Category Archives: Global Warming

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.” — Robert Frost

LOOKING FOR THAT SILVER LINING

Reading “The Age of Reagan” by Sean Wilentz right now.

You know, we think we live in such a divisive time but today’s “culture wars” are next to nothing compared to the strife of 30 and 40 years ago.

Think back to 1977 when Anita Bryant temporarily re-emerged from a well-deserved anonymity by anointing herself the spokesnag for the anti-gay movement. How would we react now if some d-lister started bleating lines like this: “As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children”?

Or equated  gay rights with rights for people who like to sleep with St. Bernards.

Anybody reckless enough to say such stupid things would feel compelled to backstep and and issue mea culpas for weeks afterward.

But 35 years ago, Bryant’s barking helped galvanize and energize a far-right movement that eventually took over many of this holy land’s legislative bodies and largely dominates public discourse. The Rev. Jerry Falwell, a previously marginalized segregationist preacher, threw his lot in with her and the next thing we all knew, his Moral Majority was instrumental in getting Ronald Reagan elected president.

At about the same time, the Constitutional amendment calling for equal rights for women was going down to defeat, thanks to those usual suspects, professional gargoyle Phyllis Schlafly, and others.

Phyllis Schlafly

Can you imagine anyone stepping up to a podium and announcing that women do not deserve the full protection of the United States Constitution today?

At least the Tories and antediluvians of our time have the good sense to speak in codes or couch their regressive ideas in moralistic platitudes.

I suppose that’s progress.

ARGUMENTUM AD VERECUNDIAM

I’m a proud and outspoken liberal and progressive, although I’m not a fanatic about things.

For instance, those on my side of the fence, by and large, are up in arms over GMOs.

Genetically Modified Organisms are understood to be new strains of flora and fauna that have been cooked up in laboratories. Chief among the GMO peddlers of the world is Monsanto Company, the reviled St. Louis-based multinational agri-business monolith.

Since Monsanto is Satan incarnate to most of my philosophical brethren and sisteren, anything that outfit puts out must be evil, evil, evil.

Ergo, GMOs are poisons more harmful than arsenic — which, by the way, can be found naturally in trace amounts in pretty much any soil sample gathered on this Earth.

Anyway, humans have been jiggering with genes in their crops ever since the first person threw a seed in the dirt and discovered a plant would result. Take the organic corn you bought this summer at Bloomingfoods or Whole Foods Market. The big old ears that we take for granted in this 21st Century never existed before humans began cross-breeding maize species — in other words, creating primitive GMOs.

Frankenfood!

I bring this up because it occurred to me the other day that the argument my side uses for global warming — a concept I fully subscribe to — is that the vast majority of the world’s climatologists say human-caused climate change is real. In other words, scientists say it’s so. Fair enough.

But when it comes to GMOs, the vast majority of the world’s agricultural biotech scientists seem to agree they’re safe.

In fact, the two ratios are pretty much the same.

So, expert consensus is good enough to buy into global warming but to hell with it when it comes to GMOs. Sometimes my side can be as dopey as the other side. Well, almost.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.


Sunday, October 28th, 2012

CLASS ◗ Dagom Gaden Tensung Ling MonasteryIntroductory course on Buddhism; 10-11am

STUDIO TOUR ◗ Brown County, various locationsThe Backroads of Brown County Studio Tour, free, self-guided tour of 16 local artists’ & craftspersons’ studios; 10am-5pm, through October

HALLOWE’EN ◗ Lake Monroe, Paynetown SRAGhostly Gathering, party, campsite decorating contest, trick or treat, costume contest, “ghost” hunt; Saturday through Sunday at 5pm

FEST ◗ Bloomington Community OrchardCider Fest; 11am

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoBrunch Show: Sam Hoffman; 11pm

HALLOWE’EN ◗ Haunted Hayride and StablesFriendly hayrides; 1-7pm

MUSIC IU Musical Arts Center, Recital HallStudent Recital: Mark Davies, baritone; 1pm

FEST ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesHalloween Family Fun Fest: Day of the Dead; 2-4pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer Hall — Master’s Recital: JunYi Chow, composition; 2pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallSundays in Auer Hall Series: Faculty/Student Chamber Music Recital, Pacifica & Kuttner Quartets, Atar Varad on viola, Jacob Wunsch on cello, Evelyen Brancart on piano; 4pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleDavid Sisson; 5-7pm

MUSIC ◗ St. Thomas Lutheran ChurchIU Organ Department Pipes Spooktacular; 6-7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceMisty Stevens, Old Truck Revival, Avacado Chic, Homebrew Holler; 6-8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallMaster’s Recital: Christine Buras, soprano; 6pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubAndra Faye & Scott Ballantine; 6pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Anjos do Sol (Angels of the Sun)“; 6:30pm

BENEFIT ◗ Buskirk Chumley TheaterEarthquake Relief Concert For Tabriz Region of Iran, Presented by North American Humanitarian Relief Project & Trained Eye Arts; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopHusband & Wife, Jared Bartman, Dastardly; 7pm

