Category Archives: Laughing Planet Cafe

Frigid Air

Random Thoughts

So, where’s  all that snow we were s’pposed to get?

Hey, not that I’m complaining. Loyal readers know all about my feelings for winter.

Anyway, the Book Corner is closed today, so stay home and read whatchyu got.

The electricity at Chez Big Mike and the world headquarters of this communications colossus went out for only a second or two last night. Nevertheless, The Loved One and I loaded up our pockets with flashlights and transistor radios and started thinking about calling around for hotels that accept pets.

Which reminds me, our palatial estate is now the new home of Sally the Dog.



I’d been seeing her loitering around the back yard for a few days a couple of weeks ago and then, one day when The Loved One was out with Steve the Dog, she came up to them. Natch, T-Lo couldn’t resist her so she leashed her. T-Lo lugged her over to the Bloomington Animal Shelter where the dog was checked for disease and to make sure she wasn’t affiliated with al Qaeda. We were then designated as her “Angels” so that, after a week or so if nobody claimed her, we’d get first dibs. And we did.

When we got her home, she and Steve the Dog had to do a little negotiating over who’s who and what’s what, but no blood was drawn. She seems mostly thankful that she doesn’t have to sleep outside in the deep freeze.

The cats, Terra & Kofi, did their obligatory sniffing around and deemed her innocuous so they have given her the official feline imprimatur: They ignore her.

Only problem is she’s not versed in the manners and mores of ridding her bony little body of waste. And, being a pup, she is still pretty much a poo machine. So there’s the matter of picking up unexploded bombs twice a day and telling her in no uncertain terms that this just won’t do. She just looks at us with sad eyes. It’s going to take a while before she catches on, I’m afraid.

The Loved One couldn’t be happier.

Woman Power

Speaking of T-Lo, we just finished watching the John Adams biopic mini-series on Netflix. You may recall, it was an HBO production that came out in 2008 and starred Paul Giamatti as J.A. and Laura Linney as Abigail A.

Scene from "John Adams"

Paul Giamatti as John Adams

It was good stuff, as long as you keep in mind that H-wood isn’t terribly interested in historical accuracy. Then again, most reviewers hold that the series held reasonably true to David McCullough’s eponymous biography, upon which the series was based.

Giamatti (the son of former baseball commissioner and president of Yale University, A. Bartlett Giamatti) is one of our finest actors and brought J.A. across as a courageous, thoughtful, progressive revolutionary, albeit one with thin skin and an occasionally self-defeating ego. Linney (who’s a dead ringer for the Laughing Planet manager, Michelle) is also a top-flight thesp.

Scene from "John Adams"

Laura Linney as Abigail Adams

The key subplot of the thing was how Abigail advised, pushed, scolded, cheered and, at times, plotted the course of her husband’s career (and, by extension, the future of the as yet unborn nation).

[Spoiler alert] The last scene of the 7-part series portrays J.A. & A.A. returning to their long-neglected homestead after the revolution victory to find it has been trashed and squatted in. J.A. has just been elected the second prez of the US, after hearing George Washington grumble that the job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Adams is wracked by tooth pain and seems beaten down by the events of the last couple of decades. He slumps in a chair in his old home and seems doomed never to have to get up out of it again.

Abigail, who is forever on the move, chides him. “Rise up, John. Rise up.” And he does. Fade to black.

At which point I commented: “So, she was the driver. She was the power behind the man.”

And you know what? T-Lo gave me a lecture.

She said: That’s what a man would say. She only had as much power as men would allow her. It’s always been like that. How powerful could she have been if she had real freedom? Things are still pretty much like that today. And, As long as women can only have as much power as men will give them, they aren’t powerful at all.

And you know what, again? T-Lo is right.

Invisible Men & Women

Ramiro Gomez has spent the last few years living among the fabulous, the beautiful, and the wealthy of Hollywood Hills. He makes his daily bread as a live-in nanny there.

Seeing the upper crust every day in its natural habitat, he realized that their privileged life is utterly dependent upon a population of intentionally unseen, ignored human beings, mostly Mexican immigrants, who make things go.

An artist, Gomez decided to add images of these invisibles to found photos of luxury. The ghostly maids, pool cleaners, and valet parkers in Gomez’s works remind us that although we are indeed a more equitable society than ever before, we’ve still got a hell of a long way to go.

