Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Save the Rich?

“Save the rich
It’s so easy to do
Just let yourself be ignorant
To what’s been done to you.”
Garfunkel and Oates

I’ve moved Tom Wade’s CD of Garfunkel and Oates songs to the car. Pretending to give a rationale for America being built on corporate greed, “Save the Rich” proclaims: “All the jobless people need to learn to be content/ ‘cause what we need to do is protect our 1 percent.” At the Comedy Club Garfunkel and Oates dedicated the song to Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.

One rich bastard I’ve been reading about is former Redskins owner George Preston Marshall, who parleyed his dad’s laundry business into a profitable 57-store chain using the slogan “Long Live Linen.” He married a Ziegfeld Follies girl and then beautiful silent film actress Corrine Griffith but vowed not to employ black players until the Harlem Globetrotters hired whites. JFK’s Interior Secretary Stewart Udall forced his hand by threatening to deny him use of D.C. (later RFK) Stadium.

In the news: The last British WW I veteran, 110 year-old Florence Green, an officer’s mess steward, passed away. Last year the last British sailor died and the year before the last foot soldier. On February 8, 1918, ambulance driver John Dos Passos wrote of being in Brassano when the Germans shelled the French town. Afterwards he and three others were waving bottles of Chianti and laughing with chocolate drooling from their mouths. I met Dos Passos at the Library of Congress shortly before he died. A radical when he wrote the USA trilogy, the novelist became a Ron Paul type suspicious of all bureaucracies in old age.

Rick Santorum won Minnesota, Colorado, and Missouri, throwing a monkey wrench in the GOP establishment’s plans to anoint him their nominee. Santorum is making hay on such social issues as gay marriage and a recent government demand that Catholic hospitals provide health plans that allow employees to be covered for birth control pills. The way bishops are screaming, you’d think the government was requiring people to take them.

Commenting on New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s intention to submit a proposal to ban gay marriage to a referendum, Ray Smock took a dim view of direct democracy infringing on the rights of minorities. Arguing that California has been ruined by propositions and mentioning that the ultimate example of direct democracy was the Western lynch mob, He ended his rant: “Gee whiz, I am starting to sound like John C. Calhoun.”

I might call my next Shavings “Un-Retirement Journal,” as opposed to volume 40’s title “Retirement Journal,” since I’ll be teaching in the Fall and having students keep journals.

I interviewed the Nan Plunkett, the 82 year-old sister of Alex Karras, at an assisted living facility in Portage. She looked beautiful and attributes her still keen mind to playing bridge. Even though she and her brothers were baptized Greek Orthodox, her mother, a Canadian of Scotch ancestry, took them to an Episcopal Church. Alex was the gentle dreamer in the family compared to his ferocious older brother Lou. A kid named Donny Coleman once had Alex. Older brother Louie suddenly appeared, grabbed Donny, and told him he’d put him in the hospital if he ever touched his brother again. Afterwards he told Alex to wash up and change his clothes “before mom sees you,” then adds: “Goddam, Al, you gotta learn how to protect yourself. You’re bigger than him.”

George Thiros called from Pittsburgh, hoping to purchase “Gary: A Pictorial History.” His brother, renowned attorney Nick Thiros, was in partnership with Max Cohen, no relation to Ron, co-editor of the book. George’s wife graduated from Emerson with Alex Karras.

The third season of “Californication” ended with Moody’s daughter Becca being deflowered by a college kid, wife Karen disgusted upon learning that he had unwittingly deflowered her stepdaughter Mia, and him bloodied and in jail again after confrontations with Mia’s smarmy agent/boyfriend and then the police. The final minutes were without dialogue, just Elton John singing “Rocket Man.” What Elton says about Mars (“ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids/ in fact, it’s cold as hell”) also applies to Los Angeles. I have until February 14 to watch the entire fourth season On Demand.

Someone left a Trojans wrapper on a library elevator. What is this world coming to? It could have been worse, I guess, had it been a used condom. The wrapper was gone within the hour. On the up side, the Thirty-Third street entrance to IUN’s main parking lot is open again.

Bill Jarrico, the son of Gary-born actor William Marshall’s longtime companion Sylvia Gussin Jarrico, returned my call and had some interesting anecdotes. Even with Alzheimer’s disease, Marshall was such a good actor that he could hide it. Someone asked him a question about whether doing one-person shows actors adlibbed or stuck to a specific script. In his booming voice Marshall answered, “The latter.” He hadn’t understood the question and was winging it, but the questioner went off satisfied.

Former Gary mayor Richard Hatcher had Hammond mayor Tom McDermott speak to his class. Now in his third term, he bragged about his College Bound program, which uses casino money to pay for the tuition of college students whose parents own property in Hammond. He criticized Governor Daniels and called him a hypocrit for appointing people to a board that approved an 8 percent rate hike for NIPSCO.

After downing cherry yogurt with chips and a tiny Mr. Goodbar I bowled a 470 series against Never a Doubt, composed of Kerry Smith junior and senior, Tom Clark (whose daughter wrestles on the Calumet boys team), zero handicap young gun Jason Schipper, and George Lopez (daughter-in-law Delia’s uncle). We were fortunate to pick up two points, winning the first game by 30 pins. In tenth I barely picked up a ten-pin. Tom Clark left the one, two, four, six, ten but converted it. Young Kerry Smith, working on a double, buried his ball but left the seven-pin. Then Jason did the same thing, only it was the ten-pin left standing. Eight lanes down a friendly guy who always wears an IU cap rolled a perfect game.

At night’s end I congratulated Bobby McCann on rolling a 750 series a couple weeks before, a feat mentioned in the Post-Trib weekly roundup of top scores. Mike Flavin offered to buy my t-shirt depicting the solar system for 40 dollars for a friend who is an astronomy buff. Once before Mike spoke admiringly of it. The thing is probably 20 years old, so I think after I wash it I’ll give it to Mike and perhaps ask for one of his choice in return.

Letterman’s top ten had to do with people you’d like to see wearing a mustache. One was Daryl Hall, who actually had one for a while, albeit not as memorable as sidekick John Oates’s black bushy one. In fact in 2008 Hall had a full beard while Oates was clean-shaven. Contrary to rumors, they were not gay.

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