Category Archives: Regina Moore

Hot Air

No Woman’s Land

Y’know, if I were an American woman, I’d be awfully put out that one of this holy land’s most valued allies on the planet is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Poll Palaver

The latest national polls show Bernie Sanders as a shoo-in for mayor of Chicago, while Hillary Clinton will win the NFL’s Coach of the Year award and Donald Trump will cop the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Get out your bettin’ shoes, babies!

Money For Nothin’

I notice that Howard Stern has re-upped with SiriusXM for another five years at a total salary of plus-$500 million.

That’s a half a billion skins (and more), friends. This for a man whose life’s creative highlight was the Fartman superhero character.


Howard Stern As Fartman

I’ve never viewed Howard Stern as anything but a loudmouthed lout, an indictment of corporate media’s dumbing down of Murrica. It can’t, I always figured, get any lower than this.

Then Donald Trump decided to run for prez — and gained a loyal following.

I repeat: It can’t get any lower than this.

Can it?

Work Makes You Free

We’re all in agreement that the corporate world is soul-crushing and life-snuffing, no? Okay.

Now, even the corporations themselves are coming around to admitting that their plan is to rob you, their human resource, of every ounce of vitality and animation. If the likes of Exxon Mobil (No. 1 on the Forbes 500 list), General Electric (No. 8), or CVS Health (No. 10) have their way, their ideal employees would be corpses.

You thought I’d say robots, right? Well, acc’d’g to some tech seers, robots just might, at some time in the foreseeable future, develop something akin to free will. That just won’t do in the corporate world.

Anyway, one South Korean firm is making no pretense about about its desire to take its employees’ lives. The firm was featured the other day in a BBC News Online story about it and other companies sending their people to a consulting firm that, among other things, locks participants up in coffins.

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Welcome To Your Cubicle

The stated goal of the consulting firm is to make participants put their problems in perspective, sez Jeong Yun-Mun, who runs the place. Jeong, BTW, is a former funeral home employee. He prob. gets a sweet discount on caskets.

He is, to put it in as respectful a term as he deserves, full of horseshit.

Let me snatch a block of text from the original story:

In a large room in a nondescript modern office block in Seoul, staff from a recruitment company are staging their own funerals. Dressed in white robes, they sit at desks and write final letters to their loved ones. Tearful sniffling becomes weeping, barely stifled by copious use of tissues.

And then, the climax: They rise and stand over the wooden coffins laid out beside them. They pause, get in and lie down. They each hug a picture of themselves, draped in black ribbon.

As they look up, the boxes are banged shut by a man dressed in black with a tall hat. He represents the Angel of Death. Enclosed in darkness, the employees reflect on the meaning of life.

Mark it, kids, the meaning they are intended to glean in the blackout is Your life is the company’s.

We all know about how corps. these days are populated by malleable little loyalists who do biz on their smart phones in their cars or on public transportation on the way to and from work, who pound away at their laptop keyboards at dinner, after dinner, in bed before they fall asleep, and — for all we know — while engaging in the act of “love” with their oh-so-unfortunate spouses.

The 40-hour work week is such a quaint anachronism these days. Your bosses don’t want your hours or weeks; they want your very existence.

The real reason these South Korean cos. are making their employees lie down in coffins is to let them know their lives are over.

Eras Come To An End

Hey, do you realize these are the last two weeks of the careers of a couple of fine local public servants? City Clerk Regina Moore and Department of Utilities Director Pat Murphy will be bidding their office-mates farewell Thursday, December 31st.

Moore chose not to run in this year’s election and Murphy was a casualty of incoming Mayor John Hamilton’s minor housecleaning.

Nicole Bolden, who ran unopposed in the November election, will step into Moore shoes. Hamilton and his 27-member transition committee have yet to tab a replacement for Murphy. The transition committee includes two former Bloomington mayors, Tomi Allison and John Fernandez.

Like me, Regina is a second-generation Italian-American and a victi…, er, former attendee of Catholic schools. A former teacher, she and her husband Don, traveled to a number of Third World lands to instruct kids and prisoners. The Moores came back to the US — specifically this sprawling megalopolis — some 25 years ago. She continued teaching until she was elected City Clerk in 2000. Don, BTW, is the most outspoken political spouse since former US Attorney General John Mitchell’s wife, Martha, back in the early ’70s. Sometimes I even agree with him.

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Regina Moore As A Young Dame

To Regina and Don, Baci e abbracci.

Murphy comes from a union family. His mother and her second husband were big labor organizers and advocates and Pat has never missed an opportunity to stand up for the working person in this holy land. Murphy was a long-time associate of former Bloomington mayor and 8th District Congressman Frank McCloskey. He remains mum about his plans although The Pencil hears Hamilton has offered him a semi-soft landing place on the city payroll. Go dté tú slán, Pat!

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Pat Murphy*

[ * I told Murphy long ago would never again use that stale old photo of him from the City of Bloomington website — apparently the only image of him extant in this world. He promised he would get a new one up. He broke that promise. Some public servant.]



Hot Air

Moore No More

So, now both citywide candidates for public office have announced they’re turning in their lunchboxes.

City Clerk Regina Moore yesterday sent out an announcement to all her supporters and pals that she won’t seek reelection  next November. She joins Mayor Mark Kruzan in planning for a life without headaches, handshakes, and harping constituents.

