Category Archives: Linda Wertheimer

The Pencil Today:


“I look at an ant and I see myself: a native South African, endowed by nature with a strength much greater than my size so I might cope with the weight of a racism that crushes my spirit.” — Miriam Makeba


NPR’s Linda Wertheimer this morning on Weekend Edition Sunday pointed out that this year’s presidential election will be the first in our history in which no one on the major parties’ tickets is a WASP.

Perhaps that explains why so many people are freaked out — still — about Barack Obama.

See? See? That’s The Nazi Salute!

The world that every American once knew and too many are terrified to leave, is gone.

And speaking of terrifying, yet another music star has blown verbal chunks about the Prez. Hank Williams, Jr., who last year compared Barack Obama to Hitler (natch, they were both half-black men who studied at Harvard Law), now ups the ante. Yesterday, the man who once asked Are you ready for some football?, declared the President of the United States to be a Muslim who not only hates the military but the rest of the nation, for good measure.


Williams, Jr. sings something called “Take Back Our Country.” He needn’t add, …From all those scary brown people.


Lauren Spierer’s disappearance last year raised a puzzler.

Why do so many Indiana University students come from suburban New York City?

IU’s Prep School Attendance Boundaries

With a record 7590 freshmen expected to attend IU this semester, many of them will come from  the tri-state area including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The Spierer family hails from Edgemont, north of the big city.

Edgemont is a part of the town of Greenville in Westchester County, a tony enclave that through the years has been home to the likes of Linda McCartney, Bugsy Seigel, Walter Winchell, and Billy Collins, the former US poet laureate.

It’s funny how certain campuses become desirable destinations for specific matriculate populations. For instance, it was well-known in my old Chicago area that the University of Wisconsin in Madison drew a disproportionate number of northwest suburban Jewish kids.

I suppose the Madison thing makes sense because it falls into that Goldilocks zone for college students: far enough away from mom and dad to not worry that they can drop in at a moment’s notice but near enough to dash back home for a laundry run and a good warm meal, PRN.

Bloomington, Indiana seems an odd choice for Eastern Seaboard kids and their megalopolis classmates who might want to run back home in a six-hour or less drive.

Any ideas?


Indulge me for a moment. Today is the 43rd anniversary of the most exciting moment I’ve ever experienced as a rabid Chicago Cubs fan.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, August 19th, 1969, my fave Cubs pitcher, Kenny Holtzman, tossed a no-hitter against the mighty Atlanta Braves.


The Braves that afternoon were led by one Henry Louis Aaron, who’d go on to become baseball’s all-time home run king.

The sun was bright, a pleasant lake wind blew in from the northeast, and the Cubs were in first place, on their way to their first World Series since World War II and — fingers crossed — their first championship since the Peloponnesian War.

In a summer during which two human beings had stepped on the moon and nearly half a million people jammed Max Yasgur’s farm just to be able to brag to their grandchildren that they’d attended Woodstock, the Cubs racing for a World Series was the most jaw-dropping miracle yet.

And the high point of the season was Kenny’s gem.

Basking In The Glory

I watched that game from a bleacher seat under the centerfield scoreboard at Wrigley Field.

I was 13 years old.

Even now, nearly half a century later, I still believe had I died that afternoon, I’d have gone happy.

Have pity on this aching soul: don’t ask me to recount the ensuing weeks. Nor, for that matter, the ensuing decades.

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.

Click Image For Full Article:

Present/&/Correct: 44 Old Typewriter Instruction Manuals

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.

Eat Sleep Draw: Illustration by Rachel Sanson

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.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Oliver WineryCreekbend Vineyard tour; Noon-2pm

Monroe County Public Library — Basic Literacy Tutor Training, session 2 of 4; 1:30-5pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreDrama, “Solana”; 2pm

◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Ohio; 2pm

Bryan ParkOutdoor concert: O2R Blues Band; 6:30pm

Bear’s PlaceRyder Film Series: “The Well Digger’s Daughter”; 7pm

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

The BluebirdBoDeans; 8pm

The BishopJamaican Queens, Fly Painted Feathers; 9pm


◗ 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

The Pencil Today:


“Christmas is over and Business is Business.” — Franklin P. Adams


Got an update yesterday from Ryan Dawes on the state of the WFHB news department.

