Monday, January 30, 2012


“These children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through.”
“Changes,” David Bowie

“Changes” first appeared on the 1971 David Bowie album “Hunky Dory” and came out as a single in 1972, the same year as the classic “Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” The most famous songs on the latter are “Suffragette City” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.” Bowie as his androgynous persona Ziggy Stardust adorns the latest “Rolling Stone” cover. His American musical influences included Little Richard, Gene Vincent, and, most of all, glam rocker Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground. Born David Jones in London in 1947, he changed his name because it was the same as the Monkees’ frontman and settled on Bowie after the knife named for frontiersman Jim Bowie. Like Lady Gaga today, Bowie appealed to troubled souls, GLBTs, and others unfairly labeled misfits. As an antidote to songs of “darkness and disgrace,” Ziggy “came on proud, “so loaded man, well hung and snow white tan.” Marsha Andrejevich first turned me on to Bowie, also a favorite of my nephew Chad Donahue, whom I called after putting on my old vinyl copy.

Bowie did his last concert as Ziggy in 1973, the year featured Saturday on WXRT. In a single set I heard Mott the Hoople’s “All the Way from Memphis” (a tribute to the roots of Rock and Roll) as well as ZZTop’s “La Grange,” Paul McCartney’s “Band on the Run,” and Jackson Browne’s “Take It Easy,” better than the more famous Eagles version. Also heard reports on the 3-11 1973 Chicago Bears coached by the avuncular Abe Gibron (my friend Clark Metz knew him well) and quarterbacked by the strong-armed but erratic Bobby Douglas and the year in TV with “Laugh-In” axed and the Watergate hearings live on all networks and constituting the first reality show.

In the “Farewell” section of “Deadline Artists” are noteworthy columns on Babe Ruth by Grantland Rice, on Earnest Hemingway by Jimmy Cannon, and a more acerbic take on the elder Richard Daley by Sun-Times columnist Mike Royko, who wrote that “hizzoner” embodied the Windy City both at its best (“strong, hard-driving, working feverishly, pushing, building”) and at its worst (“arrogant, crude, conniving, ruthless, suspicious, intolerant”). Royko also wrote “John Wayne’s True Grit.” The columnist may not have liked Wayne’s politics, especially during the Vietnam War, but his movies made him feel good.

Saturday Toni made stuffed peppers for when the Hagelbergs came over for bridge. Sunday we split a Subway Philly Cheese Steak I picked up after gaming at Dave’s. The Heat beat the Bulls despite Rose’s 34 points, and in the crowd was the son (Carmani) of Bulls starter Carlos Boozer rooting for Miami (or at least chanting, perhaps without realizing what he was doing, “Let’s Go Heat”). IU scored over a hundred points in its victory over Iowa at Assembly Hall. If only the Hoosiers could win on the road.

Forty-five years after the famous blizzard of 1967 the weather is balmy with no snow predicted in the near future (knock on wood). Mike Certa an IUN student then, recalled being stuck sleeping in the theater and raiding the lunchroom, at that time located in the lone building on campus. By the second day all that was left were hot dogs. That May IUN held its first commencement as a four-year institution.

The Post-Trib reported on the area’s worst rail crossings, including “most hazardous” and “most inconvenient.” One was on Fifteenth Street in Chesterton, where some 170 trains per day stop traffic. I’ve been stopped for 15 minutes at the one on Broadway between 40th and 41st in Gary’s Glen Park neighborhood. One thing I don’t miss about Miller is waiting for trains – sometimes two or three at a time and occasionally one at a complete stop) to cross County Line Road.

Actor William Marshall’s daughter Gina Loring supplied me with the phone number of Marshall’s cousin Nell Kendrick, an octogenarian who lives in St. Francis, Wisconsin. She just got out of the hospital but gamely answered a few questions and welcomed my writing her with other queries. Her father was Dr. William Marshall, a baby doctor and the brother of dentist Vereen Marshall, the actor’s father. I also emailed director/producer Mark Spencer of West Side Theater Guild in hopes of having Gina Loring perform in Gary. Years ago, Garrett Cope was at a weeklong retreat in Wisconsin. Marshall was making a special guest appearance as abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and Cope applied Marshall’s make-up prior to the performance. “He brought his own make-up, but I had the honor of putting it on. He was very friendly,” Cope recalled when I caught up with him in the classroom across from the Archives. It’s the one I’ll be using in the fall.

Three diary anthologies arrived via interlibrary loan. The most promising in terms of using it in the Fall is “Private Pages: Diaries of American Women, 1830s-1970s, edited by Penelope Franklin. Oddly, the excerpts do not appear in chronological order; instead they are arranged according to the age of the writer. One of the most poignant is by 19 year-old Japanese-American Kate Tomibe, interned during WW II at Tule Lake Relocation Center. Appearing last is the earliest one by septuagenarian Deborah Norris Logan, who lived in Germantown, Pennsylvania, now a part of Philadelphia and whose last entries document her declining health. At one point she wrote: “The habit of writing in a diary has become so familiar that I seem lost without resorting to it.” Understandable.

“The Book of American Diaries,” edited by Randall and Linda Patterson Miller, takes a day-to-day approach. For January 30, for instance, there are short entries by Richard Henry Dana, Mark Twain, and Theodore Dreiser (complaining that Southerners are “peaked, whiny, suspicious, jealous, touchy – an offensive company”)

Here’s a January 31, 1711, entry by Virginia planter William Byrd: “I rose at 5 o’clock and read two chapters in Hebrew and some Greek in Lucian. I said my prayers and ate boiled milk for breakfast. My wife quarreled with me about not sending for Mrs. Dunn when it rained [to lend her John]. She threatened to kill herself but had more discretion.” Later Byrd’s wife “came into good humor again” and made him “battered eggs” for supper, washed down with cider. Before retiring Byrd “said my prayers and had good health, good thoughts, and good humor, thank God Almighty.”

Perhaps because I’ll be teaching again, I had a dream where I totally forgot about one of my classes until the last week of the semester. Other teach nightmares: having no students show up for your class – or students are paying absolutely no attention to you.

I was happy that “Hugo,” Martin Scorcese’s tribute to the birth of the film industry, was at a movie theater near us in Valparaiso. When it first came out, I thought it was animated and skipped it. It’s up for 11 Academy Awards and deserved so. We saw it in 3-D; I had my doubts but the glasses fit nicely over my spectacles. The opening ten minutes is an overture without dialogue setting the scene, circa 1931, at the Paris train station. Johnny Depp makes a cameo appearance as a guitar player. Sacha Baron Cohen is a riot as a gung ho station inspector on the prowl for orphans to lock up. The main point of the story is the need for one to find a purpose in life, and one of the heroes is a music historian.

