Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

    “Toby has been cruisin’ for a bruisin’ for 12 years, and I am now his cruise director, and my name is Captain Bruisin.’” Steve Carell as Michael Scott, “The Office
Kenicke, portrayed by Jeff Conaway in the movie “Grease” and by son Dave in the 1987 Portage High School senior play, utters the threat, “you’re cruisin’ for a bruising.’”  Kenicke is a member of the T-Birds and Rizzo’s boyfriend.  Making out with her in the back seat, he takes out a condom, calling it his 25-cent insurance policy, only to find that it broke.  “How could that be?” Rizzo asks.  “I bought it when I was in seventh grade,” he replies.
Anne Balay and James MacGregor Halleman (above), a transgender millworker she interviewed for “Steel Closets,” are participating in an OutHistory conference in New York City whose theme is “Gay American History at 40.”  She posted: “Today my mom would have told me, ‘Anne, you’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’ but she never doubted I could pull it off.”  The phrase, often uttered facetiously, refers to doing something that will likely lead to an ass kicking.  Similar predictions of doom, according to Ernest Hilbert: “aiming for a maiming,” “angling for a strangling,” and “flirting for a hurting.”  On the other hand, according to Urban Dictionary, “oozin’ for a bruisin’” refers to a woman becoming aroused by a man’s physical attributes.
IUN’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) hosted a forum on Child Abuse and Neglect.  Keynote speaker Renée Boynton-Jarrett (above), a pediatrician and professor at Boston University School of Medicine, discussed the long-lasting negative health effects of abuse, neglect, and other forms of childhood trauma, such as obesity and hypertension.  Carol Pool of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana asserted that a child is 15 times as likely to be abused if reared in the presence of domestic violence.  Like battered women, many young victims come to believe the mistreatment is their own fault.

According to Jacquelyn Guillermo, Amy Sue Nardi came from a broken home and endured a rough childhood.  Interviewed for an assignment by Steve McShane, Amy elaborated:
            My mother was always very abusive towards me.  She had lost my older sister Jessica to SIDS at 22 days old.  Depressed, she wanted another baby and purposely got pregnant with me.  My dad was married to another woman and my mom was his mistress for 5 years. She hoped he would leave his wife for her but he never did.  After I was born, she went through severe post-partum depression. My aunts at times tried to step in and help take care of us before my mom severely hurt us.  She’d beat me with a belt or punch or kick me or throw me up against a wall.  I’d lie to her, saying they were checking for bruises at school, but that only worked for so long.  In the middle of one beating I prayed that someone would come in and stop my mother. I was hyperventilating, and she kept yelling at me to shut the hell up and if I had listened, then this wouldn't have happened.  My stepfather’s dad tried to force himself on me when we were alone. When I told them what he had done, he denied it and claimed he was just tickling.  Years later I found out that my mom knew his dad was that way.
            Perhaps because of my home situation I often got in trouble at school. In first grade, for example, I drew my own name for Christmas grab bag.  I was very excited because I had given Papa Smurf as a gift.  When told I could not draw my own name, I got very upset and threw the toy I picked across the classroom.  The teacher put me in timeout during which time a boy handed me a toy ring but then took it back a few minutes later and gave it to another girl.  I marched right up to her, ripped it off of her finger, and put it back on mine.  Again, I got in trouble and the teacher called my parents. 
 above, Amy at 13; below Amy and Dennis
Amy’s husband Dennis Radolak had grown up in Northwest Indiana while Amy had lived in Gary and Hobart but mostly in Terre Haute.  Amy told Jacquelyn about meeting Dennis at a funeral in Lake Station in 1995 when she was 17 and he was 23:
  Dennis attended the funeral with a pregnant ex-girlfriend.  From the first moment I saw him I knew he was mine.   I noticed him constantly staring at me and I, of course, was staring back.  I was pretty bummed when I found out he had a child on the way.   That situation kind of put a damper on being with him. I found out that they weren’t still dating and had no intentions on getting back together.  Still, I didn't want to interfere in whatever they had going on.  At the dinner after the funeral Dennis asked where I bought my shirt, then walked away.  I was about to leave when he approached me and asked if I had a boyfriend. I said no and then he asked me out!  Our first date was June 2 and from then on we were inseparable.  
  I stayed with Dennis's Aunt Gail for the summer because my mom skipped town en route to Florida and didn’t take me with her.  When it came time to start my junior year of high school, Dennis begged me not to leave.  His cousin Shelly and I (Gail’s daughter) got an apartment and, instead of going to school, I went door-to-door selling newspaper subscriptions.  I soon had a falling out with Shelly, who spent our rent money instead of paying bills.  Dennis rented an apartment for us; we got engaged and married a year later. We lived in Schererville for 5 years.  During that time I got my GED.  When Dennis’s dad passed away, we bought his childhood home.  We still live there with our 3 children.  We have been happily married for 19 years.  I teach him to be more aggressive, and he teaches me patience. 
Unlike when we grew up, Dennis and I and our three children eat together and talk about our day and things coming up.  We ask our children to discuss anything on their minds.  Our children love being funny and making each other laugh.  July Fourth is the family’s favorite holiday aside from Christmas.  We buy plenty of fireworks.  Although church is not a thing we do on a regular basis we pray together as a family.  When my dad was alive, I had gone to church faithfully.  After he died my mother wanted nothing to do with organized religion.  I do not want my children to have the life that I did and try to give them have the most normal life possible. 
 Dennis Radolak with Matthew, Mason and Breanna
Paige Talian wrote about her mother Roberta Jean Hess, nicknamed Robyn, who had a tough childhood. Her father Vernon would vanish for days, weeks, or even months without Paige’s grandmother hearing from him.  She’d get random phone calls in the middle of the night from him, slurring his words.  By all accounts, Vernon was a temperamental alcoholic and a loose cannon, especially when drunk.  Robyn’s mother eventually filed for divorce. After paying no child support and pretty much dropping out of Robyn’s life for over 20 years, Vernon made an effort to reconnect.  Paige described what happened next:
Robyn was dating Dan (my father), and the young couple decided to move to Houston, Texas and accept Vernon’s offer to stay with him until they got a place of their own.  Big Mistake!  They crashed on the couch every night and lived out of their suitcases.  One night after Vernon and Dan were at the bar watching a baseball game, they came home enraged towards each other. Robyn came to find out that Vernon did not like the fact that she and Dan were sleeping on the same couch. My mother got defensive, stating “You were never a part of my life, and now all of a sudden you want to try and dictate my choices?”  At this point, Vernon and Dan were cussing each other out.  Vernon grabbed the eight-ball from the pool table and chucked it at my father. He ducked and it barely missed him, making a huge hole in the wall. Dan started to charge at Vernon, who reached into his pocket, pulled out a gun, and pointed it at Dan’s chest. My father froze for a few moments before saying, Just shoot me!”  Someone grabbed Vernon and pointed the gun away from my father.  My parents immediately packed their things and headed back to Hobart, where Dan grew up.  Before long, they got engaged and then married when Robyn was 27.
Robyn and Dan: with Robyn and Cory
On April 14 1992, my brother Cory was born.  One of Dan’s favorite beer brands is Coors, so Cory’s nickname is Cor.   I came along  in 1995.  Cory  played baseball and football the minute he was old enough, and my father got right into teaching me softball and basketball. I was a huge tomboy, wearing camo pants that you could unzip at the knee to convert to shorts and my brother’s old football jerseys with my hair all straggly and knotted up. I was always dirty.  Id try to keep up with Cory and his friends, playing tackle football and other rough sports with older boys. Those experiences shaped me into the person I am today.
        My father was very competitive and expected my brother and me to be the best at everything we did.  Consequently, he made us practice every day for hours on end and was really hard on us, just like a coach. As my brother’s games got more competitive, so did my father and his temper. He’d yell at my brother for having a bad game or making an error and make him do drills all night. My mother began to confront him on the subject, which led to fights that affected all of our relationships with him. My brother became very depressed and anxious. I grew up with low self-esteem, something I still struggle with, but I don’t want to end up becoming the kind of person my father is. My parents are working on their relationship and are still together to this day.
        Years after the Houston, Texas incident, I received a call from a number I did not recognize. The caller-ID read NEVADA.  A raspy voice inquired if it was the Talian residence.  Skeptical to disclose this information, I asked who was calling.  It was Vernon. My mother spoke to him for close to 45 minutes. He explained how his longtime girlfriend had died and he was all alone, plus swore up and down that he was sober, which my mother instantly did not believe. He wanted to see the family. My mother, suspecting that he was running low on cash, said no.  He started sending birthday cards addressed to “Cody” (Cory) and “Hope” (Paige) but my mother remained adamant. My Uncle Brian, however, invited him to come for a weekend.  He took a shine to Brian’s nine year-old son Alex.  Sunday morning Vernon and Alex were nowhere to be found.  Frantic, Brian called the police, who located them a several miles away and brought them back, Vernon claimed they were just going for a ride, but Brian didn’t believe him.  Nevertheless, much to his wife’s chagrin, he did not press charges.
When my mother heard about this situation, she made up her mind to never let Vernon be a part of any of our lives. He tried to reach her but she ignored most of his calls. The last time she told him never to call again.  He then asked for money, and Robyn hung up on him.

