Category Archives: Sarah Palin

Your Daily Hot Air

Conviction

“I decided it was worth a life in prison to do it.” — Daniel Ellsberg

Ellsberg

Problem Solved

Yale University has hit upon the magic solution to the problem of rape. Rape culture, at least within the confines of the ivy-covered halls of the institution that has given us Sinclair Lewis, John Hersey, Garry Troudeau, Aldo Leopold, Eero Saarinen, Meryl Streep, and…, and…, um, George W. Bush (nobody’s perfect), has been smashed to bits for good.

Lewis/Bush

Fellow Elis: Sinclair Lewis & George W. Bush

Rape shall be no more at Yale!

That’s because the university has now eliminated the usage of the word from its official lexicon. A provost’s report released this week addressing the Campus Sexual Climate for the school year just past, makes rape disappear by simply not calling forcible sexual contact, well, rape.

It’s now the much more palatable nonconsensual sex. Isn’t that better?

And just in case any Elis still harbor any desire to attempt a bit of the good old violent penetration, why, they’ll be deterred, no doubt by the dreaded threat of the written reprimand.

Wow. That’s tough, man.

And if some male student happens to commit a particularly egregious form of nonconsensual sex, he just might be put on probation or even suspended for a year!

Thank god. The women of Yale can now feel free to walk the campus in the nude, making come-hither gestures without fear of having creepy guys try to force themselves upon them.

Because that’s how women usually become rape victims, isn’t it?

Get healthy — or else!

Let’s stay with academia.

Former football factory extraordinaire Penn State University also is getting tough, this time with employees who refuse to be healthy.

PSU Icon

The Nittany Lion (What The Hell Ever That Is)

See, professors, janitors, and clerks alike are being threatened with hefty — nay, borderline confiscatory — financial penalties for failing to submit to the U’s stringent wellness (a word I loathe) guidelines and reporting procedures.

Chief among those procedures is PSU’s mandatory “biometric screenings.” This means if you refuse to have your waist measured, step on a scale, have your blood sugar tested, and a raft of other peeks inside and around your holy temple, you’re going to have to pay a cool hundred bucks a month extra for your health insurance coverage.

Waist Measurement

Get ‘Em Up!

Say you’re a brand new PSU hiree making $15,792 a year. That comes out to about $850 per month after taxes. Should you consider the university’s health spies poking into your bloodstream or running a measuring tape around your heretofore pleasing girth to be intrusive, well, you’re going to have to pay a full 12 percent of your ready monthly cash flow for your silly little principle.

Which, I suppose, is the U’s intent. You’ll have to slash your grocery budget to next to nil. That’ll shrink your waistline.

British Model

See? Now You’re Healthier!

PSU, of course, is well known for its strict adherence to rules and law. Why, it took the less than a decade for the school to ban Jerry Sandusky from campus after he’d been seen sodomizing a ten-year-old in the shower.

Not My Fault

You know — don’t you? — that scary-looking San Diego Mayor Bob Filner squeezed all those women’s asses, groped their breasts, and pressured them to have sex with him (a nauseating prospect, to be sure) because he’d never gotten harassment training.

Filner

Eek!

At least that’s what he and his lawyer say in an effort to get the city to pay his mounting legal bills in the harassment lawsuits brought about by a number of women whose ladyparts now bear his cooties.

Hell, this revelation ought to cause the judge or judges in those cases to dismiss them forthwith.

How in the world can we expect anyone to know that groping and forcibly kissing co-workers is frowned upon if we don’t have a mandatory training session telling them so?

Palin’s Payouts

Here’s what Sarah Palin’s squealer arm, SarahPAC, spends in a typical half-year, in case you give a good goddamn.

Palin created her PAC for the ostensible purpose of supporting candidates for office who share her (terrifying) views. So far in 2013, SarahPAC has spent a total of a half million dollars. Palin’s action faction in the same time has donated $5000, or 1 percent, to political candidates. That’s some overhead.

Sarah PAC FEC Filing

Click For Full Federal Election Commission Report

Your Daily Hot Air

Women’s Lib

How about this for good news?

The new NASA astronaut training class is 50 percent female.

Yup. Four of the eight members of next two-year training program are women. And get this: the NASA guy in charge of spin, Jay Bolden, tells us, “The selection is about qualifications. It has nothing to do with their genders.”

Imagine that.

2013 NASA Astronauts

Newest Astronauts (l to r):

Christina Hammock, Nicole Aunapu Mann, Anne McClain, Dr. Jessica Meir

We’re becoming more and more genital-blind. We’ll have a woman president sooner rather than later. The fact that a woman, Marissa Mayer, runs a big outfit like Yahoo, isn’t breathtaking news anymore. And, with Mayer calling the shots, Yahoo now has liberalized its maternity leave policy.

Prior to these enlightened days, male company bosses preferred their female employees to squat in the field behind the factory, drop their babies, and get right back on the assembly line just as soon as they washed their hands.

So things are changing. We forget that when we fixate on the crypto-sociopaths who populate the loon wing of the Republican party.

