Category Archives: WFPK

Hot Air

Life Is Not Fair

Listening to my fave radio station in the world — Louisville’s WFPK — this morning, I learned that it’ll be pushing 60º in the River City today.

Sixty goddamned degrees.



Now L-ville is a mere 71.13 miles from B-ton as the crow flies. So why is it that they get March-like temps and we get freezing rain, sleet, and snow today?

I’m telling you, some rotten-to-the-core weather deity has it in for us.

Condolences; Here’s Your Bill

We all agree that there’s a crisis in health care in this holy land. It’s true even after the initiation of the Affordable Care Act under which some 12 million people are now covered.

Still, though, health care in America is a money game. If you’ve got the dough, you don’t have to worry all that much about fancy tests and ER visits and expensive prescriptions. If you’re poor, well, life is tough, isn’t it?

That is, human health care. What about critter doctorin’?

I know a guy — let’s call him Randy — who’s on the hook for a medical bill from a veterinarian that he can’t pay. He’s an Army veteran and he’s going to school right now, looking to earn his master’s degree in business.

Randy’s cat was injured a while back. Over the next couple of days, the cat’s wound became infected. Randy took the cat to a local veterinarian. The vet told Randy the cat would have to stay overnight. The next morning, the vet called Randy and gave him the bad news — the cat had died that night.

Randy cried his tears and got on with his life. Then the bill came. The veterinarian wanted $600 for treating the cat and boarding it overnight.

To a guy like Randy, $600 may as well be $60,000. He’d be hard pressed to pay if the vet had demanded $60. Randy told the vet he didn’t have the dough. The vet responded by hauling Randy into court.

The two parties have yet to meet before the judge. Randy says the vet is a villain, charging him, essentially, for services that did him and his cat no good. Why, Randy wonders, should he have to pay for them?

This one’s a poser, no?


A Live Cat

Even lawyers, a breed we like to stereotype as money-grubbing, offer services at contingency rates, meaning if they lose your case, you don’t pay them. Can’t doctors do something similar?

The argument can be made that doctors, their nurses, their receptionists, their record-keepers, and everyone else associated with running a well-oiled office still have performed for you whether or not your cat dies or the dot on your skin becomes cancer. Then again, lawyers can say the same thing. Doctors may counter that they actually use goods and products — hypodermic needles, catheters, medicines, and those paper slippers you have to slip on as you trudge down the hall to the MRI room. Somebody’s gotta pay for them.

All Randy knows is he brought his cat in for repair and was left only with an impossible bill.

I don’t know where I stand on this right now. I suppose if I were Randy’s confidant (we’re only acquaintances) I’d suggest he work out a payment deal with the vet or offer to fork over a percentage of the total at once. Of course, Randy would say he doesn’t even have a fraction of the $600.

The only conclusion that makes any sense is being poor sucks.

The Bell Of Bloomington

Our town’s Bell family is quite a high-minded bunch. Janet Cheatham Bell, who lives here, writes about being a black woman, touching on nearly all aspects of living in this holy land, what with our racism, sexism, poverty, materialism, our love of guns, our fear of The Other, and a myriad of different ills. Her kiddo is comedian and social commentator W. Kamau Bell who’s the equal of or better than 98 percent of the gabbers and muggers who appear nightly on television (and don’t ask me who the superior two percent are). He had his own show a while back, on an FX network, but that didn’t work out. He doesn’t look altar-boyish like Jimmy Fallon or innocuously clownish like Conan O’Brien. He looks like, well, a black man and that’s a bit scary for Ma & Pa Kettle.


Bell, Then & Now

Janet has been writing about her negotiations with America for years. Her tomes include:

  • Famous Black Quotations
  • Victory of the Spirit: Reflections on My Journey
  • The Time and Place that Gave Me Life
  • Not All Poor People Are Black

Nobody’s made a movie based on any of her works but I’ll tell you this: They’re a hell of a lot more compelling than some upper middle class white woman’s story about “finding herself” by hanging around with sub-continent mystics and shamans.

Bell (Janet Cheatham, that is) this past month did a series of radio and web interviews largely in celebration of Black History Month. Here are some highlights:

She hints she has a few more interviews coming up in March — Women’s History Month — so keep an ear and/or eye out for them. Perhaps it’s time we start seeing the likes of Janet Cheatham Bell as more than just token speakers for black people but as articulators of the entire human experience. She is one of us — all of us.

