Category Archives: John McCain

Hot Air

Blustering Bosses

So, here are a couple of business people whose mouths emitted sounds even though their brains did not actually contribute to the process:

I’m sick and tired of minorities running our country! As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think that atheists (minority, muslims (minority)n [sic] or any other minority group has the right to tell the majority of the people in the United States what they can and can’t do here. Is everyone so scared that they can’t fight back for what is right or wrong with this country?Charlotte Atkins Lucas

Lucas

The Lucases, Under Siege

and

[Calling for a more “positive” view of US history in school textbooks] As an example, I note our slavery history. Yes, we practiced slavery. But we also ended it voluntarily, at great sacrifice, while the practice continues in many countries still today!

Shouldn’t our students be provided that viewpoint? This is part of the argument that America is exceptional. Does our APUSH (AP U.S. History) framework support or denigrate that position?Pam Mazanec

Manzanec

Manzanec (Colorado Independent photo)

Natch, both comments are spreading on the interwebs in a way the ebola virus can only dream of. Charlotte founded Lucas Oil Products, Inc. with her husband, Forrest. Lucas Oil is a huge “lubricants and additives” manufacturer and distributor, mighty enough that the outfit can be the name sponsor for Indianapolis’s magnificent shrine to the sports gods, Lucas Oil Stadium. Now, don’t get all het up about those lubricants and additives. The Lucas concern is not about enhancements for your sexual pleasure; it trades in automotive fluids in 27 countries around the world, reaping some $150 million in revenues as of 2012.

As for Pam, she’s a Larkspur, Colorado, small businesswoman who sits on that state’s board of education.

Further proof that one needn’t have a functioning cerebrum to succeed in business.

Debunking Online Buncombe

Just in case you didn’t know, Arizona Senator John McCain did not meet with ISIS fighters a year ago. Nor did he meet with them ten years ago or a hundred years ago (when McCain was fresh out of high school).

Not ISIS

Yeah, That’s McCain; No That’s Not ISIS

A photo of him grinning and palling around with with purported members of the beheading-happy fundamentalist religionists has been floating around the interwebs ever since McCain called for a military strike against that gang.

Repeat: McCain has never met with ISIS guys.

Demonization

I happened to be telling someone the other day that the Koch Boys are huge philanthropists, having donated scads of dough to cultural and medical charities and non-profits.

Here’s a sampling of who got a piece of the thus-far $600 million that various Koch charitable foundations have distributed (source):

  • New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell: $15 million
  • M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: $25 million
  • The Hospital for Special Surgery: $26 million
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: $30 million
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation: $41 million
  • Deerfield Academy: $68 million
  • Lincoln Center’s NY State Theater: $100 million
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $139 million

The person with whom I was chatting was shocked — shocked, I tell you — that the Kochs had given money to any organization other than those whose raison d’être is to enslave the rest of humanity to the Sacred Free Market.

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 9.10.37 AM

The Kochs?

See, that’s the prob. with demonization. Now, don’t get me wrong: The Kochs are bad guys. Their philosophy for a happy, healthy humanity begins and ends with an ever increasing bottom line for Koch Industries. Still, wallowing in all their billions of USDs, they find ways to throw a few bucks here and there to theaters, medical researchers, and schools.

You may speculate on why they’re pitching their scratch at what we like to think of as “liberal” concerns. The Kochs, strategic thinkers that they are, may be thinking that some Lincoln Center plays may one day portray them as saviors of our species. They may even hope to see a one-woman play about the life of Ayn Rand.

And they may well be hoping that scientists will come up with a serum that will allow them to live forever.

It’s just as likely that the Kochs might have — believe it or don’t — a shred of human decency behind their hollow grins and cold eyes.

Kochs

The Kochs

Another likelihood is that they may be trying to buy their way to atonement for their sins against Homo Sapiens sapiens and Planet Earth.

See, there’s a ton of reasons why the Kochs might be funding good, honest charities but the irrefutable truth is, they do fund them.

And human beings are a lot more complicated than our popular images of them suggest.

Hot Air

School Games

If bureaucracies make you break out in hives, you’d better pull out that old bottle of calamine lotion for this one.

The Monroe County Community School Corporation has eliminated the position of “talent and diversity specialist,” a job it created less than a year ago.

The reason the MCCSC created the position was to get itself out of hot water for not promoting one Diane Hanks to be principal of Tri-North Middle School because, some hinted, she is dark-skinned. The system had to chill Hanks as well as a coterie of community activists who hollered that the MCCSC’s principal ranks were disproportionately white. So they gave Hanks a shiny new title and a bump in pay.

Hanks

Diane Hanks

As the MCCSC’s talent and diversity specialist, Hanks traveled far and wide to convince teachers of color Bloomington would be a dynamite place to work.

The question of how a person who was passed over allegedly due to her skin color could persuade people with that skin color that the MCCSC was the place for them has never been fully explained. The MCCSC will not release figures showing how many non-white teachers have flocked to our fair town since Hanks started recruiting last October.

Now Hanks has been given the job of principal of Bloomington Graduation School for the school year starting in two weeks and — voila! — the MCCSC suddenly realized it doesn’t need a talent and diversity specialist anymore. School superintendent Judy DeMuth sez the task of convincing “diverse” teachers to come here will fall back to Bev Smith, director of school and community services. Smith handled the chore before the Hanks flap.

As it was way back when I was a recalcitrant student, school is a very confusing place.

Sports Sickness

I love sports. I hate sports.

No, I’m not losing my mind. This holy land, though? Oh yeah, it’s been losing it’s mind over sports for some few decades now. Our obsessive infatuation with sports dovetails nicely with two disparate historical events.

◆ The birth of free agency and the subsequent elevation of pro athletes to the plutocracy. We can complain all day long and deep into the night about how unfair it is that certain guys have all the dough and the rest of us can’t seem to find a way to pay the cable/internet bill but the truth is the vast majority of us secretly dream we’ll be rich big shots one day. And if we can, say, shoot baskets and get paid $10 million a year, well hell, we’ve died and gone to heaven. Guys who earn millions a year are deemed worthy of our attention and love even if they have the morals and ethics of hyenas.

Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez (r) Exits A Limousine

◆ The rise of ESPN, its imitators, and the 24-hour, wall-to-wall coverage of every conceivable atom of minutia about players, fans, managers, agents, sportscasters, peanut sellers, players’ girlfriends, team owners, strength and conditioning coaches, sports psychologists, announcers, fanatics in bars, and even the occasional innocent bystander who happens to be walking near the stadium on the day of the big game. The only things America loves more than millionaires are people who are on TV. Witness the number of people waving at the camera behind the street reporter who’s telling us how many people were killed instantly in the rollover crash on the Interstate. Being on TV makes us nearer to god. And since pro sports guys are on TV 24 hours a day, they must be divine.

Manning

What Are Your Thoughts On The Middle East, Peyton?

We’re so taken with sports guys that millions of us spend hundreds of dollars on jerseys that bear their names.  Your next door neighbor who wears Andrew Luck’s jersey honestly believes you’ll think slightly more of him because of it. And if Andrew Luck should somehow enter his life, he would overturn heaven and hell for his newfound friend.

Some folks swoon so much over present and former sports guys that they get screwed. Badly. On several levels, including the most vulgar.

To wit: The story of former so-so baseball player Mel Hall.

I call him a so-so baller because he never amounted to too much in the Major Leagues. OTOH, as a major leaguer, he was one of the 750 finest baseball players to emerge a pool of tens of millions — perhaps even hundreds of millions — who played the game around the world. And, as such, he made himself a comfy pile of dough — acc’d’g to baseball-reference.com, Hall earned more than $6 million in his nine years in the bigs.

Hall, even after he retired from baseball, was esteemed, idolized, trusted, treated like royalty, honored, and adopted by countless families and individuals. Donald Trump even set him up in an apartment on the very floor of Trump Tower that The Donald himself called home.

All this despite the fact that Hall was usually broke, a fraud, a mooch, homeless at various times, a serial impregnator, a predator, a statutory rapist, and a child molester. None of these facts was too hard to unearth at the time Hall burned through numerous families and ruined the childhoods of a passel of talented female athletes who’d been entrusted to his care.

He’d been a Yankee, he was rich (for a while, at least), and he’d been on TV — the American trifecta. Why wouldn’t any right-thinking father and mother allow him to sleep with their 14-year-old daughter in the master bedroom in exchange for his promise to take care of them financially for the rest of their lives? One did.

Hall

Trust

An unconscionable number of parents were swayed enough by Hall’s purported outer trappings to allow him to essentially take their daughters from them so he could teach them how to be big, rich sports stars just like him. Their underaged daughters, I might stress. These parents put said spawn in a peril most other parents would sever their arms to ward off.

Hall is now serving a prison sentence of 45 years for his sins. His story is told in a lengthy article entitled “The Many Crimes of Mel Hall” by Greg Hanlon in sbnation.com.

The parents who put their daughters in his care have not been jailed, although that’s where they belong.

I follow my beloved Chicago Cubs religiously and fret over their antics as if they were my own children. I celebrated loudly and deliriously when Chi.’s Bulls and Blackhawks won their championships. I was curious as to where LeBron James would play this coming season and turned up the car radio when it was announced he’d signed a contract with a new team. I’m pulling for the Oakland Athletics to win the World Series this fall. I even sort of know who Johnny Manziel is. In that, I love sports.

But when it comes to Mel Hall and the veneration too many people held him in, despite his monstrous ways, my love for the games quickly turns to hate.

Self-Improvement

A couple of emailers seem to be confused as to who or what I am.

One advises me I can fit easily into my bikini again. The other offers me penis enlargement pills. Frankly, I don’t know which product to send away for first!

Bathing Beauty

Me At The Age of 30

Danger!

Bob Schieffer of CBS News made news himself the other day by telling an interviewer the planet is more dangerous now than it was when the USSR and this holy land hand tens of thousands of thermonuclear-tipped missiles pointed at each other. This follows on the heels of Sen. John McCain’s pronouncement earlier this month that he has “never seen the world in more turmoil than it is in today.”

Both fellows are full of horseshit.

McCain/Schieffer

McCain & Schieffer: Chickens Little

Schieffer’s mis-take on the world situ. has been trumpeted in all the conservative news mags and sites. McCain is a Republican, meaning that although he’s not riding the farthest Right wave on the spectrum his worldview is decidedly starboard. The Right loves these observations because they can now say, Look how Barack Obama has screwed up the entire globe!

Admittedly, McCain wasn’t allowed access to the daily papers while he stayed at the Hanoi Hilton and other N. Viet. hideaways back in the late 1960s and early ’70s but in the ensuing years since his release, he’s had ample opportunity to learn how freaking dangerous this weird world was back then. Israel and Egypt were stewing between two major wars, each of which threatened to become nuclear, the nascent nation of Bangladesh’s civil war cost some three million poor souls their lives, the Nixon Administration was seriously considering a plan to bomb the dikes of North Vietnam which would have meant several millions would have perished in the ensuing floods and from starvation, Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia to crush a popular uprising there, here in the US, hundreds of cities erupted in rioting for at least four straight summers, leading many to fear the outbreak of a general insurrection or even a second Civil War, the USSR and China faced off in a border war that (pardon me for sounding repetitive here) threatened to go nuclear at any moment, the Khmer Rouge fought the government of Cambodia in a bloody civil war, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and George Wallace were cut down by assassins’ bullets, Greece was taken over by a military junta, a riot during a soccer match led to a war between Honduras and El Salvador, North Korea seized the spy ship, USS Pueblo, and kept its crew prisoners for nearly a year, bombings occurred at university campuses and department stores around the world, French students and laborers went on strike and millions took to the streets throughout May, 1968, effectively shutting down the entire country, huge oil spills occurred seemingly monthly, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland burned, the 1968 Democratic National Convention was marred by rioting, and…, and…, oh, just STFU, John McCain.

