Category Archives: Sandra Fluke

Hot Air

Yes And…

“Life is much richer when you say ‘yes’ than if you say ‘no.'”

So said Richard Branson to the Chicago Sun-Times some years ago, as reported by Neil Steinberg in his column today.

Branson

Richard Branson

Apparently Branson’s bank account (accounts?) would bear this out. He’s one the the richest guys around, natch, making his dough through such ventures as Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic Airways. It isn’t just money, though, that makes for a rich life. As long as you have enough to eat, a roof over your head, health care, an education, friends, and family, your life can be as rich as Donald Trump’s (or richer because I can’t imagine Trump’s world being at all fulfilling — either to me, theoretically, or him, in reality.)

Anyway, Branson appears to be one of those guys whose def. of success does not include the annihilation of you, me, or anyone else. He’s a win-win type of primate. Capitalism of late seems a hyena-versus-lion proposition, as in I’m eating and if you’re starving, what do I care?

Today’s world, as defined by Trump, the Kochs, the oil companies, and the Wall Street banksters, is a win-lose prop.

So huzzah for Branson and his riches, pecuniary and otherwise.

Saying Yes has been a philosophy I’ve tried to adhere to (often with success, even) ever since I studied comedy improvisation under the late Del Close and Charna Halpern at the improvOlympic (since renamed, thanks to trademark lawyers, iO Chicago). I started going up on stage to create skits and scenes without a script back in the winter of 1986. I even was part of an improv troupe that put on a weekly stage soap opera called “Children’s Hospital,” along with such notables as comedy guru Mick J. Napier and musician Jim Tomasello. At the then-improvOlympic, I worked with and watched such future Hollywood stars as Mike Meyers, Chris Farley, Lili Taylor, Joel Murray and a raft of others.

Close/Halpern

Del Close & Charna Halpern

The single defining commandment of iO was “Yes and….” In fact, boss Charna Halpern‘s business card read “Yes and….”

It’s a simple idea. Whatever suggestion or proposition someone makes on stage, you go along with it. You build on it. You say to the person who proposed it, “Yes, and…,” and then you build an even taller skyscraper of imagination. If your stage mate says, for instance, Here we are an a spaceship to Mars…, you don’t say, Aw, that’s crazy. You say, Yes, and when we get there, we’re going to hunt for extraterrestrial badgers with our ray guns. Won’t that be fun?

On our first day in class Charna (who taught the intro course) told us the Yes and…. thing not only would make us good improv performers but would actually help us in our daily lives. It sounds almost cultish or at least self-help-ish to say this, but she was right.

I’ve striven to say Yes rather than No as much as humanly possible in the ensuing three decades. Think of all the arguments you’ve ever had; as a rule, they arise when someone, maybe you, says No.

Some examples:

  • Wife: You know, sometimes I feel you don’t pay attention to my issues.
  • Husband: No. You don’t pay attention to my issues.

  • Person A: Life is bleak. I wonder why I should go on.
  • Person B: No, it isn’t. You just need to snap out of it.

  • Person X: The Israelis must be able to defend themselves.
  • Person Y: No. They’re murderers!

  • Person 1: The Palestinians must be able to defend themselves.
  • Person 2: No. They’re murderers.

On the other hand, one can go too far, albeit rarely, in saying Yes to everything. To wit:

  • Rush Limbaugh: Sandra Fluke is a slut.
  • Sane person: No she isn’t. You’re an asshole.

The No-sayer (in most cases) puts a halt to the progress of any conversation or plan. The word itself is combative. It’s fearful. It stops time. I try to say Yes whenever I can (and, as I say, I occasionally succeed.) Yes is freedom; No is not.

Try saying Yes all day today. You might be surprised.

Career Counselor

Who is this son of a bitch, Abdul Hakim-Shabbaz?

That was the first thing that jumped into my mind when I read his horribly mean-spirited piece in Tuesday’s Indy Star recounting his clever, fun prank of asking panhandlers for money.

Hakim-Shabbaz

Abdul Hakim-Shabbaz, Social Reformer

He wrote:

There is nothing more annoying than trying to enjoy a meal, cigar or just some quiet time and have people come up to ask for money. And since the City-County Council Democrats continue to block any meaningful proposal to get these guys off the streets, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I decided to turn the tables on the panhandlers and start asking them for money.

So he hectored panhandlers for money. What a wit, no?

No — as if it’s necessary for me to answer that for you.

In order to put these poor, homeless bastards in their place, he actually asked them for a handout. Pardon me, while I catch my breath; I may laugh myself into a heart attack.

And that would be because I, unlike Hakim-Shabbaz, actually have a heart.

