Category Archives: NRA

Hot Air

Funny Freberg

If you love radio as much as I do, you’ve loved Stan Freberg.


Stan Freberg

An advertising consultant and radio humorist, Freberg was dubbed the “father of the funny commercial” by Advertising Age. His radio satires inspired the likes of the Beatles’ Paul McCartney and author Stephen King. I enjoyed his syndicated oldies radio programs through the 2000s.

Freberg died last week. The announcement came yesterday. Here’s an audio clip from Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, a 1961 comedy album that Time magazine declared at the time the funniest ever made.

The Smart Party?

Pew Research told us yesterday about Murricans’ party affiliations. Here’s a quick, handy guide to who likes which party in this holy land, as repro’d in Digby’s Blog, a must read here at Pencil HQ:

Republicans hold a 49%-40% lead over the Democrats in leaned party identification among whites. The GOP’s advantage widens to 21 points among white men who have not completed college (54%-33%) and white southerners (55%-34%). The Democrats hold an 80%-11% advantage among blacks, lead by close to three-to-one among Asian-Americans (65%-23%) and by more than two-to-one among Hispanics (56%-26%). Women lean Democratic by 52%-36%…. Democrats lead by 22 points (57-35% in leaned party identification among adults with post-graduate degrees.

And we wonder why Republicans vilify academia and seem so godawful eager to cut school funding. In this weird day and age, smarts and Republicanism don’t go well together.

Busman’s Holiday News

Look for a new Busman’s Holiday disc coming this fall. Addison Rogers stopped by Table Number 1 at Soma Coffee this AM to fill in The Pencil on his and his bro’s latest opus.

Busman's Holiday

Lewis (L) & Addison Rogers

The two spent a couple of weeks last month in Montreal where they’re working with producer Mark Lawson on the recording. “We got the rough mixes out of the way, the more complicated ones,” Rogers says. “Then we’re probably going to get up there in May to wrap it up.”

The new disc will still feature the Busman sound we’ve grown to know and love but with a pinch of difference. “We’re going in a couple of different places, not too far,” Rogers says. “We’re thinking about the low end a little bit more this time — we’re adding some bass.”

The Rogers boys are contemplating setting up a crowdfunding campaign, à la Krista Detor, to finance the project. Stayed tuned here for more news on that front.

Gun Crazy

Funnyman Aaron Freeman notes that the National Rifle Association will institute a special safety policy for its annual firearms orgy this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. Attendees will be forbidden — you guessed it! — from carrying guns.


Aaron Freeman

Everybody from Ted Nugent to Sarah Palin as well as most of the putative GOP candidates for president in 2016 will speak at the bash, telling NRA members, natch, that gun-totin’ should be unimpeded everywhere on god’s green earth, save the hall in which they speak.

The NRA, of course, has been instrumental in getting states and communities to enact open-carry laws. Thanks to the NRA, a real Murrican can pack heat at his local Wal-Mart, saloon, or house of worship across much of this holy land.

Freeman offers some free advice for the NRA’s devoted gun-fondlers: “If you want to carry a working gun, you’ll have to go to church.”


Dig these two photo collections of the Japanese internment (read: concentration) camps that the US Gov’t set up during World War II:

Business Insider tells us about Ansel Adams’ photos of life inside the camps. Adams published a book of the pix in 1944 entitled Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese-Americans. Here’s one image:


Library of Congress/Ansel Adams

Adams’ images now are part of the collection at the Library of Congress.

London’s Daily Mail tells us about Bill Manbo’s color pix of life in the camps. Manbo was a young Japanese-American photographer who was made to live at one of the camps, the lot of which housed more than 100,000 people during the war. Manbo published the book, Colors of Confinement. Here’s a taste:


Takao Bill Manbo, © 2012

Funny thing is, the Germans had hundreds, even thousands, of moles in the US during the war. And prior to hostilities breaking out, German-American Bunds existed in every big city. German treachery was such a worry that the Naval intelligence agency worked hand-in-glove with the New York City Mafia — in the person of Charley (Lucky) Luciano — to safeguard our east coast ports from sabotage and labor unrest. No such precautions were needed on the west coast.

Nevertheless, Americans of Japanese ancestry were rounded up while German-Americans enjoyed all the comforts of home for the duration.

Hot Air

Fresh Meat

Now that the city o’Bloomington has inked a deal with White Buffalo, Inc. to cull the deer pop. around Griffy Lake, I will give the plan The Electron Pencil seal of approval.

That’s because the contract between the wildlife management outfit and our parks board calls for the unlucky critters — up to 100 of them can be whacked from late fall through February 2015 — to be processed for distribution at the Hoosier Hills Food Bank. As long as hungry folk are going to be able to make midnight snacks out of deer sausage sandwiches, I’m cool with the whole idea.

