Category Archives: Todd Young

Hot Air: Advice For BS… And More

Personal To The Winner Of The Indiana Primary

Bernie, baby, please, please, please: Start organizing a slate of allies running for US Congress, governorships, statehouses, city halls, county boards, and dogcatchers.

Who are your cohorts? Who will help you make this hugely popular so-called revolution happen? The real revolution only will come when your ideas, your aims, will be put into effect across the nation by legislators and political executives all the way down to the most local levels.

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Who Are You With? Who’s With You?

I want to know who’s going to push through your revolution. I want to know who’s going to make the revolution an official part of the Democratic Party platform. Start acting like the effective leader of a movement. Make my vote for you count.

Shelli!

Congrats to Shelli Yoder who took the Dem nom for Bloomington et al’s 9th District US Congress seat. I like her. I also like the fact that Todd Young, who benefitted from the Tea Party mania that remade Congress in 2010, won’t be in the House come January. I worry, though, he may simply walk down the hall to get sworn in to the Senate.

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Yoder, Left

I can only hope the apparent coronation of America’s Shart, Donald Trump, as the Republican standard bearer in November, will depress GOP turnout and sabotage the hopes and dreams of Young and the rest of his Me Party brethren and sisteren.

Civil War

This day, 46 years ago, student protestors faced off against Ohio National Guardsmen on the campus of Kent State University. By the time the confrontation was over, four people were dead and nine wounded.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young even got a hit song out of the affair:

The killing of students and other protestors appalled Americans, natch. That’s the myth we’ve come to believe. What we forget is the sheer numbers of citizens of this holy land who cheered the shootings and said the scruffy “unpatriotic” kids got just what they deserved. That swath of the Murrican electorate went on to help reelect unindicted co-conspirator and noted psychological piece of work Dick Nixon in one of the greatest landslides in the history of the United States.

Another thing we like to forget is the killing of two students on the campus of Jackson State University in Mississippi just eleven days later. Jackson State, like many campuses around the nation at the time, was beset by upheaval, including vandalism, arson, and attacks on uniformed law enforcement officers and firemen. The dramatic lawbreakers squeezed out the many more serious protestors, civil rights activists, and war resistors for news media attention. As at Kent State, authorities were itching to respond to the lot of them with overwhelming force and on the evening of May 11th, 1970, they did so. Some 40 Jackson city cops and Mississippi state patrolmen opened fire with shotguns and sidearms at a women’s dormitory building, killing two and injuring a dozen. Police claimed they’d been fired upon first by a sniper from a window in the high rise but a subsequent investigation found no evidence that any shots had come from the dormitory.

Mind you, this incident occurred long before the Black Lives Matter movement so the dead and injured were swiftly forgotten. They were black. The Kent State kids, OTOH, were white and so they live on in our collective memory. Such a shame, bleeding hearts may say, that youngsters had been cut down in their idealistic youth. Hardliners say, well…, you know what the hardliners have said for some five decades now.

No pop or rock stars, BTW, managed to get themselves a hit thanks to the Jackson State killings.

Winning For Losing

If Hillary is indeed the Dem frontrunner, as many wits and wags continue to insist on believing, she’s the most inept frontrunner I’ve ever seen.

I guess I grasp her supposed strategy: She and her strategists are certain they’ve got the Dem nom all wrapped up so they’re forgoing expending any time, energy, and — most important — dough on state primaries that’ll do little to pad her delegate numbers. Still, the seemingly constant onslaught of primary and caucus losses makes her look like nothing more than a loser. And believe me, her GOP opponent, Donald Trump (by god in heaven, I still can’t believe reality compels me to type those words) will hammer her with the L word every day and night from now through November.

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Strategist

No matter what makes strategic sense, anybody involved in a competition must maintain at least the appearance of, y’know, competing. How do Hillary’s various state volunteers and paid campaign workers continue to give their all when their candidate is shrugging her shoulders? Will Hill and her peeps be able to ramp up their ardor and work habits when crunch time comes versus America’s Shart?

Hillary’s likely to beat Trump in the general election. Or maybe that’s just me whistling past the graveyard. I dunno. What I do know is this 2016 presidential beauty contest is the most depressing, uninspiring national race I’ve ever seen. It certainly is no good advertisement for democracy.

Close One

My beloved hometown, Chicago, just may be losing its chance to be the site of a proposed George Lucas museum on the lakefront. Plans had called for the razing of the oldest of the McCormick Place exposition facilities, the Lakeside Center, and the construction in its stead of a modernistic-looking home for the paean to the man who imposed Star Wars upon the human culture.

I saw the original Star Wars at a movie theater in the summer of 1977 when it came out. I remember next to nothing about it other than understanding it was a cowboys and Indians picture set in the distant future. I’m not anti-Star Wars; I only suggest it was only a nice little light entertainment that helped me pass the time one night. Some people take a harsher view on what has became an American — and world — cultural touchpoint. Historian Rick Perlstein posits that Star Wars, along with the original Rocky, helped transform us into a nation of pollyannish eight-year-olds. Me? I figure we’d been eight-years-olds for decades before Han Solo and Princess Leia became known to every human being, dog, higher primate, and parrot in existence.

George-Lucas-Star-Wars-TV-show

Lucas, Right

Not that I dismiss Lucas out of hand. His American Graffiti was a revolutionary film, its continuous oldies pop hits soundtrack changing the way directors have made movies to this day. Now, rather than depend on old school mechanisms like story, character development, editing, or visual makeup of the scene (mise en scène), a movie’s music consultant simply plugs in an appropriate chestnut from our hazy, dreamy past to convey mood and advance narrative. AG‘s slice-of-life, featuring and glorifying otherwise utterly unremarkable high school kids, set the stage for scads of knock offs — some even far superior to Lucas’s effort; Barry Levinson’s Diner, for instance. We now gladly accept spending a couple of hours and upward of $15 skins a ticket to see hundred-million-dollar productions about people normally no more interesting than your thirty-something niece, her boyfriend, and their circle of friends. Call it the triumph of the humdrum if you’re a cynic; a long-needed celebration of the common folk if you’re…, well, a pollyanna.

Lucas became this era’s Frank Capra, another director whom I’ll grant was proficient and worthy of attention, but — like Lucas — spoonfed us happy horseshit, blurring the line between what we wished we were and what we are.

Since Lucas has been elevated to the Capra pantheon level, he’s become a zillionaire. He and his wife decided they should fund the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and staged a little competition between cities for the honor of hosting it. Chicago “won.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel took a break from fighting school teachers and enriching his Wall Street and LaSalle Street pals and granted the Lucases prime real estate on the city’s world-renowned lakefront for their ego monument.

When the original McCormick Place was built on the shores of Lake Michigan back in the late 1950s, public-spirited citizens kicked and hollered, citing architect and city planner Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan for Chicago. The Burnham plan, co-authored with Edward Bennett, called for Chi. to become a “Paris on the Prairie” with parks within walking distance of every citizen’s home and — the key here — a lakefront that would forever be free and clear of industry and development. Burnham and Bennett saw the lakefront as a lush green collar on the shimmering lake, open to all, its views unimpeded by smokestacks or ritzy apartment buildings.