Prague Spring

Prague, 1968, Specifically; Anywhere In The World, Generally

And, as for Bob Schieffer, in the year 1968, the United States possessed more than 30,000 nuclear weapons and the Soviet Union boasted nearly 10,000 of them. Even though today some observers say the concept of Mutually-Assured Destruction prevented the leaders of the two countries from embarking on a course that would lead to a nuclear exchange, many of the tactical nuclear weapons on both sides were under the control of field commanders who could have elected to launch at any given time, leading to an escalation in hostilities that could have wiped out a billion or more human beings, not to mention bunny rabbits, puppies, and pigeons. Cockroaches, I understand, might have survived such a holocaust but that probably would have been scant consolation for the grateful dead.

So, you too, Bob Schieffer, STFU.

Your Daily Hot Air

Breaking News

This just in: Nothing happened in Great Britain yesterday.

Nothing

Communique From The UK

That is, nothing that came within a light year of interesting me. I have scanned all the news sites. I watched the BBC newscast last night. I monitored the radio this morning.

Again I say, not one single thing that could possibly be of use to me in understanding this world occurred in the paleo-empire upon which, the old saw holds, the sun never sets.

I just thought you’d like to know.

No Vagina In The White House

The CNN Political Ticker blog tells me a “Stop Hillary” gang is coming together with the sole and sacred purpose of, natch, preventing the former Secretary of State and serial forgiver of her philandering husband from becoming POTUS.

Now, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of a formal organization being establishing more than two years in advance of an election to preemptively halt one of the expected several dozen presidential aspirants from getting anywhere. Not even the putative presidency of Barack Obama so scared the poo out of people in 2005 that they began huddling to stop him.

Stop Hillary 2016

See How Hideous A Woman President Would Look?

Then again, Obama hadn’t declared that far in advance but even if he had, it’s doubtful anyone would have taken him so seriously as to form an anti-O club. Even after he’d declared in February 2007, no one cared enough to organize against him. Bet they’re kicking themselves, eh?

Anyways, this Stop Hillary PAC is led by a bunch of conservatives, Republican operatives, lobbyists, and other gadflies. Some guy named Garrett Marquis, who worked on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign appears to be the spokesman for the group. He says, “We’re supporting anything that is the opposite of Hillary.”

Considering the fact that Hillary Clinton is so centrist she makes Barack Obama look like a bandanna-masked anarchist, it seems odd that a group of guys would be so spooked by her.

Ah, wait a minute! There’s the key, no? Group of guys.

Hard as it may be to believe, the existence of a president who doesn’t carry between her legs that god-given symbol of power and righteousness, the penis, is even more terrifying than the thought of a brown Commander in Chief.

Fear

The Terror

I mean, honestly, should Hillary Clinton be elected Prez, the collective phalluses of America would turtle so severely that, by golly, the real men of this holy land would finally have to take up arms. No more of this Next time, we’ll have our shootin’ irons namby-pamby jaw-juice. The moment Hillary takes the oath of office is next time.

Gun Lover

Open fire, boys, our very potency is at stake!

Bet you didn’t know this isn’t the only organization formed to make certain Hillary Clinton never, ever, ever becomes our boss. Mitt Romney’s campaign manager in 2012, Matt Rhoades, started one up even before Stop Hillary came together. That group is called America Rising.

Appropriately enough.

Woman

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus

HAVE YOU VOTED YET?

Why not? Okay, but you only have one week left to do it! Here’s where you can vote today and tomorrow:

The Curry Building, 214 W. Seventh St.; 8am-6pm

IU Assembly Hall, 1001 E. 17th St.; 10am-6pm

POG PANIC

So, the Republicans are pulling out one last pie to throw in the face of Barack Obama with a week to go before the November election.

According to them, Obama conspired with Muslim extremists to murder four Americans during the attack on this country’s diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya a couple of weeks ago. Then Obama covered up his administration’s complicity in the affair.

The whole shebang, says everybody from John McCain to Newt Gingrich, is worse than Watergate.

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Of course, I’m exaggerating when I say they’re actually accusing Obama of participating in the attack. About as much as they’re exaggerating about it and Watergate.

And, by the way, the GOP has been salivating for a “Democratic Watergate” for some 40 years now. It hasn’t happened yet.

ANOTHER ENDING

This day comes every year around this time.

Baseball is finished for 2012.

Boo.

Their Joy; My Loss

The San Francisco Giants completed a sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the World Series last night. I’ve been listening to the games on live stream. Not only do I love baseball, I love radio (even radio on my laptop.) So I get to combine two of my loves at once.

It’s like having a pizza and spaghetti party.

A Kind Of Heaven

But it’s over.

I wanted the Giants to win. But not just yet. Not now. Not this soon. Couldn’t they have drawn it out for a few more games or, better, a few more weeks? Baseball’s done. So is summer. So is another year.

My boys, the Chicago Cubs, had one of the worst years in their long and storied history. They’re as far from the World Series as they’ve ever been in my lifetime — and that includes a lot of absolutely rotten teams.

But I’m hoping. The new brain trust led by Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and John McLeod has gutted the organization, ridding it of deadwood, ne’er-do-wells, and — for all I know — Satan worshippers. That’s a good start. Now they have to gather real ballplayers.

I don’t believe in god or magic or life after death. But the thing I do believe in makes all those things seem rational. I believe the Cubs will win a World Series while I’m still alive.

Anthony Rizzo Will Lead Us To The Promised Land

Call me a crackpot.

FACTS, HAH!

Big Think took on climate change skeptics yesterday.

You know, without Fox News, these people would be babbling on a street corner somewhere. Of course, in a sane world, so would the Fox News people.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago The Daily Mail of London ran this ludicrous headline:

Everybody with a functioning cerebrum ignored it. Except, natch, Fox News.

The Party of God’s house organ ran with it big time:

Turns out that the Daily Mail piece was completely erroneous.

Doesn’t it scare the crap out of you that a huge percentage of this holy land’s population eats up Fox News on a daily basis?

It makes me want to throw my hands in the air and moan, “I give up!”

On the other hand, maybe Fox is coming around. Their screen headline implies that there was global warming, once. That’s better than denying it ever existed, right?

SO NICE

How about one last blast of summer from Brazil’s Astrud Gilberto?

