Friday, March 16, 2012


“Fields of valor and victory
White crosses that bear no name
Each one gave their life to history
A young boy in an old man’s game.”
Force Titan

Sheriff Roy Dominguez and I finished proofreading the “Valor” manuscript, and I Fed Exed it to Nancy at IU Press. We can’t wait to see the book. The Sheriff gave me free passes to his Spring Fundraiser in connection with his race for Lake County commissioner. I sent two of them to George and Bette Roberts.

Lunchtime reading was a Traces article by Rachel Roberts about the Auburn (IN) Rubber Company, which started out manufacturing automobile tires before making toy rubber figurines of soldiers, race cars and drivers, utility trucks, farm animals and pets. After being in northeast Indiana for a half-century the company was lured into moving to New Mexico and went bankrupt 12 years later. The article mentions that Ben Franklin Five and Dime stores that once were a Hoosier town fixture, and I shopped at their Glen Park and Portage outlets. They were forerunners to the modern dollar store.

Fourteen years ago Dave and Angie got married in the aftermath of a blizzard that left us without electricity for eight days. What a contrast with the record 85-degree temperature that has IUN’s lilies in full bloom.

A pit bull attacked bowling teammate Frank’s dog while he was walking it, causing injuries that required a hundred stitches. A woman had two pit bulls on a leash but couldn’t control them. Pit bulls are a menace and should be banned. Even with a good owner, they are so strong they threaten people and pets alike.

IUN’s Home Page features an article about Chris Young’s research into a Chicago monument honoring Revolutionary War heroes George Washington, Robert Morris, and Haym Salomon. As he wrote in the American Jewish Archives Journal, the statue was meant to be a symbol of unity, both between civilians and the military but also among different ethnic groups. Chris is on a roll, having just been made a member of FACET during his tenure year.

In his diary satirist H.L. Mencken wrote of dining in 1933 with the Fitzgeralds. He noted: “Zelda is palpably only half sane. She occupies herself largely in painting, and her paintings are full of grotesque exaggerations and fantastic ideas. Scott has been trying for six years to write a novel, but it remains unfinished.”

I played phone tag with Dr. Bill Marshall, actor William Marshall’s cousin, who knew him well when they were kids. He seems eager to talk with me and pleased that I’m working on an article about him.

Amazon sent me, compliments of the author, a copy of Carson Cunningham’s “Underbelly Hoops: Adventures in the CBA – A.K.A. The Crazy Basketball Association.” It’s a memoir about playing for the Rockford Lightning in the now defunct Continental basketball Association. It looks fantastic, candid, funny, and well-written. Carson has a PhD in History and is working on an MBA, and I’d love if he were an IUN faculty member. Carson grew up playing hoops in Ogden Dunes with older kids, including Phil and Dave, and went on to star at Andrean and Purdue.

Attorney Michael Katz visited the Archives with some materials, including a pennant from the Fiftieth anniversary celebration and an audiotape of a 1958 Horace Mann football pep rally that had been carried live on WWCA. The son of Gary mayor A. Martin Katz had a very firm handshake. Years ago, I interviewed his dad, who said he’d tap me on the knee when he wanted me to turn of the tape recorder. He did it so often I just decided to keep it off – not that what he told me was all that controversial.

I managed to stay up until 11 Thursday to watch IU, led by guard Jordan Hulls, defeat New Mexico State. Next they’ll face VCU, last year’s Cinderella team coached by Shaka Smart (great name), no relation to Keith Smart, coach of the Sacramento Kings, whose shot gave IU its last national championship against Syracuse. Friday was a day of upsets as fifteenth seeds Lehigh and Norfolk State knocked Missouri and Duke out of the tournament.

My candidate for worst movie of the year so far is Eddie Murphy’s “A Thousand Words” which I endured for 20 minutes before switching to “21 Jump Street,” a forgettable Jonah Hill comedy that featured boring chase scenes and tepid high school party scenes compared to “Project X.” Reviewers were kinder to “Jump Street” than it deserved. Roger Ebert claimed it wasn’t “half-bad.” Trust me, it was.

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