PERFORMANCE ◗ Rachael’s CafeThe Projection, Don’t Call It a Comeback, Lawnmower; 7:30-10pmpm

MUSIC ◗ First United Methodist ChurchIU Voice Faculty Cabaret; 7:30pm

POLITICS & COMEDY ◗ IU AuditoriumBill Maher; 8pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “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
  • Threads of Love: Baby Carriers from China’s Minority Nationalities“; through December 23rd
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st
  • Embracing Nature,” by Barry Gealt; through December 23rd
  • Pioneers & Exiles: German Expressionism,” through December 23rd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • Ab-Fab — Extreme Quilting,” by Sandy Hill; October 5th through October 27th
  • Street View — Bloomington Scenes,” by Tom Rhea; October 5th through October 27th
  • From the Heartwoods,” by James Alexander Thom; October 5th through October 27th
  • The Spaces in Between,” by Ellen Starr Lyon; October 5th through October 27th

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • Buzz Spector: Off the Shelf; through November 16th
  • Small Is Big; Through November 16th

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners;” through December 20th
  • Gender Expressions;” through December 20th

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 from the Slocum Puzzle Collection

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s OnExhibit:

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

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

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

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibits:

  • Doctors & Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical Professions
  • What Is Your Quilting Story?
  • Garden Glamour: Floral Fashion Frenzy
  • Bloomington Then & Now
  • World War II Uniforms
  • Limestone Industry in Monroe County

The Ryder & The Electron Pencil. All Bloomington. All the time.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Republicans would like to pretend like Congressman Akin’s substitution of superstition for science is a lone problem but it’s not: they’re all magical thinkers, on nearly every issue. They don’t get their answers on climate change from climatologists, they get them from the Book of Genesis. Hence Sharia Law in America is a dire threat, and global warming a hoax.” — Bill Maher

COWBOY UP

After the Aurora, Colorado, shootings at least one Republican (duh!) pol spewed the lunatic opinion that had the patrons of the theater been permitted to carry artillery into the place, they could have shot the shooter up like a swiss cheese and thereby become heroes forever. Oh, and they could have saved a life or two.

Gohmert: “…Was There Nobody That Was Carrying…?”

Because, you know, 19-year-olds attending a midnight showing of a superhero movie in a darkened (natch), packed theater are nothing if not crack shots.

Apparently, that conceit took a hit yesterday when New York cops (who are trained to shoot pistols) opened fire on that guy in the suit who’d killed his former boss at the Empire State Building. So far as we know, the cops did most of the damage to the innocent bystanders, nine of whom caught lead.

One Down, Nine To Go

So, yeah, they killed the guy with the gun but in the process did far more damage than the shooter ever intended to do.

Now, what was that about 19-year-olds with artillery in a darkened theater after midnight?

THE NEWS IS A JOKE

Remember a few years ago how the punditocracy was wringing its hands over the fact that a majority of young people were getting their news from comedy programs like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report“?

Me? I figured standup comedians and improvisational comics couldn’t do much worse interpreting the day’s events than cerebrally flabby blow-hards like Sean Hannity or Chris Matthews.

A Mighty Wind

Anyway, what passes for today’s current affairs debate has devolved to the point where Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are elderly statesmen. In fact, if one really wants to get to the meat of a pressing issue these days, one has to click on Cracked.com.

Swear to the god I don’t believe in.

For instance, take a recent Cracked post entitled “5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women.”

(And, honestly, could you imagine any broadcast or cable news outlet even touching that topic? With the recent verbal assaults on Sandra Fluke and rape victims, it’s clear — isn’t it? — that too many men hate the hell out of women around this holy land. Someone’s got to be teaching them how to do it!)

Fluke Took A Beating

Post author David Wong (oy, I hope that’s his real name) liberally sprinkles the piece with perceptive gems. He begins by recalling Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Fluke. Limbaugh, Wong rationalizes, “is paid to say outrageous things.” It’s the chimps who follow Limbaugh that scare the bejesus out of Wong: “If you really want to feel all dead inside, you need to listen to what the regular folk were saying.”

He quotes commenters on Right Wing sites who described Sandra Fluke in terms that made it look as though Limbaugh were trying to coo into her ear.

“My Darling Slut”

“Now go to the front page of any mostly male discussion site like Reddit.com and see how many inches you can browse before finding several thousand men bemoaning how all women are gold-digging whores (7,500 upvotes) and how crazy and irrational women are (9,659 upvotes) and how horrible and gross and fat women are (4,000 upvotes). Or browse the ‘Men’s Rights’ section and see weird fantasies about alpha males defeating all the hot women who try to control them with their vaginas.”

No, neither Sean Hannity nor Chris Matthews has touched that one yet.

Wong says movies teach us that it’s a man’s right to be awarded a hot chick after he accomplishes some feat. “When the Karate Kid wins the tournament, his prize is a trophy and Elisabeth Shue. Neo saves the world and is awarded Trinity…, the hero in ‘Avatar’ gets the hottest Na’vi, Shrek gets Fiona, Bill Murray gets Sigourney Weaver in ‘Ghostbusters,’ Frodo gets Sam, WALL-E gets EVE… and so on.

