Accessible: the hotel and the motel


Late in September, I went to my hometown to do research and attend my 50th high school reunion. I wanted to stay at a hotel downtown so that I could be near the county clerk’s office and the main library.

But, though I had booked with on MAY 19, I couldn’t find a place to stay downtown on Saturday night. There was some sort of Parents’ weekend at Binghamton University

So I booked the Holiday Inn for Thursday and Friday nights, and the Motel 6 on Upper Front Street on the third night. Checking into the former, I was surprised to discover that the reservation indicated that I requested a “Disabled Accessible Room.” The woman at the desk, looking at me and not seeing me obviously physically impaired, wondered if I actually wanted that room. I, now very curious, said it was fine.

Maybe she didn’t notice me carrying a stick as a cane. My right knee has been killing me since 1995. Moreover, the neuropathy in my feet makes walking on uneven surfaces, such as lawns and gravel roads, uncomfortable and a tad treacherous. My friend Cee’s husband made me a legitimate walking stick that weekend; it’s green at the top, of course.

Made in the shade

There were two aspects of my Holiday Inn room, right off the elevator, that I noticed right off. One was that the bar for hanging up my shirts was at chair level, so someone with a walker or wheelchair would have an easier time.

The other involves the bathroom. I found a video here showing all of the bars in the bathroom. I got to say, I LOVE these! On one hotel visit in 2021, I almost slipped on a wet floor.

Another feature of the room was a pair of shades that operated electronically. One allowed the light into the room but maintained privacy, while the other cut off the light from outside. I did like my view of the Chenango River, pretty full from a lot of rain but not overflowing. I could see the wooded area behind the houses on that section of Front St, with my high school peeking through the trees. Court Street bridge was to my right.

Actually, the first thing I noticed was that there were lots of plugs. And not used outlets plugged into the lights, TV, and the microwave, but three sets of three plugs, one on the desk, and sets on each side of the bed. It was quite civilized.

Conversely, Motel 6 had no elevator, and my room was on the second floor. So not accessible at all. I was walking my suitcase up one step at a time before a young man, who was coming down, hoisted it to the landing. Not all of the plugs worked, and at least one looked as though it was coming out of the wall. I had a great view of the highway.

Now the Holiday Inn room was nearly twice the cost each night of the one at Motel 6. I would have gladly paid the difference.

One last thing: I saw dogs in both venues. When I was checking out of the Holiday Inn, there was a dog in the elevator. Another dog owner wisely decided to wait for the next car.

Film and race: Song of the South, Holiday Inn, Django Unchained

I had, in a bad way, a jaw-dropping reaction to the Lincoln’s Birthday segment of the 1942 movie Holiday Inn.

I had heard for a long time how awful and offensively racist D.W. Griffith’s landmark 1915 film, The Birth of a Nation, was. It’s good that I saw it, but I’m glad it was as an adult so that I could appreciate it in the historic context in which it was made. I’m not much on banning movies, but there is something to be said about seeing it at the right point.

A couple of blog posts I’ve seen recently reminded me of this point. Ann from Tin and Sparkle used Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah for her ABC Wednesday post. I have never actually seen the 1946 Disney film Song of the South, and it has been quite difficult, at least for me, to get a chance to view it. The website dedicated to the movie describes the controversy. I think I’d be interested in seeing it. Incidentally, the very first version of Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah I ever owned, or maybe it was my sister’s album, was by the Jackson Five [LISTEN] from their 1969 debut, a swipe of a Phil Spector arrangement for Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans in 1963.

Conversely, about 15 years ago, I got to see the 1942 film Holiday Inn for the first time, which stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. I had, in a bad way, a jaw-dropping reaction to the Lincoln’s Birthday segment. SamuraiFrog had seen it recently and described the song “Abraham” as “the most bizarre outpouring of disturbing blackface [by Crosby, Marjorie Reynolds, and others] I’ve ever seen. Surprised to see that. I mean, I know it’s of the time and all that, but I just found it deeply, deeply unsettling.” Yeah, that was MY reaction, too, plus historically inaccurate portrayal of the 16th President, to boot. I’m just not ready to let my daughter see it. But if YOU want to see it, click HERE, and go to the 44:50 mark; better still, go to the 42:30 mark to get a little context.

Roger Ebert wrote about the recent death of Jeni le Gon: The first black woman signed by Hollywood was livin’ and dancin’ in a great big way. I have seen her work but never knew her name. A telling anecdote about Ronald Reagan is included.

ColorOfChange notes Sundance winner “Fruitvale” examines the last days of Oscar Grant.

I was contemplating whether to go see the controversial current movie Django Unchained. It’s gotten some pretty good reviews, and Oscar-nominated for best picture, among other categories. I’m thinking that I probably won’t, at least for a while. It’s not that it’s too long. It’s not the apparently frequent use of the N-word. It’s my, and my wife’s, aversion to lots of cinematic violence. We saw both Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown by Quentin Tarantino, but this sounds like a new level, and we are just not ready for it.

From Roger Ebert’s review: (This is a spoiler, I suppose, so you can use your cursor to highlight the text if you want) …we visit a Southern Plantation run by a genteel monster named Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), who for his after-dinner entertainment is having two slaves fight each other to the death. It’s a brutal fight, covered with the blood that flows unusually copiously in the film. The losing slave screams without stopping, and I reflected that throughout the film there is much more screaming in a violent scene than you usually hear. Finally, the fight is over, and there’s a shot of the defeated slave’s head as a hammer is dropped on the floor next to it by Mr. Candie. The hammer, (off-screen but barely) is used by the fight’s winner to finish off his opponent.

That’s the kind of scene after which I might want to get up from the screen for a while and take a time out.

Incidentally, the movie is mentioned in this article about the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, being ratified to preserve slavery.


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