Yet another one of our notable customers at the Book Corner is Indiana University’s Indian cultures and civilizations professor Sumit Ganguly. He and his family are insatiable readers, which makes them mahatmas indeed in our humble view.
Ganguly took over the mic for WFIU’s Profiles program this past Sunday. He spoke with Canadian/American/Indian author Shauna Singh Baldwin (podcast link), who also runs Milwaukee’s noted Safe House, a spy-themed restaurant that’s been allowing customers who give the high sign to pass through its secret passageway for nearly 50 years now.
Baldwin has written a number of books detailing the south Asia experience and Ganguly grilled her on said tomes. She had some fascinating insights into a developing consumer culture in the subcontinent. Some people even see their children as show-off-able possessions in some quarters of India, she says. Of course, Americans have become quite adept at turning their spawn into trophies.
India, natch, is an amazing place. One of every seven earthlings lives in that country and some of its national traditions and celebratory migrations include hundreds of millions of people at a crack. Throw an ear at Ganguly and Baldwin. Apparently, I’m not the only one who conducts a good interview in this town.
Al Fresco Professors
Speaking of Sumit Ganguly, he and IU Maurer School of Law professor Feisal Istrabadi sat in the cool sun outside chef Daniel Orr’s FARMbloomington restaurant Wednesday last week, enjoying lunch and, no doubt, solving the world’s problems. Now, if only the world would listen.
Feisal Istrabadi At The UN
Istrabadi, an IU alum, served as Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations after that nation reorganized itself in the aftermath of the US invasion.
Feisal isn’t the only big shot Istrabadi in town. His sis, Zaineb, yet another Book Corner loyalist, is a senior lecturer in IU’s Near Eastern Languages & Cultures dept.
Zaineb Istrabadi (Herald Times Photo)
She points out a tragic irony in all the hubbub over the shoot-down of that Malaysian airlines jet last week. She wrote (coyly) on Facebook this weekend:
How quickly the rest of us forget. Back in 1988, long before the inventions of the printing press and TV, gunners aboard a US Navy guided missile cruiser shot down a fully loaded Iran Air jumbo jet. All 290 people on the plane perished.
For its part, Reagan Administration officials shrugged their shoulders and said, How were we s’posed to know it was a passenger jet? Considering the fact that an Airbus A300 is more than three times the size of a fighter jet, was following its normal daily flight path, and had identified itself as a civilian airliner, the US response in retrospect seems perhaps even more criminal than Vladmir Putin’s in recent days.
For his part, The Gipper never formally apologized to Iran for the loss of life and, in fact, both the entire crew and the air-warfare coordinator of the USS Vincennes received medals for meritorious service after their tour of duty in the Strait of Hormuz, from which the ship launched the surface-to-air missiles that downed the plane.
But wait, there’s more. Back in 1983 (guess who was Prez then, as well), our clients in far western Asia, the South Koreans, lost a fully-loaded 747 en route from Anchorage, Alaska, to Seoul. A Russian interceptor shot down Korean Air Flight 007 over the Sea of Japan, in Russian air space, resulting in 269 deaths. Reagan and his boys shook their fists at the Russians until strong evidence came to light that the flight had intentionally veered into Russian air space, most likely at our behest, just to see what them Russkies would do. Well, they shot the goddamned plane out of the sky; whadjya expect?
Knowing that the Russians have itchy trigger fingers and still sending a passenger jet over their turf is about as reckless as geopolitical actions get. In fact, this holy land (if the charges are true) turned hapless foreign civilians into cannon fodder without their knowledge.
So, let’s cut the bullshit about how appalled we are by Putin’s, Russia’s, and the Russian-backed separatists’ recent actions.
I’ve blogged in other venues (don’t ask me for links, I’m too pressed for time to retrieve them right now) about what a plaster saint and a blowhard former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy is. He’s made a cottage career out of telling the world how it ought to behave. He’s written books for adults, young adults, and children, the central thesis of all of them his assertion that he possesses the secret of all that is right and good.
He’s back pontificating again. He told a reporter from the Tampa Tribune this weekend that he would have nothing to do with openly gay player Michael Sam if he were still in charge of a football team. Dungy said: “I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it. It’s not going to be totally smooth. Things will happen.”
Tony Dungy Looks Heavenward
In other words, accepting a player who happens to love other men isn’t worth a football coach’s time or trouble. You know, just like it would have been too much of a hassle for a baseball manager to welcome Jackie Robinson to his team.
This, by the way, from a man who thought the whole Miami Dolphins flap over teammate bullying that led a player to retire prematurely would have been, really, no problem at all. Dungy was quoted as saying that the scandal that engulfed the Dolphins team last fall could have been a good thing. The team could have come together around it, he said. Dungy added he’d have used the situation as a teaching opportunity.
But a gay guy teammate? Nah. Too much trouble.
My dear friends Sophia and Danny Wasik sold their first green house the other day. No, not greenhouse as in the place where you keep plants. That’s green house as in a domicile that’s energy efficient, uses recycled materials, and has minimal toxic chemical-laden features.
Dig the joint they built and sold up in Crystal Lake, a far northwest exurb of Chicago. It’s proof positive that people needn’t live in Stone Age hovels in order to minimize their carbon footprints. Or feetprint. You know what I mean.
The Wasiks have long dreamed of creating a biz wherein they’d build or flip retrofitted homes that meet or exceed current standards for eco-friendly construction. Now their operation, Terra Green, is making them dough while they advance the cause of good clean homebuilding.
The Wasiks, Surrounded By Green, Naturally
Here’s hoping more of our local Bloomington friends get the itch to get into the same racket in these parts. B-town is the crunchiest of crunchy locales; surely scads of savvy homebuilders here can make plenty o’coin building green homes.
Call or email Sophia and Dan for info on how to get such a biz off the ground.