“Hell, at the end of ‘An Officer and a Gentleman,’ Richard Gere walks into the lady’s workplace and just carries her out like he’s picking up a suit at the drycleaner.”

Cleaned And Pressed

Yeesh!

Wong concludes, “From birth we’re taught that we’re owed a beautiful girl…. It’s why every Mr. Nice Guy is shocked to find that buying gifts for a girl and doing her favors won’t win him sex. It’s why we go to ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ as our default insults — we’re not mad that women enjoy sex. We’re mad that women are distributing to other people the sex that they owed us.”

I doubt if one in twenty Gender Studies classes comes close to hitting that nail on the head.

Want more? Wong’s got it. He quotes from a Right Wing site where men were discussing the merits of then-US Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. One man said the Kagan is, “So fugly, I’d say ‘Don’t even look’!!!” Another man agreed: “This person is disgusting and I would never trust ‘it’s’ [sic] opinion on ANYTHING!”

Oh, Why Couldn’t Obama Have Nominated A Babe!

Wong writes that a woman’s “role in society or level of accomplishment doesn’t matter. Even if she’s a damned candidate for the Supreme Court, the female always has a dual role: to function as a person, and to act as decor.

“And we get pissed if she doesn’t do her job…. She owes it to us to be pretty.”

Man.

Wong has plenty more to say about American misogyny. Go there and read the piece for yourself. After doing so, you’ll understand a lot more about men than if you’d studied a hundred “serious” articles in the New York Times Magazine.

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.

Indexed

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.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Twin Lakes Recreation CenterIU Bloomington Cricket Club, Hoosier Cup 2012; 7:30am

City Hall, Showers PlazaFarmers Market; 8am-1pm

Rogers Elementary SchoolKappa Kappa Sigma Garage Sale & Bake Sale; 8am-noon

◗ IU Jordan Avenue Parking GarageFall Bike Auction; 9am

Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterMind Training through Pain & Disability series, presented by Ani Choekye; 10:30am

WonderLabNational Dog Day Celebration: Greyhounds; 1-4pm

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures“The Arms of the Shire of Mynydd Seren,” demonstration by members of Bloomington’s Society of Creative Anachronism branch; 1:30-4pm

Monroe County Public LibrarySession 3, Basic Literacy Tutor Training; 1:30-5pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Shane”; 3pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Hannah Takes the Stairs”; 6:30pm

Ryder Film Series“The Well Digger’s Daughter” at IU Fine Arts; 6:45pm

Oliver Winery, Creekbend Vineyard — Music: Jenn Cristy; evening, call for exact time

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Music: Kevin Bruener; 7-9pm

Brown County Playhouse, Nashville — Music: Carrie Newcomer; 7:30pm

Ryder Film Series“Take this Waltz” at IU Woodburn Hall; 8pm

Cafe DjangoMusic: Post Modern Jazz Quartet; 8pm

The Player’s PubMusic: Pet Monkey; 8pm

The Comedy AtticGarfunkel & Oates; 8 & 10:30pm, Both shows sold out

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

Ryder Film Series“The Pigeoneers” at IU Fine Arts; 8:45pm

Bear’s PlaceMusic: Cooked Books, Energy Gown; 9pm

Max’s PlaceMusic: White Lightning; 9pm

The BluebirdMusic: Main Squeeze; 9pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “LOL”; 9:30pm

The Root Cellar at Farm Bloomington — Queen & Bowie dance party; 10pm

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

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:

THE QUOTE

“[Martin Luther] King’s response to our crisis can be put in one word: revolution. A revolution in our priorities, a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living….” — Cornel West

GORE VIDAL, 1925-2012

An unapologetic liberal. Of course, I don’t know why anyone should feel a need to apologize for being liberal.

I had my political awakening in 1968, when I was 12 years old. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were killed, segregationist George Wallace ran for president, Vietnam was raging. Riots, protests, the Democratic convention in Chicago — all of it thrilled and horrified me.

Then, on a steamy Wednesday night in August as Chicago cops rioted, busting heads and bloodying protesters, reporters, delegates, and innocent passersby on Michigan Avenue in front of the Conrad Hilton Hotel, Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley faced off on ABC TV. The moderator was Howard K. Smith.

Vidal was aggressively anti-war; Buckley aggressively pro-war. The two battled verbally until things seemed about to devolve into physical combat.

Vidal: “As far as I’m concerned, the only sort of pro-crypto Nazi I can think of is yourself.”

Buckley: “Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in the god damned face and you’ll stay plastered.”

I watched this live. I took sides right then and there.

Vidal would not back down, even when threatened by a Tory, royalist, blue-blood, former captain of the Yale debate team. He merely smiled when Buckley called him a queer.

I only wish liberals were as tough today.

CRISIS

If you read nothing else on the environment or the issue of climate change this summer, make sure you catch Bill McKibben‘s latest, terrifying piece in Rolling Stone.

Bill McKibben

Folks, we’ve got problems. The crisis is not tomorrow; it’s today.

