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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Yeah, I still blog. Sorta.

We are a busy crew at Casa Price. Thanks to yet another windfall of unnecessary generosity last Christmas, CM again gave us Red Wings tickets. Against San Jose on Ash Wednesday, no less. Oh, and a great--nay, hilarious-- guide to The Big Lebowski phenomenon. And some stuff for Heather, too, but I'll let her croon over that and the gifts for the kids. The only bad part is that he wrapped the tickets in a Michael Moore book. It could have been worse--Al Franken comes to mind. But still.

In the interim, I've finally become more modern, acquiring a compact digital camera with part of our tax return. I'm still trying to recall why I didn't want one before. Now I can't imagine life without it, snapping pictures in a way that draws "Give it a rest!" rebukes from Japanese tourists. Some of my work will start appearing here.

Anyway, we made a day of it: Mass and ashes in the morning, then to the Detroit Science Center, then our first visit to the Wright Museum of African American History, then to Greektown for Tex-Mex, naturally, and finally to the game, which the Wings won convincingly, 4-1.

The Science Center is hosting the Star Trek exhibit (Nerdalert! Nerdalert!), with lots of props from the show, including a replica of the Original Series' bridge. Naturally, I had to pose like Kirk. Alas, no photography inside for unspecified copyright reasons. But still worth the stop, especially if you are even remotely geeky.

If you are in the area, do make sure to go to the Wright Museum--it's fantastic. Sure, the King Tut exhibit (extended to April 12) is a big draw, but our favorite was the "And Still We Rise" exhibit, which chronicles the travail of Africans from the continent to Detroit, is alone worth the price of admission. Unlike Tut, it's a permanent exhibition, and contains well-done reproductions of, among other things, a 16th Century Benin market, the streets of black Detroit circa 1950 and, most harrowingly, the deck and hold of a slave ship. The latter is effectively disturbing, as is the reproduction of slave branding and that of a weak captive left tied to a tree to die. As an African immigrant guide (ironically, from Benin) gently explained to a shocked Madeleine regarding the slave tied to the tree, "Sometimes the truth is ugly, but it still has to be told." We were all stunned into horrified silence by the hold, and another guide said that he's seen a lot of hardened teenagers come out of there in tears. I believe it.

Afterwards, you come to a reproduction of Frederick Douglass' powerful speech, "The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro," upbraiding the nation for the sin of slavery, and it hits like a hammer.

There are pure "fun" spots, too, especially in the 1950s section. You can sit in a reproduction theatre watching featuring some of the earliest films featuring black performers, walk into a law office, barbershop and drugstore of the times and so forth. The role of churches in African American life in general (and Detroit in particular) gets a deserved and interesting examination. And, to Heather's and my stunned surprise, there's an original copy of a 1940s Nation of Islam newspaper excoriating "The Sin of Birth Control" in war-is-declared-sized headlines. With number five on the way in October, that was ironically amusing. Sure, there's a little Coleman Young hagiography near the end, but consider that the burp at the end of a meal.

For those afraid it's going to be "political," it's not. It's straight history--painful at times, but as the guide from Benin noted, it's still the truth. Go--visit.

The game was great, too. The Joe Louis Arena folks are a friendly and helpful crew, to a man and woman. As I was walking around with Louis during the second period, one of the maintenance guys came up and gave Louis a practice puck, which left us both delighted. Only sleep could separate him from it, too. Also, they take free pictures of you which are posted to the website and offer to take pictures on your own camera, too. Couldn't have asked for a better time. Well, maybe if there'd been a Slap Shot-like brawl, but you can't have everything.

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