Category Archives: Jerry Sandusky

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Saturday

THE QUOTE

“We build a fire in a powder magazine, then double the fire department to put it out. We inflame wild beasts with the smell of blood, and then innocently wonder at the wave of brutal appetite that sweeps the land as a consequence.” — Mark Twain

Twain

BANG, YOU’RE DEAD

I was as enraged as anyone after learning of yesterday’s madness in Connecticut.

I took to Facebook and ranted:

From Facebook

— and —

From Facebook

America, with its psycho-sexual fixation on guns, is indeed deranged.

That said, a sociologist and criminologist from Northeastern University named Jack Levin appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday afternoon to put yesterday’s horror in perspective.

“The truth is,” Levin said, “there’s still about 20 mass killings every year in this country, and that has been true for decades.”

In other words, things aren’t getting worse.

Which is scant consolation to the parents who lost kids in Sandy Hook.

Wait, there’s more. Funnyman Aaron Freeman points out this fascinating set of statistics:

◗ US population, 1990: 248,709.873 — 23,440 homicides.

◗ US population, 2011: 311,591,917 — 14,612 homicides

Chicago Police Homicide

“We are,” Freeman writes, “moving in the right direction.”

PEOPLE ONLY ACT WHEN FACED WITH CRISIS?

Politico Ray Hanania points out this example of how mightily weird our species is:

One guy tries to use a shoe bomb on an airplane — Now every air travel passenger must remove her or his shoes before reaching the gate.

◗ Some 31 lunatics have committed school shootings since Columbine — No changes have been instituted.

Airport Security

Whew! I Feel Safer Now.

ACTION!

Yesterday morning, Kevin Sears, the Toastmaster General of Bloomington, and I mused on the inevitable movie about Jerry Sanduski, Joe Paterno, and the Penn State scandal. Here’s what we agreed upon:

Gary Busey will play Sanduski

Al Pacino will play Paterno

Casting

That’s all you need to know.

THE LAST MEN IN THE MOON

Precisely 40 years ago today, Gene Cernan, Harrison “Jack” Schmidt, and Ron Evans departed lunar orbit and began their quarter-million mile trip back to Earth.

Cernan and Schmidt were the last human beings to walk on the moon.

NASA Photo

Jack Schmidt On The Moon

Their mission, Apollo 17, originally was planned to be the third-to-last lunar trip but budget cutbacks forced NASA to cancel Apollos 18 and 19.

The two astronauts in the Lunar Module that descended to the moon’s surface from the Command Module spent a little more than three days on the Earth’s natural satellite. Their craft landed in the Taurus-Littrow lunar valley. The two walked on the moon for a total of 23 hours.

Schmidt was a geologist who’d go on to serve as United States Senator from New Mexico. Cernan was a Navy jet pilot before joining NASA. Both men are still alive and are approaching the age of 80.

NASA Photo

Cernan & Schmidt On The Trip Back To Earth

Before he left the moon, Cernan carved the initials of his daughter on a lunar boulder.

HARVEST MOON

One of the prettiest songs I’ve ever heard.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” — Marie Curie

CAIRO CREEPS

The world’s citizenry has plenty of reasons to be mad at the US.

In my lifetime alone there’ve been Vietnam, the Shah, the Contras, a couple of senseless wars with Iraq, and Lady Gaga.

Down With The USA!

That’s enough to make anyone hurl a shoe at the Secretary of State’s motorcade.

Which is what a gang of Egyptians did yesterday when Hillary Clinton passed through Cairo. They threw tomatoes at her entourage as well.

Apparently, the protesters were hot because this holy land allegedly has taken sides in their presidential election charade. I wouldn’t doubt that we are, considering the US puts its big nose into everybody’s business. That’s what empires do.

But the protesters also shouted “Monica, Monica, Monica” at Hillary’s limo.

You remember Monica Lewinsky, the most famous fellator in human history, don’t you? Also, in case you’ve forgotten, she was a walking humidor.

Quite A Bouquet

Anyway, I’d lay off the sexual references if I were the Egyptians. They didn’t exactly comport themselves well with women in the streets when they were in the process of overthrowing their tyrant leader, Hosni Mubarek.

An effort, by the way, the United States supported.

In fact, just the other week a crowd of Egyptians sexually assaulted a female British journalist covering the celebration for newly elected prez Mohammed Morsi.

THUMBS DOWN

Some observers of the Penn State University situation have said the NCAA has no authority over the institution in criminal matters not related to athletics.

Their “logic” goes that Jerry Sandusky’s sex life with children and Joe Paterno’s winking consent of same are not violations of the rules of the sacred game of football. Nor did they give Penn State an edge over its rivals in the playing of games.

The Little Girl Wisely Leans Away From The Nittany Lion

Maybe. Of course, if the NCAA’s lawyers find this to be true then we can only hope the National Collegiate Athletic Association shuts down its offices and goes out of business forever.

