just watching the thing. They get a workmanlike performance out of horror film vet Bruno VeSota, playing his usual corpulent baddie. I don’t know which movie I prefer VeSota in, this one or Daddy-o with Dick Contino. Either way, he’s a treat.

Giant Leeches

VeSota & Yvette Vickers in “… Giant Leeches”

Oddly, though, despite the loving care Corman & Kowalski take in presenting an oppressive, heat-wilted world, their titled giant leeches look about as leech-like as, well, so many papier mâché Chinese New Year dragons. Then again, it’s got to be a challenge trying to make a leech scary. Slimy and gross? Sure. Scary? Uh-uh.

Giant Leeches

A Leech Carries Off A Victim

As long as we’re playing the association game, noted LA gruesome murder chronicler James Ellroy wrote a novella entitled, Dick Contino’s Blues. You can find it in Ellroy’s 1994 short story collection, Hollywood Nocturnes.

Daddy-o

Dick Contino Makes The Scene in “Daddy-o”

Back to Hollywood-comes-to-IU: Roger Corman and Meryl Streep represent two extremes of what the American filmmaking industry does best. Either one is aces by me, as opposed to Hollywood’s current penchant for recycling superheroes and Nicholas Sparks books.

Huh?

From an article in Aljazeera America:

Aljazeera Screenshot

Click Image To Read Full Article

Notice in the subhead where it warns about isolating kids from “the digital world of multitasking”? As if that’s a horror that must be avoided at all costs.

When I first saw this, I figured it was a satiric story, you know, where there author turns you around by saying We’d hate to have our precious snowflakes not be able to be psychological overwhelmed by multitasking and productivity pressures because, hell, who wants a kid that isn’t developing a stomach ulcer by 13 and isn’t on antidepressants by 15?

The author says kids today are part of the “net generation.” They learn by absorbing tons of information merely by darting like hummingbirds from one web page to the other. Earlier generations dove into books and concentrated for long periods of time. That’s old hat.

Information is the stuff that’s liable to fill your mind so much that there isn’t any room left for knowledge (this is me speaking). “Information is not knowledge,” Einstein has been credited with saying. It’s also believed he said, “Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.”

Yet, members of the net generation are happy as clams that their brain cases are crammed with data. Their parents, apparently, are giddy about this as well.

“Opponents to deep, immersive reading come from all directions. Among American boys, there remains a generations-old sense that books are for sissies; I remember this from my own childhood. For neoliberals and technocrats, reading novels is not ‘what the market wants.’ Concentrated reading doesn’t require ideological opposition to be endangered: The pace of contemporary life, even for children, means that there’s simply no time or energy left for it,” the author writes.

Man, that’s a lousy life.

Wither Our Nation?

So. I’m sitting in a booth at Opie Taylor’s with The Loved One and our friends Hondo & Les. We’re playing a raunchy, sick joke card game that Hondo’d bought on eBay because…, well, because the mere playing of it will condemn any and all participants to hell if such a place turns out to be real. I really think he’s daring the god neither of us believes in to damn him for all eternity. And, I guess, I’ll be following him.

Anyway, the talk turns, as usual, to how eff’d up this holy land is. The problem with guys like Hondo is they read and listen to too much Far Right palaver. It upsets their stomachs as well as their minds. The minute some minor candidate for the Nebraska statehouse says something like women enjoy being slapped around because then their slapping husbands and boyfriends go all out of their way to apologize and be nice to them, Hondo and his ilk send out urgent messages to the rest of us saying the whole country’s going insane.

Which it is. I just accept it, largely. Sure, I point out funny (in a sad way) wingnut things here on The Pencil and sometimes stamp my foot about Rand Paul or Kirk Cameron or Rick Santorum. But for the most part, I can’t really keep up with all the loons who have YouTube accounts or blogs through which they can lobby for the regression of America to those grand old days of the Salem witch trials.

Witch Trial, 1692

Good Old Days

I’m more attuned to the utterances of, say, the Reagan/Bush/Bush Supreme Court, especially when it rules that rich guys should own and operate all polling places. Then I’ll yell that the country’s going insane. Between the two of us, Hondo and me, we’ve got the wingnut-osphere covered, I suppose.

Back to lunch at Opie’s. I think it was Les who asked, “Well whaddya think’s gonna happen here over the next few years.”

Natch, I had a ready answer.

The sanctified, blessed, and exceptional Yewnited States of Murrica is in for some changes. As long as the Supremes have codified the establishment of a plutocratic ruling class, the have-nots among us are going to be more restless than ever. Sure, the US always has been run for the benefit of captains of industry and financial pirates, but throughout our history we’ve always pretended that the common citizen meant something herein. No more.

If you have scads of dough, you count much more than if you don’t. That’s law now. Once you shatter the illusion of equality, there is nothing left of the mythical American Dream. When dreams die, people panic.

Now, most of the pop. of this nation is too dense to grasp that a new overclass has been installed, officially, brazenly, and w/o apology. Too many of them think their grand old flag has been sullied by Mexicans sneaking over the border to become busboys and maids, women who want the gov’t to pay for their slut pills, gays and lesbians who want to eliminate every trace of heterosexuality in our precious snowflake children, and, of course, the Kenyan who has taken over as Dictator and Tyrant-in-Chief Forever.

And, yeah, a health care reform that’s turning us into New Stalinville.

While everybody’s shrieking over these imagine threats, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and their coatholders turned the keys over to the Koch Bros. and said, “Here. It’s yours.”

No matter why people think the USA has become the homeland of Satan, they’re fast losing any and all loyalty to the nation. The Bundy Ranch confrontation will be repeated with alarming regularity in the coming years. And one of these times, somebody’s trigger finger is going to get itchy. Once the first shot is fired, all bets are off.