And if you happen to encounter someone who denies global warming, don’t even bother arguing with them. Just tell ’em to kiss your ass.

MILLIONS OF CARS

Dig Tuesday’s XKCD: What If? post, imaged and linked below in Big Mike’s Playtime section.

This week’s physics theoretical asks, “What if there was a robot apocalypse? How long would humanity last?”

The answers (spoiler alert!) are — 1) not much would happen (unless we consider the computers that control the world’s nuclear arsenals to be robots, then too much) and 2) indefinitely (unless, again, the above contingency holds, then, oh, 13 seconds).

But the fascinating thing I found was the author’s calculation that at any given moment in the United States, there are 10 million cars on the road.

I might add that fully 75 percent of that number are snarled up at the Bypass construction zone at this very moment.

CAMPAIGN GAMES

Shelli Yoder yesterday challenged Todd Young to a series of debates in each of the 13 Indiana counties that make up the 9th Congressional District.

Young’s camp pooh-poohed the whole idea. The Republican incumbent’s campaign boss, Trevor Foughty, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that the debate challenge is a publicity stunt.

Shelli Yoder & Todd Young

Funny thing is, Young himself upset long-time 9th District rep Baron Hill in 2010 in part by, well, challenging the Dem to a series of debates.

I’M A LION — GRRRROWWLLLL!

Will Murphy, former general manager of Bloomington’s WFHB and current honcho at Ft. Wayne’s WBOI, learned about Snoop Dogg’s transformation into Snoop Lion yesterday.

Or Maybe I’m A Soldier — Ten Hut!

Murphy observed, “Not sure what to make of this.”

I set the radio man straight. “Nothing, Will. Absolutely nothing.”

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.”

XKCD: What If?

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.

Flip Flop Fly Ball

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.

The Daily Puppy: Skeeter The Samoyed

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

Monroe County FairgroundsDay 5, 2012 Monroe County Fair, Senior citizens day, Joe Edwards & Jan Masters Show; 1, 3:30 & 6pm — Royal Flush karaoke; 6pm — Clayton Anderson; 7:30pm — Three Bar J Rodeo; 7:30pm; Noon to 11pm

Cafe DjangoTom Miller’s Last Show; 7:30pm

Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

Bear’s PlaceAmericana Jam: Chris Wolf, Danika Holmes, Suzette Weakly; 8pm

The Player’s PubSarah’s Swing Set; 8pm

The Comedy AtticBloomington Comedy Festival, audience vote decides the funniest person in Bloomington; 8pm

Boys & Girls Club of BloomingtonContra dancing; 8pm

The BluebirdDot Dot Dot; 9pm

◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryPublic viewing through main telescope, weather permitting; 10pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; opens Friday, August 3rd, 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: Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; through August 3rd

◗ 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 Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun.” — Martin Amis

AMERICA, I TOLD YOU BUT YOU WOULDN’T LISTEN

Two things about the mass shooting outside Denver early this morning:

  1. I demand that reporters and announcers cease and desist obsessively referring to the opening of the new Batman movie. It’s as though they’re already writing the dramatic narrative for the shooting: To wit, it’s a movie dealing with darkness and evil and, poetically, a dark and evil event followed. No. It was an atrocity and it doesn’t need poetic spin
  2. I’ve said this too many times already: America, stick your guns up your ass.

It Happened At The Movies

DON’T CONFUSE ME WITH THE FACTS

So, farmers in Indiana and much of the rest of the Midwest will lose their crops this summer, thanks to the drought and the unusually high temperatures.

Experts say drought conditions are exacerbated by higher temps which cause faster evaporation.

Experts also say human activity is causing global warming and global weirding.

Goddammit, how many times do the sane among us have to say this?

We sell Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe‘s book, “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,” at the Book Corner. For the longest time it was on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list (which is ironic considering the book’s premise).

Inhofe has been verbally vomiting on this topic for more than a decade now.

Back in 2006 in an interview in the Tulsa World newspaper, Inhofe had this to say about global warming:

“It kind of reminds… I could use the Third Reich, the big lie. You say something over and over and over and over again, and people will believe it, and that’s their strategy.”

Whoever “they” are is never revealed. Make no mistake, though, it’s a conspiracy. Neither does Inhofe explain why any group of misguided souls might want to conjure up such a hoax.

The Environmental Protection Agency, according to Inhofe, is just another Gestapo. He often cites biblical passages to back up his “arguments” against global warming

Inhofe’s stance on the “hoax” has changed only slightly over the years. What he now characterizes as the greatest hoax he only ranked number two in his early years in the Senate. The biggest hoax at that time, he felt, was the idea that the framers of the US Constitution were in favor of a separation of church and state

Inhofe’s slogan when he first ran for the Senate in 1994 was “God, guns, and gays” — as in, they were the three most important topics on which he’d concentrate.

From God’s Lips To The Senator’s Ear

In short, the man is a dick.

Want more evidence? Try this, something he spewed during a debate on gay marriage:

“I’m really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we’ve never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship.”

