Category Archives: The Daily Beast

The Pencil Today:


“Craziness is like heaven.” — Jimi Hendrix


Alright, things are starting to get a little wacky around here now.

The Herald Times yesterday ran a story (paywall) on a “real life exorcist.” Okay, it’s Hallowe’en season and all that but I don’t see this city’s daily paper running a piece on a real life vampire who rises from the dead at night. Nor have I seen even a small feature on a wolfman or Frankenstein’s monster.

What gives?

This is on top of Newsweek mag bannering “Heaven Is Real” on its cover last week.

A neurosurgeon named Dr. Eben Alexander writes in the newsweekly that he fell into a coma and went to heaven. The mag and its sister online pub, The Daily Beast, are treating his assertion as, well, gospel. The Huffington Post is all gaga over Eben as well. Fox News, natch, is slobbering all over itself covering this “news.”

Now Alexander says he’s going to devote the rest of his life to the study of the afterlife.

Gawker calls it “possibly the most embarrassing cover story Newsweek has ever run.”

One question: Why do all these near-death afterlife experiencers go to heaven? Don’t sinners have near-death experiences?

What if Charles Manson came out of a coma and swore up and down he’d seen Beelzebub? And since Manson’s an unrepentant mortal sinner, might he then say, “Hey man, I dig hell. I can’t wait to go back permanently.” How would Newsweek and The Daily Beast cover that?

What About Hell?

What if…, aw, hell with it. I’m gonna go pop open “The God Delusion.”


Get ready to have the bejesus scared out of you this coming weekend.

The Dark Carnival Film Festival will haunt Bear’s Place Friday night, the 19th, and the Buskirk Chumley Theater, Saturday and Sunday.

Here’s the lineup for the fest:

Friday at Bear’s Place

  • 8pm: “Found,” directed by Scott Schirmer, plus Bear’s Annual Costume Contest

Saturday at the Buskirk Chumley

  • 2pm: Festival Introduction
  • 2:05pm: 4 films — “Dummy,” “The Keeper,” “Vadim,” & “Zero Killed”
  • 4:50pm: Lacore Valmon Circus, Live aerial performance
  • 5pm: 6 films — “Other,” “Once Upon a Liver,” “Seamstress,” “Transmission,” “Attack of the Brainsuckers,” & “Nailbiter”
  • 8pm: Lacore Valmon Circus, Live sideshow performance
  • 8:20: 6 films — “All Men Are Called Robert,” “Bariku Light,” “The Last Day of Harold Fishman,” “Sandwich Crazy,” “Hell’s Belles,” & Video Diary of a Lost Girl”

Sunday at the Buskirk Chumley

  • 1:30pm: 5 films — “Mother Died,” “Chompers,” “Shine,” “Roman’s Ark,” & Harsh Light of Day”
  • 3:45pm: 4 films — “Lovebug,” “Weight of Emptyness,” Firelight,” Feature TBA


Speaking of the Buskirk Chumley, you’ve only got two weeks left to get tix for the Indigo Girls, who ought to draw just as a rabid a crowd as Richard Thompson did last month. The IGs will hit the stage on Friday, November 2nd.

You’ve got two and a half months get purchase ducats for Emmylou Harris. She’ll be here Monday, January 2, 2013.

Did I just type 2013? Sheesh!

BTW: Emmylou Harris is 65 freaking years old and she’s still hot as a pistol. What’s she eating for breakfast and can I get some of it?

Harris — Hot


Yep, one of the late John Hughes‘ fave bands.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Monday, October 15th, 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

LECTURE ◗ IU Memorial Union, State Room EastBranigan Lectures Series: “Detroit: Then & Now,” Presented by Tiya Miles; 4pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallDoctoral Recital, Douglas Olenik on tuba; 5pm

POLITICS ◗ City Hall, Showers BuildingMonroe County Schools Corporation board candidates forum, Presented by Indiana Coalition for Public Education; 7-9pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallMartha Herr, soprano; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallDoctoral Recital, Nina Zhou on piano; 8pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Musical Arts Center, Room 454David Baker; 8:30pm

CLASS ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryIU Lifelong Learning Series: “On the Brink of Destruction: The Cuban Missile Crisis 50 Years Out“; 7-8:30pm

READINGS ◗ IU Neal-Marshall Black Culture CenterNancy Shoenberger & Sam Kashner, Presented by the Writers Guild at Bloomington; 7pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Boys Don’t Cry“; 7pm

VARIETY ◗ Cafe DjangoBloomington Short List, Ten-minute acts, Hosted by Marta Jasicki; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleBarbara McGuire; 7-9pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubSongwriter Showcase: ; 8pm


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:

The Pencil Today:


“Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.” — Yogi Berra


Okay, the Republican presidential primary race has officially turned psychotic.

Apparently, the closeted candidate, Rick Santorum, has passed the mannequin candidate, Mitt Romney, as the frontrunner for the nomination.