Me? I’m all for the NCAA giving Penn State the death penalty. Shutting down its football program for one or two years just might remind people in Happy Valley as well as in college towns around the nation that big time sports is not the reason universities exist.

COOL

Scientists have developed a device that can allow people to use their computers simply by moving their eyes.

This will be a miraculous boon to quadriplegics and amputees, among others.

The device, called GT3D, reads the user’s eyeball movements and translates that information into instructions to move a screen cursor. Users can play games, write emails, and do most of the things people with two usable hands can.

Click on the image below to see the video of a guy playing Pong with his eyes. Unfortunately, I can’t embed the vid.

The technology may one day be extended to wheelchair users. The device would be able to read the chair-bound user’s eye movements and cause the chair to proceed accordingly.

Some two decades ago I predicted that within fifty years we’d have implantable personal video and audio recording devices. Those of us who could afford it would have micro-devices surgically placed in our eyes.

Imagine how that would affect the criminal justice system.

Science, my friends, is cool.

SCIENCE CHICK

The above story reminds me of a woman I met last week at the Book Corner. Her name is Sarah and she was stocking up on science-y books for summer reading.

That’s right — rather than lull herself into a trance by reading, say, “50 Shades of Grey” or “A Stolen Life,” she opted to spend her time on good stuff like “Moonwalking with Einstein” by Joshua Foer and “The Mind’s Eye” by Oliver Sacks.

This Just In: Girls Have Minds, Too

I got to chatting with Sarah and she revealed she is here in Bloomington working on her doctorate in chemistry.

She admitted there aren’t many other women in her chosen field. She said she fell in love with chemistry thanks to an inspiring high school chemistry teacher, who happened to be a man.

Sarah was funny, extremely sociable, and curious about many things. And, again, she’ll soon have a PhD in one of the hard sciences.

The only downer is there are so few young women like Sarah running around the Great United States, Inc. these days.

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

Monroe County Public Library“It’s Your Money: Flapjacks & Greenbacks,” Learn to make pancake mix from scratch and other tips to save money; 7pm

Make Your Own

Cafe DjangoBloomington Short List, hosted by Marta Jasicki, variety show, ten acts, ten minutes each; 7pm

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Arts Festival: Chamber music students college audition; 8pm

The BishopMurals, The Natives, Chandelier Ballroom; 9pm

The Player’s PubSongwriter Showcase; 8pm

◗ IU HPER, room 107 — Free ballroom dance lessons; 8:30pm

The BluebirdDave Walters karaoke; 9pm

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

Acadame, n.: An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. Academy, n.: A modern school where football is taught.” — Ambrose Bierce

SANDUSKY’S CO-CONSPIRATORS

“The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.”

So there you have it. The official damnation of Penn State University by former FBI chief Louis Freeh’s gumshoes.

The Freeh report was released this morning.

And, no, this is no outside slam job. Freeh et al were hired by Penn State to dig into the sludge that threatens to drown the institution.

This is more satisfying even than the guilty verdict Jerry Sandusky earned after years of sodomizing 10-year-old boys. He’s a sick man. But his superiors at Penn State gave him license to fuck and blow children and to force them to blow him.

Now, riot over that one, Penn State faithful.

PSU Erected A Statue Of The Unindicted And Thankfully Dead Joe Paterno

DUMB TIMES

Have you caught Jimmie Walker’s latest act yet.

The “actor” who played JJ on the 70’s CBS-TV sitcom “Good Times” is doing the grand tour promoting his memoir. It’s called “Dyn-o-MITE: Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times,” the catchword, of course, being his great contribution to American culture.

Walker doesn’t like Barack Obama.

“Sometimes even a brother, you have to let him go,” Walker told Bill O’Reilly yesterday.

Walker, you may recall, won precisely zero Emmy Awards for his portrayal of a jiving, shucking Negro on the show. Walker’s JJ made Stepin Fetchit and Little Black Sambo look like George Washington Carver.

Now he’s talking politics. On Fox News, no less.

Oh, just a little irony here. Walker was the beneficiary of a Great Society program when he attended a federally-funded writing class for unemployed youth after he graduated from high school.

We taxpayers want our money back.

WE’RE NUMBER…, UM…, WHERE ARE WE?

Bummer!

Bloomington did not make the list of coolest college towns on Ranker.com.

Here they are, in order:

  • Boulder, Colorado
  • Austin, Texas
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Berkeley, California
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Washington, DC

Georgetown Students Can See Mitch McConnell On The Streets On Any Given Day

  • Santa Cruz, California
  • Oxford, Mississippi
  • Eugene, Oregon
  • Amherst, Massachusetts
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Iowa City, Iowa
  • Athens, Georgia
  • Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The Tuscaloosa Motel 6

  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Los Angeles
  • Durham, North Carolina
  • Clemson, South Carolina
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Atlanta

Honestly? Washington, DC?

Tuscaloosa?

Jeez, you’d think Leo Cook’s weekly Bloomington’s Got Talent! show at the Bluebird alone would earn us a spot on the list. Go figure.