Anyway, this is an appropriate day for NASA’s announcement. It was thirty years ago today that Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She rode aboard STS-7, the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Sally Ride

BTW: Sally Ride was a lesbian. Sadly, she felt compelled to participate in a beard marriage in the 1980s, presumably to protect her career.

Frustration

Grrr.

So, I’m listening to NPR’s Morning Edition as I pound this post out on my keyboard. And I’m thinking I’m pretty smart, tying in the four new female astronauts with the Sally Ride anniversary. Just as I’m correcting some misspellings, whaddya think happens?

Those commie NPR rats (I know this about them because the aforementioned crypto-sociopathic Republican loons have told me so) run a piece about Sally Ride’s ride, leading it off with a mention of the new female space cadets. As if that isn’t bad enough, while I’m patting myself on the back for the song vid I’m going insert at the end of the entry, NPR plays that very song as a bumper after its story!

The jerks.

Well, I don’t care. I’m nothing if not a stubborn old bear. I’m still gonna insert a vid of the fab song “Mustang Sally.” Only this version is by blues bossman Buddy Guy. I’m way cooler than you are, NPR.

Nepotism

This seems as good a time as any to shill for my very talented and cool cousin who runs the eponymous Paul Parello’s Blues Power radio, video, and live performance operation.

And, hey, here’s cuz (on the left) in a bit part as a tough guy in the movie, “The Dark Knight.” That’s Eric Roberts on the right.

From "The Dark Knight"

What, you thought I was the only one with talent to emerge from the Parello gene strain?

Abortion: It’s A Laff Riot!

Um, uh, yeah, I s’pose…, if you’re a member of — you guessed it — that gang of crypto-sociopathic Republican loons I twice mention above.

Alex Seitz-Wald in yesterday’s Salon tells us that the Repugnicans are thinking of flooding the interwebs with baby-killing humor just so’s they can attract that snark-loving younger crowd (who haven’t voted for the GOP since, er, um, ever.)

Audience Laughing

Stop It, Your Killin’ Me!

Seitz-Wald quotes a member of the Hitler Youth…, er, sorry, Students for Life, Kristan Hawkins telling a panel at last weekend’s gathering of the Ku Klux Klan…, oops, sorry again, Faith and Freedom Coalition, “You can engage with sarcasm. It’s hard in the abortion issue, but you have to.”

Surprised? Need I remind you that many Republicans still hold to the terrifying belief that Sarah Palin would have made an acceptable Vice President of the United States of America?

Or that this man could lead our holy land?

Trump

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Politics is just like show business. You have a hell of an opening, coast for a while, and then have a hell of a close.” — Ronald Reagan

MY BOSS IS BIGGER THAN YOUR BOSS

So, the coat-holders go after each other tonight on national TV.

Vice president Joe Biden and Willard Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, meet in Danville, Kentucky’s Centre College and begin throwing food at each other at 9pm.

No sense wasting time watching it as “the winner” already has been determined, according to experts in the mass obfuscation biz.

See, because ol’ Willard leapfrogged so dramatically over over the president after last week’s “debate,” the heat is on Biden to rescue the Dem ticket from the humiliation of a single-digit fate.

Not a single-digit deficit, mind you, but an actual vote count on November 6th of less than ten percent. In fact, some experts believe Obama now will be the first incumbent president to garner fewer than 500 votes nationwide after his disappointing performance eight days ago. That would translate into the greatest landslide in world electoral history, with Romney receiving 99.999996 percent of the vote.

All because Barack Obama telephoned his performance in on the 2nd.

Wise men before that debate said it was going to be Romney’s “coming out party.” Disappointingly, he did not use the event to reveal to the American public he is gay, but, say those experts, to show us who he really is. Which is good — I’d previously had him pegged as a homeless man.

In any case, the experts are saying the same thing about Paul Ryan today. The American people will get to know him tonight. Local polls have indicated that most Bloomington voters believe Paul Ryan is a male stripper at Uncle Elizabeth’s.

Ryan (right)

If recent history is our guide, he’ll trounce Biden.

Well, I voted Tuesday at the Curry Building. I filled in the box for Obama/Biden. At least the election won’t turn out to be unanimous.

THE WHOLE PACKAGE

Just finished reading the account of the operation to capture or kill Osama bin Laden in the current issue of Vanity Fair.

The piece is an adaptation of Mark Bowden’s forthcoming book, “The Finish,” about the raid that resulted in the death of the millionaire warlord.

Un-wanted

Here’s a spoiler for you: There never was any chance that bin Laden would be taken alive. The SEAL team that entered his compound in Abbottobad on May 2nd, 2011, was made up of shoot-first, ask-questions-later guys.

It’s a riveting story. The president showed a lot of steel by okaying the plan in the face of uncertainties about whether or not bin Laden was actually the white-robed guy observed by spy drones at the compound or even if the operation could succeed.

Don’t let those Republicans fool you with their blatherings that Obama is too soft to be president.