White Buffalo, Inc.

White Buffalo Staffers At Work

And this despite the fact that White Buffalo has gussied itself up using ripped off Native American mythical iconography. The company’s website proudly proclaims:

Native American legend tells of the White Buffalo Woman who offered a sacred pipe to a Dakota tribe, explaining that the pipe symbolized that all things were connected. Its purpose, and ours through educational efforts, was to remind people of their tie to nature, what nature gives and what should be done in return.

I suppose a co. would have to dress itself up in quasi-insulting Noble Savage togs if it’s in the biz of assassinating cute little deer. Pretending you’re following in the great tradition of our proto-American predecessors makes the messy business of shooting Bambi in the brain a tad more palatable to the general public.

In any case, nobody would argue the fact that the deer are aggravating the bejesus out of residents around B-town. In fact, some dear friends of this correspondent and The Loved One are aghast that we put out corn and salt licks for deer. They claim the deer eat up all their flowers and vegetables and we are aiding and abetting them in these nefarious acts. I counter that they ought to plant something the deer don’t care for. Problem solved, no?

I’m not terribly eager to see a deer shot down in the prime of life. But as long as its meat feeds those less fortunate than I am, I’m all in.


Speaking of The Loved One, she brought up a compelling scenario last night during our ride home from downtown B.

“What are they going to say,” she observed, referring to the NRA and other gun fetishists, “when somebody shoots up a gun show?”

You know, I’d never thought of that. Wayne LaPierre and the rest of the folk who cuddle with Glocks always screech whenever some armed psychotic opens fire in a school or a Wendy’s. If more of us carried artillery, they shriek, we’d all feel safer.

In fact, the thankfully-almost-forgotten Joe the Plumber grunted on his website that the father of one of the people killed Friday in the Isla Vista shooting, the one who blamed the NRA and chicken-hearted pols for the spate of shoot-’em-ups these days, was just tragically and ignorantly wrong.

[I bet you didn’t know J the P even had a website. He does and I wish I didn’t know it.]


No Real Joe

Joe the Plumber (his name’s not Joe and he’s not a plumber, but what’s a few facts among Me Party-ists?) gurgled and snorted about how it’s a daddy-o’s duty to protect his litter with guns in every pocket as well as an automatic rifle slung over his shoulder. The implication being the father of the aforementioned victim was a pussy for not accompanying his son while bandalero’d.

The father, his face distorted by anguish, had cried, “They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’s right to live?”

Joe the Plumber’s retort? “As harsh as this sounds — your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”

My guess? Joe’s nightly ejaculation into his gun barrel was of an extremely copious nature after he wrote that.

Back to T-Lo’s original point. What will Pan troglodytes like J the P say when a sick bastard mows down a few gun enthusiasts at the next NRA convention or any of the countless big gun shows around the nation? It’s going to happen, right? Gun-ophiles obviously count among their number a healthy population of borderline lunatics. And they carry guns. And no one at the convention or any of those shows will think twice when they see a guy walk in with two rifles and a hip belt full of pistols. And then that guy will open fire, dropping a few or even a few dozen gun-ists before someone drops him.

No doubt they’ll crow that the guy’s kill count would have been far greater had they not all been caressing firearms at the moment of his outburst. The fact that the convention hall floor will resemble nothing so much as a meat processing plant will seem to escape their notice.

I’ve got bad news for The Loved One: I think we already know what they’ll say.

Hot Air


How excited are you about that new politico-memoir, A Fighting Chance, written by Elizabeth Warren?

Warren’s the coolest human in politics these days. I’d love to live in world wherein she’d be the queen. OTOH: I don’t want to see her get within a mile of the Oval Office. People who have a fighting chance, to borrow a phrase, of becoming president must compromise themselves into a certain near-nothingness, witness one Barack H. O.


Tough Dame

The Devil has in his safety deposit box the souls of some 43 presidents as well as all the real challengers they faced before becoming the boss of this holy land. And don’t correct me on the no. of presidents — Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms, ergo he’s counted as two of ’em.

Anyway, I want Warren on the outside, fighting the good fight. So far, she’s the best there is at that job.

Pencil Logrolling

If you don’t read the Comments section of this communications colossus you might have missed this from yesterday:

Shameless Related Promotions Department: I’m working with my dear friend and doc-film collaborator Nadeem Uddin to get his lifelong project finished this year, the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal gas leak disaster. If you ever wondered what a major chemical attack would look like in a densely populated civilian area, this is it.

We’re currently setting up an Indiegogo campaign to fund production of the second segment, which looks at how a child exposed to the gas in 1984 has passed on genetic defects to his children.

PS – Nadeem is coming to town for a visit in late May. Anyone interested in a screening of footage and some Q&A?