But Chicago Tribune publisher Col. Robert McCormick and then-mayor Richard J. Daley wanted the huge exposition hall built on the lakefront at 22nd Street so Daniel Burnham, Edward Bennett, and public-spirited citizens be damned. Today, the Lakeside Center sits next to the water like a steel and glass aircraft carrier in drydock.

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McCormick Place Lakeside Center

(The original McCormick Place exposition hall, BTW, was destroyed in a spectacular late night fire in January, 1967, the second greatest conflagration in the city’s history next to the Great Chicago Fire, and was replaced by a more modern structure in 1971.)

The almost-original McC. Place hall is woefully out of date, so say the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority bureaucrats who run the place. Tear it down they say, most likely cued from offstage by Rahm. The Lucases appeared out of nowhere and last year granted Chi. the privilege of being home to their homage to himself. We’ve got just the site for you, Rahm told them, grinning.

Now, the Friends of the Parks, another gang of public-spirited citizens, one that carries a bit of clout as well, has filed suit in federal court to prevent the construction of the museum. If the Lakeside Center is to be torn down, many suggest, why, there’s our opportunity to reopen that stretch of the lakefront per Burnham and Bennett’s vision.

Lucas’s wife, Mellody Hobson, is a big shot, high-rolling investment banker who serves on the boards of Starbucks, the Sundance Institute, Estee Lauder, and DreamWorks. And, man, is she ticked off. Hell, she complained yesterday, the poor little “black and brown children” of Chicago will suffer now because they won’t get to go downtown to see exhibits on great modern art. To which, obviously, she’s referring to movies like Antz, American Beauty, Shrek, and the forthcoming Ready Player One. All of which have been or are being produced by DreamWorks. Did I mention Hobson sits on the DreamWorks board?

Anyway, she says she and her hubby are taking their ball and going home. “We are now seriously pursuing locations outside Chicago,” she told the Tribune yesterday.

Good. Take your monument to your husband and your favorite movie production company’s movies and go somewhere else. This is the second bullet Chicago has dodged in the last few years. The first being the decision of the International Olympic Committee not to grant the 2016 Games to the city back in 2009.

There are world class cultural institutions and there are international quadrennial events. There are, too, monumental headaches and blights on the city’s front yard. Chicago can do quite well without the latter two.

May 4th Birthdays

Bartolomeo Cristofori — Invented the piano around the turn of the 18th Century. Acc’d’g to one history, Cristofori wanted to name his invention the arpicembalo. Lucky for us he didn’t get his way.

2(30)

Audrey Hepburn — The only actress who could have played Holly Golightly.

Audrey-Hepburn-holly-golightly-3136174-520-320

Pia Zadora — Child star of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and, later, a much-maligned grown-up actress and slightly-less-criticized singer.

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Zadora, Right

Will Arnett — GOB

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GOB, Left, With Buster

Erin Andrews — ESPN sportscasting figure who was surreptitiously videoed in the nude through a peephole in her Nashville, Tennessee, hotel room. The video went viral and Andrews suffered emotional trauma. This past March she won a $55 million judgement against the hotel chain (hotel employees had provided the videotaper the dates and times she’d be staying). The videotaper, a weasel named Michael Barrett, was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

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The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Denial of evolution is unique to the United States…. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back…. The idea of deep time, of billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy.” — Bill Nye, The Science Guy

SUCKERS

So, the big news in Bill Nye’s life of late is not that fundamentalist Christians had apoplexy after he said evolution deniers ought spare their children their particular brand of lunacy, but that he was reported dead.

Yep. People who Tweet (or, as we used to refer to them, zombies) went gaga over the TV science geek’s purported demise this week. Denials had to be issued and refutations blared far and wide.

And — wouldn’t you know it? — an Onion article started the whole thing.

The Onion, August 23, 2012

I can’t believe there’s anyone left in this holy land who doesn’t know what The Onion is all about.

Then again, it’s almost as hard for me to believe that 46 percent of Americans don’t believe in evolution.

I’M NOT SPEAKING TO YOU

The IDS reports that the Yoder and Young campaigns are throwing darts at each other over a proposed series of debates that doesn’t seem any nearer to reality than when it was first floated a month ago.

Democratic challenger Shelli Yoder called on Republican incumbent Todd Young to meet her in a series of 13 debates, one in each county of Indiana’s 9th US Congressional District.

The Young camp at first called the 13-debate idea “political theater.” Subsequently, Young spokesbeings have issued only tepid comments about the whole idea.

“They’re stalling,” Yoder campaign manager Katie Carlson says of the Young brain trust.

Young & Yoder

You’re damned right they are, Katie. Candidates with big leads never want to debate challengers. The only thing that can happen is the challenger gains a few points in the polls. Young has Yoder beat in money and voter approval.

Young’s smart move would be to pack up his bags and take his family on an around-the-world trip until November, at which time he can reemerge only to give his acceptance speech.

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS

We’ve been moaning about the new South Central Indiana Desert for months but now that a real rain is finally coming, we have mixed emotions.

This weekend’s 36th annual Fourth Street Festival of the Arts & Crafts and the first annual Bloomington Garlic Fest both will be washed out by the remnants of Hurricane Isaac.

NOAA Satellite View At 8:30am, EDT

This morning I heard about one guy who sunk his dough into a thousand garlic brats for the inaugural perfumery bash. Lucky for him they’re frozen. On the other hand, I’ll bet he gets sick of having the little bangers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day by October.

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.

I Love Charts

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

I Fucking Love Science

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.

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.

Friday, August 31, 2012

◗ IU Asian Culture CenterLuncheon Talk Series: Who Are Asian Pacific Americans; roundtable discussion, students and the public welcome; noon

◗ IU Poynter CenterRoundtable discussion with Susan Gubar, author of “Memoir of a Woman Debulked”; 3pm

◗ IU Field Hockey ComplexHoosier women’s field hockey vs. Missouri State; 4pm

Upland Brewing CompanyHillbilly Haiku Americana Music Series: Okkervil River; 6pm

The Venue Fine Art and GiftsExhibit and reception: The Art of the Fourth Street Art Fair; 6pm

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterScriptease Gala, fundraiser for Bloomington Playwrights Project; 6:30-10pm

◗ IU CinemaJan Svankmajer short films:

  • “The Flat”

  • “The Garden”

  • “Jabberwocky”

  • “Dimensions of Dialogue”

  • Another Kind of Love

  • Flora

  • Meat Love

  • Food

program begins at 6:30pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Music: Non 4 Profit; 7-9pm

◗ IU University GymnasiumHoosier volleyball vs. Cleveland State; 7pm

◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier men’s soccer vs. Clemson; 7:30pm

