Monday, December 12, 2011

Buzzer Beater

“We will fight for the cream and crimson
For the glory of old IU.”
“Indiana, Our Indiana”

The Education Division hd a retirement reception for Ken Schoon last Friday. Stanley Wigle and Paul Blohm got off some witticisms at his expense. When Mark Reshkin’s turn came, he quipped that he hadn’t realized the program was to be a roast. Ken was one of Mark’s first associate professors in the Geology department and taught in the East Chicago public school system for years before taking a full-time position at IUN. Elaine Morrow mentioned Ken’s loving relationship with wife Peg. In fact, he often comes to the Archives when Peg is working there to have lunch with her. The author of “Calumet Beginnings,” he has a new book called “City Trees” and is working on one about the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. On hand were Save the Dunes bigwigs Herb and Charlotte Read. Last Thursday the National Register of Historic Places listed their house, scheduled for demolition and vacant since September 2010, as “historically significant for its association with the efforts of citizen conservation groups to preserve the Indiana Dunes and create the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.” It remains to be seen whether the Lakeshore Superintendent Constantine Dillon will agree to save it and put it to use.

Saturday grandkids James and Rebecca performed with the Southlake Children’s Choir in a holiday presentation at Bethel Church in Merrillville. The group sang songs in several languages, and even the youngest kids appeared to know all the words.

IU’s basketball team upset the number one ranked Kentucky Wildcats 73-72 on a last-second three-pointer by Christian Watford. Kentucky had made easy layups the last few times down the court, so the Hoosiers were fortunate no time was left of the clock. The team has been bad for the past five years, and fans mobbed the players after the buzzer went off. Loudmouth announcer Dick Vitale kept saying Assembly Hall should be renamed in honor of Bobby Knight, whom he refers to as “The General” or Robert Montgomery Knight. Let’s hope not. As good of a coach as Knight was at one time, he was a pretty despicable human being. Vitale’s sidekick mentioned that those at the game will remember the scene the rest of their lives – probably not an exaggeration. Phil still recalls the campus celebrations his freshman year after IU won the 1987 NCAA tournament.

Saturday evening Nancy and Ron Cohen stopped over on the way to Fred and Tracy Traut’s annual holiday party. I had a very good time talking to the regulars and meeting some new interesting people – plus the food was delicious. Formerly in the Women’s Studies program, Tracy is planning to return to IUN for a master’s degree in psychology.

I won two of three games and should have triumphed in Acquire but Dave beat me by buying up more of the Imperial stocks. Tom Wade and I talked about the IU game on the way over to Dave’s, as well as the Romney’s latest Republican debate gaffe. He offered to make a $10,000 bet with Perry that his book “No Apology” didn’t contain an endorsement of universal health care. Critics are saying that the remark shows Romney is out of touch with common people. Republican strategist Mary Matalin called it “one more heavy brick in Romney’s backpack.” The main two things Romney had going for him was so-called electability and being a good debater, but Newt Gingrich appears to have stolen his thunder on both counts.

In Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” based on the 1954 movie of that name, the actor playing former private Bob Wallace at Valpo’s Memorial Opera House sounded quite a bit like Bing Crosby. One of the dancers had a daffy blond wig that others made fun of but that I thought quite sexy, given her sleek body and comely face. All nine performances were sold out, and the costumes, designed by Tracy Traut’s mother Martha Sass, were very elaborate. After the show six of us had dinner at a place on Lincolnway called 157 (its address), followed by coffee, tea, and goodies baked by Nancy back at our place. The Hagelbergs filled us in on the previous evening’s sing-a-long at Lake Street Gallery (sorry I missed Joyce’s chili). Today we missed Tanice Foltz’s cookie party. Tis the season of mucho social activities.

Learned that Bears lost 13-10 to the Broncos on two costly mistakes by running back Marion Barber. Glad I wasn’t watching the latest “Tim Tebow miracle.” As Jonathyne Briggs quipped, Jesus must hate Marion Barber, who went out of bounds, giving Denver enough time to tie the score, and who then fumbled when Chicago was in field goal range.

Not surprisingly, the season finale of “Boardwalk Empire” was bloody, with Nucky offing Jimmy and marrying Margaret Schroeder to avoid being convicted of murdering her abusive husband. At the end he is expecting to become rich from property holdings as a result of getting authorization of a highway to Atlantic City. When Nucky thought he was in legal trouble he deeded the property over to Margaret, who, in the final scene, donates it to the Catholic Church. After her daughter contracted polio, she saw it as a sign of God’s punishment for her sins and fell under the sway of sinister Father Brennan.

Terry Jenkins passed along a joke about two old friends at a bar. One pointed to a couple geezers across from them and said, “That’s us in ten years.” His buddy replied, “That’s a mirror, you dip-shit.” When we used to take Alissa places, I’d often point to an aged codger and say, “Who do you think is older, him or me?” Now the answer is likely to be me.

With my successful picks of Philadelphia, Denver, and Houston, I finished third in the weekly football pool, a point out of the money and three points behind three-time winner Kevin Horn. I’d have won had I selected the Giants over Dallas (my first inclination) or gone with my gut and had Arizona beating San Francisco.

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