Category Archives: Soma Coffee

Hot Air

Urban Renewal In Bloomington

How can you not love the work that Derek Richey and Jennifer Sommer-Richey do over at Bloomington Fading? Here’s the latest vid they’ve put out, chronicling the demise and renaissance of downtown Bloomington from 1950 through the ’70s. Check it out:

It’s important to note that the federal government programs collectively known as “Urban Renewal” were the result of politicians and bureaucrats together developing plans to ease the suffering of poor people in this holy land. But, as happens far too often, when politicians and bureaucrats begin working with money men, the best of intentions go awry.

Make sure to visit Derek and Jennifer on Facebook and at their website.

Rubbing Salt In Their Wounds

Here’s hoping the struggles with family health issues and America’s far-from-perfect health care system don’t take too much of a toll on the Sandberg clan. Bloomington city council member Susan Sandberg long has been an advocate for streamlined, equitable, efficient health care. Now she and her kin must leap the hurdles the for-profit health rackets have erected before them.

Sandberg/Gaal

Sandberg & County Prosecutor Chris Gaal At The Monroe County Fair

Good luck, Sandbergs, and hang in there!

What’s Different About America?

My pal the Big Shot Lawyer (who shall remain nameless lest he sue the pants off me for some reason or another) joins me regularly at The Pencil’s back office, aka Soma Coffee. We talk mainly about The Law, which is something — we both agree — that exists more in theory then actual practice.

Honestly, the law students who hang at the java joint ought to close their textbooks and put an ear in on our conversations. They’d learn a thing or two that might help them as they go out into that great professional world to rid clients of any spare cash they might have laying around.

And, the truth is, it’s not technically the conversation that’d educate them — my contributions are drips in an ocean compared to what the Big Shot Lawyer adds.

Anyway, now and again BSL and I veer off into talk about Bloomington, the Hoosier State, this holy land, and even the world at large. Health care, for instance, came up on Wednesday. The question arose, Why is health care so easily and efficiently meted out in places like, say, Sweden?

Crack barrister that he is, BSL went right to the heart of the issue. “Everybody’s the same in Sweden,” he said. “They all look alike, sound alike. So when someone says they need help, everybody’s willing to pitch in because, you know, “Hey, he’s just like me!”

Swedes

Familiarity

As opposed to here in Murrica, where people of countless colors, speaking scads of languages, listening to tons of weird music, eating all sorts of exotic poisons including garlic and cumin, and worshipping all the wrong gods hold out their hats and say, “Can you help me out?”

To which the majority of us respond, “What? Using my tax money? Help you out when you don’t even realize who the one and only true god is and, almost worse, you eat garlic? Hell no!”

It’s the classic case of The Other. Murrica is chock-full of Others. It’s what made us great but, ironically, it’s what keeps us all at arms’ length in these divisive times.

Mood Is Wrong, Mood Is Wrong!

Yeah, I’ve been a downer the last few days, what with the dramatic tumbling of this great nation into the 13th Century, thanks to the spanking the Democrats got from the Republicans Tuesday. So let’s go all light and breezy for a bit, shall we?

How about this ditty from the summer of 1969, the first big AM radio hit for Crosby, Stills & Nash? Groove, babies!

BTW: The hed for this entry is a reference to Jerry Lewis’s Buddy Love taking a seat at the Purple Pit piano in the original The Nutty Professor.

Hot Air

Courage

I became a fan of the late James Garner a ways back when I was an idealistic teen hoping to participate in the remaking of this corrupt, sick, unfair world. Immediately after Martin Luther King was whacked, I delved into his life and adopted him as my hero. I learned that several white actors had participated with him in the March on Washington in August, 1963. Among them were Burt Lancaster, Charlton Heston, Marlon Brando, James Franciscus, and James Garner.

It took plenty of coglioni for a white guy to associate himself with the Civil Rights movement back then. Heston was warned off rubbing shoulders with King by his agents and his friends who ran movie studios. They told him it would be career suicide and, in fact, Heston’s career arc dipped significantly in the mid- and late-’60s.

Carroll/Garner

Actress Diahann Carroll & James Garner At The March On Washington

For his part, Garner also experienced a rough patch after throwing his lot in with King et al. Prior to the March, Garner’d portrayed a charming, borderline-swindler card player named Bret Maverick on the long-running eponymous TV series. The year of the March he appeared in the Hollywood blockbuster The Great Escape. The future looked limitless for him. Then, after pix of him attending the March appeared in newspapers all over the country, it seemed he was only able to snag roles in mediocre, lower-budget films for a few years.

It wasn’t until he scored the role of private detective Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files in the more easy-going ’70s that he hit the top of the biz again.

The world, BTW, is still corrupt, sick, and unfair. Garner, though, did what he could about it

In The Cards

Speaking of local blogs (well, I did mention one yesterday, and writing this one almost every day seems a seamless task to me, so, yeah, we’ve been speaking of local blogs), if you’re into the woo occult you might be interested in Maryll Jones’s Interpretations.

Her URL, BTW, is maryll.com. I asked her how she managed to score such an address — you’d think several jillion bloggers named Maryll would have snapped it up way before she did. She told me she purchased it in 1998 which, I believe, was back in the days when the interwebs were powered by steam. She’s been sitting on maryll.com for lo these many years yet Interpretations is only a couple of months old.

Maryll studies tarot and talks about the cards and her life in Interpretations. She even occasionally does impromptu readings for interested parties at Soma Coffee. Loyal Pencillistas know that I look askance at things like tarot. Nevertheless, I like to flog for my blog-writing colleagues.

Criswell

“We Are All Interested In The Future….”

There. Now, ain’t I a broad-minded fellow?

The Red Dawn

So, the City of Somerset, Kentucky, has opened its own municipally-run retail gas station. Folks in that neck of the woods can fill up on regular unleaded (the only octane the place offers) for as little as $3.36 a gal. There are no Cool Ranch Doritos, lubricated reservoir tip condoms, nor sullen teenagers behind the counter. The place sells gas, period.

