Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Port of Morrow

“It’s my time to shine
Do it my way.”
“Shine,” The Used

According to Google, here are just some other recording artists who have put out a song called “Shine”: Soul Asylum, David Gray, Collective Soul, Hilary Duff, John Legend, Newsboys, Dirty Heads, Clay Aiken, and Keith Urban. While picking up The Used’s new CD “Vulnerable,” I also bought The Shins’s “Port of Morrow.” The Best Buy checkout lady inquired skeptically, “Are these for you?” She liked both groups but preferred The Used’s earlier stuff.

Jerry Davich wrote: “Another local soldier is returning home in a casket... this one is Sgt. David Nowaczyk... of Dyer... killed by an enemy IED in Afghanistan. Officially he died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom but personally I have written this company line too many times for too many NWI soldiers whose homecoming was in a body bag with flag-draped reasoning.” Carol Moore responded: “England learned, Russia learned, now it's our turn. Afghanistan is not a place to occupy. The Afghanis (even those with issues) seem to present a united front against outsiders. We need to bring our troops home!”

Center for Urban and Regional Excellence director Ellen Szarleta held a luncheon session to discuss landscape arrangements for the space where Tamarack Hall used to be. Kathy Malone and I want a monument commemorating that it was the site of IUN’s first building, originally called Gary Main. A group pushing for a pavilion and Native American garden made a presentation. Physical plant representative Tim Johnson remarked that the original plans lacked spigots with which to water the various plants.

Mike Olszanski created PDFs of the front and back cover of “Steelworkers Fight Back.” Hoping to do the entire Shavings issue (volume 30) that we edited together, he writes: “The rest will take time, and figuring out how to use this machine. But there is no magic involved. We have the technology. The task is not unreasonable.” If he is successful, maybe we can also do other out-of-print volumes and put them on kindle or a website.

Spirits contributors did readings Monday and Tuesday at the IUN Gallery. The theme of the current issue is deconstruction; on the cover is a photo of an abandoned building in Gary. The literary magazine is a Region treasure. George Bodmer’s poem “Reading T’ang (China 618-907) Poetry While on vacation in Florida” contains these lines: “My parents stumble and prop each other up as they go; we all learn only awkwardly to deal with our age, moving into adulthood and beyond.” The poem could have been titled “Port of Morrow.” Co-editor Jennifer Thompson was poised and self-confident reading a short story about getting rid of an abusive husband. Professor Bill Buckley, who helped launch Spirits and whose poems grace several Shavings issues, introduced her to me as one of his best ever students. She keeps several journals, and I encouraged her to take my fall course. I am using my “Ides of March 2003” issue, which I titled “Backlit” – from the title of a Buckley poem entitled “Backlit: Lake Michigan 2003” that begins: “Backlit from a gold moon this night/ I hear lake-waves loud as seas/ Off a breaker wall, like slipping gravel.”

Beamer posted a photo of a 747 carrying Discovery space shuttle to Dulles Airport on its way to the Smithsonian, writing: “Here we see the rare mating habits of the Orbiter” and predicting it would produce “Soyuz Capsules.” I responded that the 747 appeared to be smiling. Beamer’s guest bedrooms are designated the Viagra and Cialis rooms with posters, etc., that drug companies sent to his dad, a family practitioner in Thurmont, MD. Beamer joked that when he finds ticks, he takes them to a gas burner and offers them as a sacrifice to R’Hllor, the Red God of light, heat, and life in the Essos region in “Game of Thrones.” Good stuff, or as his dad put it, “Spot on.”

Marty Bohn and Corey Hagelberg emailed me artwork for a possible pictorial essay in the upcoming issue of South Shore Journal. Marty’s are realistic photos while Corey’s are black and white and more symbolic. I may interview them about their craft and participation in Miller Beach Pop Up Art events.

I had an early breakfast of raisin toast, bacon, and hard boiled eggs (from a batch dyed at Easter) and attended the 8:30 talk by Amy Bosworth, the final candidate for the medieval position. She spoke knowledgeably about “The Cult of Saints in the Ninth-Century Carolingian World.” Excellent in recreating a world I knew little about, she stressed that the function of venerating saints was political and social as well as religious. The brisk trade in relics and thievery of them were economic and criminal manifestations of the belief in their holy powers. Amy studied under John J. Contreni at Purdue and seemed quite personable.

The word “quotidian,” meaning everyday or usual, was an answer on Jeopardy. Until a couple years ago, I never heard of it; now I seem to see it in print all the time. Alex seemed surprised nobody know Sister Wendy (a South Africa nun and art critic) or Androcles of Aesop’s Fables (who pulled a thorn from a lion’s paw). The final question on 1920s novels was about “Elmer Gantry.”

At a lengthy condo residents’ meeting the main issues were whether to allow skateboarders, renters and hot tubs. Chilled afterwards and stayed up to see James Mercer and The Shins on Letterman doing “Simple Song.”

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