Category Archives: Civil Rights

Hot Air

Just Folks

Just in case you’ve forgotten, Bloomington not long ago was a sleepy, small college town. Even though we have developers coming in here hoping to build more hulking monolithic apartment blocks along the burgeoning mini-canyons on Walnut and College avenues, and even though our pop. is fast approaching 100k, we still retain bits of that endearing, quaint, small-town-ness.

To wit: This past week, both Claire McInerney and John Bailey, reporters for NPR-affiliate WFIU have come into the Book Corner to make purchases. Each used a credit card, affording me the opportunity to see who she and he were. Each time, I reacted with pleasant surprise: Oh, you’re the voice from the radio, or some such thing.

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McInerney & Bailey

And both Claire and John reacted with such delight that I felt as though I was in a scene from It’s A Wonderful Life. Claire beamed so broadly I thought the ends of her grin might meet at the back of her head. John thanked me repeatedly as if I’d told him his Pulitzer Prize had arrived in my mailbox by mistake.

See, I come from Chicago and even the minor-est media figures there are well-practiced in either canned gratitude or annoyed harrumphing at being recognized. In the big town, expressing joy when someone says they know you through radio, TV, or the newspapers is tantamount to admitting you’re a rube.

Well, you know what? I dig rubes. At least Bloomington’s brand of rube-ishness. It’s a hell of a lot more likable than studied jadedness. I hope we don’t lose that quality for many years to come.

USNS John Lewis

The US Navy is naming its new oil tanker ship after legendary civil rights activist and US Congressbeing from Georgia, John Lewis.

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Lewis Gets His Ship

How cool is that? I bet when that Alabama state trooper was clubbing him to the ground, breaking his skull in the process on Bloody Sunday back in 1965, the last thing on Lewis’s mind was the possibility that his country would name a ship after him.

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Lewis Gets His Head Busted

Of course, Lewis has always maintained a sense of optimism about and belief in this bizarre holy land. I envy him his fidelity. My occasional frissons about Murrica’s goodness and exceptionalism are fairly balanced out by glumness. We shoot each other up seemingly on a daily basis, our legislative processes are manipulated by banksters and corporatists, too many of us still fear black- and brown-skinned people, and the gap between the rich and the poor widens by the minute.

Yet Lewis still loves America. He appeared at the Indiana University Auditorium last September, along with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, his collaborators on the March series of graphic novels recounting his activist career. You could sense his ardor for this lovable/detestable land from the moment he opened his mouth.

I don’t believe I possess the strength of character and will to believe that Lewis has. Were I he, I’d hold a grudge against a country that broke my head simply because I wanted my people to be able to vote. I wish I were as strong as John Lewis.

Gun Crazy

So, here’s prima facie evidence that I shouldn’t love and forgive this holy land so readily. In the aftermath of President Obama’s heartfelt, sincere sermon regarding our national love affair with (or sexual fixation on) firearms, Seymour State Representative Jim Lucas — a Republican, duh! — has reintroduced a bill to allow people to carry shootin’ irons on state-supported college campuses. He sez he wants his “wife and daughter to be able to protect themselves especially on dark evenings walking alone.”

His bill aims to end state firearms carry licensing as well as to prevent all state agencies from banning guns on their properties or inside their facilities. The bill specifically mentions colleges and universities.

The-Wild-Bunch

The Wild Bunch Goes To College

With all due respect (read: none), I might suggest Lucas, his wife, and his daughter actually attend a college campus and try things like reading books wherein they might learn about the nature of crowds, the physics of ballistic projectiles passing through bodies and inanimate materials, the effect of panic on people who might be tempted to protect a classroom by blasting away at some intruder, among other fascinating and informative areas of study.

In other words, you are one dumb son of a bitch, Jim. Again, with all due respect.

Hot Air

Courage

I became a fan of the late James Garner a ways back when I was an idealistic teen hoping to participate in the remaking of this corrupt, sick, unfair world. Immediately after Martin Luther King was whacked, I delved into his life and adopted him as my hero. I learned that several white actors had participated with him in the March on Washington in August, 1963. Among them were Burt Lancaster, Charlton Heston, Marlon Brando, James Franciscus, and James Garner.

