Category Archives: Indiana University Press

Hot Air

The Daily Double

Two posts today, one on cancer and the other, this.

BTW: You must have noticed by now that I’ll be journaling my cancer experience pretty much daily from now until — please, please, please! — I’m declared cancer-free. In fact, I’m charging up the battery in my camera as we speak so I can bring you images of the people who will care for me, the machine that’ll nuke me, and things like the mask I’ll have to wear under the beam, etc. (Hey, I’d even show you a picture of my neck where the tumor is but it’s too small to be picked up by the camera; it’s about the size of a black olive pit.) The cancer journal posts will always be entitled Malignant while these screeds will continue to be called Hot Air. So if the very idea of cancer freaks you out, skip the Malignant posts but keep reading H.A., O.K.?

A Temporary Back Office

Today I’m writing at a new coffee joint, Crumble, in the little shops plaza at the Renwick development. My normal (new-ish) headquarters, Hopscotch, over on the B-line Trail at Dodds St., is closed this week for construction. Owners Jane and Jeff are expanding into the next storefront space so that’ll be a great boon for those looking to park their fannies in the joint.

Crumble is clean, bright, and neat. The music is so unobtrusive as to be nearly inaudible. It’s half-filled with healthy folks speaking in hushed tones. The coffee mugs are spotless, the silverware shiny. The baristas are as civilized and helpful as hotel concierges. Plus, they don’t appear prone to want to foment civil insurrection.

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Not Dank And Dark At All — How Depressing!

In short, the joint is hellish. Not my idea of a coffeehouse at all. The first indication I got that this place’d be so radically different came when I was walking up from the convenient, ample parking lot  toward the front door. A guy driving a fancy luxury Audi pulled up in front of the place in a clearly marked no parking zone (there are signs all around and huge cross-hatching painted on the pavement), turned his hot rod off, lazily exited it, and strolled in as if he had all the time in the world and none of the guilt.

Anyway, the coffee is good, I had a terrific pear and honey muffin, and the big window next to me is affording me the opportunity to sunbathe in the middle of winter. So there’s good and bad here.

Somehow, I hope, I’ll be able to get work done at this place for the time being.

Oregon’s Bird Cage

If the FBI and the rest of the US Justice Department hadn’t gone all gun crazy at Ruby Ridge in Idaho and the David Koresh compound at Waco, Texas in the early 1990s, all these Bundy loons and their ilk making brat-ish trouble in Oregon would have been locked up where they belong long ago.

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Ryan Bundy, Playing Cowboys & Indians

[Image: Rebecca Boone/AP]

But since the gov’t decided to attack the Branch Davidian encampment with a fire-spewing tank resulting in the deaths of some 76 humans including a bunch of kids who hadn’t yet developed into the psychotics their elders already were, and FBI snipers picked off Christian fundamentalist and survivalist Randy Weaver’s wife and son, the G-men have been unduly shy in dealing with white maniacs.

Hell, one white maniac blew up an entire goddamned federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 in revenge for the Koresh and Weaver debacles. The rest of separatist militia nation has come together and multiplied like noxious weeds since that time. The election of Barack Obama, natch, helped push this madman movement along.

I don’t know how strong or threatening these survivalists and anti-government types are but the US suffered two  horrible PR blows in a row in Waco and Ruby Ridge. And gov’t agencies fear bad PR far more than they fear domestic terrorism.

The last thing the feds wanted to do was get into a gunfight at the Bundy ranch and they sure as hell ain’t gonna get into a shootin’ war over a bird sanctuary in the dead of winter now.

BTW: the Waco and Ruby Ridge fiascoes ought to be ample evidence that you just can’t go bombing and shooting your problems away, as many are suggesting we do to ISIS, al Qaeda, and the Taliban.

Linda’s Place

Hey, IDK if you’ve happened upon Linda Oblack’s regular and compelling “Goings On At My Place” Facebook posts but, man, this stuff is goo-o-o-od.

I keep telling her she ought to start her own website and make regular posts. Linda was an editor over at Indiana University Press until she retired a couple of years ago. Her writing is at least equal to — and in many cases, superior to — the best of the publishing house’s stable of authors. Sorry, Michael Martone, but you’ve got competition, baby.