Bloomington Playwrights ProjectMusical: “Working”; 8pm

Bryan ParkRyder Film Series Movies in the Park: “ET: The Extraterrestrial”; 8pm

The Player’s PubMusic: Dicky James and the Blue Flames; 8pm

Cafe DjangoMusic: Jason Fickel & Ginger Curry; 8pm

The Comedy AtticBest of the Bloomington Comedy Fest; 8pm

◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — UB Films: “Magic Mike”; 8pm

Max’s PlaceMusic: Elephant Quiz; 9pm

Bear’s PlaceMusic: Halfway Crooks, Ichimaru; 9pm

The BluebirdMusic: Hairbangers Ball; 9pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Music: Don Ford; 9:30-11:30pm

◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — UB Films: “Lunacy”; 9:30pm

The Comedy AtticBest of the Bloomington Comedy Fest; 10:30pm

◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — UB Films: “Magic Mike”; 11pm

The BishopMusic: Eternal Summers, Bleeding Rainbow; midnight

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:

  • “Media Life,” drawings and animation by Miek von Dongen; through September 15th

  • “Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture”; 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 Cultures — Reopens Tuesday, August 21st

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

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“[Martin Luther] King’s response to our crisis can be put in one word: revolution. A revolution in our priorities, a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living….” — Cornel West

GORE VIDAL, 1925-2012

An unapologetic liberal. Of course, I don’t know why anyone should feel a need to apologize for being liberal.

I had my political awakening in 1968, when I was 12 years old. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were killed, segregationist George Wallace ran for president, Vietnam was raging. Riots, protests, the Democratic convention in Chicago — all of it thrilled and horrified me.

Then, on a steamy Wednesday night in August as Chicago cops rioted, busting heads and bloodying protesters, reporters, delegates, and innocent passersby on Michigan Avenue in front of the Conrad Hilton Hotel, Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley faced off on ABC TV. The moderator was Howard K. Smith.

Vidal was aggressively anti-war; Buckley aggressively pro-war. The two battled verbally until things seemed about to devolve into physical combat.

Vidal: “As far as I’m concerned, the only sort of pro-crypto Nazi I can think of is yourself.”

Buckley: “Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in the god damned face and you’ll stay plastered.”

I watched this live. I took sides right then and there.

Vidal would not back down, even when threatened by a Tory, royalist, blue-blood, former captain of the Yale debate team. He merely smiled when Buckley called him a queer.

I only wish liberals were as tough today.

CRISIS

If you read nothing else on the environment or the issue of climate change this summer, make sure you catch Bill McKibben‘s latest, terrifying piece in Rolling Stone.

Bill McKibben

Folks, we’ve got problems. The crisis is not tomorrow; it’s today.

And if you happen to encounter someone who denies global warming, don’t even bother arguing with them. Just tell ’em to kiss your ass.

MILLIONS OF CARS

Dig Tuesday’s XKCD: What If? post, imaged and linked below in Big Mike’s Playtime section.

This week’s physics theoretical asks, “What if there was a robot apocalypse? How long would humanity last?”

The answers (spoiler alert!) are — 1) not much would happen (unless we consider the computers that control the world’s nuclear arsenals to be robots, then too much) and 2) indefinitely (unless, again, the above contingency holds, then, oh, 13 seconds).

But the fascinating thing I found was the author’s calculation that at any given moment in the United States, there are 10 million cars on the road.

I might add that fully 75 percent of that number are snarled up at the Bypass construction zone at this very moment.

CAMPAIGN GAMES

Shelli Yoder yesterday challenged Todd Young to a series of debates in each of the 13 Indiana counties that make up the 9th Congressional District.

Young’s camp pooh-poohed the whole idea. The Republican incumbent’s campaign boss, Trevor Foughty, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that the debate challenge is a publicity stunt.

Shelli Yoder & Todd Young

Funny thing is, Young himself upset long-time 9th District rep Baron Hill in 2010 in part by, well, challenging the Dem to a series of debates.

I’M A LION — GRRRROWWLLLL!

Will Murphy, former general manager of Bloomington’s WFHB and current honcho at Ft. Wayne’s WBOI, learned about Snoop Dogg’s transformation into Snoop Lion yesterday.

Or Maybe I’m A Soldier — Ten Hut!

Murphy observed, “Not sure what to make of this.”

I set the radio man straight. “Nothing, Will. Absolutely nothing.”

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 and 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.

Flip Flop Fly Ball

Mental FlossFacts.

Caps Off PleaseComics & fun.

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

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

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

The Daily Puppy: Skeeter The Samoyed

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Monroe County FairgroundsDay 5, 2012 Monroe County Fair, Senior citizens day, Joe Edwards & Jan Masters Show; 1, 3:30 & 6pm — Royal Flush karaoke; 6pm — Clayton Anderson; 7:30pm — Three Bar J Rodeo; 7:30pm; Noon to 11pm

Cafe DjangoTom Miller’s Last Show; 7:30pm

Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

Bear’s PlaceAmericana Jam: Chris Wolf, Danika Holmes, Suzette Weakly; 8pm

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

The Comedy AtticBloomington Comedy Festival, audience vote decides the funniest person in Bloomington; 8pm

Boys & Girls Club of BloomingtonContra dancing; 8pm

The BluebirdDot Dot Dot; 9pm

◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryPublic viewing through main telescope, weather permitting; 10pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; opens Friday, August 3rd, through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits: Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; through August 3rd

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Affluence creates poverty.” — Marshall McLuhan

GAME ON

I have a feeling Rep. Todd Young (R-Indiana) is getting a little concerned about Shelli Yoder.

She Works Hard For The Money

The Dem challenger, you may recall, came out of nowhere a couple of weeks before the primary filing deadline and proceeded to trounce four opponents, two of whom were actually serious candidates.

Yoder’s been criss-crossing the 9th District, shaking hands, marching in parades, and listening to folks talk about the state of the nation in diners and church basements. She’s been raising dough, too.

The former Miss America second runner-up is looking more and more like the real deal.

Ergo, the Todd Young campaign is hitting up contributors for what might turn out to be a contest. He’s raised $1.2M so for this election season, according to the Herald Times.

TYLER EARWORMS ME

The inimitable Tyler Ferguson (Kaka Caliente of the Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls) blew into Soma Coffee this AM, singing “Mandy.”

You remember “Mandy” don’t you? The Barry Manilow hit of 1974 wherein, according to legend, he sings lovingly — some say a little too lovingly — of his lapdog. He wasn’t, of course; the song was written by someone else years before Manilow turned it into his first chart-topper.

Please Forgive Me

Anyway, Tyler/Kaka was pumped because the selfsame Manilow, she gushed, will be playing in these parts soonly. “You can get tickets for ten dollars!” she said. “I’d pay that for him. Nothing more, though.”

Where? I demanded, so I could leave the region while he was in it.

“I dunno,” Tyler said. “Somewhere.”

Which, come to think of it, is the definitive Tyler/Kaka answer.

