Category Archives: Cosmetic Surgery

Hot Air

Money For Nothin’

Try as I might, I can’t seem to find a Las Vegas over/under line on when the first Article of Impeachment against Barack Obama will be passed by a House committee.


You know it’s coming as well as I do. I just want to get my smart money down on it now.

A Good Woman For The Job

Congrats to Efrat Feferman on her promotion to Assistant Director in charge of finance over at Pat Murphy’s City of Bloomington Utilities Dept.



With Efrat keeping an eye on the operation’s checkbook don’t expect anybody to get away with purchasing $100,000 oriental rugs for their offices or solid gold sinks for the exec. washroom. She started off in the accounting department when she first went to work for Utilities some years ago and has been handling Utilities Board relations of late. Her new gig begins Dec. 1st.

Brrrrrr…, GRRRRR!

Hey Bloomington, WTF? I left Chicago to get away from this kind of weather!


Just in case you’ve forgotten, the official start of winter is more than a month away.

Self Abuse

You know those ridiculous “ear plugs” — AKA “lobe gauging,” or “tribal piercing” — where people, mostly guys, get their earlobes punched out and stretched by inserting cylindrical thingies into them? Well, a number of people who’ve had it done are now regretting their decisions. Duh.

Cosmetic surgeons in Great Britain say trade in earlobe repair due to this misguided mutilation is robust. And even though Brits report more gauging ruers than their American counterparts, plastic surgeons here have noticed an uptick in the procedure as well.

So far, the only thing docs can do is slice the saggy, droopy lobe loop off and refashion the remaining flesh to look somewhat natural.

Lobe Loop


My back office at Soma Coffee affords me ample opportunity to see guys with ear plugs. They don’t put me off my feed as much as they once did, familiarity breeding numbness, as it were. I do remember a guy who took the gauging thing to a whole new level of bizarre. One of my old coffeehouse hangout/back offices was called Bic’s Hardware Cafe on Halsted Street down by 18th Street in Chi.’s East Pilsen neighborhood. A fellow who came in to the place on occasion not only had ear plugs but his loops were so big you could have fired a gun though them and still missed hitting him in the head. He’d looped the septum of his nose as well. He was, I’d suppose, a gauging savant.

So much so, in fact, that he’d actually had his ankles looped. Yep. Here’s how it worked: He’d pierced the skin and flesh between his Achilles tendons and his lower leg bones. Somehow — perhaps surgically — he’d had the apertures looped so that you could actually see the space, perhaps an inch or so, between sinew and bone. Natch, he had a cylindrical bangle dangling from each hole.

Ankle Hole Location

I was wearing a hat the first time I saw him; it popped up the top of my head.

Now, defenders may say these gaugers have a right to do whatever they wish with their bodies and I guess that’s true. On the other hand, it’s like a developer building the ugliest skyscraper in the skyline. It’s an imposition on the senses and sensibilities of the rest of us. Just as I’m forced to have my eyes violated by the architectural monstrosity below, the man at Bic’s Hardware Cafe forced me to view the gap between his Achilles tendons and tibiae.

Grand Lisboa

The Grand Lisboa Hotel In Macau

Love & Hate

My pal Susan Sandberg has a dame crush on IUPUI prof and blogger Sheila Kennedy. Not to be outdone, I have a guy crush on Chicago Sun-Times columnist and blogger Neil Steinberg. Of course, you would know this if you’ve visited these precincts the last…, what is it now — two and a half years? Yeah, that’s it. I left The Third City in August 2011, circumnavigated the globe as a merchant marine for six months and then started up this communications colossus.

Anyways, Steinberg thinks much like I do, meaning he’s sensitive, intelligent, rational, and right. He pointed out yesterday a bumper sticker he saw on an SUV in a northwest suburban restaurant parking lot. It read GTFO.

The O was Barack Obama’s old campaign logo. Meaning the prez of this holy land should Get the Fuck Out. Which, I suppose, might disappoint in some slight way the plurality of voters who twice elected him to park his wingtips on a desk in the Oval Office.

