Category Archives: Los Angeles Times

The Pencil Today:


“Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers.” — Jimmy Breslin


You had to know this was coming: Some whacked-out preacher says Big Sandy is God’s way of saying FU to America.

No, he didn’t actually drop the F-bomb. I wish he would have; I would have had more respect for the dumb bastard if he had.

O, Heavenly Father, Please Count To Ten

I’m not going to link to the story or reveal the preacher’s name. He doesn’t need me to pimp for him. And no one other than his deluded flock has heard of him before this. Now, of course, his name has gone national.

I’ll only say it’s his fervent belief that the god he prays to on his knees each and every night has thrown the gargantuan storm at the Eastern Seaboard because this land is full of lesbians, gays, and other miscreants. Not only that but President Obama is as thick as thieves with the Muslim Brotherhood and together they aim to destroy this holy land.

Which is weird because I thought he’d just finished saying god was in the process of doing that very thing. So, wouldn’t he figure that Obama and the Muslim boys are doing god’s work?

Oh, and somehow Mitt Romney has teed off the creator of the universe big time, too, only I didn’t quite catch how.

Take That, Queers And Arabs!

You know, this god needs to have a nice glass of wine or go for a massage. He’s constantly suffering from the red ass.

Maybe the prayers of the faithful should go something like, “Chill, Big Guy. It’ll all be cool. Take a breath.”

Funny how things like the Holocaust or Joseph Stalin’s purges or this nation wiping out the Amerinds failed to elicit a peep from the almighty daddy-o but a couple of guys making out makes him insane. I think he’s repressing something.


I just subscribed to a muckraking website that was recommended to me by a loyal Book Corner customer. FairWarning describes itself as a purveyor of “news of safety, health, and corporate conduct.” Which means it ought to be in business for at least the rest of this millennium.

Myron Levin: A Reporter, Not A Movie Star

Here’s a sample of headlines it has run recently:

  • Oil companies Rarely Punished for North Sea Spills
  • Senate Report Points to Medtronic’s Manipulation of “Independent” Medical Research
  • Young Blacks Awash in Alcohol Ads, Study Says
  • Commentary: A Strange Indifference to Highway Carnage
  • Libertarian Group Prepares Bogus “Addendum” to Undermine Federal Climate Science Report

Founder Myron Levin founded the site after working as an investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times for 20 years. Photos of his staff portray a gang that’s decidedly seriously and flamboyantly non-glamorous. That’s cool by me — of the several billion brain cells I possess I’ve assigned perhaps six to the maniacal grin of Katie Couric and the rest of her colleagues in the corporate media “news” industry.

Please Stop It, Katie

In any case Levin and company are less polemic than the likes of Democracy Now! and far less precious than NPR. They are pure journalists, and isn’t that refreshing?


Here’s today’s CNN online headline:

Let’s get serious about things now. This is the nightmare we’ve been dreading ever since the two words “climate” and “change” were first put together by scientists.

You wonder why I’m so dismissive of corporate media news? This is the prime case in point. They insist on presenting the faux arguments of climate change deniers in the interest of some weird view of journalistic balance. It’d be like Walter Cronkite interviewing a representative of the Flat Earth Society while the Gemini astronauts circled the globe.

That Curved Surface Is Merely An Illusion, Walter


In honor of Sandy and dedicated to the loon preacher mentioned above, here are The Weathergirls, AKA Two Tons of Fun, with the biggest gay anthem of all time.

My club pals and I would go to the cavernous boy dance bars after hours back when we were young, trim, and loathe to ever go to sleep. The DJs would boost the bass and volume on this track to the point that I’m surprised the foundations and masonry of nearby structures didn’t crack. The joint would smell of leather, sweat, poppers, and Clinique. And we’d dance ourselves into delirium.

