Washington DC


Development puts squeeze on Orleans House – – The Washington Times, America’s Newspaper

This isn’t some great gourmet find but Tom Sarris’s Orleans House has a 43-year history at it’s current location. It has a massive salad bar and serves the best Prime Rib for the money in this area. I came here often with my parents when they visited me. It has some of the most garish interiors but the food has always been good – the Prime Rib great.

What kills me is that they will erect another ugly high-rise building on this spot. Right, we really need another one of those.

Sigh.

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Avenue Q – The National Theatre

I finally saw Avenue Q! The touring company is here in DC for a few weeks and a friend managed to get tickets for us. If it comes to your town, please see it. But don’t bring the kids – despite the Sesame Street looks, this is a musical for adults. Click on this link to see some video clips.

Today is also World AIDS day and the cast were collecting donations for Broadway Care/Equity Fights Aids and the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative. Also, please visit Light to Unite 2007 to light a candle — Bristol-Meyers Squibb will donate $1 to Aids charities for each lit candle (it’s free).

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Tightening the Beltway, the Elite Shop Costco – New York Times

It’s so strange to see this article from the New York Times about Washington’s elite shopping at Costco. I’ve been shopping there for years so it’s no surprise to me that there are deals to be had there, especially for party planners.

To its benefit, Costco has carefully fashioned an upscale-downscale image, and their stores do better in high-end locations, said the company’s chief financial officer, Richard Galanti. In the Washington area, the highest volume location is its store in the Pentagon City neighborhood of Arlington, Va.

“WE knew that we would attract government, we would attract ambassadors, we would attract military personal, we would attract the parties and embassies,” said Joe Potera, the chief operating officer, referring to the Pentagon City store. “We have thousands of sheet cakes during all the major holidays for Pentagon parties, for ambassador parties, for staff parties in the capital. It’s kind of a destination.” Costco also has a chocolate shop that produces molds of the Capitol as well as the Pentagon.

In case you are wondering, the woman in the picture is Sally Quinn, journalist and Washington hostess and wife of Ben Bradlee (former editor of the Washington Post).

I shop at the Pentagon City Costco, too. I’ve never noticed a famous Washingtonian there but I probably wouldn’t recognize them.

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Seeing the Light at Last – washingtonpost.com

This weekend saw the opening of the courtyard at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture (aka the Old Patent Office Building and home of the National Portrait Gallery). So far the reviews have been good. The link above is for the Washington Post article. I won’t post one for the Washington Times – they hated it.

Staff were given a coupon for a free “non-alcoholic” beverage from the new cafe so I went over and got a hot chocolate and sprang for a chocolate brownie, too. It was good hot chocolate but could have been a touch richer in flavor. The brownie was thickly iced and very fudgey – and expensive at $3.85.

The courtyard is quite stunning and I’m certain it will be the place that parents will bring their kids to run and burn off energy. I just hope they don’t wipe their grimy fingers on the cases in the galleries – just another thing to clean in the morning.

If you are in DC, I recommend dropping by to see the courtyard but please stay to see the collection, too.

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Facing Down The Status Quo – washingtonpost.com

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is slowly lifting the curtain on how it will approach the multitude of stories about African Americans. The museum is years away from opening on the Mall. Today its first exhibition opens at its Smithsonian sister the National Portrait Gallery, whose rich materials it scoured to present images from the past 151 years.

“Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits,” surveys 100 photographs, from a 1856 ambrotype, an early technique of photography, of Douglass to a 2004 snapshot of musician and composer Wynton Marsalis with a microphone in front of him, not a trumpet.

The faces are powerful and gorgeous. Their poses telegraph dignity and warmth. Their stories tell how they made steps forward as individuals to forge an image of a resilient, talented people.

We received a great review from the Washington Post for the exhibition that opened last Friday.

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Museum Math: Their Number Is Multiplying – washingtonpost.com

The Washington Post ran a special section on museums in today’s (Sunday) paper. The National Portrait Gallery got a lovely plug about the reopening of our courtyard with it’s new roof (see artist’s conception drawing above). I had completely forgotten that it’s supposed to open next month. (How did I miss that one? Oh right – I’m completely over worked these days.) I have been watching the progress from the windows of the galleries. The two below are from official pictures of a ficus tree being lowered into the courtyard through the last remaining opening.


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Newsvine – Pranksters Wrap Rove’s Car

White House pranksters wrapped Rove’s Jaguar in plastic wrap on the
private driveway next to the West Wing. Rove’s car is easily recognizable because of its “I love Barack Obama” bumper sticker and the twin stuffed-animal eagles on the trunk. Oh, and there’s a stuffed-animal elephant on the hood.

Rove, the top White House political strategist who recently announced his resignation, left his car on the driveway while visiting Texas and traveling with President Bush. He was due back in Washington Wednesday evening.

The “I love Barak Obama” sticker is a great touch. Is that government owned plastic wrap? Did these insiders do the job on company time? Possibly the best days work from the White House in a long time.

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Oliphant

© 2006 uclick, L.L.C. Copyright; © 2007 Universal Press Syndicate

Do you think we can get someone who will uphold the Constitution and not just cater to the President?

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Bathed In the Right Light – washingtonpost.com

Here is link to a very interesting article from today’s Washington Post about the lighting of the city, mostly around the Mall area. Here is an excerpt from the opening paragraphs:

At night, there is a second city that emerges in Washington, more
beautiful and more intelligible than the city by day. The great
monuments on the Mall glow a warm white, the grass and trees that
surround them sink into inky darkness, and the city itself seems
larger, more dramatic and more logically laid out. The Capitol dome
looms over the Mall, the Lincoln Memorial defines the end of the axis
stretching to the Potomac River, and the White House is a modest but
assertive presence across the Ellipse to the north — as if the
executive is standing watch, on the edge of camp, while the city
sleeps. The republic, at night, is properly ordered.

The strange thing about Washington’s nocturnal beauty is that none of it was planned, yet none of it was accidental either.

I must say that I think Washington is one of the loveliest cities at night. It’s truly inspirational and, even though this sounds so cliché, it does make you feel proud to live here.

One especially memorable evening we drove to a party in upper Northwest in January 1997, the night before Bill Clinton’s second inaugural. Fireworks were set off in 10 different locations throughout the area. As we drove toward the Memorial Bridge, the fireworks started and we saw the most spectacular sight! The night was especially cold and clear — I think that made the fireworks even more brilliant.

Inaugural 1997

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Withered D.C. Region Cries for Water, Cool Water – washingtonpost.com

The grass is brown and crunchy. The leaves are falling off the trees is a steady stream of brown. We haven’t had decent rain since April.

Although I know about the drought, this article surprised me:

But with summer rainstorms evaporating after a few drops from the sky, the talk in many corners of the area has centered on a single subject: water.

That’s especially true on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where more than 100 residents have watched their wells dry up — in part because the state’s largest prison has used almost 10 times its allotted amount of the area’s supply, officials said.

Residents on the lower shore, around Somerset County, say the Eastern Correctional Institution is using too much water from the Manokin aquifer. The prison, which houses 3,350 inmates, is allowed to pump about 25,000 gallons per day. But in recent weeks, Somerset County Administrator Daniel Powell said, water use has risen to more
than 200,000 gallons daily.

State prisons spokesman Mark Vernarelli was quick to defend the prisoners, writing in an e-mail, “Our inmates are not taking hour-long showers or flushing water down the drain to waste.” He said officials are auditing water use and will develop a plan to reduce use even as Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) announced that Maryland will investigate the well failures.

How can a prison use 10 times it’s allotted supply?

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