Saturday, February 18, 2017

Our Favorite Movies of 2016



Dear George,
The Oscars are almost upon us, so I thought it time to post my list of movie favorites for 2016.  We usually try to see most of the best picture nominees, but we fell short this year, missing out on Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, and Hell or High Water.  Even so, I don’t think 2016 was a great year for movies.  My ten favorites are below, listed in order.  I notice that only two of my top ten choices were nominated by the Academy for major awards (which leads me to conclude that the Academy’s judgment is suspect).
Love,
Dave

Top Ten

(1) Hail, Caesar!  Josh Brolin, George Clooney.  Eddie Mannix, a 1950s Hollywood fixer, struggles to keep the studio’s stars in line.  A witty spoof by the Coen brothers of everything about the movies of our youth.  Rotten Tomatoes: 83%; Blog: A-.

(2) CafĂ© Society.  Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carrell.  In the 1930s a young Bronx native falls in love with the secretary of his powerful Hollywood uncle, an agent to the stars, then is swept up in the vibrant world of high society nightclub life in NYC.  Woody Allen reminds us once again that love and relationships are complicated beyond human comprehension.  Rotten Tomatoes: 74%; Blog: A-. 

(3) Hidden Figures.  Tara P. Henson, Octavia Spencer.  The untold story of three brilliant African-American working women who were the brains behind John Glenn’s space orbit.  You know a movie depiction is powerful when it makes mathematics brimming with suspense and excitement.  Rotten Tomatoes: 92%; Blog: A-.  

(4) Loving.  Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga.  An interracial couple in the 1960s fight all the way to the Supreme Court for their right to live in their Virginia home town.  A horrifying reminder of times not so long ago (Katja and I were newly married in this era) and superbly acted and crafted.  Rotten Tomatoes: 90%; Blog: A-. 

(5) Marguerite.  Catherine Frot, Andre Marcon.  Marguerite Dumont, a wealthy woman and opera lover, loves to sing for friends, but problems begin when she decides to perform in front of a real audience.  A gem of a movie with universal human truths and an Oscar-worthy performance by the lead.  Rotten Tomatoes: 95%; Blog: A-. 

(6) Paterson.  Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahan.  A quiet observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life for a bus driver and his wife, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.  We learn again that life is quirky, routine but mysterious, comic and tragic, and filled with poetry.  Rotten Tomatoes: 95%; Blog: A-. 

(7) A Man Called Ove.  Rolf Lassgard, Bahar Pars.  An elderly, isolated retiree has given up on life until a boisterous young family moves in next door and an unlikely friendship forms.  A touching story about the potential for change and self-realization in one’s older years.  Rotten Tomatoes: 93%; Blog: A-

(8) Things To Come (L’Avenir).  Isabelle Huppert.  When Nathalie’s husband announces he is leaving her for another woman, she must reinvent her life.  Despite the film’s low-key pace, Isabelle Huppert’s masterful portrayal makes this a spellbinder.  Rotten Tomatoes: 100%; Blog: A-. 

(9) Nocturnal Animals.  Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams.  A divorced couple discovers dark truths about each other and themselves.  A complex interplay between Susan’s current painful life, her ex-husband’s violent novel, and their early failed marriage — deep and dark.  Rotten Tomatoes: 72%; Blog: A-. 

(10) Moonlight.  Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris.  The heartbreaking story of a young black man’s struggle to find himself during three periods of life while experiencing the pain and beauty of falling in love and grappling with his own closeted sexuality.  Painful, touching, well-acted and beautifully filmed.  Rotten Tomatoes: 98%; Blog: A-.  