The whole episode hardens my conviction that the GOP is brilliant at putting on a show. For instance, Obama went on live television to announce bin Laden’s death at 11:35pm EST. Which means all of sixteen people actually saw him.

The Big Newz-z-z-z-z-z-z-z

The Republicans would have been smart enough to sit on the news until 9:30 the next morning when it would flash on everybody’s computer screen at the office.

Say John McCain had won the 2008 election [Big Mike pauses for a moment to allow his loyal readers to steady themselves].  And say, even more improbably, that McCain and Company had been in charge of the raid.

(Remember, Obama was being advised in part by his vice president — ergo, it’s safe to assume McCain would have had to listen to Sarah Palin’s bleating. “Mr. President,” she’d say, “we already beat Obama, why do we have to go after him again? Wait, you didn’t say Obama?”)

Anyway, the Republican Party entertainment division (read: Fox News) would have had McCain rappel onto the Rose Garden from a hovering Chinook helicopter to deliver his We-got-‘im! presser.

Say what you will about Georgy Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” arrival on that aircraft carrier back in ’03, I’ll bet millions of GOP chicks still get dewy-eyed (euphemism, natch) thinking about it.

Hail To The…, Oh, Mr. President!

Personal to the President: Take a cue from the Catholic church — give ’em some theater.

SHRIEK NIGHT FEVER

Don’t miss this: Laura Grover and her Bloomington Storytelling Project mates will throw a Hallowe’en frightfest Saturday, October 27th, at Max’s Place.

Grover et al have put out the call for storytellers to come on stage that night and scare the bejesus out of the citizenry.

Have you made it to a BSP extravaganza yet? If you haven’t, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Jes’ plain folks come up and tell tales — some of them even true, I’d guess. None of it is rehearsed or scripted, so you’ll have a gay old time on the edge of your seat wondering how the speaker will wriggle out of whatever snag she or he has gotten into.

Bloomington, of course, is home to some renowned raconteurs and whopper peddlers. I’d think that legendary stump speakers like Charlotte Zietlow and Hondo Thompson would be perfect for the BSP circuit. One of the big stars of any BSP event is Marc Haggerty, who’s known far and wide in these parts as the only man alive who can fill his own shoes. Anyway, if Haggerty is on the sked to spin a yarn on the 27th, that alone would be worth the price of admission.

Send an email to storytelling@wfhb.org if you’d like to get on the Hallowe’en show roster, otherwise, just show up and listen.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Brought to you by The Electron Pencil: Bloomington Arts, Culture, Politics, and Hot Air. Daily.

STUDIO TOUR ◗ Brown County, various locationsThe Backroads of Brown County Studio Tour, free, self-guided tour of 16 local artists’ & craftspersons’ studios; 10am-5pm, through October

SOCIAL SERVICE ◗ Bloomington American Legion P0st 18South Central Indiana VA Stand Down, Helping struggling veterans, services include health screenings, food & clothing donations, flu shots, haircuts, counseling, etc.; 10am-2pm

LECTURE & BOOK SIGNING ◗ IU Maurer School of Law — “America’s Unwritten Constitution,” presented by Akhil Amar; Book signing at 11am, Lecture at Noon

LECTURE ◗ IU CinemaJorgensen Guest Filmmaker Series: Benshi Kataoka Ichiro; 3pm

CLASS ◗ IU Maurer School of Law, Moot Court RoomPractice before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal, Continuing legal education credit; 4:30pm

FINANCIAL COUNSELING ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryIt’s Your Money series: Talk to an Expert, Financial experts available for confidential counseling; 4:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Bear’s PlacePost-Modern Jazz Quartet; 5:30pm

WORKSHOP ◗ BloomingLabsIntro to Programming; 6:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “An Inn at Tokyo“; 7pm

STAGE ◗ Bloomington Playwrights ProjectComedy, “Rx“; 7:30pm

STAGE ◗ Brown County Playhouse, Nashville — Drama, “Last Train to Nibroc”; 7:30pm

DISCUSSION — IU Radio/TV Building, Room 245Making Ethical Decisions During War: One North Vietnamese Soldier’s Story, Part of IU’s Themester program, “Good Behavior, Bad Behavior“; 7:30pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGlenn Wool; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallMasters Recital: Vanessa Rose Catsillo on Baroque violin; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdVictor Wooten; 8pm

SPORTS ◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Purdue; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopBelievers; 9:30pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists; through October 14th
  • “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
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st
  • Embracing Nature,” by Barry Gealt; through December 23rd
  • Pioneers & Exiles: German Expressionism,” through December 23rd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • Ab-Fab — Extreme Quilting,” by Sandy Hill; October 5th through October 27th
  • Street View — Bloomington Scenes,” by Tom Rhea; October 5th through October 27th
  • From the Heartwoods,” by James Alexander Thom; October 5th through October 27th
  • The Spaces in Between,” by Ellen Starr Lyon; October 5th through October 27th

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works; through October 11th

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners;” through December 20th
  • Gender Expressions;” through December 20th

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibit:

  • “CUBAmistad” photos

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit:

  • Outsiders and Others:Arkham House, Weird Fiction, and the Legacy of HP Lovecraft;” through November 1st
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections form the Slocum Puzzle Collection

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s OnExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Culture: “CUBAmistad photos; through October

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • Bloomington: Then and Now,” presented by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • “Doctors and Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical professions

The Electron Pencil. Go there. Read. Like. Share.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I started being really proud of the fact that I was gay even though I wasn’t.” — Kurt Cobain

NIXON’S THE ONE

Cynthia Nixon became a sorta-star appearing in that late 90s-early 00s paean to heterosexuality, “Sex and the City.” Thus it was ironic that at the very end of the show’s fabulously successful six year run on HBO, Nixon’s romantic involvement with Christine Marinoni became known.