That’s scary enough in and of itself. What makes this shift in standings even more petrifying is the Romney camp’s reaction to it. According to political reporter Ben Jacobs in The Daily Beast, the Romney brain trust will now go all out in attacking Santorum and one of the biggest guns in its arsenal will be — oh, my aching head! — Santorum’s liberal voting record in Congress.

Liberal voting record!

Are these people out of their freaking minds?

I mean, I understand that Romney’s trying to prove he can be just as antediluvian as the next Republican but saying the words liberal and Santorum in the same sentence is about as ludicrous as pairing the terms Trump and decent human being.

Romney’s gang can’t be expected to fry Santorum over his twin preoccupations with homosexuals and women who insist that they have the right to enjoy sex. That is, not if he wants to have a prayer of gaining even one vote from a certain GOP base that sits around in its own flatulence from morning till night grumbling about fags and strumpets.

And he really can’t challenge Santorum on his other stances, which include building a wall on the US-Mexican border, privatization of Social Security, denial of climate change, his “drill everywhere” energy policy, his view that there is no right to privacy, and his embrace of “intelligent design.”

No, Romney can’t hit Santorum with those clubs because they are the weapons the Republicans have used successfully to bludgeon the sane among the electorate for a good 35 years now.

So Romney has to concoct a different kind of evil Santorum — and what’s more satanic than a liberal?


I don’t know how the Romney boys are going to do it. Perhaps they’ll accuse Santorum of being soft on teenaged masturbation. They may even charge Santorum’s wife with buying a loaf of organic bread once.

I suppose this new strategy may work, though. Just uttering the word liberal in a roomful of Republicans makes them all break out in hives.

Still, it’ll be a tough sell. For pity’s sake, Santorum himself once even wrote that liberalism was to blame for the Catholic priest sex scandals.


The IDS carries a compelling piece this morning on the pressures ballet students face to remain whisper-thin.

It’s been well-documented that many teenaged aspiring ballerinas fall victim to eating disorders.

Women have started to rebel against unrealistic body images imposed on them by fashion mavens, dance teachers, gymnastics coaches, and panting frat boys. But the blowback apparently hasn’t reached all corners of the distaff population as yet.

Still, it heartens me to see women like Adele make it big on world stage.

She is, after all, considered, well, large.

Imagine that.

How dare she try to entertain us when she can’t even hide the fact that she doesn’t try to throw up every spoonful of yogurt she’s ever put in her mouth?

Now, the truth is Adele was a rather chubby young girl and even after she became a star she remained curvy. But of late, she seems to have slimmed down considerably, no doubt thanks to the constant harping of jerk record executives and verminous PR people.

But she’s no scarecrow as of yet so the tastemakers still cluck their tongues over her mass. Honest, even the seemingly almighty Oprah Winfrey was bullied into shedding excess padding by Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

“Stop Eating; That’s An Order.”

I’ve got a bit of advice for my female friends. Whenever people criticize your form, tell them what I tell people who are idiotic, insulting, and insensitive: “Kiss my fat ass!”


Generally, I’d prefer to hear a corrupt judge sentence me to the electric chair than any hip-hop music but this 1992 hit by Sir Mix-A-Lot fits perfectly here.

After this, I promise I’ll never post another rap, hip-hop, or house song again.

The Pencil Today:


“Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they’ve stolen.” — Mort Sahl


The day before yet another Republican primary, this one in Florida.

As always — I repeat, always; I mean it, always — Big Media is doing remotes from a bunch of heretofore unknown sandwich shops and church basements that the various candidates will visit to ask voters whom they’ll, um, vote for tomorrow.

And danged if the intrepid reporters invariably pick out the same kind of yokel: Well, uh, I haven’t made up my mind yet, and so on, ad nauseam.

Come on, people! There’ve been 373 debates within the last week alone. Moon Newt and Rich Mitt have been in the public eye for years. The issues they’ve skirted have been with us since time immemorial.

Who Are These Guys?

How on Earth can you not know who to vote for tomorrow?

Sometimes people say they need to actually see the candidates — with their naked eyes — before they can decide.

Look, neither the Republican candidate nor the eventual president is going to sit down with you and balance your checkbook, nor is he going to do your windows or vacuum your carpet. He’s going to be administering a government of 300-odd million people. You’re merely one of them.

He doesn’t have to visit with you personally in order to get your vote.

Sheesh, don’t people get it?


If you’re not decrying the split between liberals and conservatives within this holy land these days, you’ll be accused of not paying attention. Many wags and wonks say the gulf is tearing our nation apart and is either created or exacerbated by the corporate media in order to provide content for its infotainment product.


But a recent study by University of Nebraska researchers indicates that liberals and conservatives react differently, and viscerally, to images of good and bad things. The researchers conclude that liberalism and conservatism may be driven more by biology than any analysis of issues.

Conservatives, the study finds, physically react more strongly to pictures of car crashes and flesh wounds whereas liberals react more to pretty, peaceful scenes.

In other words the right is spurred on by peril, the left by bonhomie.