Angie and the kids came for dinner (spaghetti) and I watched the Bulls beat the Wizards before falling asleep in good humor, excited to be planning a Fall History course, and in apparent good health (a line my mentor William H. Harbaugh once used in a letter to me not long before he died).

Anne Balay recommended that I read Piper Kerman’s “Orange is the New Black,” an autobiographical account of being incarcerated in Danbury (CT) federal prison for a year. Shortly after graduating from Smith College the author delivered a large amount of money to a drug kingpin. Ten years later someone came knocking at her door and charged her with smuggling and money laundering. Fellow inmates included an aging pacifist, the wife of a Russian gangster, but mainly nonwhite victims of the country’s idiotic drug laws. Despite frequent strip searches and other humiliations, life in the minimum-security penitentiary wasn’t so horrible so much as mind numbing and senseless.

Friday, January 27, 2012

One Fine Day

“This broken wing will fly again
This blackbird’s mute gonna sing again
One fine day.”

John Shearer and I have similar musical tastes, so I always look forward to when he posts songs on Facebook. A recent one is Warren Zevon singing the Prince song “Raspberry Beret” on a 1990 Letterman show backed by members of REM calling themselves the Hindu Love Gods. John is also a big fan of Wilco and posted an animated cartoon video for “Dawned On Me” that has Jeff tweedy stealing Olive Oil from Popeye. Cracker remains John favorite band, and he posted a performance of David, Johnny, and the gang doing “One Fine Day” a couple days ago at Chicago Music Exchange.

“One Fine Day” is also the title of a 1963 hit by the Chiffons, written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. It was a follow-up to the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine,” the subject of a lawsuit against George Harrison for its similarity to “My Sweet Lord.” A judge ruled that Harrison was liable due to “subconscious plagiarism.”

Sarah McColly Wheeler must be out of the hospital because she posted photos of her beautiful newborn baby Liliya, 8.2 pounds, 19 inches, and with a 34.5 centimeter head. Toni picked up a baby present that I hope to give grandpa Fred next time he comes to the Archives. He’s been working five-day weeks lately.

Aaron “Beamer” Pickert joked: “So last night I get home and Kim tells me we are having Cornish gay men for dinner. I say, ‘Wonderful company, but what are we going to serve to eat?’” In parenthesis Beamer added: “We had Cornish game hens, and yes, I’m being silly.” I told beamer about Seven Wonders, one of my new favorites played at Halberstadt Game Weekend.

Mike Olszanski posted a photo of USW 6787 demonstrators posing next to “The Union Bus to Indy.” He added: “We’ll be back.” Exposing the hypocrisy of right-to-work legislation, Charles Halberstadt chimed in: “ A union saved my family. A union helped put food on my table. A union helped pay a mortgage. Now Governor Daniels and others (in the General Assembly) literally ignored the begs and pleas of workers as they voted to critically weaken unions in this state.”

Sometimes legislators reveal themselves to be pandering dimwits. Samuel A. Love reprinted a Times report about an Indiana Senate committee endorsing the teaching of creationism despite pleas from scientists and liberal religious spokesmen. Sam wrote: “Darwindamnit Indiana, what the natural selection is your problem?”

The Post-Trib’s Jerry Davich took heat from respondents for this joke about how tame “Old Man Winter” has been: “You ARE getting old if this is all you got this season. My shovel has cobwebs, my heavy coat is in the trunk, and my NIPSCO bill hasn’t cracked $150 yet. Come on. DO something!” Jerry’s reply to those who feared revenge from Mother Nature: “I am humbled yet baffled by everyone’s belief that I can somehow affect the weather by my Facebook posts.”

Tom Wade posted comedian Jon Stewart’s reaction to Governor Mitch Daniels’s doom and gloom “Mourning in America” response to Obamas’s state-of-the-union speech: “Either Daniels is from a psychotic, twisted, hellscape devoid of any joy or Oprah-like happiness or he is from Indiana.” Tom added: “Makes me proud to be a subpsychotic, supertwisted Hoosier.” Too bad we have such a subpar governor.

Son Dave reports that East Chicago Central grad E’Twaun Moore is getting more playing time with the Boston Celtics and scored 14 points recently. He, too, posts song videos, including a recent performance by Otis Redding.

“Death of a Good Officer,” a column in “Deadline Artists” by beloved Hoosier WW II war correspondent Ernie Pyle, is about a Captain Henry T. Waskow of Belton, Texas, whose body was brought from the Italian front lashed to the back of a mule, “lying belly-down, the head hanging down the left side, the stiffened legs sticking out awkwardly from the other side, bobbing up and down as the mule walked.” Several men knelt beside it and muttered expletives or in one case simply held the dead leader’s hand. Writing from a cowshed in January 1944, Pyle noted: “He was very young, only on his middle twenties, but he carried in him a sincerity and gentleness that made people want to be guided by him.”

Nick Mantis, who is doing a film documentary on write Jean Shepherd, dropped by the Archives. I gave him my Nineties Shavings, which contains numerous Shepherd witticisms and account of a hilarious luncheon talk he gave on the day in 1995 he received an honorary IU degree. Two years ago I brought the house down reading at the Miller beach Aquatorium reading excerpts from his Cedar Lake fishing tale, “Hairy Gertz and the Forty-Seven Crappies.” Even so, I wasn’t invited back the following year because some Millerites regard me as an outsider, having moved to Chesterton. Nick gave me permission to suggest him to Jeff Manes as a future SALT subject. Jeff liked the idea and quipped, “When he goes to church, he’s known as Praying Mantis ) I gotta million of them).”

After downing a double cheeseburger and value fries at McDonald’s for a total of $2.14, including tax, I saw “The Descendants.” George Clooney was great, as were Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller playing his sassy, somewhat out of control, previously neglected daughters. The story takes place on three Hawaiian islands, Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island, and the scenery is spectacular. In one scene Clooney is driving from the airport and passes graffiti shaped by white coral rock on a lava rock background similar to what I witnessed last week. The Hawaiian songs that form the soundtrack, is also great. One song, “Paka Ua,” meaning raindrops, is by Ozzie Kotani and Daniel Ho (no relation to Don Ho of “Tiny Bubbles” fame).

In “Californication” Hank’s 12 year-old daughter Becca, whom he frequently fines when she curses, is in a rock band and in one episode ably performs “Surrender.” She has a crush on her guitar teacher and is jealous when her 16 year-old stepsister slut Mia bags him. Becca reminds me of my young granddaughters, older and wiser (in some respects) than their years but at the same time awfully vulnerable. One nice thing about Facebook: new photos of the grandkids appear aplenty almost daily.