Militia at Bundy Ranch

A desperate band of gunfondlers is coalescing these days, certain that the US has been taken over by the aforementioned evil people. They’re not terribly organized just yet; their only real commonality is the passel of hatemongers who bark at them daily over Right Wing talk radio and, to a lesser extent, via Fox News. But, book it, some demagogue is going to pop up. He’ll preach “defense” and separation. And a lot of people are going to fall into line behind him.

What have they got to lose? They don’t have jobs, money, or power.

Perhaps Texas will be the first state to make secession noises. Arizona and Utah may join in the chorus. Then we’re going to see some real breaking news.

Think it’s impossible? Why?

Hot Air

Big Talk

Who’s the coolest person in Bloomington?

Today, at least, it’s Nate Powell. The noted cartoonist and author of numerous top-selling graphic novels is grilled, pierced, gutted, and otherwise questioned online by the majordomo of this communications colossus in the new interview series Big Talk.

That majordomo? It’s me.

BigTalkRoundCorners

Big Talk, long-time readers of this series of shrieks already know, is the shiny new monthly run of colloquys co-sponsored by The Ryder magazine, WFHB radio, and, natch, The Electron Pencil. The whole shebang had a soft kick-off in mid-January with the first airing on ‘FHB’s Daily Local News of my interview with the author/drawer of March: Book One, Any Empire, The Silence of Our Friends, and others. As in any new endeavor attempted by creative types, getting this thing synched up has been about as efficient as the wrangling of a houseful of cats by a blind man, so the other shoe part of interview No. 1 finally hits the interwebs today.

Powell Cartoon

Powell By Powell

We’ve already run a second interview with poet extraordinaire Tony Brewer on WFHB, with his print chat set to hit the streets in the April edition of The Ryder, due out soonly. Slowly but surely we’ll get our radio, print, and online skeds to jibe, so keep your shirts on while we pretend we know what we’re doing.

To refresh, the whole idea is for me to find fascinating Bloomington characters and shine the harsh light upon them, sans the blackjack and the telephone book treatment. Honest, I try to treat my victi…, er, subjects nicely. We want to learn about B-Town’s cools, not gawk at their lifeless bodies. The resultant interviews will find their way to your ears and eyes via an 8-minute feature segment on WFHB’s Daily Local News, a much longer discussion in that month’s hard-copy Ryder, and then a web redux on The Ryder‘s site. Natch, all links will be accessible here, thanks to our (duh) Big Talk page.

EP Screenshot

Go Ahead, Click It; You Know You Want To

So, unless you want to be the most square square in this Indiana college town, listen to the Daily Local News, read The Ryder when it hits your local merchants and street newsboxes, and, well, read it again when each month’s issue comes out online.

And, of course, you have to read The Pencil every single day. No misses, No excuses. What — you want your neighbors to think you’re out of it?

Ideas, Babies

Oh, before I forget: Feel free to suggest people you’d like to see interviewed by me. I’ve already got a long list of potential subjects. Hard as it may be to believe, I might have missed someone of note, so I’m leaning on you, hep Pencillista, to help me out. Send in your suggestions via the comments section in these posts or at glabagogo@gmail.com.

Do your part, savvy? It takes a village.

Mea Culpa

Alright, I’ll admit it. I’m a human and I sometimes have evil thoughts. Herein, I’ll confess my latest.

For a hot minute, I really, really wanted that Nevada rancher flap to devolve into a shootin’ war. Yep. I wanted all those loony militia members converging on the Bundy Ranch as well as the Bundys themselves and their supporters to get the living crap kicked out of them by the Feds.

Bundy Ranch

Standoff

The very notion that these gun-fondlers, Tea Party “patriots,” and miscellaneous survivalists and supremacists should position their dopey stance as a fight for freedom makes me want to retch. The Bundys, pure and simple, are letting their cattle graze on publicly-owned land. They owe us rent. That is all, kids.

And they want to fight a war over it? Yeesh.

An alarming number of Bundy-ists believe in a twisted interpretation of the Posse Comitatus rule — that is, the only governmental authority they recognize is that of the county. The state of Nevada and the US Gov’t, to these people, are unlawful, tyrannical entities.

In short, they’re nuts.

Bundy Ranch

Yikes

And don’t buy the line that they are the moral equivalent of the Freedom Riders, Martin Luther King, and Rosa Parks. They’re not. Merely suggesting that they might be comparable to those civil rights activists insults anybody who’s truly risked life and limb for freedom and equality.

The Bundy-ists said they were prepared to shoot it out with Bureau of Land Management security forces. One of their tactics, it’s been revealed, would be to place unarmed women in the front rank of their picket line so that when and if the Feds started shooting, their sainted womenfolk would take the first slugs.

Nice, huh?

Just imagine if one of the Bundy-ists had squeezed off a shot to start the party rolling. The Feds, of course, would be obligated to fire back and, necessarily, those target dames would be riddled with bullets. And then the Bundy-ists could cry martyr.

That mean little part of me wished it would have happened. The devil within me said, Mow ’em all down.

Now, my firmly-held believe is that it’s our second thoughts that make us human. My second thought was, Aw, hell, I don’t want to see bloodshed. But for that flash of a moment, I figuratively rubbed my hands together and hoped for the worst.

See, that’s the diff. between me and those Bundy-ists.

[BTW: The paranoiac, conspiracy-obsessed website Natural News is coming down four-square on the side of the Bundy-ists. More evidence that those of us on the crunchy, natural Left should stay away from Mike Adams’ scare-mongering delusion-fest. As if his chemtrails fetish wasn’t enough for you.]

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