Category Archives: Lake Monroe

Hot Air

Ch-Ch-Changes

Okay, you wanna know what’s wrong with today’s Democratic Party? I’ll tell you. David Plouffe was Barack Obama’s campaign manager in 2012. Today, Plouffe is the attorney for Uber, the freelance taxi service.

Plouffe, on behalf of his bosses, is fighting a Seattle city council ordinance calling for Uber to turn its list of drivers over to union organizers. This is a routine step, generally required by federal labor law, a precious government protection for workers thinking of organizing.

Now, the reason the Seattle city council had to get into the act is Uber claims its drivers are “independent contractors” which is corporate-speak for Get your own goddamn health insurance.

Uber, with Plouffe leading the charge, is sure to appeal the council’s action in federal court.

In other words, he’s fighting against unions.

Overpass.37

Union Busters

Unions, I might remind you, used to be the very spine of Democratic support in this holy land.

That is, before the party learned its bread was buttered far more generously by Wall Street banksters and pirate captains of industry.

Water Works

Monroe County Council member Geoff McKim tells us the US Army Corps of Engineers is in the process of adopting its first revised master plan for Lake Monroe in nearly 50 years. To that end, the Corps is hosting an open house where the plan, developed by the Woolpert, Inc. engineering firm of Dayton, Ohio, will be on display.

Woolpert must deliver a version of the plan by the middle of next month. That submission, acc’d’g to McKim, must be accompanied by public comment.

Considering that’s our pool of drinking, bathing, and cooking water, you’d figure many of us would have something to say about how the reservoir is used over the next half century.

McKim points out that a preliminary version of the plan he’s eyeballed specifically states the city of Indianapolis reserves the right to draw water from the lake. Indy’s not sucking up all our water just yet but may feel compelled to do so in the future. A future, I might add, that potentially includes water shortages due to climate change.

Anyway, outgoing water czar Pat Murphy always has stressed that anything done on, in, or near the lake affects water quality. I don’t know about you, but I like the taste of my Bloomington water — especially when mixed with a smooth bourbon. The upcoming master plan will undoubtedly affect that taste.

woodford

The Highest And Best Use

The open house is from 3-7pm today at the Corps’ Middle Wabash Area Office, 1620 Monroe Dam Court.

 

How Does Your Brain Work?

How cool is this? Independent UK publisher Nobrow Press offers a super-cool graphic novel about the workings of the human brain called Neurocomic.

If you’ve followed these ramblings and screeds for any length of time, you know I’m a huge advocate of using the graphic novel as a teaching tool — yes, even in our public schools. Especially in our public schools.

The state’s schools of late have become enthralled with distributing expensive electronic devices to students, devices that the kids and their parents would have to reimburse the school for should said students lose or wreck them. But — silly me! — everyone knows school kids never lose or wreck things, so don’t worry about a thing.

These cyber toys, teachers tell me, really are of value only to the big corporations that manufacture and peddle them. No one I know believes the latest MacBook Air will make your kid learn her lessons any faster or more efficiently.

Books, on the other hand….

Here are some panels from the Neurocomic. They look fun and informative — and what better way is there to learn?

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Images: ©Nobrow Press, 2014

Anyway, Neurocomix appears to be as needed a title in my personal core library as the graphic novels Logicomix, Maus I & II, the Complete Persepolis, Feynman, and a few others..

Uptown Funk Mashup

Have you seen this yet? If not, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy!

Hot Air

Eamus Catuli

Spring, babies!

Never mind the thermometer, it is indeed that season of rebirth and all the rest of that rot. For instance, Bloomington’s Farmers Market opens outdoors today. Yay!

Our lawn is turning really, really green. The chives are running at least ten inches tall. And Steve the Dog and I ventured down to Lake Monroe late yesterday afternoon. We listened to the Cubs home opener on WGN as we drove. Well, I listened. Steve prob. heard some kind of shrill buzz coming from the dashboard. Either way, the sound was decidedly unpleasant: the Cubs were whomped 7-2. Sigh.

Anyway, the lake is brimming with runoff from this week’s biblically-proportioned rainfall. I’ve seen it more flooded — much more flooded — but still, I get a kick out of monitoring the pool level (as my pal, water boss Pat Murphy, would put it) from season to season and year to year. It reminds me that a dammed stream, a river, or any body of water more or less breathes — in slow motion, sure — like every other living, aerobic thing.

L.Monroe 20140404 I

The Cutright Ramp Almost Swallowed Up

L.Monroe 20140404 II

The Footbridge

L.Monroe 20140404 III

Water Laps At The Roadway

L.Monroe 20140404 IV

Steve: “Dude, Ixnay With The Pix. Let’s Go!”