It took plenty of coglioni for a white guy to associate himself with the Civil Rights movement back then. Heston was warned off rubbing shoulders with King by his agents and his friends who ran movie studios. They told him it would be career suicide and, in fact, Heston’s career arc dipped significantly in the mid- and late-’60s.

Carroll/Garner

Actress Diahann Carroll & James Garner At The March On Washington

For his part, Garner also experienced a rough patch after throwing his lot in with King et al. Prior to the March, Garner’d portrayed a charming, borderline-swindler card player named Bret Maverick on the long-running eponymous TV series. The year of the March he appeared in the Hollywood blockbuster The Great Escape. The future looked limitless for him. Then, after pix of him attending the March appeared in newspapers all over the country, it seemed he was only able to snag roles in mediocre, lower-budget films for a few years.

It wasn’t until he scored the role of private detective Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files in the more easy-going ’70s that he hit the top of the biz again.

The world, BTW, is still corrupt, sick, and unfair. Garner, though, did what he could about it

In The Cards

Speaking of local blogs (well, I did mention one yesterday, and writing this one almost every day seems a seamless task to me, so, yeah, we’ve been speaking of local blogs), if you’re into the woo occult you might be interested in Maryll Jones’s Interpretations.

Her URL, BTW, is maryll.com. I asked her how she managed to score such an address — you’d think several jillion bloggers named Maryll would have snapped it up way before she did. She told me she purchased it in 1998 which, I believe, was back in the days when the interwebs were powered by steam. She’s been sitting on maryll.com for lo these many years yet Interpretations is only a couple of months old.

Maryll studies tarot and talks about the cards and her life in Interpretations. She even occasionally does impromptu readings for interested parties at Soma Coffee. Loyal Pencillistas know that I look askance at things like tarot. Nevertheless, I like to flog for my blog-writing colleagues.

Criswell

“We Are All Interested In The Future….”

There. Now, ain’t I a broad-minded fellow?

The Red Dawn

So, the City of Somerset, Kentucky, has opened its own municipally-run retail gas station. Folks in that neck of the woods can fill up on regular unleaded (the only octane the place offers) for as little as $3.36 a gal. There are no Cool Ranch Doritos, lubricated reservoir tip condoms, nor sullen teenagers behind the counter. The place sells gas, period.

The city buys the gas wholesale and then sells it based on the current average regional retail price. Mayor Eddie Girdler of Somerset sez the city has no interest in making a profit on this venture, meaning he’s likely a child-molesting, commie, Nazi abortionist and prob. was born in Kenya around the time Barack Obama was.

Hammer/Sickle/Star

You Can Trust Your Car To The Man Who Wears The Star

Acc’d’g to the Washington Post, local private gas station operators are aghast at the development. Their prices, natch, are higher than the city’s place because they have to stock their shelves with junk food, booze, and cheap prophylactics. Oh, and they have to hire sullen teenagers to put up product and sell it. One fellow who runs a nearby convenience store/gas station says, basically, only an idiot would not recognize the city’s venture as “socialist.”

It may interest you to know Eddie Girdler is a Republican.

Keeping Reachin’ For The Stars

I understand Casey Kasem’s body has gone missing. The TV DJ died earlier this month even as his wife and other potential heirs fought tooth and nail over whom he loved mostest.

Kasems

Casey Kasem & Wife Jean in the 1980s

My Soma Coffee co-loiterer Michael Spica wonders if there’ll be an American Top 40 list of possible hiding places for Casey’s corpse.

Hot Air

Quick Hits & Snippets

Cold yet? Just wait. In the meantime, here are some news tidbits, opinions, and pontifications straight from The Pencil world headquarters. BTW: Chris Madsen, long-time voice of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and noted national media consultant, called my almost-daily word spurts “rants” yesterday. Hmm! Rants, eh? I’ll show you some rants.

Brrrrrr…., Grrrrrr!

Personal to Old Man Winter: Just go, will you?