This song is also known as “Summer Samba.” Light and airy, hopeful and exciting — it’s the perfect metaphor for what I hope every summer will be. They never really turn out that way yet I still dream of those ideal summers in the dark of every winter.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.


Monday, October 29th, 2012

VOTE ◗ Two locations for early voting in Monroe County today and tomorrow:

  • The Curry Building, 214 W. Seventh St.; 8am-6pm
  • Indiana University Assembly Hall, South Lobby, 1001 E. 17th St.; 10am-6pm

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

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallMaster’s Recital: Adam Brown on guitar; 5pm

TOWN HALL MEETING ◗ IU Memorial Union6th Annual China Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections, Speakers include: Zhao Shaung, Scott Kennedy, Abassador Gary Locke; 6pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleBarbara McGuire; 7-9pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Juan of the Dead“; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallPercussion Ensemble, John Tafoya & Kevin Bobo, directors; 7pm

MUSIC IU Musical Arts CenterMAC Lobby Concerts Series: Jazz Combo; 7:15pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceRockin’ Roots: Brownbird Rudy Relic, Los Basttardos Magnificos, Tilford Sellers & the Wagon Burners; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubSongwriter Showcase; 8pm

HALLOWE’EN ◗ IU Department of Folklore & Ethnomusicology, Begin at the Performance & Lecture Hall — Ghost Walk, Tour haunted spots on campus; 8pm

MUSIC IU Musical Arts CenterJazz Ensemble, Jeremy Allen, director; 8pm

MUSIC IU Musical Arts Center, Recital HallDoctoral Recital: Chappell Kingland, composition; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopMargot and the Nuclear So & Sos, Gentleman Caller; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdWhite Denim; 9pm

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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

“Being a man given to oratory and high principles, he enjoyed the sound of his own vocabulary and the warmth of his own virtue.” — Sinclair Lewis, Babbit, Ch. 6

ROVE SHOW

A number of people asked me yesterday morning if I was going to attend the Karl Rove smut-fest at the IU Auditorium.

Rove was the lightning rod. The event was billed as a sort of colloquy between the one-time “rat fucker” and evil genius behind George W. Bush’s presidency and Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s former mouthpiece, but for all the residents of this people’s republic were concerned, Gibbs would be nothing more than a bit player. The two were to dope out the 2012 Election and everybody expected a hockey game to break out.

Only no punches were thrown and the entire affair, according to observers, was rather tepid.

I wouldn’t know because I wasn’t there.

I told my interrogators yesterday morning I wasn’t going. They know I loathe Rove more than the genetic heart defect that’ll eventually kill me so they were surprised I wouldn’t grab the chance to hiss him.

Unh uh.

I didn’t go for the same reason I don’t watch TV news. It’d make me edgy. I’d fall into that old us-versus-them trick bag the corporate media loves to suck us into.

Some of this town’s most notable citizens gathered outside the Auditorium to shout at its walls how much they object to the very notion that the human species has resulted in something so vile as Karl Rove.

Tomi Allison & Charlotte Zietlow Serenade Rove

Again, that’d be a no-go for me. It plays into the show business aspect of Rove-mania. He’s not only still a mover and shaker on the political scene, but he’s the designated villain in the pro wrestling spectacle that civic debate has become. The mini-mob outside the Auditorium only heightened the buzz and sense of spectacle of the thing.

Rove’s never been accused of outright vote stealing. No, his sins are worse. He peddles tainted information. He manipulates resentments. He games the system. Rove is a diabolical archcriminal.

I wouldn’t give him a dime of my hard-earned dough even if it was just to throw rotten tomatoes at him.

DEATH OF THE ‘WEEK

You’ve heard the news that Newsweek will cease publication this year.

Good.

Newsweek actually saw fit to give Karl Rove his own weekly column after his former boss left the White House.

“News”week

I wonder if the following items on the Rove resume convinced Newsweek’s editors to take him on:

In 1970, Rove, using an alias and pretending to volunteer for Alan Dixon’s reelection, gained access to the Illinois Senator’s campaign office. He worked only for a day. Actually, a mere few hours.

His sole desire was to make off with a few reams of stationary bearing the Dixon campaign letterhead. Rove then printed up phony invitations promising “free beer, free food, girls, and a good time for nothing” at an upcoming invitation-only Dixon rally. Rove then distributed the faux ducats at dive bars, flophouses, homeless shelters, and rock concerts where he sought out the scruffiest and foulest-smelling stoners.

The Dixon campaign was shocked when its rally was invaded by the rather unsavory battalion.

Rove went on to do much volunteer work for the Richard Nixon reelection campaign. He was so valuable to CREEP that Watergate prosecutors actually considered indicting him but decided not to only because he was small potatoes. His artistry in the field of dirty tricks was not yet fully honed.

For instance, working for George W. Bush in the 2000 South Carolina Republican primary, Rove floated the rumor that Bush’s biggest rival, John McCain, had fathered a black “love child.” McCain, at the time running ahead of Bush, suffered a surprising defeat in that state, long a bastion of racism.

Bushy & The Brain

I could fill ten posts with a laundry list of Rove violations of the public trust. Suffice it to say he’s a baddie.

So, if Newsweek wanted this brand of reprobate to pen a weekly column then it deserves to suffer a painful death.

MARRIAGE: GOVERNMENT REGULATION RUN AMOK

Speaking of Right Wingers whose dark souls emit a nauseating reek, that darling of the Tory classes, Dinesh D’Souza, has gotten his bully club caught in a wringer.

Following in the tradition of Republican stalwart, Newt Gingrich, D’Souza has thrown his wife over for a younger woman.

D’Souza Goes For The Youth Market

D’Souza, who regularly wows conservative Christian audiences with his railings against the morally bankrupt liberal, secular world, has been toting around a young chickadee whom he introduces as his fiancee.

This even as D’Souza’s ever-loving wife of 20 years, Dixie, has kept the home fires warm for him.

Some observers on my side of the fence say this is typical of the hypocrisy of podium-thumping evangelicals and conservatives.