I picked up Disturbed’s latest CD “The Lost Children” after hearing most cuts in Hawaii with my wingman Seattle Joe. It includes such ditties as “Hell,” “Monster,” “Sickened,” “Dehumanized,” “Midlife Crisis,” and ends with a rousing rendition of the Judas Priest standard “Living After Midnight” – a song also covered by The Donnas. Called Joe excited, and he remarked “Awesome” when I told him what I had on.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Helplessness Blues

“Yeah I’m tongue-tied and dizzy
And I can’t keep it to myself.”
“Helplessness Blues,” Fleet Foxes

In the news: Destiny Myles (3) and brother Jeremiah (18 months) died of asphyxiation in a Chicago apartment fire that broke out while their six year-old brother was attempting to heat up a box containing pizza at three in the morning while his pregnant mother was asleep. How tragic their life was snuffed, trapped helplessly inside when the door slammed shut after their brother and mother escaped.

I decided to teach a Fall course on Tuesday afternoons and put Chris Young and Jonathyne Briggs on notice that I will enlist them to discuss their favorite journal, diary or memoir. Jonathyne loaned me “A Midwife’s Tale,” based on a 200 year-old diary. Chris is leaning toward “The Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover (Virginia), 1709-1712. The entries focus on the wealthy planter’s relationship with his wife and servant, his daily diet, contemporary medical practices, and his observations of the world around him.

I bowled two practice games Tuesday and mentioned to owner Jim Fowble about recently being in Hawaii. He took R & R in Honolulu in 1970 halfway through his 365-day Vietnam tour of duty. Imagine, a brief respite in paradise from a year in hell. I mentioned that Jim Tolhuizen operated in the Parrots Beak area then and was grievously wounded during the Cambodian invasion. “I went to Cambodia, too,” Jim said, adding that it’s hard to believe that was 42 years ago.

Post-Trib teen advice columnist Dr. Robert Wallace, a Gary native, apologized for an earlier column where he told a girl to simply ignore repeated notes from a guy asking whether she was a virgin. After many feminists complained, Wallace realized that he should have told her to report the sexual harassment to authorities.

Got an old-fashioned letter from Terry Helton in Montana. It’s common procedure at the nursing home where he works to waken folks four times a night. No wonder, he concludes, that so many of them are in foul moods. He’s sad over two friends deciding to move away from Ennis and quite soured on politics. An African American himself, he writes that it is funny how electing a black man president can turn some people into “raving lunatics.”

Because Indiana Republican legislators are striving to pass a right-to-work bill, a group has formed calling themselves “lunch bucket Republicans,” unionists who may run candidates in the primary against anti-union incumbents. My question to them would by, why even bother to remain Republicans? If Romney proves to be the Ed Muskie of 2012, the Wall Street establishment might try to draft Chris Christie (could he survive the SNL parodies bringing attention to his humongous weight?) or Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, convicted of possession of pot while a student at Princeton and an SOB of the worst kind. My favorite current example of mudslinging – that Santorum’s wife Karen lived for years with an abortion doctor 41 years her senior. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

Ray Smock wrote: “Lunch Bucket Republicans, Log Cabin Republicans, I say they should stick their logs in their lunch buckets and munch away. The Republican Party is experiencing what Democrats have had to live with for a long time: a disorganized party flying off in all directions. This is hard for conservatives to grasp, since part of the conservative mind-set is to avoid thinking about consequences. The Republicans may end up with a brokered convention if Newt doesn’t completely self-destruct by then. I still think what’s left of the old Republican Party likes Jeb Bush best. But could the country stomach a third Bush? A Bush/ Christie or Christie/ Bush ticket would make the Republican establishment happy.” In a previous email Ray wrote, “Newt is no Dick Nixon. He is just a dick.”

During the post-WW II Red Scare Gary-born actor William Marshall was fired from the 1953 TV series “Harlem Detective” after the rightwing group Counterattack targeted him. Paul Robeson fared even worse, not only blacklisted but also arrested for circulating a peace petition when the Korean War erupted and denied a passport due to sympathetic remarks he made about détente with the Soviet Union. When the Gary school board prevented him from giving a concert at Roosevelt School, the Reverend L.K. Jackson hosted the concert at his church. W.E.B. DuBois met a similar fate, joined the CP in his eighties, and died in Ghana, where the Pan-Africanist received a state funeral.

Looked up “Othello” quotes that William Marshall would have uttered playing the Moor commander. The most famous is from his farewell speech where he says, “Then must you speak of one that loved not wisely but too well.” In the end racism is at the heart of the tragedy. In the opening act evil Iago tells the father of Desdemona that “an old black man if tupping (fucking) your white ewe” and advises: “Awake the snorting citizens with the bell, or else the devil will make a grandsire of you.”

In the opener of IUN’s Homecoming basketball double-header against Andrews University, located in Berrien Springs, Michigan Sharon Houston led the Lady Redhawks to their tenth straight win. Thanks to Student Affairs coordinator Mary Lee, about a hundred kids from the Northwest Indiana Boys and Girls Club cheered on the Redhawks and boogied with the cheerleaders during a time-out. The deejay was blasting out music whenever there was a break in the action with the bass so loud the stands seemed to vibrate. One contest required a boy and a girl to spin around 15 times and then pick up a ball and make a basket. They were both so dizzy they could hardly stand.

At halftime I ate chili and a hamburger with Chuck Gallmeier and staff members Delores Crawford (University Relations) and Sandra Hall Smith (SPEA). We talked about Bob Lovely, whom Chuck characterized in a press release as perhaps the best friend IU Northwest ever had. Nobody ever had a more appropriate surname. Bob handled his illness with amazing grace and courage. He and Dolores once beat me in a jitterbug contest during a holiday Gala. “We practiced during lunch hours,” she admitted. My partner was an Education professor whom I’d never met before.

Home in time for most of Obama’s State of the Union address. He touted immigration reform and taxing millionaires at least as much as their secretaries. Sitting next to the First Lady was the secretary of Warren Buffet, who suggested the idea. “America Built to Last” was the central theme. Obama gave Congresswoman Gabrielle “ Gabby” Giffords a long hug where they appeared to rock from side to side, demonstrating that he understood how incredibly brave she has been since a rightwing nut shot her. Pretty classy – like the Prez singing a line from “Let’s Stay Together” a few days ago doing a perfect falsetto Reverend Al Green impression. Afterwards CBS showed an episode of “Big Bang Theory.” Sheldon (Jim Parsons) reminds me of Bucknellian Roger McConnell, who roomed with me in an unheated attic my junior year. If we left the door to the second floor open the temp would only go down to about 40 degrees overnight.