Winter Ice

Music As Biography

Have you read the piece on John Mellencamp in the last Rolling Stone issue of 2013? It’s called “My Life in 15 Songs” and, in it, he describes how he’s grown, how his life has changed through the years as landmarked by certain hits. Pretty cool idea.

Now, I’ve never met Mellencamp, although I like to think we’re neighbors: He and I live on Indiana State Road 446. Of course, his lakefront mansion is some five miles south of my far more modest chez.

Anyway, when I first moved here, I’d hear people talking about M. and their stories generally went something like this:

My cousin’s brother-in-law knew him in high school and, man, was he an asshole. There was this one time….

None of the people who were so certain as to the character of the pop star-turned Americana singer-songwriter had ever seen the man, much less knew him.

I get the feeling that because he’d elected to live in So. Cent. Ind. people expected him to be chummy and warm with everyone he’d run into hereabouts, as if, rather than being a worldwide celebrity, he was everybody’s next door neighbor. So when he’d grunt in response to goggle-eyed fans accosting him at the Starbucks, they’d take it personally.

Mellencamp/Irwin

Jekyll & Bride

Conversely, his ex-wife, the stunning model Elaine Irwin, seems universally regarded as the nicest human ever to breath air in Indiana. I’ve got a theory about that, too, natch. See, people expect super models to be haughty, aloof, and utterly unapproachable. So whenever anyone might run into her in the Starbucks line, they’d hear her say please and thank you to the barista and come away convinced that she was, in truth, gushingly effusive and open-armed.

Face it, folks, we’re a weird species.

I’d Like You To Meet Someone….

Hey, as soon as I finish clacking this post out, I’m off to the recording studio to do an interview with big time graphic novelist Nate Powell. His latest tome is a joint production with Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia) and writer Andrew Aydin entitled March: Book One. It the first of a trilogy recounting the life of the civil rights leader from his days on a little Pike County, Alabama, farm through the 1965 voting rights march in Selma (where he got his skull broken by an Alabama state trooper) and on, triumphantly, to the halls of the US Capitol.

Nate Powell Artwork/John Lewis

Powell & Lewis

Powell’s well-known for his graphic novels, including Swallow Me Whole and Any Empire. He took a roundabout route to comix fame and we’ll be talking about it all today. My interview with him will be the first in a joint production venture between WFHB and The Ryder magazine. We’re looking to run a monthly piece in the mag featuring compelling folk from here in the Bloomington area as well as a companion audio feature on the Daily Local News. I’m excited as all hell about it.

Kudos and thanks to WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh and Ryder editor/publisher Peter LoPilato for joining the venture. BTW: I haven’t figured out what to call the thing yet. I’ve tossed around some ideas in my coconut and the best so far seems to be Big Mike’s People. If you’ve got a better idea, by all means pass it on.

Ready, Aim…, Duck!

Wow, here’s a shocker: Those Duck Dynasty hyenas are now pimping for a gun manufacturer. Imagine that! Bigoted people and guns. No one on Earth has ever made that connection before.

Tea Party & Guns

Poor Little Rich Boys

And, of course, the “affluenza” defense is becoming real, at least a version of it. Well, “real” in the same sense that, say, an accused rapist might plead he couldn’t help himself because that woman wore a miniskirt.

Ty Warner, the billionaire entrepreneurial genius who gave us Beanie Babies®, has been convicted of income tax evasion for parking countless millions of dollars in off-shore accounts. See, geniuses shouldn’t have to pay taxes like the rest of us slobs.

He has pleaded guilty in federal court to the tax evasion charges and now is trying to convince the judge in his case that he shouldn’t go to jail because he came from the most deprived of childhoods so how could she expect him to do the right thing when he became a bazillionaire?

Warner

The Tears Of A Clown

Warner faces five years in the federal pen; that’s in addition to the $53 million in penalties and $16 million in back taxes he’s already been ordered to pay. But his reasoning goes that rich geniuses shouldn’t have to go to jail for evading taxes, especially if they’d been forced to endure abominations like taking jobs as busboys and valet parkers when they were in college.

The horror.

Do I need to tell you how I hope the judge rules?