The comment is from Penicillista and great friend, Shayne Laughter. If she’s in on a project — or even if she merely gives it her blessing — you know it’s the real deal and worth your while.

Mid-Life Adventure

One of our town’s most compelling figures, cartoonist Mike Cagle, is shipping off to Oregon this summer. He’ll begin the 2014-15 term as a student at Lewis & Clark Law School. He sez he just may want to practice public interest law.

How can you not love B-town when this burgh is populated by folks like Mike. Our loss is the world’s gain.

Sterling Redux

I wiped the floor with Donald Sterling yesterday, natch. The only thing right-thinking folk might quibble with was my assertion that Sterling should not be officially punished for utterances in, presumably, his private home where he was being recorded without his knowledge. That, friends, is thought crime.

Now, don’t have a fit; I fully support a boycott of his Los Angeles Clippers games. He’s a bad man in so many ways I’ve run out of fingers and toes and facial hairs to count them. The sooner his evil soul departs his body, the better. But, again, human beings should not be persecuted or prosecuted by any authority for the hate in their hearts.

Or, as Bill Maher says, “Calm down. Being an asshole is still legal.”

Oh, BTW, Sterling is a Republican. Registered. Who’da thunk it?

And, to make this farce even more ridiculous, certain conservative groups and publications are trying to spread the lie that’s he’s a Dem! We live in a weird, weird country, kiddies.

Large And In Charge

And, speaking of posterior orifices, our gal Sarah Palin bleated this past weekend before the assembled multitudes at the NRA’s annual fapfest, held this year in Indy.

And, again, just like yesterday when I took the bullet for you by listening to the Sterling tape, I did it again by listening to Palin’s speech. Babies, I am your freakin’ he-ro!

The gist of her shrieking could be summarized in the quote, “If I were in charge….”

No word yet if audience members began masturbating furiously in their seats upon hearing this most risible sentiment.


We all have heard her marvy quote about waterboarding being the way “we baptize terrorists.” Nuts, right? But did you catch her statement that, again, if she were in charge, she’d be standin’ tall right there in the Ukraine and she’d have stopped Putin from making his land grabs?

Swear to god, this piece of work sees herself as something like that Chinese kid who stood before the line of tanks in Tiananmen Sq. back in 1989.

Okay, that’s my report on Palin. That’s plenty of heroism for this big boy for one weekend. I’ll be going off to check myself in for battle fatigue treatment now.

Hot Air, Cold Pizza

Go Read Alice

Congrats to Canadian short story writer Alice Munro on her Nobel Prize in Literature. Her latest is the collection Dear Life.

Book Cover

Munro’s 82 years old now and she has already announced she isn’t going to write anymore. The Nobel is a fitting coda to her brilliant and glorious career. If you want to learn more about her, here’s a good ten-year old biography of her that ran in the Guardian UK.

Crisis In Black And White

Bingo, babies! The fed shutdown is merely the latest play in the long running game of Republican Us vs. Them politics. The “us” being scared white Murricans and the “them” being everyone else.

Joan Walsh of Salon laid it all out in the Chicago Tribune last week (h/t to Monroe Anderson), although you would instinctively know this if you’ve been paying attention.


Joan Walsh

The GOP since soon after the end of World War II has been organizing around the visceral fear whites have that blacks will one day amass enough guns, money, and real power (oops, sorry I’m being redundant) to overthrow the whole shebang here. Not only that, our wives and daughters will be taken as spoils.

No lie. You have to have grown up in an edgy, pure white neighborhood as I did to really grasp this: Black men with their large penises are to be quelled at all costs.

That’s my addendum to Walsh’s superb take on America’s political history of the last half century or so.

Even the National Rifle Association became a power to be reckoned with by demonizing blacks. The NRA gang was just a nice little club for deer hunters and such until the late 1960’s when, responding to an exaggerated threat of black nationalism and the emergence of the armed Black Panthers, the organization began conducting a national grass-roots campaign to limit access to guns. Yup. Some 40 years ago, it was far more important to the NRA that guns be kept out of the hands of blacks than in the hands of whites. Now, of course, it’s far more important to keep guns in the hands of paranoid schizophrenics than it is to make firearms purchases a tad more inconvenient for everyone else. (The reasons for that transformation are grist for another post, another time.)


Black Panthers in 1969

As this holy land’s demographics change, the Strom Thurmond/Dick Nixon/Ronald Reagan/Roger Ailes strategy of appealing to jittery whites is becoming less and less effective. By 2050, say, whites won’t be able to throw their weight around as they are doing in this weird game of chicken that has closed, basically, the social safety net and all other parts of the gummint that don’t have to do with maintaining our sacred duty to threaten the rest of the planet with incineration.

It can even be argued that men like Ronald Reagan weren’t racists in their hearts. But the fact that they found it easy to capitalize on racial fears in order to attain and keep power made them, and the country as a whole, racist indeed.

(OTOH, Strom Thurmond was a racist, through and through, and I don’t care how many children he sired with black women. Nixon wasn’t specifically a racist; he loathed all humanity equally. Ailes? He’s just a pig.)

So yeah, the Republicans and the Me Party-ists who seem to have a power all out of proportion the the rest of the body politic ain’t gonna be big shots much longer. Problem is, with the Koch Bros.’ (among other sneaky plutocrats) dough behind them, John Boehner et al can do some really serious damage to the nation. Hell, they’ve done it already.

Think of it as a fire in your home. It may have started in the kitchen and, thanks to quick work by the firefighters (who get paid by that hated gummint, BTW), the rest of your house was saved. Still, the kitchen’s a wreck. It’ll be a long time before the place is functioning properly.

Walsh is right; this isn’t an all-sides-are-to-blame thing; the Republicans started it and now the rest of us are feeling the heat.

[Big Mike Note: The head for this entry is stolen from a 1964 book of the same name, written by Charles E. Silberman. He was among the first to identify and explain the reality that the USA is really two separate nations.]

Big Mike Explains It All

[Wordpress went a little funny in the head yesterday so this post that should have been dated Wednesday, October 9, 2013, is now dated today.]

Okay, kids, strap on your crash helmets because things are gonna get really, really weird here now.

As you know Peter Higgs won the Nobel Prize in Physics yesterday Monday because a bunch of geeks toying around with the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN facility on the border of France and Switzerland finally found the sub-atomic particle that bears his name. See, Higgs got cracking with pencil and paper (and eraser — lots of erasers) some 50 years ago and as a result of some calculations he did, he was able to predict the existence of the Higgs Boson, aka the God Particle, although most serious physicists get really cranky when the Higgs is called that.

Telegraph UK Image

Peter Higgs

People called the Higgs the God Particle because some wise guys figgered once it was found, scientists would know the secret of existence. That is, why things exist, and why they don’t just smash into each other and annihilate themselves or, conversely, why everything there is doesn’t just go flying off into its own nowhere so that there would be no mass or forces or even pizza.

Talk about existentialism! This whole shebang couldn’t get more mind-bending if the ghosts of Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, and Kafka suddenly were to appear in the living room playing Twister in their stocking feet.


That’s Kafka In The Green Suit & Wearing Glasses

Whereas pious folk say the Big Daddy-o in the Sky snapped his fingers one day and next thing anybody knew, light, aluminum, oceans, Adam & Eve, and shingles all came into being, particle physicists tell us reality is just a seemingly endless series of Russian nesting dolls, with ever teensier pieces fitting inside each other. There was a time when the learned among us thought atoms were the smallest things there could be.

Har-de-har-har. Over the last 150 years or so, researchers have found successively smaller motes that make atoms look like honeydew melons. Things got so surreal that when Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig, unbeknownst to one another, dreamed up the idea of the most fundamental particle yet back in the early 1960s, one of them had to reach into the bizarro world of James Joyce’s poetry for a name. Finnegan’s Wake provided the following line:

Three quarks for Muster Mark!
Sure he has not got much of a bark
And sure any he has it’s all beside the mark.

What in the hell ever that means. So inscrutable were those two sentences that Gell-Mann immediately sensed he’d happened upon the right language from which to pluck a perfect term. Ergo, quark.

But wait! Even quarks had to be shoved around by smaller pieces of something so Higgs entered the picture in 1964, proposing his eponymous boson. It wasn’t until March of this year that the CERN gang proved Higgs’ speck of near nothingness really does exist.

The Standard Model that most physicists today subscribe to holds that magnetism, electricity, light, and a few other of nature’s magic tricks do their thing via force-carrying particles. These little specks, which are far too miniscule to be seen even with the strongest grocery store reading glasses, have mass or, to use a very technical term, oomph, only because they rub up against the Higgs Field.

Dig: The Higgs Field, which is everywhere, sprinkles photons and other force-carrying particles with confetti-like Higgs Bosons so that they, the photons et al, actually carry some weight and therefore can push things around.

And that’s why there are Republicans, pebbles, electric guitars, and — yes — pizza, as opposed to a universe full of, well, nothing.


Raison d’Être

We and everything around us are made of of countless billions and trillions of mini billiard balls — which actually also are waves, but don’t worry your pretty and handsome heads about that because if you start, search parties of shrinks would have to disperse in search of your sanity. Just trust, alright? Anyways, those eensy-schmeensy billiard balls only can come together to become a deep dish pie with sausage and green peppers thanks to the Higgs Field and its mass-inducing confetti called Higgs Bosons.


That’s okay, neither do I.

