Category Archives: Evolution

Hot Air

Proclamation

Happy Lincoln’s b-day.

Lincoln

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.

— Lincoln

Fools’ Paradise

You know, I can’t take today’s Republicans seriously on anything until they all stop pandering to the goosebrains of this holy land. Case in point: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recently refused to tell a British interviewer whether or not he believes evolution is the real deal.

Creation Museum

A Fairy Tale World

Now, maybe Walker does indeed accept the conventional, non-controversial, empirically demonstrable theory of natural selection by mutation in his heart of hearts. It’s impossible to know. What is inarguable, though, is his unwillingness to offend the willfully ignorant of America.

The Party has to ask itself why it is a magnet for the imbecilic.

Addendum: So, let’s say on some far off day the GOP washes its hands of those who believe their ignorance is as valid as the consensus of the world’s scientific community. As I say, I just may start taking them seriously. I still won’t vote for a Republican, no matter what, until the Party supports the Equal Rights Amendment. So there’s that hurdle to cross.

Atheist Extremism?

So, a lunatic who says he’s an atheist offs a family of Muslims (allegedly) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ergo, he’s an anti-religious bigot whose hatred of the god-loving has driven him to this craven act.

At least that’s how some of the conventional wisdom goes in the aftermath of Tuesday’s slayings.

In fact, The New Republic‘s religion writer Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig yesterday posted a piece indicting what she considers the unseemly “the New Atheism” as embodied by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Bill Maher and other in-your-face unbelievers for Craig Hicks‘ gunplay.

Hicks

Hicks

The religionists of this holy land can’t seem to wrap their minds around the fact that atheism is not a religion. Hell, it’s not even capitalized. It is a nothing, whereas religion is a something. It’s not a club with rules, rituals, a leadership structure, and a set of taboos. Religions are just such clubs.

Sam Harris, noted rationalist author, is no more responsible for Craig Hicks’ (alleged) atrocity than I am for Sam (Momo) Giancana‘s criminal acts since we both had Sicilian antecedents and spent a lot of time in Oak Park, Illinois.

OTOH, religions regularly teach that those who are outside the club are to be pitied, converted, and even socially ostracized. Many, if not most, religions go so far as to say that when non-believers die the putative creator of the Universe will condemn them to an eternity of punishment. Taking this to its illogical conclusion, extremist Sicilians and Oak Parkers will not kill you for not being Sicilians and Oak Parkers but extremist Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others just may bump you off for not buying their god fables. After all, god so does not not give a shit about the beliefs and comforts of infidels that he’s happy to consign them to the fires of everlasting hell. Why, then, should we, the faithful, care about nonbelievers’ Earthly bodies?

I still insist that Muslims around the world should actively distance themselves from, for instance, the Charlie Hebdo killings. So should American Christians condemn slavery, KKK atrocities, and the Indian holocaust, since those things were committed in their god’s name. And modern-day Germans bear a responsibility to say they despise their Nazi history.

But even if an atheist claims to have killed people of faith simply because they have a faith, I’m not obliged to explain to you that, as an atheist, I’m not as evil as he is.

Again, atheism isn’t our shared club. Atheism is nothing.

Hot Air

Refreshed

So, yeah, I’ve taken the last few days off. Loyal Pencillistas have been wandering the streets in a daze, wondering what’s important in the world.

I needed a little time off because, frankly, I was tired of hearing my own voice. After nearly a week of sweet, sweet silence emanating from my normally clackety-clack keyboard, Pencillistas need fret no more; I’m back.

No. 1 No More

Dr. Ben Carson, who thinks this holy land is more than perfect except for all those Democrats and liberals running around in it, has occupied the No. 1 goddamned spot on the best selling hardcover nonfiction list the last few weeks. That is, at least according the New York York Times.

Only in the coming week will Carson be supplanted at the top of the list, by the guy who founded the XKCD website, Randall Munroe. The new No. 1 is Munroe’s What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. (We in the book selling racket get advance peeks at the list.)

Speaking of absurd, let’s ponder the former No. 1 placeholder.

Book Cover

Ben Carson, as you may or may not know, is a rah-rah speaker for the Right and is being touted in some quarters as a potential candidate for President in 2016.