Gary City Council will soon vote on whether to allow GEO Group to build a prison in Gary for undocumented immigrants.  Outraged by the possibility, Post-Trib columnist David Rutter wrote:
  Do you still have a heart and dignity, Gary?
Still have values you won't sell to the highest bidder, Gary?
What Gary's City Council might decide this week will define dignity. And perhaps it will clarify if talk of visionary hope means more than pithy euphemisms.
If anyone really wondered how GEO Group's band of corporate leeches operates in darkness, the once-hidden but now revealed “Memorandum of Understanding” with the Gary Economic Development Corp. speaks clearly.
GEO makes money from managing human suffering and a botched national immigration system. It's an ugly, crass business. No city with heart would tolerate it.
There is no way to assess GEO's record and not be sickened that such cynical foulness could exist in 21st-century America.
Don't know who and what GEO is? Then you've willfully decided to stay ignorant of its toxic mess.
But what's Gary excuse?
The “memorandum of understanding” with a nominally nongovernmental agency is essentially a payoff document created in secret.
In one of several stipulations, GEO agreed to fund a “public safety and service support impact fee” to the Gary Economic Development Corp. Not to the city. But to the agency. It would be $1 per day, per client, or an estimated $290,000 per year, based on a full occupancy of 800 beds.
As GEO profits one-by-one from hapless, trapped souls, the more Gary's citizens profit, or at least the Development Corp.
Do Gary's people want to profit by how many deportation-ready immigrants of color GEO can cram into its new $80 million, 24-acre prison north of the Gary airport.
The more the merrier financially. But this merriment is Sweeney Todd merriment, dripping in hemoglobin. And in this case, deception.
GEO often dangles the equivalent of 30 pieces of silver.
The extent to which GEO is willing to pay off Gary seems matched only by the development agency's desire to be paid off cheaply. But the secretly reached deal — to which the mayor was an unannounced but participating partner — does not benefit Gary, only the development agency.
No city with an ounce of dignity or self-respect wants a GEO prison. GEO seldom bothers thriving counties, only desperate basket cases, or municipalities with passive self-identities.
But the record of GEO running snake-pit prisons packed with violence, depravity and mistreatment is a matter of record. That record also includes $1 billion-a-year profit. 
Samuel A. Love

Hundreds of protestors showing up at City Hall had the desired effect, as City Council voted 9-0 against allowing GEO a foothold in the city.  Among those testifying against the prison were former Lake County sheriff Roy Dominguez and Miller resident Samuel A. Love.
Niece Charlene Okomski-Quinn’s son Sean (above) has set off from Georgia on a three-month hike of the Appalachian Trail: destination, Maine.  Uncertain about his next career move after a sterling academic career, he will mull over future options as he attempts to fulfill the top item on his bucket list.

Robert Blaszkiewiez posted:
As you head to the polls today in Indiana, keep this in mind when the poll worker asks you for your ID. Indiana's voter ID law was passed to prevent voter fraud, however, no actual cases of in-person voter fraud could be cited by the state in its 2008 argument defending the law before the Supreme Court. The voter fraud case that was cited in Supreme Court arguments was the 2003 East Chicago mayoral primary. That race was overturned due to absentee ballot fraud, something that Indiana's voter ID law did nothing to address. So when you show your ID today, be confident that you're doing your part to prevent non-existent voter fraud. Happy Election Day!
Three times I needed to show my drivers license at Brummitt School polling station before penciling in my votes for Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton (President), Pete Visclosky (Congress), Julia Jent (Judge), Baron Hill (Senator), and John Gregg (Governor).  Although Bernie Sanders edged out Clinton statewide, she picked up almost as many delegates and is the presumptive nominee. Republican demagogue Donald Trump buried Ted Cruz, who suspended his campaign.  After his father Rafael Cruz slammed him on the campaign trail, Trump brought up a National Enquirer claim that the Lyin’ Ted’s old man might have been with Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans shortly before JFK was shot.  There appear to be no depths to which Trump will not sink.  He’s already coined the phrase “Crooked Hillary.”  John Kasich also ended his campaign, no doubt worried that he’d be the next object of Trump’s ridicule.  I was happy to learn that Marissa McDermott trounced incumbent Lake County judge George Paras, part of the old Gary Democratic machine, since removed to Merrillville.
Marissa McDermott with Roy Dominguez
At IUN’s Calumet Regional Archives Sharon Haney was doing research in connection with the Gary NAASP’s hundredth anniversary celebration.  I showed her the section in “Gary’s First Hundred Years” about Joseph Pitts, chapter president in the 1930s and again during the 1950s.  He initially joined over a racist incident involving a policeman.  Pitts recalled:
  A group of boys were shooting marbles in a sand hill and a policeman drove up.  One youth broke and ran.  There were no arguments or anything.  The boy had not been there long and naturally was afraid of police cars and policemen; and when he ran, the policeman shot him in the back.  I became a member that day.
Pitts subsequently received death threats as he fought to desegregate a city playground and wading pool near 15th and Connecticut.  The parks department closed the facility for several weeks but then reopened it without fanfare to blacks as well as whites.

None of the Jeopardy contestants in a teachers tournament knew British prime ministers William Pitt, Neville Chamberlain or Harold MacMillan, pictured with JFK.  Once at a conference President Kennedy offered to provide MacMillan with a mistress, allegedly saying, “I wonder how it is with you, Harold?  If I don’t have a woman for three days, I get a terrible headache.”  In Final Jeopardy nobody knew the two adjacent memorials (U.S.S. Arizona and Missouri) commemorating the beginning and conclusion of World War II.

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