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

◗ IU Simon Music LibraryGuest lecturer Professor David Castilo speaks about 18th Century Brazilian music; 5pm

Bear’s PlaceJaniece Jaffe; 5:30pm

Janiece Jaffe

Third Street ParkOutdoor concert series, Bloomington Community Band; 6:30pm

◗ IU Ford HallLatin American Music Center Guest Series: Recordist David Castilo plays Brazilian music; 7PM

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

Panache DanceLocal First July mixer, wine, cheese, and Samba dancing; 7-8:30pm

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

Monroe County History CenterArchitectural history researcher Bill Coulter speaks about how to trace the history of your building; 7pm

The Player’s PubTwo for the Show; 8pm

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Music Series: Recital participants in the IU Summer Percussion Academy; 8pm

The Comedy AtticChelsea Peretti; 8pm

Chelsea Peretti

Serendipity Martini BarTeam trivia; 8:30pm

The BluebirdNew Old Cavalry; 9pm

Uncle Elizabeth’sKaraoke; 9pm

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

“I am utterly bored by celebrity interviews. Most celebrities are devoid of interest.” — Roger Ebert

70

Happy birthday to Roger Ebert.

Hanging In

KING OF PAIN

So, Rodney King left this mad, mad world in a classic Hollywood fashion — face down in a swimming pool.

“Sunset Boulevard”: The Way To Go In Hollywood

Funny thing is, King was so un-Hollywood. Except that he became part of our national consciousness on videotape. His vicious beating was his intro to the American public. Next, his swollen, discolored, shattered mug became TV fare for days. And then, his voice shaking, he tearfully pleaded for peace.

I was 36 years old when East LA exploded into violence following the ludicrous not guilty verdict in the trial of the cops who’d played the tom toms on King’s head and then laughed about it afterward. I appeared on Ed Tyll‘s WLUP-AM talk radio show as LA burned. Tyll asked me what I thought about the King thing.

“Put your finger on the delay button,” I warned before taking a pause to make sure he was ready to bleep me. “Here’s what I think: Fk tha police.”

See, the whole situation had enraged me so that I quoted from a gansta rap song.

And you know what I think of rap.

Anyway, I was at a family function in the days following the beating a year before. Naturally, talk turned to King and the cops. The house was full of Sicilians, a few of whom had suffered back in the 1930s and 40s at the hands of Chicago cops who called them “nigger” before hauling them in on suspicion — suspicion, usually, of being too dark for their own good — and then giving them a good working over in the lockup. I’d supposed my uncles might sympathize with King.

My uncles were outraged, natch, but not at the cops. And, the funny thing is, not even at King. No, they were hot at the guy, George Holliday, who’d recorded the beating on his videocam.

Law Enforcement

“That guy had no business taking those pictures,” one uncle said. “That was none of his business.”

“He shoulda minded his own business,” another said.

“He’ll cause a lot of trouble with them pictures,” agreed a third.

As I said, this is a mad, mad world.

MONDAY

Click.

RIOT FOR RIGHT

Now, I wonder how Penn State University students will react when Jerry Sandusky is found guilty in his child sex abuse trial later this month.

I mean, they rioted after beloved Coach Joe Paterno was fired for allowing Sandusky free rein to sodomize young boys in the football facility shower room for years.

Penn State Student Overturn A TV Truck For Justice

And Sandusky is going to be found guilty, isn’t he? This world can’t possibly be mad enough to let him walk, could it?

EBERT’S TOP TEN

Roger Ebert drew up this list for a Sight & Sound magazine poll of noted film critics. Here are his choices for the ten greatest films ever made.

  • “Aguirre: The Wrath of God,” by Werner Herzog
  • “Apocalypse Now,” by Franics Ford Coppola
  • “Citizen Kane,” by Orson Welles
  • “La Dolce Vita,” by Frederico Fellini
  • “The General,” by Buster Keaton
  • “Raging Bull,’ by Martin Scorsese
  • “2001: A Space Odyssey,” by Stanley Kubrik
  • “Tokyo Story,” by Ozu
  • “Tree of LIfe,” by Terrence Malick
  • “Vertigo,” by Alfred Hitchcock

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they’ve stolen.” — Mort Sahl

DUH, GOLLY GEE, I DUNNO!

The day before yet another Republican primary, this one in Florida.

As always — I repeat, always; I mean it, always — Big Media is doing remotes from a bunch of heretofore unknown sandwich shops and church basements that the various candidates will visit to ask voters whom they’ll, um, vote for tomorrow.

And danged if the intrepid reporters invariably pick out the same kind of yokel: Well, uh, I haven’t made up my mind yet, and so on, ad nauseam.

Come on, people! There’ve been 373 debates within the last week alone. Moon Newt and Rich Mitt have been in the public eye for years. The issues they’ve skirted have been with us since time immemorial.

Who Are These Guys?

How on Earth can you not know who to vote for tomorrow?

Sometimes people say they need to actually see the candidates — with their naked eyes — before they can decide.

