Category Archives: Dr. Seuss

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Turn on to politics or politics will turn on you.” — Ralph Nader

JENNA WANTS MITT TO LICK BARACK

Retired porn star Jenna Jameson has endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Don’t you love it?

“When you’re rich,” Jenna reasons, “you want a Republican in office.”

Family Values

To balance things out, the incomparable Ron Jeremy is behind the President. Poor Barack.

WHOSE SIDE ARE THEY ON?

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.

The Boss

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.

Obejas

Achy points out the latest lunatic pronouncement from a member of the holier-than-thou gang. It seems Bryan Fischer, one of the paid squealers for the American Family Association, has called for good, god-fearing citizens to save children being raised by same-sex couples.

Well, perhaps the word save isn’t quite right here. How about kidnap?

Achy’s got a horse in this race. Her wife, Megan, gave birth to a son last year. Achy swears she’s never been happier.

IN YEARS AHEAD, HE WOULD NOT BE TED

Here a sample of some graphic ad work a then-unknown artist named Theodore Geisel did back in the 1930s and 40s:

Recognize the style? Geisel later became Dr, Seuss.

See more at “25 Advertisements by Dr. Seuss Before He Was Dr. Seuss” on BuzzFeed.

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.”

“What If?” From XKCD

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 and 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.

Caps Off PleaseComics & fun.

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.

Bear’s PlaceJazz Fables: Mr. Taylor and His Dirty Dixie Band; 5:30pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Americana Showcase; 6-8:30pm

Monroe County Public LibraryMonthly meeting, Bloomington Transportation Options for People; 6:30pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “To Rome with Love”; 7pm

Cafe DjangoJeff Isaac Trio; 8-10pm

The Comedy AtticTim Wilson; 8pm

Serendipity Martini BarTeam trivia; 8:30pm

Max’s PlaceWake the Dead; 9pm

The BluebirdApollo Quad; 9pm

The BishopHome Blitz, Bloody Mess, The Tsunamis; 9:30pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

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

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “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

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” — Aristotle

A MOUNTAIN OF ICE CREAM

I don’t know exactly why, but I’ve been a bit down the last few days.

Now, I had no intention of being a buzz killer for the holiday so I was really steaming up my cranium, trying to figure out something gay (in the word’s old school definition) to say.

Not Me!

Wouldn’t you know it — this crazy, mixed-up world came to my rescue.

Here’s a flash from our friends in Ft. Wayne. Police had to block off Interstate 69 yesterday because there’d been an ice cream spill.

Yes, yes, yes — 40,000 pounds of ice cream covered the pavement after the truck carrying it had tipped over. And, as icing on the cream, the truck driver suffered only minor injuries.

It’s A Tough Job But Somebody’s Gotta Do It

The truck had been carrying thousands of cylindrical containers of Edy’s ice cream. They rolled around on the concrete in the near-freezing temps.

How about that for a Merry Christmas? Can you imagine what Roald Dahl would have done with this story?

BALANCE

Okay, I did my duty — I went positive to open today’s proceedings. You know I wouldn’t be myself without visiting the dark side, so here goes.

Kpop is evil. That’s all I have to say about it. Evil.

BRAINY KIDS

Back to the good news: three Bloomington elementary schools made the state’s Four Star School list. Binford, Childs, and Lakeview’s ISTEP grades all made it into Indiana’s top 25th percentile. Nice job.

Now, make sure the kids do not listen to Kpop.

I CAN’T HELP MYSELF

Here I go, slipping into darkness again. Ranker.com today offers the 13 Most Horrifying Classic Christmas Songs of All Time:

  1. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
  2. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
  3. Santa Baby (Eartha Kitt version)
  4. 12 Days of Christmas
  5. The Christmas Shoes
  6. Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Dean Martin tries to force sex on a woman!)
  7. Away in a Manger
  8. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (by the Jackson 5 — need I say more?)
  9. Do They Know It’s Christmas? (the Band Aid treacle from 1984: “And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time” — snow in Africa?)
  10. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
  11. Winter Wonderland (two little kids want to get married and then have the snowfall cover up their ensuing secret activities)
  12. Jingle Bells
  13. Please, Daddy (by John Denver — which is bad enough — the first line is “Please, Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas”; and I was afraid of being a buzz kill?)

