"The blog has made Glab into a hip town crier, commenting on everything from local politics and cultural happenings to national and international events, all rendered in a colorful, intelligent, working-class vernacular that owes some of its style to Glab’s Chicago-hometown heroes Studs Terkel and Mike Royko." — David Brent Johnson in Bloom Magazine
The conclusions? I should have been a professor and I am not an asshole at all.
Jeez, what a load of horseshit!
A hot Bloomington tomato named Candy Allday found herself in Oak Park, Illinois, this past week. She stopped at a Mexican restaurant with her ever-lovin’ husband and a couple of friends late-ish one evening.
Candy Allday is used to feeding B-town parking meters until the ungodly hour of 10pm, so she began digging in her purse for quarters before entering said eatery. Lo and behold, she stopped and gasped.
“I’ve gotta take a picture of this,” she blurted. And so she did. And here it is.
Candy Allday wonders if certain Bloomington City Council-folk can read.
Bloomington’s own Brynda Forgas is no longer owned by her business, The Hidden Closet. After a long stay in the Fountain Square Mall, Forgas moved her Closet to Kirkwood Avenue, right behind the Book Corner last year. Biz was no better on Kirkwood than it had been in the relatively quiet mall.
So Brynda decided to call it a retail career a couple of months ago and announced she’d be locking the door one final time as soon as the Christmas season was over. She’s never looked happier.
An old pal of hers, Paula Chambers is set to open her own shop, The Dance Circus, in Brynda’s old space Tuesday, February 4. Paula’s another Bloomington fixture. She’s the boss of the Hudsucker Posse hula hoop girl gang. She, too, is moving her digs out of Fountain Square.
The Dance Circus will continue to feature scads of dancewear and shoes, hula hoops (all handmade), and plenty of other fun stuff.
Chambers hopes to get better exposure and foot traffic for her store in the new location. She’s pumped. “I’m gonna make a splash on Kirkwood,” she promises.
Go visit Paula. And spend some cash, wouldja?
… And The Blacks Were Happy Under Slavery
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave the assembled news media of the world a state of the league address last week in advance of yesterday’s Super Bowl. Then he opened the floor for questions. One intrepid reporter asked him about the Washington club’s nickname, you know the one that’s a racial slur. Goodell pulled a Vinnie Barbarino and said, essentially, Whuh?
Pushed further, he elaborated. Why, he claimed, the folks we’re slurring consider it no slur at all!
I like pretending to be a philosopher — ergo, this blog. Funny thing is, I’m spectacularly bored by guys who are acclaimed as philosophers. And yes, philosophers usually are guys; maybe if more women got into the racket, it’d be more compelling.
Anyway, I sold a Foucault book yesterday and, being the smart-ass I am, I asked the cust. if he was suffering from insomnia. He laughed. I was serious.
I like the old (I mean +2000-year-old) definition of philosopher: That is, someone who thought about what was then considered science. Once science became divorced from questions of the divine and Why? and subsequently married to the questions of What, Where, and How?, the Why guys slunk away and dedicated themselves to telling the rest of us unwashed, unread slobs about the meaning and purpose of life.
Let me save you a lot of time and eyes-rolling-to-the-back-of-your-head boredom. The reason we’re alive boils down to two words: Just Because.
The Great Philosophers
Then again it can be said that all the books ever written really are philosophy books. That entails a fairly broad definition of of the term. Even so, I can’t muster up much of an argument against it. Even I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell postulates a philosophy of a sort. Of a heinous sort, sure, but of a sort.
That’s why, I suppose, the list-fetishists at BuzzFeed compiled a roster of 28 “Favorite” Books That Are Huge Red Flags. The idea being, if someone tells you that one of these titles is the best or most important or greatest book in the world and/or you don’t have to read another thing after reading it, you should run like the wind away from them.
How many of these have you read? Have you ever gushed over one or more of them?
The Great Gatsbyby F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Ryeby J.D. Salinger
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
The Stranger by Albert Camus
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
AtlasShrugged by Ayn Rand
Any Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Exodus by Leon Uris
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max
Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
The Game by Neil Strauss
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Any Narnia book by C.S. Lewis
Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
So, back to philosophy. One of my fave philosophical pontifications has been Never trust people who don’t have books in their homes. Which, BTW, I thought of long before I read John Waters‘ notorious epigram, If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.