Look, neither the Republican candidate nor the eventual president is going to sit down with you and balance your checkbook, nor is he going to do your windows or vacuum your carpet. He’s going to be administering a government of 300-odd million people. You’re merely one of them.

He doesn’t have to visit with you personally in order to get your vote.

Sheesh, don’t people get it?

WHO’S RIGHT AND WHO’S WRONG?

If you’re not decrying the split between liberals and conservatives within this holy land these days, you’ll be accused of not paying attention. Many wags and wonks say the gulf is tearing our nation apart and is either created or exacerbated by the corporate media in order to provide content for its infotainment product.

Lah-de-dah.

But a recent study by University of Nebraska researchers indicates that liberals and conservatives react differently, and viscerally, to images of good and bad things. The researchers conclude that liberalism and conservatism may be driven more by biology than any analysis of issues.

Conservatives, the study finds, physically react more strongly to pictures of car crashes and flesh wounds whereas liberals react more to pretty, peaceful scenes.

In other words the right is spurred on by peril, the left by bonhomie.

This Ought To Push A Liberal’s Buttons

Those on the right, the researchers also found, exhibit more dramatic physiological reactions when shown pictures of Democrats than they do when shown Republicans. Oddly, liberals respond the same way. The researchers see this as further proof that conservatives are kicked into higher emotional gear by things they loathe or fear while libs are just the opposite.

Conservative?

It’s not much of a stretch to suppose that Republicans, therefore, are stimulated more by attack ads and fear-mongering.

So, don’t expect the pissing match between Moon Newt and Rich Mitt to peter out any time soon. And then look for even more thrills and spills come September and October.

STILL WAITING

Abby Tonsing of the Herald Times pointed out yesterday that Lauren Spierer turned 21 on January 12th.

The missing IU student’s parents, Charlene and Robert Spierer, still believe the male students who reportedly saw Lauren in the hours and moments before she disappeared on June 3rd have more information that they’re not sharing.

Daddy-o Robert called the story one of the boys told police “laughable.”

Lauren, On A Previous Birthday

I still can’t figure out why the four male IU students identified as having spent time with her before she vanished are all lawyered up. Then again, former assistant county prosecutor Maryann Pelic tells me it’s the smart thing for them to do (and she’s not at all implying they have anything to hide.)

TOO COWARDLY TO UTTER ICKY WORDS

So, the trial of the two idiots who sat on their hands when news of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s sex crimes was reported to them will soon begin.

To refresh your memory, another assistant coach allegedly saw Sandusky naked in the football shower room engaging in anal intercourse with what appeared to be a naked 10-year-old boy. The assistant coach reported what he saw to head football coach Joe Paterno who, in turn, reported it to a couple of paper shufflers in the PSU athletic department.

Paterno promptly washed his hands of the whole affair, convinced he’d done everything he was legally obliged to do. Apparently, he was satisfied with doing next to nothing.

The two paper shufflers now face charges of failure to report a child sex crime to the police and lying about what they knew to a grand jury.

Sandusky has been charged with 50 counts of having sex with young boys.

Paterno died last weekend of lung cancer and the Penn State community came out to tell the world what a great guy he was, what a leader of men, what a moral beacon, and tons of other holy horseshit.

But when the scandal broke it was learned that Paterno allowed Sandusky to continue to use Penn Sate facilities for years after the great man was told about the shower incident. Despite being retired from the football program, Sandusky was allowed to keep an office in the football hall and kept bringing prepubescent boys to the place at all hours.

Paterno, apparently, never raised a peep about the creepy set-up. We know for a fact he never stopped any of it from happening. And, believe me, Paterno could have stopped it all — at least within the hallowed halls of the football facility.

Now, defense attorneys for the two paper shufflers seem to be focused on how all the fine, upstanding men involved in this case were afraid to use actual words to describe what Sandusky allegedly had done.

The defense attorneys are hoping a jury agrees that by the time the story got to the two university officials, it had been so watered down by skittish football men that it didn’t even sound like a crime anymore.

A CNN reporter contacted a couple of experts to decode the whole mess,. Laurie Levenson, who teaches law at Loyola (Los Angeles) University, told the reporter, “Sodomy, rape, and anal intercourse are not easy words for men, especially jocks, to verbalize, and they may become particularly reluctant when they are speaking to authority figures.”

Another expert, Dr. Chuck Williams of Drexel University said, “Being uncomfortable with the subject matter could have led all men involved to minimize the Sandusky mess and avoid confronting it head on.”

Man alive! This whole stinking tale becomes more rancid by the moment. One weekend we’re being told Joe Paterno was one of god’s “greatest gifts to the world,” (by a Catholic priest, no less) and the next we hear that god’s gift is too squeamish to blow the whistle on a child sodomizer.

A former Penn State quarterback called Paterno “the most extraordinary person I know.” But JoePa was not extraordinary enough to say a phrase like “My assistant saw Jerry Sandusky penetrating the anus of a child with his penis.”

There. I just said it. And no one’s calling me extraordinary.

