"The blog has made Glab into a hip town crier, commenting on everything from local politics and cultural happenings to national and international events, all rendered in a colorful, intelligent, working-class vernacular that owes some of its style to Glab’s Chicago-hometown heroes Studs Terkel and Mike Royko." — David Brent Johnson in Bloom Magazine
Can it be that my lib brethren and sisteren are quivering under the covers with petrification that Palin is somehow going to rise Phoenix-like over the American political scene again? Ask me, that’s got about as much chance of happening as my beloved Chicago Cubs winning the 2014 World Series.
And if Palin does somehow become a political figure with whom to reckon once again, this holy land would be de facto dead in the water anyway, so why worry?
Another Sorry Dem
Hillary Clinton got herself in hot water this week by likening Vlad Putin’s swoop into the Crimea to the actions of a certain Right Wing dictator who wore a funny mustache.
Only it’s those on the Right who are wringing their hands and rolling their eyes over the analogy. An analogy, BTW, that way, way, way too many of them use to describe a certain dark-skinned man who pushes pencils around the Oval Office.
As always, The Pencil is here to clear up any confusions.
Nothing To Apologize For
Barack Obama is not Hitler. Neither are Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or any others who don’t quite believe that Sarah Palin is a thoughtful, serious observer of the world condition.
OTOH, what Putin has done in the Crimea is absolutely, positively, very much like what Hitler did throughout the late 1930s. That is, ID a hot spot where the existing gov’t is about to topple and which contains a significant number of citizens who share said tryrant’s language and ethnicity, go in under the guise of rescuing the poor, downtrodden ethnic group, and then, voila!, take the joint over.
Yeah, that’s Hitler (and Putin) all the way. Stop apologizing Hillary!
The house organ for the weak-kneed liberal sect of the American body politic, the Huffington Post, ran this headline in its right-hand-column teasers last night:
No Link Necessary
And, no, I don’t need to explain what HuffPo‘s tittery euphemism is referring to. I suspect a child of 11 could catch the drift.
My question: Is this a drift anyone with a working cerebrum would want to catch?
And, finally, scientists are coming to the conclusion that dolphins have homicidal tendencies.
Sharks & Jets? No, Dolphin & Porpoise
Those who view the “natural” world as a Bambi cartoon have long asserted that critters don’t kill for fun, only humans do.
How about those Roller Mortis Films boys, Chris Rall and Tony Brewer? They just posted the first in their new series of interviews with fascinating B-towners on their YouTube channel.
Between them and my own Big Talk series on WFHB radio and The Ryder magazine, we’ll have the interview racket all sewn up here in So Cen Ind. The Herald Times, the WFIU news dept., and Bloom magazine may as well start handing out severance checks to their unlucky future former employees.
And, of course, there’s plenty o’incestuousness going around inasmuch as the subject of the first Rall/Brewer opus is, well, one Tony Brewer. Who just happens to be the second subject of the Big Talk series, the recording of which I am, as we speak, transcribing and editing. My Brewer interview should air on WFHB within a week or two. So you can grab yourselves a little sneak peek into the life of TB by checking out Roller Mortis’s 3-minute documentary on him. Rall & Brewer are calling their first effort a pilot, so expect their project to grow and evolve as time goes by.
Just like Big Talk.
So, it’s out. The spanking new WFHB newsletter has hit the stree…, er, actually, the screen. Your computer screen, that is, if you sign up for it.
Click Image To Subscribe
The first edition of the community radio station‘s latest stab at transparency now exists in the electron-sphere after a whirlwind gestation and birth. Many of Firehouse Broadcasting’s volunteers, donors, sponsors, and listeners found themselves in a tizzy last fall after the WFHB Board of Directors made a controversial choice to replace former General Manager Chad Carrothers. A fellow named Kevin Culbertson from California and other points west and whose resume included involvement with a passel of Christianist media outlets was tabbed to steer the ship into the foreseeable future. But when folks in these parts got wind of his religious programming past and his non-Bloomington-ness, the resultant roar could be heard as far as the Pacific Coast. Culbertson declined to come aboard and the Board faced the angry glares of its aforementioned constituents.
Since then, the Board and the WFHB staff have sworn to high heaven they’ll dedicate themselves to more open proceedings.
Russia’s Vlad Putin is busy zipping up his fly after exposing his titanic phallus to the rest of the world in the Ukraine this past week. He promised this AM that his boys won’t bomb, maim, rape, pillage, and otherwise recreate in the Crimea unless such pastimes are absolutely necessary, a step back from his Rambo stance of several days ago. Phew, now I don’t have to stock up on canned green beans anymore.
