Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Beat Connection

“Refuse. . . confusion
Refuse. . . illusion
Confuse. . . illusion
         “Beat Connection,” LCD Soundsystem

On “The Sopranos” I heard LCD Soundsysstm’s “Beat Connection” in the background at the Crazy Horse club that Adriana manages and where Tony often hangs out.  Later Tony watches a “Honeymooners” episode where Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden appears on “The $99,000 Answer.”  In practicing for his category, Popular Songs, Norton keeps playing the first notes to Suwannee River (“Old Folks at Home”) before each song, driving Ralph crazy.  Sure enough, that’s the first song whose composer Ralph is asked to identify.  Rather than Stephen Foster, Ralph goes, “homina . . . .  homina” and then blurts out, “Ed Norton?”

Indiana Magazine of History’s Fall issue’s lead article is Tamsen Anderson’s “Building Beautiful Homes: The Development of Middle-Class Housing in the Industrial Suburb of East Chicago, Indiana.”  I critiqued an early version of it and offered suggestions that, by and large, Anderson followed.  He demonstrates, in his words, how during the early 1900s “well-paid native-born white collar professionals and supervisory and skilled blue-collar workers resided in homogenous neighborhoods away from the industrial districts inhabited by poor foreign-born workers.”  These neighborhoods remained for the most part lily-white until the 1960s, at which time most whites left East Chicago for the suburbs.

IMH’s “Review Notices” mentioned Arthur S. Meyers’ “Democracy in the Making” about the Open Forum lecture movement, which includes, the editors noted, “an in-depth look at W.E.B. DuBois’s talk at Hammond’s Temple Beth-El.  Delivered at a time when the KKK enjoyed unprecedented support among Hoosiers, the speech exemplified the social potential offered by the Open Forum.”

Riva Lehrer presented Anne Balay with a special jacket.  On the front were her name and “Steel Closets.”  On the back was a reproduction of her book cover. Anne is pumped that Illinois is becoming the fifteenth state to approve same-sex marriage but appalled that a 34 year-old homeless woman in Norwalk, Connecticut, Tonya McDowell, was apparently sentenced to five years in prison for fraudulently enrolling her six year-old son in a school district other than one in Bridgeport, her home city.  While she was out on bond, an undercover cop claimed she attempted to sell him cocaine and marijuana.
 President James Buchanan

Ray Smock alerted me to an article that maligns my great-great-great uncle, President James Buchanan.  Historian Jean Harvey Baker claims that if Buchanan had his way, slave states would have endured from the East Coast to Baja California, which U.S. forces occupied during the Mexican War.  I beg to differ.  Buchanan, James K. Polk’s Secretary of State, instructed treaty negotiators that, in the words of historian Michael R. Hall, “the acquisition of Baja California was not a priority and should not inhibit treaty negotiations.”

Adjunct professor in Education Jerome Grskovic, attending a FACET conference this weekend, borrowed a DVD of my interview with Vice Chancellor David Malik about the organization, dedicated to excellence in teaching and learning.  Jerome’s wife Janice is the Associate dean of Education and set up the Special Education program. 
 Indiana University president Michael McRobbie

A grassroots movement, Freedom Indiana, opposes a legislative bill that would ban same-sex via a constitutional amendment.  Offering support, IU President Michael McRobbie stated: “Equality, compassion, and respect for individuals have long been the bedrock of Indiana University’s educational mission, and the lack of tolerance implicit in HJR6 runs counter to IU’s deeply held values.”

In her Sixties class Nicole showed a clip of Stokely Carmichael delivering a speech advocating Black Power.  I pointed out that one needed to study how Carmichael’s political philosophy evolved during a time of tumultuous change. While in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) he was beaten, thrown into nasty jail cells, and saw many friends murdered with the culprits going unpunished.  Little wonder he eventually soured on turning the other cheek.  He spoke at IUN in 1979; by then he’d changed his name to Kwame Ture and was a Pan-African socialist living in Guinea. Midway through his talk he spotted in the audience an old friend, Richard Morrisroe, and the two embraced, a scene so moving it still brings tears to my eyes.  During SNCC’s 1965 voter registration drive in Lowndes County, Mississippi, Morrisroe was arrested, kept in jail for a week, and then deliberately shot in the back soon after being released.  Tom Coleman killed Morrisroe’s companion, Jon Daniels, but an all-white jury found him not guilty.

As always, Ann Fritz hosted a great Gallery Northwest exhibit. Pam Paulsrud’s work was especially eye-catching and included pieces employing books.  I pigged out on two wrap-around sandwiches and mucho raw veggies.  Fine Arts major Keith Bond on acoustic guitar provided excellent background music.

Engineers took a game from first place team Having Fun Now?  Our last bowler John had to retire after two games with a sore back.  The bowler who rolled a 297 against last week had a 770 series.  Ray Piunti, in a car accident last week, is getting released from the hospital, but it doesn’t look good for his eye.  Letterman’s “New Books” segment included one called “Gay Animals” whose cover featured a tiger in a sultry pose.  He joked that Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who first denied smoking crack cocaine, now admits he probably did during a “drunken stupor.”  The funny thing is, Dave was not making that up. 

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