Christine Marinoni And Cynthia Nixon

I don’t know the precise chronology of Nixon’s affair with Marinoni and how it meshed with the producers’ plans for the show, but a suspicious soul might conclude that her lesbian side only “coincidentally” came into view when it was learned S&TC would end its run in 2004.

It just wouldn’t do for one of the leads in a program that celebrates blatant, flamboyant straightness to be identified as homosexual. I mean, would the great John Ford cavalry triology of the 40s and 50s have become so iconic had it been revealed John Wayne was in love with Victor McLaglen?

Hmm….

Since the ending of S&TC and Nixon’s coming out party, she’s been busy acting on the Broadway stage and making appearances here and there on network TV dramas. The disclosure of her current sexual preference clearly has not destroyed her career.

On the other hand, her sig-oth is not someone who could charitably be described as a lipstick lesbian. When, for instance, Ellen Degeneres fell publicly head over heels in love, it was with a couple of stunning actresses, Anne Heche and Portia de Rossi. Ergo, Middle America could deal with her alternative lifestyle.

Mom & Pop Approved

Nixon, though, gazes dreamily into the eyes of a woman who pretty much reinforces the frat boy stereotype of a lesbian. It’d be like Johnny Depp falling in love with RuPaul — it wouldn’t play in Kokomo.

Now, That’s Going Too Far!

Anyway, Nixon doesn’t give a good god damn what Kokomo thinks and that’s cool. Here’s something she told the New York Times not long ago (via Curve magazine):

“I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me.”

That’s the most refreshing thing I’ve heard in years on the subject of gayness. For far too long the gay community has been pandering in a way to the closeted Republicans and the pious celibates of this holy land.

Gays & Lesbians Want To Justify Themselves To These Simians?

First it was the ten-percent thing, with gay rights activists trumpeting that highly-iffy figure in order to show there are millions and millions of their brothers and sisters, as if there’s safety in numbers.

The first problem is the ten-percent number is about as unscientific as Sen. James Inhofe’s outlook on climate change. Does the figure represent all the DL guys with wives and kids in suburban Indianapolis? How about all the guys who loiter around interstate truck stops and then dash back to the bar to tell their pals they were trolling for chicks? For that matter, did every 22-year-old boy who allowed himself to be seduced by another guy after a keg party own up to his sexuality?

Then there was the medical-psychological argument. Activists showed slides of brain tissue taken from gays and straights and pointed to some missing or extra microscopic structures, proving that homosexuality is an innate trait, much like skin color or the ability to laugh at Kathy Griffin‘s “jokes.”

Like Hemophilia Or Crohn’s Disease

All of it seemed a desperate attempt to prove to the headmasters and nannies of the world that really, honestly, gays and lesbians aren’t bad boys and girls.

There was almost a sense that they couldn’t help being what they were, that they were victims of biology and fate.

Nixon throws a huge F.U. at all that.

For my money, I don’t care if there’s only one gay man or lesbian in these Great United States, Inc. That one human being deserves all the rights, privileges, and respect all the other 300 million or so American folks do.

And another thing. If incontrovertible evidence was found that every single gay man and lesbian merely decided at some point to sleep with someone of the same sex, that wouldn’t change my feelings about same-sex adoptions and gay marriages one little bit.

You Tell ‘Em!

So, go on Cynthia, tell the world you wanted to be a lesbian. And to hell with what the people in Kokomo say.

ISN’T CONSERVATIVE SUPPOSED TO MEAN CAUTIOUS?

Alright, climate change deniers: this past March was the warmest on record. By far.

Now, it may have been random chance. There has to be one month that’s the warmest on record; there’s no reason why can’t it be this month or last.

Still, wouldn’t you want to at least make sure it isn’t 200 years of burning fossil fuels that’s messing up our weather?

That’s all I’m saying.

Could It Be?

YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I LONG TO KISS

We all agree that Oprah Winfrey, although admirable in a lot of ways, has a remarkably high opinion of the woman in the mirror, no?

Her initial-ly eponymous magazine features a huge picture of her on its cover every single issue. And, when she was still running her TV talk show, if she happened to, say, get herself a good foot massage, bang — she’d have three experts on the next day advising half the population of America that they must have daily foot rubs or else they’d risk sudden death.

Oprah is arguably the most powerful woman in America, which probably frustrates her because the issue is still in question.

