Saturday, October 19, 2013

Back to Earth

“Clear skies with a chance of satellite debris,” Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone in “Gravity”

At the movies in Portage, I watched “Captain Phillips” for 20 minutes – Tom Hanks at the top of his game - but I knew what would happen so switched theaters and attended “Gravity.”  Sandra Bullock and George Clooney were astronauts stranded in deep space when their shuttle is destroyed by debris while they were on a spacewalk.  The visuals were awesome and the excellent score by Steven Price alternated between soaring rhythms and eerie silence.  Sometimes I just closed my eyes during the musical interludes.  

Returning to Paris after seven weeks, Frederic and Blandine phoned on their way to O’Hare to say au revoir.  They had just gotten a call from Mayor Freeman-Wilson’s office – finally but obviously too late – inquiring about how much longer they’d be in town.

L.A. Nails doubled their price to ten bucks for toenail clipping, still a bargain.  The comely Asian lady who serviced me was very gentle.  During my annual trip to Wal-Mart for Dr. Scholl’s sneakers, I also picked up black slacks and 6 pair of briefs (underpants, we used to call them).  The bill came to $68.

Steve McShane took a photo of Archives volunteers Maurice Yancy, John Hmurovic, Dave Mergl, and Martha Latko.  In the background looms Judge Elbert H. Gary, U.S. Steel board chair and founding father of Gary, though he never lived in the city that bore his name and doggedly resisted efforts by workers to unionize.
 Andy Rudy

Generations magazine noted the WW II contributions of Ann and Andy Rudy.  Born in 1919, Andy was raised in an East Chicago orphanage, St. Joseph Home for Boys.  Asked to leave at age 17, Andy worked washing spittoons in a Griffith bar until Joseph Kovesci hired him to work on his farm.  After a stint in the Civilian Conservation Corps, Andy enlisted in the air force during the war and became a petroleum, oil, and lubrication specialist.  Stationed in Papua, New Guinea, he wrote frequently to his girlfriend Ann Barlas.  Born in 1922, Anne quit Gary Tolleston High School after tenth grade to become a nurse’s aide at Mercy Hospital.  In 1942 Ann enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps and after training was sent to McGuire General Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, to work with amputees who had lost their legs.  She married Andy at war’s end on December 28, 1945.  Andy died in 2011; Ann still lives at Spring Mill in Merrillville.  Daughter Marge is married to Garry Aloia, an IUN booster who served with me on the Gary Centennial Committee.

For a Halloween party at Discovery Charter School James was Luigi from the Mario video series and Becca a mummy.  They looked great. 

Emma and Anne Balay came to the Blues Cruise concert at Camelot Lanes lounge after teaching students from Anne’s Science Fiction class Dungeons and Dragons at a coffeehouse in Griffith.  Anne boogied with me and sang along to the Beatles song “Get Back Jo-Jo.”  It’s the first time Blues Cruise performed it, and Dave, who knows an amazing number of lyrics by heart, had the words on a sheet of paper.  It’s on the Beatles “”Let It Be” album, produced by Phil Spector, and has references both to a guy (Jo-Jo) who left Arizona for some California grass (Linda McCartney was from Arizona) and a transgender named Loretta Martin, “who thought she was a woman, but she was another man” and who “thought she was a cleaner, but she was a frying pan.”  In the studio when Paul sang the lines, “Get back to where you once belonged,” he stared straight at Yoko Ono.

On bass guitar most of the evening, Dave sang the majority of numbers, but Bruce Sawachka did several blues standards, and Missy added to her repertoire the current Lorde hit “Royals” from the album “Pure Heroine.”  A 16 year-old New Zealander, Lorde is the new teen sensation. As always, Missy, Marianne, and I danced to “Rockin’ in the Free World,” the dear departed Voodoo Daddy’s trademark song.
Marianne Brush
WXRT’s Saturday show was about 1975, when reggae was big and Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” topped my list of favorites.  “Jaws” became the top-grossing movie of all time, but “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” swept the Oscars.  I had one group of friends who tripped out to Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti” and another who preferred Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.”  Barry White and Earth, Wind, and Fire were the giants of soul.  Listening in the car to Larry Lujack on WLS, I couldn’t resist singing along to Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” and “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Brother-in-law Steve Pickert passed on a Sierra Club post delineating some of the costs of the Tea party-orchestrated government shutdown.  Alan Abramowitz’s “The Polarized Public: Why American Government Is So Disfunctional” (2013) describes how reactionary Tea Party bankrollers use racial resentment” to promote their agenda.  The Tea Party’s support, he wrote, came “disproportionately from Republican identifiers who were white, conservative, and very upset about the presence of a black man in the White House – a black man whose supporters looked very different from themselves.”  

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