I stayed home to watch Gabby Giffords’s farewell appearance in the House of Representatives. After Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a University of Maryland grad, said, “We’ll miss you,” she whispered back, “I’ll miss you, too.” Tears flowed freely even from the eyes of normally heartless Republicans. Watching her walk with effort to the podium to deliver her resignation letter to Speaker John Boehner was unforgettable. Even though Gabby’s husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, ruled out running to replace her, I won’t bet against a future in politics for either or both of them.

I emailed LeeLee Devenney three photos from my trip to the Big Island that nephew Tom Dietz sent me. In one I wearing an AT Auto cap that Bruce Allen gave everyone at my high school reunion. Another shows me in the Pacific Ocean body surfing, and a third is of three goats staring at us from lava rocks. I wrote: “The ocean photo of me and 65 year-old nephew Nick isn’t the most flattering, but at least I had the good sense to keep my bathing suit on at the clothes-optional beach. How about those old goats (the ones on the lava rocks)?”

LeeLee replied that she and Bob were house sitting four dogs, two cats, and a mother-in-law in Reading, Pennsylvania. I emailed: “When I first played Monopoly after moving to Indiana, someone pronounced
Reading, as in the Reading Railroad, like "reading a book." My dad commuted to Philly on the Reading Railroad, as did I two summers when I worked in a law firm mailroom, thinking I'd be a lawyer in the future.”

I can’t get Dylan’s “Idiot Wind (blowing like a circle around my skull, from the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol)” out of my head. One side one of “Blood on the tracks,” it expresses disillusionment, helplessness and outrage at a “howling beast” (Nixon?) who covered up the truth with lies. Referencing the Grand Coulee Dam, troubadour Dylan pays tribute to his mentor Woody Guthrie, who recorded a song by that title.

I picked up a 12-inch Subway for $5.35 (half for today, half for lunch tomorrow) and found a parking spot in the small lot north of Thirty-Fifth between Washington and Adams. Someone had left a half-full Red Bull nearby, and I spilled some on my shoe when I picked it up. Yuck! Supped on yogurt and cookies at 5:15 before departing for bowling. Engineers took all seven points from Here 4 the Beer, as we all bowled above average. Melvin Nelson led the way with a series of more than a hundred pins over his average. On the lanes next to us Joe Piunti and his sons opposed the Dingbats, a team that was right behind us in the standings. Joe has been hobbling on bad knees and his average is down about 40 pins from what it once. With each team having won a game, Joe barely missed a triple in the final frame but converted the spare and then struck out, finishing the night with a series in the 520s. The Dingbats’ anchorman left the 4-10 “baby split” and needed to pick it up and then strike for his team to win. His ball veered to the left at the last moment and knocked down only the four-pin, putting a smile on Joe’s face. Like me, he’s a competitor but seems to be able to enjoy when things go well without brooding when they don’t.

In the bar afterwards, Bob Scheid and Ken Cichocki asked me how Hawaii was. I was glad to oblige. On the drive home listened to “Ten at Ten” with Bob Stroud on WDRV (“The Drive”). The year was 1968, and the first three tunes were “Going to the Country” (like many hippies did) by Canned Heat, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye (featured in the 1983 movie “The Big Chill”), and “Piece of My heart,” by Janis Joplin singing with Big Brother and the Holding Company. Called Bill Batalis with the bowling good news and put Letterman on mute since it was a repeat and got mellow listening to Foster the People.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hard Rain

“Life is sad,
Life is a bust,
All ya can do,
Is do what you must.”
“Buckets of Rain,” Bob Dylan

A hard rain plus temperature in the upper 40s eliminated most snow that had fallen three days ago, save for piles where plows had dumped the white stuff. Because of the weather, I stayed home Friday after going to the Chesterton library in the morning. I checked out “Deadline Artists,” a compendium of classic newspaper columns on war, politics, humor, crime, and farewells. What hooked me were columns by H. L. Mencken on Warren Gamaliel Harding and the Scopes Monkey trial and numerous essays by New Yorker Jimmy Breslin, including one concerning John Lennon’s death written within hours of the shooting. The initial entry by Richard Harding Davis describes the German war machine crossing into neutral Belgium in August of 1914. Entitled “Like a River of Steel It Flowed, Gray and Ghostlike,” Harding wrote: “At this minute it is rolling through Brussels as the swollen waters of the Conemaugh Valley swept through Johnstown” – a reference to the 1889 Pennsylvania flood that killed more than 2,200 people after a dam burst, sending a 36-foot wall of water rumbling through town at 40 miles an hour and, according to witnesses, crushing houses like eggshells.

On “Homeland” a 16 year-old is listening to “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People at a critical plot moment. On “Californication” a young woman steals Hank Moody’s 1974 Bob Dylan album “Blood on the Tracks” after having sex with him. Locating the album among my collection, as I listened to the first cut, “Tangled Up in Blue” (“The only thing I knew to do was keep on keeping on”), I read the liner notes by Pete Hamill entitled “Poems of a Survivor.” Referring to Vietnam, Hamill writes: “Early on, he warned us, he gave many of us voice, he told us about the hard rain that was going to fall and how it would carry plague.” Hamill concludes: “We live with a callous on the heart. Only the artists can remove it and help the poor land again to feel.” Pretty, pretty, pretty good, as Larry David would say.

In my Vietnam class I used to show an excerpt from the 1987 documentary “Dear America: Letters from Vietnam” that used Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” in the background while someone reads a letter from a private first class named Raymond Griffiths, who died at age 19 on July 4, 1967, shortly after writing home to a friend named Madeleine. He wondered if his girlfriend Darlene had been faithful to him and said he’d make it out alive if it were God’s will. Apparently it wasn’t.

Saturday we dined with the Hagelbergs at a place near our condo called Sage (I had delicious scallops), and we played bridge afterwards. While I was in Hawaii Jeff Manes did a Post-Trib SALT column about Dick at my suggestion. Interestingly, what ran in the Gary edition was shorter than the Porter County version. The interview took place at Dick’s business in Miller, Kidstuff Playsystems. After Jeff mentioned me, this exchange took place.

DH: “I’ve known Jim for many, many years. We play bridge together; he’s very good.”

JM: “Are you as liberal as Jim?”

DH: “Almost, not quite.”

The longer version also appeared on the Post-Trib website. On his bio page he described himself humorously as “an agnostic socialist who has never been nominated for any journalistic awards”. He expressed gratitude that the Post-Tribune includes photographs of its columnists, lest readers mistake him for the canine Ollie. The P-T has an “Ask Ollie” column purportedly penned by a dog rescued by a local humane society following Hurricane Katrina.

