Category Archives: Fareed Zakaria

The Pencil Today:


“Men rarely, if ever, manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.” — Robert A. Heinlein


From all I hear, she was universally beloved. We were Facebook friends but I’d never met her. I’ve put out the call for someone to write up a good eulogy for her in this space. Stay tuned.

Sophia & Her Four-Year-Old Son Finn

Gun Crazy

Remember that guy found with an arsenal on the third floor of the Seventh Street municipal parking garage?

Robert Redington of Indianapolis was caught loitering six weeks ago in the garage at a spot that just happened to overlook Kilroy’s Sports Bar on Walnut Street. Police have been sensitive about Kilroy’s ever since Lauren Spierer disappeared after spending the night drinking at the place in June, 2011.

Redington, apparently, was watching people come into and out of Kilroy’s. He had with him a laser rangefinder as well as a couple of loaded automatic handguns in his waistband. Police also found a loaded shotgun in the trunk of his car nearby.

Indiana’s new carry laws don’t prohibit the average citizen from walking around so armed. But Redington has been found to be off his nut. Somehow, the NRA and other gun fetishists haven’t convinced legislators to allow every lunatic in the state to pack heat. Yet.

Anyway, Redington had a cache of 51 guns in his home. The cops seized all the weapons after he was arrested. Judge Mary Ellen Diekhoff ruled yesterday in Monroe County Circuit Court that Redington’s personal armory will not be returned to him. Indiana law allows judges to disarm those who’ve been ruled dangerously mad.

Somehow, some way, the sane among us have put at least that much of a brake on the steady trend to allow every man, woman, child, and — for all we know — household pet to own and carry firearms.


Salman Rushdie is the go-to guy for a personal slant on the chaotic demonstrations and riots sweeping the Muslim world in reaction to that ridiculous “Innocence of Muslims” film and the French magazine cartoon that lampoons Muhammad.


Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered a necktie party for Rushdie after the publication of his book, “The Satanic Verses,” in 1989. And on Monday, some previously anonymous imam offered to pay $3.3 million to any Muslim who kills Rushdie. These guys have long memories.

Muslim extremism is beginning to make this holy land’s god-fetishists look quaint.

God’s Soldiers

So, Rushdie granted an interview to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria this week. It’ll air on Zakaria’s Global Public Square program Sunday. Rushdie has plenty to say about the contretemps in Muslim Southwest Asia and Africa. He feels much of the outrage and violence is being manufactured by those who hope to benefit from the chaos. That’s how he felt about the demonstrations against his book 23 years ago, as well.

Rushdie says: “…I think certainly, if we look at what’s happening now, this is very much a product of the outrage machine. Yes. there’s this stupid film, and the correct response to a stupid film on YouTube is to say it’s a stupid film on YouTube, and you get on with the rest of your life. So, to take that and to deliberately use it to inflame your troops, you know, is a political act. That’s not about religion; that’s about power.”

Yep, we’re back here for the time being.

The spanking new Ryder website is…, well, it’s somewhere. While Peter LoPilato and his army of computer geeks perfect the new site, we’ll be running Bloomington’s best events listings here, again.


Friday, September 21st, 2012

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

MUSIC FESTIVAL ◗ Downtown Bloomington, various locationsLotus World Music & Arts Festival; though Sunday, September 23rd, various times, today’s lineups:

Buskirk Chumley Theater:

  • Deolinda; 7pm
  • Fatoumata Diawara; 8:45pm
  • Fishtank Ensemble; 10:30pm

First United Methodist Church:

  • JPP; 7pm
  • Galant, Tu Perds Ton Temps; 8:45pm
  • Vida; 10:30pm

Ivy Tech Tent:

  • Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three; 7pm
  • Hanggai; 8:45pm
  • Panorama Jazz Band; 10:30pm

IU Tent:

  • Taj Weekes & Adowa; 7:15pm
  • Slavic Soul Party; 8:45pm
  • Movits!; 10:30pm

First Presbyterian Church:

  • Melody of China; 7pm
  • Keith Terry & Evie Ladin; 8:45pm
  • Trio Brasileiro; 10:30pm

Jake’s Nightclub:

  • Hudsucker Posse; 10pm

MUSIC FESTIVAL ◗ Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park & Campground38th Annual Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame & Uncle Pen Days; through Saturday, September 22nd, today’s acts:

  • Bobby Osborne & the Rocky Top X-Press, JD Crow & the New South, Jesse McReynolds & Virginia Boys, Newfound Road, Ralph STanley II, David Parmley & Continental Divide, Tommy Brown & County Line Grass, Wildwood Valley Boys