Don’t ask me how we survived it all.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

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

  • 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 Ford-Crawford Hall — Doctoral Recital: Ji Hyun Kim on piano; 5pm

MIXER ◗ Coaches Bar & GrillYoung Professionals of Blooomington, monthly event; 5:30-8:30pm

SCIENCE ◗ Lake Monroe, Paynetown SRA Activity CenterCitizen Scientist Quarterly Meeting, Help collect data to track animal populations and monitor habitats; 6-8pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoJazz Jam, Featuring Bloomington’s young artists; 7pm

FILM & DISCUSSION ◗ IU Cinema — “The Healthcare Movie,” Followed by discussion led by Rob Stone, MD, Director of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan, Kosali Simon, PhD, & Beth Cate, JD; 7-9pm

COMMUNITY MEETING ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryAfter Incarceration: Employment Matters, Presented by Decarcerate Monroe County; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubBlues Jam, Hosted by Bottom Road Blues Band; 8pm

GAMES ◗ The Root Cellar at Farm BloomingtonTeam trivia; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallHot Tuesdays: Jazz Combos, Wataru Niimori Group & Chris Knight Group; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdSleigh Bells; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopDavid Wax Museum, Daughn Gibson; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceComics Night; 9pm


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:


“I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot, nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded, who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.” — William Tecumseh Sherman, US Army general.


The United States of America is now, officially, no longer engaged in hostilities in Iraq.

It would have been nice to say the war is over.

But Congress had never declared our little affair in Iraq to be a war.

So I don’t know what it was. Nor do I as yet know why this holy land invaded that country.

Something happened for some reason. Whatever it was — and why it was — resulted in these scenes shot by Carolyn Cole for the Los Angeles Times.

It is my duty as a writer, journalist, and essayist to inform the living people in the photos above that what they’ve experienced was not war.

I suspect they’d say it was hell.


Scrolling through Facebook yesterday I learned that both President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney are Nazis.

Apparently, the party of Hitler has become very broadminded.

Working Together: Blacks And Whites, Democrats And Republicans

It also must espouse something all right-thinking Americans want — a good productive bipartisan sense of cooperation among our nationally elected officials.

Just goes to show that redemption is possible no matter how heinous a person or group has been in the past. Who knows? Maybe, say, Donald Trump will experience an epiphany and begin to work tirelessly on behalf of the poor and the sick.

“I Want To Help All My Less Fortunate Brothers And Sisters!”

Or North Korean strongman Kim Jong-il may call for world peace.

Anything can happen if both Obama and Cheney have been welcomed into the ranks of the Nazis.

Either that or the respective Facebook posters are full of horseshit.


Adolf Hitler lives on as a cherished symbol — not of brutality, racism, genocide, and tyranny, but as the poster boy for whoever you happen to disagree with.

You see, breathless exaggeration is the semi-official national language of the 21st Century.

Here’s an example. Millworkers, stonecutters, and machinists have been on strike against Indiana Limestone Company in Oolitic for a month tomorrow. Early in the morning on December 2, a non-striking employee driving a pickup truck drove into the picket line at the entrance to the facility.

WTIU Report

Upon first hearing sketchy details of the incident, a reasonable soul might wonder, Had a hired thug been ordered to mow down strikers with his pickup truck? Was he trying only to intimidate them? Or had it even been an honest accident?

And how about this? The pavement outside Indiana Limestone was either littered with crushed bodies of victims or one or two guys got bruised up a bit.

Let’s go to two different information sources to learn the truth.

The incident was reported shortly after noon Friday on the WISH-TV website. “A picketer was struck by a vehicle…,” the report began. It went on to say, “The incident happened around 6:30 am Friday and sent the picketer via ambulance to IU Health Bedford Hospital. He was treated and released.”

Phew! That was a close one. Thank heavens it was no tragedy.


No so fast.

Here’s the scoop from a press release issued by Millworkers Local 8093 Tuesday: “… Union members… were peacefully picketing… when company thugs savagely attacked them, swerving a truck into their picket lines at a high rate of speed, hitting several of the strikers and sending one… to the hospital…. [The picketer] is still undergoing medical treatment and it is not known if he will fully recover from the injuries he sustained in the attack.”


Labor Violence

Somebody’s lying here. Not spinning. Not obfuscating. Flat out lying. It could just as easily be a corporate media outlet as it is an overexcited press release writer.

