After Thwarted Kidnapping Plans, Whitmer Calls for Unity

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]


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Parting Glances: Soap on a rope

By |2009-04-24T09:00:00-04:00April 24th, 2009|Opinions|

Journal Entry (WEDNESDAY): “Do you see who that is?” elbows my dinner companion anthropologist Rick Robinson, as we leave a Woodward Avenue restaurant near Birmingham. “And please, don’t say anything.” I can’t resist.

Taking seats near the restaurant front — an act that takes guts — are James Perry and a man who, judging from recent newspaper pictures, is his grandfather. I introduce myself. “I believe you’re innocent,” I say, offering him my hand to shake.
Perry, slight of build — fragile — smiles hesitantly. Softly says, “Thank you.” After all that he’s been through (two trials, the last with 11 jurors voting for acquittal, one recalcitrant hardhat, against: hung jury) plus months of jail time. Let’s hope he’s finally acquitted. Or set free by judicial decree. Even so, what sort of life will his be?
(THURSDAY): Meet artist Jon Strand at Detroit Film Theater Crystal Gallery before showing of “Last Year at Marienbad”. He’s busy editing 20-plus years of daily journals for anticipated university publication. He recounts today’s last edit. The subject: watermelon. The year 1995.
“I was shopping at Holiday Market. A very old woman, with knotted, arthritic hands was trying not very well to pick up a good-sized watermelon. I helped her put it into her cart, saying, There’s nothing like a cold slice on a summer day. She answers, It’s intended as a treat to commemorate a survival moment for myself and my husband 50 years ago. We had been married a short time.
“He was home on leave from the Wehrmacht. A horrendous thing happened. Nonstop bombing of Hamburg by America’s Eighth Air Force. July 27, 1944. There were flames, smoke everywhere. Thousands perished. We survived by standing in the river and dunking ourselves over and over, for unending hours. The heat was unbearable. An inferno.”
Jon and I agree: “Last Year at Marienbad”, rated among the top 100 all-time films by most movie critics, proves ultimately visually fatiguing. Ho-hum. Fashionably obscure. “Who really cares if it was last year, ten years ago, or last Wednesday?” blinks Jon.
(FRIDAY): Lunch at Ferndale’s Assaggi’s with Kate Runyon, Triangle Foundation interim director. Marc Mege, waiter’s waiter, knowledgeable Real Detroit dining out columnist, WSU Hilberry Theater thespian serves us. His usual impeccable five-star, three-course performance.
Kate, who has strong spiritual ties to the Society of Friends (Quakers) shares with me that Quakers were among the first American religious assemblies to be supportive of gays and lesbians back in the late-50s. (“In spite of ‘Tricky Dick’ Nixon.”)
Kate, an only child, had hippy, flower power parents. Her dad started out to be a Benedictine monk, changing his mind to marry Kate’s mom. Kate shares a childhood story. “I watched two Benedictine brothers lovingly tend a retreat garden with my father. Even at my young age — I was eight — they seemed overly attentive, overly affectionate. Intimate. I was aware ‘of something’. So, bold little me, I asked. My father told me quite honestly as much as he felt I needed to know. But it was enough to think about in a positive way.”
(SATURDAY): Last minute decision to hear DSO perform Anton Bruckner’s Symphony #9, conducted by Hans Graf. $20 ticket. Program begins with Mozart’s “Turkish” Violin Concerto No. #5, with Russian consummate violinist Vadim Repin.
As concerto ends, front-row Japanese groupie (“groupie-san”?) loudly yells Tokyo equivalent of bravo. Claps with a flurry of birdlike gestures. (A violin student? A mistress?) Bruckner Nine: BRASSY! Interminable. Like its Late Romantic composer: Monochordistic. Much foreplay. Mostly undescended. (One hour’s worth.) Little orgasm. (Sigh.)

About the Author:

Charles Alexander