Category Archives: Che Guevara

The Pencil Today:


“There is a distinct difference between having an open mind and having a hole in your head from which your brain leaks out.” — James Randi


Just a reminder, the transit of Venus will be visible in these parts in the hours just prior to sunset Tuesday evening.

The phenomenon has only been seen by human eyes seven times.

Wear #14 welder’s glasses or get a pair of those neat eclipse glasses that look a bit like movie theater 3-D glasses. The transit also is visible through one of those pinhole projection boxes the geeky kids in seventh grade always knew how to make when there was a partial solar eclipse.

Eclipse Cheaters

Which leads me to my fave beat-the-dead-horse question: Why believe in magic and monsters when real life itself is so spectacular?


Man, you blew it if you were unable to catch the Italian movie “We Have a Pope.”

I just caught the Ryder Film Series offering last night at the SoFA small theater and it was a delight.

A cardinal named Melville is elected Pope and just as he’s about to greet the crowd in St. Peter’s he suffers what can only be described as a nervous breakdown, brought on primarily by his long simmering lack of self-confidence.

The Moment Before The Breakdown

The assembled Cardinals, who by canonical law cannot leave the Vatican until the new Pope greets the crowd, panic and eventually bring in a shrink in an effort to get the new boss to the balcony window.

By and by, the new Pope escapes the Vatican and a certain madness ensues.

The beauty of a lot of non-Hollywood movies is they don’t have Hollywood endings. That’s all I’ll say about that.

The movie will run on cable’s Independent Film Channel and if Peter LoPilato can ever get it back here in Bloomington, don’t blow your chance to see it again.

GO! — NOW!


WHaP reminds me of all the foofaraw over Martin Scorsese‘s “The Last Temptation of Christ,” based on the eponymous book by Nikos Kazantzakis.

Released in 1988, TLToC dealt with the fever dreams of Christ as he hung on the cross, baking in the sun, driven mad by pain. He imagines an alternative existence wherein he settles into a simple life, marrying Mary Magdalene and not carrying the burden of all humankind’s sins.

The Man Wants Out; The Deity Has A Responsibility

It’s one of the most pious, spiritual, and reverent movies ever made.

I mean, the whole idea of Christ’s death, as I understand it, was that he was tempted to avoid his fate, but his faith and obedience to his “father in heaven” overcame his human need. And therein, I always thought, lay the foundation for Christianity.

But when TLToC played at the Biograph Theater in Chicago, Catholics and other defenders of the one and only big daddy-o in the sky picketed and shouted and otherwise drew more attention to the film than it ever would have garnered otherwise.

Go figure.


BuzzFeed the other day ran a list of the most powerful photos ever taken.

Which got me to thinking which pix I’d pick. Ergo, here they are (in no particular order):

The French guy crying as the Nazis march through Paris

Vietnam: The naked girl running, the self-immolating monk, the Saigon police chief executing the guy in the street

The JFK assassination: LBJ takes the oath, Ruby shoots Oswald, JFK Jr. salutes

Earthrise from Apollo 8

The Chinese student and the tanks

Martin Luther King lay dying

World War II: Marines reenact the flag raising at Iwo Jima, the sailor kisses the nurse on V-J Day

The National Geographic Afghani girl


Protest: John Carlos and Tommie Smith give the Black Power salute, Kent State, the flowers in the gun barrels

(All photos copyrighted.)

There. How about you? Tell us what’s on your list via the comments.

The Pencil Today


The first shot was fired last week, according to an anecdote I overheard at the venerable Bloomington caffeine-jones institution.


One participant was scarred, possibly permanently, suffering a coffee-stained suit. The attack was  dastardly, sudden. The victim is bravely attempting to carry on.

Here’s the tale from a completely impeachable source — although I verified the incident with the victim.

The dean of a certain high profile Indiana University school was picking up his usual morning life-giving substance at Soma. As he approached the front door to leave, another customer was about to enter.

This second customer pushed open the front door with asymmetric shock, as — oh, say — an economist might describe it.

Greenspan: “Hey, Watch How You Throw That Door Open.”

Sadly, due to the door-opener’s irrational exuberance, the door swung into the dean and caused him to spill coffee over his business suit.

The dean in question, by the way, is a nice guy, a gentleman, and well-respected even outside his discipline. On the other hand, his discipline is not universally cherished by some angry citizens these days. (As opposed to, say, the 1980s and 90s.)

Gekko: “Throw That Door Open And Damn Everyone Who’s In Your Way!”

Anyway, the dean jumped back and looked plaintively at the young man who threw the door open.

The young man eyed the dean, whose suit befitted a man who earns some $350,000 per annum (HT to the H-T annual listing of salaries.) The door opener apparently lumped the dean in with the justifiably-villified uber-rich hyenas whom the Republican Party, the Koch-fueled Me Party-ists, and the Ayn Rand fetishists doggedly feel deserve their billions and billions and billions and….

The young man said, coldly, “Hey, you’re part of the one-percent; just go buy yourself a new suit.”

With that, the young man strode toward the counter and ordered his drink. The dean remained in place for a beat, his mouth agape.

Che & Fidel: Noted Spillers Of Coffee On College Deans

The aggrieved dean seems to be recovering. He told me, “I’ll be alright. I’ve been called worse things.”


November 22nd dawned chilly and overcast in Chicago some 48 years ago today.

It was, on the other hand, a warm day bathed in brilliant sunshine in Dallas.

The nuns at St. Giles sent us all home early that afternoon. The principal, Sister James Mary, made the announcement over the PA. We were shocked as we listened to her. Her voice seemed to be cracking with emotion.

We second graders had never before imagined nuns to be capable of feeling any emotion other than rage.

When I got home, my mother was vacuuming. I watched her for a few moments. She seemed to be rolling the vacuum over the same spot, obsessively. She was crying.

I’d never seen Ma cry before.

If you weren’t alive and aware on that long ago Friday, the only analogy I can make to convey the life-changing nature of that day is to cite September 11, 2001.

The hell of it is, now I’ve personally lived through two such days. I have absolutely no interest in living through another.


We’ve already got crackerjack author Joy Shayne Laughter here. And the latest opus from those cinematic geniuses Chris Rall and Tony Brewer is here too.

Over the next couple of days, we’ll be presenting work by music aficionado Ryan Lee Dawes and we’ll begin running a brand new comix series by Grover & Sloan.

Here’s a sneak preview of G&S’s “Cats and Machines” series:

Cats And Machines

Oh hey, did I mention that research scientist Dr. Alex Straiker of the IU Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences will grace these pages with his vivid images of neuron microscopy? He mixes science with art as well as any creative alchemist ever has.

Stayed tuned or it’ll be your loss. So there!

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