Category Archives: John Boehner

Hot Air, Cold Pizza

Go Read Alice

Congrats to Canadian short story writer Alice Munro on her Nobel Prize in Literature. Her latest is the collection Dear Life.

Book Cover

Munro’s 82 years old now and she has already announced she isn’t going to write anymore. The Nobel is a fitting coda to her brilliant and glorious career. If you want to learn more about her, here’s a good ten-year old biography of her that ran in the Guardian UK.

Crisis In Black And White

Bingo, babies! The fed shutdown is merely the latest play in the long running game of Republican Us vs. Them politics. The “us” being scared white Murricans and the “them” being everyone else.

Joan Walsh of Salon laid it all out in the Chicago Tribune last week (h/t to Monroe Anderson), although you would instinctively know this if you’ve been paying attention.

Walsh

Joan Walsh

The GOP since soon after the end of World War II has been organizing around the visceral fear whites have that blacks will one day amass enough guns, money, and real power (oops, sorry I’m being redundant) to overthrow the whole shebang here. Not only that, our wives and daughters will be taken as spoils.

No lie. You have to have grown up in an edgy, pure white neighborhood as I did to really grasp this: Black men with their large penises are to be quelled at all costs.

That’s my addendum to Walsh’s superb take on America’s political history of the last half century or so.

Even the National Rifle Association became a power to be reckoned with by demonizing blacks. The NRA gang was just a nice little club for deer hunters and such until the late 1960’s when, responding to an exaggerated threat of black nationalism and the emergence of the armed Black Panthers, the organization began conducting a national grass-roots campaign to limit access to guns. Yup. Some 40 years ago, it was far more important to the NRA that guns be kept out of the hands of blacks than in the hands of whites. Now, of course, it’s far more important to keep guns in the hands of paranoid schizophrenics than it is to make firearms purchases a tad more inconvenient for everyone else. (The reasons for that transformation are grist for another post, another time.)

Panthers

Black Panthers in 1969

As this holy land’s demographics change, the Strom Thurmond/Dick Nixon/Ronald Reagan/Roger Ailes strategy of appealing to jittery whites is becoming less and less effective. By 2050, say, whites won’t be able to throw their weight around as they are doing in this weird game of chicken that has closed, basically, the social safety net and all other parts of the gummint that don’t have to do with maintaining our sacred duty to threaten the rest of the planet with incineration.

It can even be argued that men like Ronald Reagan weren’t racists in their hearts. But the fact that they found it easy to capitalize on racial fears in order to attain and keep power made them, and the country as a whole, racist indeed.

(OTOH, Strom Thurmond was a racist, through and through, and I don’t care how many children he sired with black women. Nixon wasn’t specifically a racist; he loathed all humanity equally. Ailes? He’s just a pig.)

So yeah, the Republicans and the Me Party-ists who seem to have a power all out of proportion the the rest of the body politic ain’t gonna be big shots much longer. Problem is, with the Koch Bros.’ (among other sneaky plutocrats) dough behind them, John Boehner et al can do some really serious damage to the nation. Hell, they’ve done it already.

Think of it as a fire in your home. It may have started in the kitchen and, thanks to quick work by the firefighters (who get paid by that hated gummint, BTW), the rest of your house was saved. Still, the kitchen’s a wreck. It’ll be a long time before the place is functioning properly.

Walsh is right; this isn’t an all-sides-are-to-blame thing; the Republicans started it and now the rest of us are feeling the heat.

[Big Mike Note: The head for this entry is stolen from a 1964 book of the same name, written by Charles E. Silberman. He was among the first to identify and explain the reality that the USA is really two separate nations.]

Big Mike Explains It All

[Wordpress went a little funny in the head yesterday so this post that should have been dated Wednesday, October 9, 2013, is now dated today.]

Okay, kids, strap on your crash helmets because things are gonna get really, really weird here now.

As you know Peter Higgs won the Nobel Prize in Physics yesterday Monday because a bunch of geeks toying around with the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN facility on the border of France and Switzerland finally found the sub-atomic particle that bears his name. See, Higgs got cracking with pencil and paper (and eraser — lots of erasers) some 50 years ago and as a result of some calculations he did, he was able to predict the existence of the Higgs Boson, aka the God Particle, although most serious physicists get really cranky when the Higgs is called that.

