The 2013 MLK, Jr. Coffee-Drinking Party:Brewing up Happiness and Fun in Honor of MLK and Obama

It’s become a tradition: Each year, on the Sunday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Day), we host a coffee-drinking party. There is also tea, hot chocolate and sweet treats. We do it for several reasons. It gives us a chance to honor MLK, Jr., who loved coffee, in a way that is human, inclusive and festive all at once. We also enjoy seeing friends and neighbors and letting the kids play.

Over the years, the party has grown from a handful of friends posing for a picture in Starbucks, holding up cups in honor of MLK, to more than 60 people at our house this year, including lots of families.  This year was extra special, because in addition to celebrating MLK Day, we were also celebrating the second inauguration of President Obama. It was impossible not to feel good about the perfect intersection of persistent striving, high-minded ideals and concrete ceremonial reality---Obama being sworn in for another four years.

The party was great. People arrived early with little gifts and sweet treats to offer. There was baklava. There were apple tarts and zucchini cookies; pigs-in-blankets and potato puffs; dried apricots and gingerbread muffins---and even a quiche. 

Thanks to the perks of Pandora, the music varied wildly ranging from Carly Rae Jepsen to Dave Brubeck, and then to disco.  Kids ruled, with the majority being between the ages of 9 and 11, but there were toddlers, and even a 14-month old in the mix. There were a lot of writers roaming around, as well as a couple of high-level editors, a wine-maker, an artist (who sold us two pieces, including an astonishingly moving depiction of MLK, Jr. and a picture of our youngest daughter), some lawyers, and lots of talented people who dedicate their time to various community-based causes.  The coffee flowed with ease, the hot chocolate was drunk within the hour and a few people were not shy about opting out of the coffee and heading straight for the Red Zinger. The theme of the evening: diversity---in every sense of the word.

Right before we attempted to take a group photo (that effort turned into an epic fail, though we did get some interesting shots of various people toasting MLK or just hanging out), we decided to take time out to read quotes from Dr. King and other like-minded individuals about equality, tolerance and freedom.

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.”—MLK, Jr.

“Whoever debases others is debasing himself.”----James Baldwin

“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”----MLK, Jr.

By the end of the night, people were getting really amped from coffee and chocolate and (healthy) sweets. We turned up the music---and a whole gaggle of girls born in 2002 rocked it out to disco hits that peaked in 1972. Another year, another celebration. Thanks to everyone who shared this event with us.

Thank you to for this remarkable timeline of MLK, Jr.'s life!

MLK Infographic


3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592 said…

I missed it again???

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592 said…

New Year's Resolutions (partial list);

-To engage in hi-jinks,

-To split an Atom using a Bic pen,

-To see Anna Netrebko @ the Met,

-To go on an Easter Egg hunt,

-To throw caution to the wind,

-To scream loudly on a carnival ride,

-To learn the words to the 2nd half of the record: Doggy-Style,

-To pontificate on subjects which I know nothing about,

-To procure a garment,

-To celebrate the storming of the Bastille,

-To describe someone as "pugnacious",

-To dictate terms,

-To make evil-doers beware,

-To be brilliantly dull,

-To be a blameless culprit,

-To fight for peace,

-To discuss meaningful nonsense,

-To be passively aggressive,

-To get a Bouroullec chair,

-To prove the Reimann Hypothesis, while dreaming,

-To attend the MLK Party,

Hey wait, that's going to have to be in next year's list.

I can't believe I missed it again. Dang! I had a costume and everything. My only excuse is that I musta been distracted by otiose confabulations.

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592 said…
Organic & Fair Trade

The Café Femenino Blend is the result of a venture to help poor and culturally disenfranchised women in rural Northern Peru. The project involves 464 women coffee farmers, who are involved in all farm activities, as well as in the harvesting of the coffee. They are also involved in the decisions as to how the money from the coffee sales will be used. The mission of the project is to raise self-esteem and to change the view of women’s roles in Northern Peru.

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592 said…

"Intelligence and Character..."

Yes, and I would say, these goals (of education) are not being hit today. What we have today in this country is crisis of Ethics. Ethics.


I'm talkin' about friendship. I'm talkin' about
character. I'm talkin' about--hell, Leo, I ain't
embarassed to use the word--I'm talkin' about

Whiskey is poured into the tumbler, filling it almost to
the rim, as the offscreen man continues.

. . . You know I'm a sporting man. I like to
make the occasional bet. But I ain't that


A balding middle-aged man with a round, open face. He
still wears his overcoat and sits in a leather chair in the
dark room, illuminated by the offscreen glow of a desk
lamp. This is Johnny Caspar.

Behind him stands another man, harder looking, wearing an
overcoat and hat and holding another hat--presumably
Caspar's. This is Bluepoiont Vance.

Caspar (cont'd):
When I fix a fight, say--if I pay a three-to-one
favorite to throw a goddamn fight--I figure I got
a right to expect that fight to go off at three-
to-one. But every time I lay a bet with this
sonofabitch Bernie Bernheim, before I know it the
odds is even up--or worse, I'm betting the short
money. . .

...The sheeny knows I like sure things. He's
selling the information I fixed the fight. Out-
of-town money comes pourin' in. The odds go
straight to hell. I don't know who he's sellin'
it to, maybe the Los Angeles combine, I don't
know. The point is, Bernie ain't satisfied with
the honest dollar he can make off the vig. He
ain't satisfied with the business I do on his
book. He's sellin' tips on how I bet, and that
means part of the payoff that should be ridin' on
my hip is ridin' on someone else's. So back we
go to these questions--friendship, character,

Scene 1, Miller's Crossing
Nicole Gray said…
Pi--you should have come. You are always invited!
3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592 said…

A few minutes of a Richard Feynman interview has been set to music and images on youtube;
3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592 said…

When you're watching Jeopardy, do you, sort of, yell the answers in so that you can get Alex Trebec to pay attention to the fact that you have the answer? I do.

I need a Buzzer. A Buzzer would come in handy. Imagine you're at a dinner party and someone is dominating the conversation and won't let you have a word edgewise. Or you're with a bunch of senior citizens and they start that conversation that always happens about what medications they're taking or who their Doctors are, a Buzzer would definitely come in handy then.

I know a guy who can ace Jeopardy because he knows a little about everything. The problem is he doesn't know a lot about anything. I'd rather know a lot about a few things than a little about every damn thing. He lacks courage also. He's afraid of people. That must be awful. Think of what Coffee could do for him!

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592 said…
Jenn Lawrence wins the Oscar. Then she falls on the way up the stairs. Who wouldn't trip on a poofy dress? It was poofy. She's great. She's hilarious. Look up; Jennifer Lawrence Funny Moments, on Youtube.

Next is Rooney Mara's Oscar. She just needs the right role. Side Effects won't be the Oscar movie for her 'cause it sucked.

Rooney Mara is on the cover of Interview Magazine this month. Although, the interview is by Steven Soderberg, and know-wonder, know-wonder Soderberg doesn't get get more work in Hollywood. What a maroon.
Nicole Gray said…

Hello! I wanted to wish yo a happy belated Pi Day! (3-14-13)

Also, I would love to get your feedback on the timeline of MLK's life--which I just added to this post.

Thanks! Nicole
3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592 said…

Pi day, I love that.
3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592 said…

From the Letter from the Birmingham Jail;

- Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

- Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

- Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

- We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

- One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

- An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

- I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

And there's much more. Reading it, you understand the qualities of the man. So many, that it would be a long list, indeed. But certainly courage and intelligence, the ability to lead by example as well as by word.

It's tempting to consider how the rest of his life would have unfolded, because he was only 39 years old on April 4th, 1968.

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