Here’s the rest of the batch that we saw during the year (listed in order within each ratings category): 

-Rated B+:  The Eagle Huntress; The Jungle Book; The Nice Guys; La La Land; Dark Horse; The Accountant; Our Kind of Traitor; The Beatles; Florence Foster Jenkins; Manchester by the Sea; Allied; The Innocents; Elle; Lion

-Rated B: Sully, Maggie’s Plan; Wiener-Dog; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Viva; The Magnificent Seven; I Am Not Your Negro; The Legend of Tarzan; Captain Fantastic; Dr. Strange

-Rated B-: The Finest Hours; Jason Bourne; 45 Years; Southside With You; Ghostbusters; Heart of a Dog; The Lady in the Van; The Conjuring; Silence

-Rated C+: Sing Street; Queen of Katwe; The Salesman

-Rated C: Dheepan; A Bigger Splash

-Rated C-: Francofonia; Jackie

-Rated D or below: Money Monster; Independence Day: Resurgence

THE END



Monday, February 13, 2017

Saint Valentine: The Movie Script




Dear George, 
Although Valentine’s Day has been celebrated since 496 A.D., almost nothing is known about the original St. Valentine himself.  Historians do know his name, that he was martyred on February 14 around the year 270 A.D., and that he was initially buried on the Flaminian Way north of Rome.  That’s about it for verified facts.  However, there are a number of myths and legends about St. Valentine, most of which appeared in church writings over the next 1200 years.  If you put all those legends together, the story of St. Valentine has the definite makings of a blockbuster movie.  Here is my outline for a script.*

Valentine was the Bishop of Interamna (modern-day Terni) in central Italy in the third century.  On a temporary visit to Rome in 273 he was imprisoned by the evil emperor Claudius who was engaged in persecuting Christians.  In violation of Roman law, Valentine had been aiding Christians to escape from prison and marrying Christian couples so that the husbands would not have to go to war in Claudius’ army.  Surprisingly, the emperor took a liking to his priestly prisoner.  However, Valentine refused to sacrifice to the pagan gods and instead attempted to convert the emperor to Christianity.  In response, Claudius demanded that Valentine renounce his beliefs or be executed.  When Valentine proved unwavering in his faith, Claudius condemned him to death.  In the days before his execution, Valentine, through his prayers, restored the sight of the blind daughter of his jailer, Asterius.  Asterius was so amazed and grateful that he converted to Christianity on the spot.  Valentine had fallen in love with the daughter who had been visiting him in the jail.  On the day of his execution, Feb. 14, 273, Valentine left her a note that was signed, “From your Valentine” (this being, of course, the first Valentine card).   He was initially beaten with clubs and stoned.  When that failed to kill the valiant priest, Valentine was decapitated by Roman soldiers and buried at a nearby cemetery along the Flaminian Way.  Several nights later his disciples dug up his body and returned him to Interamna.  St. Valentine’s skull is on display today in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome, and other remains are located in Poland, France, Austria, Malta, and Scotland.  We know St. Valentine as the patron saint of lovers, beekeeping, epilepsy, and the plague.

This story, of course, has all the ingredients of a Best Picture winner at the Oscars: romance, suspense, villainy, violence, faith, soldiers, heroism, even a miracle.  It would be particularly moving if set to music and directed by Damien Chazelle of La La Land fame.  Actually Ryan Gosling could be Valentine, and Emma Stone would be perfect as the jailer’s daughter.  I would cast Johnny Depp as the Emperor Claudius.  I don’t know if Hollywood will follow up and make this movie, but, even if they don’t, it’s still enlightening to resurrect the plot line on this special holiday.
Love,
Dave    


*SOURCES: www.catholic.org, “St. Valentine”; www1.cbn.com, “St Valentine, the Real Story”; www.history.com, “History of Valentine’s Day”; www.history.com, “6 Surprising Facts About St. Valentine”; www.wikipedia.org, “Saint Valentine” 



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

NOLA Holiday Pics and Interviews with Grandkids


Duct tape portraits of V and L by their dad

Dear George,
We flew down to New Orleans on the day after Xmas for a family visit.  We traveled on the new discount airline at our airport.  Bare bones, fees for everything, narrow non-reclining seats, and $2 for water.  But it still was a bargain of sorts.  J picked us up at the airport.  His father-in-law, Ted, had experienced a mild stroke shortly before our arrival, and K was spending a lot of time at the hospital with him.  Ted did make a strong recovery though and joined us at the house soon after.    




“Be Nice to Bees”

We were greeted by our granddaughter V’s “Be Nice to Bees” sign in the front yard, just another indication of her love for the animal world.




Iko and Little Paws

Our family had acquired a new dog, Little Paws, since we were last there.  Little Paws is the smaller dog in the picture.  As I understand it, V found her online and convinced her parents.  Iko was peppy enough to begin with, but, with a new puppy in the house, the two dogs have endless high-energy fun.  




L and J play chess

L has become an enthusiastic chess player, and he will probably be a master before we know it.  




Flu shots

J took the children to the neighborhood drug store for flu shots.  It was a less than enjoyable outing. 



Post-shot rewards
  
Recovery from getting flu shots was speeded up by treats at the ice cream parlor.  




L and V practising

L and V’s regular instructor cancelled their tennis lesson, so J worked out with them instead at the City Park courts.  The children like to try to hit the ball over the fence.  They also liked to sit at the bottom of the backboard while J bounced balls a foot or two above their heads.  







At the Sculpture Garden

On Friday we returned to City Park and visited the Sculpture Garden.  It’s one of New Orleans’ many highlights, and we return each visit.  




Back from the groomer

Iko came back from the groomer and was miraculously transformed into a Schnauzer (see earlier photo above).  



The Princess Leia parade

On Friday afternoon I joined J and the kids at the Princess Leia parade at the Bywater.  Carrie Fisher had died three days earlier, and local groups held a second line in her honor.




Air Sports

On New Year’s Eve day we began the celebration with a visit to Extreme Air Sports and its many bouncy bounces for kids. 




At Crescent Park

Then we went to Crescent Park, a new city park on the Mississippi, and enjoyed views of the downtown skyline and the harbor.




Confederate soldier

We tried the Ogden Museum of Southern Art on the day after New Year’s, but it was closed, and we settled for the nearby Confederate Memorial Hall Museum next door instead.  I liked the photographs and the rifles the most.   



J and Katja at Peche for lunch

We toured the Julia Street art galleries and wound up at Peche for lunch.  Other culinary outings included Desire, Zoe’s, Ming’s Chinese Restaurant, Mandina’s, and Morning Call. 




Our family

Once again our trip went too quickly.  Katja had a touch of pneumonia which put a damper on her running around.  On our last morning I interviewed the children (see below), and then we were off on our two-hour flight home.
Love,
Dave      






INTERVIEW WITH L (1-2-17):

HOW OLD ARE YOU NOW?  Eight. 
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE AGE SO FAR?  Seven. 
WHY IS THAT?  I was young.  There aren't that many years that I'm young.  
WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE TO BE A TEENAGER?  Kind of fun, kind of boring.
HOW IS YOUR NEW SCHOOL?  I like it. 
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT?  Elevators, a church, less kids.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SUBJECT?  Math.  
WHAT IS THE HARDEST SUBJECT?  I don't think anything is.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD?  Dumplings. 
WHAT IS THE MOST FUN THING THAT YOU FAMILY DOES TOGETHER?  Go on vacation.  
DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?  Pokemon cards.
HOW MANY POKEMON CARDS DO YOU HAVE?  About 900.  I think 958.  
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT NEW ORLEANS?  It gets hot in the summer.
WHICH OF THESE IS YOUR FAVORITE: ZOO, AQUARIUM, MUSIC FESTIVALS, MARDI GRAS PARADES?  Mardi Gras parades.
WHO IS A FAMOUS PERSON THAT YOU ADMIRE?  Barack Obama. 
DO YOU LIKE GOING TO THE DENTIST?  I don't.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO GO ON A TRIP?  I like to go everywhere.  
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW PRESIDENT, DONALD TRUMP?  He's going to be bad. 
WOULD YOU SAY YOU ARE MORE SERIOUS OR MORE FUNNY?  More funny.
MORE CAUTIOUS OR MORE BOLD?  More cautious.  
DO YOU GET AN ALLOWANCE?  Yes, five dollars every Friday. 
IS IT ENOUGH?  Five dollars every day.  
TELL ME WHETHER YOU DO OR DO NOT LIKE THESE THINGS:
MOVIES?  Yes.
FLU SHOT?  Yes and no.  Medium.  
FLYING ON AIRPLANES.  Yes and no. 
DOING MATH.  Yes.  
VIDEO GAMES.  Yes. 
TESTS IN SCHOOL.  Yes and no.  
RIDING A BIKE?  No. 
WALKING THE DOG?  Yes, because I get to go Pokemon.  
WHAT IS SOMETHING ELSE THAT YOU DON'T LIKE?  V annoying me. 
IF YOU FOUND A GENIE IN A BOTTLE, WHAT WOULD YOU WISH FOR?  To have all the Pokemons in the world. 
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE?  My age. 
WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO CHANGE IT TO?  Nine.  
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE IN LIFE?  A nice person.  And a mean person to V. WHICH WOULD YOU WANT TO BE:  A MOVIE STAR, A POLITICIAN, AN AIRPLANE PILOT, A POLICE OFFICER?  A movie star.
WHAT ANIMAL ARE YOU MOST LIKE?  A lion.  
WHICH WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO THE MOST: END POVERTY, END CANCER, END WAR, END BLINDNESS?  End war.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT?  Tennis.   
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO IMPROVE ABOUT YOURSELF?  Being nicer to V.  








INTERVIEW WITH VIDA (1-2-17)

HOW OLD ARE YOU NOW?  Eight
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST AGE THAT YOU'VE BEEN?  Four.  WHY?  Because there are not that many rules.
WHAT DO YOU THINK BEING A TEENAGER WILL BE LIKE?  Awesome. 
WHY IS THAT?  Earn our own money and spend it on ourself.  
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL?  Probably art. 
DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?  Nana's gong to mail me those bunny rabbits.
WOULD YOU SAY YOU ARE MORE FUNNY OR MORE SERIOUS?  More serious. 
WHAT IS THE MOST FUN THING YOUR FAMILY DOES TOGETHER?  Watch movies.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE?  Nothing.  Wait, I have something.  My hair.  Longer.  
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR EARLIEST MEMORIES AS A LITTLE CHILD?  When I was four.  Going around on a swing.  I fell, and my pumpkin's head broke.
HOW MUCH IS YOUR ALLOWANCE?  Five dollars.  WHAT DO YOU SPEND IT ON?  Stuff at the Dollar Store.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU WANT TO DO IN 2017?  (long pause)  I want to start my garden.  
DO YOU LIKE HAVING TWO DOGS?  Yes. 
WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT IT?  I take care of one, and my dad takes care of the other.
TELL ME IF YOU LIKE OR DON'T LIKE THESE THINGS:
MOVIES?  Yes. 
GETTING A FLU SHOT?  No. 
AIRPLANES?  Yes. 
DOING MATH?  Medium. 
TESTS IN SCHOOL?  Yes and no. 
RIDING A BIKE?  Yes. 
WALKING A DOG?  Yes. 
DO YOU LIKE TO GO TO THE DENTIST?  Yes.  Because I get a sweet lollipop.   
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU DON'T LIKE?  I don't like my brother annoying me.  
IF YOU FOUND A GENIE IN A BOTTLE, WHAT WOULD YOU WISH FOR?  To have every animal you could possibility have as a pet.
WHICH DO YOU LIKE BEST: ZOO, AQUARIUM, MUSIC FESTIVALS, MARDI GRAS PARADES?  Zoo. 
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO IMPROVE ABOUT YOURSELF?  Nothing.  
DO YOU EVER GET MAD AT YOUR BROTHER?  Yes.  WHY?  When he annoys me. 
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD?  Mashed potatoes.  
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE IN LIFE?  A vet. 
WHAT ANIMAL ARE YOU MOST LIKE?  A squirrel.  
WHAT WOULD LIKE LIKE TO DO THE MOST?  END POVERTY, END CANCER, END WAR, END BLINDNESS.  All of the above.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT?   Softball.  
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO TAKE A TRIP TO?  New Mexico. 
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE NEW PRESIDENT, DONALD TRUMP?   Poop.
WHO IS A FAMOUS PERSON THAT YOU ADMIRE?  Ruthie B.  WHO IS THAT?  A singer. 
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT NEW ORLEANS?  All the animals.  




Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2016: Year's End (A Bit Belated)




Dear George,
Aside from various national and international catastrophes, we had an up and down year in 2016 in our household.  The most memorable event occurred in early April when a pipe burst in our second-floor bathroom while we were out for the day and flooded our kitchen, dining room, and half of our basement.  Fortunately our insurance covered the $40 thousand restoration costs, but it took a full six months from start to finish and was thoroughly stressful.  We emptied the first floor of our house and lived like captives on the second floor.  We have been back to normal for several months, but it left us with an unpleasant feeling of vulnerability.  

This also was the first year that we’ve been without our beloved sheepdogs, Mike and Duffy.  I’d say we’ve gotten past the grieving stage, but the loss of the dogs has left a big hole in our lives.  They were a great source of pleasure and affection, and they were an important emotional focus that Katja and I shared with one another.  When the vet’s office called to offer us a pair of labradoodles, our hearts skipped a beat, but then we thought better of it.   

One of the year’s highlights was our early August trip to a family get-together at my parents’ Farm in Birch Creek (just north of Menominee).  Our son J, daughter-in-law K, and grandkids L and V had flown up from New Orleans, and our niece Jessica had brought her one-year-old twins, Maya and Peter, up from Detroit.  The Seattle contingent included Greg, who manages Farm, and Jennifer and Win and their sweet kids, Vincent (13) and Ingrid (9).  Our cousins, Ann and John B., who live in the Twin Cities, also joined us several times.  Katja and I stayed at Bob and Lois A.’s wonderful house on the Green Bay shore.  As always, our visit to Menominee had a comfortable, nostalgic feeling.  We enjoyed meals at Schloegels, Jozwiak’s, The Waterfront, the Rail House, Culver’s, and the Wild North Tavern, as well as an enjoyable visit to the DeYoung Family Zoo in nearby Wallace.  

Much to my surprise, Katja said she’d like to take a camping trip through the Upper Peninsula after our Menominee visit, and we headed up for Munising where we enjoyed the Pictured Rocks sunset cruise (highly recommended).  We followed that up with a boat trip through the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie.  After a stint in St. Ignace and a trip across the Mackinac Bridge, we drove down the Lake Michigan — Petoskey, Charlevoix, Traverse City, Manistee, Muskegon, and others.  We’ve done that trip several times in recent years, and it’s always a treat.  Katja was a hardy camper, even though her air mattress kept going flat.  

I had bought a pair of hearing aids at the big box store just before leaving for Menominee, and, just my luck, I lost one in the forest on our first day of camping.  Because the store guaranteed one free replacement, it wasn’t a complete disaster, but it left me feeling nervous and guilty.  I’m not a completely enthusiastic user.  According to available research, they correct about 25% of hearing loss (but that leaves an annoying 75% to struggle with).  Katja had nagged me for several years to get hearing aids, and one of their best benefits is that they reduce about 80% of spousal complaining.  

Katja and I have reached an age where hearing losses are among the more manageable health disasters possible.  Two of my friends from work died in 2016, as did several of my high school classmates, and too many of our friends and acquaintances have struggled with dire, distressing health problems.  We have been fortunate to date, but I keep my fingers crossed and spend more time at the fitness center than I otherwise would.

For me, the worst part of 2016 was Trump’s nomination, election, and post-election actions.  We’d followed the primary season closely, and I was initially pleased with Trump’s selection since it seemed to guarantee a Hillary Clinton victory.  That, of course, didn’t work out.  My personal (admittedly subjective) opinion is that Trump has irretrievably damaged America’s standing in the world in his first two weeks, and it’s difficult to project how much more destruction he’ll cause.  My worst fantasy is that I’ll spend the remainder of my life in complete misery from a Trump presidency.  

On a cheerier note, we celebrated Xmas with our friends the Minkarahs and then flew down to New Orleans to join our family.  Our grandchildren turned eight in September and are wonderful kids, bright and spirited.  I can’t think of a happier way to wind up the year.  

Katja and I did a number of OLLI classes in 2016, my favorite being poetry writing.  We celebrated birthday dinners at the Chart House and Jean Robert’s Table.  We’ve taken in lots of music (symphony, opera, chamber music, musical theater) and art exhibits (Cincy Art Museum, Taft).  Though we’re not sophisticated fans, we watched lots of Bengals and Packers games, as well as all the Grand Slam tennis tournaments.  I do line dancing on Tuesday nights, Dayton flea markets throughout the year, lots of TV offerings (e.g., Ray Donovan, Homeland), and Katja, Donna, and I regularly go to Friday night movies.  All in all, our lives are punctuated by various pleasures, major and minor.  I hope 2017 will be still better for us all. 

Love,
Dave     


Sunday, January 22, 2017

U.P. Winter




Dear George, 
Influenced by Japanese haiku and tanka, the cinquain is a five-line poem developed in American poetry by Adelaide Crapsey (1915).  The five lines of the cinquain have 2, 4, 6, 8, and 2 syllables respectively.   Typically, the lines offer (1) a subject, (2) descriptive adjectives about the subject, (3) an action, (4) a feeling or effect, and (5) a conclusion.  There are several variations on the basic five-line cinquain.  One of these, the garland, is a sequence of six cinquains, the last of which is formed of lines from the preceding five (usually line one from stanza one, line two from stanza two, etc.).  Below is a garland cinquain prompted by our childhood experiences of winter on the Menominee River.
Love,
Dave



U.P. Winter

White North
Barren forests
We snowshoe toward the bend
Watching for deer and porcupine
Snow-Men

Up stream
Ice a foot thick 
Fishermen in shanties
Shivering at pot-bellied stoves
No bites

Deer cross
Fueled by hunger
Foraging for dead weeds
They struggle in the windblown drifts
Peril

Soft ice
A deer falls through
Dad pushes out the boat
But the deer sinks into the depths
Mourning

March wakes
The river melts
Flowing crystals tinkle
My mom names it “Chinese Bells Day” 
Pale skies
White North
Ice a foot thick 
Foraging for dead weeds
But the deer sinks into the depths
Pale skies



Monday, January 16, 2017

A Quiz for Martin Luther King Jr. Day




Dear George,
We probably know more about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. than any other historically important African American figure, at least part because of the national recognition of his birth and legacy each January.  Below is a quiz for the occasion.  Some of the items involve well-known facts; others are more obscure.  I personally think a score of 25 out of 30 would be very good and 20 is good.  Had I not compiled this, I think I would have scored about 17 or 18 — more middling.  The answers are given at the end.
Love,
Dave

1.  Martin Luther King Jr. (hereafter, MLK) was born on Jan. 15, 1929, in: 
(a) Atlanta, GA; (b) Detroit, MI; (c) Birmingham, AL; (d) Clearwater, TX

2.  MLK’s name at birth was: 
(a) Mark; (b) Matthew; (c) Michael; (d) Mitchell

3.  In his family MLK was:
(a) the youngest of six children
(b) the oldest of four children
(c) the middle child of three children
(c) an only child

4.  According to MLK, his father regularly whipped him during childhood and his early teens.
(a) True; (b) False

5.  12-year-old MLK allegedly attempted suicide by jumping out of a second-story window when his grandmother died of a heart attack.
(a) True; (b) False

6.  MLK began college at the age of:
(a) 15; (b) 17; (c) 19; (d) 21

7.  MLK received a Sociology degree from:
(a) Georgia Tech; (b) Howard University; (c) Morehouse College; (d) University of Alabama

8.  Though he had not intended to join the ministry, he changed his mind under the guidance of:
(a) his grandfather
(b) his older brother
(c) the pastor of the church he attended
(d) the president of the college he attended

9.  MLK’s wife, Coretta Scott, was a graduate of:
(a) Alabama State; (b) Antioch College; (c) Howard University; (d) Oberlin College

10.  MLK discouraged Coretta’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, expecting her to be a housewife and mother.
(a) True; (b) False

11. The Kings had ___ children:
(a) two; (b) three; (c) four; (d) seven

12. MLK was a _____ minister:
(a) Baptist; (b) Church of Christ; (c) Lutheran; (d) Presbyterian

13.  In 1955 MLK received his doctorate degree from:
(a) Appalachian State U.; (b) Boston U.; (c) Harvard; (d) University of Mississippi;

14.  After Rosa Parks was arrested, MLK was elected to head the bus boycott in:
(a) Atlanta, GA; (b) Birmingham, AL; (c) Montgomery, AL; (d) Selma, AL

15.  The bus boycott lasted for ___ days:
(a) 8; (b) 31; (c) 119; (d) 382

16.  MLK’s principles of nonviolence were inspired by:
(a) Buber; (b) Gandhi; (c) Lincoln; (d) Spinoza

17.  In 1963 MLK spelled out his theory of nonviolence in a famous letter from a jail cell in:
(a) Birmingham, AL; (b) Houston, TX; (c) Detroit, MI; (d) Savannah, GA

18.  MLK was president of the:
(a) National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(b) National Urban League
(c) Southern Christian Leadership Conference
(d) Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

19.  MLK’s close associates included all but which one of the following:
(a) Ralph Abernathy; (b) Stokely Carmichael; (c) Bayard Rustin; (d) Fred Shuttlesworth

20.  Between 1957 and 1968 MLK gave over ____ speeches and was arrested over ___ times. 
(a) 900/a dozen; (b) 1200/35; (c) 1900/6; (d) 2500/20

21.  In 1958 King nearly died when he was stabbed by a mentally ill woman in a Harlem department store.
(a) True; (b) False

22.  When MLK was sentenced to 45 days in jail in Albany, GA, his bail was paid by: 
(a) Spiro Agnew; (b) Billy Graham; (c) J. Edgar Hoover; (d) Jackie Kennedy

23.  MLK gave his “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, 1963, in:
(a) Charleston, SC; (b) Nashville, TN;  (c) New York, NY; (d) Washington, DC

24.  In 1963 Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy authorized the FBI to begin wiretapping MLK and other SCLC leaders.
(a) True; (b) False

25.  After multiple successes in the south, MLK and associates extended the movement to the urban North, first launching the open housing movement in 1966 in:
(a) Chicago; (b) Detroit; (c) Milwaukee; (d) Pittsburgh

26.  In the final years of his life MLK broadened his focus to include:
(a) criminal justice reform
(b) environmental issues
(c) health and infant mortality
(d) poverty and the Vietnam War

27.  MLK was assassinated at a motel in Memphis in April of:
(a) 1964; (b) 1968; (c) 1972; (d) 1976 

28.  MLK’s honors and awards include:
(a) the Congressional Medal of Honor
(b) the Nobel Peace Prize
(c) the Presidential Medal of Freedom
(d) all of these

29.  The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site is located in:
(a) Atlanta; (b) New York; (c) Philadelphia; (d) Washington, DC

30.  Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been a U.S. federal holiday since: 
(a) 1976; (b) 1981; (c) 1986; (d) 1991

* * * * * * * * * * * * 

ANSWER KEY:
1.a.  Born in Atlanta.
2.c.  Name at birth: Michael.
3.c.  Middle child of 3.
4.a.  True; reported regular whippings.
5.a.  True; attempted suicide at 12. 
6.a.  Began college at 15. 
7.c.  Morehouse College
8.d.  College president encouraged ministry. 
9.b.  Coretta Scott King, Antioch College. 
10.a.  Discouraged civil rights involvement.
11.c.  Four children. 
12.a.  Baptist minister. 
13.b.  Doctorate from Boston U.
14.c.  Montgomery bus boycott.
15.d.  382 days. 
16.b.  Nonviolence, Gandhi. 
17.a.  Birmingham jail cell. 
18.c.  President of Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 
19.b.  Not Stokely Carmichael. 
20.d.  Over 2500 speeches; arrested over 20 times. 
21.a.  True; nearly died from Harlem stabbing. 
22.b.  Bail paid by Billy Graham. 
23.d.  “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC. 
24.a.  True; R.F. Kennedy authorized wiretapping. 
25.a.  Expanded movement first to Chicago. 
26.d.  Expanded movement focus to poverty and the Vietnam War. 
27.b.  Assassinated in 1968.  
28.d.  Honors include all of these.  
29.a.  Historical Site in Atlanta. 
30.c.  U.S. federal holiday since 1986

SOURCES:
www.biography.com, “Martin Luther King Jr.”; 
www.history.com, “Martin Luther King Jr.”; 
www.nobelprize.org, “Martin Luther King Jr. - Biography”; 

www.wikipedia.org, “Martin Luther King Jr.”