He’s one of those guys who look out their front door and say “Everything looks great in my neighborhood,” and then conclude anybody who’s complaining about their lot either hates America or is a bum.

Carson was the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and professor of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He was a brilliant brain slicer (he retired in 2013) but he’s a tad ill-informed in certain other areas. For instance, he’s fairly certain Barack Obama is both a communist and a Nazi, he thinks America would have turned into Cuba were it not for Fox News and conservative talk radio, and he speaks loudly and forcefully about evolution despite not knowing much about it.

Here are a few Carson nuggets on evolution:

◆ [C]arbon dating and all of these things really don’t mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time. (Right Wing Watch)

◆ (People who believe in evolution) might have more difficulty deriving where their ethics come from, (as opposed to) “Those of us who believe in God and derive our sense of right and wrong and ethics from God’s word” (and who) “have no difficulty whatsoever defining where our ethics come from.” (Media Matters for America)

◆ I certainly believe in the biblical account of creation…. I believe that God is all powerful. He can do anything. So, if he can create a man who was fully mature, he can also create an Earth that is fully mature. (Faith & Liberty)

He also buys into the idea the Christians are a persecuted class in America. He says of his fellow religionists: “They’ve been bludgeoned into silence.”

And that, babies, is one of the bestselling nonfiction author in America.

The Beat Goes On

NFL players, of course, make their living assaulting and battering each other for the joy and pleasure of tens of thousands in the stands and tens of millions sitting before their flat screens.

It follows, then, that many NFL players employ their brutal talents in the areas of give and take with their true loves as well as the disciplining of their small children.

Houston PD

Adrian Peterson Allegedly “Switched” His 4-Year-Old Son

The scarring of one’s child still is considered acceptable in some quarters of this holy land. Many citizens have commented on the interwebs that it’s a damned shame a fellow cannot even spank his child anymore without being hauled in for fingerprints and a portrait. Now, I was never made aware that “spanking” necessarily resulted in abrasions, contusions, and blood, but what do I know? I have no children. (You’re welcome.)

I always figured the drawing of blood was the red line, as it were, that separated good, clean, wholesome child-beating from sadism. A parent, I learned a ways back when, had a responsibility to belt the bejesus out of his or her kid now and again, if only to keep in practice. Marks, blood splatters, or any other identifiable evidence of conscientious brutality were frowned upon.

Still, Minnesota Vikings star running back has garnered a degree of support from the free swingers of America.

Similarly, some have expressed support for Ray Rice. The erstwhile Baltimore Ravens star running clocked his beloved fiancé with such gusto last winter that he was compelled to drag her inert body out of the elevator in which he delivered the KO. One commentator of note who has not joined the tsk-ing chorus is Rush Limbaugh; in fact, Limbaugh decried the “feminizing” of our holy war AKA football after Rice was fired for allowing his roundhouse to be recorded.

That’s no surprise. What was shocking this past Sunday afternoon, however, was the presence of numerous females at the Baltimore Ravens game actually wearing Ray Rice jerseys.

Ravens Fan

Supporting The Ravens, The USA, And Domestic Violence

I’ll listen to arguments that the psychology of the victim of spousal abuse is so fercockt that one can’t expect her to easily exit her situation. No argument on this good Earth, though, can convince me that any female — nor, for that matter, any male — has a justification for wearing a Ray Rice jersey. It is, de facto, an asshole move.

As if all that’s not hive-inducing enough, word came this weekend that San Francisco 49ers radio announcer Ted Robinson was suspended for two games for criticizing Janay Rice. Robinson came down on her for not speaking up about the pounding she received from her then-fiancé as well as her subsequent decision to marry the man who separated her, admittedly temporarily, from consciousness. “That, to me. is the saddest part of it,” Robinson said on air a week ago yesterday.

Given that piling on Janay Rice is viewed as a personal foul by scads of folks in this USA, it still must be conceded that whatever Robinson said did not and could not harm her as much as Ray Rice’s fist that February night. Nevertheless, Robinson’s two-game jugging is precisely the penalty initially assessed against Rice when his battering of Janay became known six mos. ago. (Keep in mind it wasn’t until the NFL’s brand was sullied by the release of the video of the incident that Rice was given the axe. Punching the lights out of your beloved is nothing compared to harming the league’s image.)