Paterno even had a hard time telling police investigators and prosecutors what he’d heard. His testimony to the grand jury showed a man afraid to say dirty words.

Everyone involved made a choice: don’t say too much because talking about it is icky. The fact that at least one ten-year-old kid had his anus forcibly dilated to an approximate width of two inches did not at all enter into the equation.

Perhaps the best account of this ugly tale was written by Buzz Bissinger, the author of “Friday Night Lights,” in the November 10th edition of The Daily Beast. He wrote, “[W]e need to stop the daintiness and describe the alleged offenses for what they truly are in the vernacular to somehow try to capture the monstrousness. Not anal intercourse or oral sex, which sounds clinical, but butt-fucking and blowjobs and cock-grabbing and pants-groping and other assorted acts that the 67-year-old Sandusky allegedly inflicted on [the victims].”

Big time college sports guys can run fast, jump high, throw balls long distances, or plot out clever plays. But if they’re too grossed out to save a kid from being ravaged, they’re neither brave nor strong.

And they certainly aren’t god’s gift.

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.” — Helen Keller

THE ABORTION WAR RAGES ON

I voted in my first presidential election 35 years ago. I pulled the lever for Jimmy Carter over Gerald R. Ford. That November, 1976, I felt heady and powerful, having helped sweep the stink of Dick Nixon out of Washington.

I looked forward to a future that would include peace, a home and plenty of food for all my fellow citizens, affordable higher education for all, unfettered access to birth control and abortions, legalized marijuana, and, of course, jet packs.

What A Cool Future!

So here we are in 2012, fighting a war that makes Vietnam look like a historical hiccup, hunger and homelessness rampant, yearly college tuitions reaching $50,000, still no legalized pot, and anti-abortionists in charge of one of the two major political parties of this holy land. Oh, and no jet packs.

Anti-abortionists gathered outside the Monroe County Courthouse yesterday afternoon to proclaim to the world how much they love, love, love every human being on this planet — as long as those human beings are not comprised of any more than several hundred cells.

“We Love You.”

The annual Rally for Life has been going on for more than a decade around Courthouse Square. Yesterday, the anti-abortionists were met with counter-protesters who shouted, waved signs, and painted slogans on their bellies.

The fun came to an early halt when the so-called Lifers decided it was too windy and misty to testify about their adoration for embryos any longer.

My fave sign at the rally? One guy held a placard proclaiming, “My sperm is not a person.”

THE COUCH POTATO PARTY?

So, Mitt Romney and his super PACs used TV advertising to knock the hell out of Newt Gingrich in November and December. Then Gingrich used TV ads to knock the hell out of Romney this past week.

Now nobody knows who the Republican candidate for president is going to be. Nor can anybody figure out why the primary race so far has been such a roller coaster ride.

Has it occurred to anybody that Republicans just might be more dedicated TV watchers than anybody else in these Great United States, Inc.? Couldn’t it be that — despite their protestations to the contrary — if they see it on TV, it’s gotta be real?

Of course, the only things Republicans don’t trust on TV are science shows and the news (except for you-know-which channel).

PRAY FOR GUIDANCE

Joe Paterno, we learned yesterday during the sickening post-mortems following the child-sodomy-tolerating football coach’s death, used to lead his teams in prayer before every single game.

Answered Prayer

So prayer, we must conclude, is a worthy activity when one hopes to score more touchdowns than Ohio State but ain’t worth the effort when trying to decide if one should call the cops after being confronted with eyewitness evidence that a pal was busy anally raping a ten-year-old boy in the shower room.

And prayer certainly didn’t help JoePa decide to bar Jerry Sandusky from using Penn State facilities for further May-December trysts (oops — I meant February-December).

FIRE WITH FIRE

If you live in one of a dozen or so primary election states, the prayer set is going to shove gory images of fetal body parts in your face in a couple of weeks. That is, should you decide to waste several hours of your precious life by watching Super Bowl XLVI.

The Puppy Bowl: A Better Usage Of Your Time

Yep, extremist Randall Terry, who is running for president (he’s expected to come in first in the Martian primary) has bought ad time in 13 primary-state TV markets during the big game broadcast on February 5th.

Terry, you may recall, founded Operation Rescue, the terrorist organization whose Kansas branch greased the way for the 2009 assassination of Dr. George Tiller.

The Terry “campaign” is running the explicit ads in response to pro-choice blogger Sophia Brugato, whose 10fortebow Twitter page donated $10 to abortion rights groups every time Denver Broncos quarterback (and prayer fanatic) Tim Tebow scored a touchdown this past season.

So, What Is It With Football And Prayer?

The “candidate” says if Brugato can raise dough for “killing babies” then he and his fellow mobsters must “fight fire with fire.”

BTW: Does it come as any surprise that a fellow like Terry might be averse to homosexuality, so much so that he has essentially disowned his son for the sin of being gay?

You know, family values, and all that.