Things are running fairly smoothly in the wake of former News Director January Jones’ resignation earlier this month. Assistant New Director Alycin Bektesh has been bumped up to acting ND and Dawes is now acting Assistant ND. He’s still keeping his day job at Rock Paper Scissors music promotion.

Dawes hopes grant prospector Joy Laughter can dig up some foundation dough to pay for an intern who can take over transcribing city and county meetings from CATS Week videos.

The hunt for a new ND goes on. I’ll say GM Chad Carrothers and the WFHB Board will be hard pressed to find a better candidate than Bektesh.


I’m not revealing an Earth-shattering secret when I say credit card companies are run by evil geniuses.

It’s a sure bet they’re working at this very moment on a protocol that will monetize the air that we inhale during the 45 seconds or so it takes us to complete a charge transaction.

The only people in this crazy, mixed-up world who can approach them in creative deviousness are the shadowy figures who call themselves Anonymous.

Dr. No Would Have Made A Fine Credit Card Company Exec

Anonymous recently hacked into the Austin, Texas-based Stratfor company’s internet servers. Stratfor is part of the global security-intelligence-complex that threatens to turn our little planet into a cheap dystopian science fiction novel.

Stratfor’s Home Page At 7:45am EST

Rumors abound that Anonymous gained access to the credit card accounts of Stratfor’s customers and then made unauthorized contributions to do-good charities via those cards. The things Anonymous does may technically be crimes but I say, Keep on breakin’ the law, babies!

Anyway, NPR’s Linda Wertheimer reports this morning that those credit card companies damn well won’t take criminal charity-giving lying down. She interviews an expert who says the credit card companies not only will hit the charities up for the dough that was given them but — get this — they likely will levy stiff fines against said do-gooders!

And just in case you’ve forgotten, credit card companies are the loudest of critics of any proposed regulations on the banking industry.



Okay, give me props. I behaved myself during the just-concluded Christmas season. I endured the barrage of communiques urging me to celebrate the birth of the son of the mythical creator of the Universe (as well as to engage in a venal orgy of consumer greed — because, you know, that’s what “He” would want).

Honoring The Father And The Son

I didn’t scream or kick or withdraw into a cocoon.

But now it’s my turn.

NASA’s Kepler telescope, which is scanning our little corner of the Milky Way galaxy as we speak, has confirmed the existence of 33 planets orbiting neighboring stars and is studying more than 2300 other probable planets. Part of Kepler’s mission as it circles the Earth is to find those extra-solar planets that reside in what’s called the Goldilocks Zone, the area around a star in which a planet might conceivably support life.

Cool, huh?

Even cooler: Kepler has now identified a couple of planets in the Goldilocks Zone.

Remember, Kepler is really a primitive planet finder compared to what we Home Sapiens sapiens will have in a few decades. Expect a flood of Earthlike planets to be discovered in our lifetimes.

That means a lot more chances for intelligent life to have evolved all around the Milky Way.

Heck, one day we might even evolve into intelligent life.


Speaking of alien lifeforms, Nikola Tesla was as odd a bird as ever bobbed into a research lab.

He developed the alternating current electrical system and an early form of radio in addition to dozens of other innovations. He was a brain on two legs.

Nikola Tesla

Sadly, though, that brain was a tad faulty. He was obsessive-compulsive, would only stay in hotel rooms with numbers divisible by three, had a phobia of germs, avoided pearl earrings, and surrounded himself with pigeons (some have speculated he was even sexually aroused by them). Oh, and he was celibate.

He was, in short, nuts.

Tesla’s not as well known as Thomas Edison mainly because Edison was somewhat sane, if predatory. Edison is reputed to have screwed Tesla out of money and credit for his electrical advances.

My old pal, the green economy maven John Wasik, is working on a book about the man, entitled “Unlimited Power: The Secrets of Nikola Tesla.” He spoke about Tesla recently at a Midwest gathering of Serbian-Americans (Tesla was an ethnic Serb born in what is now Croatia.)

Here’s John:


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