So, here’s the deal. Manilow will play in Indy on August 3rd and in Louisville, July 27th. Bloomington will be, in other words, surrounded by Barry Manilow.

And now I have “Mandy” looping in my brain.

WE’RE BROKE (EXCEPT FOR THAT TWO BILLION BUCKS WE FOUND)

I’ve never pretended to understand high finance. It’s as baffling to me as Higgs Boson is to a kindergartner.

All I know is Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and his legislative co-conspirators within the last couple of years have moaned and groaned about how the economy has ruined state finances and, therefore, school funding must be slashed to the bone.

Sorry, Kids

Now, all of a sudden, there’s a $2.15B surplus in the Indiana state treasury? And now, all of a sudden, the state’ll be to be mailing out $100 checks to each and every taxpayer in the state? During an election year?

Are you confused about this, too? I have a sneaking suspicion, though, it all makes perfect sense.

ROMNEY’S SMART

Say what you will about Mitt Romney, he played a brilliant hand when he spoke to the NAACP the other day.

In fact, he took a page out of the playbook of the Republicans and Cro-Magnon Democrats of the ’60s by putting himself in a position to be booed by attendees of the venerable civil rights organization’s annual conference the other day.

Ladies And Gentlemen Of The Negro Race….

The likes of Dick Nixon and George Wallace occasionally would speak before hostile crowds and withstand their jeering just to remind their core constituencies which side they were on. Wallace was particularly adept at the tactic; he loved ranting and raving before college crowds, knowing full well he’d get verbal tomatoes (and sometimes the actual vegetable/fruit) thrown at him. His anti-intellectual base would read of the rude response in the papers or see it on TV news and be reminded how much they hated pointy-headed liberals.

You College Kids Hate Me, Donchya?

Romney told the NAACP shindig that President Obama’s health care reforms were garbage. Natch, the NAACP-ers gave him the raspberry.

Some wags say Romney failed miserably in his effort to court black voters. Now there’s a misreading of the situation for you. Honestly, do you think Mitt expects to get any meaningful portion of the black vote?

Neither do I. But now the Me Party-ists and the shootin’ iron-totin’ back country Republicans know for sure that them blacks (saying the word with scorn and rage) are agin’ Romney almost as much as real Americans hate Obama.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Stable Studios, Spencer — Bluegrass festival 2012, tonight: Open jam — tomorrow: The Travelin’ McCoury’s, The White Lightning Boys, Rumpke Mountain Boys, Flatland Harmony Experiment, New Old Cavalry, the Stuttering Ducks, The Seratones; 1pm-midnight

The White Lightning Boys

◗ IU Dowling International CenterEnglish Conversation Club, for non-native speakers of American English; 1pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsOpening reception, ‘Our Fine Feathered Friends” exhibit by William Zimmerman, John Gould, James Tracy, Joanne Shank, and Julia Ferguson; 6pm

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Music Series: String academy final student recital; 6-8pm

◗ IU Art MuseumJazz in July series, Mahluli-McCutchen Quartet; 6:30pm

◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”; 7pm

“Jiro Dream of Sushi”

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Whipstitch Sallies; 7-9pm — Bonz; 9:30-11:30pm

◗ Monroe Lake, Paynetown SRADedication for new Activity Center, ice cream social; 7-8:30pm

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

Brown County Playhouse, Nashville — Musical, “Footloose”; 7:30pm

The Comedy AtticChelsea Peretti; 8 & 10:30pm

Cafe DjangoEarplane, Latin-Brazilian jazz; 8pm

Max’s PlaceSad Sam Blues Jam; 8pm — Ziona Riley; 10pm

◗ IU Musical Arts CenterSummer Arts Festival: Symphonic series, conductor Carlos Kalmar, works by Rossini, Dvorak, and Brahms; 8pm

◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series, “Elles”; 8pm

The Player’s PubCrossover; 8pm

◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series, “Gerhard Richter Painting”; 8:30pm

Bear’s PlaceThe Brown Bottle Flu, Hotel, War, Coralus; 9pm

The BishopFilm, “Own Worst Eenemy”; 9pm

The BluebirdDot Dot Dot; 9pm

Uncle Elizabeth’sVicci Laine & the West End Girls; 10pm & midnight

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th
  • Claire Swallow, ‘Memoir”; through July 28th
  • Dale Gardner, “Time Machine”; through July 28th
  • Sarah Wain, “That Takes the Cake”; through July 28th
  • Jessica Lucas & Alex Straiker, “Life Under the Lens — The Art of Microscopy”; through July 28th

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st
  • Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; July 27th through August 3rd

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Closed for semester break

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Don’t threaten me with love, baby. Let’s just go walking in the rain.” — Billie Holiday

WHITE HEAT

This is truly evil, isn’t it?

It’s a screenshot from the National Weather Service page Saturday at about 4:55pm.

And dig that humidity: 19 percent! Honestly, those are oven conditions.

AND THEN, THE HEAVENS OPENED UP

Some folks around town got a little rain Saturday evening, just before sunset. Facebook pals of ours were gushing about the downpour while the ground surrounding Chez Big Mike remained rock dry.

But yesterday afternoon we all got our treat. The rain fell, well, in buckets. When the torrent wasn’t so severe as to knock one off his or her feet, local citizens were actually walking around courthouse square in the rain like little kids, simply enjoying the experience of being wet.

HERE’S THE STORY OF A LOVELY LADY…

Laura Grover’s Bloomington Storytelling Project is having a big do Saturday, 7:00pm, at the Waldron Center.

The Groovy Grover is looking for more storytellers to tell their tales, so if you want to regale the citizenry, email her.

This month’s theme will be “Shocks and Surprises” but, really, every BSP event is chock full of S&Ss. If you haven’t caught a night with the BSPers yet, you’re in for a riot. It’s amazing how many raconteurs, fabulists, and flat-out bullshitters live in this burgh.

You know, it’d be a great date destination. Even if your date should bore you to tears, the evening wouldn’t be a total loss. Try it.

THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

So, 9th District Rep. Todd Young (R) is hitching his wagon to Mitt Romney, natch.

This area’s first-term congressboy crashed Washington in the 2010 elections on the coattails of the Tea Party revolution (and how revolting it was.) The Tea Party-ists have been lukewarm on the former moderate Massachusetts guv so far this election year.

All Aboard!

But the GOP gang is noted for its ability to fall into line, so the side of Right is standing by their man even if they are holding their noses.

Young last week was named honorary co-chair of Mitt’s Veterans and Military Families for Romney club, which actually boasts some three bazillion co-chairs.

They’re all fine and patriotic souls whose fondest wish is that a Republican — any Republican — evicts Barack Obama from the White House come November. Of course, in order for them to realize that goal, the economy has to tank even further than it is already.

Such a quandary: loving, loving, loving this holy land while at the same time hoping, hoping, hoping more people lose their jobs and see their retirement investments shrink.

Neat strategy, guys.