Room To Write

Resident of the Internet-iverse (although his corporal body can be found in Forest Park, Illinois), Bill Lichtenberg, happened upon some chilling stats. Chilling, that is, when one (me) considers the depth and breadth of the competition to get one’s (mine) novel published.

Dominic Smith, writing in the books, arts and culture online magazine The Millions, has found that there are way, way, way, way too many people trying to catch the eyes of traditional publishers these days. Smith writes:

After studying the data, I’m inclined to think there’s a million people writing novels, a quarter of a million actively publishing them in some form, and about 50,000 publishing them with mainstream and small, traditional presses.

That’s in America alone, babies.

Personal to other writers: Back off; you’re crowding me

Radio Talk

Finally, the newly-formed WFHB newsletter committee will meet again tonight. I can say that I’m on the committee and maybe — just maybe — tonight I can get the other members to give me permission to identify them. We’ll see.

Anyway, the committee last week decided to aim for March to put out the inaugural issue.

Stay tuned.

Sunday Morning Hot Air

Hit Or Myth?

The brutal murder of Matthew Shepard back in 1998 really kicked Americans into high gear to begin accepting gay people.

Shepard

Matthew Shepard

Before Matthew Shepard, most straight people in this holy land (that is, pretty much most people) shrugged when the issue of gay rights came up. After Matthew, only hard-core haters and fundamentalist zombies found it acceptable to heap scorn upon homosexuals. Without Matthew Shepard, gay marriage probably would have been an easy ten years down the road rather than the expanding right it is today.

The young University of Wyoming student’s execution was the equivalent of Bull Connor’s police dogs and fire hoses being used against black civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama in May 1963.

Shepard Fence

Crime Scene

The kid’s death became a touchstone for anyone who wanted to declare her- or himself a supporter of GLBTQ concerns or, for that matter, any minority group. Just saying the name Matthew Shepard and shaking your head sadly communicated to one and all where you stood on a huge variety of issues.

If ever there was a martyr, it was Matthew Shepard.

Now comes a book that portrays Shepard’s killing as revenge for a drug deal gone bad.

The Book of Matt posits that Shepard was a meth user and a mule. The author suggests he’d screwed up an associate’s deal and was whacked for it.

Sounds like a history-jumbling invention by some holy roller who is certain homosexuality will be the downfall of Murrica. The book could have been written by one of the thankfully dead Andrew Breitbart’s apostles or Jerome Corsi or some paranoiac loon from World Net Daily.

Google the words matthew shepard book and take a wild guess what comes up first (below the obligatory ad for several such tomes). Yep, a Fox news headline about Shepard’s purported drug involvement:

From Google

Despite the current general distaste for homophobia, there are still enough dopes out there who are so petrified of catching gay cooties that they gaze fixedly at Fox News for warnings that compulsory sodomy is just around the corner. Oh, and that gay people are really nothing more than meth heads.

The whole thing is creating yet another new brand of Truther-ism, whose goal is to skewer the “gay grievance industry.”

Surprise: Author Stephen Jimenez is gay.

Jimenez

Who Is This Man?

Already, folks are jumping with both feet on Jimenez’s methodology, research, and conclusions. At best, Jimenez is a courageous defender of the truth, at worst a gay analog to the self-hating Jew.

Me? I don’t care what Stephen Jimenez is. For that matter, I don’t care what Matthew Shepard was. I didn’t need the story of his murder — true or not — to be on the side of humanity. All humanity.

It’s a damned shame America needed such a gory story to kick it over to the right side of history and morality.

Your Daily Hot Air

Hiroshima Day

The nuclear bombings of two cities in Japan were the logical coda of the single most brutal enterprise the species Homo Sapiens sapiens has ever undertaken — and if we’re very, very, very lucky, will ever undertake.

Hiroshima

World War II claimed anywhere from 60-100 million lives. It doesn’t matter how they died; only that the people of this mad planet wanted them dead.

BTW: Shoot over to Neil Steinberg’s blog post today about the excruciatingly unlucky few who survived both bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. True story.

