Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • Let me reach down and pull out this other box of slides I've got right here. 
  • Seriously, I try not to post things you've seen a million times. Here's an example: You enter the Trump Hotel in the back. It has two main entrances on the street, but they seem to be blocked off. Here is where you check in. 
  • I found out the Supreme Court is open to the public at 9:00 so I got over the at 8:30 in case there was a line. There was none. In fact I couldn't find the entrance so I asked a cop who told me, "It's not open yet but you can use that entrance right now until it is." Huh? But I go through it, go past security, roam about 30 feet to take a look at a portrait, and a security guard tells me I'm restricted to the cafeteria or the restroom until 9:00. So I hung out with some courthouse employees -- in the cafeteria -- for a bit.  
    • That building is is fantastic. Right behind that Christmas tree (which I was a little surprised to see) is the door to the actual courtroom.
    • Here it is. That's as close as you can get. 
    • Check out its marble staircase with handrails carved (?) into the stone. 
  • The Newseum is closing, and I'll give it a little love because it's fantastic. The reason for its closing are explained in a ton of articles dedicated to it over the past year but it is primarily financial.  In can't seem to exist in a city of free museums while it charges $25.00. Anyway . . . 
    • The entrance has our own KXAS Channel 5 helicopter hanging above. I'm not sure I knew that before I got there. I certainly don't know why it was chosen. 
    • They (meaning the museum) prints out the front page of over a 100 daily papers and displays them on the front sidewalk. They put one out for each state in addition to national and international papers. The two times I saw them they put out the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio paper. It was interesting to see the number of papers giving front page coverage to the White Settlement shooting.
    • They had an FBI exhibit where they shoehorned in the journalistic aspect. It had some very cool things . . . 
    • Here's the actual car from the thwarted Times Square bombing a few years back. 
    • For those who know about Silk Road, here's his actual laptop which was seized while he was in a San Franscisco library.
    • Remember the shoe bomber? Here's what he was wearing and the belts used to tie him up.
    • Where did they get this stuff? All exhibits say it was "On loan from FBI." I'll take them at their word.
    • They had a great exhibit of Pulitizer Prize winning photos. Here were a couple I didn't think I had seen. James Meredith of Old Miss fame on the ground after being shot and a famine stricken child with a buzzard in the background. 

    • They had the actual "Bong Hits for Jesus" banner from the Supreme Court case!  I bet I've mentioned it a half-dozen times before. 
    • In addition to parts of the Berlin Wall, there was a section of one of the World Trade Center towers with front pages from 9/12 on a wall next to it. 
  • I went by the National Archives where the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are on display.  Man, they are so faded that you can hardly make out a single word. But I loved it. 
    • Of he many other things the Archives had on display were just random objects they decided to put in a temporary exhibit. Right next to one other I saw . . . 
      • A typed judgment from a federal district court (complete with errors and strike-throughs) convicting a Japanese man who refused to go to an American internment camp, 
      • The actual signed order (not the opinion) from the Supreme Court in Brown vs. Board of Education directing all school to inteorated with "all deliberate speed", 
      • The handwritten petition to the Supreme Court written by Clarance Gideon saying it was unconstitutional to try him for an alleged criminal offense without a lawyer when he was too poor to afford one (he was right),  and
      • The actual police offense report after the arrest of Rosa Parks. 
      • Why no pictures? It's one of the few places in D.C. where photography is not allowed.
  • And with all the majesty of the National Archives, you know we have to soil it by putting a gift shop in it selling this crap: 
  • On Sunday, Mrs. LL and I went on a quick day trip to Baltimore primarily for me to add another stadium to my award winning list. The Baltimore Ravens were in town and RG3 was starting at quarterback so I went -- briefly. 
    • You know the most amazing thing about that trip? It was all via rail. The DC subway has a station right on the block of our hotel, it took us to Union Station near the Capitol, from there we took a train to Baltimore's Union Station, and from there we took a light rail that dumped us off at the stadium. 
    • Hey, I only saw a part of Baltimore which was the trip via light rail to the game and a journey to the nearby harbor. The harbor is great. The rest of Baltimore looked exactly like The Wire. And that ain't good. 
    • The Ravens' stadium is right by Camden Yards. The only thing I realy knew about Camden Yards was you could see what looked like a huge warehouse behind the right field stands.  Well, it ain't a warehouse. It was part of the construction project (like the offices in the now old Rangers' ballpark.) 
      That's a Camden ballpark entrance at gametime. The top of the right field stands would be to your
      left after you go through the gate. There's another fence behind the stands so they can use that passageway as a pedestrian walkway in the off-season. 
  • With the exception of Sunday, the weather has been fantastic. We walked from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial last night (no small walk, by the way) at dusk.  Us being us, we decided to walk to the back of the Memorial. Along the way we saw this guy shooting a great shot back up to the mall from the side of the Memorial. It's a little hard to see, but the top of the Washington Monument is covered in fog and that's the Captiol in the background at the base of it. 
  • I also went to the back of the Supreme Court. Here's the actual entrance every Justice has to drive/ride though to get to the underground garage. (I wanted a pic straight on of it, but I was a little hesitant to take pictures of security features right in front of security personnel.)
  • This is for all old school Cowboy fans: Once I found out the subway would drop me off at the old RFK Stadium, I had to take a look. Uh, it's not doing well, buddy.
  • I had heard about the homeless problem in DC but I haven't seen it. The city is very clean. 