Tom Wade turned me on to a female duo, Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, that call themselves Garfunkel and Oates (after the sidekicks of Paul Simon and Daryl Hall). Among their parodies posted on YouTube are “Pregnant Women Are Smug” and “Sex with Ducks” (inspired by Reverend Pat Robertson’s remark that legalizing gay marriage was a first step toward allowing people to have sex with ducks). Tom’s favorite is “Save the Rich,” dedicated in Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, which contains the refrain: “Let job creators keep more than their fair share/ So they can go to Asia and create jobs over there/ So give the special tax breaks/ Who cares about Detroit?” They also do such risqué songs as “Handjob, Bland Job, I Don’t Understand Job” and “This Party Took a Turn for the Douche.” Tom wants to see them live in Chicago next month.

In the news: Newt Gingrich trounced Romney in South Carolina by bashing the press (how dare they bring up his second ex-wife’s allegation that he sought an open marriage so he could continue banging Callista, then his mistress, now his wife) and playing the race card, calling Obama the food stamp president. Gabby Giffords, shot last year in Arizona by a rightwing nut, is resigning her seat in Congress but promises to run again after she regains her health. Penn State coach Joe Paterno “Joe Pa” succumbed to lung cancer and a broken heart in the wake of the child molestation scandal involving his longtime assistant.

I won two of four board games before settling in for an afternoon of NFL football. Two goats emerged from the close playoff games. Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff missed an easy field goal, and San Francisco punt returner Kyle Williams had two turnovers, first when a ball grazed his leg and then in OT when he fumbled, leading to the winning field goal. Earlier Vernon Davis was penalized 15 yards for jumping on a cameraman’s podium after a 73-yard TD catch. What a stupid rule. Meanwhile, it’s OK to dunk the ball through the uprights or for Packers players to leap into the stands; the latter was “grandfathered” into the rules forbidding unnecessary celebrations. By that logic veteran cornerbacks should be allowed to employ helmet-to-helmet hits.

Sociology professor Bob Lovely passed away. Although I knew the end was near, still the news brought tears to my eyes. He was a kind man and a great teacher whom students loved. On a happier note Fred McColly called to tell me his daughter Sarah made him a grandfather.

Gaard Murphy Logan reported on the storms that struck the Seattle area. She and Chuck lost power and the freezing rain caused three large branches to come crashing down in their backyard and two other trees to be leaning on the garage and house. They are in the market for a chainsaw, but the stores were sold out.

In the cafeteria was 72 year-old Fred Chary, who is back teaching a course on Eastern Europe. He is using John Reed’s book on the Russian Revolution “Ten Days That Shook the World” and showed the class excerpts from the 1981 film “Reds” starring Warren Beatty and featuring “witness” interviews with such luminaries as writer Henry Miller and peace activist Scott Nearing.

Still mulling over whether to teach a fall History Topics course on “Diaries, Journals, and Memoirs,” I checked out both abridged and unabridged (11 volumes) versions of Samuel Pepys’s “Secret Diary.” Writing about seventeenth—century England young Pepys covers such events as the Stuart restoration, the Great Plague, the London Fire, as well as social diversions as royal balls and public cockfights (he wrote: “It is strange to see how people of this poor rank, that look as if they had not bread to put in their mouths, shall bet three or four pounds at a time”). Though married, Pepys was a notorious womanizer and
had numerous affairs, including one with his wife’s maid, Deborah Whitten. The diary was written in shorthand and covered a ten-year span beginning in 1660. He stopped after fearing that he was going blind.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

At the Library

“Staring across the room
Are you leaving soon?
I just need a little time.”
“At the Library,” Green Day

I am trying to locate Gary Roosevelt yearbooks from the early 1940s to see what actor William Marshall was up to in high school. Since the downtown Gary library closed at the end of last year, I don’t know how to gain access to its Indiana room. Archives volunteer Maurice Yancy said that most old yearbooks that were once in Roosevelt’s school library are missing, pilfered probably, and he was pessimistic about me have better luck in the Indiana Room. In IUN’s library stacks I found four good books about African Americans in the movies and television, including Daniel J. Leab’s “From Sambo to Superspade.” On Facebook Sam Barnett, aka Samuel A. Love, posted a video of Green Day’s “At the Library” and wrote: “Just reminding that not a single library closed in this country during the Great Depression! The rationalizations of why so many are closing now are miserable lies.” Two Gary firemen visited the Archives today because the downtown library was inaccessible.

Mike Olszanski is going on a union bus with Paul Kaczocha and Dr. T. Iverson to protest state legislators trying to ram through a right-to-work law. He writes: “Maybe we should plan on sleeping there until these Republican jerks get the idea. No RTW!!!!” Democrats are again threatening to boycott the session.

Karren Lee asked me to distribute flyers announcing that Gail Archer, a Grammy nominated organist, will be performing at St. Mary of the Lake Church in Miller a week from Sunday. Was glad to oblige. Vickie ran some off, and Scott Fulk of Student Life stamped them approved.

Jonathyne Briggs reported that his AHA session on “Cold War Kids: The Ideologies of Punk in the East and West” went fine and was well attended. His paper was entitled “Force de Frappe: Rock against Communism in Socialist France.” He has asked Chancellor William Lowe to talk about Ireland in his spring class on terrorism. That would be fun to attend. The first course topic will be the American Revolution. Imagine – our founding fathers were terrorists.

Yesterday I bought a pair of comfortable boots at Bass Pro Shop in Portage, my first visit there. Grandson Anthony likes to go there and use their archery target. Merrell boots, recommended by nephew Tom Dietz, seemed too heavy duty and cost three times as much as the Redhead pair I purchased.

After watching “Homeland” on Showtime, I checked out an episode of “Californication,” a series in its fifth season starring David Duchovny as a writer who bedded down three women in a half hour. In each case Duchovny was on the bottom, allowing the camera to capture action shots of the actresses naked from the waist up. Episode one began with Duchovny fantasizing about receiving a bj from a nun. Evidently the show has been on the air since 2007 and Duchovny is a Golden Globe winner. Judging from what I have seen on the premium cable channels at least one soft core porn scene is almost obligatory – not that I’m a prude and complaining. In one scene the writer’s 12 year-old daughter tells him that there’s a naked lady in his bedroom and something must be wrong with her because she doesn’t have any hair near her vagina.