Pure

I say nonsense. In fact, I believe the whole incident proves D’Souza is philosophically consistent to a fault. His devotion to the “free market,” obviously, extends to all areas of his life.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Friday, October 19th, 2012

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

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

ART ◗ Foxfire Park, NashvilleFall Fine Arts Festival; 11am-6pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Willkie AuditoriumFriday Noon Concert Series: Jeeyoon Kim on piano; Noon

ART & LECTURE ◗ IU Woodburn HallKen Kewley talks about his works in the “Small Is Big” exhibit; 1pm

LECTURE ◗ IU College of Arts & Humanities — “The Myth of Host Desecration in Medieval Aragon & Paris,” Presented by Robert Clark of Kansas Sate University; 3pm

SPORTS ◗ IU Field Hockey ComplexHoosier women’s field hockey vs. Michigan; 4pm

HISTORY ◗ Monroe County History CenterOpening reception for the exhibit, “The Girl Scouts“; 5:30-7:30pm

ART & LECTURE ◗ IU Grunwald GalleryBuzz Spector talks about his current exhibit, “Off the Shelf“; 5-6pm — Opening reception; 6-8pm

MUSIC ◗ Malibu GrillBob Straight & guest; 6-9pm

ART ◗ The Venue Fine Art & GiftsOpening reception for the exhibit, “Carved Wood, Native American Inspired Art“; 6pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Detropia“; 6:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Side by Side“; 6:45pm

AUTHORS ◗ Sweet Claire Gourmet BakeryLemonstone Reading Series, Presented by Writers Guild of Bloomington, tonight Emily Bobo reads and Zach Moon & Lawrence Washington play music; 7-8:30pm

MUSIC FEST ◗ Various locations, BloomingtonBloomingTONE Music Festival, purchase tickets for single events, all events on one night, or a full two-day pass, Friday & Saturday, Tonight’s events:

SPORTS ◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Minnesota; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallOctubafest, Daniel Perantoni, director; 7pm

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

HALLOWE’EN ◗ Haunted Hayride & StablesScary hayrides; 7-11pm

HALLOWE’EN ◗ Bakers Junction Railroad MuseumHaunted train; 7pm

STAGE ◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreDrama, “Richard III“; 7:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Woodburn Hall TheatreRyder Film Series: “2 Days in New York“; 7:30pm

ASTRONOMY ◗ Lake Monroe, Paynetown SRA BeachStar Gaze with the IU Astronomy Club, weather-permitting; 7:30-9pm

ART ◗ IU McCalla SchoolThe Fuller Projects: “Kissing Bachelard: Urban Spaces Conceived,” Paintings by Maggie Crowley; 7:30pm

OPERA ◗ IU Musical Arts Center — “The Merry Widow“; 8pm

BENEFIT ◗ The BishopXO Variety Show, for Middle Way House; 8-11pm

FILM ◗ Bear’s PlaceDark Carnival Film Festival: “Found,” Plus annual costume contest; 8pm-Midnight

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallMaster’s Recital: Haewoon Yang on piano; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubLottaBLUESah: Snakedoctor, Michael Kelsey; 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — UB Films: “The Dark Knight Rises”; 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Stars in Shorts“; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdRod Tuffcurls and the Benchpress; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleWhiskey Mystic; 9:30-11:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Chicken with Plums“; 9:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumUB Films: “The Dark Knight Rises“; 11pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Beyonf the Black Rainbow“; Midnight

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 form 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: Bloomington’s Best

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Politics is just like show business. You have a hell of an opening, coast for a while, and then have a hell of a close.” — Ronald Reagan

MY BOSS IS BIGGER THAN YOUR BOSS

So, the coat-holders go after each other tonight on national TV.

Vice president Joe Biden and Willard Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, meet in Danville, Kentucky’s Centre College and begin throwing food at each other at 9pm.

No sense wasting time watching it as “the winner” already has been determined, according to experts in the mass obfuscation biz.

See, because ol’ Willard leapfrogged so dramatically over over the president after last week’s “debate,” the heat is on Biden to rescue the Dem ticket from the humiliation of a single-digit fate.

Not a single-digit deficit, mind you, but an actual vote count on November 6th of less than ten percent. In fact, some experts believe Obama now will be the first incumbent president to garner fewer than 500 votes nationwide after his disappointing performance eight days ago. That would translate into the greatest landslide in world electoral history, with Romney receiving 99.999996 percent of the vote.

All because Barack Obama telephoned his performance in on the 2nd.

Wise men before that debate said it was going to be Romney’s “coming out party.” Disappointingly, he did not use the event to reveal to the American public he is gay, but, say those experts, to show us who he really is. Which is good — I’d previously had him pegged as a homeless man.

In any case, the experts are saying the same thing about Paul Ryan today. The American people will get to know him tonight. Local polls have indicated that most Bloomington voters believe Paul Ryan is a male stripper at Uncle Elizabeth’s.

Ryan (right)

If recent history is our guide, he’ll trounce Biden.

Well, I voted Tuesday at the Curry Building. I filled in the box for Obama/Biden. At least the election won’t turn out to be unanimous.

THE WHOLE PACKAGE

Just finished reading the account of the operation to capture or kill Osama bin Laden in the current issue of Vanity Fair.

The piece is an adaptation of Mark Bowden’s forthcoming book, “The Finish,” about the raid that resulted in the death of the millionaire warlord.

Un-wanted

Here’s a spoiler for you: There never was any chance that bin Laden would be taken alive. The SEAL team that entered his compound in Abbottobad on May 2nd, 2011, was made up of shoot-first, ask-questions-later guys.

It’s a riveting story. The president showed a lot of steel by okaying the plan in the face of uncertainties about whether or not bin Laden was actually the white-robed guy observed by spy drones at the compound or even if the operation could succeed.

Don’t let those Republicans fool you with their blatherings that Obama is too soft to be president.

The whole episode hardens my conviction that the GOP is brilliant at putting on a show. For instance, Obama went on live television to announce bin Laden’s death at 11:35pm EST. Which means all of sixteen people actually saw him.

The Big Newz-z-z-z-z-z-z-z

The Republicans would have been smart enough to sit on the news until 9:30 the next morning when it would flash on everybody’s computer screen at the office.

