Thursday, July 14, 2016


BLOOMINGTON — Racial diversity is coming to this 150 year old suburb and the city is attempting to update it’s 20-year plan to integrate non-white residents into the community.  Presently almost half of local kindergarten students are non-whites.
At a meeting Wednesday night in the cafeteria of Kennedy High School, city staffers attempted to get feedback from a few residents in a room with tiny backless stools (hard on the back), no air conditioning and no microphone.  Only one person of color attended this meeting.  (I left after 45 back wrenching minutes, straining to hear the presentation.)
From what I gathered they were looking for suggestions that might promote integration.  I suggested the annual Labor Day carnival and classic car show at Bonaventure Catholic Church as the kind of event that would attract a diverse audience.  (I go every year.)
Besides racial diversity assimilation, the outlook is poor for infrastructure with 74 percent of the sewer pipes and almost as many water mains at least 45 years old.  More than half the park buildings need repairs or replacements.

The city sends out a newsletter periodically that non-English readers would find useless.  The city’s cable TV channel might be of interest.  

The main character in the 2012 film “The Master” is reminiscent of today’s headlines where a mentally disturbed man is released from the military and can’t or won’t fit into mainstream society.  It’s about a man lost, lonely and looking for a family, any family.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Joaquin Phoenix plays the obsessed sailor post World War II who drifts into a religious cult where its messiah is portrayed by Philip Seymour Kaufman.  The cult leader is amused by the deranged man whom he calls an animal but other cult members, including his wife played by Amy Adams, see the man as “insane” and a danger.  
The sailor is a poor candidate for cult membership because he refuses to follow the messiah and in the end is rejected.  The story is thin but the character development and acting are great.  If the movie had been made 40 years ago Orson Welles would be the messiah and Richard Widmark would be the crazy guy.

Parts of this book are interesting, but author Gail Lumet Buckley lacks focus and it’s not an easy read.  Buckley is the daughter of African American singer Lena Horne.  The book traces the history of a successful African American family post-slavery with emphasis on Horne’s story and civil rights.  Less would have been more.

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