Steinberg went on to muse about people who are so madly in hate with Obama. In the process of which, he pointed out that there’s a whole cottage industry of products, services, and miscellaneous shit revolving around said hatred and the countdown to that sacred day when the current C-in-C leaves office, January 20, 2017.

(As an aside, my guess is they won’t be happy that day either as the next president — a human being with a vagina — takes office. Then again, the entrepreneurial spirit being what it is, a whole slew of new products, services, and miscellaneous shit will come to market counting down the days until January 20, 2021.)

So, I figured I’d embark on an interwebs reconnaissance mission to search for things similar to that GTFO bumper sticker (as Steinberg himself did; although he did not itemize his findings.) Here’s what I’ve found:

More Bumper Stickers

Bumper Sticker

Bumper Sticker

Bumper Sticker


Bumper Sticker

I Must Be a Double Asshole!

Bumper Sticker

Naw — This Isn’t Racist One Eensy Bit!

Bumper Sticker


Countdown Clocks

Countdown Clock

Countdown Clock



Simple & Elegant




For That Bad Taste In Your Mouth

Toilet Paper

Bumper Sticker

Toilet Paper

These last two are fascinating. Imagine, every time a guy goes into his bathroom — even if it’s only to wash his hands — he sees the face of Barack Obama staring at him. How much hate does one have to have in one’s heart to want to see the object of his odium every time he brushes his teeth, clips his toenails, or drops a deuce? The bathroom, in my world, is the second most important room in the house. I desire peace, tranquility, surfaces free of muck and mire, a clean towel or two, and some comforting reading material in that special place. Anything that might roil my blood would be taboo. Then again, perhaps I don’t hate enough.

Presumably, all the people who buy and display these tchotchkes would profess they’ll be happy — deliriously so — when Barack Obama leaves office. I get the feeling, though, that they’re never happy.

Hottie Hot Air

The Big Opinion

This model…

Unretouched Model

…is hotter than this one:

Retouched Model

As you know if you’re hip to the latest in viral vids, the two women portrayed above are the same person.

Weird, huh?

Even weirder, 99.99 bazillion percent of straight American males would find the “woman” in the second photo more attractive than the one in the first.

I put woman in quotation marks because she doesn’t exist. Anywhere on Earth. She’s a creation of photography tricks, lighting, make-up, Photoshop, and other instruments of propagandist legerdemain.

Everybody and her sister are yowling to high heaven over the damage this kind of institutionalized bullshit does to the fragile psyches of girls and young women. And, no doubt, it does. Why else would scads of young females in the richest nation in the world spend so much time horking up everything they’ve eaten, getting their faces, breasts, and asses sliced up to make them look more “attractive,” and, in general, moping and moaning about how imperfect they look.

That’s a psychiatric epidemic of monumental proportions. They see magazines full of pix of the phony dame and countless others like her and conclude that’s the way a human being should look.

Beauty in this holy land is a manufactured thing. You aren’t born with it, you silly girl, you must buy it. And, natch, you can never buy enough. So you’ll never really be beautiful, will you? Nevertheless, you must always strive for it.

Sisyphus, indeed. Or, more accurately, sissy fuss.

But what about the men? Er, boys?

I say boys because I don’t believe an adult male human with a fully developed sense of appreciation of the dames around him would fall for a faux-filly as portrayed above.

If the beauty commodities industry turns our young females into serial regurgitators, it also wreaks havoc upon teenaged boys and young men.

They live in a world wherein nobody they know, no one they’ve ever met or would even hope to meet, looks like Model No. 2.

And since they, too, have been brainwashed into believing that’s what a beautiful woman should look like, they will never, ever in their lives meet a beautiful woman.

What a bleak outlook!

The loves of their lives will forever be disappointments, at least physically. And how much does that unrequited quest for beauty turn them into bitter, insulting intimate partners.

How many women do you know have said one or more men in their lives have called them fat? I’d say nine of 10 in my experience. And the funny thing is, not a one who has complained of being slurred in this way was actually fat.

Back to that 99.99 bazillion percent of American males; they, as one, would deem the original model above fat.