Nothing Says Home Like A Fallout Shelter
Meanwhile, remember that Florida woman who fired warning shots at her potentially abusive hubby? A state court judge had ruled that she can’t hide behind the Stand Your Ground laws because, well, she’s black and the imminent danger she faced was coming from her ever-loving husband. And if a man can’t beat his own wife nowadays, then what did our Christianist Founding Fathers fight and die for, huh?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love — love! — the fact that NPR anchors and reporters have to say the wordsPussy Riot.
These are people, the stereotyping section of my brain has concluded, who’ve never uttered the P-word before in their lives. Whereas it’s my fave appellation for a woman’s business — a pussy is, after all, warm, snuggly, and comfortable. Rather like a de-clawed cat, no?
Now, the C-word. Uh uh. That’s bad sauce, babies. It’s a harsh, hateful word. Yet, even some feminist-y women occasionally drop it when referring to a dame they particularly detest. I strive never to use it because of its hard-edge and insulting connotation.
It’s a word I imagine frat boys bandy about while sitting around and philosophizing. If frat boys use it, I have to eliminate it from my vocabulary. I’m also thinking of refusing to use the word the in my speech, which I suspect will be a tad more problematic.
In fact, if you want to distinguish between, say, odious porn and glorious erotica, simply use my handy C-word system. If the book or video uses the C-word in its title or the term is used liberally (eek, such an unfortunately choice of a word) in its content, the work likely will not be of art at all but rather a crushing, repulsive, quasi-violent put-down of the female sex.
Anyway, I’ve been wondering how media outlets like the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, or the Rush Limbaugh radio flatulence-fest refer to the two erstwhile jailed Russian members of the punk group.
Well, let’s find out, shall we? The Grey Lady (an antiquated nickname for the NYT which, in its historical stuffiness, largely eschewed photos) seemed fairly itchy when first called upon to name the band. In the story dated August 17, 2012, telling of the band’s conviction and sentence on charges of hooliganism (which, itself, is a fave word of mine), the paper waited until the second graf to even mention PR’s name and even then acted all peevish about it. “[M]embers of a punk band called Pussy Riot…,” the copy read, as if to plead, Hey, don’t blame us.
As the fairly long story continued, the paper seemed at pains to avoid mentioning the name again, only doing so three more times, once to huff, “But while the women became minor celebrities, Pussy Riot is far more political than musical: Its members have never commercially released a song or an album, and they do not seem to have any serious aspirations to do so.”
In case anybody doesn’t get the gist of that graf, the Grey Lady is saying, Good heavens, no proper young ladies who employ such déclassé verbiage should ever be taken seriously!
Guaranteed the editors of the NYT are, at this very moment, on their knees praying Pussy Riot will disappear from the Earth forthwith so subscribers can safely return to the reading of more refined topics like sub-Saharan genocide or teenage rape in Ohio.
Despite bannering a variation on the name of one billion people’s lord and savior in its very name, the Christian Science Monitor went full Pussy Riot within the first nine words of its article on the band’s conviction and sentence in 2012. And the funny thing is, as I type this, the CSM page is still up on another window and its auto-play ad is running a faux doc on meterologists, air force commanders, and other scientists and officials tracking Santa and his reindeers’ flight over this holy land. Hehe;I love funny juxtapositions, natch.
Now then, how about the troggiest of all Oxycontin-head troglodytes, Rush Limbaugh? A casual google search shows — get this — absolutely no mentions of Pussy Riot by the King of Blowhard Kings. Imagine that. Here was his chance to either slam Vladimir Putin and the hated Russkies for being such stone-headed tyrants or to savage a band of slutty sluts who had the temerity to desecrate the Orthodox home of Jesus H. Christ himself. Yet Rush couldn’t even bring himself to address the issue. Who knows? Perhaps he digs their music and is torn. Or maybe he feels young women should be allowed to make the occasional public mistake without being ripped to shreds by porcine conservative commentators?
As they used to say in my old neighborhood, Whaddya, stupid?
I’m betting Rush and his merry band of keyboard clackers were paralyzed by Pussy Riot’s very name. You know the scene in the movie The Big Lebowski where Maude asks the Dude what his feelings are on the word vagina?
Maude: Does the female form make you uncomfortable, Mr. Lebowski?
The Dude: Um, is that what this is a picture of?
Maude: In a sense, yes. My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal, which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.
The Dude: Oh yeah?
Maude: Yes. They don’t like hearing it and find it difficult to say….
I can see ol’ Rush reading about the Pussy Riot story the first time and then dashing off to the lavatory to scrub his hands and face.
My feeling is Rush et al would be far more comfortable had the Russian performance artists named themselves Cunt Riot.
“It was the labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today. The 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, family leave, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans. The cornerstones of the middle class security all bear the union label.” — Barack Obama
IU experimental nuclear physicist Michael Snow will deliver the first presentation on Antimatter.
Physicist Michael Snow
Brain scientist Alex Straiker, who’s organizing this latest incarnation with lab-mate Jim Wager-Miller, says the shebang will begin at 6:30pm at Rachael’s Cafe.
This fall’s science topics will also include “The First Americans,” “Climate Change and Bloomington,” and “Brain-Machine Interfaces: Eye Tracking.”
FLYNT HUSTLES MITT
Hustler was among the worst porn I’ve ever seen in my life.
I say was because I haven’t seen the mag in years. Maybe even decades.
So I have no idea what unflattering poses its intentionally half-witted looking models are being put into these days. Suffice it to say I recall them reclining akimbo to such an extent that were I so trained, I could proffer them instant cervical exams from afar.
That is, were I moved open the mag’s pages.
I just never found the thing arousing. I consider my tastes in unclad women fairly, um, progressive. I mean I don’t need my pix of naked ladies to feature impossibly long-legged and wasp-waisted, vacant-staring, “hotties” with plastic half-cantaloupes on their chests.
That’s me. Apparently the vast majority of American male-dom (male-dumb?) digs that look. Hustler had it in spades.
The mag’s circulation stands at around half a million these days, down from a high of 3 million per month in its pre-Interwebs hayday.
Larry Flynt, the visionary behind Hustler, long has been a scourge to the Right, specifically its self-appointed plaster saints like the late Jerry Falwell and the regrettably still-respiring Gov. Rick Perry. That alone earns my grudging respect for him even though I hold my nose while stating it.
You know, those things Ann Romney, hands on hips, jaw set, has refused to allow us to see. She says she and her special guy have nothing to hide, therefore they’re hiding the returns.
We’ve Given ‘You People’ Enough!
If someone does come through with the docs that’ll tie Romney in with an arch-criminal, global, underground, crushing tyrannical corporate syndicate looking to addict the world population to dangerous chemicals, financial “instruments,” and magic underwear, then a million bucks’-worth of the dough Flynt made portraying woman as DNA receptacles will have done some good.
Of course, it’ll be just as good if the elusive tax returns simply reveal the Romneys to be richer than the spooky god they worship.
I CAN SEE FOR MILES AND MILES AND MILES….
Here, thanks to I Fucking Love Science (or, for the more skittish among us, Science Is Awesome) is a comparison of the mirror sizes of the Hubble Space Telescope and the proposed James Webb Space Telescope.
Is there an “edge” to the Universe? Maybe, the JWST will allow us to see it.
“In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.” — Fran Lebowitz (h/t to RE Paris)
GOOD RIDDANCE, ANDREW BREITBART
“I’ve never killed a man but I’ve read several obituaries with glee.” — Mark Twain
Andrew Breitbart is dead. The Earth is now a better place.
Like Twain, I don’t care much for gloating when a bad guy dies but in this case, Whoopee!
Gone, Baby, Gone
Breitbart was a character assassin, an amoral ideologue, an agent provocateur, and, well, a dick of the highest order.
Here’s the difference between a warthog like Breitbart and a human being of decency. When Shirley Sherrod heard about his death, she said, “The news of Mr. Breitbart’s death came as a surprise to me when I was informed of it this morning. My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart’s family as they cope during this very difficult time.”
Sherrod: A Gracious Victim
This from a woman whose career serving in government was derailed by a phony-assed, maliciously edited video produced by none other than Mr. Breitbart.
And speaking of phony-assed, maliciously edited videos, it was Breitbart’s airing of the ACORN footage that led to that social service organization’s eventual bankruptcy and demise. Nice work, Andy-baby, pissing on all those folks who need food, housing, and legal services for your own professional advancement.
Naturally, the Republican candidates for president are mourning his passing as though a great public servant is gone from the scene. Rick Santorum calls his death a “huge loss, in my opinion, to our country.” Mitt Romney remembers him as a “loving husband and father.”
“Aw, He Was Such A Nice Guy.”
Reminds me of when any notorious Outfit boss kicked the bucket back in Chicago. No matter that he’d been responsible for corrupting labor unions, forcing the Mob’s way into legitimate businesses, and murdering loan sharks, recalcitrant shopkeepers and potential witnesses, his neighbors would say he was such a nice guy and a real fine family man.
Hey, people, even A. Hitler was kind to his dog Blondi. That doesn’t excuse him for his evil acts.