LO-TECH POLS

Meanwhile, Shelli Yoder, the Dem candidate for Young’s seat, issued a press release recently decrying the incumbent’s use of the mails to tell the voters of Indiana’s 9th District what a wonderful guy he is.

Young: “I’m Swell.”

According to the Yoder camp, Young spent nearly $300,000 sending out junk mail to voters in the District in the year April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012. Yoder says Young is “one of the top senders of mailings in the House.”

The 87 Republicans who gained seats for the first time in 2010 spent some $9.8M on mailers during their first year in office. These are the folks who sold themselves by saying Congressional spending was out of control.

21st Century Communication?

According to House records, eight of the ten top 2011 mailers in the US House were freshman.

Franking privileges, which is the official term for taxpayers footing the bill for Congressbeings to send mail to their constituents, supposedly are limited to communications on the issues as opposed to campaign literature. But those of us who aren’t as adept at lying as politicians are understand that when we receive a glossy card or pamphlet from our senator or representative, he or she’s really only looking for our vote.

So Todd Young isn’t alone in using our money to convince us he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us. Nor are Republicans alone in charging us for their PR postage —  two of the top ten frosh were Dems.

Still, in this Internet age how much sense does it make for our elected representatives to be sending us junk mail? And is any of their self-aggrandizing material actually effective?

Search me. I do know this — if Shelli Yoder wins her race against Todd Young, I’ll be watching her to make sure she’s not on the top ten list in 2013.

THE RAIN, THE PARK, AND OTHER THINGS

The Cowsills were the bargain-basement kids-and-mom of 60s-era Sunshine Pop. The sub-genre’s artistes included the Beach Boys and the Mamas & the Papas.

The sunshine sound began to die with the 1969 release of the Archies’ “Sugar, Sugar.” Even though it was that year’s top selling 45, it’s hyperglycemic lyrics and vocals forced much of the listening public to turn to more morose singer-songwriters for something akin to balance.

Me? I’m still not averse to naked optimism and head-in-the-sand joy in my music. After all, you can only listen to the Cowboy Junkies for so long before you begin to lose your will to live.

The story goes that Screen Gems wanted to do a weekly show about the Cowsills but thought the mom, Barbara, too homely for TV stardom. Screen Gems hired Shirley Jones to play the mom with the rest of the Cowsills playing themselves but when the kids found out about the plan, the family pulled out of the project.

I Hate To Say It But….

Screen Gems went ahead with Shirley Jones and even hired her stepson, David Cassidy, to play her kid in a sitcom based on a similar idea, “The Partridge Family.”

Anyway, in honor of yesterday’s rain:

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

St. Mark’s United Methodist ChurchThe Generations Project: “What’s Working, What’s Not?”, discussion of brain injury for victims and family; 10am-noon

◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryNew exhibit, “Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; 1:30pm-close, through September 21st

◗ IU Neal-Marshall Black Culture CenterSummer Arts Festival: Michael Spiro & IU Summer World Percussion Ensemble; 7pm

Third Street ParkCuba Friendship Caravan, pitch-in meal, music, and discussion with caravanistas traveling to Santa Clara, Cuba, with aid packages; 7-8:45pm

The BishopDJs Mr. & Mrs. Resur; 8pm

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Arts Festival: Kevork Mardirossian on violin and Lee Phillips on piano play Prokofiev, DeBussy, & Franck; 8pm

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Music Series: Zoe Martin-Doike on violin, Nathan Vickery on cello, and Chih-Yi Chen on piano; 8pm

The Player’s PubSongwriter Showcase; 8pm

◗ IU HPER, room 107 — Ballroom dance lessons; 8:30pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibit, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%” by John D. Shearer; through July 30th

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibit, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts by Qiao Xiaoguang; through August 12th — Exhibit, wildlife artist William Zimmerman; through September 9th — Exhibit, David Hockney, new acquisitions; through October 21st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryKinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st, 11am

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

The Pencil Today

THE QUOTE

“Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.” — Henny Youngman

VI WILL VIE

Hoosier Dems are going all in for women this election year.

I’m all for it.

Gubernatorial candidate John Gregg is putting his money on Vi Simpson, the Indiana Senate Democratic  Caucus leader, as his running mate on the Democratic ticket. He’ll make the announcement today.

Vi And Her Guy

Simpson joins the state’s Ninth District Congressional candidate Shelli Yoder on the November ballot.

It’s a gamble and it’s a good one.

Indians has been turning monochromatic (red) since Barack Obama squeezed out a narrow victory here in 2008. Senator Evan Bayh retired and was replaced by retread Dan Coats in the 2010 election. Congressman Baron Hill got the thumb that year as well and watched altar boy Todd Young fly to Washington.

The Dems need to turn to their ace in the hole — women — to reverse that trend.

Neither Shelli Yoder nor Vi Simpson will strike rural voters as wild-eyed, radical femi-nazis — that is, of course, unless said suffragists have been so conditioned by the Fox News gang to see all those to the left of John Birch as loyalty risks, traitors, and saboteurs.

Democrats have no hope of ever luring those voters away from the GOP.

I’m not deluded enough to think Indiana may turn touchy-feely liberal Democrat any time soon (or even later) but the Dems must put up a better fight than they have of late.

Even Obama’s surprising victory here owed more to the upset stomach that the Bush/McCain/Palin bunch induced in the voting public than anyone’s great desire to see an almost-liberal take the White House.

But, jeez, folks — if even the People’s Republic of Bloomington can’t put a Dem in its own Congressional seat then these precincts truly have become a one-party monolith.

TERPSICHOREANS

My old man came from the generation that knew how to dance.

No matter how paunchy, tubby, clumsy, or homely a guy who grew up during the Great Depression was, the minute a wedding band would strike its first chord, he could jump up and sweep his equally awkward wife across the dance floor as if he were a combination of Gene Kelly and Jack Kennedy.

They’re Playing Our Song, Jackie

It never ceased to amaze me that Dad and all my uncles could become as smooth as silk when the music started. I mean, I knew these these guys wore black socks with their slippers at home, that they were more adept at producing a variety of different flatulent tones than cooing sweet nothings in their brides’ ears, and that the simple act of getting up out of the La-Z-Boy was for them akin to scaling a medium-sized mountain.

So how could they also be these fabulous dancers?

Old Joe Glab could also swing a shoe to a polka tune like nobody’s business. Polka dancing demanded a certain level of physical exertion that in other circumstances would be guaranteed to strike Dad and all his peers immediately dead from myocardial infarct.

Yet he and his contemporaries could polka all the night long.

When I was 21 and 22 I could undulate my hips to funk or disco five nights a week. I could pogo to punk with the best of them. But at some indeterminant point in my life, I lost the ability to dance.

I learned this dramatically one Friday night about a dozen years ago. I went out on a date with a hot tomato divorcee named Robbie. She and her ex were big-time art dealers in Chicago. We had dinner, then she suggested we go out dancing. Cool.