Fortunately, Peter Higgs does and that’s why he won the big prize yesterday.

Aren’t you glad you read this rather than gawked at yet another picture of Miley Cyrus sticking her tongue out?


Put That Back In Your Head!

[Another Big Mike Note: I’m neither a mathematician nor an expert on particle physics. Try as I might, there’s a good chance that my word picture herein describing the Higgs Boson and Field is full of crap. If so and you, dear reader, are a physics geek, please correct me.]

Your Daily Hot Air

Opinions Of Difference

From Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent to the US Supreme Court’s opinion striking down the key portion of the Voting Rights Act:

Throwing out the Voting Rights Act when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.


One Tough Old Bird

It’s been said enough that sometimes I even buy it: the differences between the Democrats and the Republican can be measured by the thimbleful.

Well, you can take that stale canard and shove it right up your Supreme Court.

You Can’t Tell The Justices Without A Scorecard

Here are your Reagan/Bush/Bush US Supreme Court justices:

  • Antonin Scalia

  • Anthony Kennedy

  • Clarence Thomas

  • John Roberts

  • Samuel Alito

And here are the justices nominated by presidents Clinton and Obama:

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg

  • Stephen Breyer

  • Sonia Sotomayor

  • Elena Kagan

I ask you, who would you rather spend a summer evening drinking shots and beers with: Ginsburg or Clarence Thomas?



Sex In Tex. Etc.

The Loved One will brain me if I don’t mention last night’s eruption in the Texas Senate. State Senator Wendy Davis earned herself  gobs of political points with her filibuster against the state’s proposed abortion-killing bill.

Live vid of Davis’ pals and supporters hooting and hollering over the Senate president’s attempts to squeeze a vote in before the midnight deadline actually drove The Loved One out of bed whereupon she dashed into my garage office, shouting “Are you watching? Are you watching? This is historic! Turn it on!”

I hate to be the buzzkiller here, but there is history and there is Texas history. Leave it to Molly Ivins to educate us:

Dig, man, the plaster-saint theocrats of the Texas state legislature flat out don’t want women to feel pleasure. Go ahead; argue with me. You’ll lose.

FYI, in case you live in a cloister: a dildo is a dick-shaped implement that many females use for personal reasons. Here is an actual dick:

You’re welcome.

[This just in: Texas men have already declared war on Davis. Or maybe this is just a side battle in their ongoing War on Women. Anyway, Davis’ Fort Worth office was firebombed overnight. Nothin’ sez “pro-life” like throwing a firebomb.]

The Pencil Today:


“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.” — Allen Ginsberg


Writer John Cassidy posts ten reasons why America is crazy in the July 24th New Yorker blog.

Here are a few of his reasons:

  • Gun laws and gun deaths are unconnected
  • God created America and gave it a special purpose
  • Cheap energy, gasoline especially, is our birthright

House Of Worship

These are things many, many citizens of this holy land accept as, well, gospel. “[T]he popular sentiment underlying these statements is so strong that politicians defy it at their peril,” he writes.

Crazy? You decide.


Only paramedics, firefighters, and cops reacted faster to the Aurora, Colorado, Shooting Rampage than the gun fanatics who shrieked and howled that even the slightest jigger to the nation’s firearms laws would be a dastardly infringement on their sacred rights.

We don’t even argue much anymore about whether or not NRA members and their fellow travelers have the god-given right to lull themselves to sleep at night holding their loved ones close — and I’m not referring to their spouses or lovers. The gun control debate was settled and signed-off ages ago.

The Winner!

Those folks who are sexually aroused by guns are staunch defenders of an absolutist read of the Second Amendment have pounded their chests for the last six days and declared the gun to be an honest citizen’s only possible defense against a tyrannical government.

I had an online exchange with one such soul last night:

Gun Rights Defender: “The reason I believe we should be able to have guns is simply because the armed services and the police have them and they work for the rulers not the people.”

Me: “The ‘rulers’ never fear guns in the hands of the citizenry because they (the ‘rulers’) will always be able to outgun them.”

The defender’s conceit holds that a bunch of old men in Lawrence County who own hunting rifles will stand as a robust defense against the jack-booted thugs who want to impose the unimaginable horror of health care reform on us.

I, on the other hand, happen to know the US Army issues to its soldiers, among other kill-toys, M16 rifles, M4 carbines, 7.62x51mm FN SCAR assault rifles, M203 grenade launchers, Mossberg 590 shotguns, M107 Long Range Sniper Rifles, and — as sidearms — 9mm M9 pistols. Oh, and the soldiers are trained to kill people with these things.

Groups of soldiers regularly practice firing M2 heavy machine guns, MK19 grenade machine guns, a variety of mortars (the smallest of which launches a 60mm shell), several types of towed howitzers, the FIM-92 Stinger shoulder-launched heat-seeking anti-aircraft missile, and the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank guided missile.

