Washington DC


CommuterPageBlog: Don’t Panic. You Can Still Get There Quickly By Transit Even As WMATA Closes Pentagon City, Crystal City and National Airport Stations over Labor Day Weekend
Metro Stations Closed
I can’t believe that DC Metro is shutting down 2 major rail stations for the entire holiday weekend – one of them is the airport!! Is it any wonder that people don’t rely on Metro and choose to drive instead?

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Gallery installs Eunice Kennedy Shriver portrait – BostonHerald.com

It’s a good painting – meticulousiy rendered but not overwrought. I love the fact that this is a portrait of a woman who doesn’t need to be flattered. Her face shows all the pain and joy of living 87 years. It’s wonderful to see a portrait reveal something about a person’s interests and achievements instead of just their appearance.

It’s now on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC (hence the shameless plug).

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Legendary Classic Rock DJ Cerphe Signs Off as WTGB Switches Formats – washingtonpost.com

No more Zeppelin. No more Skynyrd or Tom Petty or Rolling Stones. And not a whole lot more Don Cerphe Colwell, either.

Classic rock and the DJ who brought that music to local radio audiences long before the rock was considered “classic” are both fading from the airwaves. Beginning Monday, Colwell’s station, WTGB (94.7 FM, “The Globe”), will switch to playing contemporary pop tunes. With the demise of the region’s only classic rock outlet, the music that helped transform FM radio into a cultural force in the 1970s will become just another baby boomer memory.

Just 2 years ago I blogged about the new format for 94.7 to “The Globe” featuring classic rock. Lots of goals for a greener more community based station. As I suspected, it didn’t last.

Radio in DC sucks.

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Like Charlie Brown, Christmas depresses me on the whole. Perhaps because the build-up is so long and disappointment is practically guaranteed by the time the day arrives.

I confessed this sentiment last year and I still stand by it. I’m trying to get better – really. These days I’m sorely tempted to blog all depressing stuff but I really shouldn’t. We know everything is going to crap these days but I don’t need to rub anyone’s face in it. Instead, I’m going to try to find some funny stuff (although not necessarily Christmas stuff) and hope it makes you chuckle. Here’s my effort for today (the article title alone is great):

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Ginkgo-Lined D.C., Capital of the U.S., and Now P.U.

The bouquet of a ginkgo tree’s fruit has strong notes of unwashed feet and Diaper Genie, with noticeable hints of spoiled butter.

For the District government this winter, it is the smell of defeat.

This year, arborists working for the city tried a new solution for the stinky fruit, which has plagued residents for decades. They injected more than 1,000 ginkgo biloba trees with a chemical to stop them from producing the fruit.

Whoops.

The chemical didn’t work, for reasons that scientists still don’t understand. Now, instead of less ginkgo stink, Washington has its worst case in years — a bumper crop of nastiness that is studding sidewalks and sliming dress shoes from Capitol Hill to Kalorama.

“Uuuuugh. Uuuuugh,” said Christine Lombardi, working the front desk of the Hotel George near Union Station. Out front, a ginkgo had been dropping berries for days. “It’s just awful because people step on it outside, and then they bring it inside the hotel, and people think somebody got sick.”

I always knew that Washington stinks but I had no idea I should be blaming the ginkgo. Go figure.

Some People Would Die To Wind Up at This Museum – washingtonpost.com

Normally I would shamelessly plug my own museum (and I need to do that soon) but this one caught my eye today. It’s right in the same neighborhood and I didn’t realize that it was happening. The National Museum of Crime & Punishment opens today on 7th Street NW here in DC – just a 1/2 block from my museum. Here’s a bit from the Washington Post review in today’s paper:

You know the names: Jesse James, Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger . . .

And the men who chased them. Wild Bill Hickok. Wyatt Earp. Eliot Ness. J. Edgar Hoover.

The prisons where their kind were locked up: Rikers. Attica. Leavenworth. Alcatraz.

And the ways they died: Bullets. Ropes. Firing squad. Electric chair. Gas chamber. Lethal injection.

These are the stories at the heart of the District’s newest tourist attraction, the National Museum of Crime & Punishment, which opens today on Seventh Street NW in Gallery Place. The for-profit museum — admission is $17.95 — gives an eerie gloss to these true-life tales of cops and robbers, almost as if you’re walking through a high-toned coffee-table book.

Throughout the three-story building, the museum presents a number of interactive displays. You can learn how to crack a safe, watch clips of famous movies such as “The French Connection” and take an electronic quiz to see if the movie squared with reality. In a simulator, you can learn how to drive police vehicles. Then you can stand in a police station lineup or step into an Old West jail cell.

That’s where the simulated experience stops. There are no pretend executions.

That’s right — $17.95 per head. YIKES! I find the price just a scary as the content.

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Cherry Blossom trees on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

This is cherry blossom tree (American not Japanese) in my front yard which began to bloom yesterday. It’s been a great spring; cold and wet but lasting. Yesterday it was 76 degrees but today it’s 55 degrees. This lets the flowers last larger.

Even the cat is glad to be outside.

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I made beef stew yesterday because it was supposed to be cold and I knew that cooking it would warm up the house. Little did I know when I bought the ingredients that it would turn out to be warm outside.

There is something terribly wrong with temperatures in the 60s on February 17. People are wearing flip flops and the crocuses are shooting up out of the ground. While on a walk, I found some forsythia branches by the road and brought home a sprig with some blooms. Forsythia have always been the harbingers of spring for me – but not in February! What will it be like in July?

Forsythia in February

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DCist: Colbert Portrait Hanging in National Portrait Gallery

The Colbert Report has been blissfully, if not nearly at full speed without its striking writers, back for a little more than a week now on Comedy Central. For three nights straight they’ve been running a series showing Stephen traipsing all over Washington with a portrait of himself strapped to his back, trying to convince one of the Smithsonian museums to actually hang it up. Without dwelling on how we managed to miss out on catching this spectacle up close and personal, the real news is that as of last night, Stephen Colbert was successful in his quest. The National Portrait Gallery confirmed this morning that Colbert’s portrait is in fact now hanging above the bathroom on the 2nd floor, just outside of the America’s Presidents exhibit.

The portrait will be hanging in the museum, which is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., for the next six weeks.

It’s true – Stephen Colbert was at the National Portrait Gallery. While I didn’t see the filming, I did get to typeset the label for the digital image on canvas. Just one little bit of “behind-the-scenes” info: the hacky sack wasn’t his – he borrowed it from one of the art handlers (and graciously autographed it for him, too).

Does getting on the Colbert Report make us a little more hip? Not really, but it’s great to see more people in the gallery.

Here are some other links to sites commenting on the Colbert portrait:

Associated Press
Washington Post Reliable Source
Washington Examiner
Philadelphia Inquirer
MSNBC
NBC 4 news

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There are two official Christmas trees in Washington DC: the US Capital tree and the National tree at the White House. Here they are:

US Capitol tree National Christmas tree

Capital Tree is on the left; National (White House) tree on the right.

Which do you think is nicer? I like the Capitol tree – and not just because it’s from Vermont. It looks like a real tree not a fake tree like the White House tree. They both use LED lights to save energy but the Capitol tree is decorated with ornaments from Vermont and it has the right shape – one made from nature. And what’s with all the bows on the White House tree? It looks like a big glow stick.

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US State Quarters

D.C. Gets 25 Cents’ Worth of Respect – washingtonpost.com

The District has no vote in Congress, its laws can be trampled by federal legislators and even its streets can be closed by the feds on a moment’s notice.

But after nearly 10 years of fighting, the city finally won a new mark of respect this week.

It will have its very own quarter. The measure, tucked into a giant federal spending bill, puts the District on the same level as the 50 states, at least when it comes to the popular coins showcasing home-state icons such as mountains, birds, race cars and fiddles. The D.C. quarter is due in 2009, with a design yet to be determined.

“Can you believe it? How many years have I tried to get that?” exulted the city’s congressional delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who has repeatedly introduced bills to get the District a place on the quarter’s flip side.

Despite Norton’s vigorous lobbying and arm-twisting, it was not the District’s quest for equality that ultimately carried the day.

It was Puerto Rico’s.

Yes, the District doesn’t get any respect. People in and outside of the region belittle it everyday. I don’t think that most Americans know that it’s a city without true representation that must endure indignities no state would tolerate.

So what should be on the DC Quarter? Evidently, portraits and flags are not allowed or else I would say Frederick Douglas. I’m certain they will pick something safe like the Capitol, the Washington Monument or some cherry blossom trees. I think it should be simple: “Taxation Without Representation”.

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