So we zoomed up to Joe Shanahan’s uber-trendy Smart Bar near Wrigley Field. I’d spent many a long night gyrating and sweating to the likes of Alison Moyet and Rick James there in the mid-80s so I figured I could still reach back and put the good moves on.

I Could Ride The White Pony With My Eyes Closed

We dashed out on the floor and started in. Robbie acquitted herself quite nicely — I, on the other hand, felt as though I’d suddenly turned into an epileptic. I could no more keep to the beat than a Mormon.

I looked around and saw all these kids half my age slithering the way I once could. Some of them, I have to admit, were eying me critically. As in, What the fk?

It felt as though the DJ was aiming a spotlight at me. Come to think of it, he may have been. Of course, I became even stiffer and more dopey.

More kids started staring at me. I was certain they’d go home that night, fall asleep, and then wake up with a start, horrified at the memory of what they’d seen. Worse, I could imagine them imagining that Robbie and I would go home later and, ugh, have sex. (We didn’t.) I’d scarred the poor kids for life.

How could I lose it all so quickly? And why were Dad and his generation able to keep it well into their 60s and 70s?

Life is unfair.

I’m reminded of all this because Dave Hoekstra of the Sun-Times Facebooked the news that Chicago’s polka king, Eddie Blazonczyk, died yesterday.

Just about everybody from the dancing generation is gone now.

Soon — very soon — the only males left in the world who can dance will be those under the age of 30.

Did I mention that life is unfair?

VIRAL PIE

Yet another reason why the interwebs is (are?) the greatest single invention of mankind.

Without my connection to the faux/real world, I would never have known this pizza joint ever existed:

Me? I wanna go there, eat a slice, and then stand outside the place scratching at the corner of my mouth. Imagine the looks on people’s faces as they drive by.

Yeah, I’m deranged.

Anyway, BuzzFeed has ten more such iffy trade monikers. Go there and laugh.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I don’t want to be a politician. I don’t like politics. It’s petty; it fights dirty.” — John Mellencamp

YODER’S GOT TO GET HER HANDS DIRTY

Shelli Yoder‘s campaign is chugging up to full steam in her bid to unseat first-term Congressman Todd Young from Indiana’s 9th District. She’s been endorsed by all the likely suspects including Dem powerhouses Mayor Mark Kruzan and Bloomington doyenne Charlotte Zietlow, as well as the National Women’s Political Caucus.

But I have it on fairly reliable authority that Yoder right now lacks the one talent that usually separates the winners from the losers in today’s political world. She’s not, I’m told, all that great at raising money.

Yoder Can’t Hide From Political Reality

Yoder, as of the last Federal Election Commission filing date, has collected $40,277 (including $1555 out of her own pocket.) She spent more than $15,000 to win the primary and has nearly $25,000 on hand.

The Todd Young campaign, according to Open Secrets, had nearly $700,000 in the bank as of April 18th.

My source tells me Yoder won’t be even be considered a player this year until she can amass $100,000.

To do that, Shelli will have to start working the phones. It’s a dirty job, but Yoder has to do it.

YELL FIRE

Michael Franti and Spearhead proved six years ago that the political protest song is not dead.

 

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Marriage is a gamble, let’s be honest.” — Yoko Ono

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS

Shelli Yoder allowed herself and her gang a scant 24-hours’ worth of reveling after her Democratic primary victory Tuesday.

Yoder At Her Front Door Tuesday Night

She gathered the troops together early last evening to begin serious planning for her run for Congress in the November election. Yoder, her communication director Alexa Lopez, and volunteers from around the state met at the Uptown Cafe on Kirkwood to plot strategy for Indiana’s 9th District race against Republican Todd Young.

VOTING ON RIGHTS

I don’t care what the result in North Carolina was Tuesday — putting human rights up for a vote is not only wrong, it’s a dead-on indication that the rights in question flat out aren’t going to be rights once the polls close.

How do you think the federal Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts would have fared in a popularity contest back in 1964?

Unless enlightened leaders legislate those rights into existence, the most likely choice of the electorate would be to flip the finger to whichever group wants them.

For all his sins, President Lyndon B. Johnson twisted arms, bartered with, and cajoled senators to pass the laws that would guarantee legal equality for black Americans. He might have been a vote-stealing, crude and crass, venal pol, but he knew the nation needed federal legislation to bring its black brothers and sisters fully into the family. And he did so at the cost of his presidency.

Martin Luther King Congratulates Lyndon Baines Johnson

Barack Obama’s long-awaited imprimatur of gay marriage yesterday won’t cost him the presidency, but his view on the matter alienates him from at least half the voting public.

For my money, I don’t want democratic principles determined by an electorate that is more conversant in the private life of Kim Kardashian than Thomas Paine’s “The Rights of Man.”

WHITE BOYS

My roster of Facebook friends tilts heavily to the left. That makes sense because I tilt heavily toward the left, even when I haven’t been drinking.

Lots of lefties these days are certain the nation as well as humanity itself is on a crash course toward disaster. If I took all the Facebook posts of my friends seriously, I’d be a juddering wreck. Our food is poisoned, the FBI is snooping through my sock drawer even as I type these words, war will be declared on Iran in a half hour…, Help!

I’d have to imagine the Facebook posts of Right-leaning folks are just as alarming, only for different reasons. The political and philosophical zeitgeist of the 21st Century holds that if you aren’t wringing your hands and being a drama queen, then you aren’t paying attention.

Rage is demanded by people who use Facebook to alert the world to the perils they see around every corner. I’m sorry to inform them all I don’t have that much rage in me.

But last night a post by the decidedly non-political Tyler Ferguson turned me into a snarling beast.

Ferguson reported that the college lads who live directly across the street from her have purchased and installed a new stereo system in their apartment. She heard them congratulating each other on finally having a sound device that can make their music audible halfway across the continental United States.

Tyler reports she can now hear the lyrics to the songs they play with crystal, if disturbing and annoying, clarity.

She writes: “I don’t recognize the current song, but the lyrics are ‘nigger’ and ‘fuck’ pretty much over and over. Nice.”

Now we have to assume the “artists” singing such an Euterpean delight are black. It’s perfectly acceptable in the recorded music industry world for young black men to liberally sprinkle their lyrics with the N-bomb.

Me, I immediately assumed the lunkheads blasting the music are white. Suburban white boys are the single biggest demographic that buys what I’ll indelicately christen “nigger/fuck music (NFM).”

I’m no shrink, but I’ll hazard the guess that the Zachs and Joshuas of the world embrace such cacophony as a way to demonstrate how macho and quasi-threatening they are. Testosterone has a weird way of making young men desperately want to display those traits.

So I added my comment to Tyler’s Facebook post thread. Several others already had offered to help Tyler commit mayhem upon the persons and property of the lads in question. I wrote: “And if you tell us they’re white, I’ll be happy to go with you and kick their balls up into their abdomens.”