Funny thing is, I’ve always lived by that Waters rule. I can’t recall ever initiating an intimate relationship with anyone who didn’t proudly display their books or who hinted that they didn’t read. That was true even when I was a dopey 21-year-old.
If this doesn’t scare the bejesus out of you I don’t know what will.
In a piece on the radical right in America, al Jazeera claims that Republicans quashed a 2009 Department of Homeland Security report suggesting hate groups began to proliferate in the United States after the election of Barack Obama.
Not that the groups weren’t proliferating before that, mind you. Only that their rate of proliferation was bumped up dramatically by the presence of a brown man in the White House.
I’d say the GOP has some ‘splainin’ to do.
HATE IS ENOUGH
We still don’t understand the meaning of hatred in this country. ABC News ran this online headline yesterday:
Still No Motive?
Does the swastika have different meanings for different people even at this late date?
THE NEW MACHINE
Many years ago, even the most polarizing figures in this holy land were permitted to have nuanced and even seemingly self-contradictory viewpoints. They didn’t run in fear from the Thought Crime authorities within their political parties or the punditocracy.
For instance, one of the heroes of the hard-hat, blue-collar, bungalow-belt Silent Majority was Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago. He ran a highly disciplined political machine. He tolerated little in the way of dissent. He was a tough guy.
He’d called for his police to shoot to kill arsonists and shoot to maim looters during race riots. He turned his police force loose on demonstrators during the 1968 Democratic Convention. By the early 1970s he ranked just below George Wallace, Spiro Agnew, and Jack Webb in the law and order pantheon.
Yet he was a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War and, even more surprisingly, guns. According to Rick Perlstein in “Nixonland,” Daley was in Washington, DC testifying before a congressional committee in the summer of 1972. “Take the guns away from every private citizen,” he said.
Can you imagine any darling of the right even suggesting private citizens should be limited to possessing several dozen assault rifles these days?
A NEW UNDERGROUND RAILROAD?
Author and journalist Achy Obejas (say it, AH-chee oh-BAY-hahss) spent a few years at Indiana University before she dropped out and went to work covering politics, GLBTQ issues, night life, and a host of other beats.
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.
“Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.” — Henny Youngman
VI WILL VIE
Hoosier Dems are going all in for women this election year.
I’m all for it.
Gubernatorial candidate John Gregg is putting his money on Vi Simpson, the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus leader, as his running mate on the Democratic ticket. He’ll make the announcement today.
Vi And Her Guy
Simpson joins the state’s Ninth District Congressional candidate Shelli Yoder on the November ballot.
It’s a gamble and it’s a good one.
Indians has been turning monochromatic (red) since Barack Obama squeezed out a narrow victory here in 2008. Senator Evan Bayh retired and was replaced by retread Dan Coats in the 2010 election. Congressman Baron Hill got the thumb that year as well and watched altar boy Todd Young fly to Washington.
The Dems need to turn to their ace in the hole — women — to reverse that trend.
Neither Shelli Yoder nor Vi Simpson will strike rural voters as wild-eyed, radical femi-nazis — that is, of course, unless said suffragists have been so conditioned by the Fox News gang to see all those to the left of John Birch as loyalty risks, traitors, and saboteurs.
Democrats have no hope of ever luring those voters away from the GOP.
I’m not deluded enough to think Indiana may turn touchy-feely liberal Democrat any time soon (or even later) but the Dems must put up a better fight than they have of late.
Even Obama’s surprising victory here owed more to the upset stomach that the Bush/McCain/Palin bunch induced in the voting public than anyone’s great desire to see an almost-liberal take the White House.
But, jeez, folks — if even the People’s Republic of Bloomington can’t put a Dem in its own Congressional seat then these precincts truly have become a one-party monolith.
My old man came from the generation that knew how to dance.
