Category Archives: Elvis Presley

The Pencil Today:


“I think I’m constantly in a state of adjustment.” — Patti Smith


Now, that’s more like it.

My soul has been cleansed by yesterday’s act of public contrition. Confession, you might call it, albeit a secular form of the holy Catholic rite. Isn’t that what the Internet and blogging are for? To bare one’s soul, to let the world know of one’s triumphs and foibles, to shout out to upward of a billion wired citizens of Earth what one ate for breakfast this morning?

Yes, I experienced catharsis by proclaiming to the Internet-connected inhabitants of this little blue dot that I should not have wished to pummel the faces of those two smug little shits whose lyrical ode to Rick Santorum has become a You Tube/Facebook sensation.

Looking For A Strong Man To Tell Them What To Do With Their Wombs

Confession. Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has, in fact, been 42 years since my last confession.

Yep, I did it last in my freshman year at Fenwick High School, all-boys at the time, a highly disciplined college prep school for which my parents scrimped and saved to pay the $675 annual tuition, at the time a princely sum.

They did it so I could spend my days around a better class of juveniles than the hoodlums whom I’d begun to join nightly behind the fieldhouse at Amundsen Park, where we smoked cigarettes, drank Boone’s Farm Apple Wine, and engaged in the occasional fistfight.

A mere two weeks after school had started in that September of 1970, my father and I attended the Father and Son Communion Breakfast. A confessional box was set up just outside the Boulevard Room where the Mass was to be held, a convenience for all those high-achievement daddy-os whose jobs were too demanding for them to get to confession earlier in the week.

My old man said, “Do you need to go to confession?” It was more an accusation than a question. I nodded yes and so he and I both got into line. We waited a few minutes for the bankers and real estate execs ahead of us to unburden themselves of the sin, presumably, of keeping Chicagoland the most segregated metropolitan area in the nation.

What my father had to confess I could not speculate. He worked all day at a cardboard box factory, came home after dark, ate dinner, donned his Bermuda shorts, slipped his socks just over his heels but left them on to keep his toes warm as he lay back in his recliner to watch the “Flip Wilson Show” or “Marcus Welby, MD.” Within 15 minutes he’d be snoring, his toasty toes pointed toward heaven.

Flip Wilson (As Geraldine) With Burt Reynolds

“Joe!” my mother would yell, eliciting from him an alarmed snort. “For chrissakes, I can’t even hear the TV!” At which point he’d stop snoring, shift in his chair, and promptly re-commence his apneal symphony within a minute or two.

What in Our Father’s name did he have to confess? I couldn’t know at the time; I would learn many years later.

A more compelling question was, What did I have to confess? I was a 14-year-old dweeb, wearing horn-rimmed glasses, having a slight problem with acne (concealed, or so I thought, by the pancake layer of Clearisil I wore on my face) and still a good five years away from my very first sexual experience — with another person, that is.

Fighting The Good Fight

Well, there you go — I could have confessed any or all of the several thousand times I’d engaged in self-pollution since my previous confession but, of course, I didn’t. How could I tell a priest that I touched myself?

(Lucky I was skittish about it — he might have interpreted such a confession as a come-on.)

“… And Then There Was The Time With The French Bread….”

All I remember is I told him some generic, made-up stuff — I disobeyed my parents and I lied three times. Yeah, that was my last confession.

Until yesterday. Phew. If I believed in god, I’d feel forgiven. If I believed I had a soul, I’d be certain it was spotless.

I believe in the Internet, though. I’ve got my Comcast broadband bill right here on my desk.

Forgive me, Page Viewers, for I have sinned.


The first time The Loved One and I ever passed Batchelor Middle School on Bloomington’s west side, I pointed at the facility and said, “Oh look, there’s a state prison.”

No joke. The two of us had to pass the joint by again yesterday, on the way to TLO’s friend’s house. It still looks like a correctional institution.

I ask you this: What sort of cruel school board would hire such a sadistic architect to design the grim, forbidding gulag that is the Batchelor Middle School?

From my own experience I know that the difference between dropping out and staying in school can hinge on the slightest factor. A mean teacher. An episode of harassment.

How about reporting every morning to a featureless concrete blockhouse set far back in a field as if to protect the surrounding environs from the inmates within?

I know if I were a Batchelor inmate, I could easily be walking toward the place one day and suddenly stop and say to myself, “Screw it.”


The culture of an entire society can change within a single lifetime. Want proof?