See, my take on the white boys loving NFM is that they’ve reduced young black men to loathsome stereotypes. When I see a Mom-and-Dad-bought-and-paid-for SUV careening around the corner at Kirkwood and Walnut blaring NFM, I think the boys therein would have been perfectly comfortable some 65 years ago, sniggering at Steppin’ Fetchit while flipping a nickel to the bootblack who just shined their shoes.

Tyler responded: “They are pasty white.”

I came back with a flurry of obscene pejoratives directed at the lads. I concluded, “Grrrrrrrrr!”

So that’s the sum total of my emotional output due to Facebook for the rest of the month. Even if someone reveals that George W. Bush personally planted the explosives that toppled the Twin Towers.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Thursday, May  10, 2012

IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits, “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”; through July 1st — “Esse Quam Videri (To Be, Rather than To Be Seen): Muslim Self Portraits; through June 17th — “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”; through July 1st

IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze”; through June 29th

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center Exhibits at various galleries: Angela Hendrix-Petry, Benjamin Pines, Nate Johnson, and Yang Chen; all through May 29th

Trinity Episcopal ChurchArt exhibit, “Creation,” collaborative mosaic tile project; through May 31st

Monroe County Public LibraryArt exhibit, “Muse Whisperings,” water color paintings by residents of Sterling House; through May 31st

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

Monroe County Public LibraryUsed book and media sale; 9am-4pm

Monroe County Courthouse Lawn — Strawberry Shortcake Festival; 10:30am-2:30pm

Nom!

Bloomington City HallPlatinum Bike Summit; 4pm

Bear’s PlaceMedia Noche Trio + 1 CD release party; 5:30pm

Farm Bloomington, Root Cellar — Ryder Film Series, “444 Last Day on Earth”; 6:30pm

Buskirk-Chumley TheaterCardinal Stage Company presents “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”; 7pm

IU CinemaFilm, “The Kid with a Bike”; 7pm

Brown County Playhouse“Under the Umbrella: Life Is a Circus” performed by balancing artist Steven Ragatz; 7-8:15pm

Fairview Elementary SchoolScott Russell Sanders speaks about becoming an author; 7-8pm

Scott Russell Sanders

Max’s PlaceKeith Korns; 7:30pm

The Comedy AtticDan Telfer; 8pm

The Player’s PubCarpenter and Clerk, 220 Breakers; 8pm

The BishopGood Luck, Spoonboy, Kind of Like Spitting; 9pm

Bear’s Place Karaoke; 9pm

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.” — James Madison

EXTREMITIES

So, Richard Lugar was “too moderate.”

Say that to yourself: too moderate.

That was the Me Party charge against the ancient US Senator from Indiana.

And that’s what lost him the 2012 Republican primary.

Too moderate.

Out

It’s a contradiction, an oxymoron. It’s like saying a guy is of extremely medium height. Or the weather has been unbearably mild.

Too moderate.

In others words, Richard Lugar was thrown out of office because he wanted to work with the opposition party in the Senate.

And again, Dems, don’t get all huffy and righteous over this. Most of the criticism of Barack Obama from his own “loyalists” has been that’s he’s too willing to strike deals with the GOP. Hell, I’ve raked him over the coals for it.

But it occurs to me that moderation and compromise are the qualities that make just about every human relationship — from marriage to democracy — work.

GOP Winner Richard Mourdock Promises Not To Work Well With Others

But see, we don’t want relationships any more, I suppose. And most especially, the Me Party-ists don’t want relationships. They want their way. And if they don’t get it, why then there’ll be hell to pay.

Another thing occurs to me now — the Me Party-ists are the definitive Americans of the 21st Century. They are the New Ugly Americans.

A BEAUTIFUL MIND

I voted for Shelli Yoder in the Dem primary for strategic reasons. She’s the only one among the five candidates for the nomination for US Congress from Indiana’s 9th District who can beat Republican Todd Young in the November election.

I would have been equally happy with Jonathan George or Bob Winningham, strictly from a philosophical angle. John Tilford, too, only he never had a chance in this race and he knew it (I got that inside info from an impeccable source.) As for John Griffin Miller, well, I hope he had fun running — because his candidacy was a lark.

But Shelli can win over a lot of central and southern Indianans outside the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Bloomington (BSSR) because she’s exceedingly charming and pretty. Don’t yell at me for typing that — I’m just the messenger here. Most people vote for gut reasons, not because they’ve spent hours poring over position papers and contemplating the issues of the day.

All’s Fair

I’ll say it again, there’s a lot more to Shelli Yoder than her shayna punim (relax, it’s not a dirty term; look it up in your Yiddish dictionary). Being a former Miss Indiana and the second runner-up in the 1993 Miss America pageant will make a lot of people much more comfortable voting for a Democratic woman, though.

In this case, the Dems have to use every edge they’ve got.

THE COLOR OF MONEY

A Mark Rothko was sold for more than $86M in a Christie’s auction yesterday.

Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow”

Mark Rothko has been dead since 1970, so all that dough isn’t going to benefit him terribly much.

Capitalism’s a really weird system, no?

STALAG 2012

The world’s biggest bags of wind are due to arrive in Chicago in a week and a half.

See, the leaders of the NATO member nations are gathering in my hometown to discuss how they can further carve up the planet.

The 2012 NATO Summit will run for two days, May 20th and 21st. Not only will the presidents, prime ministers, and otherwise-titled bosses of the NATO states be in attendance, but so will their Secretaries of State, Foreign Ministers, Defense Ministers, and miscellaneous social delinquents.

Naturally, this presents a golden opportunity for the more snappish among the citizenry to cause mayhem.

At the low end of the threat level, some bandanna’d anarchists might embarrass Rahm’s Town, say, by tossing a stink bomb into McCormick Place. On the other hand, there’s the very real danger that some bad guys might try to harm the people who have the generally-accepted right to harm the rest of us when it benefits them and their countries.

So, the security apparatuses of the various nations have agreed to turn my ex-fair city into a prison camp for those couple of days. Everybody’s getting into the act. The Chicago cops are preparing for Armageddon, the FBI is spying on everybody who sneezes the wrong way, the US Secret Service will be on the lookout for people carrying fingernail clippers, and even downtown businesses are prepping their employees for the festivities.

According to news reports, Loop firms are advising their people to dress down on the days of the Summit. The wearing of suits and wingtips, apparently, might induce some wild-eyed radicals to attack. The idea, I guess, is that they’ll think the guy in pinstripes walking down Wabash Avenue with a cup of coffee in one hand and the Sun-Times in the other just might be British Prime Minister David Cameron. And you know wild-eyed radicals — next thing you know the poor schlub has a pie in the face (or worse).

“That Guy In The Suit, It’s The German Defense Minister! Get ‘Im!”

Here’s my solution to the problem: next time these chuckleheads want to get together, send them to some way out of the way place where they won’t mess up the lives of innocent, ordinary citizens.

