Monday, December 23, 2013

Hold On

“Bless my heart and bless my mind.
Igot so much to do, I ain’t got much time.”
    Alabama Shakes, “Hold On”
Last Thursday Mark Hoyert told me that Larry Klemz, my longtime Shavings publisher at Home Mountain Printing, passed away a couple months ago.  What a super guy he was.  I plan to dedicate volume 43 to his memory.  We first met in 1992 when Home Mountain published my Sixties issue (volume 21).  Since then his company has moved not once but twice to bigger facilities.  The last issue he quoted me a great price that enabled me to have all the photos in color.  He had gotten very ill after his wife died but seemed very happy last time I ran into him at Chesterton’s European Market.

I had lunch with Beth LaDuke at Tommy B’s, more upscale than its former incarnation, Country Lounge.  One of several new friends I met in Anne Balay’s summer class, she is burning a couple CDs for me, and I gave her a copy of “Boys and Girls” by Alabama Shakes, which features the hit “Hold On.”  The food was great but the service slow due to a couple holiday banquets in progress.  I told Beth about bringing students to Country Lounge at the end of the semester and about its “Hunky Hollow” heritage.

I put several jpegs on a travel drive for Toni, including a clever one from nephew Kyle proposing to Palma.  Returning “Fairyland” to Chesterton library, I spotted “Fifty Shades of Grey” in a display of New York Times bestsellers.  My mother’s book club read it, so with misgivings I checked it out.  What rubbish!  Absolute filth.  I couldn’t wait to exchange it for a biography of Norman Mailer, subtitled “A Double Life.” 

Jerry Davich’s Friday column, “IUN prof claims discrimination because she’s gay,” quoted Anne Balay extensively from her appearance on Lakeshore radio, as well as his guests last week, Amanda Board and Kait Sowards.  Anne mentioned that an Allied Health instructor lowered a students’ grade because she looked too butch and “would never be hired looking that way.” “It’s OK to say that to a student, but not where it affects a student’s grade,” Anne argued and concluded: “I believe my case was obvious.  I was as good as, or better than, men who got tenure with no trouble.  I hope IUN sees that my denial was unfair and grants me a promotion and tenure.  If not, I will sue in civil court.”

Toni and I did a second big Christmas food shopping at Jewel, where I ran into retired Chemistry prof Alan Lindmark, who still comes to IUN on Mondays and lives only a few miles from us.  I watched the final episodes of “The Sopranos” and was pleasantly surprised by the ending, which inferred Tony might be in big trouble but didn’t negate the possibility that he’d prevail, like in so many other close calls.  With the family together at an old-fashioned diner, Tony selects “Don’t Stop Believing” to play on the juke box.  Earlier Tony had told his shrink, Dr. Melfi, “There’s two endings for a guy like me.  Dead or in the can.  Big percent of the time.”  How nice writer David Chase spared us either one of those denouements.

Saturday before dinner and bridge with the Hagelbergs I read a large chunk of J. Michael Lennon’s Norman Mailer tome.  In addition to having a compulsive need to screw every attractive woman he met, Mailer was a heavy dope smoker (sometimes referring to himself as General Marijuana) who believed it necessary in order to reach his creative muse.  After receiving acclaim for the WW II novel “The Naked and the Dead,” Mailer’s literary career was in decline until he joined the 1967 antiwar March on the Pentagon and wrote “Armies of the Night.”  I loved his ventures into New Journalism, especially his coverage of the 1968 Democratic and Republican conventions.

Ruminating about the probability of Richard Milhous Nixon’s victory in 1968 in “Miami and the Siege of Chicago,” Mailer wrote: “It was possible, even likely, even necessary, that the Wasp must enter the center of history again. They had been a damned minority for too long, a huge indigestible boulder in the voluminous ruminating government gut of every cow-like Democratic administration, an insane Republican minority with vast powers of negation and control, a minority who ran the economy, and half the finances of the world, and all too much of the internal affairs of four or five continents, and the Pentagon, and the technology of the land, and most of the secret police, and nearly every policeman in every small town, and yet finally they did not run the land, they did not comprehend it, the country was loose from them, ahead of them, the life style of the country kept denying their effort, the lives of the best Americans kept accelerating out of their reach. They were the most powerful force in America, and yet they were a psychic island. If they did not find a bridge, they could only grow more insane each year, like a rich nobleman in an empty castle chasing elves and ogres with his stick. They had every power but the one they needed -- which was to attach their philosophy to history: the druggist and the president of the steel corporation must finally learn if they were pushing on the same wheel.”

Jack Gruenenfelder died, daughter Grace, a Buddhist, informed me when I called to see how he was doing.  When he had an office next to mine, he’d often write short parables dealing with some philosophical subject and then have our secretary type them up.  I’d love to get ahold of them and see if they are worth publishing.  He taught well into his seventies and, so far as I know, never tried to get stuff published.

Sunday I returned season one tapes of “Mad Men” to Marci Gaughan and picked up season two.  I had figured that Draper’s secretary Betty was pregnant by Pete Campbell but was still surprised when she had the baby right after finally realizing it herself.  After both Detroit and Green Bay lost afternoon games, I was hoping the Bears would defeat the Eagles and clinch the NFC North, but it was not to be.  I did, however, defeat Dave in the Fantasy finals, thanks to Peyton Manning throwing four TD passes, the Bengals defense getting me 21 points, and DeMarco Murray scoring twice for Dallas.  LeSean McCoy got Dave 27 points, but the Seahawks defense and their quarterback, Russell Wilson, let him down.

Campus was pretty deserted Monday.  I learned that longtime custodian Alex Mitic died just a year short of retiring.  His boss in Physical Plant, Roger Thomas, said that what he did best was shampoo carpets, adding: “You could ask him to clean any carpet on the campus and he would gladly accept.  He was a team player.”  Alex worked in Tamarack before it closed and more recently was on the library night shift.  He’d sometimes be leaving the third floor as I came to work and in a mellifluous voice would exclaim, “Hello, Professor Lane.”

John Laue saw on my blog mention of a Gary Roosevelt track star named James Lane and said he ran against him 50 years ago.  John, a Portage grad, will be back from Califonia next year to attend his fiftieth high school reunion.
Not only does a for-profit management company, Edison Learning, run the old Gary Roosevelt, taking money away from public schools, it complains if school city doesn’t take care of snow removal or fix a defective heating system.

At Tommy B’s again with Beth, I ran into Chuck Gallmeier and CIS profs Bill Dorin and Jie Wang.  Beth had a funny story about being in Rally’s drive-through line when a panhandler tried to sell her a VHS tape marked “Audrey’s Thirteenth Birthday Party.”  The manager came out and scowled at him until he left, then said to Beth, “Put on your seat belt.”  The take-out window is up so high, perhaps to discourage robbers, that Beth couldn’t have reached it while wearing a seat belt.  Beth’s mom, a former hippie, spotted Gallmeier at an Honors Tea and asked her daughter who that hot guy was.  Chuck included a moving note on his Christmas card about being close friends even if we occasionally differ.

Jerry Davich printed an email from self-described evangelical Christian Jeff Eenigenburg calling GLBT’s “petulant crybabies.”  Fortunately most of Jerry’s readers disagreed with him. Here’s Brady Wade’s take on the subject.

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