The city buys the gas wholesale and then sells it based on the current average regional retail price. Mayor Eddie Girdler of Somerset sez the city has no interest in making a profit on this venture, meaning he’s likely a child-molesting, commie, Nazi abortionist and prob. was born in Kenya around the time Barack Obama was.

Hammer/Sickle/Star

You Can Trust Your Car To The Man Who Wears The Star

Acc’d’g to the Washington Post, local private gas station operators are aghast at the development. Their prices, natch, are higher than the city’s place because they have to stock their shelves with junk food, booze, and cheap prophylactics. Oh, and they have to hire sullen teenagers to put up product and sell it. One fellow who runs a nearby convenience store/gas station says, basically, only an idiot would not recognize the city’s venture as “socialist.”

It may interest you to know Eddie Girdler is a Republican.

Keeping Reachin’ For The Stars

I understand Casey Kasem’s body has gone missing. The TV DJ died earlier this month even as his wife and other potential heirs fought tooth and nail over whom he loved mostest.

Kasems

Casey Kasem & Wife Jean in the 1980s

My Soma Coffee co-loiterer Michael Spica wonders if there’ll be an American Top 40 list of possible hiding places for Casey’s corpse.

Hot Air

Rhyme Season

April is National Poetry Month.

My fave poet is Dorothy Parker. She was a smart-ass par excellence back in the 1920s. Parker was a member of the fabled Vicious Circle that met daily for lunch at New York’s Algonquin Hotel. Her regular lunch and repartee partners included Robert Benchley, Alexander Woolcott, Franklin Pierce Adams, George S. Kaufman, Harold Ross, Heywood Broun, and Ruth Hale. People like Harpo Marx, Tallulah Bankhead, Estelle Winwood, and Edna Ferber dropped by on occasion.

Parker

Dorothy Parker

They engaged in banter and wordplay that fascinates to this day. Because a number of the Circlers had syndicated daily newspaper columns, the group’s bons mots would spread across the nation in those quaint pre-TV, pre-interwebs days. For instance, Parker was challenged to use the word horticulture in a sentence one day. It didn’t take her all that long to pronounce: You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.

As the group grew through the ’20s, the Algonguin restaurant’s maître d’ began seating them at a huge round table, ergo, the repast became known to outsiders as the Algonquin Round Table. They referred to themselves as The Board. Their lunches, natch, were dubbed Board Meetings. Acc’d’ng to legend, the maître d’ assigned the group a new waiter named Luigi one day. From then on, they called themselves the Luigi Board, a takeoff on the Ouija Board, a popular toy at the time.

 Ouija

Luigi’s Weegee

It can be said (if one wanted to speak pretentiously and presumptuously) that Bloomington’s own Boys of Soma is a direct descendent of Parker et al‘s Vicious Circle. Only we’re not vicious (not too much.) Nor are we as talented and accomplished as that gang. Ah, forget I mentioned it.

Anyway, my fave Bloomington poets are Ross Gay and Tony Brewer. Pick up one of their books this month and lose yourself in their meter. Read anybody’s poetry this month. Write some of your own.

Go ahead, play with words. It’s fun. And you just may hit upon a creative usage for the word euthanasia in a sentence.

Chinese Children

A Healthy Success

Okay, so twenty-somethings now get to be covered by their parents’ health insurance policies. People with pre-existing conditions get to sign up for health insurance. Lifetime benefit caps are out. And the poor now can afford health coverage so that they don’t have to make the choice between that and Dumpster diving for dinner tonight.

In all, more than 10 million Murricans who didn’t have health insurance last year now have it this year. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Yet some corporate media outlets still refer to its “disastrous rollout.”

What disaster?

What did I miss?

Wait, you mean because some people had trouble logging on to a massive, never-before-attempted online enrollment system for a few weeks, the ACA is a disaster?

In that case, I wonder what we might call a health care system wherein some 40 million people routinely find themselves shut out of simple medical care. An annoyance? Business as usual?

I’ll go with the latter. That is, it was business as usual until Barack Obama got his ACA through the Congress in 2010. The Act profoundly changed the way we provide medical care in this holy land.

Sawyer/ABC

Former Republican Flack Diane Sawyer Reports

I’m not in love with the ACA, mind you. But until we have universal, single-payer health coverage in the United States, it’ll have to do. And it’s one hell of a lot better than what we had before.

And if the Dems had any brains, they’d run with that ball through this year’s mid-term elections. They’ve got at least 10 million votes in their pockets right now.

Hot Air

The Mob

Ralph Nader quotes Jim Hightower in Saturday’s Huffington Post:

Assume you ran a business that was found guilty of bribery, forgery, defrauding homeowners, fleecing investors, swindling consumers, cheating credit card holders, violating US trade laws, and bilking American soldiers. Can you even imagine the punishments you’d get? Howe about zero? Nada. Nothing. Zilch. No jail time. Not even a fine. Plus, you get to stay on as boss, you get to keep all the loot you gained from the crime spree, and you even get an $8.5 million pay raise!

The hoodlum H-tower speaks of would  be the big boss of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, a man whom, Nader reminds us, proclaims for all the world to hear that he is “so damn proud of this company.”

Dimon

“Proud”

We keep forgetting that reprobates like Dimon were responsible for crashing the entire world’s economy back in the mid-aughts. It wasn’t socialism, or communism, or same-sex marriage, or legalized pot, or a Manchurian Candidate president from Kenya, or even god’s will that millions more Americans now live below the poverty line, millions are unemployed, municipalities are going broke, school budgets are being slashed, libraries are closing, and…, and…, oh, it’s all too depressing.

All those ills were brought to us courtesy of the Liar’s Poker, casino-mentality, degenerate gamblers in fancy Wall Street offices (and their coat-holders in Congress).

