Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dispatches from DC #02

16 October 2010

Hello there... Rodger French here.

I'm pleased to report that matters have settled a bit, what with Anne starting her newish State Department gig at Foggy Bottom. Our place is taking shape and the nearby DC Metro (a classic example of socialist evil in action) is most convenient for commuting as well as touristing. We've already visited two major (and free) attractions in town.

Seeking refuge from the clutter of our apartment, we decided to take in the clutter at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The place has been renovated since my last visit, but all the major goodies are still there. My personal favourites are a room dedicated to the Wright Brothers, an impossibly small Gemini space capsule, and a Douglas DC-3 (the greatest airplane ever) suspended from the ceiling. And with school back in session, the museum was not overrun by busloads of America's future rocket scientists.

Our other excursion took us to the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. This fabulous Italian Renaissance-style structure - festooned with paintings, mosaics, and statuary - houses roughly a bazillion books, including many of the extremely rare and priceless variety (Gutenberg Bibles, for example). The Main Reading Room, a magnificent place that is normally closed to the public, was open in honor of Columbus Day (also open on Presidents Day), so we were able to wander freely about. The joint looks like a movie set, which, I believe, it has actually been.

[Useful Information: Anyone can come in and use the facilities as long as they have a Reader Identification Card, which is available to persons at least 16 years of age who have a government issued picture ID. Very cool.]

Back on the home front, I've adjusted pretty quickly to living in an apartment for the first time and revel at being able to walk or take public transportation to many of the places I need to go. I am also relieved to not have to worry about matters involving yard vegetation. (My motto: "The well tended lawn is a sign of a misspent life.") Best of all, accordion practicing is happening again and I have rekindled some hope of continuing my peripatetic musical career.

In other news, you may or may not know that on Saturday, 30 October there will be a possibly significant rally on the National Mall beginning at Noon. Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" and Stephen Colbert's "March to Keep Fear Alive" will join forces for a "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear." Of course. It should be a fun and memorable day and we will SO be there.

[Helpful Programming Note: For readers in other lands who may not be familiar with American TV, Stewart and Colbert are prominent comedians/satirists who regularly comment on political and social issues. Please don't confuse them with a fellow named Glenn Beck, who recently held his own rally in Washington, DC. Beck, while deplorably influential, is arguably sociopathic and/or insane, and decidedly not funny.]



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