He thinks a lot of the panhandlers he must endure as he digs the good life in downtown Indianapolis are really frauds and leeches. There’s the woman who “claims” she’s disabled but is able to push around all her Earthly belongings in a shopping cart (now there’s a great con job, eh?) Then there’s the kid who’s selling candy for charity but the sharp-as-a-tack Hakim-Shabbaz notes the charity is a different one every day.

Hoohoo, haha! — he began asking them for money. Oh man, he’s killing me!

So who is this social observer on a par with Wilde, Dickens, Sinclair, or even Marie Antoinette? Turns out he’s a talk radio host/attorney/standup comedian/college law instructor. Here’s his own bio on his website.

I suppose Hakim-Shabbaz might advise Indy’s crew of panhandlers to do as he did; that is, get jobs as talk radio hosts/attorneys/standup comedians/college law instructors. Then they wouldn’t ruin his day by asking for money.

You know, it may be easy to become a talk radio host/attorney/standup comedian/college law instructor just like him. All you have to do is work hard at being an asshole.

Paris

Here’s the latest on the passing of RE Paris.

Paris

According to her son, Eric, she began having trouble breathing at home Wednesday morning. She managed to call for an ambulance but by the time it arrived, it was pretty much too late. No details yet on why she had trouble breathing, although she’d been physically ill for a while, thanks in large part to being too broke to afford health insurance premiums.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Republicans would like to pretend like Congressman Akin’s substitution of superstition for science is a lone problem but it’s not: they’re all magical thinkers, on nearly every issue. They don’t get their answers on climate change from climatologists, they get them from the Book of Genesis. Hence Sharia Law in America is a dire threat, and global warming a hoax.” — Bill Maher

COWBOY UP

After the Aurora, Colorado, shootings at least one Republican (duh!) pol spewed the lunatic opinion that had the patrons of the theater been permitted to carry artillery into the place, they could have shot the shooter up like a swiss cheese and thereby become heroes forever. Oh, and they could have saved a life or two.

Gohmert: “…Was There Nobody That Was Carrying…?”

Because, you know, 19-year-olds attending a midnight showing of a superhero movie in a darkened (natch), packed theater are nothing if not crack shots.

Apparently, that conceit took a hit yesterday when New York cops (who are trained to shoot pistols) opened fire on that guy in the suit who’d killed his former boss at the Empire State Building. So far as we know, the cops did most of the damage to the innocent bystanders, nine of whom caught lead.

One Down, Nine To Go

So, yeah, they killed the guy with the gun but in the process did far more damage than the shooter ever intended to do.

Now, what was that about 19-year-olds with artillery in a darkened theater after midnight?

THE NEWS IS A JOKE

Remember a few years ago how the punditocracy was wringing its hands over the fact that a majority of young people were getting their news from comedy programs like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report“?

Me? I figured standup comedians and improvisational comics couldn’t do much worse interpreting the day’s events than cerebrally flabby blow-hards like Sean Hannity or Chris Matthews.

A Mighty Wind

Anyway, what passes for today’s current affairs debate has devolved to the point where Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are elderly statesmen. In fact, if one really wants to get to the meat of a pressing issue these days, one has to click on Cracked.com.

Swear to the god I don’t believe in.

For instance, take a recent Cracked post entitled “5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women.”

(And, honestly, could you imagine any broadcast or cable news outlet even touching that topic? With the recent verbal assaults on Sandra Fluke and rape victims, it’s clear — isn’t it? — that too many men hate the hell out of women around this holy land. Someone’s got to be teaching them how to do it!)

Fluke Took A Beating

Post author David Wong (oy, I hope that’s his real name) liberally sprinkles the piece with perceptive gems. He begins by recalling Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Fluke. Limbaugh, Wong rationalizes, “is paid to say outrageous things.” It’s the chimps who follow Limbaugh that scare the bejesus out of Wong: “If you really want to feel all dead inside, you need to listen to what the regular folk were saying.”

He quotes commenters on Right Wing sites who described Sandra Fluke in terms that made it look as though Limbaugh were trying to coo into her ear.

“My Darling Slut”

“Now go to the front page of any mostly male discussion site like Reddit.com and see how many inches you can browse before finding several thousand men bemoaning how all women are gold-digging whores (7,500 upvotes) and how crazy and irrational women are (9,659 upvotes) and how horrible and gross and fat women are (4,000 upvotes). Or browse the ‘Men’s Rights’ section and see weird fantasies about alpha males defeating all the hot women who try to control them with their vaginas.”

No, neither Sean Hannity nor Chris Matthews has touched that one yet.

Wong says movies teach us that it’s a man’s right to be awarded a hot chick after he accomplishes some feat. “When the Karate Kid wins the tournament, his prize is a trophy and Elisabeth Shue. Neo saves the world and is awarded Trinity…, the hero in ‘Avatar’ gets the hottest Na’vi, Shrek gets Fiona, Bill Murray gets Sigourney Weaver in ‘Ghostbusters,’ Frodo gets Sam, WALL-E gets EVE… and so on.