Sun Goddess

Ramsey Lewis and Earth, Wind & Fire collaborated on this gem in 1975. Don’t ever let anyone tell you the ’70s were a bad decade for music.

The Pencil Today:


“Am I really cool? You’re telling me I’m cool? Well, that’s good to hear.” — Paul Giamatti


How cool do you want to be? Cool as me?

Then check out the Friday Night Sound Clash on Louisville’s WFPK-FM Friday nights from 8-11pm.

Matt Anthony

Show host Matt Anthony is the smoothest, hippest white man this side of the International Date Line. Last night at about 10 o’clock, for instance, he segued from Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” to “Psychotic Reaction” by the Count Five. He mixes in jazz, Afro-Cuban, Chaka Kahn, Beck, Amy Winehouse, dance, trance, chill, funk, ska, the original Parliament, Fela Kuti, Mos Def, and dub step. And he won’t stop there.

I listen every Friday night after Steve the Dog and I take our walk around the boat docks at Paynetown SRA on Lake Monroe.

Steve doesn’t know what a lucky dog he is to be able to hang out with a cool cat like me.

I’m So Cool I’m Blue


Speaking of cool, have you heard about the spectacular ice ball that’s hurtling our way through the Solar System yet?

Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) is so out there it doesn’t even have a Christian name. Or a Jewish one, for that matter, ala Shoemaker-Levy. It was discovered a week ago last night by a couple of Russkie spies who claim to be astronomers. Yeah, sure.

The Dot In Question, At The Cross Hairs

Anyway, the two, Artyom Novichonok and Vitaly Nevski, spotted a miniscule dot on some digital images of an area inside the constellation Cancer. They were using a monster telescope that, presumably, can see you inside your bedroom right now, so stop doing that.

The dot, informally dubbed Comet ISON, is too tiny to be seen by the naked eye as yet, considering it’s more than 600 million freaking miles away from Bloomington as we speak.

But by the time of its nearest pass to the Sun in November 2013, it may be bright enough to be seen in broad daylight — no lie! — and at night might be as bright as the full moon.

Passe, Next Year

It’ll be porn for astro-geeks like me. You’ll get a kick out of it, too, I’m sure.


Husbands, wives, girlfriends, and boyfriends of artists have to be remarkable souls.

My mother would say there should be a special place in heaven for them.

That’s because living with a creative sprite can be a special hell.

Think Picasso, Van Gogh, Amy Winehouse, Raymond Carver, Truman Capote, Jack Kerouac, Robert Mapplethorpe, or Marilyn Monroe. Those who befriended them, slept with them, or paid the rent once or a million times for them and didn’t murder them have to be saints.

Robert Mapplethorpe Had Patti Smith

The drama, the poverty, the ego, and, in the case of many rock stars, the bad hair, or, in the case of painters, the incessant odor of linseed oil, might drive the sanest person bats.

Think Jackson Pollock’s wife, Lee Krasner.

The Kinsey Institute Gallery opened a new exhibit last night dedicated to those selfless few who stayed with their photographer spouses and loves through thin and thin. Called “A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners,” the exhibit features images documenting the lives of partners of photographers from the US, China, Brazil, and Japan.

Photographer Yuhki Touyama’s Mate

Check it out, especially if you’ve been aggravated by your mate of late. He might only let his toenails grow too long; Jackson Pollock, drunk, drove a car into a grove of trees with his young mistress next to him while Lee Krasner waited for him at home.

The exhibit runs through December 20th.


The Electron Pencil, of course, is the finest and most sublime utilization of the interwebs since the gossip site dlisted came on the scene nearly eight years ago.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t other sites you can click on now and again.

Check out Rawrahs, a political blog written by a midnight surfer from Forest Park, Illinois. This fellow, whom we’ll call, oh, let’s say Rushdie, was one of the first people I ever knew who got much of his info from the Net. He was online when the prevailing forums were bulletin boards and newsgroups.

In other words, Rushdie was wired as far back as the 1910s. He and Marconi were thick as thieves.

Rushdie’s serious. He doesn’t go for the easy joke (like some people we know.) And he’s got a personal stake in the unionization of public employees.

Go ahead — visit Rawrahs. You have my permission.


The irreducible Hondo Thompson is grappling these days with a disturbing question.

He asks, “Why can’t we just tell some folks they simply aren’t qualified to participate in this conversation, this government process, this debate, this election? Must every voice really be heard?”