Regina Moore

Moore (David Snodgress/Herald Times Photo)

I’ve got to imagine Moore must have grown a cauliflower ear from listening to so many friends and acquaintances try to weasel their way out of parking tickets over the phone. I can honestly say I never put the touch on her to spring me from the $20 fine — but I thought about it every single time I found that green envelope on my windshield.

Truth is, I’ll bet she’d have told me to take a hike. She was — hey, wait a minute: is — one of the finest public servants imaginable. What a couple, she and Don Moore, no?

I hope to see the two of them browsing in the Book Corner even more than they already do once she surrenders her keys to the City Hall office supply closet.

What Barack Has To Look Forward To

The US presidential impeachment process really is simple:

  • 1) The House Judiciary Committee concludes that the President must be impeached
  • 2) The Chair of the Judiciary Committee sends Article(s) of Impeachment to the full House


House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte

  • 3) The full House approves one or more Articles of Impeachment by simple majority; this means the President has been impeached
  • 4) Now the Senate puts the President on trial; all 100 Senators will serve as the jury
  • 5) If 67 of the Senators (two-thirds of that chamber) vote to convict the President, another vote is held to either remove him from office or levy another form of punishment or censure on him

That’s it, kids. Oh sure, there are a gazillion little details interspersed: hearings to determine charges, votes to determine the rules of the trial, and so on. But these five steps are the process in a nutshell.

It’s so hard to get 67 Senators to vote one way on anything that doesn’t either enrich them or their campaign coffers that impeachment probably is — and will always be — used only to harass the President.

Certainly that’s what happened in 1998 when Bill Clinton was impeached. The Republican House couldn’t possibly have figured to get a Senate conviction on his fellatial (I just coined a word) crimes and misdemeanors but they loved — I repeat loved — dragging him through a four-year-long ordeal. (The first special prosecutor was appointed in January, 1994 to investigate the Whitewater financial affair and the death of Clinton lawyer Vince Foster; the Senate acquitted Clinton on unrelated charges in February, 1998.)


I don’t know if Bob Goodlatte‘s (R-VA) Judiciary Committee will decide to consider Articles of Impeachment as its first act when the 114th Congress convenes in January, but I just know it’ll do so eventually. Goodlatte seems a tad, well, more sane than some of the more virulent Me Party-ists of the new, total GOP Congress. But the pressure’s going to be on him from the madman wing of the party to make Barack Obama’s last two years in office a living hell.

As if the first six years haven’t been already.

Really Reading

Speaking of the Washington Post (look up), the paper has released its list of 2014’s 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction.

I plan, over the next few years, to read nine of the books. Wait a minute — over the next few years? Yeah.

See, because I peddle books, people think I read everything that comes in. I don’t. I can’t. No one can. And if, in some distance bookstore, another peddler says she or he does; know that s/he’s toying with the truth. Reading entails submerging one’s self in a book, savoring it, understanding it, being in it. Speed reading and other tricks of the hyper-caffeinated set do not, in my unhumble view, constitute reading.


My Nightstand’s Under Here Somewhere

At least once a week, a customer’ll pull a title off the New York Times Bestseller list shelf and ask, “Have you read this yet?” Invariably I say no. And the cust. usually responds with a a look of pained shock. I wanna say, “Look, you want me to read one of Bill O’Reilly’s Killing… fetish books? Or Heaven Is for Real? Hell, I haven’t even gotten to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist yet. Whaddya want from me?”

Anyway, throwing the list of nine in with the several dozen other books already waiting for me to devour, I’m being almost overly-ambitious by saying I’ll get to them in a mere few years.

That said, here are the latest nonfiction books that have gone into my reading queue:

  • The Bill of the Century by Clay Risen — about the passage of the 1965 Civil Rights Act
  • The Birth of the Pill by Jonathan Eig — the simple daily contraceptive pill was perhaps the most important development in the women’s rights story in the second half of the 20th Century
  • Countdown to Zero Day by Kim Zetter — about Stuxnet, the first burst in the 21st Century’s cyberwar
  • The Divide by Matt Taibbi — I’ll read anything by Taibbi; here, he lays out in his trademark rational rage style how money buys justice in this holy land

Book Cover

  • The Invisible Bridge by Rick Perlstein — a confession: I’ve already read it. Perlstein covers the years 1974 through 1976 in his series on the history of the conservative movement in the US
  • My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossell — the author has scads of phobias (and so do I); here. he tackles them with candor and humor
  • The Nixon Defense by John W. Dean — the disgraced ex-president’s White House counsel gives the ultimate insider’s view of the tragi-comic scandal
  • The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs — Peace grew up in the Newark slums and went on to study molecular biology at Yale; he also was a nails-tough street thug who ran a profitable dope trade
  • A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre — Brit spook Kim Philby bamboozled pretty much everybody in the intelligence community, apparently not a difficult trick

If you phone me and I don’t answer, it’s because I’m reading.

Hot Air

Blue Skies Ahead

Just wondering: Can it be any more perfect in Bloomington this morning?


The sky is a rich, deep blue and cloudless. The high should be near 70. The next two days should be clear and mild as well.

This is what we wait all winter for.

From Ho-hum To Wow!

Do I need to point out the difference between, say, the Herald Times of Bloomington and this communications colossus?

I mean, one very well-respected member of our community has told me that he’d much rather read about a pressing local issue here in The Pencil than in B-town’s daily newspaper. The Pencil’s take, he sez, is always more interesting and provocative.