[Wondering about the headline? Consult your Cassell’s Latin-English Dictionary. Once you’ve translated, then you can make fun of me.]

Pants On Fire

Y’know how the ever-aggrieved Right in this holy land is always complaining about that big old mean liberal media? Well, maybe complaining isn’t quite the right word; how about squalling like rotten little brats?

Bumper Stickers

W/o their laundry list of imagined slights, insults, and deadly threats, I don’t know how the Right could survive. But they go on, screaming about how the world’s out to crush them. Chief among the crushers, of course, are television stations, newspapers, news magazines, Hollywood, all the interwebs, talk radio, anybody with a pen or a keyboard, and every living being who’s ever listened to, seen, or read anything.

And guess what: It’s all bullshit. William Kristol, one of the Right’s chief theorists and himself a media creature, is quoted by Joe Conason in the book Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth:

I admit it. The liberal media was never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failure.

Thanks for the clarification, Billy-boy.

Hamilton’s Hoosiers

Staying with book larnin’, let’s look at a Lee Hamilton anecdote from Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland:

Lee Hamilton, an Indiana freshman Democrat, described what it was like to defend his civil rights record at the local taverns:

“Haven’t we done enough for the Negro?” someone will ask…. That’s where they begin calling me names.

Lee H. Hamilton

Freshman Wisdom

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“For me, the most ironic token of that moment in history is the plaque signed by President Richard M. Nixon that Apollo 11 took to the moon. It reads: ‘We came in peace for all mankind.’ As the United States was dropping 7.5 megatons of conventional explosives on small nations in Southeast Asia, we congratulated ourselves on our humanity: We would harm no one on a lifeless rock.” — Carl Sagan

PAY ‘EM: DAY 1

Give teachers the dough they deserve. Do not increase class sizes. Do not extend the school day.

And if necessary, raise taxes.

Let’s cut the bullshit now.

The Chicago Teachers Union strike is everybody’s business.

LUCKY US

Steve the Dog and I took a walk at dusk yesterday on the shore of Lake Monroe in the Paynetown State Recreation Area.

A blue heron flapped past a few hundred yards off, probably heading home for the night. Fish feeding on surface bugs splashed in the water around the marina.

This Is Minutes From Home

Paynetown was a bit lonelier than it’s been for months. The temperature hung around 64 degrees.

We walked fast — well, as fast as my creaky ticker would allow us. I may have to wear a long-sleeved shirt tonight.

Our hellish summer is nothing more than a memory.

KNOW THINE SELF

Author Philip Roth takes Wikipedia to task in the New Yorker this week.

Philip Roth

Apparently, the Wikipedia entry on his novel, “The Human Stain,” recently contained faulty info on the inspiration behind the story. Wikipedia says the book is based on an incident in the life of Manhattan writer Anatole Broyard. Roth says it’s really based on something that happened to Melvin Tumin, a noted researcher in race relations in America.

Roth states in an open letter to Wikipedia that when he contacted Wikipedia in an effort to get the entry corrected, he was told he was not a credible source.

Hah!

Apparently, Wikipedia needs its info verified by third-party independent sources. Roth, per the online encyclopedia’s own guidelines, is not.

All this makes a whisper of sense, when you think about it for a moment. Wikipedia doesn’t want people editing their own entries. Hell, I’ve been tempted more times than I can remember to create my own Wikipedia entry, describing myself as the Midwest’s greatest unheard-of writer. My newspaper and magazine articles, my books, my online posts have thrilled readers and moved them to tears. History, my fantasy entry would read, will recognize Mr. Glab in much the same way that Van Gogh in the art world was celebrated after his death.

Vince And Me

But then I remember that Wikipedia won’t allow me to define myself in its database at all.

Can you imagine, for instance, how noted self-admirers like Richard Nixon or Donald Trump would portray themselves?

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’ve occasionally fantasized hinting to someone I know and trust that I really deserve a Wikipedia entry. Now, I wouldn’t suggest anything outright, but if the person whose ear I bent might take it upon her- or himself to immortalize me thusly, well, who am I to protest?

Anyway, Roth goes on for 2677 words to correct the bit of false information. I suppose that’s what a prolific writer would do. The Philip Roth bibliography entry in Wikipedia states he’s penned 27 novels. He hasn’t challenged that bit of data.

A “writer” such as Ayn Rand could have easily dashed off, say, half a million distorted, specious, and borderline psychotic words correcting some minor point in her Wikipedia entry.

“Writer”

Writers write. Even “writers” write.

Roth’s open letter is fascinating because it reveals a bit about the life of Melvin Tumin, who was grilled for using “hate speech” in a classroom once. It seems he’d discovered in the middle of a semester that two students had not attended one of his classes. Taking roll one day, he asked the class if anyone knew the students. “Does anyone know these people?” he asked. “Do they exist or are they spooks?”

Ha ha. Spooks, meaning phantoms or wraiths. But at the time Tumin uttered the word, it also was a more “palatable” substitute for “nigger.” Archie Bunker on “All in the Family” regularly referred to black men as spooks.

Lovable Hater

Tumin was subjected to a grueling inquisition, even thought he’d been known for years for his sensitive work in race relations.

Roth’s letter, like the novel, explores the issues of character assassination, hysteria, and groupthink. In the letter, he also ruminates on what it means to be black.

So it’s much more than a run of the mill letter to the editor demanding a correction. It’s a neat little look at us.

Aren’t you glad writers write?

THE LITTLE THINGS

Here’s a picture of sand, magnified 250 times.

From I Fucking Love Science

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Biggest ‘Brown-Noser’: Paul Ryan” — From the Joseph A. Craig (Janesville, Wisconsin) High School 1988 yearbook

LOOK TO THE SKIES

Lake Monroe was the place to be last night at midnight.

The middle of Lake Monroe to be a bit more precise.

The Loved One and I lolled on a pontoon boat with friends, all of us craning our necks, watching nature’s spectacular light show, the Perseids meteor shower.

The Perseids

We were not at all disappointed.

We sat around in a circle, covering a 360-degree visual range, and let the streaks and flashes evoke involuntary oohs and aahs from us. It was 47 times better than a fireworks show.

At one point a massive meteor lit up the sky in the southeast, behind me. I couldn’t see the meteor’s arc myself but I saw the faces of the people facing me illuminated by its glow. Fantastic, I tell you.

Just to show you I’m not a complete religious bigot, I can understand why some might conclude after watching such a display that there must an uber-mighty fellow who put this whole shebang together just for our pleasure.

Many thanks to Hondo Thompson and his saintly bride Les for the invite. And listen to Hondo every Friday afternoon on WFHB from 1 to 3.

DAN SMITH HAS A GREEN THUMB

IU Kelley School of Business Dean Dan Smith is back in town after traipsing around the country this summer.

DAN SMITH

He’s only going to be the big man at Kelley for another couple of months. He’s been named the new prez of the Indiana University Foundation.

He raised plenty of dough for the Kelley so the U figured, hell, let’s let him raise cash for everybody.

THE PARTY OF GOD

Paul Ryan is a Roman Catholic.

Not This Jesus — The White One!

Willard’s moment of praise for his new bottom: “A faithful Catholic, Paul believes in the worth and dignity of every human life.”

What that’s code for: Ryan’s anti-abortion.

NOT LAUREN

That skull found in the White River in Indy a month ago?

It’s not Lauren Speirer’s.

And the wait goes on for her mother.

In related news, some chucklehead was found in the public parking garage across Walnut Street from Kilroy’s Sports Bar where the missing IU student partied the night she disappeared. The guy was carrying two loaded semi-automatic pistols and had a loaded shotgun in the trunk of his car. He also carried a digital rangefinder, according to the IDS.

America

So the cops hauled him in and questioned him about Lauren Spierer. Turns out he met her once. When the cops determined he had nothing new to add to the missing person investigation, they turned him over to the psych ward at Bloomington Hospital.

The shrinks there gave him a clean bill of mental health and turned him loose within hours.

Great.

Carrying all that artillery is no crime in this state.

People, we are fked up.

HUMAN ALGEBRA

How do you feel about the earthquakes that hit Iran, killing some 250 and injuring more than 2000?

And be honest with yourself.

How many American deaths in a weather-related event or some other natural catastrophe equal 250 dead Iranians?

Two? Maybe three.

Iranian People

That’s the way we think.

That’s the way people all over the world think.

SCARY

Click For Entire Article

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

I Love Charts

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present & CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

Click For Entire Article

Caps Off PleaseComics & fun.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

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

Max’s PlaceKid Kazooey, children-friendly tunes; 3-5pm

Bryan ParkYoung Professionals of Bloomington mac n’cheese bakeoff, free tasting; 4-6pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Creek Dogs; 5-7pm

Bryan ParkKrista Detor outdoor concert; 6:30pm

Bear’s PlaceRyder Film Series: “The Pigeoneers”; 7pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th
  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“The average citizen knows only too well that it makes no difference to him which side wins. He realizes that the Republican elephant and the Democratic donkey have come to resemble each other so closely that it is practically impossible to tell them apart; both of them make the same braying noise, and neither of them ever says anything.” — Will Rogers

MODERN PROBLEMS?

Wait, Will Rogers said that in 1928?

UH OH

The story behind every homicide is complicated and often contradictory.

