The Fundamental of Racism

This Michael Eric Dyson essay is essential reading. I remember coming across the LBJ quote when it was recent and thinking “So THAT explains it.” Why in the hell was I not hearing that in my classroom rather than “Mumble, mumble, slavery was wrong and evil but it was a long time ago and if we aren’t having race riots in town here you don’t have to worry about it.” Unfortunate traces of that “lesson” explains why I was so shocked at the blatant bigotry I encountered in Boston: the metropolitans were supposed to be more sophisticated, not more bestial.

Grace for Lady Grace

Retail is tough. Everyone can do their best and still come up short. Several businesses are leaving our closest retail center. Don’t feel the same about all of them (the less said about Panera Bread the better), but there’s a tinge of sadness about Pier 1 and, especially, Lady Grace.

The store display windows were discreet enough you wouldn’t suspect their emphasis on lingerie, but they featured what I consider my Mother’s biggest breakthrough idea: there was a shortage of fashionable clothes for older women. You shouldn’t have to choose between inappropriate youngster-imitation and frumpy. I thought Lady Grace did an especially good job with such outfits and sensed it was a place where Mother would have been glad to work.

But the same tides of taste affected both Pier 1 and Lady Grace. The accessories, decorations, furniture and doo-dads in Pier 1 were ahead of their time in quality and affordability when I first encountered the store. But it’s now an outdated form of funky-but-fun. And likewise, the past couple-three years, Lady Grace has looked more out-of-step than before. Happens often. But like I say, it’s tough.

Lovely Spring Day (For Once)

… when it’s still nicely cooler outdoors than in an open windows are pure pleasure. Of course by Sunday it will be screaming hot and “Spring” will be over.

Still, a Zen-ish practice I’ve tried to develop is to take a break and fully inhabit a peaceful stretch of time. Shut off not just the anxieties but the head-chatter.

And, there’s been one enormous benefit to this most cool and damp stretch of May/June: I can’t remember Springtime blossoms lasting as long as they have this year.

Print Without a Point

By accident, have received the local big paper on Sunday for two weeks now. Key point for me is that The Boston Globe Magazine that I was so proud to write for about Gen. Nelson A. Miles, the UFO phenomenon, the Roches, etc. was … a different publication … than the current edition. Noting it would have no interest in such articles now doesn’t even begin to touch on the transformation.

Guess I could get closer by saying that the Sunday funnies — bloodless skins hanging from tree limbs for the most part — seem to be doing a bit better job at surviving.

Out Next Week #1 — Dominique Eade and Ran Blake: “Town and Country”

I’m such a sucker for pianist Blake and vocalist Eade I almost don’t trust my judgement here. But their collaborations glisten with intelligence and smolder with simpatico passion (Blake is an unsurpassed backer for singers as he’s more than a bit a minimalist vocalizer on keys). Their Whirlpool is a masterpiece, and this isn’t far behind. A bit more earnest for more serious times (one Jean Ritchie an album is enough for me). But I have another “Moon River” to add to my treasure chest of them; a delicate “It’s Alright, Ma” that works; Blake’s marvelous “Harvest at Massachusetts General Hospital” and his utterly essential tribute to the late Mr. Schuller, “Gunther.” Even the narrative passage on Charles Ives’s “Thoreau” is concise and on target.


Nothing Like Finding an 18-Month-Old Corpse in a House You Drive By Regularly

Quite the tale for this area. I will note only two things:

The yard was a lot messier than any of the others on the neighboring blocks. Though recently it had been peached up a bit.

There’s a detached garage you can’t see to the left of the house in the photo. It seemed every time I looked, any season, the door was open and there was a ’70s vintage vehicle inside — very nice model sedan — but caked, covered, crusted with so much dust and grime that it was a ghostly gray color. Weird.