“Looks like we’re in for nasty weather,” “Bad Moon Rising,” John Fogerty
On WXRT the “Regular Guy” discussed two old-fashioned 1969 movies (“True Grit” and “Hello Dolly”), and two that were path breakers (“East Rider” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”). The next song was Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising.” For years Fogerty was banned from playing his own songs, but a few years ago that insanity ended. Speaking of insanities, a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin, sparking outrage, especially in black communities. Defense attorney Don West released a jerk-off statement expressing relief that a tragedy did not result in a travesty. Since racial profiling was certainly a factor in Zimmerman’s actions, the federal government may still charge him with having violated Martin’s civil rights. Also a civil suit might be in the works. Most protests so far have been peaceful although demonstrators have stopped traffic on freeways and in Oakland smashed the windows of a police car.
Protests in Chicago (above) and New York City
Harper’s has an article about a homeless elephant herd in India that has ravaged peasant villages. Because elephants are considered sacred and protected, authorities have tried to use non-lethal means of relocatng them but the elephants are very good at outwitting them, sometimes swimming long distances with their heads down and using their trunks like snorkels.
Discussing the “Mad Men” series in Harper’s is Thomas Frank, whose book “The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism” (1998) analyzed Sixties ad agencies’ use of nostalgia. On a speaking tour Frank found that audiences were less interested in theory than reminiscing about favorite commercials from the past. Though fascinated by Frank points out several minor goofs in “Mad Men.” Someone mentioned the “military industrial complex” prior to when Ike coined the phrase. Likewise Marshall McLuhan’s “The medium is the message.” The term “mad men” was not a nickname for Madison Avenue execs, as the series implies. There are references to the movie “The Apartment,” which exposed corporate chauvinism, and “The Bridge Over the River Kwai,” whose main character, like Don Draper, assumes a dead officer’s identity. British partner Lane Pryce resembles the tragic Colonel Nicholson in “Kwai.” Don demanded his resignation upon discovering that he embezzled money to pay off a tax debt. Before he hangs himself, Pryce types out the requested resignation letter as his suicide note.
At James and Becca’s joint birthday party I talked baseball with Anthony (a Tigers fan), places Tori hopes to visit (Paris and London), politics and music with Robert Blaszkiewicz (he likes the group Parquet Courts, which resembles Sonic Youth), and physics with Tom Wade (who resents Pluto’s unfair relegation “dwarf planet” status). Tom informed me that some scientists believe life evolved on Earth because of rocks from Mars, and we rehashed highlights of Brady’s great party.
Jeff Manes’s SALT column, excellent as always, on Corey Hagelberg appeared in Sunday’s Post-Trib. Jeff mentioned walking up the 86 steps to Corey and Kate Land’s two houses and being entranced by the view. Corey talked about his woodcuts (one of which, “In the Garden,” I used on the cover of my latest Shavings. “What I do,” Corey said, “is carve these blocks, then roll ink on the surface and then put the paper down and rub the back. It’s kind of like a big stamp. Most of my work intertwines industry and the Dunes. This specific wood cut book shows the Calumet River which starts in Marquette Park.” Jeff asked Corey to read the text of the 12-foot long hard-carved book, which goes: “The headwaters of the Grand Calumet River originate from a small lagoon in the pristine dunes near the southern shore of Lake Michigan. The word Calumet means pipe, and refers to the one the Illiniwek Indians smoked with the French missionary Father Marquette as a universal sign of peace. Today, near the site of this historic ceremony, where the river enters into an area of heavy industry, the Grand Calumet River disappears into a pipe.”
Corey’s parents, Dick and Cheryl came over for Chinese food and bridge. James and Becca were with us and chowed down on the rice and Mongolian beef. Dick, twice the beneficiary of 150 honors (for all four aces on a no trump bid and ten through ace on a four=spade bid), edged me by a mere 100 points. In the evening I started “Hanging Up” (1995) by Delia Ephron (Nora’sister), born in 1944 (so she’s two years my junior). Eve, the main character, is traumatized by her mother suddenly running off with a man not her husband. Described by a New York Times reviewer as witty and compassionate, the novel deals with self-absorbed siblings and a senile father who likes to pinch nurses’ asses.
Phillies won two of three from the White Sox to finally reach .500 by All Star break. All three games went extra innings, with Philadelphia blowing golden opportunities for a sweep. Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown made the NL All Star squad.
Journey of Hope founder Bill Pelke, who spoke about the Paula Cooper case last year at a Soup and Substance event, is coming to Northwest Indiana in October and inquired about speaking engagements. Chuck Gallmeier is interested in having Pelke speak to his Sociology class. Chuck has to miss one of his summer classes and asked me to talk about Paula Cooper and also show the 2012 Ken Burns documentary “The Central Park Five” dealing with five teenagers (2 age 14, 2 age 15, and one age 16) convicted of raping a jogger in Central Park in 1989. They received sentences of 5-15 years. Later convicted murderer Matias Reyes admitted being the sole perpetrator, and DNA evidence confirmed his participation in the attack.
A cold coming on, I fear. My throat was sore when I drank OJ, and the sniffles are beginning. Darn! Monday is supposed to be the “coolest” day this week, but the Toyota thermometer read 101 at 1:30. Due to rain clouds it went down to 84 by the time I reached Chesterton.
“Dear Abby” is moving into the twenty-first century. A pre-operation M to F transgendered person wondered if she should come clean about her gender status upon dating men. By all means, Abbe advised. A divorced woman developed a crush on a female friend and worried how her daughter would feel about her starting a lesbian relationship. Talk to the daughter about it, Abby suggested.
Patrick Ridgely thanked me for my Shavings issue, saying it brought back tons of memories. He added: “I wish my Dad was still around to devour it. He would have gotten a special kick out of your mention of Tom Harmon, as he wore Harmon's number in football at Horace Mann (Dad was a year or two younger).” That’s a new one on me although several old Mann grads have claimed they centered the ball to “Old 98,” his number in high school as well as Michigan.
In a 2008 Sports Illustrated article, Elizabeth McGarr wrote: “Harmon grew up around the steel mills in Gary, IN, with four brothers, two sisters and a fondness for bubble gum, which got him into trouble with the football coach when he was a freshman at Horace Mann High but also earned him the now famous nickname Old 98. The story has been disputed over the years, but the version the family tells confirms that the coach, annoyed by Harmon's constant bubble blowing, sent him to the locker room to turn in his uniform. As additional punishment Harmon had to return kickoffs against the varsity but proceeded to impress the coach so much by running them back for touchdowns that he was told he could retrieve his uniform. When he returned to the field, the coach exclaimed, "You've got the star halfback's uniform on. Go back up there and take it off." By this time all the best uniforms were taken, and all that was left was an old, tattered jersey: number 98. That didn't bother Harmon, who would end up wearing the number throughout his college career.”
Inducted into the Indiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, 55 years after graduating from Horace Mann, Harmon was cited not only for his football accomplishments but also his basketball prowess and winning state championship in high hurdles.