So, acc’d’g to the NFL, Robinson is as big a creep as Ray Rice.

Wow.

If this puzzles you, let me explain. The powers that be in this great nation have little or no interest in improving the lot of any oppressed or persecuted minority. Any concessions to labor, blacks, Jews, Central American asylum seekers, battered women, Muslims, females in the workplace, or anyone else not endowed by god with power, privilege, a penis, and pale skin either have or will be made unwillingly and only after wrenching struggle. That, kiddies, is America.

What the Big Boys have given to the weak and wretched is control over language. So, if some slug on the assembly lines lets the N-bomb slip through his lips, he can expect to be punished within an inch of his professional life. But when corporate boardroom hoodlums make decisions to stymie the advance of any minority, well, by golly, how dare you want to interfere with their free market rights to run their outfits as they see fit?

Ray Rice knocked Janay Rice into brain trauma land. Ted Robinson said some words that may be offensive to someone, somewhere. To the NFL that’s as bad — correction, worse — than what Rice did.

And the NFL wants women to be happy about it.

Hot Air

And The Answer Is…

Time for a quiz.

In what year did the following events and actions occur?

Cossacks horse-whipped women.

Kazaki

Citizens reacted to news of FDR’s death.

● At least four state legislatures considered bills to restrict the teaching of evolution and biology in schools.

● Fully one quarter of the nation’s population was unaware that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

● Another state legislature worked diligently on a law to deny certain people the right to marry.

● Lawmakers working hand-in-hand with wealthy donors succeeded in defeating a labor movement.

Plutocrats

● A man running for Attorney General of a large state told victims of domestic violence they should stop complaining and be thankful they have men.

● A learned, accomplished black man was characterized as a “subhuman mongrel” and a “chimpanzee” by a celebrity spokesbeing for a Right Wing political organization.

● A southern state OK’d a Confederate flag display.

● Yet another white man was exonerated for killing a black man whose actions mildly disturbed him.

Lynching

● Athletic team officials worried that a homosexual man may taint their locker rooms.

● A state legislature voted to permit teachers to spank students (so long as they don’t leave any marks).

Choose One:

  • 1907
  • 6 BCE
  • 1892
  • 1066
  • 2014

Salem

1692?

Hurry now and make your selection: Time flies!

Shop Local

Krista Detor’s brand spanking new CD and accompanying book are on sale now at the Book Corner. And she’ll be peddling both the Flat Earth Diary and Notes from the Bridge when she dashes off to Europe for a live tour this spring. She’ll hit Germany, Holland, England, and Scotland.

Flat Earth Diary

Tons o’B-towners dig Detor the most, but it’s a good bet not too many will stage-door-Johnny her all the way across the Atlantic Ocean just to get their mitts on her stuff. So buy it here in So Cen Ind. Whaddya waiting for?

Detor

Detor

BTW: KD and Arbutus Cunningham have tinkered with their sweet musical, The Breeze Bends the Grass, and, in fact, have come up with a whole new shebang of it. The re-designed and re-imagined four-act theater production will debut at the Brown County Playhouse in Nashville on June 6th.

Oh yeah, that Detor gal is a juggler.

Your Daily Hot Air

Funny Man

I know precisely what I’ll be doing Wednesday night, March 12. I’ll be sitting stage-side at Jared Thompson’s Comedy Attic.

Why?

To see the coolest funny man (or the funniest cool man), W. Kamau Bell, skewer everything in this holy land — and, hell, the rest of the world while he’s at it.

Photo by Matthias Clamer

W. Kamau Bell

I’ve been missing my weekly fix of WKB ever since the FX/FXX cable outfit cancelled his brilliant gabfest last year. Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell put everybody from Conan O’Brien and Arsenio Hall to TV’s favorite altar boy, Jimmy Fallon, to shame. He was trenchant, cutting-edge, politically aware, culturally conversant, and he gave no quarter. Naturally, his number weren’t good enough to save his show’s life. ‘Murrica, right?