She isn’t. Not under any rational definition of the word. But she would be judged too fat by the people who define our beauty standards.

Ergo, she is.

Me? Again, I like Model No. 1. She looks prettier. Why? Because she exists.

Man, we are a nation full of dopes.

The Original

The Pencil Today:


“Beauty is not caused. It is.” Emily Dickinson


Loyal readers of this space may remember my thoughts about one Hugh M. Hefner. To refresh, I lauded him for being the leader of the 50s and 60s avant garde knocking down the weird, crushing, Victorianesque walls surrounding sex.

On the other hand, I charged Hefner with creating an equally weird, crushing model of female beauty that was responsible as much as anything for maladies like anorexia, bulimia, and boob jobs.

Hef had a female doppelganger.

Helen Gurley Brown

Helen Gurley Brown did as much as Hefner to make sex okay some five decades ago.

Sex wasn’t invented in the 1960s, but it was transformed from a virtual criminal, borderline psychotic act.

Gurley Brown and Hef were the Mom and Dad of the rebirth of humanity’s second-most natural act.

Helen Gurley Brown died yesterday at the age of 90.

She called herself a “mouseburger” and she held high the banner for tens of millions of other mouseburgers, young women who were neither classically ravishing nor exotically gorgeous. They, too, Gurley Brown said, could be attractive, chic, and smart.

Smart, that is, in the fashion sense.

Like Hefner’s, Gurley Brown’s celebration of then-modern young women went only so far. A Playboy playmate, for instance, might have read “Catcher in the Rye” — maybe — but she had no idea what Marie Curie had accomplished.

More likely, Hef’s playmates, if anything at all, read “Valley of the Dolls.” Gurley Brown’s young women might have, too. No mouseburger, though, ever read “Catcher in the Rye.” In fact, a mouseburger’s most challenging choice in literature probably was, well, Gurley Brown’s own “Sex and the Single Girl.”

Valley Girls: Barbara Parkins, Sharon Tate, Patty Duke

Cosmo cover girls were as other-worldly perfect as Hefner’s centerfolds. Both Playboy and Cosmopolitan leaned heavily on the ministrations of air-brushers to make women spectacular.

Neither a Cosmo cover girl nor a Playboy playmate was a beautiful human being — she was a spectacle.

And tens of millions of young American women have stood on their heads for the last fifty or so years to become, themselves, spectacles.


What they never realized was that despite all the meals they’d ever thrown up, all the makeup they bought and tight jeans they squeezed themselves into, despite all the lips they had plumped up with botox and all the liquid-filled plastic bags they had surgically inserted over their own mammary glands, the bodies and the faces they possessed could never be air-brushed in real life.

Gurley Brown and Hef gave men and women permission to love other people’s bodies. But both made women hate their own.


The Loved One turned me on to Sarah Harmer.

Terrific singer-songwriter and, unlike Cosmo girls and playmates, her beauty — as Emily Dickinson put it — just is.

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.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present & CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

The UniverseA Facebook community of astrophysics and astronomy geeks.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

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


◗ IU Art MuseumNew exhibit: “The Twenty-Four Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; August 14th through December 23rd; 10am-5pm

People’s ParkLunch Concert Series: Don’t Call Me Betty; 11:30am

◗ Corner of Sixth and Madison streets — Tuesday Farmers Market; 4-7pm

The Venue Fine Art & GiftsMohammed Mahdi & Anthony Duncan demonstrate soap making; 5:30-7:30pm

Unitarian Universalist ChurchAudition for the Bloomington Chamber Singers; 5:30pm

◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier men’s soccer; 7pm

Monroe County Public LibraryBloomington Mac Users Group meeting: Apple’s New Operating System; 7-8:30pm

Monroe County Public LibraryIt’s Your Money series: You’re an Adult, Now What?; 7pm

First United Methodist ChurchAudition for The Quarryland Men’s Chorus; 7:30pm

The Root Cellar at Farm Bloomington — Team trivia; 8pm


◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th

  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th

  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th

  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th

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

  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012

  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st

  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th

  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

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