CLOSING ON A HIGH NOTE

Christmas Eve 1968 was cold and sunny in Chicago. I remember having to ride with my daddy-o to the Walgreen’s late in the afternoon to pick something up even as my sisters and their families were arriving at the house. The sunset was glorious, with high red, mauve, and violet clouds in the extreme southwest. It was one of those moments I knew I’d remember for the rest of my life. I flicked on the AM radio and this song came on:

Merry Christmas to all my Christian friends and Happy Giftmas to everyone else.

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“How did it get late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness, how the time has flewn. How did it get late so soon?” — Dr. Seuss

MORNING BECOMES NIGHT

Yep, I’m late with my post today. Sue me.

OH, THOSE WACKY PAGANS!

Happy Winter Solstice!

The Shortest Day At Stonehenge

LET’S GO HALVSIES

Conventional wisdom has it that Congress isn’t working. It’s broke.

Pundits, wags, and the guy behind you in the grocery checkout line all agree — our men and women in the United States House of Representatives and the Senate can’t compromise, can’t work together, and flat out can’t effectively legislate anymore.

Only a fool would say otherwise.

Call me a fool.

Maybe — just maybe — Congress for the first time in generations is actually representing the people.

The Representative Of Our Dreams

I know this sounds crazy coming from a guy who firmly believes far too many of our politicians are in thrall to huge corporate interests and the bushels-full of cash wealthy campaign donors throw at them.

That’s still all true. But, strangely, I believe a bothersome percentage of the citizenry also buys into the thought processes and philosophies of plutocrats, robber barons, hyper-capitalists and other frightening creatures.

I’m not happy about it. I wish all people would understand that the interests of transnational corporations and Midas-rich individuals are at best not their interests and at worst — and far too often — exactly opposite our needs.

Gold-Leaf Toilet Paper

But that would take education, calm discussion, and rational discourse — none of which is terribly thrilling to a huge swath of residents of this holy land.

So, they believe unfettered capitalism equals freedom and that the market is protected by some mystical, god-like invisible hand. And that the rich are just like us. It’s this nation’s semi-official religion.

And, as I do whenever I pontificate about religion, I call bullshit.

Nevertheless, the vicars of Adam Smith and Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan are still among us, muttering incantations and sprinkling holy water on us in the form of grudgingly dispensed tax holidays and insufficient incentives.

We’re a species that needs to believe even (or, especially?) when the belief is based on nothing.

A Lot Of Us Actually Do Want A Solid Gold Toilet

So, if half of us believe in economic ghosts and I think they’re as wrong as flat-earthers, that half is still out there and they vote. And their guys are in office.

Those guys used to be called, simply, Republicans. What depresses me is that a pile of Democrats are buying into that religion now, too.

Sure, there’s talk of the 1 percent and the 99 percent. Street protesters and my leftie friends say, How can anybody defend the 1 percent?

Easy, I say. The religion of these Great United States, Inc. holds that any of us can become part of the 1 percent, if only we work hard enough, are crafty enough, and ignore messy government regulations enough.

If only.

Now, back to Congress.Why does it seem to be stuck?

Can it be that at this moment in history half of us buy into the prevailing economic religion and half of us don’t?

That half of us want our fellow citizens to be self-sufficient and hard-working because that’s the magic formula for prosperity?

And that the other half think the deck is stacked against the little guy so we need to help people when they’re unemployed, when they’re sick, and even when they go to jail?

A Lazy Bum Or A Brother In Need?

That half of us are scared to death that we’re fouling our air, water, and land to such an extent that disaster is right around the corner? And the other half is just as scared that environmental protections will shatter the economy?

I can go on but you get the point. This is a weird era — call it the Era of the Two Halves. And Congress’s seeming inability to work is merely a reflection of the duality in our national consciousness.

A simple historical example. When Harold Washington was elected the first black mayor of Chicago, the city population was almost precisely divided into black and white.

Just about half of Chicagoans suffered the vapors when Washington was sworn in. The other half danced in the streets.