More dead bodies were uncovered on the Italian cruise ship “Costa Concordia,” which crashed into a rock and tilted over on its side. Captain Francesco Schettino, who took the ship too close to shore and then abandoned ship on a lifeboat before most passengers were evacuated, has been put under house arrest.

Wikipedia is blacked out all day in protest over a proposed piece of legislation that, to quote the online encyclopedia, “could fatally damage the free and open Internet.” In sympathy Google has inserted a black rectangle over its logo. Three times I tried unsuccessfully to access sites. I did manage to find a YouTube clip of William Marshall appearing on a 1964 episode of “Bonanza” entitled “Enter Thomas Bowers.” General Motors, the sponsor, threatened to withdraw from the program upon learning that Marshall and two other black performers, Ena Hartman and Ken Renard, would appear, but the corporation backed down after confrontations with NBC and the NAACP. Marshall played a celebrated opera singer who faces arrest because some believe him to be an escaped slave. In the end he sings a selection from Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.” Strikingly handsome with a rich baritone voice, he was fantastic.

Vietnam vet George Rasmussen came across my blog about the death of Jim Tolhuizen and informed me that he was wounded by the same sniper who shot Jim on May 10, 1970 during the Cambodian invasion. He added: “Everything that you wrote in your article about Jim was right on the money. The good friend that he said died in a rocket attack was Paul Stepp. I sent in a picture of Paul, and it is posted on the virtual wall web site. Based on everything I've read about Jim on the Internet, he was a well liked member of the faculty, a good friend and it appears that he made good use of the additional ‘time’ he was granted.” I sent George a copy of my “Vietnam Veterans from the Calumet Region” Shavings issue.

Ray Smock sent me an email entitled “C-SPAN’s Kinkiest Moment.” He goes on to say, “The National Constitution Center has posted a Twitter link to a part of my 2005 C-SPAN interview where I tell the story of how I became Ben Franklin’s body double. But here is the real reason for looking at this. This is a record setting appearance. I am the only historian to have ever appeared on C-SPAN in my underwear. This is a record to be proud of. It is, perhaps, the kinkiest thing C-SPAN has ever done.” Sure enough, one shot shows Ray in black briefs.

At lunch math professor Jon Becker said he took my Vietnam War class in 1984. He and psychology prof Karl Nelson discussed cell phones being classroom annoyances and students accessing Facebook rather than taking notes. Missing was the normal English department contingent. I noticed that Alan Barr is showing the x-rated “Last Tango in Paris” in his film class, starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider and directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.

Talked Toni into making steak sandwiches with mushrooms and onions for dinner. Dave “Duke” Kaminsky bowled for me because I attended the January condo board meeting at Bernie Holicky’s place, where the main issue was whether or not an owner should be allowed to have a whirlpool adjacent to his back deck. Bernie was formerly a librarian at Purdue Calumet. IU was up by seven against Nebraska when I left but lost 70-69.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Trip to the Big Island

“Here’s to the golden moon
And here’s to the silver sea.”
“Tiny Bubbles,” Don Ho

I kept hearing Don Ho’s “Tiny Bubbles” in my head as I embarked on an eight-day trip to glorious Hawaii. Toni and I had seen Don Ho live several times at Duke Kahanamoku’s nightclub on at Waikiki’s Hawaiian Village in Honolulu while we lived on Oahu in 1965-66. We visited Maui in 1990 and Honolulu with Miranda three years ago, but I had never before been on the “Big Island” of Hawaii. I flew with Tom Dietz from Phoenix to Kona International Airport. It only rains on the Kona Coast about ten inches a year, and the terrain can best be described as a lava desert. It’s quite beautiful though, and people have used white coral stones to write messages about loved ones on the black lava rocks.

Home base was a gorgeous house at Waikaloa Village. The only fast food at the nearby shopping center was (thankfully) a Subway, and at the Food Market Steinlager Beer imported from New Zealand was on sale for $12.99 a 12-pack. Most days I hiked there (a 20 minute walk) for coffee and pastry to start the day. On Monday (sunny and in the seventies, perfect for touring) Tom, Joe, and I headed for Kohala, along the northern coast. First stop was Puukohola Heiau, where King Kamehameha built a temple to the war god Kukailimoku as he prepared to conquer his rivals and unite Hawaii under his rule. Then we visited the ruins of a 600 year-old fishing village before driving to the breathtaking Pololu Valley lookout. It was once a place of refuge for Hawaians who violated the strict kapu system; if they could make it there alive, they could atone for their crimes. One taboo forbade women from eating bananas or coconuts. After downing smoothies in the town of Hawi and snapping photos posing with a colorful statue of Kamehameha we drove through cattle ranch country, encountering black goats, a mongoose or two, wild turkeys, and donkeys by the road.

Tuesday we toured the Hilo side, visiting Akaka Falls on the way to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to Kilauea volcano. Unlike the tourist posters, about all one sees at the crater is a big hole with steam coming out. In 1790 a rival king named Keoua was marching against Kamehameha but lost a third of his troops when a major eruption occurred. Some saw it as evidence that fire goddess Pele was angry over his troops throwing rocks into Kilauea and that she favored Kamehameha. Keoua subsequently tried to surrender but was slain and sacrificed at Puukohola Heiau. Another major eruption occurred in 1924, and in 1990 a lava flow destroyed most of the town of Kalapana. Kilauea is still very active but finding its way to the sea through a lava tube. Driving around the southern tip of Hawaii, we often encountered lava flows from Mauna Loa, the largest of the five volcanoes that formed the island, whose most recent eruption occurred in 1984. Meanwhile we listened to hits from the 70s and 80s (Cars, Deep Purple, Average White Band, Fleetwood Mac) on LAVA radio 103.5, frequently singing along to oldies such as “Magic Bus” by the Who.

Most other days we visited beaches along the Kona coast, usually near beautiful resorts. Some were of the black sand variety, while other white sand beaches were perfect for body surfing. With 12-foot waves breaking a hundred yards from the shore I hadn’t had that much fun in the water in years. We saw huge turtles along one shore and whales surfacing on the horizon while using a Marriott Resort hot tub (I also swam laps in their giant pool). Thursday evening Marriott had half-price night on dinner entrees, so they did get some of our money.