REMARKABLE DEEDS

Parents these days are afraid to let their teenaged kids walk to the convenience store, right? Soccer moms (remember that term?) today must drive their precious spawn a block and half to the Circle K for their weekly supplies of Red Bull, condoms, and rolling papers.

That’s why this 16-year-old Laura Dekker chick’s just-completed excellent adventure is so jarring.

With the blessings of her parents, little Laura took a solo, around-the-world trip in her sailboat. She’s the youngest person ever to do such a thing, which may or may not help her advance in the business world when she becomes an adult — a landmark, I remind you, that is still some five years in the future.

Laura Dekker Got To Break Curfew 517 Nights In A Row

I’ve beaten this horse time and time again but it refuses to die. These narcissistic “accomplishments” are of zero value to anyone on this good, green (for the time being) Earth.

Celebrating these deeds and honoring their perpetrators as if they’d discovered a cure for autism is flat-out nuts.

I have a suggestion for the next pre-teen who wants to climb Mt. Everest or newlywed couple who wants to spend their honeymoon bonking high above the ground in a trans-Pacific hot air balloon ride: How about volunteering to work in a food bank or helping bring bedpans to elderly patients in your local hospital for a few weekends instead?

Now that’s heroic.

DIALOGUE

Mortgage banker Kathe Elliott-Doremus (one of the good ones — yes, such creatures do exist) FBed a fascinating nugget from the vault, Chicago’s “Dialogue, Part 1 and 2.”

Amazing, isn’t it, how nearly great that band was for a tantalizingly brief moment in time?

In fact, it was a Chicago Transit Authority (its original name until the real CTA threatened to sue) song that first introduced this aspiring teen radical to the term, “The whole world is watching.” The band’s eponymous debut album featured the twin-track “Prologue, August 29, 1968” and “Someday, August 29, 1968” which begins with raw audio from the Battle of Michigan Avenue. I stared at that convulsive event, rapt, on television when I was 12 and dreamed I could be there at Michigan and Balbo, in front of the Conrad Hilton Hotel, slugging it out with Mayor Daley’s cops.

Wishing I Was There

I was too young to make that scene. I would have had my skull dented, sure, and who knows where I would have headed after that. I could have become just another drug casualty or I might have been the next Tom Hayden.

Anyway, CTA seemed a harbinger of everything good and cool about pop music in the very early 70s. Lots of horns, a healthy dose of jazz, a political echo seemingly in each of its songs. But then — and I have no idea why — they turned to saccharine. It’s said Chicago is the second-most successful American pop band in terms of record sales after the Beach Boys. Most of those sales were of the treacly crap from their endless succession of unnamed, Roman-numeral-designated albums issued after that first release.

And then lead singer Peter Cetera struck out on a solo career, the output of which made Chicago’s pablum sound like the Dead Kennedys.

Chicago Transit Authority, Before They Turned Rancid

“Dialogue Part 1 and Two,” strangely enough, comes from Chicago V, showing that the band’s members still entertained a hint of the notion that music could be exciting.

Appropriately, Cetera’s is the voice of the Dialogue’s apathetic college student. He and co-lead singer Bobby Lamm talk about the state of the nation. “Don’t you ever worry,” asks Bobby Lamm, the socially-aware student, “when you see what’s goin’ down?”

“Well, I try to mind my business; that is no business at all,” Cetera responds.

Later, eerily presaging our times, Lamm asks, “Don’t you see starvation in the city where you live, all the needless hunger, all the needless pain?”

“I haven’t been there lately, the country is so fine. My neighbors don’t seem hungry ’cause they haven’t got the time,” blathers Cetera.

Finally, Cetera advises Lamm, “Well, if you had my outlook, your feelings would be numb. You’d always think that everything was fine. Everything was fine.”

And isn’t that the perfect crystallization of what passes for thought in the this holy land in the year 2012?

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“… Tammy Faye calls me and Ron Jeremy calls me. Erik Estrada sends me a Christmas card every year.” — reality show mannequin Trishelle Cannatella, testifying that even celebrity zombies enjoy Christmas.

A GIFTMAS CAROL

Hah! The Herald Times put my mug shot up. Must be a slow news day.

ANIMAL MECHANICS

Some pretty smart cookies live and work at the Indy Zoo. And I’m not just talking about the keepers and the animal researchers there.

Rob Shumaker is one of the alpha males at the zoo. He’s the boss of the Life Sciences department and is a world renowned expert on orangutans. He and two other critter scientists have written a book that dispels many of the notions we have about animals using tools. I’m not revealing too much by saying it isn’t just monkeys, apes, Republicans, and humans who use tools.

Shumaker

The book, “Animal Tool Behavior,” co-written with Kristina R. Walkup and Benjamin B. Beck, asserts that brain size and general smarts don’t determine which creatures use tools, as has been considered gospel until now. Wasps, spiders, dolphins, polar bears, and a host of other species could just as easily as Tim Allen been the star of “Home Improvement.” Maybe easier.

Guess: One Of These Two Is An Animal, The Other Is A TV Star

Wasps use rocks to smooth out soil. Some spiders throw sticky balls at flying insects and reel them in for supper.