How well do you think your Uncle Wayne and his fishing buddies would fare in a showdown with a battalion of 18-24 year-olds lugging hardware like that around?

Oh Yeah, Uncle Wayne’ll Do Just Fine Against These Guys

History teaches us corrupt, despotic governments usually fall in a whimper. No shots were fired, for instance, to bring down the “Evil Empire” of the Soviet Union. Here’s another anecdotal example: The only regime still standing against the Arab Spring revolts is the one — Syria — that insurgents took up arms against.

The gun romeos need to come up with a better rationalization for their defense of the madness.


Actor Wm. Bullion points out that one of the survivors of the Aurora, Colorado, Shooting Rampage not only will sue the parent company of the movie theater in which the incident occurred but has hired a publicist.

Wm. (Billy) Bullion

One of my legal sources informs me it’s unlikely the theater would be found liable for the shootings but would probably settle for a tidy sum with any of the ghouls (my characterization) who’d throw court papers its way.

Bullion quotes Cassandra Williams of W.E.T. PR: “We’re going to make sure whoever is accountable is going to take responsibility for this tragedy.”

Bullion observes: “”Yes, the FAMILY’S PUBLICIST is holding the movie theater ACCOUNTABLE.” (His caps.)

The source story reveals that the survivor’s attorney is also considering suing Warner Brothers for releasing violent movies and any of James Holmes’ doctors for allowing the suspect to walk the streets.

You have to give this survivor credit: Apparently he can find the silver lining in any dark cloud.

Payout For a Bullet Hole


A redux posting: Here’s Buffalo Springfield (with the shockingly young Stephen Stills and Neil Young) performing “For What It’s Worth” on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967.

BTW: Tommy Smothers was one of the unheralded coolest guys of the ’60s. Check out David Bianculli’s book, “Dangerously Funny.”

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, From The Sunlight Foundation

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.

Present and Correct(New Listing) Fun, 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.

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.

Illustration By Maneco, From Eat Sleep Draw

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.

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Arts Festival: Pipe organ faculty recital; 1pm

Bear’s PlaceThe Jeremy Allen Quartet; 5:30pmpm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Laura Connallon; 6-8:30pm

◗ IU Ernie Pyle HallJournalism seminar on Public Access and Government Transparency; 6pm

Third Street ParkOutdoor concert, Jenn Christy Band; 6:30pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreMusical, “You Can’t Take It with You”; 7:30pm

The Player’s PubOpen mic hosted by Martina Samm; 7:30pm

Serendipity Martini BarTeam trivia; 8:30pm

The BluebirdThree Story Hill; 9pm

The BishopYoung Magic, Quilt, Floorboard; 9:30pm


◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th
  • Claire Swallow, ‘Memoir”; through July 28th
  • Dale Gardner, “Time Machine”; through July 28th
  • Sarah Wain, “That Takes the Cake”; through July 28th
  • Jessica Lucas & Alex Straiker, “Life Under the Lens — The Art of Microscopy”; through July 28th

◗ 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: Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; July 27th through August 3rd

◗ 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 Cultures — Closed for semester break

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:


“Politics hates a vacuum. If it isn’t filled with hope, someone will fill it with fear.” — Naomi Klein


Admittedly the story’s still sketchy as I type this, but the guy who was shooting a gun into a house as he stood stark naked in an alley off 15th Street yesterday afternoon seems to be, shall we say, mentally whacked out, no?

I’m not a shrink — although I’ve helped several members of that fine profession make payments on their sailboats — but I can stand behind the above statement confidently.

There Goes My Money

In fact, I’m all for the latest edition of the DSM including the psychological diagnosis mentally whacked out. Go ahead psych-folks, you can have the coinage free of charge.

My question is, why did a mentally whacked out guy have a 9mm pistol in his possession in the first place?

It’s getting almost as easy to get a gun card in this great state as it is to get a library card. The National Rifle Association and its friends in the statehouse, I’m sure, are working overtime these days to rectify that.

Should it turn out that the IU student in question was known to have a screw or two loose and still be qualified to handle pocket artillery, then the enlightened citizens of Indiana had better do something about it.

Which means chuckleheads like me banging out angry words in a blog or marching two or three times around the county courthouse carrying placards reading “End Gun Violence Now.”

I’ll bet we get the attention of pols and legislators — even as they’re collecting their campaign donation checks from the local NRA chapter.

At least I try.


Richard Mourdock, newly christened nominee in the race for US senator from Indiana, is the definitive Tea Party Republican now.

Mourdock: “I Want My Way!”

Here’s what he had to say about crafting legislation with other senators should he be elected this November:

“I certainly think bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view.”

Oops, there was a typo in one of the above paragraphs; the words, “Tea Party” should have read “Me Party.”