My last full day on the island we went to the 175 year-old Hulihe’e Palace in Kailua-Kona, which included many traditional artifacts, including dishes and mallets for pounding poi, as well as things brought back from his world tour by King David Kalakaua, the so-called “Merry Monarch,” who built Iolani Palace in Honolulu, where I did research into the administration of Governor Joseph Boyd Poindexter for my masters thesis. There was a special bed built for Princess Ruth Ke’elikolani, who weighed 400 pounds and was almost seven feet tall. The guide mentioned that sugar planters imported the mongoose to combat rats, but since they are active during the day and rats are nocturnal, mongooses feasted on birds and their eggs, causing many beautiful species to become extinct. Eating sliders and fish tacos at Huggo’s On the Rocks during Happy Hour, we listened to Hawaiian music and watched the sunset (it got more applause than the entertainer). Before we left a hula dancer charmed the standing room only crowd. We topped the evening off at the Royal Kona Resorts (no problem walking through the grounds even though we were non-paying visitors), gawking at the ocean surf and listening to music from a stage show.

I took along David Balducci’s novel “Last Man Standing” (a suspenseful “page turner” – the villains were white supremacists who blew up an integrated school in Virginia) and managed to finish it by trip’s end. Other reading material at the house included Mark Twain’s “Roughing It in the Sandwich Islands” and a delightful children’s book “Princess Bianca and the Vandals.” A Wall Street Journal Arts section contained a review of Pico Iyer’s “The Man Within My Head” about Graham Greene that contained this quote by my favorite novelist about keeping a journal as a form of therapy: “Sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint, can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in the human situation.” I remained pretty oblivious to news events but did watch the thrilling NFL playoff victory of San Francisco over New Orleans. People watching at the Kona Airport, I saw folks who reminded by of old Upper Dublin teachers Frank Gilronan and Geraldine Biles.

Home to find snow on the ground (no surprise), the For Sale sign gone from the unit next to us, and a new furnace for the condo (the old one went out during the snowstorm). Sunday’s Post-Tribune had a Jerry Davich feature on 93 year-old Tuskegee Airman Quentin Smith, looking forward to being a special guest at the Chicago premier of George Lucas’s “Red Tails.” Smith told of being put in the Fort Knox stockade at war’s end for refusing to leave an officers’ club reserved for whites only. After Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP protested, President Harry S Truman ordered the men released. Clara Danes won a Golden Globe award for her portrayal of a CIA officer on the TV series “Homeland,” said to be Barack Obama’s favorite show.

IUN’s library was closed for Martin Luther King Day, but I managed to get in and expunge the 200+ emails that had accumulated in my absence. One from the owner of the condo next to us mentioned that renters (a mother and daughter) will be moving in shortly. The university appeared to have made it through the first week of the Spring semester without me. One event I missed lamentably was a program about the 1961 Freedom Riders. The panel included former Gary mayor Richard Gordon Hatcher. Jon Huntsman, the only decent Republican presidential hopeful, withdrew from the race. As Martin Luther King, who would have been 83 years old today, said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish as fools.” Near the entrance to the Archives is an exhibit Steve McShane put together about the student demonstrations leading to the university observing Martin Luther King Day. For our forty-seventh wedding anniversary Toni cooked up steaks, potatoes, and cauliflower. Dave invited us over for dinner, but we begged off as we were both tired.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lions and Lambs

“Got shackles on, my words are tied
Fear can make you compromise.”
“Houdini,” Foster the People

Harry Houdini had no trouble with shackles but wasn’t ready for the sucker punch that fatally burst his appendix. The Foster the People “Houdini” line about compromising reminds me of the Counting Crows line in “Round Here” about talking like lions but sacrificing like lambs. Talk about sucker punches: Mitt “the shit” Romney’s Super PAC did a number on Newt “the hoot” Gingrich, who emerged from the Iowa caucuses, to quote one pundit, like a wounded lion eager to exact his revenge. To eke out a quarter of the votes frontrunner Romney continued to compromise his beliefs (if indeed he has any) pandering for votes from the Religious Right. He’s done a one eighty on abortion and buckled on global warming. We’ll see if he turns out to be the Ed Muskie of 2012. As Matt Taibbi wrote on his Rolling Stone blog, what did all the sound and fury in Iowa mean: absolutely nothing. He points out that the candidate who raises the most money wins more than 94 percent of the time. In Romney’s case, it was by eight votes over former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Tea Party sacrificial lamb Michele Bachman is gone, and Rick “the prick” Perry is probably next.

Speaking of lions, the final words of Steve Jobs allegedly were, “Oh, wow, oh, wow, oh, wow!” Did he see a shining light at the end, one wonders, or just a black abyss? Did he feel great pain or liberation from same?

Save for catching a cold, the holidays went great. Got in numerous card games. Grandchildren abounded for a week, and numerous good friends dropped in, including Hagelbergs, Horns, and Wades. For Christmas I received a lumberjack shirt (Phil got matching ones for himself and Dave), slippers, jelly, the CDs “Torches” by Foster the People and “Lisbon” by the Walkmen (from Alissa’s boyfriend Josh), and “Seabiscuit” author Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” (from daughter-in-law Beth). Robert Blaszkiewicz’s annual CD of his 20 favorite songs of the year included Foster the People’s hit “Pumped Up Kicks” as well as numbers by veterans WILCO, the Feelies, and REM. On Wednesday December 27 the last folks to leave were Phil, Beth and Alissa plus Angie and the kids.

Talked to old classmates Mary Delp, Gaard Murphy, Phil Arnold, Bob Reller, and Wayne Wylie, who informed me that John Magyar passed away. A starter on Upper Dublin’s basketball team, he and his brother Mike used to shoot hoops at my place. Rel’s son is a high-ranking naval officer. I told him about nephew Fritz working at Notre Dame in the navy ROTC program.

Thursday 12/29 an Asian lady trimmed my toenails at L.A. Nails ($5), got my hair cut at Quick Cut ($12), picked up an airport bus schedule in Portage (I’ll have to go to Highland to catch my Saturday 7 am flight to Hawaii), and stopped at Town and Country for groceries. I discovered the HBO series “Game of Thrones” On Demand. It’s got plenty of violence and nudity but grabbed my attention immediately. Filmed in scenic Northern Ireland, it deals with families vying for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. In short order I watched the entire ten episodes of season one. The spectacular final scene features a funeral pyre for Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo, whose wife Khaleesi emerges from the fire nude but unscathed with three newborn dragons. Bring on season two, due in April! Aside from Khaleesi, the most fascinating character is nine year-old Arya Stark, daughter of Lord Eddard, the right hand man of the king (shockingly beheaded at the end of episode nine) and a willful tomboy to the core.

On Friday, opening day of Game Weekend at the Halberstadts, I had an amazing streak of luck, winning five of seven games, including Small World, Seven Wonders, Medici, and the new hit Revolution. It was so popular someone ran to buy the expanded version, which accommodates up to six players. In Wits and Wagers a question asked how many times members of Congress applauded during one of Bush’s 49-minute State of the Union addresses. I guessed 59; the answer was 58. Since you can’t go over, the person who wrote down 44 got credit, not me. Dave went ahead nailing the number of Olympic medals Carl Lewis won (ten), but I rebounded knowing when the movie “Casablanca” came out (1942). We both knew the final answer, 1789, the year of George Washington’s first inaugural, but I had more money to bet.