Telegraph UK Image

Peter Higgs

People called the Higgs the God Particle because some wise guys figgered once it was found, scientists would know the secret of existence. That is, why things exist, and why they don’t just smash into each other and annihilate themselves or, conversely, why everything there is doesn’t just go flying off into its own nowhere so that there would be no mass or forces or even pizza.

Talk about existentialism! This whole shebang couldn’t get more mind-bending if the ghosts of Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, and Kafka suddenly were to appear in the living room playing Twister in their stocking feet.

Twister

That’s Kafka In The Green Suit & Wearing Glasses

Whereas pious folk say the Big Daddy-o in the Sky snapped his fingers one day and next thing anybody knew, light, aluminum, oceans, Adam & Eve, and shingles all came into being, particle physicists tell us reality is just a seemingly endless series of Russian nesting dolls, with ever teensier pieces fitting inside each other. There was a time when the learned among us thought atoms were the smallest things there could be.

Har-de-har-har. Over the last 150 years or so, researchers have found successively smaller motes that make atoms look like honeydew melons. Things got so surreal that when Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig, unbeknownst to one another, dreamed up the idea of the most fundamental particle yet back in the early 1960s, one of them had to reach into the bizarro world of James Joyce’s poetry for a name. Finnegan’s Wake provided the following line:

Three quarks for Muster Mark!
Sure he has not got much of a bark
And sure any he has it’s all beside the mark.

What in the hell ever that means. So inscrutable were those two sentences that Gell-Mann immediately sensed he’d happened upon the right language from which to pluck a perfect term. Ergo, quark.

But wait! Even quarks had to be shoved around by smaller pieces of something so Higgs entered the picture in 1964, proposing his eponymous boson. It wasn’t until March of this year that the CERN gang proved Higgs’ speck of near nothingness really does exist.

The Standard Model that most physicists today subscribe to holds that magnetism, electricity, light, and a few other of nature’s magic tricks do their thing via force-carrying particles. These little specks, which are far too miniscule to be seen even with the strongest grocery store reading glasses, have mass or, to use a very technical term, oomph, only because they rub up against the Higgs Field.

Dig: The Higgs Field, which is everywhere, sprinkles photons and other force-carrying particles with confetti-like Higgs Bosons so that they, the photons et al, actually carry some weight and therefore can push things around.

And that’s why there are Republicans, pebbles, electric guitars, and — yes — pizza, as opposed to a universe full of, well, nothing.

Pizza

Raison d’Être

We and everything around us are made of of countless billions and trillions of mini billiard balls — which actually also are waves, but don’t worry your pretty and handsome heads about that because if you start, search parties of shrinks would have to disperse in search of your sanity. Just trust, alright? Anyways, those eensy-schmeensy billiard balls only can come together to become a deep dish pie with sausage and green peppers thanks to the Higgs Field and its mass-inducing confetti called Higgs Bosons.

Understand?

That’s okay, neither do I.

Fortunately, Peter Higgs does and that’s why he won the big prize yesterday.

Aren’t you glad you read this rather than gawked at yet another picture of Miley Cyrus sticking her tongue out?

Cyrus

Put That Back In Your Head!

[Another Big Mike Note: I’m neither a mathematician nor an expert on particle physics. Try as I might, there’s a good chance that my word picture herein describing the Higgs Boson and Field is full of crap. If so and you, dear reader, are a physics geek, please correct me.]

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Touch a scientist and you touch a child.” — Ray Bradbury

SAINT RONALD SPENT LIKE A DRUNKEN SAILOR

I love bits of info like this. Deep thinkers like Ted Nugent, Rush Limbaugh, and John Boehner all would have us believe Barack Obama’s the most profligate president when it comes to spending our hard-earned tax dollars.

Hah!

It really was He Who Has Been Assumed Into Heaven. And our “socialist” Commander in Chief? He’s been the tightest with a buck over the last five decades.