Say John McCain had won the 2008 election [Big Mike pauses for a moment to allow his loyal readers to steady themselves].  And say, even more improbably, that McCain and Company had been in charge of the raid.

(Remember, Obama was being advised in part by his vice president — ergo, it’s safe to assume McCain would have had to listen to Sarah Palin’s bleating. “Mr. President,” she’d say, “we already beat Obama, why do we have to go after him again? Wait, you didn’t say Obama?”)

Anyway, the Republican Party entertainment division (read: Fox News) would have had McCain rappel onto the Rose Garden from a hovering Chinook helicopter to deliver his We-got-‘im! presser.

Say what you will about Georgy Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” arrival on that aircraft carrier back in ’03, I’ll bet millions of GOP chicks still get dewy-eyed (euphemism, natch) thinking about it.

Hail To The…, Oh, Mr. President!

Personal to the President: Take a cue from the Catholic church — give ’em some theater.

SHRIEK NIGHT FEVER

Don’t miss this: Laura Grover and her Bloomington Storytelling Project mates will throw a Hallowe’en frightfest Saturday, October 27th, at Max’s Place.

Grover et al have put out the call for storytellers to come on stage that night and scare the bejesus out of the citizenry.

Have you made it to a BSP extravaganza yet? If you haven’t, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Jes’ plain folks come up and tell tales — some of them even true, I’d guess. None of it is rehearsed or scripted, so you’ll have a gay old time on the edge of your seat wondering how the speaker will wriggle out of whatever snag she or he has gotten into.

Bloomington, of course, is home to some renowned raconteurs and whopper peddlers. I’d think that legendary stump speakers like Charlotte Zietlow and Hondo Thompson would be perfect for the BSP circuit. One of the big stars of any BSP event is Marc Haggerty, who’s known far and wide in these parts as the only man alive who can fill his own shoes. Anyway, if Haggerty is on the sked to spin a yarn on the 27th, that alone would be worth the price of admission.

Send an email to storytelling@wfhb.org if you’d like to get on the Hallowe’en show roster, otherwise, just show up and listen.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

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

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

SOCIAL SERVICE ◗ Bloomington American Legion P0st 18South Central Indiana VA Stand Down, Helping struggling veterans, services include health screenings, food & clothing donations, flu shots, haircuts, counseling, etc.; 10am-2pm

LECTURE & BOOK SIGNING ◗ IU Maurer School of Law — “America’s Unwritten Constitution,” presented by Akhil Amar; Book signing at 11am, Lecture at Noon

LECTURE ◗ IU CinemaJorgensen Guest Filmmaker Series: Benshi Kataoka Ichiro; 3pm

CLASS ◗ IU Maurer School of Law, Moot Court RoomPractice before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal, Continuing legal education credit; 4:30pm

FINANCIAL COUNSELING ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryIt’s Your Money series: Talk to an Expert, Financial experts available for confidential counseling; 4:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Bear’s PlacePost-Modern Jazz Quartet; 5:30pm

WORKSHOP ◗ BloomingLabsIntro to Programming; 6:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “An Inn at Tokyo“; 7pm

STAGE ◗ Bloomington Playwrights ProjectComedy, “Rx“; 7:30pm

STAGE ◗ Brown County Playhouse, Nashville — Drama, “Last Train to Nibroc”; 7:30pm

DISCUSSION — IU Radio/TV Building, Room 245Making Ethical Decisions During War: One North Vietnamese Soldier’s Story, Part of IU’s Themester program, “Good Behavior, Bad Behavior“; 7:30pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGlenn Wool; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallMasters Recital: Vanessa Rose Catsillo on Baroque violin; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdVictor Wooten; 8pm

SPORTS ◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Purdue; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopBelievers; 9:30pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists; through October 14th
  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st
  • 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:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works; through October 11th

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 form 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 CenterExhibit:

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

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

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” — Malcolm X

THE ANNUAL ELECTRON PENCIL PENNILESS LIST

What a coincidence!

Only two days after Forbes Magazine released its yearly list of the world’s billionaires, we at The Electron Pencil proudly present our inaugural annual roster of broke Americans.

Forbes Got Nuthin’ On Us

(We are working with our crack legal team to determine if we have a case against Forbes. It is our assertion that Forbes intentionally scheduled its release to upstage our eagerly awaited list of the Penniless. Stayed tuned for more developments.)

Several of the Forbes select few have expressed displeasure at having information about their personal finances splashed all over magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV. Our lucky few are circumspect as well. In fact, each of them has pleaded with us not to reveal their identities or net worth.

Forbes Porn

But we are nothing if not tireless, intrepid journalists. Our commitment to unearth the truth no matter the consequences must trump their desire for privacy. As a compromise, we will not use the full names of our honorees.

Now then, here is The Annual Electron Pencil Penniless List:

  • Ronald H.: A talented jazz saxophonist, Mr. H. recently moved out of his cozy pied-à-terre on the west side of Bloomington. He is now “traveling.” In other words, he is homeless. Mr. H. was ousted from his position as Vice President of Facilities Maintenance for a local elementary school last spring. He was a casualty of school budget cuts. He carries the entirety of his possessions in his backpack which has a missing zipper. Sharp-eyed passersby can catch glimpses of Mr. H.’s holdings when his backpack flap flips open. He is considered among the most open and transparent of our 2012 honorees.
  • Miranda P.: She and her two children — Zach, 5, and Lily, 3 — also are “traveling.” Mrs. P. is currently in the process of dissolving her partnership with Joshua P., who last December attempted a hostile takeover of her finances. Mr. P. at the time was putting together a straight cash transaction for sub-legal pharmaceuticals. When Mrs. P. rejected his entreaties for her cash, he threatened and eventually carried out a night-time assault upon her face. Mrs. P.’s jaw was wired shut and the discoloration around her eyes lasted well into the new year. Middle Way House now serves as temporary headquarters for Mrs. P.’s break-away firm.
  • Jeremy M.: Mr. M.’s home was ranked number one in Car and Driver’s 1992 Best Selling Cars list. His curbfront domicile is known popularly among neighbors as as “that damned red Taurus.” He inherited it from his grandfather who passed away in 2006 while Mr. P. was finishing up his master’s degree in fine arts. Mr. P. is looking to diversify by applying for work at Rally’s Hamburgers, Kroger on 2nd Street, and the Subway at Walnut and 6th streets. Some observers say Mr. P.’s total wealth has been adversely affected by his ill-advised leveraging of student loans to acquire his degree. Mr. P. has responded that his degree has been valued in certain quarters at $1.7 million over his lifetime, as opposed to his total debt load of $53,000. Mr. P. was recently seen purchasing a rare pair of red Chuck Taylors at the Salvation Army Thrift Store on North Rogers Street.
  • Kevin W.: A pioneer in the field of bipolar disorder patientry, Mr. W. visits the four corners of Bloomington on his daily perambulations. He is known far and wide as an often accessible member of the local penniless community. He has made enemies, though, during the days before he receives his monthly dosage of lithium. Mr. W. impresses with his ability to identify the day of the week of any random date a questioner might suggest. Some analysts believe this indicates he also possesses a form of Asperger’s Syndrome which would help solidify his inclusion in future Penniless lists.
  • Jana C.: A long-time leader in the local physical pleasure industry, Ms. C. recently became affiliated with Narcotics Anonymous and has indicated she may be looking to move on to other fields. Her ambitions may be tempered by the pressing needs of members of the housing, utilities, and grocery industries for immediate remuneration for services and goods. When her liquidity sank to an all-time low in February, Ms. C. confided to close friends that she may never be entirely free to leave the sex industry.