Anyway, there isn’t much the average citizen who can read and write can do about tailless monkeys like Inhofe. But I’ve found one thing: I always make sure his book is hidden behind a bunch of other books.

Every little bit helps.

Oh, another thing we can do is vote. For instance, Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence often appeared with Inhofe on right wing radio and TV shows. The two also worked on joint legislation including quashing the Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting.

TRANQUILITY BASE

The majority of human beings on this planet were not alive when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin gamboled on the moon back in the summer of 1969.

The Lunar Excursion Module “Eagle” landed on the surface of the moon 43 years ago today, at 2:18pm our time. Some six and a half hours later, first Armstrong, then Aldrin bounded down the LEM’s ladder to leave their footprints on extraterrestrial dirt.

I was 13 at the time. I was also transfixed. Swear to god, I stared at the moon that Sunday evening, hoping against hope that I could see something like the LEM’s rocket engine firing.

That first moon landing remains one of the defining moments of my life. It happened during the summer of Woodstock, Kennedy at Chappaquiddick, the Manson Family, and the Cubs surely on their way to their first World Series appearance in my short lifetime. I considered all of them part of a package. Peace, love, politics, music, hippies, horror, unbridled joy, crazy hope, and crushing disappointment.

Unbridled Joy

I once assumed that everyone — even those born after ’69 — considered the moon landing something, well transcendent.

Many don’t.

I was walking down Michigan Avenue with my brothers and his three sons one Sunday afternoon ten or so years ago. We approached the Tribune Tower which is famous for having bricks, stones and other chunks of famous buildings embedded in its walls. There are pieces of the Alamo, the Berlin Wall, Westminster Palace, the Great Wall of China, the Great Pyramid at Cheops, the Parthenon and many, many others.

There also is a moon rock on display. It’s not embedded in the wall, of course, considering it may be the most expensive hunk of stone in existence. It’s behind a several-inch thick slab of bullet-proof glass next to the main entrance of the Tower.

I’d passed it dozens or even hundreds of times in my life and never had neglected to stop and look at it. There is a hunk of the moon, I’d think as I gawked. Holy fk!

Moonrock Encased In Lucite At The Tribune Tower

So, as the five of us came off the Michigan Avenue bridge I said to the boys, “I wanna show you something so cool you won’t believe it.” Ranging in age from their early to late teens, they seemed skeptical. Only the appearance, say, of Batman himself or the spectacle of a man leaping from the top of the Tower to his certain death was likely to impress them.

Still, I believed this piece of a celestial body 238,000 distant would give them goosebumps.

It didn’t. I may as well have pointed out a common house brick. The only one of my nephews who was moved to even comment on the rock said, “So what?”

I was crushed.

BTW: Author Joy Shayne Laughter quoted this morning from some anonymous philosopher (neither of us could remember who said it), “We went to the moon on 126K of RAM. Now, it takes six megabytes to open a Word doc.”

ELMO TAYLOR

Pay no attention to the Muddy Boots Cafe calendar listing that has the band Elmo Taylor playing there Sunday night.

I was all set to plug the appearance here when Tyler Ferguson, rhythm guitarist for the band, came into Soma Coffee and plopped down next to me.

“So,” I said, “Sunday night at Muddy Boots, eh?”

Elmo Taylor

“What the hell are you talking about?” she snapped. Today seems to be a chocolate day for the usually ebullient Ferg.

It turns out Elmo is not playing at Muddy Boots this weekend. ET junkies take heart: the band is playing at McCormick’s Creek State Park amphitheater at 7:30, Saturday night.

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

Ivy Tech, Bloomington Campus — Breakfast Learning Seriea: Depression, Suicide, and Our Aging Population”; 8am

◗ IU Dowling CenterEnglish Conversation Club, for non-native speakers of American English; 1pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsOpening reception, “Abstracts on Canvas,” by Rick McCoy; 6pm

◗ IU Art MuseumJazz in July, Monika Herzig Acoustic Project; 6:30pm

Monika Herzig

◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Oslo, August 31”; 7pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Indiana Boys; 7-9pm

Bloomington SpeedwayIndiana Sprint Week; racing begins at 7:30pm

Oliver WineryLive music, Mike Milligan & Steam Shovel; 7:30pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreMusical, “You Can’t Take It with You”; 7:30pm

Buskirk-Chumley TheaterMary Chapin Carpenter; 8pm

◗ IU Musical Arts Center Summer Arts Festival: Symphonic series, works by Strauss, Mahler & Schubert, conducted by Cliff Colnot; 8pm

The Player’s PubLottaBLUESah; 8pm

◗ IU Woodburn Hall Theater — Ryder Film Series: “Elles”; 8pm

Juliette Binoche in “Elles”

The Comedy AtticHannibal Buress; 8 & 10:30pm

Cafe DjangoMr. Taylor & His Dirty Dixie Band; 8:15pm

◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Gerhard Richter Painting”; 8:45pm

The BluebirdTodd Snider; 9pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Cade Puckett; 9:30-11:30pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th
  • Claire Swallow, ‘Memoir”; through July 28th
  • Dale Gardner, “Time Machine”; through July 28th
  • Sarah Wain, “That Takes the Cake”; through July 28th
  • Jessica Lucas & Alex Straiker, “Life Under the Lens — The Art of Microscopy”; through July 28th

◗ 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:

  • Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st
  • Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; July 27th through August 3rd

◗ 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 — Closed for semester break

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“This country does in fact have a serious deficit problem. But the reality is that the deficit was caused by two wars — unpaid for. It was caused by huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in the country. It was caused by a recession as a result of the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And if those are the cause of the deficit, I’ll be damned if we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor. That’s wrong.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

THINK LIKE A CAVE MAN

Another Ozone Action Day and — a special treat — Monroe County is under a burn ban today.

