Month: February 2015

Places That Look Ordinary Are Nothing But Extraordinary

I don’t often mix my work into More to Come…. But then again, I don’t often hear the President speak so eloquently about the work with which I’m engaged.  Last Thursday was one of those days. After 24 hours in my own house, I was on the road once again to Chicago last week.  Cold. Frigid. Windy. Chicago.  It wasn’t a destination I would have sought out in February, except for the fact that President Barack Obama was going to designate Pullman a National Monument.  At the National Trust, we were part of a coalition working for this designation, and I was proud to join our team at the celebration. These types of events with government and political leaders are often perfunctory – at least from the politician’s standpoint.  Last Thursday – with the President on his home turf – was anything but.  You knew we were in for a treat when his opening remarks began with this ode to Chicago’s winter: “It’s always been a dream of mine to be the first President to …

Just Another Beautiful Day in Southern California

Not even ten hours – TEN HOURS – stuck in the Phoenix Airport on Thursday was going to ruin our last Family Weekend at Pomona College with Claire.  (Phoenix Airport motto:  “And you think our city has sprawl – just wait until you have to go from concourse-to-concourse in our lovely airport.  We’ll show you world-class sprawl!”) Yes, the time has come for the last of our family weekends during the college years.  We’ve made 7 of 8 over the course of the four years between our twins and their two schools. Some parents poo-poo the Family Weekend, saying they are only for freshmen parents who miss their children.  But we love them.  Why? Well, beyond the obvious of getting to spend time with Claire and Andrew, we get to meet and hear great professors talk about fun things. In the fall at Brown, our favorite was Fundamentals of Healthy Aging.  This year’s topic of choice at Pomona from Professor Joti Rockwell was entitled  Sympathy for the Devil:  The Meanings of Fiddle and Guitar Music …

Quest for the Best (2015 Edition, Round 2)

Since our last report on our quest to see the Best Picture, Candice and I have seen three more of this year’s nominees.  So let’s get to it. We walked to our “commercial” theatre (the Regal) in downtown Silver Spring earlier this week to see Selma. This movie has had its share of controversy, from the treatment of Lyndon Johnson in the film, to the snub from the Academy in terms of award nominations. David Oyelowo was excellent as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a performance certainly deserving of a Best Actor nomination. But the film was stilted at times, and uneven. Selma is not the year’s Best Picture, but it is the most important film of the year.  We forget too quickly how difficult it was to attain rights for all, and how much pressure there is, even today, to restrict or even take away those rights.  I have members of my extended family who love to wave the Confederate flag, without any understanding of what that really means. I grew up in …

A Quest for the Best Picture (2015 Edition)

As we entered our empty nesting period, Candice and I took the plunge in 2012 and made a pledge to try and see all of the year’s films nominated in the Academy Awards’ “Best Picture” category.  We (almost) succeeded – seeing eight of the nine 2012  nominees – and every year since we’ve taken on the same challenge.  While we seldom get to all the films (we generally avoid the gratuitously violent ones such as 2013’s Django Unchained), we’ve seen the vast majority and have really enjoyed talking and – in my case  – writing about them. This year there are eight nominees, and as we enter the final month we now have three under our belt.  The Grand Budapest Hotel is a wonderful, lush, and very funny film by Wes Anderson, which we saw in March when it was first released. The acting by Ralph Fiennes as the concierge, along with that of the rest of the ensemble, is delicious while the plot is convoluted and crazed.  This is a very good film…but not …