Nixon Resignation Day

Here’s Mike Royko writing Richard M. Nixon’s political eulogy in the Chicago Sun-Times the day after the president quit:

My personal reason for not wanting Mr. Nixon prosecuted is that he really didn’t betray the nation’s trust all that badly.

The country knew what it was getting when it made him president. He was elected by the darker side of the American conscience. His job was to put the brakes on the changes of the 1960s — the growing belief in individual liberties, the push forward by minority groups. He campaigned by appealing to prejudice and suspicion. What he and his followers meant by law and order was “shut up.”

So whose trust he did he betray? Not that of those who thought he was the answer. He was, indeed, their answer.

Nixon

Nixon

The Past Is Prologue

Ukulele savant Susan Sandberg points out this timeless observation by Lyndon Baines Johnson:

If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him someone to look down on and he’ll empty his pockets for you.

LBJ

Johnson

Winning Isn’t Everything

Speaking of the 1960s, I just finished reading a biography of Vince Lombardi entitled When Pride Still Mattered by David Maraniss.

Lombardi was often portrayed as a brutal, tyrannical leader who’d have steamrolled his grandmother to win a football game. Many people felt he was a man without conscience or sensitivity toward his fellow man. As such, some figured he’d be a great political leader for the turbulent ’60s. In fact, soon after Nixon secured the Republican nomination for president 45 years ago this week, the candidate floated the idea of approaching Lombardi to be his running mate. Nixon’s aides took him seriously and looked into Lombardi’s background. What they found surprised them: The iconic Green Bay Packers coached turned out to be a lifelong Democrat who was particularly close to Bobby Kennedy and the slain senator’s family.

Lombardi

Lombardi

Anyway, the coach’s views on civil rights surely would have sunk a Nixon/Lombardi ticket. Here’s an anecdote. Early on in his term as boss of the Pack, Lombardi and his team traveled into the South for an exhibition game. They went to a large restaurant for a meal. Lombardi was told the black players on the team — only a couple of guys, really, in those days — would not be allowed to enter the place through the front door. They’d have to come in through the back door and eat in a special room for blacks just off the kitchen.

Jim Crow

Lombardi was incensed. He realized, though, he couldn’t smash Jim Crow all by himself that day so he did the next best thing. He directed his entire team to enter through the back door and eat their meal in the back room reserved for blacks.

Pretty cool, eh?

Add to that the fact that Lombardi had at least one player on his team whom he knew was gay. The coach said to his assistants, If I hear one insult or snide remark coming out of your mouths you’ll be fired before your ass hits the floor.

Vince Lombardi was no Spiro Agnew.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.” — Isaac Newton

MONEY WELL SPENT?

Bloomington’s big name Democrats will gather in Nick’s English Hut to raise dough for the party’s gubernatorial ticket tonight.

John Gregg and his ace in the hole, Vi Simpson, will press the flesh at the fabled old place starting at five. Mayor Mark Kruzan will host.

The Simpson Bump Won’t Be Enough

With the roll that Barack Obama is on leading up to the general election in November, Gregg’s got to be hoping he can ride the president’s coattails into a victory that six months ago seemed impossible.

The truth is a Gregg win still would be a jaw-dropper. The Huffington Post’s Election Dashboard has Pence up by anywhere from 13 to 18 points in its compilation of polls.

If you’ve got a limited amount of cash to toss at a political campaign, it might be better spent on the US Senate race between Dem Joe Donnelly and Tea Party sweetheart Richard Mourdock, which HuffPo rates a toss-up.

Donnelly Can Win

HARD TIMES, STILL

Conventional wisdom has it that when people are suffering economically, the sitting president’s going to be in hot water.

But like the Great Depression, this Great Recession has not been a conventional time. The electorate sees these bad money times as a result more of systemic failures than simply any single president’s policies.

And don’t let anybody fool you — we’re still in a big time slump. Take Indiana. More than a million Hoosiers now live in poverty, according to the US Census Bureau. That’s a nearly five percent increase from last year. Speaking of percentages, 16 percent of this state’s residents fall below the poverty line now.

Then Or Now?