No matter how paunchy, tubby, clumsy, or homely a guy who grew up during the Great Depression was, the minute a wedding band would strike its first chord, he could jump up and sweep his equally awkward wife across the dance floor as if he were a combination of Gene Kelly and Jack Kennedy.
They’re Playing Our Song, Jackie
It never ceased to amaze me that Dad and all my uncles could become as smooth as silk when the music started. I mean, I knew these these guys wore black socks with their slippers at home, that they were more adept at producing a variety of different flatulent tones than cooing sweet nothings in their brides’ ears, and that the simple act of getting up out of the La-Z-Boy was for them akin to scaling a medium-sized mountain.
So how could they also be these fabulous dancers?
Old Joe Glab could also swing a shoe to a polka tune like nobody’s business. Polka dancing demanded a certain level of physical exertion that in other circumstances would be guaranteed to strike Dad and all his peers immediately dead from myocardial infarct.
Yet he and his contemporaries could polka all the night long.
When I was 21 and 22 I could undulate my hips to funk or disco five nights a week. I could pogo to punk with the best of them. But at some indeterminant point in my life, I lost the ability to dance.
I learned this dramatically one Friday night about a dozen years ago. I went out on a date with a hot tomato divorcee named Robbie. She and her ex were big-time art dealers in Chicago. We had dinner, then she suggested we go out dancing. Cool.
So we zoomed up to Joe Shanahan’s uber-trendy Smart Bar near Wrigley Field. I’d spent many a long night gyrating and sweating to the likes of Alison Moyet and Rick James there in the mid-80s so I figured I could still reach back and put the good moves on.
I Could Ride The White Pony With My Eyes Closed
We dashed out on the floor and started in. Robbie acquitted herself quite nicely — I, on the other hand, felt as though I’d suddenly turned into an epileptic. I could no more keep to the beat than a Mormon.
I looked around and saw all these kids half my age slithering the way I once could. Some of them, I have to admit, were eying me critically. As in, What the fk?
It felt as though the DJ was aiming a spotlight at me. Come to think of it, he may have been. Of course, I became even stiffer and more dopey.
More kids started staring at me. I was certain they’d go home that night, fall asleep, and then wake up with a start, horrified at the memory of what they’d seen. Worse, I could imagine them imagining that Robbie and I would go home later and, ugh, have sex. (We didn’t.) I’d scarred the poor kids for life.
How could I lose it all so quickly? And why were Dad and his generation able to keep it well into their 60s and 70s?
Funny as in me pasting about a hundred and sixty seven Facebook posts in yesterday’s Pencil, congratulating FB-ers on their brilliant thoughts and then scrolling through the social medium today and seeing that everybody’s back to being boring again.
Funny as in the dearth of imagination in Hollywood, illustrated by the fact that at least 50 film sequels or remakes are being planned at this moment — they include:
A “Wizard of Oz” prequel
A third “Iron Man”
A sixth “The Fast and the Furious”
“Dirty Dancing” redux
The hundredth “Austin Powers”
The thousandth “Pirates of the Caribbean”
The millionth “Godzilla”
The billionth “Scarface”
The trillionth “Terminator”
They give out awards for this stuff?
LOVE IS ALL AROUND
Valentine’s Day. Being a professional contrarian, I’m morally obligated to sneer at the whole deal.
The Loved One reminded me yesterday that the first VD we spent together (we’d been seeing each other for some five and a half months at the time), I made no mention of the February 14th shebang but instead had flowers sent to her office on the 15th.
She found the off-day gesture charming. Sort of. I think.
Anyway, we’re being flooded with VD images today so I thought I’d get into the mood, just to be a sport.
I mean, honestly, which American fictional figure represents Valentine’s Day more than Mary Richards?
You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if you were dating her and ignored Valentine’s Day, you would soon be, well, not dating her.
The opening of the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” is a piece of cultural iconography. From her big, floppy bellbottoms to her accidentally crushing Ted Baxter‘s hat, Mary Richards represents those first, tentative, sometimes stumbling steps of women into the workplace in the early 1970s.
And when Mary tosses her tam into the air on a crowded downtown Minneapolis street corner as an old-fashioned babushka’d lady looks on in probable disapproval, you know you’re seeing America change right before your eyes.