Far be it from me to brag. In fact, I’ll point out that The Pencil hardly scrapes the surface of Bloomington and South Central Indiana’s news because, hell, I’m only one guy and I have a day job, too. I hammer on local issues only when they strike me. Plus, I have an irresistible need to pontificate on national and world happenings as well as pop culture, art and science, all of which eat up space here.

The day the Bloomington City Council counts among its members someone as entertaining as Michelle Bachmann, I’ll begin fixating on that person. Although Steve Volan is trying in his own inimitable way. And Susan Sandberg does wield a fiery ukulele.

Anyway, back to the Herald Times. The paper’s lead feature this gorgeous Sunday is a profile of the wife of IU basketball coach Tom Crean (paywall). I’m not going to reveal any details of the piece, mainly because I haven’t read anything more of it than the first paragraph. Why? Because I don’t care.


Do You Care?

All I know is, the new Big Talk interview series continues Friday with an eight-minute feature on WFHB’s Daily Local News at 5:30pm and the release of this month’s Ryder magazine, which will carry the full-version of my hour-long chat with Bloomington’s political doyenne, Charlotte Zietlow.

I have my doubts that Coach Crean’s wife can tell me about living under tyrannical rule in Czechoslovakia or upending a decades-long political order here in Bloomington in 1971. Charlotte can.

Big Talk is a joint production of The Electron Pencil, WFHB, and The Ryder. We tie together this town’s cutting edge media outlets. And unless an IU coach’s wife discovers a remedy for global warming, you won’t have to worry about us profiling her herein.

On The Other Hand

The H-T today does carry an excellent piece (again, paywall) on the Democratic Women’s Caucus here in Monroe County. The article points out that back only a decade ago, in the 2003 election, our town could boast only two female candidates for public office: Regina Moore and Uke-baby Sandberg.


City Clerk Regina Moore (right)

The article quotes one political scientist who claims that voters seem to prefer women candidates for office but the problem is females are not as eager to run as men are. Women, this expert suggests, need to be dragged into the political arena. Read the piece.


Susan Sandberg (right) And The UkeTones

BTW: You know who’s a big deal in the Dem Women’s Caucus? That’s right, Charlotte Zietlow. Just sayin’.

It’s On Us

Speaking of politics, we can wail, moan, and gnash our teeth all we want over the Republican strategy to reduce voter turnout around the nation, but really we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

The Indy Star today offers a piece explaining that embarrassingly low turnouts in many counties and precincts for the May 6th primary were due to, well, folks being too gosh darned busy.

Vintage Voting Machine

Which is bullshit of the highest order. The article quotes no-show potential voters as saying things like traffic was too bad and they had to, presumably, do housework. The least thing a citizen can do in a democracy is to vote. And if you can’t find a half hour to vote every two years, then you don’t deserve democracy.

You can wring your hands all you’d like at Republican effort to suppress voter turnout but the GOP has far too many aiders and abettors in their efforts. To mangle a quote: We have met the enemy and they are us.

The Pencil Today:


“Men, their rights and nothing more. Women, their rights and nothing less.” — Susan B. Anthony


Things and people I hope not to hear or see for a long time:

  • “Battleground state”
  • Cokie Roberts
  • Karl Rove
  • Tagg Romney
  • The minimum half-dozen emails I got daily from the Obama campaign
  • Donald Trump
  • “Corporations are people, my friend”
  • Richard Mourdock
  • Ann Romney
  • “Binders full of women”
  • Talking to an empty chair
  • “Mittens
  • Kid Rock
  • The wrong Tony Bennett

Tonys Bennett: (l) Cool — (r) Not

  • The Ermahgerd girl
  • Rick Perry
  • Ronald Reagan
  • “…god intended…”
  • “Legitimate rape”
  • “Horses and bayonets”
  • “47 percent”


Things and people I hope to hear or see a lot in the future:

  • Shelli Yoder
  • Universal health care
  • Community
  • Gay marriage
  • Citizens United repeal
  • A woman president
  • Immigration


City Clerk Regina Moore was making the rounds on Election Day yesterday. She popped into the Book Corner, pumped about a fete this coming Saturday

Seems that the first women whose face graced a unit of American currency spent some time in our humble hamlet back in the 19th Century.

Susan B. Anthony, who with Elizabeth Cady Stanton set the wheels in motion for women’s suffrage, spoke at Bloomington’s old Presbyterian church 125 years ago. That church stood on Walnut Street, across from the Monroe County Courthouse and just up the block from the Book Corner.

Anthony was invited by Maude Showers, of the eponymous big Bloomington family and an early civil rights activist, to speak at the First General Convention of Women in Monroe County in the fall of 1887. Anthony spoke on November 10th and 11th at the Presby church, which stood on the plot that now is home to the Williams Jewelry, Athena gift shop, and the Redman apartments.

Go here to see the hand-drawn original plat for the Courthouse Square block, showing the location of the Presby church.

The Bloomington Commission on the Status of Women and the Monroe County Women’s Commission together have sponsored the installation of an historical marker at the site. The plaque will be dedicated Saturday at 1pm with a reception to follow.

Who knew?

The dedication is timely considering Barack Obama just won reelection thanks in large part to a huge plurality among women voters.