Perhaps if the Republican Party wasn’t in the clutches of whacked-out ideologues and, simultaneously, hadn’t nominated a wishy-washy boob as its standard bearer this year, Obama would be looking at a monumental poll deficit.

With enemies like the GOP, the Dems have all the friends they need.

BATTY

Okay, let’s just say it and get on with our lives, Ann Coulter is mentally unbalanced.

HELP!

The Harridan of the Right told George Stephanopoulis on ABC’s “This Week” wagfest that gays and women and immigrants and, well, anybody else who’s not Ann Coulter don’t have civil rights. And, no, I didn’t mistype there. You might try to get technical and say, “Hey, wait a minute. Ann Coulter’s a woman!”

That would be true were she not a nightmarish product of the TV industry’s evil brain.

IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD PARTY

No, wait, let me amend that: the whole Republican Party is deranged.

A Tea Party candidate for Congress from Kentucky’s 2nd District has produced a campaign ad linking Barack Obama to serial killer Ted Bundy as well as Al Capone, Adolph Hitler, and the Muslim Brotherhood because he supports Planned Parenthood and has not expressed a desire to nuke the capitals of the Muslim world as yet.

Peas In A Pod: Adolph & Barack

A word of warning: the vid shows images of aborted fetuses and murdered adults.

THE MADNESS IS CONTAGIOUS

Wait, wait, wait! It’s CNN that’s psychotic! Dig these headlines from its online version the other night:

  • Decapitated woman lives to tell tale
  • Half-ton aunt too fat to be real killer
  • Fecal transplant saves woman’s life
  • Alcohol-enema case ‘shocks’ UT officials

That’s right — fecal transplant. I don’t even want to know.

A New Media Colossus?

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Friday, September 28th, 2012

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

FAIR ◗ Monroe County Fairgrounds, Commercial Building West29th Annual American Red Cross Book Fair, +100,000 used books, CDs, DVDs, games, maps, sheet music, etc.; 9am-7pm, through October 2nd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center, outside WFHB StudiosParticipate in the construction of “The Messenger,” recycled metal sculpture to be installed at B-Line Trail; 9am-5pm

CONFERENCE ◗ IU Memorial Union, Walnut Room — “Where’s the ‘World’ in Popular Music?” Interdisciplinary presented by the Colloege of Liberal Arts & Sciences, click link for schedule of events, free and open to the public; 9am-5:30pm

SEMINAR ◗ Various venuesThe Combine, 3rd annual display of talent , innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit, featuring speakers, workshops, idea pitches, and mixers; through Sunday, September 30th, today’s events:

Bloomington Convention CenterWorkshops; 9am

Bloomington Convention CenterVerge Power Pitch Session; 4pm

Bloomington Convention CenterTech Cocktail, mixer; 7pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — “Maria, Put the Tea Kettle on! We’ll All Have some Tea”; Anthropologist April Sievert discusses artifacts found at the Munson House at Spring Mill State Park in Lawrence County; Noon

LECTURE ◗ IU Art MuseumNoon Talk series: “Weston, Callahan, and Cameron,” presented by Garrett Hansen, guest curator of the Kinsey Institute’s exhibit, “A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners“; Noon

POLITICS ◗ Nick’s English HutFundraiser for Indiana Democratic gubernatorial ticket John Gregg & Vi Simpson; 5pm

ART ◗ Bloomington Playwrights ProjectOpening reception for lobby exhibit, Stone Belt Art; 5:30-8pm

TEENS ◗ WonderLabTeen Night, 5:30-8:30pm

DANCING ◗ IU Neal-Marshall Black Culture CenterSalsa Under the Stars, part of National Hispanic Heritage Month; 6pm

OKTOBERFEST ◗ KRC BanquetsMusic, dancing, & food, featring the Hungry Five German Band, the Bloomington Bones, & the Bloomington Brass Band; 6pm

ART ◗ The Venue Fine Art & GiftsOpening reception for the exhibit, The Art of Fenella Finn; 6pm

RETREAT ◗ Bradford WoodsOne Diva Weekend, for gay/bisexual men; Begins at 6pm, through Sunday at 1pm