It’s funny how a little thing can send a guy over the top.

The guy in question, by the way, is I.

Over the course of, say, a week, I roll my eyes enough to look like the readout of a slot machine — all due to the people who blithely try to lay their god-ism on on everybody else in the world.

People quote from the Bible. They brag about their personal angels. They thank god for their good fortune and then fall all over themselves to absolve him should they encounter a setback a two. They revere a woman who purportedly got pregnant without having sex with a human. They look at the moon and see, instead of a dynamic collection of elements orbiting around our own dynamic collection of elements, the hand of a guy who, for lack of anything better to do one week, created a universe.

A Facebook Chain Post

I’ve always made it my business not to argue with god-ists, figuring, hell, this life is so terribly confusing and daunting that if they’ve come up with a particular fairy tale to get themselves through it, good for them.

Stalingrad: Ooh, Sorry, The Angels Must Have Been Off That Day

But now the god-ists have gone too far. And, as I say, it’s funny how it was a little thing that did it.

The skirted men who run Our Lady of Sorrows high school in Mesa, Arizona, have spent the last few months stomping their foot and demanding that another school in town not play a girl on its baseball team.

Ick, girls.

Not As Good As Boys

See, the Mesa Preparatory Academy has a girl on its baseball team, which the rest of sane America would surely have applauded had they known about it.

Well, now America does know about it thanks to the priests of the Society of St. Pius X, who run OLS. The X-boys don’t want their teenaged students to play baseball against a girl so, earlier this year, they refused to play games against the Mesa Prep nine unless said girl sat out.

And, mirabile dictu, she did. Mesa Prep’s Paige Sultzbach didn’t take the field for the scheduled tilts against OLS this season; she said it was out of respect for the beliefs of the X-priests.

Sultzbach must be a saint because I, for one, wouldn’t have the patience to kowtow to such knuckleheads. I suppose somebody has to be saintly in this matter because these god-ists sure aren’t.

Anyway, it turns out the two teams were to meet in the Mesa city championship game Wednesday night. And OLS once again notified Mesa Prep it would take its balls and bats and go home if Paige Sultzbach was allowed to play in the game.

This time, though, Paige refused to sit out. Hell, she wanted to play in the biggest game of her life, no matter what some old bastards who refuse to have normal sex say.

When the X-priests got wind of Paige’s decision, they up and notified Mesa Prep they wouldn’t show up for the big game, thereby forfeiting the championship.

Well, they got their way, didn’t they? Paige Sultzbach didn’t get to play in the biggest game of her life, solely because she has a vagina.

Paige Sultzbach Broke The Rules; She Lacks A Penis

Ick, vaginas.

So this is the kind of thinking that results from devoting your life to the worship of an invisible BFF in the sky, eh?

If the folks who run the Mesa high school sports authority don’t thoroughly spank OLS for its biased, discriminatory decision, then they’re not just being patient saints — they’re being fools.

I’d say suspending OLS from playing games against other Mesa high schools in any sport until the X-boys come to their senses and elect to move into at least the early 20th Century would be a wise ruling.

It’s doubtful the city would make such a bold decision. For some weird, weird reason, too many of us are afraid of offending people like the X-boys.

Apparently, it’s god’s plan that people like the X-boys can offend the rest of us any time they choose, though.

[BTW: You have no idea how difficult it was to find the image of the little girls in Catholic school uniforms above. Googling “catholic school girls” brings up more than 74 million results, the vast majority of which is the kind of porn that would make, well, a 15-year-old Catholic school boy blush.]

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

Friday, May  11, 2012

◗ IU Memorial StadiumCoach Hep 5K Run; 7am

Showers PlazaFarmer’s Market and the City of Bloomington’s “A Fair of the Arts”; 8am

IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits, “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”; through July 1st — “Esse Quam Videri (To Be, Rather than To Be Seen): Muslim Self Portraits; through June 17th — “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”; through July 1st

IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze”; through June 29th

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center Exhibits at various galleries: Angela Hendrix-Petry, Benjamin Pines, Nate Johnson, and Yang Chen; all through May 29th

“Home” By Benjamin Pines

Trinity Episcopal ChurchArt exhibit, “Creation,” collaborative mosaic tile project; through May 31st

Monroe County Public LibraryArt exhibit, “Muse Whisperings,” water color paintings by residents of Sterling House; through May 31st

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

◗ IU Jordan Avenue Parking GarageUniversity Parking Operation’s Bike Auction; Previews and registration begin at 8am, auction at 9am

◗ Paynetown SRA, Monroe LakeInt’l Migratory Bird Day, including games, crafts, hikes for spotting birds, etc.; 10am-close

Great Blue Heron

Buskirk-Chumley TheaterCardinal Stage Company presents “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”;  2 & 7pm

