Monday, March 21, 2011

Peter Pumpkinhead

“He made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees.”:
“Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead,” XTC

Friday: My upset NCAA predictions bombed. Bucknell lost by 29 and MSU made up a 23-point deficit but lost by two. The two favorites eliminated were Louisville and Vanderbilt.

At 6:58 a.m. the NBC local news Dance Friday song was by Internet sensation Rebecca Black, whose music video for “Friday” “went viral,” getting over a million hits on the day it premiered. The cool-dancing weatherman called it the lamest song he’s heard in a long time. That may be true, but the video is cute and, I’m sure, resonates with teens. I was hit number 15,802,204. The 13 year-old was on “Good Morning America.” Cody Brotter in Huffington Post claimed the rap portion by producer Patrice “Pato” Wilson (the chauffeur in the video) is enough to make Wiz Khalifa look like Langston Hughes. Someone has out a parody with Bob Dylan supposedly singing the lyrics. They start out, “7a.m., waking up in the morning/ Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs/ Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal.”

Had an unusually vivid dream last night. In a building similar to Purdue North Central’s to talk with History faculty, led by an old man with a cane took me to a lower level where various faculty members, not necessarily historians, were sitting, I explained what Steel Shavings was about in a nervous voice, not sure why I was doing so. I asked if anyone taught recent American history – perhaps to see if they wanted to have students keep journals or maybe because I wanted to teach a seminar – and someone said sarcastically that a guy teaches Business and Industry. That’s all I remember.

A Chesterton Tribune front-page story quoted environmental Herb Read, who said that the Japanese reactors were the same design as what NIPSCO had proposed for Northwest Indiana.

Ron dropped in for an hour to discuss his Woody Guthrie project (he wants me to proofread a couple chapters) and upcoming lecture on folk music at Northwestern. We talked about the Bob Dylan’s old girlfriend Suze Rotola, who died recently, and mutual friend Izzy Young, founder of the Folklore Institute, who’s coming to NY soon.

Enjoyed the whodunit “The Lincoln Lawyer,” with Marisa Tomei sparkling as lead Matthew McConaughey’s ex-wife and “Fargo” guy William Macy as his long-haired private investigator. I’ve always liked courtroom dramatizations.

Saturday: WXRT highlighted 1992 and played “Peter Pumpkinhead, which may have been about JFK, Jesus, or merely a pumpkin. One line goes, “Plots and sex scandals failed outright, Peter merely said any kind of love is alright” – perhaps a reference to Mary Magdalene or Marilyn Monroe. Robert Blaszkiewicz turned me on to XTC, a British band that virtually never toured and whose 1992 CD “Nonsuch” was also the name of a Tudor palace built by Henry VIII. After mailing gifts to Californians Crosby and Addison, shopped at Chesterton’s Wise Way, a first, and found good deals on sweet pickles and Oreos similar to chocolate mint girl scout cookies.

As if the Japanese nuclear crisis isn’t enough, now we’ve leading attacked Libya eight years to the day after the Iraq invasion. Obama is directing the action from Brazil, there with the family on a good will trip. “Dutch” Reagan was canny enough to limit military intervention against Gaddafi to a relatively inexpensive onetime effort to kill him, which cowed him into semi-behaving himself. Obama is claiming we are acting as part of a broad coalition, but the Arab “partners” are unreliable at best. Libyans in the eastern part of that country might be more anti-American than Gaddafi was.

Before driving to the Hagelbergs for bridge and Chinese food watched a forgettable remake of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” only this time with the guy (Ashton Kutcher) white and the upset dad (Bernie Mac) black. Hot daughter (Zoe Saldana) was Neytiri in “Avatar.”

Sunday: headlines reminiscent of the BP oil spill indicate the crises in Libya and Japan won’t soon be over. I went one for four in gaming, barely edging out Tom and Dave in St. Pete. I kept Tom’s Egezia game to study the rules some more. Home for Michigan against top-seeded Duke. Had the Wolverines won, I’d have looked like a genius and been back in contention in the NCAA pool. Up a point Duke missed a shot but got the rebound, then made one of two free throws. Down two with a few seconds left, Darius Morris drove the lane and missed a runner. Had he passed to a guy on the right wing who had been draining trees all afternoon, they might have won.

Niece Lisa stopped in with Oliver and Grace after hubby Fritz took off for Jamaica. Kids had loved our house on Maple Place but explored nearly every inch of the condo. They played Shooters with me and followed me downstairs while I was folding the laundry to find some of Toni’s toys where the creatures wiggle when you push in the bottom. Getting cookies for them, I told Grace the jar was designed so parents could hear noise if kids took the lid off. She appeared a few minutes later with cookies and bragged that she got them without me hearing any noise. For dinner Toni made delicious sirloin tips with pan fried noodles and corn.

TCU was slaughtering Purdue so badly I turned the sound down and listened to the Portland band The Decembrists’s CD Beth gave me as a belated birthday present and then “Duke” on vinyl. At halftime I talked to Gaard Logan, who had no interest in the NCAA tournament and promised to email me her reaction to the unsettling world events. Phil still wants to go to California with me and will give me dates he is free after his semester is over.

Monday: heard Weezer's “Troublemaker” on the way to school. The chorus goes: “I’m a troublemaker/ Never been a faker/ Doin’ things my own way/ And never givin’ up.” Voodoo Chili did a great version of Weezer’s “Beverly Hills” that always got the crowd singing the chorus. My favorite Weezer song is “Island in the Sun.” In the car one cannot resist singing “ hip hip hip hip” along with them. It’s such an upbeat song about young love except for the end, when the last line goes, “We’ll never feel that anymore.”

Jeff Manes emailed me his comments to a Post-Trib column by Rich James defending unions and the Indiana Democrats who fled to Illinois rather than allow Republicans to engage in class warfare against the middle class. Manes wrote: “Thanks, Rich. We’re the 51st state of the union. Don’t tread on us {Governor} Daniels and (Speaker) Bosma.” Someone in turn called Manes and James two-bit whores, edited to read “$$ clowns.”

Sylvia Gibbs inquired who the Delaney Housing Project in Gary was named after? I told her about Reverend Frank Delaney, who founded Stewart Settlement House and pointed her to “City of the Century.”

Took four Shavings to Bob Mucci for the dollar Anthropology Club sale. He gave me a Credit Union receipt from 1985 that had been in a book I’d donated when I retired. Bulls beat Sacramento by 40 points enabling Coach Tom Thibodeau to rest the starters for tomorrow’s contest at Atlanta.

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