FILM ◗ IU CinemaDerek Jarman Super 8 Films; 6:30pm

WORKSHOP ◗ Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterBuddhism in Everyday Life Series: “What Is the One Most Important Thing on the Buddhist Path?” Presented by Ani Choekye; 6:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Meet the Fokkens“; 7pm

SPORTS ◗ IU GymnasiumHoosier volleyball vs. Illinois; 7pm

OPEN HOUSE ◗ IU Radio-TV Services BuildingWFIU Annual Listeners Reception; 7-9pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleJoe Sanford; 7-9pm

NATURE ◗ Twin Lakes Sports ParkBats in the Park, learn about bats, presented by the Center for North American Bat Research & Conservation; 7pm

MUSIC & POETRY ◗ Sweet Claire BakeryJacqueline Jones LaMon, poet, & Erol Ozsever, classical guitarist; 7-8:30pm

STAGE ◗ Bloomington Playwrights ProjectComedy, “RX,” by Kate Fodor; 7:30pm

STAGE ◗ IU Halls TheatreDrama, “When the Rain Stops Falling;” 7:30pm

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU SoFA McCalla SchoolGroup exhibit, “Aufheben,” photographers presented by curators Zachary Norman & Aaron Hergert; 7:30pm

SPORTS ◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Illinois; 7:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Woodburn Hall TheatreRyder Film Series: “Neighboring Sounds“; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoMatt MacDougall Quartet; 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumUB Films: “Katy Perry: Part of Me;” 8pm

BALLET ◗ IU Musical Arts Center — “Light and Shade,” Presented by IU Ballet Theater; 8pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGreg Behrendt; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubThe Reacharounds; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceGrandview Junction; 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Fine ArtsRyder Film Series: “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present“; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Rachael’s CafeWakefield; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Serendipity Martini Bar — Live Turkish music, Istanbul Breeze; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdThomas Rhett; 9pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Blue“; 9:30pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGreg Behrendt; 10:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumUB Films: “Katy Perry: Part of Me;” 11pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Fleshpot on 42nd Street“; Midnight

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • “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

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • What It Means to Be Human,” by Michele Heather Pollock; through September 29th
  • Land and Water,” by Ruth Kelly; through September 29th

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works; through October 11th

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits opening September 28th:

  • 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

ART ◗ Boxcar BooksExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Papercuts by Ned Powell; through September

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • Bloomington: Then and Now,” presented by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • “Doctors and Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical professions

The Electron Pencil. Go there. Read. Like. Share.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later.” — Mark Twain

THE END

When I was a kid, magazines often carried cartoons featuring a robed, bearded guy walking the big city streets and carrying a sign that read, “The End Is Near.”

Usually the punch line would be delivered by a couple of passing businessmen, one of whom would muse to the other on how that end would affect his promotion or raise or his wife’s meatloaf.

Looking back, I suppose those cartoons reflected our need to deal with the specter of nuclear annihilation. On a less literal level, the general uneasiness over the burgeoning civil rights and women’s movements caused people to realize the world they were familiar with really was coming to an end.

May As Well Laugh

By and by, the Soviet Union collapsed and blacks and women began taking their rightful places in society. Lo and behold, the world didn’t end.

Now, we’re back to wondering if the end is near again. Climate change, our own vulnerability in the wake of 9/11, a crashed economy, internet panics, genetically modified foodstuffs, a black man as president, gay marriage, and even the Mayan calendar silliness have caused many to wonder if these are the last days.

They’re not. As George Carlin observed, we give ourselves too much credit. We can’t destroy the Earth, he said. It’s been here for billions of years and our societies have only been around for a few tens of thousands of years.

Carlin

The world has been struck by comets and asteroids, it’s been convulsed by earthquakes, it has experienced droughts and floods and been scoured by Ice Ages. Still it spins and life on it continues to grow and diversify.

Carlin even mentioned the crazy glut of discarded plastic bags accumulating in our oceans and across the land. He said the Earth, as it’s done since it came together eons ago, will just come up with a way of incorporating them into itself.

Part Of The Earth Now

We can’t end the Earth, Carlin concluded, we can only end ourselves.

And, I’d add, even that’d be awfully tough to accomplish. We tried our damnedest to wipe ourselves out back in the 1930s and 40s. World War II was the most violent spasm humanity has ever gone through. Anywhere from 60 to 100 million people were slaughtered during the hostilities. Yet here we are.

We’ve figured out a lot of things since the first hominids swung down from the trees and began branching off into proto-humanity. One thing we haven’t figured out, though, is perspective. Sometimes it seems we’re even regressing on that front.

In the 1960s, people who warned that the end was near were considered cartoon characters. Today they’re called in by the cable news channels to offer expert opinions.

GOIN’ TO THE CANDIDATES’ DEBATE

Remember that line from Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson”? Make sure to catch the vid at the bottom of this post.

Just a reminder: get yourself over to Bloomington High School South tonight for the debate between the five Democratic candidates for US Congress in Indiana’s 9th District.

BHSS is located at 1965 S. Walnut Street. The debate begins at 7:00 and runs for an hour and a half.

If you can’t make it, at least visit the candidates’ websites:

The primary is Tuesday, May 8th. The winner takes on Republican Todd Young in the November general election.

SINGING THE NEWS

Got two pieces of news at Bloomington Information Central — AKA the Book Corner — yesterday.

First, Maarten Bout, one of the big chiefs over at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, was brimming with the news that the first show of the 2012-2013 season has been set. Rufus Wainwright will play the venue on Tuesday, August 7th.

Wainwright

A few minutes later, Tom Roznowski ambled in, wearing his trademark fedora and a smart gray-on-gray retro ensemble. Bloomington’s storyteller, singer, author, and general custodian said he’s got a show lined up Saturday in Greenfield and his next hometown gig will be Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13th, 6:00 pm at The Player’s Pub.

Roznowski

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

◗ Bloomington, Citywide — IU’s Arts Week Everywhere 2012; Ongoing, various times

The Kinsey Institute Gallery “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze,” exhibit, art by women examining men; Ongoing, 1:30-5pm

Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibition, “Esse Quam Videri (To Be Rather Than To Seem),” featuring Muslim self-portraits; 9am-4:30pm

Grunwald (SOFA) GalleryIU MFA & BFA Thesis 3 Exhibitions; Noon-XXX, through May 5th

Sembower FieldIU Baseball vs. Miami of Ohio; 4pm

Myers Hall, Indiana Molecular Biology Institute — Seminar, keynote speaker Dr. Don Ennis, University of Louisiana, “Mechanisms of Mycobacterium Marinum Transmission between Fish”; 4pm

Puccini’s La Dolce VitaYoung Professionals of Bloomington monthly meeting; 5:30-8pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsGreg Jacobs presents “The Art of Wellness — Finding Wellness in a Health-Challenged Society”; 5:30pm

Bloomington City Hall, McCloskey Room — Erin Asher Meager presents “Creative Healing,” South Central Arts WORK Indiana meeting; 5:30-7pm

First Christian ChurchMoney Smart Week & the Indiana Attorney General’s office present “Schemes, Scams, and Flim-Flams”; 5:30pm

Jake’s NightclubKaraoke Tuesdays; 6pm

Patricia’s Wellness Arts Cafe & Quilter’s Comfort TeasUnfinished Object Night & Up-cycle Evening; 6:30-8:30pm

Bloomington High School SouthDebate, Democratic candidates for US Congress, Indiana’s 9th District; 7-8:30pm

Cafe DjangoJazz Jam; 7-10pm

First United Methodist ChurchSymphonic Bells of Bloomington Spring Concert; 7:30-8:30pm

Show-Me’sPoker; 7:30pm

The Player’s PubBlues Jam; 8pm

Farm Bloomington, Root Cellar — Tuesday Trivia; 8-10pm

The Palace Theatre of Brown County, Nashville– Cowboy Sweethearts; 8pm

Madame Walker Theatre CenterAuditions for “Queen Esther: A Fearless Shero”; 6-8pm

Max’s PlaceScott Bender’s Showcase; 8pm

AS PROMISED

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