Game Weekend attendance, up from last time, included John Hendricks from Wisconsin, the Davis family from Fort Wayne, and several guys from Indianapolis who had met Jef at gaming conventions. One was Patrick Malott, works for a video game company in Austin, Texas, called BioWare. His t-shirt had a logo of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, one of the games he works on. I was teaching three of them St. Petersburg when a little kid spilled an entire glass of pop in the middle of everything in a bid to gain his dad’s attention.

Saturday I finished last in Revolution, caught up in a turf battle with Charles Halberstadt and stymied by Patti Davis employing a strategy similar to one I used the day before, but Sunday my luck returned with victories in Amun Re and Acquire (in a four-player game that Evan Davis would have pulled out if it had lasted one turn longer). One treat was playing in a game of Air Baron with Evan, who had invented the game. When Hendricks bragged about besting him, Evan replied that many folks could claim that honor.

No interest in the final week of the NFL season since Eagles and Bears were out of playoff contention but loved watching Indiana upset number two Ohio State 74-70 in a nail biter. Even though freshman Cory Zeller had trouble scoring and fouled out with three minutes to go, Christian Watford, Victor Oladipo and Jordan Hulls came through in the clutch. Bulls have won four of five and are fun to watch with MVP Derrick Rose.

Monday, January 2, being an official holiday, Fred Chary invited me to watch the annual NHL outdoor classic featuring Flyers against Rangers. Lake effect snow and a lingering cold kept me home, but we were in phone touch like during the 1970s. Despite being awarded a penalty shot in the final minute, the Flyers succumbed due to superior goal tending by Ranger Henrik Lundqvist. Between commercials I got into “Unbroken,” about Louis Zamperini, who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics before becoming a bombardier during WW II, who survived being adrift in the Pacific and incarceration in a Japanese POW camp. He was an incorrigible hell-raiser as a child until an older brother channeled his energy into long-distance running.

Tuesday the IUN library opened after 12 days, and a hundred emails awaited me, including messages from high school friend Pat Zollo (about mutual friend Paul Curry, who died in Vietnam) and grad school buddy Ray Smock (who is delivering the annual alumnus speech April 2 at Maryland). Niece Andrea reported that it is sunny with highs in the 80s on the Big Island of Hawaii and that she and Seattle Joe can’t wait for Tom and me to arrive. Cafeteria was virtually deserted save for Alan Lindmark, who supposedly retired in December. Ron Cohen’s son Josh, visiting the credit union, recognized me and showed off a photo of his son, who looks just like him. “I call him Mini-Me,” he said with a grin, referring to a character in an Austin Powers movie.

Steve McShane received an email from the nephew of Kathryn Hyndman, who discovered that we have her aunt’s jail diary in the Archives. Steve is sending him my “Age of Anxiety” issue and invited them to the Archives.

Wednesday at the credit union I ran into Leroy Gray, formerly head of IUN’s Financial Aid office. We ended up having lunch and reminiscing about Region high school basketball and gushing over IU’s present number 12-ranked team. He asked about my former colleague Paul Kern, and I inquired about Ernest Smith, who moved to the Houston area a couple years ago.

Researching the career of Gary-born actor William Marshall, I discovered that among the half dozen productions of “Othello” that he starred in, one was a 1968 jazz musical with Jerry Lee Lewis playing Iago. In 1953 he was in the first TV series starring black actors, “Harlem Detective,” until blacklisted for being a member of two supposed communist “front” groups. A lion, he was friends with W.E.B. DuBois.

Steve McShane informed me that a researcher named Katie Turk will be visiting the archives to do research on the Kingsbury ammunition plant during World War II. My old friend Paul Turk’s daughter has the same name.

DeeDee Ige convened a pre-planning meeting of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion group in advance of a lunch date Friday with Chancellor Lowe. Many Gary residents were outraged when an able faculty member was denied tenure and then, after she died, few members of the administration attended her memorial service. My role will be to suggest ways to increase meaningful contact between the Gary community and the campus.

Librarian Audrea Davis gave me a copy of a 2010 report the Jeff Johnson Institute compiled on recommendations for community engagement and relationship-building. One suggestion was to launch an “Ambassador program” utilizing faculty, staff and students in making the community aware of university events and vice versa. Staff members such as Kathy Malone and Mary Lee already have assumed such a role and Ken Coopwood helped establish a black student leadership group, but more use could be made of former administrators such as Leroy Gray(Financial Aid), Bill Lee (Admissions), F.C. Richardson (Dean of Arts and Sciences) and Barbara Cope (Dean of Student Affairs). When former chancellor Peggy Elliott took the reins at South Dakota State, Barbara Cope and Bill Lee helped her recruit area Black students. Why not enlist them to do the same for IUN? I’d also like to see former chancellor Hilda Richards welcomed back to campus events. Unfairly maligned by those who would have preferred a WASP male leader, she was a good person who got two buildings built and the social work program launched.

Jeff Johnson also recommended “arts focused” special events. We do a good job celebrating Martin Luther King’s birthday, and coming up is a program commemorating the Freedom Riders of 50 years ago. Two other possibilities are a symposium recalling the historic 1972 National Black Political Convention at West Side High School and an event honoring the memory of Gary-born Shakespearean actor William Marshall and his mother Thelma Marshall, for many years head of the Lake County Children’s Home. William Marshall’s daughter Gina Loring is an accomplished poet and hip hop performer as well as a political activist. Gregg Andrews, who wrote a biography of Thelma’s sister Thyra Edwards, emailed that Gina performed at his campus and “to say that she WOWED our students would be an understatement.” He added: “I’m sure she’d jump at any chance to perform where her grandmother made such an important contribution to the community of Gary.”

The last time Jeff Johnson was on campus, he spoke with and listened to interested members of the IUN community. Perhaps he should be invited back to interact with Gary residents who still believe the campus is too aloof and insensitive to issues of diversity and inclusion.

I helped the Engineers win five points against the Town Drunks by bowling my average (barely). In the one close game Dick Maloney doubled in the tenth and finished with a 203.On the other team were Joe Piunti and his three sons, plus Chris Lugo, who bowled for us one year. I told JP, as I call Joe, that the family that bowls together stays together. Dave has been taking James bowling Saturday mornings, and we talked about an excursion with Phil over Christmas, but it didn’t happen. Too many other things going on.