Anyway, he’s touring the country in the late winter and early spring and he’ll be here in his proud mama’s beloved Bloomington. Yeah, our own Janet Cheatham Bell, author and educator, raised the son of a gun. She’ll be at the Attic, I’m sure.

Me? I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Miracles Of Modern Technology

Just wondering: Have the Peerless Leaders of this bustling metropolis ever seen or heard of the brand new technological innovation pictured below?

Snow Plow

And another thing: Has anybody around here heard tell of that hi-tech substance that some folks say makes snow- and ice-covered roads safe to drive on? I believe it’s called salt.

Salt/Water Interaction by Temperature

How It Works

See, late this afternoon I drove from Pencil World HQ on State Road 446 to Bloomington’s courthouse square. It’s a drive that usually takes about 9 minutes. Today, it took me 45. The drive back was just as long.

And in all that time I saw nary a one snow plow nor salt spreader.

A tip for our City Fathers & Mothers. It’s winter out.

Do You Mind?

America, here is your hottest craze: Mindfulness.

It’s a perfect reflection on our holy land.

Mindfulness is a concept that has been bandied about in the corner of the woo world that we in the book industry refer to as “Eastern Culture.”

The American Psychological Association says mindfulness arises from “a largely obscure Buddhist concept founded about 2600 years ago.” It became popularized in recent years through the writings of Zen Buddhist big shot Thich Nhat Hanh as well as an American pal of his by the name of Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh’s Advice: Don’t Sweat It

The best definition I can give you is it’s a state of mind that enables the practitioner to brag that s/he is concerned about “reality,” the ‘important” things in life, and a more “healthful” way of thinking and living while the rest of us are frittering our lives and precious thoughts away on trivial pursuits like, well, making a living.

Its basic philosophical exhortations include:

  • Keep cool
  • Don’t worry
  • Be nice

Mindfulness, therefore, is simply a ancient predecessor to that late-1980’s, early-1990’s self-help family of fads wherein a passel of PBS-fund-drive superstars tossed out philosophical and behavioral bromides like so much confetti. There were Robert Fulghum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten), John Bradshaw (“your inner child”), Leo Buscaglia ( the hug-meister), and Robert Bly (the drum banger).

Up until a few years ago, the only people conversant in mindfulness were those already predisposed to ideas such as reiki and ayurvedic medicine. In other words, awfully credulous folk.

Time

Now mindfulness has hit the mainstream. The cover of Time magazine’s February 3rd issue was devoted to this latest rage. And the evil geniuses who travel annually to Davos to strategize slicing up the known world have been sharing tips the last several years on how to utilize mindfulness and meditation to make the planet’s workforce more docile and compliant.

Americans will believe in anything, apparently. Except maybe evolution.

The Battle Of The Century

Speaking of evolution, science hero Bill Nye is debating Creation Museum founder Ken Ham tonight.

[Watch the live stream here.]

Debate Promo

Click Pic For Live Stream

I’m not watching, listening, or caring. First, you can’t really debate a person who holds a belief that is based on faith. It’s almost like debating someone over whether or not chocolate tastes good. It either does or it doesn’t, depending on the person who’s doing the tasting. And if that person doesn’t like chocolate, s/he can never be persuaded otherwise.

Ken Ham believes god created the world some 6000 years ago. He also holds that humans and dinosaurs lived side by side in our not-so distant past. These beliefs are not based on any rational evidence but on a surrender of logic to “received wisdom.” This is not meant to be an insult; the Bible warns against using one’s intellect to figure out the ways and means of the Big Daddy-o in the Sky.

Creation Museum

Faith, Not Evidence

Nobody can ever win this debate. Neither man will convince the other side of anything. Here’s a sure shot: Tomorrow morning, people on both sides of the “debate” will claim victory.

That’s not a debate; that’s a dog and pony show.

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Friday

THE QUOTE

“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.” — Johannes Kepler

Kepler

MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE

Happy birthday to good old Johnny Kepler, who would have been 441 years old today.

Befitting his Teutonic heritage, Kepler was the guy who essentially ordered the universe. It was his work in determining his eponymous laws of planetary motion that led to Isaac Newton’s great universal gravity breakthrough some 40 years after the German’s death.