Dancing In The Streets

The city’s aldermen split similarly. Washington allies like Tim Evans and Bobby Rush bickered daily with the anti Washington bloc, led by Ed Vrdolyak and Ed Burke. I don’t think I need to identify any of these esteemed statesmen by color, do I?

Anyway, over the next four years, until Washington gorged himself into a fatal heart attack, the two sides of the City Council couldn’t get a thing done. The stalemate became a punchline. National politic wags snorted in derision.

My old pal, the comedian Aaron Freeman even created an entire act based on the city’s troubles. He called it Council Wars. He’d go on stage around the city and the country, telling the tale of Darth Vrdolyak battling Harold Skywalker.

Council Wars

The real funny thing was, it was the epitome of democracy. No matter that one side was at very least crypto-racist. That was a given.

Even if I completely disagree with the other guy’s side, if I’m a true democrat (small d) I have to accept his or her position. Believe me, I didn’t like it then as much as I don’t like it mow.

But it doesn’t really matter what I like or dislike in a democracy, does it?

In any case, as I said, Washington stuffed sandwiches into his mouth until his heart grew to the size of old Comiskey Park. On November 25, 1987, he dropped a pencil next to his desk during a meeting, bent over to pick it up, and his heart’s electrical system exploded. He was dead before the other people in the room started to wonder why he wasn’t sitting back up.

Only two years later, Richie Daley was elected mayor on the strength of a coalition of voters that was black and white. People forgot what Council Wars was all about. And now the city even has a Jewish mayor.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Stalemates never last. This one won’t either.

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“Fun is good.” — Theodore Geisel

POLITICAL FAVORS

A certain handsome reporter/blogger/smart ass was walking up Walnut Street in the brilliant sunshine Saturday afternoon. At 6th Street he ran into the Honorable Regina Moore, newly reelected Clerk of the great city of Bloomington.

The reporter revealed to Moore that he is working on a Top 10 Local Political Stories of 2011 piece for the upcoming issue of Peter LoPilato’s Ryder magazine. “Oh, ______,” Moore said, tugging at the reporter’s jacket sleeve, “do me a favor. Put in the piece that I got more votes than Mayor Kruzan.”

Let’s Make A Deal

I won’t reveal the reporter’s name because, in addition to being handsome, he is modest.

Moore continued. “All you have to do is put in a footnote or something. Nothing much. I can’t wait to show it to the Mayor!”

Consider it done, Regina. Um…, I mean, I’ll bet he does it.

POLITICAL ROCK STAR

City Council president Susan Sandberg got a kick out of the Beach Boys vid we ran in these parts Friday.

She revealed in the comments section that as a callow, hotsy-totsy youth, she formed a garage band called The Tsunamis. They played — you guessed it — California surf music.

Bloomington may be fortunate Susan’s band went nowhere as she now leads us boldly into the 21st Century. But alas, the world suffers.

What a chick troika it could have been — Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Susan Sandberg.

Or, The Dem Girls — Regina Moore, Susan Sandberg, & Isabel Piedmont-Smith

WE DO FACEBOOK SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO

This is a No Spamily, No Brattle zone.

◗ My old East Pilsen neighbor and pal Rachel Thole, now of the Bay Area, links to an Onion newscast that would be freaking hilarious — if it weren’t so uncomfortably close to a serious newscast.

Al Yellon of Chicago was hot on this Saturday night, beating NPR by a day and a half. Seems that there’s a reality show about Muslim families living in the Detroit area. It shows them — get ready for this shocker — as normal, everyday Americans. Well, this just won’t do; this holy land’s Christian Taliban blew a gasket and threatened to condemn the show’s advertisers to hell. As far as I’m concerned, hell is having to live in a world where religious fundamentalists call the cultural shots.

Jan Takehara of — where else? — Chi-town, reminds us of Dion DiMucci, former front man for Dion & the Belmonts and, later, a solo act. Dion recorded a beautiful and touching song after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. “Abraham, Martin, and John” became a hit in late 1968. It was the first song that ever made me cry. To this day, I still tear up when I hear it.

Hey, Bloomington Facebookers: you’re falling down on the job. Start posting some stuff I can use here, okay?

ANYBODY HERE SEEN MY OLD FRIEND…?

Here’s Dion’s (and Dick Holler’s) homage to King:

%d bloggers like this: