Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

 “Now a moment of silence for the broken man,
While the president proudly crows, ‘we'll never bend,’
And cheers their replacements marching off again,
That's the sad and silent song of a soldier.”
    Phil Ochs

Bettie Erhardt posted a WW II photo of her father on Facebook in honor of Veterans Day and prayed that all our soldiers overseas get home safely.  I echo that emotion.  Jerry Davich wrote a column about a Veterans Treatment Court graduation ceremony, the culmination of a program overseen by Porter County Judge Julia Jent.  Most “students” had developed drinking problems after getting out of the service that resulted in DUIs and jail time.

Pretty typical weekend: watching James bowl, dinner and bridge with Hagelbergs, NFL football.  I watched the final five “Sopranos” episodes from season five and was sorry about the demise of two favorite characters, Adriana (for talking to the FBI) and cousin Tony (for whacking a NYC mobster without authorization).  Saturday evening IUN’s Lady RedHawks upset Grace College 67-65 as freshman Nicki Monahan scored with just four seconds to go.  Megan Holland led the team with 27 points.  Coach Ryan Shelton has won a hundred games in just over five years after going 0-24 in 2007-2008.
Coach Ryan Shelton
In “Dear Abby” a woman complained that an acquaintance claimed that her husband must not love her because she was at a concert without him.  “My husband comes with me even though he hates these things,” the bitch added.  Abby agreed that dragging one’s spouse to something he dislikes was hardly a sign of love. 

Reading Bryan Burrough’s “Public Enemies” for Monday’s book club, I was struck by J. Edgar Hoover’s insatiable egotism and reluctance to tackle organized crime.  He preferred the glory of chasing band robbers and made up lies to enhance his reputation while diminishing the heroism of others.  The capture of Barker Gang member Alvin Karpis in April of 1934 was typical.  Even though out of harm’s way until others surrounded Karpis’ car and got him to surrender, Hoover claimed he rushed to Karpis and grabbed his collar before he could reach his rifle in the back seat.  After he briefed reporters, the New York Times claimed falsely: “KARPIS CAPTURED IN NEW ORLEANS BY HOOVER HIMSELF.”

Karen Newlin found a photo of President John Ryan dedicating Hawthorn Hall and wondered if I was the gentleman wearing sunglasses near the podium.  The man bore a slight resemblance to the way I look now, with gray, wavy hair, but I didn’t own suits as expensive as the man’s, nor fancy sunglasses for that matter.

At the emeritus luncheon Ron Cohen, Fred Chary, and I had the History Department well represented.  Fred said my blog inspired him to write his memoirs, which he is hoping U. of Pittsburgh Press will publish.  He recently talked about Bulgaria in France and at the University of Oregon. I sat next to 87 year-old Panayotis Iatritis, for many years head of IUN’s Medical School.  Alan Lindmark remarked that John Dustman, who started the med school, passed away last year.  Neither of us had heard about it.  Dustman was a controversial figure who passed around a dildo and showed porn to Nursing students in his Anatomy class on the rationale that they should not be squeamish about sex.  In the Seventies Dustman agreed to be a guinea pig at a student fair that featured people getting dunked in the water (something Anne Balay did last year).  After being repeatedly dunked, Dustman suffered a mild heart attack.  “Remind me to be out of town if they do that again,” Chancellor Lowe quipped.

Dr. Iatridis, who came to the U.S. from Greece in 1962, was delighted to discover that I was a Region historian and told me his wife loved history.  We talked about Greek-born Gary mayor George Chacharis (someone I admire despite having served jail time) and (in answer to what I was currently working on) the parents of Nobel laureates Paul Samuelson and Joseph Stiglitz.  I brought up the fact that after Iatridis had gotten the state legislature to pass the hotel/motel tax to help subsidize the med school, tourism director Speros Batistatos tried to grab that money for the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority.  Iatridis worked out a compromise that benefitted the med school greatly.  He gave me a business card after I promised to send his wife “Gary’s First Hundred Years.”  I threw in “Froebel Daughters of Penelope,” featuring the reminiscences of five Greek-American women who attended Gary’s immigrant school during the time Iatridis would have been a teenager.
 Pat Bankston, William Lowe, and Panayotis Iatridis

I debated sending Dr. Iatridis “Educating the Calumet Region: A History of IU Northwest.”  He’s in it four times.  A trustee asked Chancellor Peggy Elliott to see a cadaver so, in her words, “Dr. Iatridis and I took him to the Gross Anatomy lab and stood next to him because we figured he’d faint.”  David Holland from Physical Plant suffered a heart attack in 1989 while on top of the med center.  Interrupting Iatridis’s class, which was normally verboten, Vic Winslow took him there, and the diagnosis was confirmed.  Allied Health director Margaret Skurka told me: “Dr. Iatridis sought me out and had me lecture to the medical students for a couple hours about the business side of health care.  Now it’s part of the curriculum.”

Mark Reshkin noted that John Dustman started the medical school but then got squeezed out as permanent director in favor of Iatridis because “the administration wanted somebody with better rapport with the medical community.”  Acting Chancellor Herman Feldman added: “Dustman worked like a mule, and then they turned it over to somebody else.”  Truth is, Dustman was a loose cannon who went out of his way to get a rise out of others.  Once, knowing that Bloomington bigwigs were on the way to his office, he played a porn video on a TV to see their reactions.

After a chicken and ravioli meal, Chancellor Lowe joked that at least one of us (meaning me) has probably been on campus during the past month more than he.  He announced the new building to be built on the east side of Broadway between 34th and 35th will be by far the largest on campus and include a state-of-the-art theater. It’s always good to see John Ban, who is speaking at Reiner Center next week on WW II music.  As usual, at the end of the Q and A Ban thanked the Chancellor for continuing the luncheon tradition.  Afterwards I talked to Lowe about President McRobbie’s firm stand against the effort to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Lowe, who recently wrote an essay entitled “A Diverse Community: Recognizing our Demographic Facts as Assets,” replied that such a ban would hurt the ability of companies and universities to hire and retain highly quality people.

Ron Cohen’s talk in Nicole’s Sixties class concentrated on Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, and “Country” Joe McDonald.  Ron threw in such asides as that actor Alan Arkin was with the Terriers, who recorded “The Banana Boat Song” in the mid-1950s.  Pete Seeger recorded the County Joe song “”I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag” for Columbia, but then the record label didn’t release it. Seeger sang “Waist Deep in Big Muddy” on the Smothers Brothers TV show only to have CBS cut it.  At Tommy and Dickie’s insistence Seeger was invited back and successfully performed just before the network cancelled the entire show because it was deemed too controversial.

After Ron mentioned Stax, someone asked what musicians recorded on the Memphis label.  Ron called on me, and I answered Sam and Dave and Otis Redding.  Marla Gee added Booker T and the MGs.  Blues legend Albert King was also in their stable.  Nicole called on me after a student claimed that Richard Nixon was no more of racist than Lyndon Baines Johnson.  Whatever their private thoughts on the matter, LBJ championed civil rights legislation while RN appealed to racists not only in making “law ‘n’ order” the central feature of his 1968 campaign but in the selection of nominees to serve on the Supreme Court.  There’s also plenty of derogatory stuff on the Nixon tapes.  He once told National Security adviser Henry Kissinger that Secretary of State William Rogers could take care of the “niggers and Jews” (meaning Africa and Israel) and Kissinger could deal with more important areas of the world.

I won my Fantasy football clash with Dave, thanks to Marshawn Lynch and Peyton Manning, both listed as questionable beforehand.  I still need a dependable wide receiver to go with Brandon Marshall.  Anquan Boldin, Dwayne Bowe, and Greg Jennings have been major busts.

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