As you know if you watch Fox News and other bearers of god’s truth, there is no global warming or climate change or human causation behind any weather anomalies. Tree huggers are insane. Recyclers are socialists. This is the way the world is and has always been.

In fact, anthropologists who have been uncovering Neanderthal art have revealed that our ancient cousins were posting Ozone Action Day alerts on cave walls half a million years ago.

Hmm, I’d Better Not Use The Power Mower Today

Take that, liberals!

NO TV SATURDAY

Click.

AD HOMINEM

Bloomington City Council at-large big shot Susan Sandberg loves the Bernie Sanders quote above. (And, no, “at-large” does not imply that she’s on the lam.)

I love it too. I’m thrilled a United States Senator is bold enough to utter such things. OTOH: I’m bummed he’s one of the rare ones.

In fact, while surfing for bios to link to, I came across any number of sites that portray the harmless old bird as a danger to our holy land. One site even posts this image of him:

Commie Zombie Sanders

Here’s why I call Sanders “harmless.” No one has taken a shot at him (and you know what I mean), he hasn’t been torn down by some trumped-up sex charges, and Fox News hardly ever mentions his name. If the Armed Right Wing Loonocracy doesn’t care about you, you may as well be hollering in an open cornfield with nobody around for miles.

SQUISHY FARE

If I have to explain the humor behind my “calamari” post on Facebook last night, you’ll never get it anyway.

IT’S A BEAUTIFUL MORNING

How cool were the Rascals?

Quit reading this now and go out. Enjoy the day.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I started being really proud of the fact that I was gay even though I wasn’t.” — Kurt Cobain

NIXON’S THE ONE

Cynthia Nixon became a sorta-star appearing in that late 90s-early 00s paean to heterosexuality, “Sex and the City.” Thus it was ironic that at the very end of the show’s fabulously successful six year run on HBO, Nixon’s romantic involvement with Christine Marinoni became known.

Christine Marinoni And Cynthia Nixon

I don’t know the precise chronology of Nixon’s affair with Marinoni and how it meshed with the producers’ plans for the show, but a suspicious soul might conclude that her lesbian side only “coincidentally” came into view when it was learned S&TC would end its run in 2004.

It just wouldn’t do for one of the leads in a program that celebrates blatant, flamboyant straightness to be identified as homosexual. I mean, would the great John Ford cavalry triology of the 40s and 50s have become so iconic had it been revealed John Wayne was in love with Victor McLaglen?

Hmm….

Since the ending of S&TC and Nixon’s coming out party, she’s been busy acting on the Broadway stage and making appearances here and there on network TV dramas. The disclosure of her current sexual preference clearly has not destroyed her career.

On the other hand, her sig-oth is not someone who could charitably be described as a lipstick lesbian. When, for instance, Ellen Degeneres fell publicly head over heels in love, it was with a couple of stunning actresses, Anne Heche and Portia de Rossi. Ergo, Middle America could deal with her alternative lifestyle.

Mom & Pop Approved

Nixon, though, gazes dreamily into the eyes of a woman who pretty much reinforces the frat boy stereotype of a lesbian. It’d be like Johnny Depp falling in love with RuPaul — it wouldn’t play in Kokomo.

Now, That’s Going Too Far!

Anyway, Nixon doesn’t give a good god damn what Kokomo thinks and that’s cool. Here’s something she told the New York Times not long ago (via Curve magazine):

“I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me.”

That’s the most refreshing thing I’ve heard in years on the subject of gayness. For far too long the gay community has been pandering in a way to the closeted Republicans and the pious celibates of this holy land.

Gays & Lesbians Want To Justify Themselves To These Simians?

First it was the ten-percent thing, with gay rights activists trumpeting that highly-iffy figure in order to show there are millions and millions of their brothers and sisters, as if there’s safety in numbers.

The first problem is the ten-percent number is about as unscientific as Sen. James Inhofe’s outlook on climate change. Does the figure represent all the DL guys with wives and kids in suburban Indianapolis? How about all the guys who loiter around interstate truck stops and then dash back to the bar to tell their pals they were trolling for chicks? For that matter, did every 22-year-old boy who allowed himself to be seduced by another guy after a keg party own up to his sexuality?

Then there was the medical-psychological argument. Activists showed slides of brain tissue taken from gays and straights and pointed to some missing or extra microscopic structures, proving that homosexuality is an innate trait, much like skin color or the ability to laugh at Kathy Griffin‘s “jokes.”