Anyway, take a look at her latest magazine cover and try to convince me Oprah hasn’t really gone off the deep end. The woman is crazy in love — with herself.

Yikes!

Now just one Oprah isn’t good enough for the cover. This Photoshopped May-December romance probably has every psychologist and psychiatrist in the nation running for a copy of the DSM-IV.

Perhaps the soon-to-be-released DSM-V will have its own section on Oprah’s auto-mania.

Here’s a thought: would anyone be surprised if Oprah Winfrey took a run at the presidency in 2016? And how about this fever dream: not only does Oprah run for the Dem nom, Sarah Palin seeks the GOP tab? And they both make it!

I don’t care how madly in love with herself Oprah falls, I’d still vote for her.

I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU

Dedicated by you-know-who to you-know-who.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” — Malcolm X

THE ANNUAL ELECTRON PENCIL PENNILESS LIST

What a coincidence!

Only two days after Forbes Magazine released its yearly list of the world’s billionaires, we at The Electron Pencil proudly present our inaugural annual roster of broke Americans.

Forbes Got Nuthin’ On Us

(We are working with our crack legal team to determine if we have a case against Forbes. It is our assertion that Forbes intentionally scheduled its release to upstage our eagerly awaited list of the Penniless. Stayed tuned for more developments.)

Several of the Forbes select few have expressed displeasure at having information about their personal finances splashed all over magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV. Our lucky few are circumspect as well. In fact, each of them has pleaded with us not to reveal their identities or net worth.

Forbes Porn

But we are nothing if not tireless, intrepid journalists. Our commitment to unearth the truth no matter the consequences must trump their desire for privacy. As a compromise, we will not use the full names of our honorees.

Now then, here is The Annual Electron Pencil Penniless List:

  • Ronald H.: A talented jazz saxophonist, Mr. H. recently moved out of his cozy pied-à-terre on the west side of Bloomington. He is now “traveling.” In other words, he is homeless. Mr. H. was ousted from his position as Vice President of Facilities Maintenance for a local elementary school last spring. He was a casualty of school budget cuts. He carries the entirety of his possessions in his backpack which has a missing zipper. Sharp-eyed passersby can catch glimpses of Mr. H.’s holdings when his backpack flap flips open. He is considered among the most open and transparent of our 2012 honorees.
  • Miranda P.: She and her two children — Zach, 5, and Lily, 3 — also are “traveling.” Mrs. P. is currently in the process of dissolving her partnership with Joshua P., who last December attempted a hostile takeover of her finances. Mr. P. at the time was putting together a straight cash transaction for sub-legal pharmaceuticals. When Mrs. P. rejected his entreaties for her cash, he threatened and eventually carried out a night-time assault upon her face. Mrs. P.’s jaw was wired shut and the discoloration around her eyes lasted well into the new year. Middle Way House now serves as temporary headquarters for Mrs. P.’s break-away firm.
  • Jeremy M.: Mr. M.’s home was ranked number one in Car and Driver’s 1992 Best Selling Cars list. His curbfront domicile is known popularly among neighbors as as “that damned red Taurus.” He inherited it from his grandfather who passed away in 2006 while Mr. P. was finishing up his master’s degree in fine arts. Mr. P. is looking to diversify by applying for work at Rally’s Hamburgers, Kroger on 2nd Street, and the Subway at Walnut and 6th streets. Some observers say Mr. P.’s total wealth has been adversely affected by his ill-advised leveraging of student loans to acquire his degree. Mr. P. has responded that his degree has been valued in certain quarters at $1.7 million over his lifetime, as opposed to his total debt load of $53,000. Mr. P. was recently seen purchasing a rare pair of red Chuck Taylors at the Salvation Army Thrift Store on North Rogers Street.
  • Kevin W.: A pioneer in the field of bipolar disorder patientry, Mr. W. visits the four corners of Bloomington on his daily perambulations. He is known far and wide as an often accessible member of the local penniless community. He has made enemies, though, during the days before he receives his monthly dosage of lithium. Mr. W. impresses with his ability to identify the day of the week of any random date a questioner might suggest. Some analysts believe this indicates he also possesses a form of Asperger’s Syndrome which would help solidify his inclusion in future Penniless lists.
  • Jana C.: A long-time leader in the local physical pleasure industry, Ms. C. recently became affiliated with Narcotics Anonymous and has indicated she may be looking to move on to other fields. Her ambitions may be tempered by the pressing needs of members of the housing, utilities, and grocery industries for immediate remuneration for services and goods. When her liquidity sank to an all-time low in February, Ms. C. confided to close friends that she may never be entirely free to leave the sex industry.

We salute our Penniless achievers.

TIME IS NOT MONEY

Speaking of the penniless, our go-to researcher R.E. Paris points out that Lester Chambers of the 1960’s power soul group, the Chambers Brothers, has fallen on the hardest of times.

Chambers posted an Occupy Wall Street-type letter on You Tube describing his unfortunate state this week. The post went viral.

