Friday, May 27, 2016

Roads to Travel

However many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady.  I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there.  And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women,” Nora Ephron at Wellesley, 1996
 Becca and Sadie, photo by Tamiya Towns
Outdoors for Rebecca’s Discovery Charter School eighth grade graduation, the weather cooperated despite the threat of rain.  Many graduates had New Age names like Savannah, Dakota or Paige; there were no Elizabeths, Marys or Susans and nary a William, Robert or David.  One of Becca’s friends had the refreshingly old-fashioned name of Sadie, which, according to BabyCenter was listed at number 61 most popular in 2016, right behind Bella and ahead of Julia.  Rebecca way down on at number 293, behind Rylie and Skye but ahead of Amanda and Margaret, two of my favorites. 

Upon receiving her certificate Becca stated that she wanted to become an anthropologist.  Several grads aspired to be architects or computer designers.  Two girls stated that their career goal was to be an exotic animal trainer (when I heard “exotic” I wondered if the next word would be “dancer”).  One guy said policeman, another body builder, a third rock star.  Nobody expressed a desire to be a lawyer or newspaper reporter, and only one expected to go into teaching.
 Anthropologist Margaret Meade
I told Becca afterwards that I didn’t even know what an anthropologist was at her age.  My second semester at Bucknell, I took a Sociology course from an instructor who identified himself as an anthropologist.  I learned about Franz Boas and his theory of cultural relativism and critique of theories of racial superiority.  I plan to tell Becca about Margaret Meade, a student of Boas who did field research in the South Pacific and published “Coming of Age in Samoa” (1928) and “Growing Up in New Guinea” (1930).  Meade once asserted: “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

At the ceremony for the second year in a row was former mayor Richard Hatcher.  Dave introduced me to Steve Miller (not the “Fly Like an Eagle” recent Rock and Roll hall of Fame inductee), a soccer teammate from 30-plus years ago at Woodland Park.  Steve’s dad was the coach, and his goal was for everyone on the team score at least once.  During the final game the only guy without one tapped in a pass from Dave, bringing tears to Mr. Miller’s eyes.
 Rene Solis, Kevin Osaki & Alex Gunn with Scott & Vicki Williams: Post-Tribune photo by Keith Patterson
In the Post-Trib Jerry Davich wrote about Scott and Viki Williams hosting RailCat baseball players for nothing more than home game tickets and parking passes.  Scott and Viki have been at it since 2006.  Alex Gunn told Davich: “Kevin {Osaki} and I really got lucky last year when we were set up with the Williamses.  Viki is just like a mom to us.  She cooks delicious meals when we are home.  She even does our laundry, but that’s because some former player almost blew up her clothes dryer, so she doesn’t let anyone else do it.”  Viki said, “Alex helped me build two of my gardens, and Kevin helped my husband open our pool and put together the filter.”

Baylor University ousted scumbag Ken Starr as its president following a sex-assault scandal involving football players. Evidently the 69 year-old will continue pulling in a million-dollar salary despite having turned a blind eye to accusations against Baylor football players, two of whom were later convicted of sexual assault. Football coach Art Briles is gone and Athletic Director Ian McCaw will soon follow.  Six months ago, the Baptist University’s Board of Regents hired the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton (where I worked two summers in the mail room and Toni as a secretary).  Board President Richard Willis stated:
This investigation revealed the University’s mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students.  The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us.  Our students and their families deserve more.
During the 1990s Special Prosecutor Ken Starr conducted a witch-hunt into President Bill Clinton sex life that disgusted most Americans and had nothing to do with the Whitewater land deal that he was empowered to investigate.  His office spent three years looking into the 1993 suicide of White House deputy counsel Vince Foster and waited until after the 1996 election to release a finding that indeed Foster took his own life.  Foster’s sister Sheila called the politically motivated delay “unconscionable” in allowing “the American people to entertain any thought that the President of the United States somehow had complicity in Vince’s death.”  Not surprisingly, Donald Trump is dredging up the repudiated conspiracy theory, claiming to find something fishy about what happened.

Mike Olszanski posted this sobering thought:
  Having lived through the era of Reagan, I have come to understand that, while the election of such a reactionary extremist is a reflection of existing trends in society, empowering such a Troglodyte encourages and amplifies selfishness, mean-spiritedness and lack of empathy, so that it feeds upon itself. The era of Reagan was ugly. The era of Trump could potentially be catastrophic.

IUN Chancellor Lowe announced that Mark McPhail is resigning after just one year as Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and is taking a year’s leave of absence prior to possibly joining the Communication Department.  He apparently purchased a house in Miller a short time ago, so I assumed all was well.  One can only speculate about this shocking development, reminiscent of the revolving-door fate of predecessors during the Bruce Bergland regime.  I admire McPhail greatly and hope he was not a victim of an old-boy network that in the recent past has depleted the university of several talented academicians, including Anne Balay, who recently spent a weekend in Miller.  Perhaps he tired of attending so many stupefying meetings or simply had an opportunity too good to turn down.  There’s a certain amount of wanderlust in his make-up.  Like Balay and Indiana’s Higher Education Commission, McPhail valued Region research and community service, disparaged by Old Guard faculty whose stranglehold on the tenure and promotion process McPhail opposed.
Anne Balay and Emma Dei

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