Kepler's Laws/Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln Astronomy

Too bad a brainiac like K. couldn’t have been around in today’s world. I bet he’d have been happy to tweak his verbiage a tad, perhaps including a single intelligent woman in his short list of preferred critics.

Kepler penned his own epitaph, engraved in stone at his burial spot in a churchyard in Regensburg, Bavaria. Here it is:

“Mensus eram cœlos, nunc terrae metior umbras

Mens cœlestis erat, corporis umbra iacet.”

(“I measured the skies, now the shadows I measure

Skybound was the mind, earthbound the body rests.”)

[ED: h/t to Astrid Weltz Laimins of Tampa, Florida for the heads up.]

I’LL BE A MONKEY’S NEPHEW

Sticking with science, Mental Floss offers us 5 pieces of evidence we — Homo Sapiens sapiens — are still evolving. Here they are:

  1. We Drink Milk
  2. We’re Losing Our Wisdom Teeth
  3. We’re Resisting Diseases
  4. Our Brains Are Shrinking
  5. We Have Blue Eyes

Homo Habilis

Auntie Amma

Click on the link for details.

Then ask yourself why we still have to argue this point in 21st Century America.

NOT MY STYLE

Only three days left in this  momentous year, 2012, and I’m proud to say I still haven’t seen the viral Gangnam Style vid.

Here’s another vid I haven’t seen: The Grumpy Cat (Tartar Sauce).

BTW: I still haven’t figured out that Ermahgerd chick. I ask you, who on this Earth ever talked like that?

Intentionally avoiding all these memes and rages is now an honor thing with me.

INQUISITIVE MINDS

Have you seen this chart yet?

From DemandAPlan.com

If this graphic is accurate, what happened between the Aurora bloodbath and the Sandy Hook killfest that made us start taking these things seriously?

THAT’S YOUR GOD

The author of the bestselling “A Universe from Nothing: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing,” Lawrence M. Krauss, penned a heartfelt think piece for CNN.com the other day, in which he wonders why everybody and his brother is telling us we have to lean on god as we grieve for the Sandy Hook kids.

Obama at Newtown Memorial Service

The Prez Tells Us Our BFF, God, Will Get Us Through This

Krauss is a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University and a noted atheist. He’s one of the hottest popular science writers around these days.

“Why,” he writes, “must it be a natural expectation that any such national tragedy will be accompanied by prayers, including from the president, to at least one version of the very god, who apparently in his infinite wisdom, decided to call 20 children between the age of 6 and 7 home by having them slaughtered by a deranged gunman in a school…?”

He wonders why TV news shows in times like these have to call out the clergy to tell us that “they have something special or caring to offer.”

Lawrence M. Krauss

Godless

Some talking-head clerics and politician-talk show hosts have even claimed that the agnostics and atheists among us lack the ability to fully grieve, sympathize, and even process these travesties. Krauss calls this kind of thinking “offensive” and “nonsense.”

I, natch, am with Krauss on this one. All these preachers, rabbis, and imams are telling us Sandy Hook was “god’s will” and then turning around and saying non-believers lack a moral foundation.

Are you kidding me? We’re not the one’s worshipping a god that decides to let massacres happen — you are!

GUN CRAZY, PART 1,624,583….

Gary, Indiana’s finest political writer, Monroe Anderson, has written an excruciatingly personal account of the dangers of the mentally ill toting guns around.

Anderson

Monroe Anderson

Do yourself a favor and read it. If the piece doesn’t elevate your pulse and respirations, you’re probably dead already.

What he doesn’t say is that when it comes to guns in this holy land, we’re all pretty much mentally ill.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Denial of evolution is unique to the United States…. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back…. The idea of deep time, of billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy.” — Bill Nye, The Science Guy

SUCKERS

So, the big news in Bill Nye’s life of late is not that fundamentalist Christians had apoplexy after he said evolution deniers ought spare their children their particular brand of lunacy, but that he was reported dead.

Yep. People who Tweet (or, as we used to refer to them, zombies) went gaga over the TV science geek’s purported demise this week. Denials had to be issued and refutations blared far and wide.