This Ought To Push A Liberal’s Buttons

Those on the right, the researchers also found, exhibit more dramatic physiological reactions when shown pictures of Democrats than they do when shown Republicans. Oddly, liberals respond the same way. The researchers see this as further proof that conservatives are kicked into higher emotional gear by things they loathe or fear while libs are just the opposite.


It’s not much of a stretch to suppose that Republicans, therefore, are stimulated more by attack ads and fear-mongering.

So, don’t expect the pissing match between Moon Newt and Rich Mitt to peter out any time soon. And then look for even more thrills and spills come September and October.


Abby Tonsing of the Herald Times pointed out yesterday that Lauren Spierer turned 21 on January 12th.

The missing IU student’s parents, Charlene and Robert Spierer, still believe the male students who reportedly saw Lauren in the hours and moments before she disappeared on June 3rd have more information that they’re not sharing.

Daddy-o Robert called the story one of the boys told police “laughable.”

Lauren, On A Previous Birthday

I still can’t figure out why the four male IU students identified as having spent time with her before she vanished are all lawyered up. Then again, former assistant county prosecutor Maryann Pelic tells me it’s the smart thing for them to do (and she’s not at all implying they have anything to hide.)


So, the trial of the two idiots who sat on their hands when news of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s sex crimes was reported to them will soon begin.

To refresh your memory, another assistant coach allegedly saw Sandusky naked in the football shower room engaging in anal intercourse with what appeared to be a naked 10-year-old boy. The assistant coach reported what he saw to head football coach Joe Paterno who, in turn, reported it to a couple of paper shufflers in the PSU athletic department.

Paterno promptly washed his hands of the whole affair, convinced he’d done everything he was legally obliged to do. Apparently, he was satisfied with doing next to nothing.

The two paper shufflers now face charges of failure to report a child sex crime to the police and lying about what they knew to a grand jury.

Sandusky has been charged with 50 counts of having sex with young boys.

Paterno died last weekend of lung cancer and the Penn State community came out to tell the world what a great guy he was, what a leader of men, what a moral beacon, and tons of other holy horseshit.

But when the scandal broke it was learned that Paterno allowed Sandusky to continue to use Penn Sate facilities for years after the great man was told about the shower incident. Despite being retired from the football program, Sandusky was allowed to keep an office in the football hall and kept bringing prepubescent boys to the place at all hours.

Paterno, apparently, never raised a peep about the creepy set-up. We know for a fact he never stopped any of it from happening. And, believe me, Paterno could have stopped it all — at least within the hallowed halls of the football facility.

Now, defense attorneys for the two paper shufflers seem to be focused on how all the fine, upstanding men involved in this case were afraid to use actual words to describe what Sandusky allegedly had done.

The defense attorneys are hoping a jury agrees that by the time the story got to the two university officials, it had been so watered down by skittish football men that it didn’t even sound like a crime anymore.

A CNN reporter contacted a couple of experts to decode the whole mess,. Laurie Levenson, who teaches law at Loyola (Los Angeles) University, told the reporter, “Sodomy, rape, and anal intercourse are not easy words for men, especially jocks, to verbalize, and they may become particularly reluctant when they are speaking to authority figures.”

Another expert, Dr. Chuck Williams of Drexel University said, “Being uncomfortable with the subject matter could have led all men involved to minimize the Sandusky mess and avoid confronting it head on.”

Man alive! This whole stinking tale becomes more rancid by the moment. One weekend we’re being told Joe Paterno was one of god’s “greatest gifts to the world,” (by a Catholic priest, no less) and the next we hear that god’s gift is too squeamish to blow the whistle on a child sodomizer.

A former Penn State quarterback called Paterno “the most extraordinary person I know.” But JoePa was not extraordinary enough to say a phrase like “My assistant saw Jerry Sandusky penetrating the anus of a child with his penis.”

There. I just said it. And no one’s calling me extraordinary.

Paterno even had a hard time telling police investigators and prosecutors what he’d heard. His testimony to the grand jury showed a man afraid to say dirty words.

Everyone involved made a choice: don’t say too much because talking about it is icky. The fact that at least one ten-year-old kid had his anus forcibly dilated to an approximate width of two inches did not at all enter into the equation.

Perhaps the best account of this ugly tale was written by Buzz Bissinger, the author of “Friday Night Lights,” in the November 10th edition of The Daily Beast. He wrote, “[W]e need to stop the daintiness and describe the alleged offenses for what they truly are in the vernacular to somehow try to capture the monstrousness. Not anal intercourse or oral sex, which sounds clinical, but butt-fucking and blowjobs and cock-grabbing and pants-groping and other assorted acts that the 67-year-old Sandusky allegedly inflicted on [the victims].”

Big time college sports guys can run fast, jump high, throw balls long distances, or plot out clever plays. But if they’re too grossed out to save a kid from being ravaged, they’re neither brave nor strong.

And they certainly aren’t god’s gift.

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