Category Archives: Stuff & Nonsense

Hot Air: Watching History

This quote making the rounds…


… is utter bullshit. Il Duce (not to be confused with L’il Duce) never said any such thing.

Too bad. I wish he had. It’d be so perfect today.


Either the people who run Rainbow Bakery are among the lousiest, lying-est, reprobate bosses for hundreds of miles around or some bratty kids let their grief drive them to…, well, bratty behavior.

Them’s your choices.

The background: Rainbow is one of our town’s beloved local businesses. They’re as crunchy and kumbaya as a for-profit business can be so they fit into B-town better than a hand in a glove. A couple of old Soma Coffee vets, Taylor and Jerico, are longtime employees. The place bakes up vegan pastries et al that are served at the back office of this communications colossus, Hopscotch Coffee. Owners Lisa Dorazewski and Matt Tobey describe their staff thusly:

We are artists, musicians, poets, comedians, cat ladies, independent publishers, feminists, circuit wizards, linguists, professional humans….

And their customers:

We graciously serve a spectrum of customers – families, kiddos with allergies, students, artists, coffee fiends, townie regulars, vegan bloggers, seasoned hoosiers, golden ladies.

All in all, Rainbow purportedly is everything Bloomington wants in its citizens and entrepreneurs. That is, unless Dorazewski and Tobey are pathological liars and tyrants in sheep’s clothing.

A group calling itself the Feral Pines Revenge Coven has claimed responsibility for vandalizing Rainbow’s physical plant. As a result, the bakery has not produced its usual output of goods for days now. Check out FPRC’s manifesto here.


Glue Attack

To recap, a trans person named Feral Pines used to work at Rainbow. The FPRC claims Pines had been badly mistreated on the job, to wit:

  • “[S]he suffered daily emotional abuse at the hands of her bosses….”
  • Pines “was paid a shitty training wage for the entire time she worked there.”
  • Pines suffered an “emotional breakdown,” partly as a result of her mistreatement
  • Pines was fired, coldly, and left penniless with no chance of collecting unemployment.

The abuse, claims FPRC, came about in part because Pines was trans.

It turns out Feral Pines lost her life in the fire at Oakland’s Ghost Ship fire ten days ago.

FPRC writes in It’s Going Down (a blog for radical hell-raisers):

We will not accept this. We have lived for too long in this town keeping our mouths shut as our friends are exploited by punk bosses. We are asked to pretend that a business is “part of the community” if the capitalists who own it put out some shitty, nasally folk punk record back in the day. This stops now.

Rainbow Bakery fucked with the Troll Queen, and now they will pay. This bit of sabotage is only a taste of what is to come for you goofy-ass muppet motherfuckers. We are going to destroy your business. Nothing will fucking stop us.

If true, these charges are dynamite. They throw everything the Rainbow gang stands for into  a stinking shitpile.

Other local businesses are running scared now. One biz has instructed its employees not to talk about the incident, probably for fear of inciting the FPRC or anyone else like them.

I offer any or all the members of the Feral Pines Revenge Coven the opportunity to state their case, unedited, more specifically in this space. I want proof of your charges.

Then we can argue whether your action was warranted, even if the charges are true. And I’d be just as happy to host that debate here.

TV’s Frank Speaks…, Uh, Frankly

Former Mystery Science Theater 3000 funnyman Frank Connif has turned his attention of late to politics. Here’s his take on the burgeoning Russia-gaming-the-election scandal:

Don’t give me that “Hillary was a bad candidate” bullshit. Real-life Bond villains plotted against her and she still got the most votes.


TV’s Frank

He’s right and he’s wrong — Hillary was a bad candidate inasmuch as the hatred she engendered was fatal. It wasn’t her fault; it was the fault of the haters, natch. Still, if your product makes too many customers want to hork, you’d better get out of the restaurant business.

Break The Chain

Oh yeah, as I typed yesterday, we’ve done it a million times ourselves:


That doesn’t mean, though, we should sit by idly and let it happen to us. Sound unfair? It is. Tough.

Talking. Big.

Here’s the link for this past Thursday’s Big Talk with restoration architect Cindy Brubaker. And go here for the slightly-edited original interview with her.


BTW: Cindy’ll be the subject of my next Big Mike’s B-town column in the Limestone Post. I’ll link to that just as soon as it’s published. Y’know, like, I gotta write it first, see?

This afternoon, it’s back into the studio again as I grill actor and drama teacher Francesca Sobrer. Tune in Thursday at 5:45pm to WFHB 91.3 for this week’s Big Talk.

You wanna know something? I dig doing this stuff!

[ALERT: The WFHB News Dept. will be running its annual end-of-year best stories compilation every weekday for three weeks beginning a week from today, Monday, the 19th. That means there’ll be no Big Talks after Thursday’s edition until January 12th. That doesn’t mean the Pencil’s going away. so even though you get a respite from my voice, you’ll still have to endure my keyboard ramblings. Good luck.]

And Finally…

Re: The constant barrage of soc. med. posts pointing out every single laughable, cryable, head-scratching, rage-inducing appointment L’il Duce makes, every brainless, witless pronouncement he utters, and every wrong-headed policy he trumpets, is wearing awfully thin.

Dig: We’re all standing here looking at the forest. For months, we’ve known we were going to take a field trip to look at the forest. We’ve read books and articles and seen videos and docs about the forest. What in the hell good does it do us to keep pointing and saying “Look, another tree!”