Chambers says the recording contract he and his band mates signed in the mid-60’s screwed him out of royalties. He writes, “Only 1% of artists can sue. I am the 99%.”

The Electron Pencil ran a video of the Chambers Brothers’ hit, “Time Has Come Today,” earlier this year.

POT IS MONEY

So, the spectacularly crazed Pat Robertson has come out in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

Wild, huh?

Maybe no so wild when you think about it. Perhaps the human race’s pipeline to the creator of the universe has concluded that too many of his hard-pressed contributors are turning to pot harvesting for him to continue being a prohibitionist.

Pat Knows: You Can’t Contribute If You’re In The Joint

Frankly, this development bums me out, man. I’ve been for the legalization of pot for decades. Sadly, now that Pat Robertson is as well, I’ll have to change my position.

Damn.

Come to think of it, doesn’t he look sorta high in the photo on the link?

CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF SARAH

Roger Ebert digs the new HBO movie about Sarah Palin. Actually, “Game Change” is supposed to be about the failed 2008 run of John McCain for president but, honestly, McCain wasn’t the story at all.

I’m tempted to watch the movie but the casting of Julianne Moore as the winking dolt is problematic for me: I like Moore and I’d hate to have her associated with the New White Oprah from now on.

No, Julianne, No!

Too bad the producers couldn’t get Palin to play herself. Ebert describes her as “the greatest actress in American political history.”

ASK THE ANGELS

Patti Smith, babies.

Across the country, through the fields,

You know I see it written ‘cross the sky.

People rising from the highway

And war, war is the battle cry

And it’s wild, wild, wild, wild.

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.” — Christopher Morley

BARRY’S OKAY — JUST OKAY

I have no idea why but I feel I must defend Barack Obama these days — tepidly, of course, because his presidency has been rather ho-hum, for my money.

For all the excitement he generated among the commie, pinko, homo, abortion-crazed, tax-happy, put-the-white-man-in-jail, apologize-for-America, femi-nazi, Manchurian-candidate-cabalist population of this otherwise holy land when he was merely candidate Obama, Boss Obama’s reign has been pretty much a let down.

Every Right Winger’s Wet Nightmare

Many of my lefty pals feel their blood pressure reach quadruple digits when the current POTUS is mentioned. The radical lawyer Jerry Boyle goes so far as to call him a “traitor” (to the left‘s cause — not, as the other side would have it, to the nation.)

How can a guy be a traitor when he was never part of the club?

If anybody had paid a bit of attention to how he voted when he was Senator Obama, they’d know he was, in truth, the biggest Rockefeller Republican since that very man who passed from this vale of tears at the age of 70 while banging his secretary on her desk back in 1977. (Yeah, yeah, I know — allegedly.)

The Original Rocky (Bust In The Senate Gallery)

Anyway, as I’ve pontificated before, perhaps my happiest day as a voter and taxpayer in this greatest nation in the history of our corner of the Solar System was when Barack Obama was elected president. Not that I expected him to outlaw guns in cities, care for the sick, tend to the poor, pull the soldiers out of Iraq and Afghanistan the next day, and order the summary executions of Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon, but because the election of a (half) black man demonstrated that these United States had grown up a bit since, oh say, the 1970s.

That and the fact that Obama wasn’t George W. Bush nor was he craven enough to have chosen as his running mate a MILF-y knucklehead from Alaska.

Every Right Winger’s Wet Dream

The fact that Obama has surrounded himself with so many unindicted felons from the Goldman Sachs mob makes me want to retch. Then again, I never expected him to name among his advisers Dennis Kucinich, Howard Zinn, and Rachel Maddow.

So, that’s my roundabout way getting to the fact that I am categorically, incontrovertibly, without question or fail, voting for Barry come November. As long as nobody better comes along.

You think I want to see Roe v. Wade overturned? And all those Wall Street baboons given free reign? The privatization and profit-ization of basic human services? The digging for oil in every citizen’s backyard? Rush Limbaugh smiling?

Hell no, babies. I’m a staunch(ish) Obama man from here on out.

TRUTH — REALLY

Bloomington author Julia Karr waltzed into the Book Corner Monday, carrying the galley copy of her forthcoming book, “Truth.”

It’s the follow-up to her successful 2011 release, “XVI,” a murder chiller set in a dystopian future.

‘Truth” will go on sale a week from tomorrow with a book release party Friday, January 20, at Boxcar Books.

Julia Karr

Karr brought in “Truth” for our town’s Book Babe R.E. Paris, who’s reviewing it for Ryder magazine.

I was chatting with another customer at the time, a man whom I don’t know. When I told him he was in the presence of a big time pen lady and then told him about all the other successful authors in town, he said, “No kidding? I had had no idea this was such a center for authors.”

It is, pal. It is.

BLOOMINGTON’S BOOK BABE LOOKS BACK AT 2011

Speaking of R.E. Paris, I mentioned yesterday that she looks at the year in publishing in the current issue of the Ryder. Peter LoPilato, the Ryder’s majordomo, has been kind enough to let us run selected pieces from the magazine in these precincts.