We salute our Penniless achievers.

TIME IS NOT MONEY

Speaking of the penniless, our go-to researcher R.E. Paris points out that Lester Chambers of the 1960’s power soul group, the Chambers Brothers, has fallen on the hardest of times.

Chambers posted an Occupy Wall Street-type letter on You Tube describing his unfortunate state this week. The post went viral.

Chambers says the recording contract he and his band mates signed in the mid-60’s screwed him out of royalties. He writes, “Only 1% of artists can sue. I am the 99%.”

The Electron Pencil ran a video of the Chambers Brothers’ hit, “Time Has Come Today,” earlier this year.

POT IS MONEY

So, the spectacularly crazed Pat Robertson has come out in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

Wild, huh?

Maybe no so wild when you think about it. Perhaps the human race’s pipeline to the creator of the universe has concluded that too many of his hard-pressed contributors are turning to pot harvesting for him to continue being a prohibitionist.

Pat Knows: You Can’t Contribute If You’re In The Joint

Frankly, this development bums me out, man. I’ve been for the legalization of pot for decades. Sadly, now that Pat Robertson is as well, I’ll have to change my position.

Damn.

Come to think of it, doesn’t he look sorta high in the photo on the link?

CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF SARAH

Roger Ebert digs the new HBO movie about Sarah Palin. Actually, “Game Change” is supposed to be about the failed 2008 run of John McCain for president but, honestly, McCain wasn’t the story at all.

I’m tempted to watch the movie but the casting of Julianne Moore as the winking dolt is problematic for me: I like Moore and I’d hate to have her associated with the New White Oprah from now on.

No, Julianne, No!

Too bad the producers couldn’t get Palin to play herself. Ebert describes her as “the greatest actress in American political history.”

ASK THE ANGELS

Patti Smith, babies.

Across the country, through the fields,

You know I see it written ‘cross the sky.

People rising from the highway

And war, war is the battle cry

And it’s wild, wild, wild, wild.

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.” — Christopher Morley

BARRY’S OKAY — JUST OKAY

I have no idea why but I feel I must defend Barack Obama these days — tepidly, of course, because his presidency has been rather ho-hum, for my money.

For all the excitement he generated among the commie, pinko, homo, abortion-crazed, tax-happy, put-the-white-man-in-jail, apologize-for-America, femi-nazi, Manchurian-candidate-cabalist population of this otherwise holy land when he was merely candidate Obama, Boss Obama’s reign has been pretty much a let down.

Every Right Winger’s Wet Nightmare

Many of my lefty pals feel their blood pressure reach quadruple digits when the current POTUS is mentioned. The radical lawyer Jerry Boyle goes so far as to call him a “traitor” (to the left‘s cause — not, as the other side would have it, to the nation.)

How can a guy be a traitor when he was never part of the club?

If anybody had paid a bit of attention to how he voted when he was Senator Obama, they’d know he was, in truth, the biggest Rockefeller Republican since that very man who passed from this vale of tears at the age of 70 while banging his secretary on her desk back in 1977. (Yeah, yeah, I know — allegedly.)

The Original Rocky (Bust In The Senate Gallery)

Anyway, as I’ve pontificated before, perhaps my happiest day as a voter and taxpayer in this greatest nation in the history of our corner of the Solar System was when Barack Obama was elected president. Not that I expected him to outlaw guns in cities, care for the sick, tend to the poor, pull the soldiers out of Iraq and Afghanistan the next day, and order the summary executions of Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon, but because the election of a (half) black man demonstrated that these United States had grown up a bit since, oh say, the 1970s.

That and the fact that Obama wasn’t George W. Bush nor was he craven enough to have chosen as his running mate a MILF-y knucklehead from Alaska.

Every Right Winger’s Wet Dream

The fact that Obama has surrounded himself with so many unindicted felons from the Goldman Sachs mob makes me want to retch. Then again, I never expected him to name among his advisers Dennis Kucinich, Howard Zinn, and Rachel Maddow.

So, that’s my roundabout way getting to the fact that I am categorically, incontrovertibly, without question or fail, voting for Barry come November. As long as nobody better comes along.

You think I want to see Roe v. Wade overturned? And all those Wall Street baboons given free reign? The privatization and profit-ization of basic human services? The digging for oil in every citizen’s backyard? Rush Limbaugh smiling?

Hell no, babies. I’m a staunch(ish) Obama man from here on out.

TRUTH — REALLY

Bloomington author Julia Karr waltzed into the Book Corner Monday, carrying the galley copy of her forthcoming book, “Truth.”

It’s the follow-up to her successful 2011 release, “XVI,” a murder chiller set in a dystopian future.

‘Truth” will go on sale a week from tomorrow with a book release party Friday, January 20, at Boxcar Books.

