Monday, January 14, 2013

The week that was

"Argo-f-ck ya' self"

Last week was a lot of fun, kicking off with my birthday and culminating with my brother's bday.  In the middle, we saw the movie Argo, the semi-wacky case of the removal of American diplomats from Iran via a faux movie.  The movie was excellent.  It was entertaining and kept me on the edge of my seat.  For what it's worth, I don't like hostage movies- I'm sure anyone who knows me can understand that one.  But I thought Ben Affleck did a great job retelling an interesting anecdote of the Iranian hostage crisis.  Definitely worth a watch.

"Sunday on the pot w/ George"
After the movie, Harry and I stumbled upon the Louvre: the Museum of Bad Art. Housed in the bottom of the Somerville Theater, the MOBA was a testament to man's capacity to make really dreadful art. Its collection showcased works meant to be art but really quite dreadfully done.  No touristy kitsch reproductions, but rather earnest attempts gone dreadfully wrong.  This was hallowed artistic grounds for those with no business attempting to paint.  It was incredible.  Worth a visit for anyone in the Boston area.

Today our concern must be with that future. For the world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do.

On Friday evening, my parents came up for the weekend to join their boys in Boston.  On a grey Saturday morning, we headed over to the JFK Library.  The museum began with a moving movie of JFK recounting his childhood and decision towards a life of service.  The movie ran until just before his nomination, and opened into the museum beginning at the 1960 Democratic Convention in LA.  We watched his masterful acceptance speech, as JFK laid out the horizons of the new frontier, and the directions that the country could and would take.

The museum meandered through the 1960 election, with all its twists, turns and tv highlights, and on through the presidency of JFK.  It incorporated Jacqueline Kennedy's impressions into the age in a fascinating fashion.  The museum did a great job recapturing the zeitgeist of the events and era, through pictures, objects and movies.  

It also dealt a bit with RFK and his run at the presidency.  We all got a little choked up watching Teddy Kennedy's eulogy of his brother, and his recitation of the "Some people see the world..."

On sunday, Harry and I went to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum up in Brookine.  There was a phenomenal collection of old British roadsters, and how they became so popular in America following WWII.  The museum also had a tremendous collection of turn-of-the-century automobiles, including old Packards and Wintons.  The thing that struck me most was how these original autos were really "horseless carriages."  They were designed as carriages sans the equine motor.  And these carriages were HUGE.  There was one that had room in the compartment for a bed, and had a toilet under the seat.  I was amazed by the size of these old contraptions.  We've come a long way to reach the Cooper Mini.

After the museum, Harry and I headed later to the Mary Baker Eddy Library. While on our way over, as we were on the T, we noticed the strange phenomenon that a number of people on the T were not wearing pants.  First it was two guys in matching Bert and Ernie attire, sans culottes.  Then two girls across from us promptly disrobed their pants.  We started looking around the train and saw other people in their skivvies.  Ummm....

I tried to ask the girls why they were making such a bold fashion statement, but all I got was an answer about the weather.

As we walked through the Park Street station, we noticed a large number of other individuals missing a most important part of their attire.  Curious....

On the greenline train, across from two other guys not wearing any leggings, Harry checked his smartphone and found out it was No Pants Subway Ride Day.  Not one to miss out on the show, I promptly dropped my jeans.  I stood there in the full regalia of my boxers amid the T, with other curious onlookers.   I exhorted Harry to do the same, pointing out that that he would never have an opportunity again that wouldn't land him in trouble.  He refused.  I stood on the T like this for 3 stops or so, then the other people without pants got off the train and I realized I was the only one on with my pants dropped so I quickly pulled them back up as not to be the ONLY one on the train in my boxers.

Anywhoo, we arrived to the Mary Baker Eddy Library.  We had a little time to kill before our tour, so we popped into the huge, ornate church.  "You know we're not Scientology," the tour guide said.  Yes, we know.  And it was fascinating both for all the Eddy quotes alongside quotes from the Gospels, as well as the lack of crosses in the church.

We then popped over to see the incredible Mapparium- a giant stained glass replica of the word circa 1935.  The map was fascinating for the world it displayed, just before the beginning of the end of an age of imperial empires.  And the acoustics of the room were incredible.  From the center, every little sound was echoed.  Across the ends, you could whisper and pick up the sound.

After, we wandered through the displays on Mary Baker Eddy's life and times.  It was an interesting display on the genesis of the Christian Science movement.

I left Harry to meet up with some old USC classmates, Tala and Alex.  We hung out, recounting old times in Lalaland at a pub called Grendel's Den.

After, I went to meet up with my brother out in Allston for a night of trivia.  As I was walking, a missionary girl came up to me and asked if I had heard of Jesus.  Umm, yeah once or twice.  She asked me what I thought of him.  I said he had an incredible message of compassion.  I also said I was Jewish.  "You're Jewish?!?!"  She proceeded to tell me how blessed I was, and gave me a special Jewish pamphlet.  She then asked if I would bless her.  Sure, why not.  She also asked if she could have a hug.  Of course.  Then her other missionary friends found out she was hugging a Jew, so they wanted hugs as well.  I offered them all one step even better- 7 years good luck, but did not bother to explain further...


John Brown said...

I'll never forget it -- the spring night, that starry Santo Domingo sky. And I will always remember how much the people just love to hug you. Everybody hugs. They hug at home on the street, in grocery stores -- everywhere.
So here I am back in the Land of Open Arms again. And hugging is part of my job description. As Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, I work to encourage long-term embraces between people everywhere, whether it's through educational, or cultural, or professional exchanges.

--Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Paul Rockower said...

Haha! I too to encourage long-term embraces between people everywhere- but in a different sort of fashion...