The more we Homo Sapiens sapiens learn, the more we realize we (and Republicans) ain’t so special after all.

YES, BUT DO THEY USE TOOLS?

So, Nike has introduced a new pair of ugly sneakers, the Air Jordan 11 Retros. And — wouldn’t you know it? — some of Indianapolis’ finest citizens rioted at a couple of locations when they went on sale yesterday.

Just Looking At These Makes Me Want To Go Out And Break Windows

WE DO FACEBOOK SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO

A no-spamily, no-brattle zone.

◗ Bloomington author Julia Karr scored big with her teen dystopia novel “XVI.” Now, she’s back with the sequel, “Truth.”

Don’t take chances; buy both.

◗ Don’t these guys ever learn? The business-suited baboons at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange are discontinuing their charitable giving for 2012. This despite the fact that the mob of them made a pretty penny — $826 million, to be more precise — last year. Oh, and the cartel also has some $750 million just laying around — cash reserves, they call it. But, sorry kids, there ain’t enough to spare for your schools.

◗ Hundreds of football ironheads from Penn State University have signed a fawning letter of support for their embattled former coach, Joe Paterno. Sports yapper Dan Bernstein of CBS-owned 670 The Score dismantles the letter point by point. Paterno, you may recall, heard about his pal Jerry Sandusky being seen sodomizing a little boy in the Penn State shower room. He grudgingly told his putative superiors (in truth, no one at PSU was superior to Joe Pa) and promptly forgot the whole thing. Meanwhile, Sandusky allegedly continued to have his way with young kids.

This is a tough thing for me to say in Bloomington, Indiana, but the more I learn about big-time college sports, the more it turns my stomach.

Today: Monday, November 14, 2011

If the boys in charge were smart, they’d let winter quash the Occupy encampments across this holy land.

But the boys in charge are smart about as often as a Republican candidate for president talks about issues that mean something to you and me.

So, this weekend riot-geared cops waded into Occupy camping jamborees here and there. And it’s ironic, considering that within the last few days there was a street melee that warranted the use of force in response.

I mean, honestly, wouldn’t you have felt good about the world in general had local and campus police cracked some skulls with their nightsticks when those Penn State reprobates rioted Wednesday?

An essayist on Michael Moore’s website opines that arrogant white men don’t like to be held accountable for their actions. The author of the piece, one Mike Elk, holds that Penn State is is the capital of whiteness in Pennsylvania. (Hat tip to my old pal R.E. for putting this up on her Facebook page.)

But the cops played nice with the entitled white boys who were so enraged that their child-molester-protecting, GOP-supporting football coach was fired.

The fact that poverty is spreading here in America, right wingers are clamping down on sex and women, corporations are taking over world governments, the gap between rich and poor grows more alarming every hour, and other terrifying developments meant nothing to these little frat farts. Only their football coach being persecuted for sitting on his hands while his great and good pal sodomized ten-year-olds in the shower room drove them into the streets.

An op-ed contributor in the LA Times rails against the cult of college sports, a sentiment close to my heart. I realize I risk being lynched in these precincts but the whole hypocritical, corrupt, fairly racist major college sports structure makes me ill. (Hat tip to Roger Ebert on Facebook for citing the LA Times piece.)

My next door neighbor Tom asked me if I wanted to watch the Hoosiers basketball game with him the other day. I like Tom. He’s a good man and a good neighbor and I enjoy spending time with him but watching college sports ranks just below submitting to my yearly prostate exam on the list of things I want to do.

One of the Irish Tough Guys who hang out at Soma, Tough Guy Pat, holds season tix to just about every sport on the Hoosier athletic department sked. His mood often is dictated by the result of yesterday’s football game or last night’s volleyball match.

College sports means a lot to guys like Tom and Tough Guy Pat. I get that. I also get that were it not for Hoosier sports husbands would have to start talking to their wives around here, and that, of course, is unnatural.

And, speaking of unnatural, it strikes me that too many folks burdened with what they or society consider “unnatural” sexual urges seem to gravitate toward institutions that frown on the whole notion of doing fun things in the nude.

Authoritarian clubs like the Catholic church and the Republican Party sometimes seem overrun with closeted gays and boy-lovers.

Now, I need to clarify my usage of the term “unnatural.” We all agree that men who have sex with boys are operating with frighteningly faulty wiring. Gays, on the other hand, are not. But many, many, many poor souls consider their own homosexual feelings sinful or sick. They would consider themselves “unnatural.”

Here’s why I made mention of Joe Paterno’s Republican party affiliation. The GOP in the last 35 years or so has become fixated on sex. Birth control, abortion, gay marriage — if you don’t hew to the party line on these topics you ain’t gettin’ elected, simple as that.

(Which reminds me of the George Carlin bit about how these sex-obsessed people aren’t the kind you’d want to have sex with anyway. Thanks to Benny Jay for reminding me of this routine.)