And — wouldn’t you know it? — an Onion article started the whole thing.

The Onion, August 23, 2012

I can’t believe there’s anyone left in this holy land who doesn’t know what The Onion is all about.

Then again, it’s almost as hard for me to believe that 46 percent of Americans don’t believe in evolution.

I’M NOT SPEAKING TO YOU

The IDS reports that the Yoder and Young campaigns are throwing darts at each other over a proposed series of debates that doesn’t seem any nearer to reality than when it was first floated a month ago.

Democratic challenger Shelli Yoder called on Republican incumbent Todd Young to meet her in a series of 13 debates, one in each county of Indiana’s 9th US Congressional District.

The Young camp at first called the 13-debate idea “political theater.” Subsequently, Young spokesbeings have issued only tepid comments about the whole idea.

“They’re stalling,” Yoder campaign manager Katie Carlson says of the Young brain trust.

Young & Yoder

You’re damned right they are, Katie. Candidates with big leads never want to debate challengers. The only thing that can happen is the challenger gains a few points in the polls. Young has Yoder beat in money and voter approval.

Young’s smart move would be to pack up his bags and take his family on an around-the-world trip until November, at which time he can reemerge only to give his acceptance speech.

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS

We’ve been moaning about the new South Central Indiana Desert for months but now that a real rain is finally coming, we have mixed emotions.

This weekend’s 36th annual Fourth Street Festival of the Arts & Crafts and the first annual Bloomington Garlic Fest both will be washed out by the remnants of Hurricane Isaac.

NOAA Satellite View At 8:30am, EDT

This morning I heard about one guy who sunk his dough into a thousand garlic brats for the inaugural perfumery bash. Lucky for him they’re frozen. On the other hand, I’ll bet he gets sick of having the little bangers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day by October.

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.

I Love 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.

I Fucking Love Science

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.

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.

Friday, August 31, 2012

◗ IU Asian Culture CenterLuncheon Talk Series: Who Are Asian Pacific Americans; roundtable discussion, students and the public welcome; noon

◗ IU Poynter CenterRoundtable discussion with Susan Gubar, author of “Memoir of a Woman Debulked”; 3pm

◗ IU Field Hockey ComplexHoosier women’s field hockey vs. Missouri State; 4pm

Upland Brewing CompanyHillbilly Haiku Americana Music Series: Okkervil River; 6pm

The Venue Fine Art and GiftsExhibit and reception: The Art of the Fourth Street Art Fair; 6pm

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterScriptease Gala, fundraiser for Bloomington Playwrights Project; 6:30-10pm

◗ IU CinemaJan Svankmajer short films:

  • “The Flat”

  • “The Garden”

  • “Jabberwocky”

  • “Dimensions of Dialogue”

  • Another Kind of Love

  • Flora

  • Meat Love

  • Food

program begins at 6:30pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Music: Non 4 Profit; 7-9pm

◗ IU University GymnasiumHoosier volleyball vs. Cleveland State; 7pm

◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier men’s soccer vs. Clemson; 7:30pm

Bloomington Playwrights ProjectMusical: “Working”; 8pm

Bryan ParkRyder Film Series Movies in the Park: “ET: The Extraterrestrial”; 8pm

The Player’s PubMusic: Dicky James and the Blue Flames; 8pm

Cafe DjangoMusic: Jason Fickel & Ginger Curry; 8pm

The Comedy AtticBest of the Bloomington Comedy Fest; 8pm

◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — UB Films: “Magic Mike”; 8pm

Max’s PlaceMusic: Elephant Quiz; 9pm

Bear’s PlaceMusic: Halfway Crooks, Ichimaru; 9pm

The BluebirdMusic: Hairbangers Ball; 9pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Music: Don Ford; 9:30-11:30pm

◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — UB Films: “Lunacy”; 9:30pm

The Comedy AtticBest of the Bloomington Comedy Fest; 10:30pm

◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — UB Films: “Magic Mike”; 11pm

The BishopMusic: Eternal Summers, Bleeding Rainbow; midnight

ONGOING

◗ 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:

  • “Media Life,” drawings and animation by Miek von Dongen; through September 15th

  • “Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture”; 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 Cultures — Reopens Tuesday, August 21st

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

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“[Paul] Ryan should stop being so lovable. People who intend to hurt other people should wipe the smiles off their faces.” — Maureen Dowd

FELINE FIGURES

I came across this while wasting time on I Love Charts:

Sad, no?