They all are the very definition of mobsters.

Trade Rumors

Here’s an idea regarding the development of some land along the B-Line Trail that cuts through central Bloomington. Habitat for Humanity wants to develop a little strip of woods along the Trail, just northwest of downtown B-town. So the city’s angling for a zoning variance to allow HforH to build a couple of dozen homes for the needy there.

Habitat/B-Line

Habitat’s B-Line Neighborhood Is Next Door To…

And, according to folks who don’t think much of the idea, the city’s positioning the question as an either-or: either you want to help Habitat do its good works or you don’t. The problem acc’d’g to some, is that Habitat’s property is the last lush green space near downtown. That, and it is apparently going to be difficult to develop.

Instead, say a group of petitioners, the city and Habitat should swap land. The city-owned Certified Tech Park butts up against the Woods parcel. The CTP already is zoned for high-density residential development, the argument goes, and much of the land is cleared.

Bloomington CTP

…Bloomington’s Certified Tech Park

The simple solution? Let HforH build its homes on the Tech Park site and let the city take over the Woods and transform that land into a Parks & Rec facility.

If you buy this argument, slap your sig. on the petition calling for the land swap.

Then again, if you think the city’s gonna let low-income folks live in its shiny new neighborhood, you must believe you live in a liberal college town.

A Dickens Of A Tale

Overheard at Soma the other day, a barista talking to a customer:

My parents told me my actual last name was Nintendo. When I was about six, they said I was the heir to the Nintendo family fortune but that my original parents disowned me because they didn’t like the way I looked. So I was adopted.

Does too much coffee do that to people?

The End Is Near — Maybe

And finally, it took a foreign newspaper to report on disturbing study by this holy land’s own NASA. Our Murrican space geeks have sponsored some alarming research with the help of scads of scientists from a variety of disciplines that show humanity’s present rate of consumption and excretion could potentially topple our whole house of cards within a few decades.

Fin

We’re using so much stuff and belching so much of our wastes into the air, the water, and the soil that our civilization itself could collapse of its own weight. Don’t laugh — countless civilizations before us have gone all to hell for a screwing up what they knew of the world a lot less than we are.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has submitted the study to the peer-reviewed journal of the International Society for the Journal of Ecological Economics. That gang contemplates stuff like this; you know, how much it costs us as a species to make sure everybody’s got all the latest hand-held devices and to keep our petro-plutocracy in charge of, well, everything.

Natch, Murrican newspapers and TV news outlets haven’t touched this thing yet because it has nothing to do with Justin Beiber or a white man shooting an unarmed black kid. Those, of course, are the only topics of import in this mad, mad, world.

Anyway, the study doesn’t come right out and say we’re doomed, only that we could be. There’s a chance, see? Except folks who think scientists are a political party would pooh-pooh the report out of hand, if only they had the intellect to understand it.

Inhofe Book Cover

And here’s a conclusion the study makes that’s sure to make Ma & Pa Kettle bristle: We ought to stop having so many kids. Yup, overpopulation is strangling us, the study sez. There ain’t enough raw stuff on this planet to manufacture the products needed to satisfy all 7B of us. The conclusion is, those of us who have need to make sure that the rest of us have not; otherwise, we lucky few won’t have as much as we want.

Yeesh. So, when’s the last time you read the word overpopulation in your morning newspaper? Or heard the word uttered by a blonde, lacquered anchor lady?

Hot Air

Caffeinated Philosophy

Overheard at Soma Coffee, one barista speaking to another:

Life is more than fish sticks.

Fish Sticks

So, so true.

Magic, Tragic Formula

As a student at the University of Chicago, Kurt Vonnegut wanted to let academe know that the plots for fictional stories can be represented as graphs. You know, the visual aids that we normally associate with economists, behavioral psychologists, and other illusionists.

Vonnegut

Vonnegut In The Army

Huh. Who’da figured the likes of Truman Capote and James Patterson are, at heart, mathematicians?

Vonnegut pitched this concept for his master’s thesis at the august institution. He was told, forthwith, to kiss off. The late Indy native once explained the dons didn’t dig his brainstorm “because it was so simple and looked like too much fun.”

Anyway, Open Culture tells us about Vonnegut’s proposal, which he went on to espouse and further explain throughout his life. Plus, his own novel plots reflected the basic assertion he wanted to make in his thesis paper.

And, since we’re larcenous hoodlums here at Pencil World HQ, we’ve copped the chart that Open Culture commissioned designer Maya Eilam to draw up, illustrating V’s idée. Here it is [broken up so you can read the text]:

1)

Eilam Infographic Detail

2)

Eilam Infographic Detail

3)

Eilam Infographic Detail

Vonnegut would have had us believe that the stories a culture tells about itself also can be plotted thusly. And in that we we can learn about said society. Cool, no?

Living Dolls

I’ve always thought the Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit edition is stupid. SI takes inhumanly glamorous dames and poses them in faraway and gorgeous locales, all the while cladding them in eensy-weensy bikinis that expose as much mam, camel-toe, and bootie as can be displayed on a Kroger magazine rack.

For the boys, right? If the giggly, sweaty lads of this holy land want porn, there’s plenty of it on the Internet. They don’t have to pretend they’re buying this particular issue of the weekly sports news pub just for the articles.

Plus, there’s the whole creation of impossible standards of beauty for young girls to fail to live up to and young boys to be sorely disappointed in their future girlfriends and wives for. All in all, the swimsuit edition is nutty.

Now it’s deranged. Guess who is adorning the pages of the 2014 one-handed reading edition?

Barbie.

The doll.

Doll

Yes, This Barbie®

A hunk of plastic that, too, has been making girls feel like crap about their bods for 50 years.

Boys, it’s time to grow up.