Julia Karr

Karr brought in “Truth” for our town’s Book Babe R.E. Paris, who’s reviewing it for Ryder magazine.

I was chatting with another customer at the time, a man whom I don’t know. When I told him he was in the presence of a big time pen lady and then told him about all the other successful authors in town, he said, “No kidding? I had had no idea this was such a center for authors.”

It is, pal. It is.

BLOOMINGTON’S BOOK BABE LOOKS BACK AT 2011

Speaking of R.E. Paris, I mentioned yesterday that she looks at the year in publishing in the current issue of the Ryder. Peter LoPilato, the Ryder’s majordomo, has been kind enough to let us run selected pieces from the magazine in these precincts.

The Ryder

So, let’s take a look at R.E.’s retrospective, no?

2011: The Year in Books, by R.E. Paris

In which I discuss some interesting titles from 2011, note others, and leave out yet many more worthy of mention among the hundreds of thousands of books published last year.

Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt, (Norton), is a very readable history of the intellectual inheritance of the Renaissance. Greenbaltt shows that history ties the modern world to the classical one…. read more

TRUE FAITH

New Order was born of Joy Division after that band’s lead singer committed suicide. Joy Divison had led the post-punk movement in the late 1970s and New Order took the sound to a new level with its incorporation of then-new electronic technology.

And, BTW, New Order has a bit of a Bloomington connection. The video for “Round & Round” featured the face of super-model and recent local divorcee Elaine Irwin (go to the 3:15 mark.)

Elaine Irwin Decorates New Order’s “Round & Round” Video

Anyway, here’s “True Faith”:

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

From the movie, “The Apartment,” by Billy Wilder:

C.C. Baxter: “Did you hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you.”

Fran Kubelik: (smiling) “Shut up and deal!”

TRAPPING THE WORLD IN MY WEB

So, I got some news yesterday morning. Good news. Problem is, I don’t know if I should brag or play it cool.

Aw, you know me. I’ll brag.

According to my WordPress.com Site Stats, The Electron Pencil has been viewed by people in the following countries: the US (natch), Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, Iraq, India, the UAE, and Australia.

The Mighty Electron Pencil Tower, In My Backyard

This being the Internet, I assume at least some of those hits are accidents, people misinterpreting a category listing for porn, or scammers trying to empty my checking account. Still, that’s 17 countries spread across all six habitable continents.

Cool, huh?

ONE LESS WHOOPING CRANE

Some son of a bitch shot another endangered whooping crane dead recently. The incident was reported Friday to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. One of only 500 or so of the rare birds left in the US, the crane was found in the Muscatatuck River basin near Crothersville in Jackson County.

The current population of whooping cranes has increased from an alarming low of 21 in 1941. Of the birds now living in the US, some 70 percent are wild; the rest live in zoos and private sanctuaries.

Some whooping cranes can grow as tall as five feet. They graze in marshes and fields, pecking for small animals, fish, berries, and grain.

Adults are brilliant white with black wingtips and red and black masks. A whooping crane liftoff is a spectacular site.

A Whooping Crane In Flight

Did I mention the guy or guys who killed the crane are sons of bitches?

AIN’T THAT AMERICA?

Here is the defining snapshot of our holy land thus far in the infant year, 2012:

Billionaire big-city boss Michael Bloomberg smooches talent-free superstar Lady Gaga at the Times Square ball-dropping ceremony. Moments like these make me think it’s midnight in America, babies.

ROMNEY’S MATE

Look, Mitt Romney’s going to be the Republican nominee for president. He’s that party’s only near-centrist and he’s the savviest politician among the lot of them still in the running.

He’s The One

Remember how he dropped out of the 2008 race even though he was running virtually neck and neck with the eventual nominee, John McCain? Romney’s political instincts told him that the 44th Presidency was going to be defined by nothing so much as the nearly moribund economy.

I mean, Barack Obama’s in hot water only because the fallout from the Great Recession still is raining radioactivity upon us. People blame him for service cutbacks and unemployment even though he inherited from his four predecessors the conditions that caused those ills.

Four years ago, Romney figured, Why should I be the one to take that heat?

Smart choice.

So, when the GOP convenes in Tampa in August, that crafty pol will be the one telling the nation how fabulous things will be with him in the White House.

And Romney will hold up the arm of his running mate. But who will that be?

Mark it, dude, it’s going to be the right winger from our worst nightmares. The GOP’s most energetic base still considers Romney to be Abbie Hoffman with an expensive haircut. He’ll have to throw them the veep of their choice as a bone.

I get this creepy feeling we’re going to be longing for the good old days of Sarah Palin next November.

HELLO 2012

New Year’s Eve was a quiet affair at Chez Pencil. The Loved One and I stayed in and made some homemade pizza vanish.

We watched a couple of movies that, by happy coincidence, contained New Year’s Eve scenes: Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment” and Charles Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush.”

The Little Fellow Awaits His New Year’s Eve Guests

The years, oddly, seem to be getting shorter. I wonder if calendar makers are cutting back during these tough economic times.

WE DO FACEBOOK SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO

A no-spamily, no brattle zone.

Retro-junkie and film/vid producer Mike Flores posted a link to this old Bob Hope wisecrack last week.

Funny thing is, Hope could have told the joke exactly the same way except substituting “Republican” for “Democrat” and the other half of the country would have roared and said, “How true!”

We all think we’re brilliantly perceptive and the other side is either stupid or mesmerized.

IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR

This is a gem, a clip from a 1965 documentary on Frank Sinatra. Say what you will about him, he was an artist. This clip, in fact, features three artists: Sinatra, of course; the conductor Gordon Jenkins; and the announcer, Walter Cronkite.

Sinatra in the studio was demanding, mostly of himself. His phrasing and articulation were stunning. His ear was almost inhuman in its sensitivity.

Sportswriters talk about superstars who raise the game of their teammates. That’s what Sinatra did for the other musicians in the studio with him.

Well, we didn’t blow ourselves up in 2011. We’re still here and plugging away, albeit clumsily and often stupidly. In that sense, it was a reasonably good year. Let’s see if we can get another thing or two right in 2012.

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