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • It's continued vacation slide show posting because I have no idea what's going on in the real world. I'll get back to regular programming in a couple of days. 
  • Early on Friday morning, I found myself alone in the Jefferson Memorial. And I mean completely alone. Even for a cynic like me, it was a very moving experience.
  • The FDR Memorial is a little out of the way. It's not just this but a series of panels and statues that review his presidency.
    There's even a good boy

    Obviously a reference to those who didn't try hard enought, right?
  • The Vietnam War Memorial is moving. The Korean War Memorial is moving. The WWII Memorial is impressive but not moving. And it's breaking. 

  • I think this is cool. It's the Jefferson Pier just a few feet from the Washington Memorial. It was positioned to form a right angle in middle of the mall with the the White House directly behind my back and the Capitol Building directly to my left. (See map below.) In front of me, perfectly positioned, it the Jefferson Memorial.  (It's being repaired.) But notice you can see Jefferson's statue inside of it despite it being a long way away.The Washington Monument, which is just feet away, was to be built there but the ground was too marshy. 
  • I told you the National Christmas tree was spare. They just shove a tree inside an outline of lights.
  • I hate to say it, but the Trump Hotel inside the old Post Office building is beautiful.
  • For $3 you can see inside Ford's Theater and its museum.  I knew to look for some incredibly famous pieces of history (John Wilkes Booth's compass that he had on him when shot, and the boot he was wearing when treated by Dr. Mudd). And it's a good thing I knew to look for it: I promise you 80% of the tour didn't even see them and other cool "artifacts."

  • Ford's Theater was orignally gutted, but they've recreated it. 
  • The subway is very cool. Especially early in the morning. 
  • This picture is just an example of one of the many, many houses on "Embassy Row" off Dupont Circle.  It goes on for well over a mile. You name a country, and it has a nice "home" on that street or a side street. And that land is expensive. 
  • I had read that Jeff Bezos had bought two homes on a side street that were connected like townhomes (if townhomes were the size of mansions.) Once I located it by seeing evidence of renovation, I went back to take a pic. Security had shown up. His new place begins with the building in the background right behind the yellow light. 
  • Hey, you dolts! Look who got a little culture at the National Art Gallery. 

  • Let me tell you something, the guided tour of the actual Capitol Building leaves a lot to be desired. Did you know you can spend your life spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes and they won't even let you see the Senate or the House chambers?  Other than the Rotunda (which is admittedly cool), this is the only other thing that got my attention. 
  • Same thing about the Library of Congress. You get to see the majestic foyer and other parts of it, but you can't actually get to the reading room or the books. (Which I guess, kind of makes sense.) 
  • I had to stroll by this building. The impeachment hearings have all been conducted inside of it. 
  • Going back to the Capitol, everything is a fortress -- even if a half arsed one. This is back of it facing the mall.  When a president gets sworn in, he walks through the darkened arch and out to that first level.  (I don't know if it was security or construction that caused the temporary fencing with the equipment behind it, but there were armed guard behind it that aren't pictured.)
  • Talk about sad looking, here is the now closed off front entrance of the Justice Department. That door faces the mall.  Note all the planters for protection (with dead plants) and no flags on the poles. It has a nice William Barr feel to it.
  • I found this on the side of the Justice Department. I presume "our race" doesn't really mean "our race."
  • Ok, that's it. I see things are normal back home.


Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • Greetings from D.C.  I'm afraid this might come off as "watching a slide show from a neighbor's vacation" (which is a phrase I grew up with to describe the most boring experience  you could think of.) 
  • First, I'm not complaining that I get to travel from time to time, but let me complain. Air travel is a beating. Not only is getting to the plane a pain (traffic, paying to park, finding a parking place, toting luggage, the ordeal of going through security, and making it to your gate even when you've tried to coordinate parking to make it a close as possible), the actual flight is cattle call. Hey, I'm a small guy, but I'm packed into my seat like a sardine.
  • And I got to learn the blowback for booking your wife's ticket using the last name of her prior marriage.  That's a little hard to explain to the ticket agent (which we now had to talk in lieu of the automated kiosk) and especially hard to explain to the wife.  Frankly, I have a little trouble explaining it to myself. 
  • Minutes before landing, I was looking out the window to catch the incredible sight of the Washington Mall only to find out we were on the wrong side of the plane. 
  • There's just something about this place. When I was here a couple of times before, I was overcome with a feeling in being in the most powerful city in the world. Now I feel like I'm in a city of chaos -- a city full of statues and memorials honoring people who would be shaking their collective heads if alive.
  • For being a simple country lawyer, I love subways. And D.C.'s is incredible. I bought a week's pass which gets you everywhere but also takes you to and from the airport to your hotel -- a hotel right in the same block as a station if you plan it right.
  • For the first afternoon, we walked over to the White House and then spent three hours in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.  Quick thoughts:
    • The street in from of the White House is shut down -- so shut down that you can't even walk on it. (I knew they closed it to street traffic a couple of decades ago, but I thought you could still walk on it.)
    • A portion of the view of property is obstructed because they are building a new fence around the White House. Because of that, you can't see the West Wing. 
    • While standing in Lafeyette Park across from the White House, I couldn't help but remember the guy who was set-up to buy drugs there so George H.W. Bush could make reference to it during a war on drugs speech. 
    • There are D.C. Police and Secret Service everywhere. For the "Home of the Free", it doesn't feel very safe. 
    • A majestic Treasury Department building is right by the White House but it is in the same enclosed fence with armed guards.
    • The National Christmas tree is spare. 
    • We walked back towards the mall, and you wouldn't believe the size of the Commerce Department building. I couldn't help but think of the ton of government employees that place employs who really don't do anything at all. (I had to look at an aerial view of it once I got back to the hotel.)
    • Now to the Smithsonian. (There's a bunch of them, but the American History one is the most famous one.)
    • There's no line. It's free. And it's overwhelming. A nice guide actually approached us without asking and took us over to a map to explain where everything was on each three floor of exhibits. Probably noticing that I appeared to be a pop culture expert and a representative of the Common Man, he told me the locations of Muhammed Lee's gloves, Dorothy's slippers, and Archie Bunker's chairs.
    • The actual flag which inspired the Star-Spangled Banner is on display. That thing is 30 feet tall. I learned that the lady that made it was paid over $400 which was more than most people's annual salary. ("Oh, it's a profit thing!" I told Mrs. LL who proudly caught the reference.) 
    • You might stumble on anything. I saw a ship manifest for a slave ship, a propoganda tea cup blasting England's tax on tea before the American Revolution, a row of the first experimental light bulbs. Then they even have things which make you feel very old: A TRS-80 computer and a credit card machine are just casually on display.
    • I'm not even close to doing that place justice. We didn't even see one full floor after almost three hours and will have to go back. 
    • And it's fun just to walk down the street. The architecture is cool.
    • My Google Maps tells me the Fort Worth Star-Telegram office is right across the street from the hotel which confuses me. And I don't see any sign of it. 
  • We'll make it to the Newseum which closes it's doors on the 31st. I've stolen the front page off of its site for years. 
  • There will be no "It's Friday. Let's Get Out of Here."  I've got stuff to see.