But even more weird than grown men turning Japanese over a sports mag are the rationalizations SI and Mattel are spewing left and right. For instance, some copywriter, who obviously downed an LSD-and-crystal-meth-laced latte before he started clacking his keyboard, authored the following words that supposedly came out of Barbie’s mouth:

I, for one, am honored to join the legendary swimsuit models. The word “model,” like the word “Barbie®,” is often dismissed as a poseable plaything with nothing to say. And yet, those featured are women who have broken barriers, established empires, built brands, branched out into careers as varied as authors, entrepreneurs and philanthropists. They are all great examples of confident and competent women.

Notice I said the copywriter was a he. Because it couldn’t have been a woman, could it? Can any female human being be that unhinged?

Your Daily Hot Air

Love It Or Hate It?

Barack Obama yesterday did what American presidents do every Fourth of July. He told us how fabulous we are, how rich our history is, what intractable problems we’ve solved, what insurmountable obstacles we’ve overcome, and how we have the unique ability to face all the challenges of the future.

Then an orchestra played the 1812 overture, a bunch of fireworks were shot off, everybody went home, and this morning some of us are back at work.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

Obama On The Fourth

More than some of us are bitter because we have to pay outlandish taxes to support lazy bums, welfare queens, and clever pimps. I’ve always held that the vast majority of flamboyant patriots love America but hate Americans.

Anyway, Obama fulfilled his presidential duties no better or worse than any of his 43 predecessors (actually, he has 42 predecessors; Grover Cleveland, having served non-consecutive terms, is counted twice). The nation’s Cheerleader in Chief is always the big star on Independence Day and normally no one doubts how loyal he is to this holy land.

Barack Obama, of course, is different. He is, according to many, a Kenyan-born Muslim, homosexual, terrorist. He’s not one of “us.”

Nixon

One Of Us

I have to wonder, therefore, what the lunocracy thinks when they see Obama waving the flag and celebrating the land they’re certain he’s not a part of.

Just for giggles’ sake, here’s a sampler of observations over the years from the Neptunian Right re: Barack Obama:

◗ “He is an evil, dangerous man who hates America and hates freedom.” — Ted Nugent

◗ “Barack Obama does not like the American system of government. He doesn’t like our founding fathers either…. Obama does not love America. He hates America.” — Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips

◗ “[Barack Obama holds] an ideology remote from what Americans believe in or care about… something completely separate from American thought altogether.” — Dinesh D’Souza

Obama Hates America

◗ “[W]hen it comes down to his ideology and mine, there’s a difference. I love America, and I don’t know what he does.” — Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber”

◗ “I think it can now be said, without equivocation — without equivocation — that this man hates this country. He is trying — Barack Obama is trying — to dismantle, brick by brick, the American dream.” — Rush Limbaugh

So, what do these and other like-minded deep thinkers feel when Obama tells us how fab we are on the Fourth?

I know they don’t have him on their short list for the best American prez ever. But given the above citations, they have to believe he’s the finest actor our great nation has ever produced.

Funny thing is, not one of my go-to sources for wingnut-ism even mentions Obama’s appearance at the pep rally for the Fourth in Washington yesterday. Which is a shame; what a golden opportunity for them to write and rant about the man’s shameless hypocrisy and how pervasive and underhanded his efforts to overthrow this great land are.

Who knows, maybe the Deranged Right is losing its edge. That’d be too bad; I’ve long felt they are the comic geniuses of our time.

Anarchy In The USA

Soma Coffee is The Electron Pencil’s alternate office, as you well know if you’ve been following these screeds for any length of time. The joint was open yesterday, which I didn’t even know about until I came in this morning. I spent my Fourth napping, writing, washing a dish or two, and sharing in a nice smoked beef brisket with my next door neighbors. Overall, it was my typical Independence Day.

Soma

I Wonder If I Can Write Off My Coffee

Not so typical, as I learned today, at Soma. The place has a life-sized cardboard cut-out of that iconic Marilyn Monroe photo, the one where she’s standing over a subway grate and her skirt is being blown upward. (BTW, acc’d’g to the riveting biography of Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer, The Hero’s Life, Joltin’ Joe whacked Marilyn around pretty handily after that particular photo shoot. The story goes that DiMagg didn’t want his wife to be viewed as a “slut” and so he punched her up, but only in places that would be hidden by her clothes. Ick.) Anyway, the cut-out is in the coffeehouse’s bathroom which, at least in these hinterlands of South Central Indiana, is noted far and wide for its compelling decor.

Sadly, some kid Anarchist with a Magic Marker® defaced the cut-out while the rest of us were congratulating ourselves for being Americans.

Soma Marilyn Cut-out

Recruitment Poster?

Taciturn Mike, a mild-mannered electronics engineer for the Navy whom dedicated Anarchists might deem a vile tool of the military-industrial complex, wonders why the vandal didn’t decorate, say, the county courthouse or some other symbol of corrupt tyranny with the anarchists’ logo. He also wonders what the offender had in mind: Does he expect the graffito to goose this year’s Anarchist recruitment figures?

I have no such wonderment. The Anarchist in question is simply an asshole.

Fanfare For The Common Man

This, babies, is the sound of patriotism.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Obviously crime pays, or there’d be no crime.” — G. Gordon Liddy

NIXON WOULD BE PROUD

Before I even begin this particular howl, I’ll remind readers that both the Republicans and Democrats have long, storied histories of stealing votes and even whole elections.

The Ballot Box That Put LBJ Over The Top

That caveat out of the way, I can barely control my indignation over the latest GOP dirty trick.

It’s getting personal now.

A little background: Saturday morning, the Boys of Soma were sitting around reminding each other through unverifiable anecdotes how clever, strong, and sexually potent we are. By and by, it sank in that if we continued to lie to each other loudly, some outside observers might begin to consider us liars. And that wouldn’t do.

So we settled into a brief quiet. And then Saunders piped up.

“I’m very disappointed in Nicole (not her real name),” he said, dolefully.

The rest of us glanced at each other. Nicole is an honorary Boy of Soma. Some consider her, in fact, the leader of the B of S because, well, she could probably kick the hell out of most of us. Okay, any of us.

Headquarters

Nicole is cherished for a variety of reasons. She’s smart, athletic, outspoken, direct, and one or two of the Boys has been known to become dreamy-eyed while watching her exit the coffeehouse. There is a general agreement within our ranks that her husband, Rod (again, not his real name) is a man to be envied.

No one has ever uttered a discouraging word about Nicole. That is, before Saunders piped up Saturday.

“What is it?” Tough Guy Mac demanded. “What’s the matter with Nicole?” I may be wrong but I think he may have balled his fists.

“Didja see who she’s going for in the election?” Saunders countered.

“No, who?” Mac and Irish Pat said as one.

Saunders dropped the bombshell. “Romney,” he said.

No, No, Say It Ain’t So!

We uttered a collective gasp. Even Barista Jericho’s iPod, heard over the room speakers at the time, stopped playing.

“Naw!” Tough Guy Mac said, waving Saunders off.

“Can’t be,” Irish Pat said.

“Whaddya talking about?” I said.

Saunders shrugged. “Look at her Facebook page,” he said.

So I pulled out the old machine and logged in. Sure enough, there it was, in a pretty display of electrons: “Nicole Magnuson Likes Mitt Romney.”

Can It Be?

Again, we fell silent. Gloom settled over our corner of the place.

“Well,” I said, “I’m gonna have to have some words with that young lady.”

“Somebody’s gonna have to,” Irish Pat said.

“I wish she was here right now so we could find out what the hell’s goin’ on,” Tough Guy Mac said.

“In fact, I’m gonna send her a message right now,” I said. Nicole at the time was out of town, in Cincinnati visiting her dear old mother. I clacked out a message telling her I was heartbroken that she’d disappointed us so.

Bang, a return message came back within seconds. “What? What’d I do?” she’d typed.

After a brief discussion during which the three of us at Soma marveled that even so backward a hamlet as Cincinnati now has the Internet, we agreed on the wording of our indictment.

Cincinnati Has Entered The 20th Century — Who Knew?

“We’re sitting here with our faces in our hands, weeping unashamedly,” I wrote. “None of us can believe it. You…, you…, you like Romney! There. I’ve said it!”

What followed was a long, outraged recount from Nicole of the dirty trick that’d been played on her. It seems someone’s busy these days hacking into people’s Facebook accounts and making them “Like” Mitt Romney.

Apparently, Mitt Romney is trying to get 8 million Likes. I suppose it’s some kind of weird political penis envy, considering that Barack Obama’s page has some 30 million Likes.

In any case, a dark, as yet unindicted soul within the Romney camp is behind this outrage.

Funny how one of Mitt’s talking points is that Barack Obama has been trying to turn people against each other. His own campaign almost came between Nicole and us.

Saboteur

When all was said and done, Nicole zinged me with this one: “I’m the one who should be disappointed with you. You should know me better than to think I’d go for Romney. I thought we were friends.”

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

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

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center, outside WFHB StudiosPublic participation in creating a ten-foot sculpture called “The Angel,” Rain or shine; 9am-5pm

SALE ◗ IU Morrison HallKinsey Institute Library Book Sale; 9am-5pm

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

CLASS ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryDating Your Old Family Photos; 4pm

CLASS ◗ Purdue Extension, 3400 S. Walnut St.2012 Monroe County Citizens’ Academy, Learn how county government works; 6-9pm

CLASS ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryLights, Camera, Write: An Introduction to the Art of Screenwriting, 8-session course; 6:30-8:30pm, through November 28th (except November 21st)

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleLloyd Wood; 7-9pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoTom Miller; 7pm

LECTURE ◗ Monroe County Public Library — “Money in the 2012 Elections,” presented by Marjorie Hershey of the IU Political Science Department; 7pm

VARIETY ◗ Buskirk Chumley TheaterIU’s Got Talent; 7pm

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

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallFaculty Recital: Carl Lenthe on trombone, Kimberly Carballo on piano; 7pm

CLASS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryLifelong Learning Series: We’re Off to See the Wizard, On the life and work of L. Frank Baum, 3 weekly sessions through October 17th; 7pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Gun Hill Road,” with personal appearance by actor Esai Morales; 7pm

FILM ◗ SoFA, Room 102 — “The Cove,” Part of the Animal Behavior Film Series; 7pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumUB Films: “Turn Me On, Dammit!“; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

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

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts CenterPhilharmonic Orchestra, David Efron, conductor, performs Mahler; 8pm

GAMES ◗ The Root Cellar at Farm BloomingtonTeam trivia, new night; 8pm

DANCING ◗ Harmony SchoolContra dancing; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallDoctoral Recital: Ilya Friedberg on piano; 8:30pm

ASTRONOMY ◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryOpen house, public viewing through the main telescope; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdThe Main Squeeze; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopWilder Maker, Hotfox, Bonesetters; 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

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 opening September 28th:

  • 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

“Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.” — Barbara Ehrenreich

THE LOYAL OPPOSITION

I’m gonna play all nice today.

As you know, I’m the world’s biggest liberal hot air blower. Any given day on this communications colossus, I rant and rage against the madnesses of the Right.

For my money, the Republican Party, which fancies itself the GOP — for Grand Old Party — is more aptly tagged the POG — for Party of God.

And speaking of any of the multitude of deities the vast majority of Homo Sapiens sapiens reveres and donates its hard-earned cash to via his regional sales staff on Earth, I also come down awfully hard on the Big Daddy-o Upstairs.

Ironically, I had a couple of contacts with folks yesterday whose oxen, as it were, likely are gored any time they click on The Pencil.

I was standing bleary-eyed and zombified near the bakery and coffee tents at the Bloomington Farmer’s Market at about 8am. I loitered for long moments in the brilliant morning sunshine, hypnotized by the accordion and voice strains of the Von Volsung Sisters, trying to locate enough brain cells to decide which cup of joe to buy.

The Von Volsungs: Cool, Even Early In The Morning

My gray-matter haze prevented me from seeing a couple of Ellettsville pals, SueEllen and Bob, the premier party-throwers of western Monroe County, waving madly at me. After couple of minutes, I found myself staring at the two as they stared back at me.

We all had a good laugh and caught up on the latest. As we were saying our goodbyes, SueEllen leaned close and said, “I read you every day.”

I was touched. See, SueEllen and Bob are among the most pious people I’ve met in these parts. They’re active in their church. Their faith has gotten them through some tough times. They even invite their parish priest to their storied bashes. Once, they had a visiting priest from Africa as the honored guest at a New Year’s Day party.

Every time I slam the putative creator of the Universe, I wonder how someone like SueEllen might feel about it. This is true. I’m really not a mean guy. I’m not looking to insult the pious and the faithful.

Only their god, whom I’d refuse to have a drink with even if he offered to buy.

C’mon, Man, It’s On Me

Later in the day I caught a new comment here from a guy who calls himself The Lake County Republican. His given name is David. He’s one of those old school republicans. He believes in an inherent goodness in entrepreneurship. He sees rich guys, by and large, as honest, steady, hard-working souls who’ve amassed their fortunes the right way. He wants the federal government to watch its pennies.

None of which I buy — and I shriek as much here regularly. Nevertheless, David the LCR gobbles up the Pencil as religiously as SueEllen does.

That makes me happy.

They are true Pencillistas. We’ve got a big tent here.

WHERE’S THE HATE?

And then I got myself into hot water.

With liberals, no less.

A couple of people were talking about George W. Bush at Soma Coffee. They’re pals, so I elbowed my way into the conversation, the gist of which was How could anybody stand that man?

Whaddya Want From Me?

I understand that sentiment on a political level, natch. Bushy-boy railroaded us into the third ugliest act this holy land has ever committed (that being the Iraq War — the other two, in order, being Slavery and the Indian Holocaust). His regressive policies on the environment, business regulation and reproductive freedom, coupled with his politicization of the Justice Department under his coat-holding attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, make him, IMO, the worst President the voters of this nation did not elect.

But, no, my pals were going further than that. How could Laura Bush sleep in the same bed with him? How could a man like that have any friends? Why would anyone ever have done business with him?

To hear them talk, one would think George W. Bush actually had the unbearable stink of evil emanating from his body.

What’s That Smell?

Now, even though I loathed Bushy-boy’s policies, his philosophy, and even his office management style, I’d always though he was a rather likable chap. He digs baseball. He enjoys a good joke. He invents colorful nicknames for his staff. Too bad, in fact, that he quit drinking because I’d sit down and have a cocktail with him, especially if he was buying.

Even that famous moment when he shocked German Chancellor Angela Merkel by rubbing her shoulders at some meeting or another, an incident which many on my side of the political spectrum virtually equated with rape at knifepoint, seemed to me an endearing kind of gesture. This despite the fact that Merkel’s reaction reveals her to be, at that particular moment, a rubber band pulled way too tight.

A Violent Assault

He reduced, again IMO, a world leader to a simple human being. It was a pal-y, bonhomie thing to do. It showed he actually like the woman, rather than revered her. Leaders, after all, are not gods.

But, in today’s political debate environment, it is taboo to view the opposition as human. They are beasts, demons, agents of Satan, Commies, Nazis, child-molesters, nose-pickers, and any other insult you care to whip their way.

So, when I said, “You know, I’ve always felt George Bush seems to be a likable guy,” my two pals fell silent, their mouths agape.

Another guy, waiting for his bagel to toast nearby, snorted. “Likable, yeah,” he said, “for an inchworm.”

My pals eventually regained their composure. One demanded, “How can you say such a thing?” The other simply said, “He was not likable in any way, shape, or form.”

I even felt compelled to step back from my statement. “Now, don’t get me wrong. I despised everything he did and stood for, but all I was saying was….”

Immediately I felt like, well, a worm. I shouldn’t have had to apologize for saying the Bush Baby seems likable. But I was petrified that people might think I approved of his Patriot Act, his gutting of the EPA, his kowtowing to the Religious Right, and all the rest of his sins.

He is, after all, only a human whom I happen to think is full of shit. I voted against him — that doesn’t mean I think he’s in league with child molesters or that he’s a nose picker.

So I’m going to say it again here and I’ll make no apologies for it: George W. Bush seems a really likable guy.

Albeit full of shit.

Sunday, September 23nd, 2012

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

[Editor’s note: I was too lazy to do the events last night and I’m in too much of a hurry to do the complete job this morning, so all you’re getting is the Lotus Fest sked and the ongoing museum exhibit lineup. You’ll live.]

MUSIC FESTIVAL ◗ Bloomington, various locationsLotus World Music & Arts Festival; though Sunday, September 23rd, various times, today’s lineups:

Buskirk Chumley Theater:

  • Karan Casey & John Doyle; 3pm
  • Srinivas Krishnan’s Global Rhythms; 4pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “The Bolognese School,” by Annibale & Agostino Carracci, through September 16th
  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • “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

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • What It Means to Be Human,” by Michele Heather Pollock; through September 29th
  • Land and Water,” by Ruth Kelly; through September 29th

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit:

  • Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection;” through September 21st

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

ART ◗ Boxcar BooksExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Papercuts by Ned Powell; through September

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

“He had seen me several times, and had intended to call on me long before, but a peculiar combination of circumstances had prevented it.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, from “The Great Gatsby

DIETZ’ DUTY

Perhaps the most touching obit yet for the beloved Sophia Travis comes from Monroe County Democratic Party boss Rick Dietz.

It was Dietz’ unhappy task to break the news of Travis’ passing to party loyalists Thursday.

Here is his statement in its entirety:

Democrats:

I have sad news that I can barely bring myself to write. Last night Sophia Travis passed away.

Sophia was a dear friend, a community leader, a creative & musical spirit, and a caring mother & wife. Sophia had suffered since early in the year from an undiagnosed heart-related condition and had just returned from the Cleveland Clinic where she, Greg and young Finnegan had traveled for care.

Sophia personified kindness — a dense gravitation kindness — and wielded a gentle strength that could move mountains. And move all those around her. And did many times over.

There are times when one wonders how this world can just keep turning with loss after loss we can hardly bear. Please keep Finnegan, Greg and all of Sophia’s family and friends in your thoughts today.

Rick

“Where I am, I don’t know. I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” — Samuel Beckett

People all around me are walking around in a dazed state in the wake of the news. Such a shame that I never had the chance to meet Sophia Travis. I’d heard about her seemingly constantly whenever the conversation would turn to the arts, politics, community service, and just life in this town itself. Apparently, Sophia was one of those rare folks who simply personify a place.

Lesson: If you want to meet someone, do it now. The opportunity may be lost forever at any time.

THIS JUST IN: WE DIDN’T INVENT SEX

Overheard at Soma Coffee this morning:

[Two people are talking about treasures they’ve found at flea markets and yard sales.]

Man: “Back in June, I found a 1908 Hamilton Beach vibrator at a yard sale.”

Woman: “What? Really? You mean a personal satisfaction device? Is there such a thing or did I just invent a new term?”

Man: “A PSD, hmm.”

[The woman looks up the device online.]

Woman: “Here’s an ad for this thing. [Reading] ‘Very useful and satisfactory for home service.’ That’s it. From a hundred years ago. Actually, more than that.”

Man: “Home service.”

Woman: “Home service.”

An ad from 1908, huh? More proof there’s little new under the sun.

PATHOLOGICAL CAPITALISM

Hell, I’ve been saying this all along:

DO IT YOURSELF HISTORY

Do not miss the Shouts & Murmurs column in this week’s New Yorker.

Writer Jack Hitt aggregates a dung heap of misquotes, faulty interpretations, and outright lies uttered by some of the Republican Party’s finest examples of humanity regarding the history of this holy land.

He takes these fictions and creates a timeline of America, according to those who tend to believe that Barack Obama is a Kenyan, Indonesian, Russian, Muslim, Communist patsy/stooge or that just saying no will magically end drug abuse and teen pregnancy.

Among the revelations the Republications have foisted upon their ovine faithful are:

  • 56 men, “mostly clergymen,” signed the Declaration of Independence
  • Blacks made up much of the fighting force of the Confederate States of America
  • John Kerry shot himself
  • Bill & Hillary Clinton were personally responsible for more than 80 political murders

Okay, so we’ve outlawed literacy tests, poll taxes, and other obstacles to voting. But what about a sanity test?

I’m all for it.

Yep, we’re back here for the time being.

The spanking new Ryder website is…, well, it’s somewhere. While Peter LoPilato and his army of computer geeks perfect the new site, we’ll be running Bloomington’s best events listings here, again.

Enjoy.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

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

MUSIC FESTIVAL ◗ Downtown Bloomington, various locationsLotus World Music & Arts Festival; though Sunday, September 23rd, various times, today’s lineups:

Buskirk Chumley Theater:

  • Deolinda; 7pm
  • Deolinda; 8:45pm
  • Karen Casey & John Doyle with the Vallely Bros.; 10:30pm

First United Methodist Church:

  • Vida; 7:30pm
  • JPP; 8:45pm
  • Galant, Tu Perds Ton Temps; 10:30pm

Ivy Tech Tent:

  • Panorama Jazz Band; 7pm
  • Daniel Kahn & the Painted Bird; 8:45pm
  • Delhi 2 Dublin; 10:30pm

IU Tent:

  • MC Rai; 7pm
  • Canteca de Macao; 8:45pm
  • Movits!; 10:30pm

First Presbyterian Church:

  • May Monday; 7pm
  • Keith Terry & Evie Ladin; 8:45pm
  • Trio Brasileiro; 10:30pm

Jake’s Nightclub:

  • Fishtank Ensemble; 7:30pm
  • Taj Weekes & Adowa; 10pm

MUSIC FESTIVAL ◗ Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park & Campground38th Annual Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame & Uncle Pen Days; through Saturday, September 22nd, today’s acts:

  • Dr. Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, Paul Williams & the Victory Trio, JD CRowe & the New South, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, Larry Stephenson Band, Tommy Brown & the County Line Grass, Don Stanley & Middle Creek

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

WORKSHOP & RETREAT ◗ Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterWhat Is Natural — And What Seems To Go Against Nature?,” led by Ani Choekye; 10am-4:30pm

WINE & MUSIC ◗ Oliver WineryHarvest Wine Festival, wine-tasting, tour of the vineyard, and live performances:

  • Monika Herzig; Noon-2pm
  • Not Too Bad Bluegrass Band; 2:30-4:30pm
  • Jon Strahl Band; 5-7pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Sleepwalking with Me;” 3pm

FOOD & MUSIC ◗ First Presbyterian Church of Bloomington — 3rd Annual Eat Around the Equator, dishes from Nicaragua, performances by Don’t Call Me Betty, Evan Main & Stefan Lenthe, Hank Ruff; 4-6:30pm

WINE & MUSIC ◗ Owen Valley Winery, SpencerMusic in the Graden Series: The Davis Harlow Project; 5-8pm

FILM ◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “The Imposter;” 6:15pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Old Dog;” 6:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Meet the Fokkens;” 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleLittle Merrie Simmons, 7-9pm

