“Sit down, girl!
I think I love you!
Get up, girl!
Show me what you can do!”
Michael Jackson, “A B C”
Connecticut filmmaker David Gore interviewed me at the Archives for a documentary about Michael Jackson. At the Jackson ancestral home a couple cousins wanted money in exchange for allowing him to film. He asked me to summarize Gary’s history up to 1969 in a few minutes. I may have been too negative in describing the city as a polluted, segregated (till the mid-Sixties) blue-collar mill town. In an email thanking me he wrote: “I think it went very well even though I didn’t ask many questions. I was pretty pooped and still angry about my morning encounter.” I told him I’d heard the Jackson 5 finished second in a Roosevelt High School talent show to a bunch of popular jocks who did a silly bit and then got the most applause. Gore had heard the story before, but Michael’s father Joe denied it ever happened. Omar Farag told me that the Jacksons played at his West Side prom. Joe also booked them into some unsavory clubs in Gary’s Central District. There’s an apocryphal story that Diana Ross discovered them at a 1967 fundraiser for Richard Hatcher during his successful run for mayor, and that’s how they came to be signed to a Motown contract. Even though Michael never did much for his hometown after he moved to California, I have never held that against him. What, after all, have I ever done for Fort Washington, PA.
Sandy Appleby sent me a DVD of the Pass the Culture, Please project that we worked on together 30 years ago. It included excerpts of an Arredondo group interview I did at a family meal. Ray and Trish were to show excerpts prior to their talk at the Hammond library. The original finished product was a narrated slide show. Unfortunately when I played it on my computer, it stuck in various places. To make matters worse, while trying to remedy the problem, I must have hit a function key while my Microsoft Entourage email program was on, and it messed up the setting. Technician Velate Sullivan saved my butt, as she has done so many times in the past. When I played the DVD on the Archives TV and DVD player, it worked fine.
Kimberly Palmer complained that Robin Henig’s New York Times magazine’s August cover story on 20-somethings infantilized her generation by leaving the impression that they are too dependent on their parents. In a more positive vein Bill Dingfelder wrote: “Like many baby boomers, I took the college, career, marriage and children route with barely a detour or reflection. I love my life, and I have few regrets, but to follow a path so mandated by external pressures and internal expectations perhaps cheapens the essence of ‘choice.’ In contrast, many adults in their 20s are making thoughtful life choices that exemplify flexibility, creativity and courage.” That’s an apt description of 22 year-old granddaughter Aliss, the love of our lives. At her age I somehow got the courage to quit law school and go to Hawaii to start grad school.
Karren Lee is looking for items worth at least 50 dollars for a silent auction to benefit Nazareth Home in East Chicago that serves as a foster home for medically challenged kids. I donated a framed poster of labor leaders Jim Balanoff and Ed Sadlowski from their 1977 campaigns to become president and district director of the steelworkers union plus perhaps someone will want a set of Steel Shavings, volumes 31-40.
Watched the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode where Larry buys marijuana from actor Jorge Garcia, who played Hurley (the fat guy) on “Lost.” It’s for Larry’s father, who has glaucoma. Given a choice between hydraponic weed (grown indoors) for $500 or schwag for $200, Larry settles for the low grade stuff, then picks up a hooker on the way to a Dodgers game so he can use the fast lane on the expressway. After the game the three of them light up a hydraponic joint that the hooker had on her, and his dad can suddenly see well enough to realize that the lady in his living room is a prostitute.
In the news: Facebook went off line for four hours, allegedly causing widespread panic among young people. PBS censored a “Sesame Street” appearance by Katy Perry with the tickle-me puppet Elmo singing “Hot ‘N’ Cold,” supposedly because she showed too much cleavage. The video is YouTube and was played on all the morning shows. If Katy had been singing her hit “I Kissed a Girl,” I could understand the fuss, but the scene did not even deserve a PG rating. Katy had even cleaned up the lyrics from being about sex to a game of chase.
How am I supposed to play with you?
You're up and you're down
You're running around
You're fast and you're slow
You're stop and you're go.
G-rated version of Katy Perry’s “Hot ‘N’ Cold”
Robert Blaszkiewicz from the Northwest Indiana Times asked me to fact check a piece about Lake County mayors who have been convicted of a felony while in office. This was in anticipation of a guilty verdict against East Chicago mayor George Pabey, accused of using city funds and workers to refurbish a house in Miller. It’s pretty petty compared to the huge sums mayors “legally” give favored law firms; but being of Puerto Rican ancestry, Pabey should have known that his every move would be scrutinized, especially since he postured as a reform candidate when he ousted longtime mayor Robert Pastrick. I met Pabey when I was with Clark Metz at a political function in Glen Park. He took out a large bill and bought a round of drinks for everyone at the bar. Gary’s Greek-born mayor George Chacharis was convicted in 1963 of income tax evasion as part of a plea bargain that resulted in charges being dropped against others. Chacharis had received kickbacks from contractors doing business with the city but later told me that those things happened before he became mayor while working for Mayor Pete Mandich. Chacharis and Pabey were simply playing the game the way others before them did, but both made enemies in high places.