The forest is rotting and it’s on fire. The more important  topic should be: What are we going to do about it?

Hot Air: Flotsam & Jetsam

Intake & Output

I’ve got a lot of things on my mind, as always. None of them vital, all of them pressing.

  1. Let’s all get together and apply pressure on Linda Oblack to take her “Goings on at My Place” and her “Today on My Morning Walk…” bits and put them where they belong — on their own interwebs address, something like this one. If you think The Pencil is a global communications colossus, wait’ll you see the following that dame is gonna have when she goes full-out blog with her brilliant, insightful, whimsical, and indispensable daily observations. Lemme put it frankly: If you don’t love Linda Oblack you’re incapable of feeling the emotion.
  2. I’ve just discovered the coolest science show on television. Called Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey, it’s a BBC2 production, now on Netflix, and it’s revolutionary. Why? ‘Cause it’s hosted by two women, the physicist Dr. Helen Czerski and wildlife/science geek Kate Humble. The latter also describes herself as a “naturist,” (I’ll explain in a bit * ). Anyway, the two talk about the very simple — yet amazingly complex in its implications and effects — orbit of the Earth around the Sun. Our climate, our animal populations and migrations, even our civilizations are profoundly effected by the vagaries of our little world’s yearly trip around our star. And the best thing about the programme (oh, those Brits!) is, it’s two women doing the talking, location shooting, experimentation, et cetera. Huzzah for females in the hard sciences! May there be scads more as we inch further into the 21st Century.
  3. Both The Loved One and I have sisters weathering the big blow in Florida this weekend. I spoke with my sis, Charlotte, last night. She had a houseful — two of her kids, a grandkid, and all their respective mates — were hunkering down in her Boca Raton crib, which C. described as dark as a tomb thanks to the storm shutters blocking all outside light. I spoke w/ her at about 6pm; she said the storm was due to hit at about 8:40. Now I won’t hear from her until her power goes back on sometime in the future. TLO’s sis Deanna and her squeeze are battening down the hatches just outside Cape Canaveral, which is getting slammed this AM as I type. If the worst that happens is they lose some tiles from their roofs, we’ll all be lucky. BTW: Czerski & Humble’s Orbit has a lot of dope on how our elliptical path through space actually makes hurricanes happen, thanks to the Coriolis Effect.
  4. The Loved One and I enjoyed a delicious Lou Malnati’s pizza — cheese and sausage, of course — yesterday eve, thanks to the modern wonders of air-freight delivery and the home freezer. Loyal Pencillista, The Lake County Republican, AKA David Paglis, sent us a couple of LM pies via UPS back when I was starting chemoradiation therapy in February. TLO dug the bejesus out of the deep-dish and I was not nauseated — a great step forward considering the very idea of tomato sauce and cheese hitting my cisplatin-damaged maw actually made me want to retch a mere few months ago. Yay for me. And thanks, you old GOP-er.
  5. My beloved Cubs begin their march toward destiny this PM as they welcome the San Francisco Giants to heaven on Earth — Wrigley Field — for Game One of the 2016 National League Division Series. TLO & I will be staking out a front row bar seat at Nick’s English Hut for the 9pm (8 CDT) first pitch. Sorry, Teresa Swift et al, but you Bay denizens had better keep a big supply of Kleenex™ on hand for all the weeping y’all are gonna be doing over the next week.
  6. * “Naturist” is a more continental appellation for nudist. The term, though, implies far more than the shedding of clothes. Humble, a proud naturist, said in a Daily Telegraph article (no link, sorry), that walking around her English countryside farm bare as the day she was born is the perfect way to “get close to nature.” She adds, “Everyone should try it.” The comments under the Telegraph piece were evenly split between men and woman; the dudes, natch, made all manner of cracks about how she was more than welcome to traipse around their backyards any time she wished and the females tended toward self-deprecation, as in this example: “No thanks, as a community service I will keep my clothes on — mainly to avoid people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress from the shock!”


Check out Betsy Stirratt‘s “Space and Volume” exhibit at Nashville (IN)’s Red Arrow Gallery. The opening reception is tomorrow night from 6-9pm.


Abject II

Oil on Panel
2014, Betsy Stirratt

Betsy will join me in the WFHB studios Monday afternoon for the taping of next week’s Big Talk feature on the Daily Local News.

And speaking of Big Talk, here’s the link to yesterday’s show, with my guests playwrights Dr. Gladys DeVane and Liz Watford-Mitchell and director Danielle Bruce. The three will stage the historical, multi-media presentation, “Resilience: Indiana’s Untold Story,” a pastiche of recollections of the black experience in the Hoosier State. The play runs Oct. 14-16 at the John Waldron Arts Center. Get your ducats at the Buskirk-Chumley Box Office — just don’t go to the BCT the night of the show, savvy?

Big Talk Logo Usable Screen Shot

Publish Or Perish

Set the alarm for 7am tomorrow. Otherwise you might miss my pal Shayne Laughter‘s big piece on WFIU’s Café Indiana program. Café honcho Yael Ksander is giving the entire half-hour cultural arts show over to Laughter who looks at the scary world of book publishing from the author’s POV.



Laughter herself wrote Yu: A Ross Lamos Mystery.


Shayne’ll delve into both the traditional and self-publishing routes with a special glance at Bloomington’s own AuthorHouse (now owned by Penguin Random House), a noted pay-for-play outfit. Her guests will include the scribes Annette Oppenlander, Claire Arbogast, Kalynn Huffman Brower, and Terry Pinaud.