By the right Tony Bennett.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

WORKSHOP ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryFinding Grant Opportunities and Preparing Grant Proposals; 9:30am-3pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Art MuseumNoon Talk Series: “Self-Promotion: Roman Imperial Portraits in Coins and Sculpture“; 12:15-1:15pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallMaster’s Recital: Stephanie Raby on baroque violin; 5pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Memorial Union, Oak Room — “Our Civilizing Mission,” Presented by Nicholas Harrison of Kings College London, On native Algerians who went through secondary and higher education under french colonialism; 6pm

CLASS ◗ IU Art MuseumIU Lifelong Learning: What Is a Fine Print?; 6-7:45pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Neal-Marshall Black Culture CenterAuthor and attorney Walter Echo-Hawk is the keynote speaker for National American Indian Heritage Month; 6pm

SCIENCE ◗ Rachael’s CafeBloomington Science Cafe: “Brain-Machine Interfaces: Eye Tracking,” Presented by Francisco Parada; 6:30pm

ASTRONOMY ◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryOpen house, Public viewing through the main telescope; 6:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoTom Miller Live; 7-9pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleJeff Foster; 7-9pm

MUSIC ◗ Bloomington High School NorthJazz Concert, Guest soloist Tom Walsh on saxophone; 7-9pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallDoctoral Recital: Youngsin Seo on violin; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center, M344Five Friends Master Class Series: Judy tarling on Baroque viola and violin; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center, Recital HallPiano Studio Recital: Students of Lee Phillips; 7pm

PERFORMANCE ◗ Unity of Bloomington ChurchAuditions and rehearsal for Bloomington Peace Choir; 7pm

STAGE ◗ IU Halls TheatreDrama, “Spring Awakening“; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubSarah’s Swing Set; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallDoctoral Recital: Iura de Rezende on clarinet; 8pm

DANCE ◗ Harmony SchoolContra dancing; 8-10:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallDoctoral Recital: Timothy Kantor on violin; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdDot Dot Dot; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopHoly Ghost Tent Revival, Prince Moondog; 9:30pm


ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “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 through December 1st:

  • “Essentially Human,” By William Fillmore
  • “Two Sides to Every Story,” By Barry Barnes
  • “Horizons in Pencil and Wax,” By Carol Myers

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits through November 16th:

  • Buzz Spector: Off the Shelf
  • Small Is Big

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits through December 20th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners
  • Gender Expressions

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 LibraryExhibits:

  • The War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library“; through December 15th
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections from the Slocum Puzzle Collection

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’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.” — Muhammad Ali


I love science and I love baseball. So what could be better than this recent edition of “What If?” (h/t to Al Yellon at Bleed Cubbie Blue.)

“WI?” is a weekly feature of the very cool XKCD site. It is described thusly: “Answering your hypothetical questions with physics, every Tuesday.”

Sort of a super-brain’s New York Times Science Tuesday.

So, this week’s hypothetical is “What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?”

Not Even The Cuban Missile, Aroldis Chapman, Can Throw That Fast

As you know, the speed of light is unimaginably fast, almost as fast as Regina Moore‘s crew of  parking ticket scribblers (and, yeah, I’m sitting on a double-sawbuck scold slip from Friday, so that’s why the Moore Militia is on my mind.)

Anyway, you couldn’t begin to guess what would happen in such a hyper-fastball scenario unless you’d spent the last 15 years of your life holed up working out ciphers and avoiding any meaningful contact with the opposite sex.

Suffice it to say if a human baseball pitcher had the physical capability to accelerate an approximately 3-inch-diameter spheroid made of horsehide wrapped around coiled yarn centered on a cork core to a velocity of around 167,653.8 miles per hour (the speed of light, c, times .9), the immediate vicinity around the pitcher’s mound and batter’s box would be transformed indeed.

As in, oh, say, Hiroshima at 8:16 am, August 6th, 1945.

Hit By Pitch, Batter Entitled To First Base

The happy news is the team at bat now has a rally going.

Who sez science isn’t fun?


Am I gonna have to make this a regular feature?

Last week I ran a screed about the gossipy, reality-show-like news that CNN has been foisting upon the public during these momentous times.

Wars, the potential for economic collapse, dramatic global climate change events, and even the political fight over women’s wombs all seem to be below-the-fold fodder for cable TV’s most venerable news outfit.

Yeah, It’s Dry — Hey, Did That Magazine Really Photoshop Kate Middleton?

At the time, I didn’t think CNN’s editorial choices could get any more ludicrous.

I was wrong.

These are among the most important happenings and issues on planet Earth within the last 24 hours, according to the Cable News Network of Atlanta, USA:

  • Billionaire’s son charged in wife’s death
  • Shark attacks: Is “Jaws” back?
  • Mash up: Jealousy in time of drought
  • Obamas find spotlight on “kiss cam”
  • New diet drug approved by FDA
  • Car falls into elevator shaft
  • Sex with ex helps her lose weight
  • It may be OK to get sick in July
  • Bobcat breaks into prison
  • Michael Vick: I won’t get a pit bull
  • Tattoos: How young is too young?
  • Stunt driver’s video goes viral
  • Parents, let your kids play
  • Daughter’s in love, Dad feels jilted

Now not only are CNN’s stories vacuous, they’re getting downright creepy. I mean, honestly, “Dad feels jilted”?

Sorta reminds me of Cary Grant as the newspaper publisher Walter Burns, shouting orders on the phone to his editors in “His Girl Friday.” (Please click — it’s the entire movie.)

No, no, never mind the Chinese earthquake for heaven’s sake….

Look, I don’t care if there’s a million dead….

No, no, junk the Polish Corridor….

Take all those Miss America pictures off Page Six….

Take Hitler and stick him on the funny page….

No, no, leave the rooster story alone — that’s human interest.

Of course, that was farce. How, then, to describe CNN?


Huzzah. Three cheers. Science has developed yet another weight-loss drug.

Just in case you’re tempted to swallow it, take some advice from a man whose girth rivals that of a cement mixer.


The only “secret” for losing weight is eat less and exercise more.

End of sermon.


Finally, speaking of things that go boom, wait’ll you see this vid.

Apparently, the government of this holy land became concerned in the 1950s about the citizenry’s troublesome fears of nuclear annihilation. And, if we weren’t experiencing existential angst over the end of civilization, we were fretting at the very least that a nearby nuclear explosion might muss up our hair.

Ergo, the feds put together some propaganda to dispel such silly talk.

Like this:

Yup. The five knuckleheads clustered underneath the unleashing of the primal forces of the universe actually volunteered to do so. As in, “Sure, I’ll do it. Why not?”

Presumably, they kissed their wives and children goodbye before they dashed off to work that day.

Of even greater fascination is the reaction of the voiceover announcer, who also was present. I’d swear the man is experiencing an orgasm.

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

◗ IU Dowling International CenterEnglish Conversation Club, for non-native speakers of American English; 1pm

Monroe County Public Library“It’s Your Money: Wi$eMoney Game Night,” for ages 15-18; 6:30-8:30pm

◗ IU Musical Arts CenterSummer Arts Festival: Outdoor band concert with conductor Stephen Pratt; 7pm

Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

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

The Player’s PubStardusters; 7:30pm

The Comedy AtticBloomington Comedy Festival; 8pm

Boys & Girls Club of BloomingtonContra dancing; 8pm

The BluebirdThe Personnel; 9pm

Bear’s PlaceYou & All the Blind People; 9pm

The BishopMurals, The Natives, Chandelier Ballroom; 9pm

◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryFree public viewing through the main telescope; 10pm


◗ 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:

  • Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st
  • 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:


Courtesy of the White Rabbit.


A couple of things about my favorite Martian, Rick Santorum, before I get into the meat of today’s post.

  1. Yesterday, speaking before a crowd in Arizona, Rickey-girl slammed the Obama health care bill, natch. But he acknowledged that part of Obama’s reasoning was that every citizen should have the right to health care. Haharights. “When the government gives you rights, they can take those rights away,” he spewed. I’ve never thought about it that way before. I guess Martin Luther King, Jr. and all his cronies, were they still alive, would regret the enactments of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts. Because, after all, who cares about rights when they can be taken away?
  2. Pennsylvania’s man-in-the-closet is taking heat for casting aspersions on Obama’s “theology.” He has declared he will not step back from the statements because they came from his heart. You know, that’s why Republican Cro-Magnons are attractive to a lot of voters. They won’t back down. It’d be refreshing to hear a Democrat once in a while saying, Screw it, I said it and I believe it, no matter how many people think I should apologize.


Speaking of Democrats, the Monroe County party faithful gathered together last night in the Fountain Square ballroom to pat themselves on the back and tell each other how badly they’re going to spank the GOP this coming November.

Even Mayor Mark Kruzan emerged from his cocoon to press the flesh.

Kruzan Has Been Seen In Public Before

Dem hopefuls running in the May primary for city, county, and statewide offices were introduced by the somnolent county party chair Rick Dietz during last evening’s finger-food love fest.

BTW: perhaps Dietz does a fine job maintaining the records of the party, or maybe he finds the best deals on yard signs and bumper stickers. But when it comes to rallying the troops, Steven Wright would be a more emphatic orator.

Anyway, the star of the show was the mustachioed John Gregg, who’s running for governor. He grabbed the mic out of Dietz’s hand when he was introduced and wowed the crowd. The man has charisma in addition to that big furry thing on his upper lip.

A Hirsute Governor?

The five brave souls running for US Congress from Indiana’s 9th District met the flock as a unit for the first time. In fact, some of them met the flock for the first time, period.

At least three of the contenders threw their hats into the ring within the last few weeks. They’re all earnest and most of them paid lip-service to the memory of liberal Dem representative Frank McCloskey as well as the sainted Lee Hamilton. But from this vantage point, it seems likely the only one with a ghost of a chance to unseat Congressboy Todd Young is Shelli Yoder.

McCloskey: Local Hero

I came down hard on Yoder Monday. She’s best known as Miss Indiana 1992 and earned a second runner-up spot in that year’s Miss America drool-fest. Apparently, she’d earned her second-lieutenancy by smoking up the pageant stage in her swimsuit.

Being a licensed and certified smart-ass, I felt compelled to make fun of her beauty-queen past. But smart pols like Regina Moore and Linda Robbins dig her the most, so I can’t discount their evaluations.

On the other hand, I spoke to a couple of female pols last night who want to see more from Yoder — and they weren’t talking skin, either.

Here are the Dems running for the nomination:

I haven’t got time right now to reveal my impressions of the gang (there’s the little matter of catching my bus to get to the Book Corner) but I’ll run them all through my wringer within the next few days. It should be fun.


Back to the-man-whom-Google-made-famous, Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun-Times decided to check out his website. Steinberg reveals the results of his research in today’s column.


His conclusions? What I’ve been saying all along, these theocratic right wingers think about sex, sex, sex, and more sex.

To be frank, I do, too. As do you, I’ll bet. But, speaking for myself, I don’t flagellate myself for those thoughts.

And yeah, I tried the whole whipping-for-fun trick once. Didn’t do much for me. Still, I don’t run around screaming that my S&M pals ought to be banished to a desert island.

Maybe, Rickey-girl should try it. Could it be that’s what he really wants?



The Pencil Today:


“I think this is an issue of integrity regardless of which end of the political spectrum that I stand on. I was raised in a family to know right from wrong and politics, whether or not you fall in the middle, the left or the right, it’s an issue of integrity, no matter what you’re opinion is, and I say that with the utmost conviction.” — Miss Arizona USA 2009, Alicia-Monique Blanco, responding to the question, Should the US have universal health care?


Looks like we’re finally getting some action in the Dem race to unseat first-term congressboy Todd Young. Bloomington City Clerk Regina Moore is touting Kelley School of Business operative Shelli Yoder for the Democratic primary in May.

Yoder is one of five candidates for the Dem spot and the only woman.

Moore says of the political neophyte: “Take a look at Shelli — she could change the way those boys in Congress are doing things. Seriously.”

Unfortunate choice of words: Take a look at Shelli. Yoder’s big claim to fame is having won the Miss Indiana beauty pageant back in 1992. In the bigger Miss America catfight she wowed the judges enough in the swimsuit competition to earn herself Second Runner-up laurels.

The Newly-Crowned Miss Indiana 1992 With Her Parents

Loyal readers of this space know my thoughts on beauty pageants. Looking hot while half naked, while not in and of itself a detestable asset, is scant background for elective office. And all this time I thought only Republicans went gaga over MILF-y candidates.

Perhaps Yoder has something more on the ball than looking good in FM pumps and a swatch of fabric over her privates. I’d like to trust Regina Moore’s judgement.

The problem is there is no record of where Yoder stands on anything of import. Oh sure, she’s four-square against anorexia (as Executive Director of the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee, she lays out a list of symptoms in the link.) That, I suppose, is good. I hope she’s against violent weather and stick-up men as well.

But what’s her take on the Obama Administration’s new healthcare/contraception rules? Would she give the president a green light to fight a war with Iran? What does she think of the Patriot Act?

We also know she’s hot on Christianity, which makes me itchy.

I’m willing to give Shelli an ear, thanks to my respect for Moore. Yoder will meet and greet at the Fountain Square Ballroom tomorrow night. I’ll be there — listening, not looking.


If you pay any attention at all to news reports, here’s what you know about the two most important issues facing this holy land in the year 2012:

The Race For the Presidency

  • Mitt Romney is the front runner for the Republican nomination for president
  • Nobody else has a chance

  • That was true until New Gingrich became the front runner
  • Nobody else had a chance

  • Oh wait, Ron Paul came on strong
  • Romney and Gingrich were running scared

  • Rick Santorum was running too, the foolish man
  • He had no chance
  • Wait, Rick Santorum was the front runner

  • Newt Gingrich had no chance
  • Mitt Romney was on life-support
  • Could Rick Santorum count on support from the entire party?
  • Um — hold on! — Rick Santorum’s lead over Mitt Romney is shrinking!

  • Oh, sweet Jesus! Santorum peaked too soon!
  • Romney’s turning away from attack ads and now he’s going positive
  • Newt Gingrich still has no chance.

So, it looks like Gingrich will be the Republican nominee. Should be an interesting debate between him and Barack Obama.


The Economy

  • Unemployment figures stubbornly refused to drop below 8 Percent
  • The recovery if it existed at all, was slow
  • People spent money at Christmastime!
  • Phew — we were recovering, and fast
  • The nation’s credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poors
  • What recovery?
  • The nation gained a few more jobs at the start of the year
  • What a recovery!
  • Iran threatens to close the Straight of Hormuz
  • The world economy will collapse

Our corporate news media squawkers are a bunch of drama queens, no?


The Indiana University Police Department now has a bomb-sniffing dog.

Chris Collins & Trey (Fox 59 photo)

The pooch is a 75-pound German Shepherd named Trey. IU cop Chris Collins will be the dog’s boss, according to the Herald Times/Fox 59.

Let’s hope Trey never has to do the job for which it’s been trained.

The Pencil Today:


“Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful.” — Margaret Mead


Being a long-time alt-journalist, I love it when I can beat the pants off big media.

A month ago I put up a K-pop video featuring a bunch of young zombies called 2NE1. “K-pop,” I wrote, “is evil.

The music phenomenon from South Korea glorifies showy materialism, its voices are auto-tuned and pitch corrected until they no longer even seem human, and the blatant sexuality of the obviously underaged performers is creepy.

K-pop is soft-core child porn with a cheap, artificial soundtrack.

Typical K-pop Girl Group

Now, Al Jazeera English has produced a 25-minute documentary on the craze from South Korea.

Young kids, the doc reveals, are being exploited by “South Korea’s unique idol-grooming system” to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for slave-driving impresarios. The hours and physical demands on the kids are nearly unbearable. The training regimen for the genre’s manufactured stars stresses conformity. Potential K-pop idols’ lives are controlled even down to what they eat. The girls are forbidden to have boyfriends.

Kids who sign up for K-pop star training often even have to cut off contact with family and friends. One such star confesses, “I want to meet my family. I want to spend time with them. I want to talk. I want to have dinner with my family. I want to hug my mom. I want to say, ‘Oh Mom, I love you.’ I miss them so much.”

Sounds more like a religious cult than a creative art to me.

The rage for K-pop is being used as a PR tool to goose the South Korean consumer and service industries. Plastic surgeons, for instance, are making gobs of dough slicing up patients’ faces so they can resemble stars.

Yep, I was right. K-pop is evil.

Remember, you heard it here first.


Despite a mini-rash of “big-city crimes” a couple of months ago, Bloomington still is, at heart, a small town.

Want proof? Here are the top two entries in the Herald Times’ Police Beat column yesterday:

  • A 19-year-old kid, apparently drunk. left the Steak ‘n Shake on College Mall Road early Thursday morning without paying for his meal. The entry notes that the kid actually returned to the restaurant.
  • A 14-year-old schoolboy showed a bag of pot to another kid at Tri-North Middle School.

So don’t fret too much about our town going straight to hell.

Plato: “What is happening to our young people?” (4th Century BCE)


Speaking of journalism, its relationship to politicians comes under the scope in this month’s Vanity Fair. Writer Suzanna Andrews profiles Rebekah Brooks, the disgraced former editor and biz bigshot within Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire.


Brooks was brought down along with a few other co-conspirators in the News of the World phone hacking scandal last summer.

She’d weaseled herself into the good graces of Murdoch, the big boss himself, by employing a deadly combination of striking looks, sheer charisma, ambition, obsequiousness, craven opportunism, and a pinpoint targeting of rivals.

A scant 20 years after hiring on as a secretary within the Murdoch mob, Brooks had risen to the top. She became editor of News of the World at the tender age of 31, editor of The Sun three years later, and CEO of News International six years after that.

In addition to cozying up to Murdoch, Brooks worked her magic on the UK’s biggest pols, including Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and David Cameron.

Love, David

In fact, Brown and Cameron and their wives attended her 2009 wedding. Andrews claimed that Cameron signed letters to her, “Love, David.”

My hair stood on end as I read all this (Well, at least the hair on my arms did; my scalp has been unencumbered for many years now.) Journalists, I pontificated to myself, should keep a healthy distance from the subjects they cover.

What would Brooks’ take be, for instance, if Blair or Brown were embroiled in a scandal? Would she go soft on them, even subconsciously?

I remember learning that NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell was going to marry grotesque sauropod Alan Greenspan even while he was still Chairman of the Fed.

That, I concluded at the time, was somewhat akin to incest.

So, I’m pure, right?

Not so fast.

It occurs to me I’m on friendly terms with the likes of Pat Murphy, Susan Sandberg, Regina Moore, and Steve Volan, among other government pay-drawers and decision makers. Am I too friendly with any of them?

Too Friendly?

Earlier this month I called for Amy Gerstman, the Monroe County Auditor, to resign immediately for her actions in the credit card scandal.

From all I hear, Gerstman is a kind and sweet soul who is honest at her core, albeit less than alive to the appearance of the county’s checkbook watchdog using the county’s credit at Kroger.

But what if she and I were big pals? Would I have the stones to demand her ouster?

What if Susan Sandberg had been caught using city-issued credit cards for personal use?

Could I call for her head?

I don’t know.

All I know is, I’m glad I don’t plan on getting married again so I won’t have to decide whether I should invite any of my public official acquaintances to the reception.


Just spoke with a colleague of IU law professor Earl Singleton. This colleague attended last night’s visitation for Singleton’s late wife Diane.

According to the colleague, Diane’s death — and the puzzling circumstances surrounding it — came as a complete surprise to Earl and the couple’s two kids.

“I can’t imagine a more uncomplicated and steady family,” this colleague said.


The Boys of Soma gathered for Day One of their regular weekend confab this morning.

Tough Guy Pat, the Caliph of Clean Water, came in for a ruthless ribbing in the wake of today’s Herald Times story revealing the 2012 salaries of our town’s elected and appointed officials. He has reeled in the pro-forma 1.5 percent raise for non-union city employees.

Another one of the Boys, who’s also listed in the H-T salary database, observed that the Caliph’s salary bump was like giving Mitt Romney a 1.5 hike.

Tough Guy Pat merely laughed as he lit his cigar with a crisp fifty.



One of the greatest pop songs of all time, performed by The Zombies. Listen for the complicated harmony and the insistent building of volume and adding of instrumentation up to the final crescendo.

Now, don’t ask me why the You Tube OP chose to pair the song with footage from “The Outer Limits.” No matter, I love both the tune and the show. As a nine-year-old I recall waiting all week for “The Outer Limits” to come on. And more often than not, I’d be driven to dash out of the living room in terror at the sight of certain monsters on the program, only to tip-toe my way back in within moments.

As always, enjoy.

The Pencil Today:


“I never make the mistake of arguing with people whose opinions I don’t respect.” — historian Edward Gibbon


Traipsing around beautiful downtown Bloomington Saturday afternoon, I came upon some puzzling flyers pasted up on lampposts and kiosks.

Now, lampposts and kiosks in a college town are, of course, the retro social media for student PR and agit-prop. But instead of the usual conspiracies, rebellions, astonishing revelations, and concert promotions for bands like Lesbian Dopeheads on Mopeds, the flyers that caught my eye offered up a different message.

Quaint: A Typical “Post” On A Post

They wished one and all a white Christmas. And never mind the absence of snow.

Yup. The KKK, apparently, wants to get into the swing of the season along with those of us who possess the ability to form thoughts.

Here’s what was printed on the flyers:

We wish the best for you and your family throughout the New Year, Merry Christmas

The Knight’s Party

(All sic, and — need I add? — all sick.)

Like Genital Herpes, The Klan Never Seems To Go Away

I was too lazy to do it Saturday but yesterday morning I grabbed my digital camera and went out to snap a shot or two of the flyers for this post. No luck; they’d all been ripped down.

Or should I say, a lot of luck?


Some people around here like to repeat the tidbit that our fair state was the birthpace of the Ku Klux Klan.

Others, who might consider themselves more knowledgeable on the subject, say, “Tut tut, that is wrong. But Indiana was once the headquarters of the Klan.”

Well, they’re just as wrong.

Indiana was not the birthplace of the Klan, nor has it ever been anything remotely like that herd’s HQ. It should be noted, however, that Indiana was, in the 1920s, the state where the Klan wielded its most political power.


Indiana Governor Ed Jackson, Republican & Klansman

Pardon me while I dash off to scrub myself in a scalding shower.


There. I feel better now, cleansed of all traces of Gov. Ed Jackson and his Klan.

And ready to bake cookies!

The Honorable Regina Moore, Clerk of the great city o’Bloomington, stopped in at the Book Corner Saturday for some last minute shopping. Somehow the conversation got around to the batch of fab cookies I’d whipped up the day before. Moore asked me to post the recipe so, obedient citizen that I am, here it is:

Big Mike’s Sicilian Butter Cookies


  • 5 cups unbleached flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp. (heaping) baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ tsp. lemon extract (optional)


Mix flour, powder and salt together in a bowl. Put aside. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar together. In a third bowl, fork whip eggs and add vanilla (and lemon extract, if desired). Pour the eggs into the creamed butter and sugar. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Add the flour/powder mixture gradually, mixing with your wooden spoon. Eventually you must knead the mixture by hand — it will be very dense. Once you’ve achieved proper consistency, place the dough aside and preheat oven to 350F.

Pull out two large, ungreased cookie sheets. Form balls of dough ¾-inch to 1″ in diameter. Place dough balls on sheet 1½ inches apart. When the sheet is filled, press down on each doughball with your thumb to form a little lens-like disc. Press a single chocolate chip in the middle of each disc, pointy side down. Bake one sheet-full at a time for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.

Let cookies cool on sheet for five minutes. Remove from sheet to large, flat plate. Be careful: even after the cookies seem cooled, the chocolate will still be soft and potentially messy for another few minutes.



My foray onto Kirkwood Avenue to search for Klan flyers having proved fruitless, I pocketed my camera and headed toward campus. The Loved One and Steve the Dog were with me.

I’ve been a Bloomingtonian for two years and a couple of months now. In a lot of ways the place is still new to me.

People who’ve lived here all their lives might have forgotten this but the Indiana University campus is stunningly beautiful. And when the three of us took our stroll, the weather was perfect — 50 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. The light was perfect, bathing the Bedford limestone walls in dazzling gold and creating crisp shadows.

Christmas Shadows And Light

I whipped out my camera and began clicking away. See for yourself.


Dusty Springfield, dedicated to The Loved One — we had a great Christmas day together.

The Pencil Today:


“Fun is good.” — Theodore Geisel


A certain handsome reporter/blogger/smart ass was walking up Walnut Street in the brilliant sunshine Saturday afternoon. At 6th Street he ran into the Honorable Regina Moore, newly reelected Clerk of the great city of Bloomington.

The reporter revealed to Moore that he is working on a Top 10 Local Political Stories of 2011 piece for the upcoming issue of Peter LoPilato’s Ryder magazine. “Oh, ______,” Moore said, tugging at the reporter’s jacket sleeve, “do me a favor. Put in the piece that I got more votes than Mayor Kruzan.”

Let’s Make A Deal

I won’t reveal the reporter’s name because, in addition to being handsome, he is modest.

Moore continued. “All you have to do is put in a footnote or something. Nothing much. I can’t wait to show it to the Mayor!”

Consider it done, Regina. Um…, I mean, I’ll bet he does it.


City Council president Susan Sandberg got a kick out of the Beach Boys vid we ran in these parts Friday.

She revealed in the comments section that as a callow, hotsy-totsy youth, she formed a garage band called The Tsunamis. They played — you guessed it — California surf music.

Bloomington may be fortunate Susan’s band went nowhere as she now leads us boldly into the 21st Century. But alas, the world suffers.

What a chick troika it could have been — Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Susan Sandberg.

Or, The Dem Girls — Regina Moore, Susan Sandberg, & Isabel Piedmont-Smith


This is a No Spamily, No Brattle zone.

◗ My old East Pilsen neighbor and pal Rachel Thole, now of the Bay Area, links to an Onion newscast that would be freaking hilarious — if it weren’t so uncomfortably close to a serious newscast.

Al Yellon of Chicago was hot on this Saturday night, beating NPR by a day and a half. Seems that there’s a reality show about Muslim families living in the Detroit area. It shows them — get ready for this shocker — as normal, everyday Americans. Well, this just won’t do; this holy land’s Christian Taliban blew a gasket and threatened to condemn the show’s advertisers to hell. As far as I’m concerned, hell is having to live in a world where religious fundamentalists call the cultural shots.

Jan Takehara of — where else? — Chi-town, reminds us of Dion DiMucci, former front man for Dion & the Belmonts and, later, a solo act. Dion recorded a beautiful and touching song after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. “Abraham, Martin, and John” became a hit in late 1968. It was the first song that ever made me cry. To this day, I still tear up when I hear it.

Hey, Bloomington Facebookers: you’re falling down on the job. Start posting some stuff I can use here, okay?


Here’s Dion’s (and Dick Holler’s) homage to King: