Thursday, January 21, 2016

Already Gone

“Remember this, when you look up in the sky
You can see the stars and still not see the light,”
         “Already Gone,” Eagles
Glenn Frey of the Eagles passed away at age 67.  Although “Already Gone” is about a guy breaking up with his girlfriend after hearing she planned to leave him, it’s the headline many newspapers used to announce his death.  “Already Gone,” sung by Frey, was the first cut on the classic 1974 album “On the Border,” which also contained “James Dean” and “Best of My Love.”  In addition to a solo career after the Eagles broke up in 1980, Frey appeared in episodes of Miami Vice and as an agent in Jerry Maguire.

At Inman’s where James now bowls, a thin layer of ice almost caused me to fall in the parking lot.  James rolled a 440 series, better than my average these days, and I was happy to see many familiar faces, including Chris Lugo’s and Tom Dick’s families.  A couple Christmases ago at Inman’s I couldn’t find my car for some anxious minutes, as I exited from a different door than the one I first entered.
above, cast of "Young Frankenstein"; below, Angie and Becca

Sunday we braved arctic conditions to see the Mel Brooks musical “Young Frankenstein” at the Star Plaza.”  Becca was in the chorus and had several tricky dance numbers, including “Puttin’ On the Ritz.”  Ribald songs included “Deep Love” and “Roll in the Hay” featuring sexy Inga (Rachel Livingston) and Frederick Frankenstein (Justin Williams).  The show, first presented at Valpo’s Chicago Street Theatre, so impressed Star Plaza CEO Charlie Blum that he booked an enhanced version into the much larger venue.  Before the curtain went up Robin Halberstadt introduced me to a half dozen friends, including the sister of the person from whom we bought our condo, and I chatted with Stevie Kokos, a former softball teammate who has worked at the Star Plaza since majoring in Performing Arts at IUN.

On Jeopardy all three contestants bet everything on the final question and guessed incorrectly, leaving them with no money.  The category was State Capitals and the clue was: A 1957 event led to the creation of a national historic site in this city, signed into law by a president whose library is now there too.  Guesses were Atlanta, Montgomery, and Springfield.  Realizing that the desegregation of Central High School took place then and that Bill Clinton’s Presidential library is in Little Rock, Arkansas, I knew the answer.  None of the contestants would return.  Two of them had tied for the lead, so their bets were understandable, but the third person really blew it.
 above, Debra Dubovich; below, Daddy King

On Martin Luther King Day at Gino’s Debra Dubovich ably reported on Taylor Branch’s “Parting the Waters,” volume one of the 2,912-page trilogy “America in the King Years.”  King’s first name was originally Michael, and he became Martin Luther King, Jr., after “Daddy” King changed their names when he was five.  Married to Alberta Williams, the daughter of the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the elder King restored it to financial solvency after Reverend A.D. Williams died in 1931.  Dubovich concentrated on the Montgomery Bus Boycott and mentioned the role E.D. Nixon played as President of the Montgomery NAACP whom Rosa Parks worked for.  Jailed, Nixon acted like it was a badge of pride, inspiring others not to fear the many harassment tactics.  Brian and Connie Barnes mentioned that Richard Morrisroe spoke at Hobart Unitarian Church the previous day about being gravely wounded in Lowndes County 50 years ago.  Morrisrroe figures prominently in Taylor Branch’s “At Canaan’s Edge: America during the King Years, 1965-1968.”

Explaining to Steve McShane’s students to explain their oral history assignment -  to interview someone from Northwest Indiana who was a teenager during the 1980s -  I read excerpts from two articles in my Eighties Shavings (volume 38, 2007), “The Uncertainty of Everyday Life.” Rebecca Sanders wrote about 1989 Hammond High grad Jered, whose dad took him to wrestling matches at Hammond Civic Center.  Jered enjoyed going to Woodmar Mall, where he and his best friend hung out at Radio Shack and a record store and tried to pick up girls. Stephanie Short wrote about LaCretia Tucker, who got pregnant her senior year after a December turnabout dance.  Short wrote:
  LaCretia had planned to go into the marines, and her biggest regret is the derailing of those plans.  She kept her pregnancy secret even from her parents.  At graduation they gave her a dozen roses in a presentation bouquet.  As she sat through the ceremony with the flowers on her lap, she watched them move around as the baby was going “kick, kick, kick.”

Duplicate bridge partners with Charlie Halberstadt at Duneland YMCA in Chesterton, my low point was going down four in four spades.  It turned out, however, that it was a good sacrifice bid because it kept our opponents out of game.  Seventeen people showed up, so director Alan Ynve played with someone without a partner and one of the nine pairs sat out each round.   If 16 or 20 folks show up Alan doesn’t play.  If there are 18, he calls our neighbor Janice Custer, who lives minutes away, and plays with her.  If there are 15 or 19, Alan plays and no team has to sit out.
Jeff Manes profiled Miller Beach mainstay George Rogge, president of the Miller Citizens Corporation and active in a half-dozen other civic groups.  Rogge discussed the threat to homeowners a decade ago when U.S. Steel’s tax assessment got reduced from $248 million to $113 million, the epitome of corporate irresponsibility.
  All of a sudden, people were about to get a bill for 9 percent of their assessed valuation for their market price. Some people bought their houses for cheaper than that.
  I put together a small group, and we put together a three-pronged plan. The first prong was that we would sue the state. The second prong was the legislature. I said that we should cap the rate at 2 percent, which was higher than the rest of what the state was paying, anyway. We settled on that.
  I went down to Indianapolis and actually bought a condo. I spent the entire time down there. The third prong was we put together a group that was really affected, liked retired teachers. 
The bill eventually was written up: 1 percent for homeowners, 2 percent for rental, and 3 percent for commercial. Those were the caps. The bill was passed, and it is now in the state constitution. It's the biggest thing I ever did.
At a condo owners meeting the hot topics were tree trimming and how to stop woodpeckers from drilling holes in people’s units.  One person recommended buying plastic owls and filling them with sand.  Another suggested pie tins that reflected.  By the time I got back home Golden State was blowing out the Bulls.

I was unable to edit my blog or make a new post until Augie Reyes from IUN tech services connected it to the Foxfire.  It appears that the latest Safari update made the blog incompatible with my MAC.

I started reading Sean Wilentz’s 2005 biography of Andrew Jackson, shorter but more scholarly than Jon Meacham’s “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.”  Wilentz wrote that “the charismatic general and hero of the War of 1812 embodied the hopes of ordinary citizens” and that his presidency was “a hinge between the founding of the republic and its rebirth in the Civil War.”

I bowled my best game all season, a 190, enabling the Engineers to win game two, and finished with a 483 series.  Opponent Judy Sheriff threw a ball that broke sharply to the left, necessitating that she throw it perilously close to the right gutter.  After one of her strikes, the octogenarian exclaimed, “I’m a happy hooker.”
Gary Roosevelt student Cary Martin protests conditions at school; NWI Times photo by Carmen McCollum
Gary Roosevelt students protested the lack of heat and other problems that have kept the school closed much of the time since Christmas.  He once-proud school has fallen on tough times, exacerbated by being taken over and run as a charter school.

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