STAGE ◗ IU Halls TheatreDrama, “When the Rain Stops Falling;” 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Bloomington High School NorthBloomington Symphony Orchestra presents “Mustaches & Melodies,” compositions by Brahms, Fauré, & Dvorak; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Brown County Playhouse, NashvilleFred Jones Band, Shelflife; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Rachael’s CafeXoe Wise; 7:30-8:30pm

OPERA ◗ IU Musical Arts Center — “Don Giovanni;” 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Woodburn Hall Theater Ryder Film Series: “Marina Abramovic: The Artists Is Present;” 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubGordon Bonham Blues Band; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoPost Modern Jazz Quartet; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Palace Theatre of Brown CountyConcert saluting the 60th anniversary of Sun Records, starring Robert Shaw and the Lonely Street Band; 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial UnionUB Films: “The Amazing Spiderman;” 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceIndiana Boys, White Lightning Boys; 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls;” 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Bear’s PlaceUp Draft, Text Auction; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdMain Squeeze; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopDinosaur Feathers, Shark, Firemoose; 9pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Neighboring Sounds;” 9:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial UnionUB Films: “The Amazing Spiderman;”11pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “The Bolognese School,” by Annibale & Agostino Carracci, through September 16th
  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • “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

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • What It Means to Be Human,” by Michele Heather Pollock; through September 29th
  • Land and Water,” by Ruth Kelly; through September 29th

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit:

  • Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection;” through September 21st

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

ART ◗ Boxcar BooksExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Papercuts by Ned Powell; through September

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

“People are strange.” — Robby Krieger & Jim Morrison

I MEAN REALLY, REALLY STRANGE

[A note from Big Mike: I can’t properly illustrate this screed and still have you read it at work. You’ll understand why in a moment. So I’ve decided to drop in photos here and there that, after a fashion, are exceedingly appropriate. Now, read on.]

A friend dropped in for a visit at The Book Corner yesterday afternoon. We fell into a discussion about the ridiculous things people do and think.

It occurred to me that I’d written about what is probably the absolutely weirdest new rage Wednesday.

Me: So, didja read my post about anal tattoos last week?

My friend: Oh yeah. And people are getting anal bleaches, too.

I slapped my forehead. I’d forgotten all about anal bleaching.

Now, if talk of the most hidden part of the human anatomy might make you feel a tad shivery, well, steel yourself, kiddies. This is an issue that must be addressed.

Donald Trump

Why in god’s holy name would people on this good Earth be thinking so much about their sphincters that they’d want to redecorate them?

Do they feel a tattoo or a bleach will make the geography in question look, um, less anal?

I mean, how pretty can you make one of those things?

And who is the acknowledged arbiter of anal prettiness?

Kim Kardashian

I don’t suspect Elle or Vogue or Self magazines have staffers assigned to the anal beat. Definitely not O — although that would be perfect on several levels. Ladies Home Journal? Nah.

So the standards for the esthetic appearance of your anus are, apparently, solely your own. In that case, why wouldn’t you simply say, Hey, it looks fine just the way it is?

I’m trying to get my brain wrapped around this thing but it isn’t easy at all.

At what point in your life do you say, Golly gee, my anus needs a makeover?

Rush Limbaugh

And think of how difficult it can be to inspect your down under region so that you might come to that conclusion.

There are living, breathing human beings in this holy land who have sighed, For goodness sakes, my anus is too dark; I’m in urgent need of a bleaching.

Some go one step further and announce, Y’know, I’d really be the talk of the neighborhood if I got a tattoo down there. I bet a floral wreath would do the trick. A nice tulip, forsythia and dogwood. I’ll be the envy of the block.

I’m puzzled by so many things my fellow species-mates do. Some believe there’s an all-powerful guy in the sky who helps you find your lost keys but, oddly, forgets to stop the tsunami headed for Indonesia. Others are certain Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs.

Michele Bachmann

I see guys coming into Soma Coffee who have inserted wide plugs or spools into their earlobes. I knew a guy from a previous coffeehouse hangout of mine who actually had the fleshy part between his Achilles tendon and lower leg bones pierced.

Some people get sticks stuck through their nasal septa.

To all of whom I say, Have at it, as long as you understand you’ll never work anyplace that requires a hiring interview.

These people are so eager to let the world know that they are contemptuous of normality that they’ll mutilate themselves to prove it. Again, fine. I, too, am contemptuous of normality. Only I’m too chicken to stick a bone through my nose.

But the woman who gets star-stuck or aspires to have her dark spider turned vanilla has a very limited audience for her statement of rebellion or beautification, as the case may be.

Does she hope a lover might spy her freshly bleached channel and think, Hmm, now here’s a woman who covers all her bases?

Does he say, Man, am I lucky! I was afraid I’d catch a terrifying glimpse of a flesh-tone anus?

Perhaps the woman honestly believes she might hold on to a good man if she displays a wreathed or whitened entrance. If that’s the case, she’s clearly showing him the best part of herself.

LIKE THEY SAID

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.”

XKCD: “What If?”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

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.

Click For Full Article

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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

People’s ParkLunch Concert Series: The Gospel Gurlz; 11:30am

◗ Madison Street between 6th and 7th streets — Tuesday Farmers Market; 4-7pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsMegan Richards presents “The Art of the TC Steele State Historic Site”; 5:30pm

Unitarian Universalist ChurchAuditions for the Bloomington Chamber Singers; 5:30pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — David Miller; 6-8:30pm

◗ IU Neal-Marshall Black Culture CenterAuditions for the African American Dance Company; 7pm

Unitarian Universalist ChurchEducation and skill-training for caregivers presented by the National Alliance on Mental Illness; 7pm

First United Methodist ChurchAuditions for the Quarryland Men’s Chorus; 7:30pm

The Player’s PubBlues Jam hosted by Cliff and the Guardrails; 8pm

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

Max’s PlaceComics night; 8pm

The BishopSecret Cities, Legs; 9pm

Bear’s PlaceVictor & Penny; 9pm

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:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th

  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th 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 CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

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

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