Check this vid.

Number 47 said to Number 3

You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see.

I sure would be delighted with your company

Come on and do the jailhouse rock with me.

It should be noted that as Elvis sings that fourth line, he’s thrusting his hips.

Jailhouse Rock, 1957: a movie scene for teenaged girls to swoon over.

Jailhouse Rock, 2012: incidental music for streaming gay porn



The Pencil Today:


“The trouble with being a hypochondriac these days is that antibiotics have cured all the good diseases.” — Caskie Stinnett

Read On To Find Out Why I Put Up This Pic Of A Big Toe (And Its Buddies)


Life is not fair. We should all know it. The only people who cry about this state of affairs are those who expect life to be fair.

That, of course, is what kindergarteners think. BTW: Remember the rage for that gooey book by Robert Fulghum — “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”?

The man should have been incarcerated (right after Robert James Waller, whose “The Bridges of Madison County” hit it big around the same time.)

And who’s heard of Fulghum (or Waller) in the last decade or so? They’ve been swallowed up by the anonymity they so richly deserve.


Life has nothing to do with kindergarten.

Anyway, I didn’t post yesterday because I spent the morning in my doctor’s office. The diagnosis: gout.

Isn’t that the dumbest goddamn disease you’ve ever heard of? I mean, honestly.

It doesn’t kill you. It doesn’t maim you. It just hurts to high heaven, to the point where you can’t even sleep at night.


And its image really, really stinks. Unless you’re knowledgeable about it, the first thing you think of when you hear the word gout is some fat slob like Henry VIII, gorging himself on fatty, rich foods until his body rebels against him.


Nobody’s gonna hold a charity walk for that.

The truth, as my old pal and colleague Benny Jay found out a couple of years ago, is another story.

Benny’s my age but as trim as a 25-year-old. He eats like monk, rarely drinks, and runs every day. I really hate him. Yet he got gout. The docs told him he had a genetic predisposition for it.

When I first heard he had it, I immediately chided him: “So, you’ve been eating all the wrong crap, huh?”

If You Eat Pâté de Foie Gras, You Deserve Gout

I thought he was going to clobber me. He set me straight about what a straight-arrow he is (did I mention I hate him?) He really educated me about gout, too.

So when it felt as though a safe had fallen on my left big toe Monday night and I came to the conclusion I had gout, I didn’t put myself through the self-flaggelation that most sufferers do.

Still, gout is stupid. And life is not fair.


Don’t google pix of big toes, as I had to do to find the image above.

I didn’t know exactly what I expected to find. Figuring it’s the Internet and I was looking for images of a certain body part, I suppose I thought most of the results would be porn sites. The human capacity to fetishize things for masturbatorial gratification is positively amazing.

To my dismay, the vast majority of big toe images were 73 times more disgusting than any foot porn could be. (And BTW: did you know Goethe, Thomas Hardy, Elvis Presley, and Andy Warhol were foot fetishists? Man!)

For god’s sake people, take care of your toes!

And while we’re at it, men should never wear sandals. Yeah, I know, it feels comfortable, but the rest of us don’t want to see how you’ve ignored toe care for the last 20 years.

Women Can Get Away With It


In more pedestrian matters (hehe, a pun) the Herald Times yesterday ran an editorial calling for consolidation of the Monroe County and City of Bloomington governments.

That’s what Indy did with Marion County back in 1970. They call their set-up Unigov. Louisville, Kentucky and Jefferson County did it, too, in 2003, dubbing their marriage Metro Louisville. Former mayor Jerry Abramson used to brag that his town had become the 16th biggest city in the nation. Unfortunately, no one else bought into that conceit.

The editorial cites the county’s election day screw-up and the County Auditor’s credit card mini-scandal among the reasons the two entities should merge.

We’ll be listening for the reactions of the folks in Ellettsville, Stinesville, and Smithville.


State Senator Vi Simpson wants to get her hands on some of that $300 million of state money auditors found laying around last month.

Vi Simpson

Apparently, she’s interested in directing some of that dough toward state school districts that have had to endure — mirabile dictu! — some $300 million in state cutbacks of late.

Doesn’t she know these are more prudent, conservative times we live in? And she wants to throw away money on kids’ educations? Sheesh.


Just a little taste from what I consider one of the 10 greatest American movies ever made. Sheer pleasure for the ears and eyes.

Today: Sunday, November 13, 2011


Penn State lost. Good. May they never win another game again.