The Ryder

So, let’s take a look at R.E.’s retrospective, no?

2011: The Year in Books, by R.E. Paris

In which I discuss some interesting titles from 2011, note others, and leave out yet many more worthy of mention among the hundreds of thousands of books published last year.

Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt, (Norton), is a very readable history of the intellectual inheritance of the Renaissance. Greenbaltt shows that history ties the modern world to the classical one…. read more

TRUE FAITH

New Order was born of Joy Division after that band’s lead singer committed suicide. Joy Divison had led the post-punk movement in the late 1970s and New Order took the sound to a new level with its incorporation of then-new electronic technology.

And, BTW, New Order has a bit of a Bloomington connection. The video for “Round & Round” featured the face of super-model and recent local divorcee Elaine Irwin (go to the 3:15 mark.)

Elaine Irwin Decorates New Order’s “Round & Round” Video

Anyway, here’s “True Faith”:

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

From the movie, “The Apartment,” by Billy Wilder:

C.C. Baxter: “Did you hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you.”

Fran Kubelik: (smiling) “Shut up and deal!”

TRAPPING THE WORLD IN MY WEB

So, I got some news yesterday morning. Good news. Problem is, I don’t know if I should brag or play it cool.

Aw, you know me. I’ll brag.

According to my WordPress.com Site Stats, The Electron Pencil has been viewed by people in the following countries: the US (natch), Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, Iraq, India, the UAE, and Australia.

The Mighty Electron Pencil Tower, In My Backyard

This being the Internet, I assume at least some of those hits are accidents, people misinterpreting a category listing for porn, or scammers trying to empty my checking account. Still, that’s 17 countries spread across all six habitable continents.

Cool, huh?

ONE LESS WHOOPING CRANE

Some son of a bitch shot another endangered whooping crane dead recently. The incident was reported Friday to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. One of only 500 or so of the rare birds left in the US, the crane was found in the Muscatatuck River basin near Crothersville in Jackson County.

The current population of whooping cranes has increased from an alarming low of 21 in 1941. Of the birds now living in the US, some 70 percent are wild; the rest live in zoos and private sanctuaries.

Some whooping cranes can grow as tall as five feet. They graze in marshes and fields, pecking for small animals, fish, berries, and grain.

Adults are brilliant white with black wingtips and red and black masks. A whooping crane liftoff is a spectacular site.

A Whooping Crane In Flight

Did I mention the guy or guys who killed the crane are sons of bitches?

AIN’T THAT AMERICA?

Here is the defining snapshot of our holy land thus far in the infant year, 2012:

Billionaire big-city boss Michael Bloomberg smooches talent-free superstar Lady Gaga at the Times Square ball-dropping ceremony. Moments like these make me think it’s midnight in America, babies.

ROMNEY’S MATE

Look, Mitt Romney’s going to be the Republican nominee for president. He’s that party’s only near-centrist and he’s the savviest politician among the lot of them still in the running.

He’s The One

Remember how he dropped out of the 2008 race even though he was running virtually neck and neck with the eventual nominee, John McCain? Romney’s political instincts told him that the 44th Presidency was going to be defined by nothing so much as the nearly moribund economy.

I mean, Barack Obama’s in hot water only because the fallout from the Great Recession still is raining radioactivity upon us. People blame him for service cutbacks and unemployment even though he inherited from his four predecessors the conditions that caused those ills.

Four years ago, Romney figured, Why should I be the one to take that heat?

Smart choice.

So, when the GOP convenes in Tampa in August, that crafty pol will be the one telling the nation how fabulous things will be with him in the White House.

And Romney will hold up the arm of his running mate. But who will that be?

Mark it, dude, it’s going to be the right winger from our worst nightmares. The GOP’s most energetic base still considers Romney to be Abbie Hoffman with an expensive haircut. He’ll have to throw them the veep of their choice as a bone.

I get this creepy feeling we’re going to be longing for the good old days of Sarah Palin next November.

HELLO 2012

New Year’s Eve was a quiet affair at Chez Pencil. The Loved One and I stayed in and made some homemade pizza vanish.

We watched a couple of movies that, by happy coincidence, contained New Year’s Eve scenes: Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment” and Charles Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush.”

The Little Fellow Awaits His New Year’s Eve Guests

The years, oddly, seem to be getting shorter. I wonder if calendar makers are cutting back during these tough economic times.

WE DO FACEBOOK SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO

A no-spamily, no brattle zone.

Retro-junkie and film/vid producer Mike Flores posted a link to this old Bob Hope wisecrack last week.

Funny thing is, Hope could have told the joke exactly the same way except substituting “Republican” for “Democrat” and the other half of the country would have roared and said, “How true!”

We all think we’re brilliantly perceptive and the other side is either stupid or mesmerized.

IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR

This is a gem, a clip from a 1965 documentary on Frank Sinatra. Say what you will about him, he was an artist. This clip, in fact, features three artists: Sinatra, of course; the conductor Gordon Jenkins; and the announcer, Walter Cronkite.

Sinatra in the studio was demanding, mostly of himself. His phrasing and articulation were stunning. His ear was almost inhuman in its sensitivity.