DISCUSSION ◗ Ivy Tech-BloomingtonBreakfast Learning Series: Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on Behaviral Health Providers; 8am

LECTURE ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesArchaeology Month Series: “Stories Told in Stone: Recording Scared and Everyday Landscapes in the Shadow of the Rocky Mountains,” presented by Laura Scheiber; Noon

ART ◗ IU Grunwald GalleryExhibit opening reception, Samenwerken, collaborative, team, multimedia projects; 6pm

ART ◗ The Venue Fine Art & GiftsOpening reception, The Art of Fenelia Flinn; 6-8pm

WORKSHOP ◗ Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterBuddhism in Everyday Life Series: Recognizing the Pitfalls, presented by Ani Choekye; 6:30pm

DISCUSSION ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryGlobal Issues Community Discussion Series: The Global City Phenomenon, presented by Stephanie Kane & Ron Walker; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleIndiana Boys CD release party; 7-9pm

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

ART ◗ IU SoFA McCalla School Installation, “in transit, or to be moving to always be moving and to not stop moving,” presented by The Fuller Projects; 7:30pm

OPERA ◗ IU Musical Arts Center — “Don Giovanni;” 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubBottom Road Blues Band; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoMonika Herzig and Carolyn Dutton; 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial UnionUB Films: “The Amazing Spiderman;” 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Chateau Thomas Wine BarDylan Carroll; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Palace Theatre of Brown CountyClassic Country Jukebox, starring Robert Shaw and the Lonely Street Band; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdHairbangers Ball; 9pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Sleepwalking with Me;” 9:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopR-Juna, You’re A Liar, The Proforms; 10 pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceMerrie and Her Mighty Men; 11pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial UnionUB Films: “The Amazing Spiderman;”11pm


ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “The Bolognese School,” by Annibale & Agostino Carracci, through September 16th
  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

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

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works, Opening September 21st

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit:

  • Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection;” through September 21st

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibit:

  • “CUBAmistad” photos

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit:

  • Outsiders and Others:Arkham House, Weird Fiction, and the Legacy of HP Lovecraft;” through November 1st
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections form the Slocum Puzzle Collection

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s OnExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Culture: “CUBAmistad photos; through October

ART ◗ Boxcar BooksExhibit:

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

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

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

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

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

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

The Pencil Today:


“If you want to be a purist, go somewhere on a mountaintop and praise the east or something. But if you want to be in politics, you learn to compromise. And you learn to compromise without compromising yourself. Show me a guy who won’t compromise and I’ll show you a guy with rock for brains.” — former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson


How about that Alan K. Simpson?

The old bird who used to be a demi-villain to liberals back in the ’80s is now a darling of the left set because he tongue-lashed his fellow Republicans over the weekend.

Simpson appeared on CNN with Fareed Zakaria Sunday and called GOP legislators’ anti-tax intransigence “madness.”


Just goes to show how far we liberals and progressives have fallen when we have nobody to idolize but Republicans who occasionally say something that makes sense.

Simpson, by the way, says only a combination of solutions can revitalize the economy. That includes higher taxes for some Americans.


Click this logo for the Pencil’s events listing, the best in Bloomington, natch:


I’m the most curious guy you can imagine (and that’s true on a number of levels.) But there are certain things I don’t need to see or know.

One of them is the video of the cops shooting that crazy nude man who was eating the face of another man.

Here’s A Pretty Cardinal

In fact, that’s all I know about the story. I fear that if I click on any of the articles about it, I’ll see too much.

There’s nothing more I need to know about it.


Get ready for the flood of stories on the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of IU student Lauren Spierer.

Profit-driven media is big on anniversaries. I look at it as lazy journalism.

If you think the Spierer anniversary will be bad, just wait until November, 2013. That’ll mark the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination.

He Did It, Okay? Can We Move On Now?

Oh, and steel yourself for yet another wave of conspiracy books, documentaries, and articles.


Michelle Obama’s new book comes out today. “American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America” recounts the story of her White House garden.

Which reminds me that the unimaginably bizarre Rush Limbaugh raked her over the coals last fall for her garden.

“We do not like being told that we can only eat what’s in her garden,” he ranted on his radio show, which is listened to by tens of millions of mammals daily.

BTW: he also called her “uppity” once. But neither he nor his listeners are racists. How do I know? They say so — when they’re not busy calling a professional woman who happens to have dark skin “uppity.”

Sometimes I just want to scream.


I don’t remember if I’ve posted this song before but no matter, it’s worth hearing again.

The beauty of this Isley Brothers tune is that, while acknowledging that things are largely going all to hell, there is always hope. Every time I hear it, this song makes me think of morning.

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