Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lake Effect

“Lake-effect snow: a phenomenon created when cold dry air passes over a large warmer lake, such as one of the Great Lakes, and picks up moisture and heat.”
Route 49, photo by Jerry Davich
We had lake effect snow yesterday and again today.  It isn’t too bad, but I worry about the Michiganders coming down from Grand Rapids through the infamous snowbelt.

No stranger to controversy, Speros Batistatos, President of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, wants the 2014 air show held at Fair Oaks Farms in Newton County.  I personally don’t care and am relieved the city of Gary isn’t shelling out money needed for support services.  Hammond mayor Thomas McDermott, however, called the plan to earmark funds from a Lake County hotel/motel tax to benefit counties nowhere near the southern shore of Lake Michigan a travesty.  Batistatos wants to extend his empire south and, as Jerry Davich asked, “Is this move about a regional power grab more than keeping the air show flying above the many beaches across Northwest Indiana?”

The Archives was booming Wednesday, but the campus was not as crowded as normal, with many cancelled classes.  In my 37 years of teaching I can’t recall ever calling off class.  Even after my knee operation, I had Ron Cohen take over my upper division course and Supplemental Instructor Tom Pawelski show a documentary on Reconstruction in the surveys.  I guess that’s what one might call old-school.

Marla Gee, who sits next to me in Nicole Anslover’s class, asked me to read her “personal statement” for admission to law school.  It is charming, traces the various jobs and life experiences she has had in the 42 years since she graduated from high school.  After saying that she left IU after a year to travel and then the various jobs and education she had had since then, she concludes: With what I suppose must be some form of karmic justice, I am standing at the door with my hat in my hand, over 40 years later, asking for admittance and a second chance.  I labor under no delusions here.  There is no federal bench in my future.  Sidley Austin will not be wining and dining me, six-figure contract in hand.  Many graduates with IU law degrees will be found in the paneled board rooms of Fortune 500 companies and hotshot law firms.  That’s terrific.  But by the same token, the poor and elderly are just as entitled to first-tier legal counsel as the rich and powerful.  Ideally I would like to return to the federal government, (volunteering unfortunately will not repay my student loans), where ageism and mandatory retirement are not as widespread, in addition to hosting weekly volunteer Talk-To-A-Lawyer sessions at a homeless shelter or senior center here in Gary.  Folding metal chairs, cookies and Kool-Aid over there on the table in the corner with the cheap plastic tablecloth.  Not pretty, but I like to believe that I could make good things happen there.  Thank you for the opportunity to tell you about myself.  I look forward to proving to you what a dedicated, passionate student I will be; and in turn, a lawyer worthy of Indiana University.”  Marla’s compassion for those who need attorneys the most shines through in her beautiful letter.
Gabriel Fraire included this note to me along with his book “Mill Rats”: “All my work reflects the challenges and triumphs of being Mexican-American.  I was a Mill Rat.  I was born in East Chicago, Indiana, in the Mexican-American barrio known as ‘The Harbor.’  It was adjacent to the steel mills.  I worked the steel mills.  My father worked 43 years in the mills; his stepfather was killed in a mill.  Growing up, everyone I knew worked the mills.”  Gabe, or Rocky as I knew him, moved to Sonoma County, CA, in 1975 with wife Karen and has two daughters.

Ron Cohen informed me after the fact that he appeared on WBEZ, being interviewed by Mike Puente about an upcoming event honoring the Gary Roosevelt and Indianapolis Crispus Attucks teams that played in the 1955 state basketball championship.  He sent me chapters of another manuscript dealing with vernacular music in the 1930s.  I learned what chanteys were, songs sung by sailors while at work aboard the ship.

Ray Smock wrote: We always find popular shorthand language to describe political conduct. Once Watergate happened, any scandal or crisis in Washington had to have a ‘gate’ as part of its name. The ‘Nuclear Option’ became a dramatic phrase to suggest the extreme nature of changing the rule dealing with cloture, the way the Senate ends debate. ‘Nuclear’ suggests laying waste to the Senate rules, not merely changing or reinterpreting them.  This hyperbole also suggests that the Senate itself will never be the same again. This may be the case. But just naming something ‘nuclear’ does not make it so.

The Engineers won five of seven points thanks to John’s 590 series.  On the next lanes The Legends were wearing new shirts with their nicknames.  Walter Peasant’s read “Sweetness” and bore the number 32, Walter Peyton’s old number.  Shannon McCann was a no-show, so no hugs for me or Melvie.

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