Thursday, March 13, 2014

Don't Change

“See no evil in all directions
Resolution of happiness
Things have been dark for too long.”
    “Don’t Change,” INXS

On his world tour Bruce Springsteen has been covering songs of artists from the countries where he’s been performing.  In Adelaide, Australia, he and the E Street Band performed AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” “Don’t Change” was his choice for a February concert in Sydney.  Dave and I saw INXS in Merrillville open for Adam Aunt before they were well known, but we had purchased their “Shabooh Shoobah” album and were surprised and thrilled to find them on the bill.
 photo by Samuel Love

The Region got hit with 6 inches of heavy “heart attack” snow.  I shoveled a path to our house, and the condo association spent another $600 or so to get the plows back.  IUN cancelled morning classes, but main roads were clear by evening bowling.  The Engineers bowled above average, me included, but lost all three games to Legends.  I picked up five ten-pins with an effective new strategy and, unbelievably, a 2-4-5-10 split.  Rob is going on a bus excursion to Texas next week with stops at the LBJ Ranch, San Antonio’s River Walk, and several museums. Driving home, I heard “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Blitzkrieg Bop” back to back on WXRT.

Taking advantage of a snow day, I read the introductory chapter of “Steel Closets” and finished “Through a Screen Darkly” by Martha Bayles.  In a chapter entitled “The American Way of Sex” neoconservative Bayles mentions a conversation with a U.S.-educated Lebanese woman who wanted complete sexual freedom to have sex, in her words, “with whomever I want, whenever I want.”  When Bayles asked, “Even after you’re married?” the woman replied, “Yes, I plan to create my own marriage, make it unique, an open marriage, or whatever.”  Thinking back to the 1970s, the stodgy author told her: “We tried in America, and it didn’t work.”  Maybe it’s time for another try, Bayles notwithstanding.

The final episode of “True Detective” was nice and scary, as it appeared Rust and Martin might die.  In “The Americans,” set in the year 1982, a Soviet embassy newcomer tells Nina he loves New Wave music and would like to meet Deborah Harry of Blondie, who sang “Heart of Glass.”

Anne Balay’s students delivered papers at IUN’s Women’s and Gender Studies conference on “Gender Violence: From Trauma to Triumph.”  Christina Peterson gave an gut-wrenching account of giving birth to twin girls, one healthy and the other dead.  Next Christina del Santo, who is studying at Second City in Chicago, did a stand-up comedy routine about self-esteem, specifically buying clothes at Meijer and having trouble fitting into a large size.  Three other students gave reports of readings from Anne’s Science Fiction class.  According to Marwa Nour, in Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild” human beings are forced to flee to a planet inhabited by bugs and mate with them.
 Octavia Butler

At lunch I met cool-looking Amanda Board, who appeared on Jerry Davich’s radio show to discuss how important Anne Balay was to the university, and Betty Villareal, who has taken several of Anne’s classes, including the one where several failing students wrote nasty things about her in an attempt to get their money back.  Those who used their complaints as a tawdry excuse to get rid of her don’t bother to add that they subsequently flunked out.  Betty gave a report on “Nappy Hair,” the children’s book that they claimed offended them, quoting passages using a Southern dialect.  She wrote to Chancellor Lowe on Anne’s behalf and can’t believe someone (President Michael McRobbie) who has never met her is making the final decision.  Betty's mother, Shirley Franzitta, was a proofreader at Hobart Gazette when that company printed my World War II Steel Shavings.  William Kehoe's interview about her wartime experiences is a highlight of volume 22, and I made mention of them in "Gary's First Hundred Years," a copy of which I gave to Betty.

Here’s what appears in “Gary’s First Hundred Years:” “Shirley Franzitta recalls U.S. Steel parties under the auspices of the Goodfellows Club.  She told William Kehoe that there’d be ‘contests like balloon blowing, jitterbugging or tying your ankles together and racing.  They’d give out simple prizes like chickens or rolls of toilet paper.  We’d have Halloween parties, beach parties, and bowling parties.’  Shirley wrote letters to over a dozen servicemen and to boost their morale sent each of them a pin-up photo of her in a revealing grass skirt and top.  She got several marriage proposals.  She also attended U.S.O. dances in the basement of the WMCA.  She and friends from work would also go to Chicago or catch the Shoreline bus and go to Danceland once or twice a week.  Located by Lever Brothers, it only served nonalcoholic drinks.  ‘No one ever went home with anybody unless they would take us all home,’ Shirley recalled.  ‘Otherwise we’d come home on a bus.’”

Toni missed the first episode of “Cosmos” but caught it the next day.  Ray Smock wrote: I will continue to watch the COSMOS series. But never in my 65+ years of watching TV was I ever more put off by commercials. Just when my imagination was starting to soar, I would be brought back to Earth by the all too frequent commercial breaks. This important educational program deserves better treatment.”  When a friend suggested PBS would have been a better venue, Ray replied: “Unfortunately, PBS does not have the money of FOX. One of these days we are going to realize that the airwaves that belonged to the people were purchased lock stock and barrel by industry, just like vast millions of acres of mineral wealth has been sold off to corporations a long time ago. Stop me when I start advocating Socialism.”

According to Corey Hagelberg, Henry Farag’s musical, “The Signal: a Rhapsody” will be at Gardner Center in April at the same time as a show Ann Fritz is putting together featuring IU Northwest alumni.

The day we came back from Philadelphia the top news story was a missing Malaysian Airliner that’s still missing.  More recently a U.S. Airlines plane blew a tire during takeoff and screeched to a halt.  We flew US Air after our United flight got cancelled; it could have been our plane.

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