Like Hemophilia Or Crohn’s Disease

All of it seemed a desperate attempt to prove to the headmasters and nannies of the world that really, honestly, gays and lesbians aren’t bad boys and girls.

There was almost a sense that they couldn’t help being what they were, that they were victims of biology and fate.

Nixon throws a huge F.U. at all that.

For my money, I don’t care if there’s only one gay man or lesbian in these Great United States, Inc. That one human being deserves all the rights, privileges, and respect all the other 300 million or so American folks do.

And another thing. If incontrovertible evidence was found that every single gay man and lesbian merely decided at some point to sleep with someone of the same sex, that wouldn’t change my feelings about same-sex adoptions and gay marriages one little bit.

You Tell ‘Em!

So, go on Cynthia, tell the world you wanted to be a lesbian. And to hell with what the people in Kokomo say.

ISN’T CONSERVATIVE SUPPOSED TO MEAN CAUTIOUS?

Alright, climate change deniers: this past March was the warmest on record. By far.

Now, it may have been random chance. There has to be one month that’s the warmest on record; there’s no reason why can’t it be this month or last.

Still, wouldn’t you want to at least make sure it isn’t 200 years of burning fossil fuels that’s messing up our weather?

That’s all I’m saying.

Could It Be?

YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I LONG TO KISS

We all agree that Oprah Winfrey, although admirable in a lot of ways, has a remarkably high opinion of the woman in the mirror, no?

Her initial-ly eponymous magazine features a huge picture of her on its cover every single issue. And, when she was still running her TV talk show, if she happened to, say, get herself a good foot massage, bang — she’d have three experts on the next day advising half the population of America that they must have daily foot rubs or else they’d risk sudden death.

Oprah is arguably the most powerful woman in America, which probably frustrates her because the issue is still in question.

Anyway, take a look at her latest magazine cover and try to convince me Oprah hasn’t really gone off the deep end. The woman is crazy in love — with herself.

Yikes!

Now just one Oprah isn’t good enough for the cover. This Photoshopped May-December romance probably has every psychologist and psychiatrist in the nation running for a copy of the DSM-IV.

Perhaps the soon-to-be-released DSM-V will have its own section on Oprah’s auto-mania.

Here’s a thought: would anyone be surprised if Oprah Winfrey took a run at the presidency in 2016? And how about this fever dream: not only does Oprah run for the Dem nom, Sarah Palin seeks the GOP tab? And they both make it!

I don’t care how madly in love with herself Oprah falls, I’d still vote for her.

I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU

Dedicated by you-know-who to you-know-who.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” — Bob Dylan

WHAT’S GOING ON?

Okay, so we’re in the midst of a more-than week-long run of high temperatures in South Central Indiana. Each day’s high during this streak has been about 30 degrees above the normal. Monday, the high was a full five degrees greater than the previous record for that date.

Think about that. Usually, when record highs are set they beat the old record by a single degree, and if the heat wave is amazingly severe, perhaps two.

Five degrees.

Except for the deluded and deranged among us (in other words, Republicans) who deny the evidence of climate change, everybody’s talking global warming.

Lois Nettleton Schvitzes in The Twilight Zone Episode “The Midnight Sun”

Here’s where my professional contrarianism kicks into high gear. Generally, during weather extremes I caution people not to see the anomaly as evidence of the norm. In other words, just because today’s remarkably hot, it’s not proof the climate is changing.

Besides, climatologists see global warming as a half-degree, a degree, or maybe two-degree uptick in the average temperature over a period of years. It’s the sustained rising of temperatures that’s dangerous, not the odd heat wave.

But this thing is making me think twice. The new battle cry to replace global warming should be global weirding.

I admit this is anecdotal but something I heard this morning on the radio gave me pause. Apparently, a huge storm system parked over Texas produced thunder so severe that it caused seismic instruments to jump.

Now think about that.

Fine-tuned, delicately balanced sensors that measure the very slightest rumpling from deep within the Earth’s crust recorded thunder claps. These instruments are not supposed to be affected by outside clutter. Yet the needles flicked because of thunder

What in the hell kind of storm is that?

Storm Batters Kentucky Earlier This Month

I’m in a hurry this morning and I can’t spend the time researching this. Maybe seismographs record thunder claps all the time. I don’t know. I’ll get on it tonight after my Book Corner shift.

For now, though, I just might be beginning to think 2012 is the year we justifiably get the crap scared out of us by nature.

BACKSEAT PORN

So, Dan the Jeweler, Crystal Belladonna, and I were gabbing of this and that at the Book Corner yesterday. Somehow the conversation turned to the year 1969. And somehow it turned to public porn.

Why don’t I just give you the dialogue from memory?

Crystal Belladonna (rummaging through the magazine shelves, weeding out old issues): Look at this — November 2011. What’s this doing here? It’s 2012, isn’t it?

Me: Why no. It’s 1969. Man, I’m gonna go to that big Woodstock thing in New York. And I can’t wait for the moon landing.

CB: Wise ass.

Dan the Jeweler: Do you remember where you were during the moon landing?