◗ IU Jacobs School of Music, Merrill Hall Recital hallJunior Music Festival; 2pm

◗ IU Art MuseumFamily Day: Spring Celebration; Public tour of the museum, 2-3pm, campus tour of architecture, 2:40-3:40pm, and campus tour of public art, 3-4pm

Rachael’s CafeWriters Guild open mic; 3:30-4:30pm

◗ Upland Brewing Company Bloomington Brew PubWFHB Acoustic Roots festival; 4pm-close

◗ IU Auditorium“Palette to Palate,” silent and live auction of local art and goods to benefit Community Kitchen; 6pm

IU CinemaFilm, “The Kid with a Bike”; 7pm

The Comedy AtticDan Telfer; 8 & 10:30pm

The BluebirdPam Thrash Retro; 8pm

Pam Thrash Cocalis

Cafe DjangoKeith Karns Big Band CD relase party; 8-11:30pm

Bear’s PlaceThe Penrose Trio, Minute Details, Great Future; 9pm

The Pencil Today:


“We live in a world of guns, bombs, and terror. To conquer hate seems a nigh impossible task.” — Theo Bikel


Friday, Mitt Romney genuflected before the 70,000 or so gun lovers gathered in St. Louis for the NRA’s annual convention.

“Honest, I Love Guns. Lo-o-o-ove Them!”

He needs to make peace with that well-armed gang because they’re less than enthralled with him. He’s never publicly called for mass shootings of brown-skinned people walking through white neighborhoods or women who use birth control.

That suggests, according to the peculiar logic of the NRA, that he’s either a socialist or a raving homosexual.

Romney’s speech before the well-armed throng included very few mentions of the actual word, gun. As a result, the crowd gave him a tepid reception.

“I Have Such A Huge Erection It Hurts.”

He has, though, spoken in recent days about his hunting experiences. For some odd reason, men running for president must prove to the lock-and-load electorate that they’re rough and ready hunters. Why, I don’t know. Maybe people want their Chief Executive to be able to provide raw meat for the population should times gets tough.

Anyway, the NRA won its war against sanity long ago in this holy land. I recall a time when a public debate could be held on the topic of whether or not it’s advisable to let everyone and his brother possess pistols, rifles, bazookas, grenade launchers, surface-to-air missiles and other such items of protection.

“I Told You Goddamn Kids To Stay Off My Lawn!”

Now, no more. The issue has been settled. The majority of states in America now allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, which is comforting considering the world is rife with spies, saboteurs, mass murderers hopped up on pep pills, bundists, Union sympathizers, vampires, and other threats.

In fact, I have to wonder why the NRA even exists anymore. After all, what do they have to fight for? Even that socialist, radical, Mau Mau, Manchurian candidate, Trotzky-ite, moonlighting abortionist Barack Obama has been conspicuously mum on the topic of guns. He knows it’s a losing campaign talking point.

Here’s where the gun debate stands in the year of our lord 2012. A women attendee at the NRA porn-fest was interviewed by an NPR reporter. This is what she had to say:

“I think, when I was single, if I was threatened, I would like to be able to say I could pull my gun and shoot and not have to go to court and prove my point.”

“Okay Pal, I Got The Roscoe. I’m In Charge Here.”

So you see, the issue of gun-ownership is no issue at all. The fight now is over the ability of folks to fire at will and not have to explain themselves to anybody except god, who, the Holy Bible reminds us, was fond of mowing down people who displeased him.

By the way, polls indicate most NRA members are anti-abortion. Life, they say, is sacred.

Life in the womb, that is. Once you’re out of the womb, stay the hell out of their way or else they’ll blow your brains out.


So, nearly a dozen Secret Service agents were sent home from Colombia for the mortal sin of patronizing prostitutes.

“Now Where’s That Hooker? She Said She’d Be Here By Eight.”

Funny, isn’t it? You can game the financial system, defraud the home-buying public, lie through your teeth to whip the country into war fever, foul the air and water all you’d like, sell bonds to unsuspecting customers and then bet against them, and generally behave like a mad dog in a heat wave and the most you’ll suffer is the tut-tutting of pain in the ass good government types.

But if you engage in anything other than missionary position sex you’re screwed — and not in the good way, either.

Another funny thing: the randy agents were busted when one of the prostitutes dropped a dime on them because she had been stiffed (and not in the good way) by them.

In other words, they stole services from her. For my money, that’s the real crime here.


Kids, you have to see this almost-real time map of the continental US showing wind patterns. (h/t to SAW of Trout Valley, Illinois.)

Not only is this cool art, it illustrates beautifully what a living, dynamic thing this hunk of rock we call Earth is.

Here’s a still pic of the map (there’s no way to embed the vid at this time):