Category Archives: Sesame Street

The Pencil Today:


“A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That’s why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.” — Truman Capote


Charlotte Zietlow reports that Susan Sandberg has been moved to a progressive care unit. Bloomington’s at-large Common Council representative isn’t out of the woods yet, but at least she isn’t in ICU anymore.

Hurry up, heal up, and hit the streets, Susan!


Alright, I’m still reasonably new to these parts and perhaps I don’t know all the mores and folkways here.

And I know the Sandberg family wants some privacy.

But people, Susan Sandberg is a public official, one of the key members of the city’s Common Council. The Herald Times has not printed a word about her grave illness.

Do Your Job

I don’t like it one bit.


I wonder how many little girls decided to grow up to be scientists or adventurers after watching Sally Ride appear on Sesame Street in January, 1984.

Sally Ride flew. So does time. She’s dead now. Farewell, astronaut!

BTW: It took this holy land a full twenty years after the Soviets first did it to get a woman up into space.

BTW2: Here’s a kick in the right wing’s ass — Sally Ride was a lesbian.


Writer Annalee Newitz on io9 presents a list of ten civilizations that simply vanished.

No wars, no floods, no dramatic, apocalyptic events that have been determined so far. The civilization were once mighty and well-populated and now they’re gone.

Here they are, identified by their present day locations:

  • The MayaMexico
  • The HarappanIndia, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan
  • The people who built the Moai statuesEaster Island in the Pacific

Who Built These Guys And Where Did They Go?

  • CatalhöyükTurkey
  • CahokiaSouthern Illinois
  • Göbekli TepeTurkey
  • AngkorCambodia
  • Turquoise MountainAfghanistan
  • NiyaXinjiang province, China

Curious? Newitz has more info on each people here.


h/t to Maxxwell Bodenheim of Forest Park, Illinois, for this one.

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.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

From Flip Flop Fly Ball

Mental FlossFacts.

Caps Off PleaseComics & fun.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

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.

People’s ParkLunch Concert Series: Sad Sam Blues Band; 11:30am

KRC CateringGirls, Inc. Annual Luncheon; 11:30am-1pm

◗ Madison Street Between Sixth and Seventh streets — Tuesday Farmers Market; 4-7pm

◗ IU Metz Carillon TowerSummer Music Series: Lee Cobb carillon recital; 5-6pm

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

The Root Cellar at Farm Bloomington — Team trivia; 8pm

The Player’s PubBlues Jam, hosted by Fistful of Bacon; 8pm

Cafe DjangoJeff Isaac Trio; 8-10pm

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Arts Festival: Dorothy Papadakos, “Phantom of the Opera” on pipe organ; 8pm

The BishopKeeping Cars, the Brown Bear Coalition, the Vorticists; 9pm

Bear’s PlaceLame Drivers; 9pm


◗ 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:


“Censorship feeds the dirty mind more than the four-letter word itself.” — Dick Cavett


This is a call to arms.

Turn off your TVs, get up off your sofa, crank up your computer and start writing emails to the Monroe County Community Schools Corporation. I’ll supply some good addresses for you below.

First, the issue.

I have learned through a reasonably reliable source that someone — presumably a parent — has challenged the MCCSC to remove Maurice Sendak’s children’s book, “In the Night Kitchen,” from the Binford Elementary School library.

Details of the challenge are sketchy at this moment since Binford teachers and administrators have not even sat down together to consider the challenge. But “In the Night Kitchen” has had a long history of raising the hackles of bluenoses since its publication in 1970.

It’s the story of a kid, who looks to be two or three years old, who has a dream that he has fallen into a huge bowl of batter being prepared by a trio of chefs. The three chefs, all of whom jarringly resemble Oliver Hardy, are making a batch of bread dough.

The kid gets tossed around amid all the stirring and kneading. Soon, the kid learns that the chefs are missing a key ingredient for their dough, milk. So the kid fashions an airplane made of dough to fly around in search of the missing ingredient. He finds a giant bottle of milk and somehow manipulates it to pour its contents into the chefs’ bowl.

The bread is made, everybody’s happy, and the kid wakes up in his own bed.

So, what’s the problem?

This: the kid is naked as he’s tossed around in the dough. So naked that his little pizzle can be seen — his mini-danglers, too.

It’s not as if the kid’s full package is drawn in any excruciating detail. His baby penis is drawn in a general outline and is less prominent, naturally, than either of his thumbs. And his gonads are no more in your face than his big toes.

Only a very bizarrely obsessed mind could see this innocent little cherub and his male equipment as objectionable.

And it is to these bizarrely obsessed people we have to say, “Just shut up!”

Here’s a little more info on the Sendak book. It was named a Caldecott Honor Book. It was named one of the notable children’s books of the era 1940-70 by the American Library Association. The New York Times named it one of the best books of 1970. The Library of Congress has preserved it as exemplary of children’s books for that year.

Sendak is the beloved author of “Where the Wild Things Are,” for which he won a Caldecott Medal. He helped the Children’s Television Workshop develop the vision for “Sesame Street.” His work has earned him the Hans Christian Anderson Award, a National Book Award, a Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, and a National Medal of Arts. He even has an elementary school named after him in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Still, there are all those pesky — and potentially dangerous (to our liberties) — sex obsessives out there.

“In the Night Kitchen” has been named 25th on the American Library Association’s 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 list.

Man oh man. There’s a hell of a lot of whacked out people in this holy land.

So, be a good citizen. Pound away at your keyboard and let these MCCSC officials and teachers know we won’t be bullied by prigs, prudes, and hysterics. (BTW: I’m not going to hyperlink here because potential spammers could then scrape this site looking for these email addresses. So, just copy and paste — the extra step won’t kill you.)

  • Dr. Judith A. DeMuth, Superintendent of Schools, MCCSC:
  • W. Kelly Smith, Assistant Secretary, MCCSC Board of Education:
  • Susan Wanzer, MCCSC Board of Education:
  • Martha Street, secretary, MCCSC Board of Education:
  • Jim Muehling, MCCSC Board of Education:
  • Keith Klein, vice-president, MCCSC Board of Education:
  • Dr. Lois Sabo-Skelton, MCCSC Board of Education:
  • Dr. D. Jeannine Butler, MCCSC Board of Education:
  • Joe Childers, principal, Binford Elementary:
  • Melinda Hamilton, librarian, Binford Elementary:

Oh, and if you happen to know who the parent is who’s raising this stink, gently tell him or her to sit down, relax, and have a drink maybe, or go get a massage.

Because, really, neither Maurice Sendak nor the Binford school library means you any harm.


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