“Hell, at the end of ‘An Officer and a Gentleman,’ Richard Gere walks into the lady’s workplace and just carries her out like he’s picking up a suit at the drycleaner.”

Cleaned And Pressed

Yeesh!

Wong concludes, “From birth we’re taught that we’re owed a beautiful girl…. It’s why every Mr. Nice Guy is shocked to find that buying gifts for a girl and doing her favors won’t win him sex. It’s why we go to ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ as our default insults — we’re not mad that women enjoy sex. We’re mad that women are distributing to other people the sex that they owed us.”

I doubt if one in twenty Gender Studies classes comes close to hitting that nail on the head.

Want more? Wong’s got it. He quotes from a Right Wing site where men were discussing the merits of then-US Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. One man said the Kagan is, “So fugly, I’d say ‘Don’t even look’!!!” Another man agreed: “This person is disgusting and I would never trust ‘it’s’ [sic] opinion on ANYTHING!”

Oh, Why Couldn’t Obama Have Nominated A Babe!

Wong writes that a woman’s “role in society or level of accomplishment doesn’t matter. Even if she’s a damned candidate for the Supreme Court, the female always has a dual role: to function as a person, and to act as decor.

“And we get pissed if she doesn’t do her job…. She owes it to us to be pretty.”

Man.

Wong has plenty more to say about American misogyny. Go there and read the piece for yourself. After doing so, you’ll understand a lot more about men than if you’d studied a hundred “serious” articles in the New York Times Magazine.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

Indexed

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

I Fucking Love Science

Present/&/CorrectFun, 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.

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.

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.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Twin Lakes Recreation CenterIU Bloomington Cricket Club, Hoosier Cup 2012; 7:30am

City Hall, Showers PlazaFarmers Market; 8am-1pm

Rogers Elementary SchoolKappa Kappa Sigma Garage Sale & Bake Sale; 8am-noon

◗ IU Jordan Avenue Parking GarageFall Bike Auction; 9am

Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterMind Training through Pain & Disability series, presented by Ani Choekye; 10:30am

WonderLabNational Dog Day Celebration: Greyhounds; 1-4pm

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures“The Arms of the Shire of Mynydd Seren,” demonstration by members of Bloomington’s Society of Creative Anachronism branch; 1:30-4pm

Monroe County Public LibrarySession 3, Basic Literacy Tutor Training; 1:30-5pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Shane”; 3pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Hannah Takes the Stairs”; 6:30pm

Ryder Film Series“The Well Digger’s Daughter” at IU Fine Arts; 6:45pm

Oliver Winery, Creekbend Vineyard — Music: Jenn Cristy; evening, call for exact time

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Music: Kevin Bruener; 7-9pm

Brown County Playhouse, Nashville — Music: Carrie Newcomer; 7:30pm

Ryder Film Series“Take this Waltz” at IU Woodburn Hall; 8pm

Cafe DjangoMusic: Post Modern Jazz Quartet; 8pm

The Player’s PubMusic: Pet Monkey; 8pm

The Comedy AtticGarfunkel & Oates; 8 & 10:30pm, Both shows sold out

◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — UB Films: “The Avengers”; 8pm

Ryder Film Series“The Pigeoneers” at IU Fine Arts; 8:45pm

Bear’s PlaceMusic: Cooked Books, Energy Gown; 9pm

Max’s PlaceMusic: White Lightning; 9pm

The BluebirdMusic: Main Squeeze; 9pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “LOL”; 9:30pm

The Root Cellar at Farm Bloomington — Queen & Bowie dance party; 10pm

◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — UB Films: “The Avengers”; 11pm

ONGOING

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th

  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th

  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th

  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th

  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st

  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012

  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st

  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • “Media Life,” drawings and animation by Miek von Dongen; through September 15th

  • “Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture”; through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Reopens Tuesday, August 21st

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

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“The secret of eternal youth is arrested development.” — Alice Roosevelt Longworth

LUCK OF THE DRAW

This Andrew Luck fellow, who became an instant multi-millionaire in last night’s NFL draft, just might be able to run for King of Indiana in a few years if he has any kind of success at all on the football field.

He’s well-spoken and self-effacing, he has a dazzling smile, and it seems as though he’s got his feet on the ground. Hopefully, he’ll retain his positive character traits once he signs his obligatory obscenely lucrative contract with the Indianapolis Colts. Last year’s number one pick in the NFL draft, quarterback Cam Newton, inked a four-year, $22M deal with the Carolina Panthers.

