Stride Toward Freedom

After seeing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice speak a few months ago, I decided it was time to start reading MLK’s books. I have always loved his famous quotes, so I knew I would love any of his books.

I started with Strive Toward Freedom, his account of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and 1956. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to. I didn’t think it was possible for me to revere him more than I did…well, I do now, after reading in detail what he and his colleagues accomplished and lived through during the boycott.

Courtesy of wikipedia.org

He and his wife, Coretta, met while they were both studying in Boston. He had job offers in the North after graduation, but he and Coretta decided they would be of more service in their native South. He became pastor of a church in Montgomery, Alabama, and immediately got involved in several civic groups to tackle segregation.

The arrest of Rosa Parks sparked the bus boycott. MLK and his colleagues decided it was time “to refuse to cooperate with an evil system.” First they convinced black taxi drivers to charge the bus fare on their routes. When they were told about a law that limited taxis to a minimum fare, they mobilized 300 volunteer drivers and set up an entire system of pick-up and drop-off points around the city.

They hired staff to oversee the car pool and had community meetings regularly to keep people informed. At these meetings, MLK and his colleagues stressed the importance of non-violent resistance. He and his colleagues met with city officials to talk about their demands: courteous service, seating first come, first served, and hiring of black drivers for routes in black neighborhoods.

The city wasn’t having any of it, so it started arresting people, including MLK, and declared boycotting to be illegal. MLK and his colleagues received threatening phone calls and letters day and night. MLK’s house was bombed.

I won’t explain any further because I want you to have some surprises when you read the book. But, in short, it was an uphill battle for blacks but they prevailed. As November 6 approaches, I will leave you with some quotes from the book’s conclusion:

“In short, this crisis has the potential for democracy’s fulfillment or fascism’s triumph; for social progress or retrogression.”

“This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for rigorous and positive action.”

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Love in New England and Berlin

After reading an article about Ali McGraw recently, I decided that I should watch the film Love Story. As the opening credits rolled with music in the background, I immediately saw myself standing in my parents’ bedroom, maybe 30 years ago, playing a music box of my mother’s that had the words “Love Story” on the bottom of it.

I loved that song. And now I knew that it was the theme of the movie by the same name. So, anyway, the movie. It was fine, a classic rich person/poor person romantic relationship. Living in New England myself, I appreciated the cliched New England-ishness. Spoiler alert:

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I found the ending too abrupt. It seemed like all of a sudden, Jenny was in a hospital bed dying. She didn’t look sick, and I believe the audience doesn’t even know what she is dying OF. And I don’t necessarily agree with their “romantic” phrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

 

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A few weeks after I watched Love Story, I was reading an article about Liza Minnelli, and I decided I should watch Cabaret. I’ve never seen it or the musical or the remakes. Now this movie has a lot more going on. It was hedonistic, romantic, sad, and dark, set in 1930s Berlin. Spoiler alert:

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The two main characters fall in love, but they realize they are too different and end up parting ways.

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These are two very different ’70s films that are worth a watch sometime.

 

Democracy Brewing

A brewpub opened near my office over the summer. Fittingly, Democracy Brewing opened on July 4. A friend and I checked it out a few weeks after it opened. The beer and the food were good. Not amazing level but solid level.

I was so busy enjoying the beer that I forgot to take a photo before drinking it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The space is cozy and hip and the prices are reasonable. What a score for downtown Boston. And even better, it’s a worker-owned company. Worth a visit, Bostonians!

City Winery

A new music venue has been open for almost a year, so my friend and I checked it out recently. City Winery is a national chain so I was expecting it to be kind of “meh.” But I liked the vibe there. The place has a large bar and restaurant area outside of the music venue, which is a small-ish low-lit room filled mainly with long tables with chairs.

My friend and I sat in the back because the seats were cheaper, but we enjoyed the experience more because we were sitting at a two-person hightop and had a nice view of the stage (where the blue light is in the photo).

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saw Brazilian musician Seu Jorge. He arrived on my radar when I saw Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. He performed Bowie songs in Portuguese in the film.

He has an amazing deep voice and seems like a charmer. He invited his daughter on stage to perform a Nina Simone song, which was a crowd pleaser.

We ordered special wine (which was made from grapes from the Finger Lakes, near my hometown), so that was fun, and we both enjoyed our meals.

Next time I might splurge on seats closer to the stage, because since we were in the back, we kept being blinded by people taking photos and videos with their smartphones every few minutes. Grr.

 

The Crystal Tree

Even though I don’t have kids, I occasionally cruise through a toy store to look for gifts for my niece. During my last toy store visit, I picked up a crystal cherry tree kit for myself. It looked easy to make and the tree reminded me of the cherry blossom trees I saw in DC last year.

The kit consisted of a cardboard tree, plastic base, and clear liquid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blossoms started sprouting an hour or so after I stuck the tree in the base and poured the liquid in the base. It was pretty. And the blossoms felt like foam, not crystal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the situation soon devolved…I think there were too many blossoms for the cardboard to handle. I left it up for another day and then threw it in the trash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a fast and easy project to do with kids, but prepare them for the devolution.

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