He illustrates his quandary with this clipping from the Letters to the Editor section of some Australian podunk newspaper:

Yeah, that’s right, the letter writer actually suggests the extra hour of sunlight brought on by Daylight Savings Time might be causing drought. He urges Australia’s CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) to look into the matter.

Need I explain why this is as mad as the notion that Sharia Law is gaining a foothold in this holy land? Maybe madder. Wait, nah.

Anyway, Hondo’s query, although attractive in a perverse way, smacks a tad of elitism, even fascism. Yet each and every one of us has wondered the same thing at one time or another.

Ambient 1, 1/1

Brian Eno‘s breathtaking, hypnotizing, groundbreaking first foray into environmental sound. Perfect for a Sunday morning. Try it yourself, you’ll see.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

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

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

FAIR ◗ Monroe County Fairgrounds, Commercial Building West29th Annual American Red Cross Book Fair, +100,000 used books, CDs, DVDs, games, maps, sheet music, etc.; 9am-7pm, through October 2nd

CONFERENCE ◗ IU Memorial Union, Walnut Room — “Where’s the ‘World’ in Popular Music?” Interdisciplinary presented by the Colloege of Liberal Arts & Sciences, click link for schedule of events, free and open to the public; 9:30am-4:30pm

SEMINAR ◗ Various venuesThe Combine, 3rd annual display of talent , innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit, featuring speakers, workshops, idea pitches, and mixers; through Sunday, September 30th, today’s events:

Buskirk Chumley TheaterMain Stage Speaking Event, a full day of speakers; 9am

The Atlas Bar, 209 S. College Ave. Open Gaming, presented by Studio Cypher; 6:30pm

The Atlas Bar, 209 S. College Ave.Official Unofficial After Party; 9pm

NATURE ◗ Jackson Creek TrailExploring Jackson Creek Trail, guided hike, observe wildlife; 10am-noon

WORKSHOP ◗ Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center — Mind Training Through Pain & Disability Series, Presented by Ani Choekye; 10:30am-noon

NATURE ◗ WonderLabBirds of Prey: A Live Raptor Show, 11am

OKTOBERFEST ◗ Upland Brewing Company, Bloomington Brew PubBeer, food, live music; 11am Saturday-1am Sunday

NATURE ◗ Lake Monroe, Paynetown SRAHarvest Moon Weekend, Family friendly camping weekend, campfire, crafts, & programs; 1pm Saturday-5pm Sunday

STAGE ◗ IU Halls TheatreDrama, “When the Rain Stops Falling;” 2pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema“Petulia,” Directed by Richard Lester; 3pm

MUSIC & WINE ◗ Owen Valley WineryMusic in the Garden: Foster Jones; 5-8pm

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

SPORTS ◗ IU GymnasiumHoosier volleyball vs. Northwestern; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashvilledw Brykalski; 7-9pm

HALLOWEEN FUN ◗ Haunted Hayride & Stables, 8308 S. Rockport Rd.; 7pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema“The Search”; 3pm

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

STAGE ◗ Bloomington Playwrights ProjectComedy, “RX,” by Kate Fodor; 7:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Woodburn Hall TheatreRyder Film Series: “Neighboring Sounds“; 8pm

BALLET ◗ IU Musical Arts Center — “Light and Shade,” Presented by IU Ballet Theater; 8pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGreg Behrendt; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubRitmos Unidos; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Bear’s PlaceRoom of Voices; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoSam Hoffman Quartet; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceWildflower Union, R-Juna, Honors, The Gentle Shades; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Rachael’s CafeThe BloomingTones Big Band; 8-10pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumUB Films: “Katy Perry: Part of Me;” 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Fine Arts Theater Ryder Film Series: “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present“; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdChase Rice, Corey Cox; 9pm

MUSIC & DANCING ◗ The Root Cellar at Farm Bloomington70s Disco Party, Meow Disco; 10pm

COMEDY ◗ The Comedy AtticGreg Behrendt; 10:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumUB Films: “Katy Perry: Part of Me;” 11pm


ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

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

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works; through October 11th

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits opening September 28th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners;” through December 20th
  • Gender Expressions;” through December 20th

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibit:

  • “CUBAmistad” photos

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit:

  • Outsiders and Others:Arkham House, Weird Fiction, and the Legacy of HP Lovecraft;” through November 1st
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections form the Slocum Puzzle Collection

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s OnExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Culture: “CUBAmistad photos; through October

ART ◗ Boxcar BooksExhibit:

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

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • Bloomington: Then and Now,” presented by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • “Doctors and Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical professions

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