If the gap between labor and management is half as great as that between the two accounts of the incident, the strike may go on for years.

Too bad the two sides can’t learn to work together the way two prominent new members of the Nazi party do now.

Today: Monday, November 14, 2011

If the boys in charge were smart, they’d let winter quash the Occupy encampments across this holy land.

But the boys in charge are smart about as often as a Republican candidate for president talks about issues that mean something to you and me.

So, this weekend riot-geared cops waded into Occupy camping jamborees here and there. And it’s ironic, considering that within the last few days there was a street melee that warranted the use of force in response.

I mean, honestly, wouldn’t you have felt good about the world in general had local and campus police cracked some skulls with their nightsticks when those Penn State reprobates rioted Wednesday?

An essayist on Michael Moore’s website opines that arrogant white men don’t like to be held accountable for their actions. The author of the piece, one Mike Elk, holds that Penn State is is the capital of whiteness in Pennsylvania. (Hat tip to my old pal R.E. for putting this up on her Facebook page.)

But the cops played nice with the entitled white boys who were so enraged that their child-molester-protecting, GOP-supporting football coach was fired.

The fact that poverty is spreading here in America, right wingers are clamping down on sex and women, corporations are taking over world governments, the gap between rich and poor grows more alarming every hour, and other terrifying developments meant nothing to these little frat farts. Only their football coach being persecuted for sitting on his hands while his great and good pal sodomized ten-year-olds in the shower room drove them into the streets.

An op-ed contributor in the LA Times rails against the cult of college sports, a sentiment close to my heart. I realize I risk being lynched in these precincts but the whole hypocritical, corrupt, fairly racist major college sports structure makes me ill. (Hat tip to Roger Ebert on Facebook for citing the LA Times piece.)

My next door neighbor Tom asked me if I wanted to watch the Hoosiers basketball game with him the other day. I like Tom. He’s a good man and a good neighbor and I enjoy spending time with him but watching college sports ranks just below submitting to my yearly prostate exam on the list of things I want to do.

One of the Irish Tough Guys who hang out at Soma, Tough Guy Pat, holds season tix to just about every sport on the Hoosier athletic department sked. His mood often is dictated by the result of yesterday’s football game or last night’s volleyball match.

College sports means a lot to guys like Tom and Tough Guy Pat. I get that. I also get that were it not for Hoosier sports husbands would have to start talking to their wives around here, and that, of course, is unnatural.

And, speaking of unnatural, it strikes me that too many folks burdened with what they or society consider “unnatural” sexual urges seem to gravitate toward institutions that frown on the whole notion of doing fun things in the nude.

Authoritarian clubs like the Catholic church and the Republican Party sometimes seem overrun with closeted gays and boy-lovers.

Now, I need to clarify my usage of the term “unnatural.” We all agree that men who have sex with boys are operating with frighteningly faulty wiring. Gays, on the other hand, are not. But many, many, many poor souls consider their own homosexual feelings sinful or sick. They would consider themselves “unnatural.”

Here’s why I made mention of Joe Paterno’s Republican party affiliation. The GOP in the last 35 years or so has become fixated on sex. Birth control, abortion, gay marriage — if you don’t hew to the party line on these topics you ain’t gettin’ elected, simple as that.

(Which reminds me of the George Carlin bit about how these sex-obsessed people aren’t the kind you’d want to have sex with anyway. Thanks to Benny Jay for reminding me of this routine.)

Anyway, the Church and the GOP hold that every kind of sex except the stultifyingly boring kind between married heterosexual Iowa farm couples is icky to the point of criminality or sin.

Once you paint bonking as intrinsically evil, you lose the capability to see truly evil sex for what it is.

Maybe Joe Pa didn’t even realize that poking a pre-teen lad is an ugly crime. Maybe he just thought Jerry Sandusky had simply succumbed to temptation, you know, like offensive guards who engage in premarital sex or tight ends who masturbate too much.

Maybe he’d been listening for too long to the fetishists who’ve taken over his party.

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