Saturday, June 11, 2016

New Corolla

"The Toyota commercials on television are out there all the time, preying on people's minds,"  John Updyke, "Rabbit Is Rich"

In 1979, the year "Rabbit is Rich" takes place, a Corolla cost around $4,000 and the popular slogan was "You asked for it.  We got it."  The current slogan is "Let's Go Places."  With Toni's invaluable help I purchased a Barcelona red 2016 Corolla LE during Lake Shore Toyota's "Big Tent" sale that cost around $17,300, including a $1500 rebate.  Handling the paperwork was Brian Sweeney, a former IUN police officer and student in my Vietnam War course (he called me Dr. Lane).  Salesman Mark Ramirez extolled the improved headlights, compared to my 2003 model, and went over the panel features, including a screen showing what's behind me when I go into reverse.
above, Mark Ramirez; below, Brian Sweeney
In the waiting room getting her car serviced was IUN library staff member Anne Koehler, who had discovered my latest Steel Shavings among the reading material.  She had recently attended Steve McShane's Indiana History class when Ron Cohen  spoke on the Gary schools under Superintendent William A. Wirt.

Thanking me for mentioning her art work and the Valparaiso University Welcome Project in Steel Shavings, volume 45, Liz Wuerffel wrote: "I loved the 'facts of life' story you shared from Tasia [Polite in "Daughters of Penelope"]. It makes me appreciate the utterly awkward week of sex education in middle school!"

On the season finale of "The Americans" Leonard Cohen's "Who By Fire" played in the background as Philip and Elizabeth mulled over possibly returning to their native Russia.  Daughter Paige seems on the brink of helping them in their line of work.  Several of my favorite characters got killed this season, and I fear Frank Langella, playing Philip and Elizabeth's Soviet boss, will be next.
John Irving's "The World According to Garp" was witty throughout and featured several transsexuals, including a former Philadelphia Eagle tight end and Garp's M to F daughter-in-law.  When drinking, she and her buddies would sing, "There's no sex like transsex."  Irving, who prided himself on being a skilled wrestler, has a gay son to whom he's devoted.
Some 44 years after the historic National Black Political Convention at Gary West Side High School, Richard Gordon Hatcher and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson convened another such gathering at the Gary Genesis Center.  High on the agenda were the shootings and incarceration of black youths, female as well as male, Princess Chi of Million Women March pointed out.  Several leaders who attended the 1972 event were on hand, including the mayor of Tuskegee, Alabama.  A number of prominent civil rights leaders cancelled in order to attend Muhammad Ali's funeral in Louisville, Kentucky, which ABC carried live for three hours.  Bill Clinton told of tears streaming down his face when Ali lit the 1996 Olympic torch.  Billy Crystal did a great imitation of the Champ, who called his longtime friend little brother.  At Howard Cosell's funeral Crystal and Ali had a laughing fit bantering about the brash sportscaster's toupee.
Gordie Howe, whom Wayne Gretzsky called the greatest ice hockey player ever, died at age 88.  He played on a line with  my favorite Red Wing Ten Lindsey and much later at age 52 with sons Mark and Marty (above).  During his first NHL game he had three teeth knocked out but quickly learned how to inflict more punishment than he took.  According to hockey lore, a Gordie Howe hat trick consisted of a goal, an assist, and a brawl.  When on a softball team with sons Phil and Dave, I'd think of Howe fondly.

My seven year-old computer has fatally crashed.  I'm hoping to use funds from my Steel Shavings account to get a new one for my cage near the Archives.  History Department chair Jonathyne Briggs wants my help working with students on Indiana history projects in connection with computer information systems, so I'm hopeful that Dean Hoyert will approve.  Thankfully, for the time being, there are severallibrary Apple computers on the first floor that don't get much use during the summer.

A million people have signed a petition calling for the dismissal of a California judge who sentenced a rapist to just six months in prison.  The crime took place when he was drunk and his victim unconscious.  His dad had pleaded for leniency and called what he did a "20-minute mistake."  Now evidence is coming forward that the defendant had a history of being a sexual predator.
At grandson James' sixteenth birthday party he and Becca described their summer high school physical education courses, James at Portage, Becca at Chesterton.  Both involve long-distance running, swimming, exercising, and tennis.  The first day James came home with a sunburned neck and face.  He has been practicing riding a bike to our condo for when that becomes a course component.

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