CB: I wasn’t even a twinkle yet.

Me: It was a Sunday night. I was staring at the moon just on the odd chance that I could see something, like the Command Module rocket firing or something.

CB: Geek.

D the J: Believe it or not, that night me and my friends were at an outdoor pornographic movie. We left it and drove around to look for a TV so we could watch the landing.

CB: I know just what outdoor theater you’re talking about!

D the J: It was on Route 46, on the way to Ellettsville. It was an outdoor pornographic theater for years. Right next to a trailer park.

CB: Yeah, yeah! Whenever my mother would drive by it at night, I’d strain my neck to see the screen.

D the J: Yep. The fence had gaps in it.

CB: Uh huh!

D the J: It was near a railroad crossing and when a coal train was going by, traffic would be backed up all the way to Bloomington.

CB: Yeah, my mother would always wonder why I’d be saying, “Ma, could you move the car up just a bit?”

D the J: It’s not there now.

CB: No, they knocked it down. There’s an old people’s home there now.

Who says people don’t have a rich sense of history anymore?

The Electron Pencil:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“I doubt if a single individual could be found from the whole of mankind free from some form of insanity. The only difference is one of degree. A man who sees a gourd and takes it for his wife is called insane because this happens to very few people.” — Erasmus

LOCAL WARMING

Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t these buds popping out on my front yard bushes?

MR. CLOSET SEES NO CLASSES

I’m not all that mercurial on these pages. That which I espouse or despise in November very likely will be the same in June.

But I have given the thumb to Michele Bachmann as my bete noir du jour. (Is that the French idiom equivalent of mixing metaphors?)

Anyway, Bachmann’s out and Rick Santorum’s in.

Mr. Closet (my new nickname for Santorum) justified my faith in him when he said these words during a weekend debate among candidates for the Republican nomination for president: “There are no classes in America.”

This is the socio-political analog to declaring that the world is flat. My god, Rick (or, more accurately, your god, Rick), have you visited a criminal courtroom lately? A jail? An unemployment office? A business school graduation ceremony?

I don’t think even Michele Bachmann would have had the balls to say those words (after all, somebody in her marriage has to have balls). Yes, she’s a loon. But — shock of shocks — she might not be as psycho as Mr. Closet.

I’d hate it if Ricky-girl did so poorly in tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary that he’d no longer be taken seriously as a contender. For a smart-ass like me, he’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Bloomington author extraordinaire Joy Shayne Laughter has nailed it. The other day she wrote to me: “Does anybody else get the feeling that the GOP nomination race has become little more than a Las Vegas lounge act? You have to have a pretty guy and a funny guy. Think Martin & Lewis.”

Martin & Lewis (Or Is It Romney &…?)

JSL says Mitt Romney is the Dean Martin guy — handsome, good hair, can carry a tune. But she thinks Ron Paul is the Jerry-like buffoon. Nah. It’s Mr. Closet.

Speaking of the man who swears he would never, ever, ever, ever kiss a man full on the lips, gently, with slightly open mouth so he might savor the taste, running his fingers through the man’s hair, feeling his heart begin to pound, sensing warmth in his…, um, oh, I mean Rick Santorum, blogger Kris Broughton on Big Think goes all Big-Mike on the not-so-cuddly Jesus-lover and gay-basher.

Broughton writes: “If these utterly myopic conservatives of the Republican Party decide to hitch their wagon to Santorum, this will be the culmination of the last three years that began with Anybody But Obama, devolved to Anybody But Romney, and is now flirting heavily with the latest Republican theme for the 2012 election season, Any Christian White Man With a Suit.”

ROMNEY’S RELIGIONS

One of the things about Mitt Romney that scares the poo out of the paleozoic wing of the Republican Party is his Mormonism.

The Mormon God, Or Gods, Or What The Hell Ever They Believe In

By the way, if you don’t know all that much about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, pick up a copy of Jon Krakauer‘s terrific book, “Under the Banner of Heaven.” Krakauer, who has taken on the Pat Tillman killing and cover up in Afghanistan, his passion for mountaineering, and that “Three Cups of Tea” baloney peddler Greg Mortenson in his books, exposes the tyrannical and even homicidal side of America’s fastest growing religion.

Anyway, Roger Ebert — my hero du jour — reveals that Romney’s favorite novel is the execrable “Battlefield Earth” by L. Ron Hubbard.

“Battlefield Earth,” The Movie

Who knows? Maybe Romney wants the world to to think Mormonism is not so bad, if only in comparison to Hubbard’s Scientology.

L. Ron Hubbard Made Joseph Smith Look Sane

OCCUPY BLOOMINGTON GOES TO WORK

This was the scene at People’s Park Saturday at noon.

No more tents. No more signs. No more Occupiers.

Occupy Bloomington may have been evicted but that doesn’t mean the revolution’s over in South Central Indiana. Stone sculptor Amy Brier points out that OB is now working with the striking limestone workers in Bedford.

We Do Facebook So You Don’t Have To

CRAZY

Yup. Patsy Cline does her bit on the Willie Nelson-penned classic.

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