Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shame on the Moon

“Blame it on midnight,
Shame on the moon.”
Bob Seger

I spent a long weekend in Palm Springs, California, visiting my 95 year-old mother. We went to the Art Museum to see an Andrew Wyeth exhibit. More exciting was a Pop Art exhibit that included Andy Warhol’s “Brillo Pad Dress” and a Louise Bourgeois bronze of a spider hanging on the wall. John De Andrea did a very realistic nude figure reclining on her side entitled “Joan,” and Gavin Turk deposited what looked to be six trash bags in the center of a room in the aptly titled “Pile.” There were several Lichtenstein entrees, including “Roommates” from his Nudes Series. Less impressive were a Rauschenberg steel panel “Pegasits/ROCI USA” and a minimalist set of lines by Louis Morris entitled “Numbers 2-00.” If my dad had been with us, he would have shaken his head and said, “I could do that.”

Nephew Bob drove up from San Diego. His wife and kids were planning on coming but Crosby broke out in a terrible rash in what turned out to be an allergic reaction to penicillin. Saturday evening we ate at a restaurant called Shame on the Moon, also the title of a Bob Seger song. Evidently the owner has a companion restaurant called Blame it on Midnight. Three of us ordered filet mignon, and Bob noted that mine appeared to be about twice as big as his.

At a sports bar Sunday called Yard House, where they serve beer in thin glasses a yard long, all the NFL games were on at the same time. In a special kids section were TVs screening various cartoons. Some Dallas Cowboy fans were cheering when they scored on the Redskins, so when Washington tied the score we cheered and gave each other high fives. The Skins’ kicker missed a field goal try or I would have won the weekly pool against the other dozen guys. Bob has a great sense of humor, and I love being with him. He teased me about whipping me in Fantasy Football even though he forgot to replace two players on bye weeks.

My brother recently saw my old friends Terry Jenkins and Sammy Corey and they recalled summer poker games on our front porch at 209 Fort Washington Avenue. I’d go around on my bike washing cars in the morning, and we’d play most afternoons. My dad and I also played a baseball pinball game for hours on that porch, even making out lineups and keeping statistics. Vic was very good at releasing balls just enough to have them fall into the doubles slot. Depending on the batter, I’d go for singles and home runs.

Renting a Corolla, I used a G.P.S. device for the first time and found it pretty neat. It certainly was easier than reading Map Quest directions. Programming it, I couldn’t figure out how to go back if I made a mistake, so I’d turn the engine off and start over. I also used my cell phone numerous times, unusual for me. On the plane it seemed that everyone but me had an Iphone and skillfully manipulated their thumbs to scroll back and forth. Several were using kindle devices to read books. American Airlines had no TVs in sight, but several folks were watching movies on their laptops. With a strong tail wind we made it back to O’Hare 40 minutes early. Couldn’t finish the USA Today crossword puzzle, drawing a blank on a place where headroom is a problem (doorway). Toni finished it for me in less than a minute.

John Laue was in the Archives working on a book about the Indiana Dunes national Lakeshore communities displaced by the federal government, including Edgewater, our old neighborhood.

Forwarded to Ray Smock a cartoon from Beamer Pickert showing Freud with this advice: Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, surrounded by assholes. I added that Republican candidate Jon Huntsman could use such counsel. He liked it and added: “It is clear that Huntsman is qualified but unelectable. Some say Newt is qualified but unelectable. I say Newt is not qualified on the prima facie obviousness that he is a colossal hypocrite and propagandist. The fact that he is a colossal hypocrite means he could get elected if all the true assholes vote.”

I talked to Steve’s class about postwar Northwest Indiana using my “Age of Anxiety” magazine. After students read excerpts of oral histories, I talked about trying to capture a balanced approach to Gary recent history in my “Centennial” history. Like with the Gary Roosevelt students last week, I talked about the “Hanging On, Bouncing Back” chapter, in particular the schools, and read a poem by former priest John Sheehan.

Caught the two-hour finale of “Dancing with the Stars.” Voted off first was the best of the trio, Ricky Lake. Then Iraq vet J.R. Martinez, badly burned when his Humvee hit a landmine, triumphed against over-rated Rob Kardashian. Lady Antebellum performed two songs, including “Dancing Away with my Heart.”

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