Monday, April 21, 2014

Picture Frame

“Today I finally overcame
Trying to fit the world inside a picture frame
Maybe I will tell you about it when I’m in the mood
To lose my way.”
    “John Mayer, “3x5”

Daughter-in-law Beth Satkoski told Toni that John Mayer’s “3x5” is her favorite song and contains sentiments with which she identifies.  Mayer’s hits early in his career were rather sappy, but in 2005 he got more into blues and performed songs with such legends as Buddy Guy and B.B. King.
above, Brenda Farris; below, Neil Goodman, Dave Klamen, Derek Walter

At the Gardner Center IUN alumni art show former student (in my Seventies class) Brenda Farris was displaying busts of Fine Arts professors Neil Goodman, Dave Klamen, and Derek Walter.  Derek and I have both worked the IUN table at Porter County Fair.  He’s a really friendly guy whom I wish I knew better. Miller Beach Arts District board members in attendance included Cindy Fredrick, Karren Lee, Rachel Weiss, Larry Lapidus, Gene Ayers, Irene Smith-King, Judy Bielak, and Kay Rosen, whose that hubby Bud, like me, has been listening to Talking Heads albums ever since the event last week.  Curator Corey Hagelberg was very pleased with the large turnout.  Parents were taking photos of their sons or daughters next to their work.  Chancellor Lowe shook my hand and wife Pamela gave me a nice hug.  They’re great about attending university-related events.

I talked with two students (Kathy and Katie) from Nicole Anslover’s Sixties class.  Chuck Gallmeier introduced me to Jesus Gonzalez, an IUN Labor Studies grad who used “Forging a Community: The Latino Experience in Northwest Indiana” for a paper comparing Chicanos living in the Southwest with those from the Region.  I suggested he donate it to the Archives if he still has it.

On the final week of the season James bowled well above his 103 average to help Bowling for Doughnuts finish in second place.  I told Dave that Chancellor Lowe praised his East Chicago students’ performances at the “House on Mango Street” event.  At a Leadership Team meeting Bill noted the small turnout and said that if he had time to attend, others could have, too.
Dave Lane with David Harrison; photo by Jazmyn Becerra

Thank goodness for mom and pop businesses.  Johnston Opticians in Highland saved by butt.  After my glasses frame broke, none of the big chains had a match or any interest in tightening my substitute pair, fearing they’d break.  Bill Johnston found a frame and fixed the sub.  On the wall were photos of Grandfather Johnston in a WWI uniform, who opened a store in Hammond that sold musical instruments, clocks, and watches and survived the Great Depression.  Bill’s dad worked for an optical company in Gary and then branched out on his own.  I first patronized Johnston Opticians ten years ago when it was in Hammond after finding a yellow pages ad that read: “We specialize in repairs.”  Bill had to grind down the glasses and for everything charged just $30, a fraction of what Vision Point would have charged.

The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs held a Saturday clean-up and block party in the IUN parking lot at Thirty-Fifth and Jefferson.  Sandra Hall Smith from SPEA and Earl Jones from Minority Studies planned the event and greeted me warmly, as did Student Government Association vice president Matthew Lawson and SGA senator Steven Torres.  Earl is planning a course on Gary and wants to use “Gary’s First Hundred Years” and have me come to several classes. I joined a table with three Social Work students who are graduating in May.  When a deejay played a line dance, they tried to get me to join them.  It was a perfect day to be outside, and quite a few neighborhood residents came by.

Six of us celebrated Easter activities Saturday with egg dying and dinner at Sage Restaurant.  Toni claimed we were celebrating the spring solstice and told James and Becca how Alissa pulled an April Fools Day prank on her by pretending that she and Josh joined a church.  Dave arrived just as the Blues tied the Blackhawks with seven seconds left.  He was about to tape the overtime when St. Louis scored the winning goal.  At Sage I ordered a pale ale and the veal medallion entrée.  Toni used to dissuade me from ordering veal due it being the meat from young calves slaughtered when they are less than six months old, but, heck, the life any factory farm animal is not pretty.

I read several chapters of Michael Moore’s “Here Comes Trouble” while watching the Cubbies lose to Cincinnati.  At age 18 Moore got elected to a local school board.  After campaigning for Richard Nixon in 1968 because he promised to end the Vietnam War, he demonstrated against him the day of his second inauguration and held an “Impeach Nixon” sign when the President visited Port Huran, Michigan (a conservative bastion known, ironically, for the Port Huran Statement, the SDS manifesto), in what turned out to be his last public appearance before he resigned.

On Facebook Robert Blaskiewicz wrote: Last year we took Finn to get groomed and the groomer posed him in an Easter photo. It's a very nice photo, but the pose ... well, you can see for yourself that Finn is obviously excited about Easter. So from our family to yours, a very happy Easter.”  Son Max must be a fan of Finn the Human.

Anne Balay announced that since she’s involuntarily leaving IUN in two weeks, students could drop by her office and help themselves to free books.  Vice Chancellor Cynthia O’Dell said about the so-called student complaints that her chair used to justify his negative recommendation.
“Where any other faculty can tell personal stories and students welcome them, non-hegemonic stories are often not acceptable.  One student said ‘all she talked about was being gay and sex.’  Such negative comments are always more about the student than the professor, and have to be understood that way.  Decades ago when I started teaching, students made similar comments about gender, resisting a women’s perspective.  Male students complained that their views were ignored, or that we spent too much time on women and minorities.  ‘Too much time’ often meant ‘any time.’  We know from the long and contentious struggle for integration that there are people, particularly white men, who resist learning from women or blacks or even younger men because their inclusive curriculum and their very presence makes them uncomfortable.  Bell hooks, in “Teaching to Transgress,” talks about the importance of discomfort in the process of learning.  Aren’t we about challenging assumptions?”

Cynthia was Director of Women and Gender Studies when she wrote that statement.  One would think that the “old boys” who opposed Anne might have deferred to O’Dell in this case.

In addition to a dozen “likes,” there were over 50 comments, most hostile and sarcastic, on the NWI Times Facebook page regarding the article about Anne’s book “Steel Closets.” One guy said, “Sissy assed Queers have no business working in a steel mill.  THE END!”  Another sneered: “I don’t find any books about flies on cow dung.  Does that mean I’m going to write a book about it?  Who Cares?”  Evan Wade replied: “For a bunch of people who don’t care, you all sure seem to be upset about the book existing.  I was going to suggest you all simply not buy the book, but apparently its existence is enough to get you all hot and bothered – just like gay people themselves.  Let’s say you don’t care about basketball.  Do you all go on a crusade every time someone writes a book about it?”

Eleven IUN faculty were nominated for the 2014 Diversity Awards in the categories of champion, friend, and advocate.  Winners, announced by James Wallace at a reception, included Marketing professor Subir Bandyopadhay, who has an impressive record as an outreach person and mentor.  James Wallace struggled to pronounce his name; I need to suggest to him a trick I learned after stumbling over Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani – just think of the “o” as a middle initial, Liliu as the first name, and Kalani as the last name. Likewise, Bandy-o-padhay works.

Since I knew Anne Balay was not going to win, I was happy that Tanice Foltz was honored for participating in some of the activities they collaborated in, such as the Clothesline Project, the IUN Women’s and Gender Studies Conference, and taking students to speak in South Bend.  Several were there as Tanice’s guests, including Amanda Board and Lydia Williams.  Dental student Christopher Sicinski was honored for, among other things, persuading area dentists to donate toothpaste, toothbrushes, and other supplies for needy people.  In fact, I took him some from my dentist, IU grad John Sikora.

I was thrilled that a fourth honoree was Teresa Torres, founder and executive director of Everybody Counts and an advocate for the disabled.  A wonderful, feisty lady, she proudly announced that she had been arrested six times for her cause and has been in the news protesting at meetings of the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission.  She’s good friends with Roy Dominguez, the attorney for Everybody Counts and like her an IUN alumnus. Teresa has served on the Calumet Forum and with the Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program.

There was a good turnout, including, I noticed, virtually the entire Chancellor’s Leadership Team.  After the program, I talked with Pat Bankston about his new duties as interim head of Education.  I told him that when Bill May was thrust into the same role during the 1990s he asked me to teach a Social Studies methods course after a professor left a week before classes started.  After mulling it over, I agreed on the condition that he allocated an extra $3,000 for me to bring in successful area teachers to talk about their experiences.  I also expressed the hope that UTEP would continue. Bankston told me he believed the key to being a good administrator was to treat everyone with respect.  I expect he will be firm but fair in his new assignment.
above, Samuel Love at Marquette Park; below, Peter Kropotkin
Samuel A. Love invited friends to hear him speak to Valpo law students about nineteenth century Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin and read from some of his works.  Kropotkin advocated a communal brand of anarchism featuring cooperative, mutual aid communities.  Though he became a critic of Bolshevism as too authoritarian, Vladimir Lenin admired him and allowed thousands of his supporters to march in a funeral precession after he died in 1921 at age 78.  Emma Goldman delivered one of the eulogies.

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