Joe Pa’s Statue Being Molested By Penn State Fanatic


Indiana University employees are raising a stink about having to pay a larger share of their health insurance premiums, according The Herald Times (log-in required).

Some 800 IU wage slaves have signed an online petition asking for more time to mull the huge increase. IU honchos say the increase is set in stone, so tough luck, kiddies.

The hike will hit IU workers who make about $10 an hour hardest. The university did agree to a slim wage increase for this school year ($1.5-3 percent) but additional expenses like the health insurance premium pretty much offset it.

I hate to be a nudge (well, alright, I love to be a nudge) but I just want to remind the world that Big Chief Michael A. McRobbie is enjoying his hefty pay raise this year. The school’s pres is making $533,120 in 2011-12, an increase of 12 percent over lost year’s paltry sum.

Higher Premium? No Prob.

Jes sayin’.


Yeah, yeah, I know I’m supposed to villify Senator Richard Lugar  but I can’t help but thinking he isn’t all bad.

You know, we progressives are mandated by blood oath to abhor all Republicans. They are, after all, the spawn of Adolf and Eva, but — silly me — I’m just a contrarian.

Commentator Mike Leonard in today’s H-T heaps kudos on the 79-year-old running for his sixth term in the Senate for a piece of legislation Lugar co-sponsored 20 years ago. Lugar and Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat, successfully pushed through the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program Act in 1992.

The bill authorized this holy land to spend tons of dough to help the nations of the former Soviet Union find and destroy nuclear weapons that had been positioned within their borders. The Soviet Union, natch, wasn’t the most open of hegemonists when it planted the big bangers within such wild spots as Azerbaijan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.

The Act led to the destruction of at least 7500 nukes as well as thousands of delivery systems and tons of fissionable materials.

Here Is Soviet Gift To You, Mr. and Mrs. America

For you younger readers, the Act was the result of something we used to refer to as “bipartisan cooperation,” a quaint concept that means Democrats and Republicans working together.

I know, weird, huh?


Sam Allison is quitting his job as Monroe County Board member.

I met Sam on election night, 2010, when his fellow Dems across the nation were dropping like flies under the onslaught of the Me Party-ists. Even Bloomington congressman Baron Hill got fired by the voters that sad night.

Not Slick, Just Decent

Allison had been the County Recorder and was running for the first time for County Council. He and his lovely bride hung around the Democratic campaign headquarters on 3rd Street. Gloom descended upon the place as results came in. The figures showed Allison winning early in the night, though. Too bad his moment of triumph came in what was essentially a funeral parlor.

Sam Allison seemed a decent and humble man. Those qualities, apparently, didn’t hinder his political career. Now his lovely bride has scored a big new gig in Missouri so Sam, faithful mate that he is, is following her.

Good luck.


Heaven Is For Real” is still the number one paperback bestseller in this holy land, according to the New York Times Review of Books.  Next week will mark a full year since it hit the list. That ain’t all: Somehow, the hardcover version is still among the top movers in that category, sitting at number 26 this week.

It’s The Big One!

“Heaven…” recounts young Colton Burpo’s trip to paradise after his appendix burst when he was three years old. The book was written by his father, Todd Burpo, an evangelical pastor from Nebraska. Old man Burpo’s co-writer was the controversial Lynn Vincent who co-penned another other work of bizarre fantasy, “Going Rogue,” with Sarah Palin.

The book is joined on the coffee tables of the willfully credulous by “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” at number 17. This one is the tale of a six year old kid who falls into a two-month coma after a car accident. The kid, of course, comes as close as can be to joining the putative creator of the universe in his palatial digs but somehow finds the strength to come back to Earth because, you know, any place with the Taliban and Donald Trump in it has to be preferable to eternal paradise.

Screw Heaven; I’d Rather Be Around This Guy!

Anyway, this whole I’m-precious-enough-to-be-brought-to-the-doorstep-of-god thing got me to searching the interwebs for other fascinating folks who’ve seen the bright light. Sure enough, Hollywood is filled with ’em!

One website that finds the whole phenomenon credible lists the following souls as having entered the tunnel and coming back:

● Liz Taylor

● Sharon Stone

● Gary Busey

● Larry Hagman

● Erik Estrada

● Burt Reynolds

● Ozzy Osbourne

● and the King himself, Elvis Presley

So, you tell me, who ya gonna believe, a bunch of dumb scientists or Erik Estrada?

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