Anyway, Breitbart — though not Hitler or a capo, but profoundly destructive in his own way — joins such luminaries as J. Edgar Hoover, George Wallace, Orval Faubus, Curtis LeMay, and Lee Atwater in the pantheon of dead evil Americans.
It’s irrelevant that he was “a loving husband and father.”
“Welcome To Hell, Andy!”
PAYING THE PIPER
Now that Mayor Mark Kruzan doesn’t have to worry about reelection for a while, he can level with Bloomington voters about the state of the city’s finances.
They ain’t good.
Kasey Husk of the Herald Times reports this morning that Kruzan says there are “dark clouds on the horizon” for us.
Potential Cover Shot For Bloomington’s Annual Financial Report
The reason Kruzan waited until now to drop the bomb on us, apparently, is the potential that voters could have blamed him for the economic mess we’re in. That would have been stupid, of course, but then again no one ever accused the electorate, either here or nationally, of being remarkably brilliant.
Smart Enough To Know We’re Not All That Smart
Hell, an entire major political party is fired up by proud anti-intellectualism. (I won’t even link to that party — you can guess which one I mean.)
So no, the city’s empty pockets aren’t Kruzan’s fault.
But we know where the blame primarily lies — all those clever, conniving, duplicitous investment banking house unindicted felons who played our economy for hundred of billions of dollars in fees and bonuses and left it dry.
Check out Michael Lewis’s book, “Liar’s Poker” for an early snapshot of the unregulated, greenback-worshipping, hyenas that populated Goldman Sachs and the rest of the Wall Street money-squeezers back in the mid- and late-80s.
Not a one of those reprobates has ever served a minute in jail. Yet guys like Mark Kruzan have to worry that voters may turn on them because of the sins of Wall Street.
We can only hope there is a hell so that Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, and the rest of their aiders and abettors can join Andrew Breitbart in it.
IT’S ALL RELATIVE
With Russia’s presidential election three days away and Vladimir Putin looking like a shoo-in, we’re being inundated by news stories and commentary about what a despot the former KGB spook is. Deep thinkers are howling about how un-democratic the supposedly-now-democratic heart of the former Soviet Union is.
No doubt Putin’s goons have had “meetings” with dissenting journalists, his spies have added a dash of “strychnine” to the soup of neighboring pols or fed polonium pellets to expat whistle blowers, and his PR flacks are hard at work manipulating the minds of Russian couch potatoes.
That’s all true. Plus, Putin is such a charismatic tough guy that when he met the notoriously untraveled George W. Bush, this holy land’s president-at-the-time tumbled into a deep man-crush over him.
Yesterday, though, I caught another side of the story. Former IU writing professor Erlene Stetson and her husband visit us at the Book Corner nearly every day when they’re in town. Her husband was born in Germany and they keep homes in both countries.
The husband — whose name I never catch because we start talking about world events and history immediately, leaving little time for idle chit-chat and social niceties, so let’s call him Mr. Stetson — started ruminating about Putin and Russia.
“It is amazing,” Mr. Stetson said, “how things have changed in Russia.”
He was talking about the Russia of today vis-a-vis that of such sweethearts as Joseph Stalin and his successors.
Mr. Stetson pointed out that even if the Russian press and TV outlets are manipulated and intimidated now and again, they’re still a hundred-fold freer than the old state media apparatus was under the Communist General Secretaries.
He also says the recent mass protests against Putin and Russian voter fraud would never, ever have been tolerated in the Soviet days.
Eastern Europeans of a certain generation view the new Russia in a state of near-awe these days, according to Mr. Stetson. Not that they envy Muscovites and the like, just that the relative relaxation of traditional Russian authoritarianism is so jarring in comparison to the bad old days.
Of course, it’s easy to look good when the object of comparison is a tyranny that, under Stalin, murdered tens of millions of people to maintain discipline, advance ideology, and just for the fun of it.
This reminds me of revisionist historians who decry the so-called Fathers of Our Country for owning slaves and treating women as decorative appendages.
White men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson did indeed “own” human beings, including their lovely brides.
Viewed through today’s lens, Washington and Jefferson appear to be monsters.
In their own day, though, the framers of the US Constitution were the most progressive thinkers on the face of the Earth. They eschewed divine authority and legislated nobility out of existence. Yes, the only US citizens that counted were white male land-owners.
But that was a hell of a leap forward from previous social set-ups. We’ve been taking leaps in fits and starts ever since.
As the late, astute Molly Ivins once wrote, “It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.”
“The Lord” and Money — perhaps this should be our national anthem.