Don’t get me wrong — this George Zimmerman character is one ultra-weird customer. Mix that with a deranged Florida gun law and you get Trayvon Martin on a slab in the morgue.

But it’s not at all hard to imagine a scared kid acting on impulse and jumping this creep who’s been following him at night in a strange neighborhood.

It’s no capital offense, natch, but it adds a layer of nuance to the narrative.

The problem is our corporate media loath nuance. They dig black and white, good and evil, an unhinged racist versus a black teenager carrying a bag of Skittles.

Oh wait — it was an unhinged racist versus a black teenager carrying a bag of Skittles.

Here’s the real nuance the slick news stenographers are missing — Trayvon Martin died because this nation can’t let go of its Wild West mythology. High Noon, baby. The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. We aim to protect our womenfolk and churrens.

Book it — George Zimmerman saw himself as the hero saving his neighborhood from the savages. The state of Florida put the gun in his hand. He ain’t the only one unhinged in this case.

STRIPPED DOWN JUSTICE

Your Reagan/Bush/Bush Supreme Court at work: yesterday, the Goths who make up the court’s usual 5-4 majority have affirmed the right of jailers to strip search you repeatedly should you have the misfortune to be nabbed for something even so trivial as riding your bike without a bright enough light at night.

Yeesh.

“This Is Gonna Hurt You A Lot Worse Than It’s Gonna Hurt Me.”

Yep. Some poor schmo who was cuffed because of a clerical error and was strip searched twice while in custody for a week, sued a New Jersey county for his ordeal. The guy was arrested for not paying a petty fine (he actually had paid it but his record was mismarked) so he was thrown in with the rest of the hoodlums, gangbangers, homicidal maniacs, child molesters, arsonists, and other assorted thugs that called the county jail home in 2005.

Naturally, jail officials wished to protect their aforementioned guests from such a vicious character so they inspected his anus and rectum a couple of times to make certain he wasn’t smuggling a submachine gun into the joint.

“Yeah, We Found This Up A Jaywalker’s Ass.”

Little did his jailers care that he was a nice, stable, professional man, a finance executive for a auto dealership with a family.

But who knows what such a man might stash in his trunk. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, cited cases of people being arrested for the likes of disorderly conduct and public nuisance hiding tobacco and lighters in their rectums. Naturally, an accused person’s dignity and and decency must be disregarded in the face of such imminent dangers.

So, the five justices who gave us the Citizens United ruling have now determined that your ass is ours should you be suspected of even the most minor transgression.

Hey, did I mention the guy who brought suit was black?

BEER LAKE

The Loved One and I are fast approaching our two-and-a-half year mark here in the garden spot of Indiana, beautiful Bloomington.

I still don’t know my way around a lot of this sprawling megalopolis. And many things still puzzle me. For instance, why is there a That Road?

That’s why I like to read the big glossy, full-color Monroe County map that my neighbor and pal Tom Thickstun gave me about a month ago. And — swear to god — I look up Bloomington things on Wikipedia.

See, I’m a trivia junkie and I look things up at random on Wikipedia. Oh, I know it’s not an authoritative resource. Still, it’s got a lot of cool and fun things in it.

So last night I looked up Lake Monroe. I love the fact that I live five minutes up the road from this fairly good sized, pretty lake. I enjoy taking Steve the Dog down to the Cutright and Paynetown ramps at dusk so we can watch people pull boats out of the water. (Yeah, I’ll admit it — my evenings aren’t as scintillating as they once were.)

Do you realize that the entire project to dam Salt Creek, saw down all the trees in the river valley, and even buy out the town of Elkinsville in order to create the lake cost a mere $16.5M. Man, that’s nothing.

Anyway, I kept scrolling and I came to a Trivia subhead. It reads: “According to the List of countries by beer consumption per capita, the total world consumption of beer is approximately 1/3 of the volume of Lake Monroe at maximum capacity.”

Now, I so want this to be true for the simple reason that someone had to calculate the world population’s intake of beer and then compare it to the volume of Lake Monroe.

One-Third Beer

Who in his right mind would do that?

I mean, if it were you, wouldn’t you look for a lake whose volume matched exactly the world population’s intake of beer?

And is that what’s imbibed in a year? A decade? Since the historic “Tastes great — less filling” debates?

I clicked on the List link and saw nothing in the main article to indicate this startling factoid. If such proof exists, it must be in one of the reference articles cited at the bottom.

Believe me, I wasn’t going to click on all those links in search of this bit of hypertrivia.

Oh alright, I know it was probably some smart-assed college kid who was drunk on an amount of beer equal to 1/3 the volume of Lake Monroe at maximum capacity who pranked this Wiki edit.

And Then He Passed Out On The Back Stairs

Still, I wish it were true.

DISORDER IN THE COURT

Uh huh.

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