“Each day as I grow older
The nights are getting colder
Some day the sun will shine on me.”
“Big Man in Town,” Four Seasons
Saturday: Vanity Fair’s June cover features a sexy photo of Marilyn Monoe and inside are previously lost nude photos. More substantive was an article by David Maraniss about young Barack Obama living in New York City in his early twenties. An old Caucasian girlfriend recalled how serious he was sorting out his identity while associating with mostly Pakistani friends. The Prez returned to the Empire City to deliver the commencement address at Barnard College, the female counterpart to his alma mater Columbia. On a somber note Everett Murdock has written a book entitled “Obama Will Win, but Romney Will be president” How the Republicans Will Target Electoral College Votes to Steal the 2012 Presidential Election.” Let’s hope not, especially if women vote for him in landslide proportions.
While at the library I checked out “The Murder of the Century” by Paul Collins about a bizarre 1897 crime that William Randolph Hearst sensationalized until readers all over the world followed the story. At Chesterton’s European Market I spotted a dead ringer for former campus Police Chief Andy Lazar, a gentle but formidable giant. Lazar mentored Roy Dominguez, the first Mexican-American state trooper in Indiana (IUN just appointed its first woman chief, Patricia Nowak). Selling me two organic grapefruits from Florida was a woman who recognized me and claimed I was her brother’s favorite teacher some 20 years ago. Marianne Brush had a fun Pre-Memorial Day party because John and Lorraine Shearer were visiting from Traverse City. Toni’s shrimp were a hit, with Becca devouring many of them.
Sunday: After going one for four in gaming in an Amun Re contest decided by a single slice, Toni and I saw “Jersey Boys” at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre. In addition to the great music, the play shed light on Four Seasons founder Tommy DeVito, lead singer Frankie Valli, songwriter Bob Gaudio, and arranger Nick Massi, who sang and played bass – all different, each flawed, but did they ever mesh. The group struck pay dirt with “Sherry” in 1962, and the hits continued until Beatlemania and the British Invasion. I saw Frank Valli and a backup version of the Four Seasons in Indy during the mid-80s, and the songs sounded pitch perfect although I believe someone else was hitting the high falsetto notes. Valli is still touring, as the play has brought him new fans.
The four of us ate at an excellent Tapas restaurant. We stuffed ourselves, consumed a large pitcher of black raspberry sangria, and the bill came to $97.50, including tax. Near the Art Institute we saw Muslims protesting the Syrian regime of Bashas al-Assad, whose troops have massacred thousands of civilians. On Memorial Day we had a cookout and played bridge at Hagelbergs.
I got out a CD of 1962 hits that included “Sherry” by the Four Seasons and ended with “Green Onions” by Booker T and the MGs, “Little Town Flirt” by Del Shannon, “Palisades Park” by Freddy Cannon, and “What’s Your Name?” by Don and Juan, whose unforgettable last line goes, “Shooby-doo-bop-bah-dah!”
Columnist Jerry Davich wondered what deceased veterans would think about the NATO and Occupy Wall Street protests in Chicago. While claiming that they died to protect our freedoms, he implied that most protesters were feckless publicity seekers, hippies and ideologues. His tone was condescending and his research nonexistent. In the documentary “Dear America: Letters from Vietnam” a soldier who thinks he’s dying, wonders what he’s given his life for. He was told he was fighting communism but realized he didn’t even know what communism was, much less why we should be killing Vietnamese willing to die for their beliefs.
Tuesday was granddaughter Miranda’s graduation. Beforehand she starred in a soccer game that her school, Wyoming Park, won, 1-0. The weather was perfect for the big day, sunny and in the 80s; in fact, had I not used sun block for the game, I’d have been burned. Next year the two Wyoming schools will merge, so this was Park’s final graduating class. Near the end of the ceremony students chanted “last class ever” and the orchestra played the school song one final time. Other than oblique comments about choices and mistakes, some unimportant, others life-changing, by valedictorian Autumn Vanden Berg, nobody mentioned the auto accident that killed one senior, Timothy See, and injured two others, including the driver (a no show) and someone who escaped with minor wounds and received hearty applause from classmates (Miranda is in the first row, third from right).
Reporter Don Terry’s editors at “American Prospect” want as assessment of Gary’s current mayor. I replied, “So far, Karen Freeman-Wilson seems to be good at consensus building and projecting a caring image. The city is desperately in need of money, and she appears to be honest and capable of reaching out to state and federal officials for grants that will be essential for progress. A nearly completed multi-million dollar Marquette Park project will help the Miller Beach neighborhood, and airport improvements also show promise. The jury is still out on whether she can turn Gary around. Much will depend on whether Obama gets a second term and if the Democrats can keep the abhorrent Mike Pence from becoming governor.”