Sportswriters talk about superstars who raise the game of their teammates. That’s what Sinatra did for the other musicians in the studio with him.

Well, we didn’t blow ourselves up in 2011. We’re still here and plugging away, albeit clumsily and often stupidly. In that sense, it was a reasonably good year. Let’s see if we can get another thing or two right in 2012.

Today: Sunday, November 13, 2011

POETIC JUSTICE

Penn State lost. Good. May they never win another game again.

Joe Pa’s Statue Being Molested By Penn State Fanatic

PONY UP

Indiana University employees are raising a stink about having to pay a larger share of their health insurance premiums, according The Herald Times (log-in required).

Some 800 IU wage slaves have signed an online petition asking for more time to mull the huge increase. IU honchos say the increase is set in stone, so tough luck, kiddies.

The hike will hit IU workers who make about $10 an hour hardest. The university did agree to a slim wage increase for this school year ($1.5-3 percent) but additional expenses like the health insurance premium pretty much offset it.

I hate to be a nudge (well, alright, I love to be a nudge) but I just want to remind the world that Big Chief Michael A. McRobbie is enjoying his hefty pay raise this year. The school’s pres is making $533,120 in 2011-12, an increase of 12 percent over lost year’s paltry sum.

Higher Premium? No Prob.

Jes sayin’.

LOOSE NUKES SINK WORLDS

Yeah, yeah, I know I’m supposed to villify Senator Richard Lugar  but I can’t help but thinking he isn’t all bad.

You know, we progressives are mandated by blood oath to abhor all Republicans. They are, after all, the spawn of Adolf and Eva, but — silly me — I’m just a contrarian.

Commentator Mike Leonard in today’s H-T heaps kudos on the 79-year-old running for his sixth term in the Senate for a piece of legislation Lugar co-sponsored 20 years ago. Lugar and Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat, successfully pushed through the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program Act in 1992.

The bill authorized this holy land to spend tons of dough to help the nations of the former Soviet Union find and destroy nuclear weapons that had been positioned within their borders. The Soviet Union, natch, wasn’t the most open of hegemonists when it planted the big bangers within such wild spots as Azerbaijan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.

The Act led to the destruction of at least 7500 nukes as well as thousands of delivery systems and tons of fissionable materials.

Here Is Soviet Gift To You, Mr. and Mrs. America

For you younger readers, the Act was the result of something we used to refer to as “bipartisan cooperation,” a quaint concept that means Democrats and Republicans working together.

I know, weird, huh?

LOVE TRUMPS POLITICS

Sam Allison is quitting his job as Monroe County Board member.

I met Sam on election night, 2010, when his fellow Dems across the nation were dropping like flies under the onslaught of the Me Party-ists. Even Bloomington congressman Baron Hill got fired by the voters that sad night.

Not Slick, Just Decent

Allison had been the County Recorder and was running for the first time for County Council. He and his lovely bride hung around the Democratic campaign headquarters on 3rd Street. Gloom descended upon the place as results came in. The figures showed Allison winning early in the night, though. Too bad his moment of triumph came in what was essentially a funeral parlor.

Sam Allison seemed a decent and humble man. Those qualities, apparently, didn’t hinder his political career. Now his lovely bride has scored a big new gig in Missouri so Sam, faithful mate that he is, is following her.

Good luck.

I’M COMIN’, ELIZABETH!

Heaven Is For Real” is still the number one paperback bestseller in this holy land, according to the New York Times Review of Books.  Next week will mark a full year since it hit the list. That ain’t all: Somehow, the hardcover version is still among the top movers in that category, sitting at number 26 this week.

It’s The Big One!

“Heaven…” recounts young Colton Burpo’s trip to paradise after his appendix burst when he was three years old. The book was written by his father, Todd Burpo, an evangelical pastor from Nebraska. Old man Burpo’s co-writer was the controversial Lynn Vincent who co-penned another other work of bizarre fantasy, “Going Rogue,” with Sarah Palin.

The book is joined on the coffee tables of the willfully credulous by “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” at number 17. This one is the tale of a six year old kid who falls into a two-month coma after a car accident. The kid, of course, comes as close as can be to joining the putative creator of the universe in his palatial digs but somehow finds the strength to come back to Earth because, you know, any place with the Taliban and Donald Trump in it has to be preferable to eternal paradise.

Screw Heaven; I’d Rather Be Around This Guy!

Anyway, this whole I’m-precious-enough-to-be-brought-to-the-doorstep-of-god thing got me to searching the interwebs for other fascinating folks who’ve seen the bright light. Sure enough, Hollywood is filled with ’em!

One website that finds the whole phenomenon credible lists the following souls as having entered the tunnel and coming back:

● Liz Taylor

● Sharon Stone

● Gary Busey

● Larry Hagman

● Erik Estrada

● Burt Reynolds

● Ozzy Osbourne

● and the King himself, Elvis Presley

So, you tell me, who ya gonna believe, a bunch of dumb scientists or Erik Estrada?

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