Hot Air: A Memory That’ll Never Die

A Life Sentence

So, Indiana University has fired Jacobs School of Music senior lecturer Guo Ping Wang for sexually assaulting a student.

The U is not releasing any details but the charge came to its attention only six weeks ago, on March 28, at which time Wang was suspended. Now he’s canned. That’s rather quick action.

Whatever he did and whatever evidence the unnamed student provided against him, it’s heartening to see this kind of thing adjudicated apace. Usually these sexual assault charges meander through the system, often with the accuser suffering a wrecked reputation and a shattered emotional state.

The IU cops have the case now so Wang’s got a lot more to worry about than where his next paycheck is coming from.

You know what sucks most about this? Wang’s accuser must now go through life with this memory hanging over her (I assume she’s a her). Wang, if found guilty of a crime, may serve his time and eventually get out of prison. His accuser, though, is trapped for life.

A Half Year To Go

Neil Steinberg ruminates today on the upcoming presidential contest between the two parties’ putative official nominees. He reminds us there’s six whole goddamned months to go of Hillary and America’s Shart bashing the bejesus out of each other and, trust me babies, they’re gonna bash in a way none of us living have ever seen.

Steinberg quotes from the New York Times:

[The race will be] the ugliest, most cringeworthy presidential contest of the modern era . . . a half-year slog through the marital troubles, personal peccadilloes, financial ambitions, social-media habits and physical appearances of “Dangerous Donald” and “Crooked Hillary.”

We will be embarrassed before the world, kids. This is a world, BTW, that counts (or has counted) among its leaders the likes of Vladimir Putin, Silvio Berlusconi, Kim Jong-un, Robert Mugabe, and Bashar al-Assad. We like to think of ourselves as better than the lands wherein those reprobates have exercised their no-goodness. Well, we may not necessarily have murderous sadists and criminally mobbed-up oligarchists as leaders but our clowns are just as inane as anybody’s.

I know this: I’ve been voting for presidential candidates since the year 1976. I’ve tabbed a total of five winners in that time — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton (twice, for which I ask absolution), and Barack Obama (also twice, no apologies). I refused to vote for stumblebums like Mike Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry and I went with the losers when Walter Mondale tried spitting into the Reagan wind.

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Paper Tigers

I mean, during their debates George H.W. Bush leveled the charge against Dukakis that he was a member of the ACLU, which was true. Dukakis sort of pawed at the the Linoleum with his toe and acted all apologetic. For chrissakes, I wanted him to reach into his wallet, pull out his ACLU membership card and exclaim, “You’re damned right I’m a member. I support the rights guaranteed in our Constitution, don’t you?” But, of course, he said no such thing.

And when Kerry was savaged by all those Swift Boaters who libeled and slandered him and his Vietnam War record, I longed for him to lift up his trousers leg and show the world his shrapnel scars and say, “Look at this, you em-effers!”

I voted for neither of them, for cause as outlined above.

For his part, Gore was too eager to eschew the help of Bill Clinton — at the time the country’s most capable and charismatic politician — in the 2000 race, mainly because he, Gore, wanted to distance himself from his soon-to-be-former boss’s Oval Office blow jobs. The moralizing dope. He didn’t get my vote either.

Still, I’d vote ten times over for any of Dukakis, Gore, or Kerry over either of Hillary Clinton or — gag — Donald Trump. When this whole 2016 presidential tournament started early last year, I was sure the match-up of Jeb Bush and Hillary would be the snooze of the new century. Damn, I’d take that snooze now over this choice between the Goldman Sachs apologist and, well, the trust fund a-hole.

Give Hillary this, though: She’s a leader and she won’t take shit from anybody. She’s my half loaf this annum. Or maybe quarter loaf.


Food Music

What a treat! The Loved One and I walked into the Kroger Theme Park yesterday afternoon and discovered the store’s live musical guests were the Hoosier Darling dames: Ginger Curry (guitar), Suzette Weakley (mandolin), and my former guitar teacher Sarah Flint (on the ukulele). And it was Suzette’s b-day. Overall, it made for great vibes as we selected our green peppers and tomatoes.

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Recuperants (Made-up Word — So Sue Me)

What another treat it was to run into erstwhile Soma Coffee barista Justin Kirkwood who himself endured a serious medical ordeal at the same time I tilted against cancer this winter and spring. He had to lay on his parents’ couch for weeks due to his immune system being compromised after receiving a new kidney.

Justin waited a tad under two years for a donor and then, mirabile dictu, he ran into an a old Bloomington friend whom he hadn’t seen in five years at the Farmers Market. Just about that time one possible donor was rejected, the old friend heard about it, and — unprompted — contacted Justin and offered his own kidney. He turned out to be a match.

That, my babies, is the love of a friend.

[BTW: Justin, who looks like a brand new man post-transplant, now works at Hopscotch Coffee.]

May 9th Birthdays

John Brown — Radical abolitionist who was either a saint or a madman, depending on which historian you trust. Of course, he might well have been and saint and a madman. It’s not an uncommon combination.

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J.M. Barrie — Scottish-born author of Peter Pan, Or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. He was pals with the likes of H.G. Wells, Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, P.G. Wodehouse, Jerome K. Jerome, G.K. Chesterton, A.A. Milne, and other literary notables.

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Fay Kanin — Hollywood screenwriter who was really the first female president of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Bette Davis technically had been the first but she’d only stayed on the job a month), chair of the Library of Congress’s National Film Preservation Board, president of the screenwriters arm of the Writers Guild of America,  and served on the board of the American Film Institute.

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Mike Wallace — Television journalist (when such a calling actually existed).

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Daniel Berrigan — Died a little more than a week ago, he was a radical anti-war, pro-civil rights Jesuit priest who led protests, participated in acts of civil disobedience, and served a lengthy term in prison as a member of the Catonsville Nine. That group, including his brother Philip, broke into a Maryland draft board office and destroyed files to dramatize their opposition to the Vietnam War. After he was released from prison, he helped found the Plowshares Movement, as part which he, his brother and others vandalized nuclear missiles in their silos. Overall, a very cool guy.


Sophie Scholl — German university student and underground anti-Nazi activist, she joined her brother’s White Rose group and helped distribute flyers urging German citizens to resist the Nazis. She was arrested, tried, and executed in 1943. She said as she was led to the guillotine: “Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”

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Also on this day in 1981 Nelson Algren died: He authored The Man with the GoldenArm ( for which he won the National Book Award); A Walk on the Wild Side; Never Come Morning; and Chicago, City on the Make; among others. He also was the lover of internationally-known feminist author and Jean-Paul Sartre consort Simone de Beauvoir.

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