Sunday, September 21, 2008

What, no typewriter? Buddy Holly, iced tea and what?

   Hi there. I'm baaaccckkk.
   Summer fun with family, a wonderful wedding, Murray's half century high school reunion (he's much older than me) and visits with grandsons, along with freelance work, pre-empted my plans for blogging this last month.
   But summer is over -- officially Sept. 22 -- and I will try so hard to keep up my reignited blog.
   Item one this week. Simply tons of fun.
   I love checking out the annual Beloit College Mindset List.
   For those not familiar with it, each fall Beloit College in Wisconsin (daughter Sarah's alma mater) releases a list of "cultural touchstones that shape the lives of (today's) entering freshmen."
   That is, what do young adults in their late teens expect in their daily lives compared to what older generations find innovative, newer elements that have impacted society but before the college freshmen were born.
   Such as ... the class of 2012 has grown up with GPS, computers and rapid communications of all sorts. These have always been there.
   Likewise, personal privacy has always been threatened.
   Roommates have already checked each other out on Facebook or MySpace. In fact, they may have had video chats before school starts.
   Telephones in dorm rooms will be superfluous.
   Caller ID is what ringing phones always display.
   Harry Potter could've been a classmate.
   IBM has never made typewriters. What's a Remington? Yes, the sleek portable typewriters, carbon paper and ink eradicator are antiquities.
   Coke and Pepsi have always been in recycled plastic bottles.
   WWW (www) has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
   The "Tonight Show" has always been hosted by Jay Leno.
   Want to read the entire list? Go to Beloit Mindset for 2012 .
   'That'll Be the Day'
   Speaking of past vs. present, just about everyone has heard of Buddy Holly.
   But only some of us remember "The Day the Music Died," Feb. 3, 1959, when rock 'n' rollers Buddy Holly, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and Richie Valens died in a plane crash after leaving Clear Lake, Iowa, for the next stop on their tour.
    Indeed there have been loads of Buddy Tributes but "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story" now playing through Nov. 2 at Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place is a total knockout.
   Justin Berkobien (left photo above) as the legendary rocker (right photo) absolutely mesmerizes. I had to keep reminding myself the young man was playing a part, not his real life. In short, Berkobien totally convinces the audience he is Buddy for a few hours.
   The entire cast, for that matter, is phenomenal. 
   John Steven Crowley sets the place on fire as the Apollo theater MC. Yes, true story. Buddy and the Crickets were booked, unseen, to perform at the legendary Harlem night club. People thought they were black. The scene almost knocked me on the floor with laughter. And I was not alone. It's an absolute classic.
   If you live in Chicago or plan to visit and want a trip back to the earlier days of rock, this show offers a terrific time time trip. Tickets are $40 to $55 (cheap for downtown Chicago) at (312) 642-2000 or Ticketmaster. Oh, discounted parking is available in the Water Tower Place underground garage but be sure you get your parking ticket validated in the theater.
   And BTW: My all-time favorite rock 'n' roll song, the best ever? "That'll Be the Day." It still makes me smile and soar.
OK. Read my lips. Not.
   I cannot avoid talking politics in this presidential race between polar opposites.
   On one side, you have the future.
   On the other, the past.
   Democrat Barack Obama (a friend's 6-year-old-son wants to be Obama for Halloween) launched his bid for the presidency via 21st century communications.
   I don't know about Republican John McCain's use of the Internet (or maybe the Blackberry he invented, hahaha), but the GOP never asked me to sign up for text messages, that's for sure.
   Obviously none of the electronic communications from Obama are personal but at least three or four times a week, sometimes more, I receive e-mails from Obama or Joe Biden or a key campaign operative updating me on the prez race and asking for whatever help, financial or otherwise, I can offer. The 21st century campaign has motivated me as no other election ever has.
   In fact, for all you Obama fans out there, if you are looking for a place to watch this Friday night's debate, we are opening our living room to people who want to join us for what promises to be a fireworks night. 
   No, we will not be asking for money for the campaign. So let me know if you would like to come on by for the evening. Our condo is small so we are limiting guests to 15. 
   OK, yes, I know. I promised I would not write about politics. 
   But with Sarah Palin on the ticket, I cannot resist.
   Palin would bring back the era of the Scopes Monkey Trial. 
   Nether her much-touted creationism nor any faith-based views belong in public schools outside of comparative religion classes.
   In fact, last week, the Vatican reiterated support for evolution and its rightful place in the classroom. Even the Catholic Church does not question the theory of evolution.
   If parents want their kids to learn creationism, send them to a church school where it's taught.
   Neither Christianity, nor Judaism, nor Islam belong, as religious teachings, in public school. There is so much more for debate on the GOP platform I find offensive, including the promise to overturn Roe v. Wade. And McCain could take the Supreme Court to a far right offensive.
   But back to prayer ... I grew up with Christian prayers often starting the day in school, and I cringed. It felt as if everyone was looking at this little Jewish girl. 
   It remains an uncomfortable memory for me. 
   Scariest of all -- if McCain is elected, the likelihood of Palin landing in the White House is very high.            Actuarial figures put McCain -- 72 and a three-time melanoma survivor -- in a mucho high risk category. 
   Melanoma silently explodes and in spite of treatment, if and when it does, death can be swift.
   My father died of melanoma, very fast, and although treatments have come a long way since then, this horrible skin cancer remains one of the deadliest of all cancers.
   Anyway, feel free to disagree with me if you want on this blog comment section or by e-mail. If you can argue politics without getting personal, I'm happy to debate.
About that iced tea
   Meanwhile, in other, much lighter offerings, Murray owns a brand new cell phone.
   He was not planning on replacing his older one until about 10 days ago. As the now legendary story (in our family) goes, our little grandsons were visiting with their Mom.
   As with most 2-year-olds, the oldest grandson, left to his own devices, is very creative with what artists refer to as "found objects."
   Murray was not out of the living room for more than a few minutes and while I had one eye on the tot to make certain he didn't hurt himself, I could see he was sitting quietly on the couch where Grandpa usually sits.
   What I didn't see was that Grandpa had left his cell phone next to his iced tea, on the end table.
   But be sure, the little one noticed and yes, when Murray walked back in the room, his phone was in the iced tea. 
   It was hard not to laugh and of course, no one was angry except Murray who was only irritated with himself for leaving the situation as he did.
   We usually hope kids learn from mistakes. Now, I am sure my husband got the message on this one.
   Happy week.

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photo by sarah gross

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Tinley Park, Illinois
As a longtime newspaperwoman who left the business to freelance, I want to keep in touch with the world. This is my place to reach out with words.