Scroll down to Big Mike’s Playtime for more links to things you can do while you’re supposed to be doing something else.

TRYING TO GET A FOOT IN THE DOOR

How weird are the interwebs?

Very.

Someone submitted a comment for my approval today. It read: “The clarity in your post is simply nice and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject.” (All sic.)

So far so good, right? The commenter seems to be a fine, perceptive, and noble soul. I like being called an expert on any subject.

The Acknowledged Expert

The comment continues: “Well with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.”

Clearly the commenter is a tad iffy about certain niceties of the English language but that’s alright, he or she possesses admirable taste.

So I tried to find out who this person is. Turns out he or she is from Italy, which explains the Chico Marx patois.

Oh, Those Italians

Then I noticed the commenter’s name. Feet Lovers.

Feet Lovers?

Yup, Feet Lovers runs a website called Foot Worship Fun. Its introduction reads, “There is nothing more beautiful, in a taboo sort of way, than a womans beautiful feet. [Again, all sic.] Her painted toes, the curves, her soft soles and firm heels.”

Firm heels?

The home page has tabs for pages entitled, among others, Footsie Babes, Feet in Nylons, and Beautiful Soles.

Banned In Several Countries

I’m not going to link to the site because it’s hardcore porn. You’re on your own, curiosity seekers.

So great, a foot fetishist thinks I’m a terrific blogger. Or, more likely, the whole thing is just a scam to smuggle malware onto The Electron Pencil World Headquarters mainframe.

This blogging is a fascinating business.

A PhD IN IGNORANCE

Author Chris Mooney in Skeptical Inquirer magazine looks at the American turn away from science in recent years.

More specifically, the Republican turn away from science.

Republicans, after all, are leading the march.

To wit: Tennessee this year passed a law allowing public school teachers to prattle in class about “alternative” theories to human evolution and climate change. The law was introduced by a conservative Republican state senator and passed by a veto-proof Republican statehouse majority.

Jesus Rides A Dinosaur

Mooney says a recent study of Americans found that the more highly educated conservatives are, the more they’re likely to declare themselves mistrustful of science and its practitioners. How’s that for a stumper?

When liberals paint their broad brush stroke picture of conservative Republicans who hew to the Bible rather than the textbook, they like to conjure the image of a backwoods yokel with several teeth in his head.

The Tennessee law, after all, was introduced by a legislator whose name is Bo.

So, now liberals (including me, natch) have to rethink their stereotype. Okay, our stereotype. In fact, Tennessee State Senator Bo Watson graduated magna cum laude in biology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Bo Watson, Man Of Letters

Mooney calls it “the smart idiot effect.” Educated conservatives who eschew science, Mooney posits, have a commensurate “higher level of political knowledge and engagement.”

So?

Mooney cites another study that indicates the Right over the last 40 or so years has become top-heavy with “‘authoritarians’ — a generally conservative personality type characterized by cognitive rigidity, viewing the world in black-and-white terms, and holding fixed beliefs, often fundamentalist Christian ones….”

And because the scientific method in its purest form is anti-authoritarian, it only made sense that the New Right would see science as the enemy.

“[N]aturally, this led to decreased trust in scientists and their institutions, especially among the most politically attuned conservatives…,” Mooney writes.

The Culture Warriors on the Right, Mooney explains, began creating alternative expert institutions to wage battle against the liberalism of colleges, universities and other scientific institutions. They set up think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute to churn out a new anti-academic, anti-liberal body of information (and misinformation).

People began to become expert, in other words, in being non-expert.

Sometimes this game we call democracy gets all too confusing.

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKIN’

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.

I Love 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.