Work by Ramiro Gomez

Work By Ramiro Gomez

Check out Gomez’s stuff here and here.

[h/t to Jerry Boyle.]

The Pencil Today:


“In science, ‘fact’ can only mean ‘confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.’ I suppose that means apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.” — Stephen Jay Gould


Soma Coffee may not be the next Starbuck’s but owner Bob Costello has opened up his second location in Bloomington this week.

Soma World Headquarters

Throwing the doors open Monday, the new Soma at 3rd and Jordan looks to draw students who’ll walk across the street from the IU campus. Just don’t try parking there.

Costello’s empire now includes the original Soma and the Laughing Planet Cafe at Kirkwood and Grant and the Village Deli just around the corner.

Speaking of Soma, some habitués have begun to play euchre there every Saturday morning. Steve Llewellyn has dubbed them the Euchre-ists.


After a fit and a start or two, Bloomington’s Science Cafe returns to life Wednesday, September 12th.

Alex Straiker and his colleague at IU’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Jim Wager-Miller, have at last got the ball rolling for the weekly series of lectures and discussions open to the public on any and all areas of science.

Our town’s original Science Cafe was started by Erika Biga Lee but she found herself too busy to run the show after a while. Straiker worked under her while the Cafe’s first incarnation was still up and running.

Rachael’s Cafe will be the home of the new version, every Wednesday evening at 6:30.

BTW: Straiker points out another big science event on campus this fall. The son of Henrietta Lacks will visit IU November 14th to talk about the part of his mother, who died more than 60 years ago, that’s still alive.

Henrietta Lacks

Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951. Cells from the growth were cultured to produce the HeLa Cell Line which has been used by scientists for research since then. In fact, Straiker says his gang over at the IU brain lab have used some of those cells in their own work. Lacks’ story got plenty of pub when the book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” became a New York Times best seller. The book was published two years ago but still ranks No. 2 on the NYT paperback nonfiction list.

Details are still being worked out for David Lacks’ appearance here. Stay tuned to the IUB Themester Facebook page for more info.


My fave part of the Pussy Riot story?

Pussy Riot

Imagining the mental gymnastics previously staid radio and TV newscasters have to go through to say the words Pussy Riot without falling to pieces.

They redeem their decorum by stating the girl band has been found guilty of hooliganism. I bet they want to repeat the word hooliganism over and over again, just to wash the taste of Pussy Riot out of their mouths.


The theme song from one of my fave TV shows of all time, Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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.

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.

The UniverseA Facebook community of astrophysics and astronomy geeks.

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.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ivy Tech-BloomingtonCenterstone Breakfast Learning Series: Social worker Marsha Carr leads a workshop on Youth with Sexually Maladaptive Behaviors; 8am

Brown County Art Guild, Nashville — Author James Capshew remembers Herman B. Wells; 6-8pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsOpening reception: “The Art of the Horse” by Della Wood; 6pm

Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterAni Choekye leads a workshop on Goals and How to Avoid Them; 6:30pm

◗ IU Fine Arts Theater — Ryder Film Series, “The Well Digger’s Daughter”; 6:45pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; 7pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreDrama, “Solana”; 7:30pm

◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Arkansas State; 7:30pm

Oliver WineryTunes on the Terrace: Tad Robinson; 7pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Whiskey Mystic; 7-9pm

◗ IU Woodburn Hall Theater — Ryder Film Series, “The Pigeoneers”; 8pm

Bear’s PlaceColonel Angus; 8pm

Cafe DjangoNate Johnson & the Keepers CD release party; 8pm

The Comedy AtticNick Griffin; 8pm

Bryan ParkRyder Film Series, Movies in the Park: “The Wizard of Oz”; 8pm

Max’s PlaceThe Hot Karls; 8-10pm

◗ IU Memorial UnionUB Films: “The Hunger Games”; 8pm

◗ IU Fine Arts Theater — Ryder Film Series, “Polisse”; 8:45pm

The BluebirdCorey Smith; 9pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Kade Puckett; 9:30-11:30pm

Max’s PlaceMoor and the Northmen; 10pm

The BishopGuardian Alien, You’re a Liar; 10pm

The Comedy AtticNick Griffin; 10:30pm


◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

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

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “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

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