Join me in haranguing her until she comes around to this blogging racket, okay?

Hot Air


A little house wren whispers in my ear that the debate is ongoing over at Indiana University Press regarding whether or not the outfit should cease publishing actual books.

Should the Press decide to quit the paper and ink racket, it would confine itself exclusively to electronic publishing. The bird asks, “Whaddya think?”

“As long as there still are people who grew up with hard copy books, there’ll be a demand for them,” I sez. “As soon as those generations die off, that’ll be the end of the printing press.”

The bird nods and says no more.

People tell me it’ll be a sad day when there are no more actual books. Of course, people probably said 30 years ago, “It’ll be a sad day when my VCR isn’t half the size of a city bus.”

Vintage VCR

Target Practice

NPR reported this AM that Prez Barack H.O. has been making his security forces jittery of late by opting to walk hither and yon in the nation’s capital.

From NPR Morning Edition

Out In The Open

After five and a half years of voluntary incarceration in the White House, Obama, like many another C-in-C before him has grown weary of living in the gilded cage. The report quotes Harry Truman, f’rinstance, as referring to the White House as “the great white jail.”

It was a cute story, characterizing BHO as a bear strolling around in search of food. The first reaction that hit me, though, was less than cute: There are at very least a few hundred Open Carry fanatics and, worse, clandestine gun-toters who right now are walking around in a state of tumescence over the golden opportunities Obama’s idylls are presenting them.

Love Guns

Speaking of this holy land’s erotic fixation on shootin’ irons, my academic historian hero/man-crush Rick Perlstein writes in Salon that the gun industry’s recent triumphs over decency and common sense are more than just a clear and present danger to innocents who wish only to go to a movie, sit in a classroom, or have lunch in a mall food court. The victory of the Wayne LaPierre gang over humanity actually erodes the primacy of law and may actually be an irreparable breakdown of, well, these civilized United States.

To wit: The Cliven Bundy ranch showdown in which the feds backed down in the faced of armed lunatics means that Open Carry and other gun eroticists actually beat the law as well as the entire structure of the nation. He writes, “When legitimately constituted state authority stands down in the face of armed threats, the very foundation of the republic is in danger.”

Perlstein finds an unlikely villain in the gun madness that has overtaken Murrica — the Democrats. My own party (and his, he acknowledges) once stood in stark opposition to unfettered access to guns. The Dems represented what I like to think of as a majority opinion that guns should be controlled. And, just prior to the Age of Reagan, it was conventional wisdom that people who dug automatic weapons, called for unlimited access to ammunition, and fantasized strutting around town armed to the teeth were sick in the head.

Once upon a time, Democratic presidential candidates robustly argued for gun control — that, as the party platform put it in 1980 (the year the NRA made its first ever presidential endorsement, of Ronald Reagan), “handguns simplify and intensify violent crime”; Democrats support “enactment of federal legislation to strengthen the presently inadequate regulations over the manufacture, assembly, distribution, and possession of handguns.” Note no mention of machine guns, because back then the notion that there should be no barrier to their ownership would have seemed self-evidently ridiculous to most reasonable observers.

The Dems, though, lost a key election or two and decided to drop the whole gun control idea in hopes of wooing Southern white men. A courtship, BTW, that was never consummated.

Open Carry

He Never Would Be Dem Material

Sometimes, sometimes…, no, most of the time, I feel not happy at all to identify myself as a Dem. Then again, what choice do I have?

Chilling Effect

Sure, George Will made an ass of himself when he bleated that women dig identifying themselves as rape victims. He wrote earlier this month in the Washington Post op-ed page that colleges and universities, essentially, are teaching young women that it’s cool to have been raped and Commie/abortionist Washington is encouraging this brand of thought. Will opined our institutions of higher educ. are making “victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges.”

That, my friends, is the reasoning of a jerk.



The news came last week that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch will no longer carry Will’s screeches from the WashPo syndicate. “The column,” the paper’s eds. wrote, “was offensive and inaccurate.” So, for all intents and purposes, the Po-Dis fired him.

I suppose that’s their right but it makes me uncomfortable when I hear of an opinion columnist losing her/his job for writing something controversial. Even if it is idiotic.

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