The number one pick in 2010, the St Louis Rams’ Sam Bradford, scored a six-year, $78M contract but, of course, he’s white, as is Luck.

Luck-y

Luck is 22 years old. Sure, he may seem mature beyond his years but scads of dough can tend to change any human being. I know that if I suddenly happened into tens of millions of dollars when I was 22, I probably would have become one of the world’s most unbearable people.

WILL●HE●IS

One of the Boys of Soma, pistol-packin’ Pat Murphy, reports that George Will‘s appearance last night at the Ivy Tech Bloomington’s O’Bannon Institute for Community Service was eye-opening.

“He’s a smart guy,” Murphy, a dyed in the wool Dem allowed about the Republican darling. “He had some really perceptive things to say last night.”

Will

Among other things, Will pointed out how difficult it will be for Mitt Romney to unseat Barack Obama in this fall’s presidential beauty contest. It’s a demographic thing, what with Romney expected to strike out big time with women, Latinos, and blacks.

Murphy added that Mayor Mark Kruzan asked Will if the Chicago Cubs will ever win the World Series. Will is a noted member of the Emil Verban Society, a boys club of Washington-insider Cubs fans (Ronald Reagan also was a member).

Will wouldn’t hazard a guess but did remind the crowd that the last time the Cubs won it all was two years before the death of Leo Tolstoy.

19th Century Man

THE FOX PIGSTY

How about that blonde, Barbie Doll manqué from Fox News who tweeted the insult yesterday about the right wing’s current fave whipping girl, Sandra Fluke?

Crowley: News? Analyst?

Fluke testified before a House Democrats caucus about the need for health insurers to cover contraception. Immediately, the anencephalics of this holy land jumped on her with both feet. Leading the bullying was Rush Limbaugh, who called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his nationally-broadcast radio upchuck fest.

Apparently, Fluke has announced she’s getting married. Fox News “analyst” Monica Crowley responded thusly in the Tweet-iverse:

Knowing what we know about Fox News and the pan-troglodytes who watch it, implying that Fluke was thought to be a lesbian has to be an insult.

Problem is, Monica baby, Fluke testified about her own need for contraception. Lesbian sex does not result in pregnancy. Are we clear on that now?

COLLINS WAS HUNGRY ONCE

Susan Jones, ex of the IU Enrollment Service operation, is working on a history of the Bloomington Playwrights Project.

Jones discovered recently that one of America’s hottest writers today wrote a couple of plays for the BPP back in the 1980s.

That’s right — Suzanne Collins, whose “Hunger Games” trilogy is de rigeur for literate teens (and even a lot of adults who sheepishly buy the books at the Book Corner), once was an aspiring scribe here. She earned a double major in Drama and Telecommunications from IU in 1985 and hung around town for a few years afterward.

Collins

Sounds like a good reason to take in some BPP productions this year. Who knows which future superstar’s work you’ll be seeing?

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

Friday, April 27, 2012

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, 9am-4:30pm

IU Grunwald (SOFA) GalleryMFA & BFA Thesis 3 exhibitions; through May 5th

Kinsey Institute GalleryArt exhibit, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze”; 1:30-5pm

IU HPERLecture, Jonathan Jarvis, director of the National Park Service; 3:30pm

Thrive Health & Well-Being CenterOpening reception, Donna Headrick Moore scanner and pinhole photo exhibit; 5-8pm

Madame Walker Theatre CenterJazz on the Avenue; 6pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsReception for Dawn Adams exhibit, “The Art of Healing”; 6pm

IU Grunwald (SOFA) GalleryReception, MFA & BFA 3 participants; 6pm

IU Cinema“Water and Power” by Pat O’Neill; 6:30pm

Patricia’s Wellness Arts Cafe & Quilter’s Comfort TeasPoetry, “Readings for Our Earth” & open mic; 7-9pm

Rachael’s CafePark Jefferson, Marital Roles, The Greater Good; 7:30pm

Cafe DjangoSvetla Vladeva and the Eastern European Ensemble; 7:30-10pm

The Player’s PubDicky James and the Blue Flames; 8pm

IU AuditoriumMusical, “Young Frankenstein”; 8pm

IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — Film, “The Artist”; 8 & 11pm

Comedy AtticKumail Nanjiani; 8 & 10:30pm

The BishopDocumentary film, “Color Me Obsessed,” on the Replacements; 8pm

Max’s PlaceLouis; 8pm

The BluebirdAndy Holinden; 8pm

The Palace Theatre“Songs: The Musical”; 8pm

Bear’s PlaceZach Dubois; 9pm

Max’s PlaceSoul Kinks; 9pm

Uncle Elizabeth’sVicci Laine & the West End Girls; 10pm & Midnight

The BishopDave Walter Karaoke; 11pm

%d bloggers like this: