Showing posts from July, 2010

More DC

The Washington Monument as seen from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I love the open space in DC.

I also posted more DC pictures on my photo blog.

Being A Tour Guide

If you're a regular reader, you know I love living near Washington DC. A few days ago, a very dear friend from North Carolina came to visit me and two other friends of hers who live in the area. It was her first time here. She got a taste of the enormity, beauty and history as well as museums, restaurants, bars, traffic jams and a Dave Matthews concert at a Major League Baseball park. Even though the three of us who she spent time with are not native to DC, we have lived here long enough to call it home and we love showing it off.

Visit my photo site for more pictures.

And visit DC some time.

A Thousand Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This particular photo represents a thousand words or more about my recent 'staycation.' More pictures and words coming soon.

More Moon Talk

Someone born after July 20, 1969 has never known a time in their life when humans had not walked on the moon. Someone born after December 14, 1972, the date of the last moon walk, would have to view a lunar stroll as history not current events.

The time span from the first powered human flight, the Wright Brothers in 1903, to the first human flight to the moon was just under 66 years. The time span from an American President’s challenge to send men to the moon and return them safely to earth to the day that actually happened was just over 7 years. The time span from the first to the last lunar flight was only 3 and 1/2 years and it has been more than 38 years from the last moon flight to today. The last American space shuttle flight is scheduled for 7 months from now; after that, American astronauts will have to hitch a ride to the International Space Station on Russian spacecraft.

These numbers aren’t adding up for me.

Humans are explorers, constantly seeking the new, boldly trying …

One Small Almost-Forgotten Step

So this is how far we’ve come, or not come … today was the 41st anniversary of a human’s first step on the moon. And I, geekiest of space flight geeks in my childhood circle of friends, forgot it. And so, apparently, did everyone else because I did not see one mention of it in any news source I stumbled across.

It was probably on the traditional network newscasts; I didn’t happen to see them. But it was nowhere to be found on my daily and nightly channel surfing and web hopping. I remembered because a Facebook friend mentioned it.

As a kid in 1969, I watched the launch of Apollo 11 on all the channels (there were only three channels then, really). I watched the endless, boring coverage of the four-day flight there; boring because there was not continuous live camera coverage from the space craft. I listened to the radio transmission from the astronauts as they were coming in for a landing, Buzz Aldrin calling out flight data, but had no clue till much later that they were nearly ou…

When Insults Had Class!

This is serious old-school. A friend sent me this collection of glorious insults from an era before the English language got boiled down to four-letter words.

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor:
She said, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison."
He said, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."

A Member of Parliament to Disraeli:
"Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."
"That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

"Thank you for sendi…

Rainbow Over Rockville

I own a very nice Nikon digital SLR camera and a very nice Canon pocket sized digital camera and both were home today when I saw this beautiful rainbow at work. So here is a so-so cell phone shot of an awesome rainbow, viewed from a balcony on the 6th floor of my office building.

Coffee Coffee Coffee

In my youth, drinking coffee was a right of passage, a clear sign from my parents that I was growing up. They drank coffee every morning; not just any coffee, but that strong blend of New Orleans coffee. During my early teen years I was allowed to have a cup each morning of our family vacations. One cup, on vacation days only. And thus began my lifelong love affair with coffee.

I am certain that with the exception of one six-week period in 1989 I have not gone a single day without caffeinated coffee for more than thirty years. That six weeks began with twelve days in the hospital, followed by my attempt to stay decaffeinated till the day they ran out of decaf at the office and I had one cup of regular. I was instantly hooked again and haven’t missed a day since.

Medical experts seem conflicted on possible health risks associated with coffee. On one hand, drinking coffee can increase heart rate and blood pressure and cause irregular heartbeat. On the other hand, an article published by H…

That Damn Journey

A year ago today I was enjoying the first stop on a road trip that paralleled my self-discovery journey. I was looking forward to ten days of me being me and not that guy so many people in my world expect me to be. By the time I returned home I was well on my way to living the next chapter of my life.That road trip was the single best vacation of my life; honestly, I’ve had many memorable vacations, but that one tops the list. I was me every minute. There were good reactions, bad reactions and unusual reactions, but every minute was authentic and memorable. During the first two days the ‘real me’ helped fuel the beginning of a new, awesome friendship. On the third day I spent an hour with a member of one of my favorite bands in the middle of his hometown. On the fourth and fifth days being totally me almost destroyed the single most significant friendship of my life; being me has hopefully helped that connection recover since then. The next few days included quality time with m…

Did the Earth Move?

I didn’t sleep well last night. Woke up at 1:15, again at 2:00, 3:05. After that last time I couldn’t get back to sleep for a long time. I remember watching the clock change from 3:59 to 4:00 am.

Then … finally … zzzzzz.

Till just past 5, when I woke to the sound of rumbling, the kind of ground shaking usually made by a passing truck or a low-flying jet. Then it stopped. No truck. No jet. It wasn’t even my dogs hurtling down the hall to go out. There was just enough to wake me up, followed by the usual silence of rural Maryland.

For a brief moment I thought ‘earthquake’. I laughed and went back to sleep.

Two hours later I’m up eating breakfast and watching the news. The first local story: “Breaking News: 3.6 magnitude earthquake hits the DC region.” Wow! It really was an earthquake. My first!

It was centered near Germantown, Maryland and felt throughout the Washington DC area. There have been others during the past few decades. Most, like this one, resulted in little or no d…

Connecting With a Song

Some people hear the message in the lyrics the first time they hear a song. I usually hear the instrumentation and structure and how the parts fit together first. The words finally sink in around the fifth or sixth time I hear a song.

A few weeks ago I finally “heard” Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me,” a song that’s on the radio constantly, and realize that parts of the song are taken right out of my life. How do songwriters do that? Even if you’re not a country music fan, I think you’ll recognize the power of this song (check out the video below).

The main character in the song is trying to ‘find herself’ and although she realizes the truth of the old adage “they say you can’t go home again” she still thinks maybe she can gain some insight by visiting her childhood home. She spends a few minutes there and sees how this house connects parts of her life. The house belongs to another family now, but some pieces of her life remain there, in reality and in spirit.


Another DC Daytrip

Washington DC is an awesome place. I never get tired of photographing it.

Click Here for some more photos.

What Else Would You Do?

Do you ever wonder if you’re in the right line of work? Have you ever taken one of those tests that is supposed to tell you what kind of work you should be in? Or what kind of jobs are held by people with skills, interests and personalities that are similar to yours?

I took such a test in college and their suggested occupations for me included civil engineer, psychologist and plant store owner. What?! Maybe it is because I’m detail-oriented, compassionate and enjoy working in small groups. I was a radio DJ for half my career so maybe they got it right: I handled technical details of keeping the music and banter flowing without ‘dead air’, listened to phone callers whine about their problems and worked alone in a small, dimly-lit room.

I’m happy with my career and current job but the number of people needed in the media world is shrinking so I’m thinking about the future. What else would I do if I lost my job and couldn’t find another one like it?

So I took a few of the free career …

Who Decides What Is Old?

I never admit my age because I don’t want people to define me by a number, but I do admit to being fascinated by other people’s ages. I never ask someone their age but I usually find out. I hope I don’t define them by their number. I’m just curious.

Geography, education, parenting, religion, physical attributes and mental acuity are some of the other defining characteristics. The era in which a person comes of age also plays a role, in part because of the influence of culture.

But what goes into defining a person if they are one of the cultural icons who helped define their era?

The Beatles are arguably the most influential group in the history of recorded music, yet their recording career only spanned seven years. During that fairly brief time, the times changed and their music changed. They were initially influenced by music icons like Elvis, Chuck Berry and other mostly American blues and early rock artists. But they rapidly became the influencers and their own unique lyrics and sound…

Check Out This Song

I can't believe I heard this for the first time on a TV show, an episode of NCIS.

All we are, we are.
And every day is a start
of something beautiful.

Matt Nathanson

Follow Up Randomness

On the off chance you’ve been reading this blog or the previous one for awhile and you might have a passing interest in some of my personal stuff, here are a few updates:

The Nationals Game a few days ago … My party of five did our part to make it a sellout crowd. The Nats beat the Mets (in the last inning, barely). Nationals Park is a great place to see a game and I’m looking forward to seeing a concert there in just over two weeks.

Fitness … Gym 19 Vending Machine 4. Only five pounds down on the scale, but I’m one belt notch down and might be a pants size down in the fall. Patience.

Self Discovery Journey … I wrote plenty about this last summer and fall. I’ll write more in a few months. Basically, I have a clear picture of who I am and where I’m going. Progress is much slower than I want it to be but my determination is rock solid.

Italian lessons … I’ll try again in September.

Return to college … lower on the list than it was two years ago when I put it on hold again. Part of my …

Makes You Think

I present this 30 seconds of awesome creativity and serious meaning, without judgment or ridicule, to several of my friends who I would like to be alive and still in my circle of friends decades from now.

Is She?

Is Lady Gaga the Madonna of the 2000s? That question occurred to me this morning as I watched the video of her latest song “Alejandro” on the VH-1 Video Countdown (and y’all thought I only liked country music).

She reminds me of Madonna in this song – flawless, fluid choreography, layered voice-over-voice singing, interspersed religious and sexual imagery and a bullet-boobs bra. The mood and tempo of this song reminds me of Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” and the video seems to play off “Like A Virgin.” The Wikipedia write-up on lady Gaga says her influences are David Bowie, Queen, Michael Jackson and, well, Madonna.

A few more curious similarities between her and Madonna: both are of Italian heritage, both grew up Catholic, neither uses a surname (Gaga’s full name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta), both got their musical start in New York, both frequently change their appearance, both have sometimes controversial public and private images.

If you have nine minutes to spare, check out th…

Happy Independence Day!!


Baseball and Music

I’m finally going to a Washington Nationals game tomorrow. I haven’t been to a Major League Baseball game since the 1990s. The tickets were free to me so I didn’t care who they’re playing or who is pitching, but it turns out they’re playing the New York Mets and the new Nats pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg will be on the mound. Sometime I have very good luck.

Three weeks from tonight I’ll be back at Nationals Park to see music … the Dave Matthews Band. I checked the chart again today and I believe I’ve got great seats for that show. I probably wont’ be sitting much, however. I’m quite certain the friend I’m going with will insist on standing, dancing and screaming. I like baseball but I know the concert will be a lot more fun than the game.