Anyway, the Church and the GOP hold that every kind of sex except the stultifyingly boring kind between married heterosexual Iowa farm couples is icky to the point of criminality or sin.

Once you paint bonking as intrinsically evil, you lose the capability to see truly evil sex for what it is.

Maybe Joe Pa didn’t even realize that poking a pre-teen lad is an ugly crime. Maybe he just thought Jerry Sandusky had simply succumbed to temptation, you know, like offensive guards who engage in premarital sex or tight ends who masturbate too much.

Maybe he’d been listening for too long to the fetishists who’ve taken over his party.

Today: Sunday, November 13, 2011

POETIC JUSTICE

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

Joe Pa’s Statue Being Molested By Penn State Fanatic

PONY UP

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

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

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

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

Higher Premium? No Prob.

Jes sayin’.

LOOSE NUKES SINK WORLDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know, weird, huh?

LOVE TRUMPS POLITICS

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

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

Not Slick, Just Decent

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

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

Good luck.

I’M COMIN’, ELIZABETH!

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

It’s The Big One!

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

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

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

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

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

● Liz Taylor

● Sharon Stone

● Gary Busey

● Larry Hagman

● Erik Estrada

● Burt Reynolds

● Ozzy Osbourne

● and the King himself, Elvis Presley

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

Today: Friday, November 11, 2011

SNAKE EYES

Sorry, No. Try Again.

Eleven. Eleven. Eleven. Last time for that numerology oddity until the next century.

The good thing is the world hasn’t spun out of orbit — as far as I can tell. Hold off your worries about that until next year, you know, 2012.

DEMOCRACY HERE AND NOW

Hallelujah! Monroe County has a winner. Several, as a matter of fact. Results from Tuesday’s election finally were announced yesterday. Oh, and Monroe County Clerk Linda Robbins is still at large.

Wanted: Linda Robbins. Suspect May Be Armed (with paper ballots).

Bloomington’s three incumbent at-large Common Council members have been reelected. Tim Mayer, Susan Sandberg, and Andy Ruff all outpolled the two lone Republicans on the ballot (the two, in fact, may be the lone Republicans in Bloomington, period.)

In the only contested district race for the Council, incumbent Dem Chris Sturbaum whupped newcomer KC Baker to keep his seat in the First.

Not That KC, Silly!

Our KC is also a Republican so there are at least three of them in our town now.

Did I mention Mayor Mark Kruzan and City Clerk Regina Moore retained their offices after all the ballots were counted? They ran unopposed, of course. Sheesh. And people say my hometown of Chicago is a monolithic, single-party kingdom.

IS IT LEGAL TO SPANK COLLEGE STUDENTS?

You thought I was steamed yesterday when I wrote about the Penn State knuckleheads who rioted because football Coach Joe Paterno was fired? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Tomorrow is PSU’s last home game of the season. Extra security forces have been called in — the Pennsylvania State Police will beef up its contingent to help State College and campus cops keep a semblance of order. One regent from visiting Nebraska wants more protection for his “student-athletes.”

State College police spokesman Capt. John Gardner described the situation in terms of war. “Each time they (rioters) up the ante, we’re going to up the ante too,” he promised.

This Means War!

But here’s what’s frying me. Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary won’t be anywhere near Beaver Stadium. Why not?

Well, the no good rat had the gall to report that he’d seen a former assistant coach having sex with a ten year old boy in the PSU football facility shower room in 2002. That revelation, stonewalled and sat upon by university officials — including Joe Paterno — led to the firings of the legendary coach and the university’s president Wednesday. At least three people including Jerry Sandusky, the alleged child molester, have been charged by a Pennsylvania Grand Jury so far in the ongoing scandal.

Naturally, a lot of faithful Penn State football fans have responded. They’ve sent death threats to McQueary.

Off With His Head!

Imagine that! The no-goodnik wrecked everything for Penn State football. Just because he saw some child being sodomized by a grown man.

Grrrr. I’d like ten minutes alone in a room with any of the entitled little white rats who rioted Wednesday or sent those death threats to McQueary. And you know most of those reprobates are having fun with McQueary’s surname — as in Mc-Queer-ey.

When it comes to knuckleheads like them, a college education is a terrible thing to waste.

By the way, pretty boy actor Ashton Kutcher had to shut down his Twitter account yesterday because he expressed outrage that Joe Pa would be fired over such a trivial thing as ignoring the pederasty that was going on right under his nose.

I think they’d better start testing the water in the production studio of “Two and a Half Men.”

Sheen & Kutcher: What Have They Been Drinking?

SLIME PAYS

As if all this isn’t crazy enough, former mediocre pizza company boss, radio talker, shameless self-promoter, and Republican presidential nominee front-runner Herman Cain reports that his campaign contributions have actually gone up since four woman have come forward to report what a slick and smooth romeo he is.

Now, Let’s Talk About That Job You Want.

NUMEROLOGY’S EFFECT ON PLANETARY MOTION

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the world is spinning out of its orbit after all.

Earth’s Orbit, Pre-11/11/11

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