Mental Floss: 10 Photos Of Celebrities Jumping

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.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 16, 2012

Monroe County Public LibraryIt’s Your Money series: Talk to an Expert, confidential half-hour sessions; 4:30-6:30pm

◗ IU AuditoriumCulturefest, learn about IU history and campus cultural diversity, music, dance, food, art, etc.; 4:30-7:30pm

Nick’s English HutFundraiser, 10% of food sales plus waitperson’s tips go to Stepping Stones; 5-8pm

Bear’s PlaceB-Town Bearcats; 5:30pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Shelf Life; 6-8:30pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; 7pm

◗ IU Art MuseumCulturefest after-party; 6pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreDrama, “Solana”; 7:30pm

Serendipity Martini BarTeam trivia; 8:30pm

The BluebirdUncle Kracker; 9pm

Max’s PlaceWake the Dead; 9pm

The BishopKink Ador, The Vorticists, Brown Bear Coalition; 9:30pm

ONGOING:

◗ 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

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.” — George Carlin

LOOK OUT, KATY PERRY

Bloomington chanteuse Krista Detor’s star is getting bigger by the day. Not only is she the subject of a breathless profile in the current issue of Bloom magazine, but tix to her shows are almost as hot as Indy Super Bowl ducats.

She wandered into the Book Corner yesterday, looking for last minute gifts. She told this nosy bookseller/correspondent that her holiday show last week at the Bloomington Convention Center was the biggest yet.

Krista’s 6th annual benefit blast, “Once Upon a Time,” packed the center’s Great Room a week ago tomorrow.

Better grab your chance to see her soon before she starts filling up those big arenas around the Midwest — or even the entire nation!

Krista! Krista! Krista!

SECRETS, SECRETS, AND MORE SECRETS

Many of my leftie pals have been screaming to high heaven about the US government’s alleged propensity these days to engage in undercover hijinks, manipulation of information, and generally act like the USSR-lite.

The Obama Administration — and the Bush Gang before it — claims it must keep the citizenry safe from all manner of mayhem.

Here’s a development from NPR‘s Nell Greenfieldboyce. The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity is urging the feds not to release the findings of government-funded research into bird flu mutation to the public. Their rationale — bioterrorists might take the info and create a virulent strain of the virus to unleash on target cities.

Terrorist?

Usually, federally-funded research is promptly released to scientific journals and even to the mainstream media. The normal follow-up to the time-honored scientific method is to publish findings so other scientists can test and, if needed, poke holes in a new theory. This last step, the Board is saying, is a little too risky in this case.

One aspect of the lab work has been to fiddle with the virus’ genes. Scientists already have developed a strain that is far more contagious than the original.

So, it’s the right to know versus a crippling bio-attack.

Don’t know what my suspicious pals are going to say about this one.

WHERE WE ARE TODAY

This is America, some 300 years after the Age of Enlightenment began.

A 17-year-old California boy was sentenced this week to 21 years in prison for assassinating in cold blood a high school classmate who was gay.

Judge, Jury, And Executioner

A young boy in Washington battled a flesh-eating bacterium in 2006. Doctors expected him to die. He didn’t. Relatives had placed a relic of some Mohawk woman at his bedside. Now Pope Benedict XVI says the whole thing was a “miracle” and will declare the woman a saint next year.

Kids: “You Got A Spare Miracle For Us?”

NFL quarterback Tim Tebow is a flamboyant Christian. He kneels and prays every chance he gets on the football field. His team has won a bunch of games. Some fans argue that the creator of the Universe is interceding on his behalf.

God: “Nah. I’m Busy With This Football Game.”

A little baby has been missing in Kansas City since October 4. A Dallas psychic has claimed to have had a vision of where the kid is buried. A party of volunteers actually went searching for her in the area where the psychic said she was. The kid, natch, wasn’t there.

The Renowned Crime Investigator

And, of course, the old standby: 72 percent of Americans believe in angels while only 45 percent believe in the theory of evolution.

Sigh.

I’M A BELIEVER

Yep, the Monkees.

BTW: For all the rage surrounding Davy Jones back in the ’60s, he sure looks dorky trying to keep time to the beat, doesn’t he? And did you notice he’s a monobrow? And his face is shiny?

Oh, alright, I’m still envious of him.

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