Lest you suspect this is misinformation from the Kremlin’s Commissar of Propaganda, it’s actually from that bastion of capitalism, Forbes Magazine (h/t to Giancarlo Nardini of Club Lago in Chicago).

Hehehe.

Of course, these are mere facts. Facts, as we know, are meaningless to the electorate of this holy land.

NAILS, 90

A contingent of Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls is gliding down to Bedford this AM to pay respects to Nails Parton.

“Nails” Parton

Early roller derby tough gal Esther Eileen Parton, nee Nail (she incorporated her maiden name into her rink moniker), died Tuesday. She pitched the elbows up and down the eastern seaboard in the late ’30s and early 40s, back when women’s roller derby resembled more a marathon race than a series of short-burst, two-minute jams.

She became the BHRGs’ elder stateswomen superfan when this town’s girl gang was just getting started. For home bouts, the Rollergirls set Nails up with her own special easy chair behind suicide seating.

Bloomington’s skaters have sent a special flower arrangement for the funeral. It’s heavy on BHRG colors, and the vase has been implanted in a vintage roller skate. BTW: Nails  and her fellow derby-ists wore wooden-wheel skates.

Delicate Flowers

Speaking of wheels, dig those gams on Eileen. I bet that dame could move.

BOOM-SHOCKALOCKA

Old Sol blew off a monster flare Thursday. Goddard Space Weather Lab geeks predict the gargantuan tongue of energy will hit the Earth today at 5:14pm, our time.

Burn, Baby, Burn

If we’re awfully lucky and the skies clear, we may be able to see an aurora display late tonight and early tomorrow morning, thanks to the flare.

Astro-nuts say the flare — AKA, a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) — erupted from a sunspot that directly faced the Earth at blast time, meaning our rock will get the full dose of solar wind, magnetic field, and an extreme ultraviolet radiation pulse when the plume hits.

(You can find a video of the CME in a separate post below this one.)

Solar flare events can interfere with our planet’s electrical grid, GPS signals, and high-frequency radio communication. This CME isn’t expected to do appreciable damage.

BTW: Don’t pay any attention to New Agers and woo-woo enthusiasts who might claim the event will affect anything other than the electromagnetic spectrum here. But you’re too smart for that anyway, aren’t you?

SUNSHINE SUPERMAN

By Donovan. It charted in late 1966 and early 1967. This vid features the album version of the song, complete with guitar solo.

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

Showers Plaza, City HallFarmers Market; 8am-1pm

Hoosier National ForestArcheological Dig open house, see excavated farmsteads of the German Ridge community; noon-4pm

Stable Studios, Spencer — Bluegrass festival 2012: The Travelin’ McCoury’s, The White Lightning Boys, Rumpke Mountain Boys, Flatland Harmony Experiment, New Old Cavalry, the Stuttering Ducks, The Seratones; 1pm-midnight

The Rumpke Mountain Boys

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterBloomington Storytelling Project, “The Shocks & Surprises,” true stories; 7pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — David Dwyer; 7-9pm — DW Brykalski; 9:30-11:30pm

◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”; 7pm

Boxcar BooksMysterious Rabbit Puppet Army production of “Donny Quixote!”; 7pm

The Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army

Brown County Playhouse, Nashville — Musical, “Footloose”; 7:30pm

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

Cafe DjangoJared Hall Trio; 8pm

Buskirk-Chumley TheaterFilm premier, “Found”; 8pm

◗ IU Woodburn HallRyder Film Series, “Elles”; 8pm

Mike’s Music & Dance Barn, Nashville — Mike Robertson & Smooth Country; 8pm

◗ IU Memorial UnionUB Films: “The Breakfast Club”; 8pm

The Player’s PubBelow Zero Blues Band; 8pm

The Comedy AtticChelsea Peretti; 8 & 10:30pm

◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series, “Gerhard Richter Painting”; 8:30pm

Max’s PlaceMerrie Sloan & Friends; 9pm

The BluebirdPam Thrash Retro; 9pm

The BishopSoul in the Hole: Soul/Funk dance party; 10pm

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

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