You know, the G-8 bosses were scheduled to meet this spring in Chicago as well — that is, until radical activists’ plans to descend on the city became known. Then the State Department moved the confab to Camp David, Maryland, where security is easier and the population is virtually nil.

But they did that for the comfort and ease of the big boys (and girls) involved, not for the little guys and gals on the streets of Chicago.

Ah, the privileges of power.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Wednesday, May  9, 2012

IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits, “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”; through July 1st — “Esse Quam Videri (To Be, Rather than To Be Seen): Muslim Self Portraits; through June 17th — “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”; through July 1st

IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze”; through June 29th

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center Exhibits at various galleries: Angela Hendrix-Petry, Benjamin Pines, Nate Johnson, and Yang Chen; all through May 29th

Trinity Episcopal ChurchArt exhibit, “Creation,” collaborative mosaic tile project; through May 31st

Monroe County Public LibraryArt exhibit, “Muse Whisperings,” water color paintings by residents of Sterling House; through May 31st

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

Bloomington High School NorthSpring concert, Southern Indiana Wind Ensemble; 7pm

◗ Butler University, Clowes HallGarrison Keillor; 7:30pm

Cafe DjangoMedia Noche Trio + 1; 7:30-9:30pm

The Media Noche Trio

Max’s PlaceOpen mic; sign up begins at 5:30pm, music begins at 7:30pm

Harmony SchoolContra dancing; 8-10:30pm

◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryStar-gazing Open House, rain or shine; 9pm

Bear’s PlaceBrian Johnson & the Acquitted, Michael McFarland, Brian Fortner; 9pm

The BluebirdThe Personal; 9pm

The BishopThe Strange Boys, William Tyler & the Constants; 9:30pm

The Strange Boys

Jake’s NightclubBattle of the bands; 10pm

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends — that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.” — Adlai E. Stevenson

THE DEMS COME OUT SWINGING?

Nobody threw a punch yesterday evening at the Bloomington High School South auditorium. Nobody even flung any mud.

The five Democratic candidates for Indiana’s 9th District seat in the US House of Representatives gathered at BHSS for their debate sponsored by the Monroe County Dems.

But, as candidate John Tilford said, it really was no debate at all considering the five agree on pretty much everything.

Tilford

Which is true. Check the candidates’ websites or follow their pronouncements in the newspapers and you’ll come to the conclusion that each mirrors the others. They’re all center-slightly left Dems, just like the Big Dem in the White House.

The question Democratic voters must ask themselves when they vote in the primary on Tuesday, May 8th, is who can beat Todd Young.

Young

My guess is it’ll be Shelli Yoder, former Miss Indiana and second runner-up in the 1993 Miss America pageant, or Jonathan George, retired US Air Force Brigadier General. The other three fellows in the race, John Griffin Miller, Tilford, and Robert Winningham don’t have a chance.

Yoder and George are the only ones who can sway voters who live outside Bloomington, New Albany, and Jeffersonville. See, they’ve got the liberal vote — sparse as it is; this is Indiana, after all — sewn up. But folks in Bedford and Seymour or who live in the vast rural areas of the District and who may still be in an anti-incumbent, anti-Washington mood just might look kindly upon Yoder or George.

I’ve heard from a number of political insiders who say it’s nearly impossible to get the back country folks in this downstate region to vote for a woman. My guess, though, is they recoil from what they consider “uppity” women, those who wear pantsuits and speak forcefully. Think Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Yoder (left) On The Campaign Trail

Yoder, being a former beauty queen, just might overcome their prejudice. She’s charming and polite. She looks great in a bathing suit (she ranked high in that category in the Miss America contest.) She fits their conception of what an ideal woman should be.

Of course, there’s a lot more to Yoder than her looks and charm, but I’m trying to think like an antediluvian here. And if the Dems are going to unseat Tea Party darling Todd Young, that has to be taken into account.

George As A Young U-2 Pilot

The situation is similar for George. He can’t be dismissed as a socialist, abortionist, homosexual-tolerating liberal. He was, after all, a man who commanded two US Air Force wings, led a B-2 Stealth Bomber squadron, and was in charge of more than 10,000 US soldiers training Afghan security forces.

If the Dems have any hope against Young this November, they’re going to have to imagine what Archie Bunker might think.

What Would Archie Bunker Think?

THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS…, FOR THE TIME BEING

So, the US Postal Service is going bust.

Or is it?

News reports of late suggest the Postal Service is operating under crushing debt and is on its last legs. The US Senate is pondering whether or not to give the USPS an $11B handout this fall. ABC News says the bailout is aimed at paying off the service’s debt and get it to “become profitable again.”

Conventional wisdom has it that the USPS is a dinosaur that deserves a quick death, what with most communications being done by electronic device these days.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to a friend? I mean actually applying pen to paper, tri-folding sheets neatly, slipping them into an envelope, licking the flap closed, affixing a stamp to it, and walking it down to the mailbox.

For that matter, do you even know where the mailbox is anymore?

Relic?

Dependable old liberal commentator Jim Hightower has a different take on the state of what we used to call the post office. (h/t to Bill Lichtenberg of Forest Park, Illinois.)

Hightower points out that all the doom and gloom surrounding the USPS is being advanced by pols at the behest of private letter and package services like FedEx. Nothing would make those for-profit businesses happier than for the federal government subsidized service to disappear from the face of the Earth. Hightower says the half a buck you drop on a First Class stamp is a fantastic deal, unlike any deal the private carriers can even approach.

As for the profitability issue, Hightower reminds us the USPS has never been profitable, nor was it intended to be. Neither, he says, have the Pentagon, the FBI, or many other federal services.

Check out Hightower’s piece; it’ll put the USPS in a different light for you.

Hightower

By the way, linguistic observer Bill Bryson points out the irony that here in the US, we mail a letter which is sent on its way via the Postal Service. In Great Britain, they post a letter using the Royal Mail.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

◗ Bloomington, Citywide — IU’s Arts Week Everywhere 2012; Ongoing, various times

Grunwald (SOFA) GalleryMFA & BFA Thesis 3 exhibitions; through May 5th

IU Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Black faculty and Staff Recognition Ceremony; Noon

The Kinsey Institute Gallery “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze,” exhibit, art by women examining men; Ongoing, 1:30-5pm

IU Franklin Hall, Room 303 — Study Abroad 101; 4pm

IU Medical Arts Classroom BuildingCredit Counseling; 5:30pm

◗ IU Jacobs School of Music, Musical Arts CenterIU Black Graduates Congratulatory Ceremony; 7pm

Classic LanesPoker; 7pm

The Player’s PubStardusters; 7:30pm

Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

Bear’s PlaceJered Jacobs, Matt Woods, and David Bartlett; 8pm

The BluebirdRod Ruffcurls and the Benchpress; 8pm

IU Kirkwood ObservatoryStar-Gazing Open House; 9pm (rain or shine)

Uncle Elizabeth’sFree billiards; 10pm & midnight

Jake’s NightclubBattle of the Bands; 10pm

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