Monthly Archives: October 2010


Halloween themed cupcakes.

Also: yum!

[Update: Turns out the spider was plastic. Glad I did not attempt to ingest.]

Less Bad Than I Thought

World War II Memorial on the National Mall

You may have noticed that I am a person with no shortage of opinions.

I have long been a non-fan of the relatively new World War II Memorial on the National Mall. I think its design is something that Albert Speer would have been proud to produce, and that fascistic iconography just seems inappropriate in a memorial intended to celebrate the triumph of democratic societies at the cost of great individual and shared sacrifice.

I will confess, however, that my opinion had been formed by viewing the memorial from the outside and by a general unhappiness with the way it disrupts the flow of the Mall.

So on our way back from the Rally I popped into the WW2 Memorial to see what it was like on the inside. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s less awful from the interior than it is from outside. And while I cannot describe myself as having become a fan (I find it pretty uninspiring and unimaginative), I do think it’s less of an abomination than I originally believed.

I do hope — no doubt in vain — that we will stop turning the Mall into a Memorial-Du-Jour disneyland. Enough already with the monuments!

A Year Ago: Glad She Was Born

Happy Birthday, Jocelyn!…
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Sanitation at the Rally to Restore Sanity

Rally-goers leave their imprint.

We walked to the Mall and back from Arlington, about ten miles round trip. The crowd at the rally was well-behaved, cheerful, witty, not especially diverse. The sound system was terrible, and the sightlines were worse (unless, I suppose, you got there at 8:30 am). AT&T cell service pretty much failed to cope; my tweets and SMSes didn’t go through.

Despite some pre-rally anxiety on the topic, there were plenty of port-a-potties. So ubiquitous were they, and placed in such a way as to help people overcome some of the lousy visibility, that they were quickly occupied by rally-goers looking to improve their views. It wasn’t long before they began to *how shall I say* CONFORM to their visitors’ presence. There are gonna be some mighty unhappy port-a-potty owners in the aftermath of this event.

The whole experience was fun and heartening in a generic, non-specific way. It wasn’t a very politicized event, as these things go — not a whole lot of agenda. Basically, it was about 400,000 people saying, “Let’s be civil, let’s think a bit, let’s not lose ourselves to outrage, hyperbole, and demonization. Let’s retain our sense of humor.”

My favorite sign said: “Compromise is sexy.”
My favorite tee-shirt had an arrow on it pointing to the side, and said: “I’m with stupid reasonable.”

A Year Ago: Ghost Season

Plant with white leaves.There’s something about an albino that’s uncanny…
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Glen Echo Halloween

Preparations at the Glen Echo Ballroom

For the first time on any of my visits to Glen Echo, the door to the Ballroom was unlocked. I walked in to see Halloween decorations being prepared. The late afternoon light made the space feel like the inside of a pumpkin.

I’d like to go dancing there one day.

A Year Ago: Shiny & Clean

Kettle on stovetop.Shiny kettle…
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Silk Cravat

Silk cravat.

Why a cravat?


Aren’t you glad you asked? :D



I can in no sense be said to have painted this image. Still, I made it, and I can say I like it with only a modicum of sheepishness. I am confident, however, that both my artist-parents are rolling in their graves.

Oh well.

A Year Ago: Green ‘n’ Rusty

Old railroad pylon.Rusty? Check!…
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Fruit of the Tree

Pomegranate decorative detail.

Some say that the apple of the garden of Eden was a pomegranate. The Greeks believed that Persephone was required to return to Hades each winter for having consumed pomegranate seeds in the underworld. These days, they’re claiming that all those antioxidants and whatnot will prolong your life.

The womblike pomegranate—red and round, with the protruding umbilicus of a pregnant woman—has always signified fecundity, even when it appears in monochrome metal.

A Year Ago: Haiku

Leaf caught in frayed rope.Write your own…
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Galaxy of Life

Weeds going to seed in autumn.

Even at the end of the cycle there’s a profusion of life. These plants are getting ready to cast their seeds to the wind, and they remind me of nothing so much as the nebulae where galaxies spawn new stars.

A Year Ago: Autumn

Yellow leaves.Fall is beautiful…
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Good News

And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. —Luke 6:29

I’ve been working hard on a special project today, and haven’t got an image to post. But I do want to share this story from NPR’s Morning Edition with you.

Lots of people give lip service to the gospel. Imagine what would happen if we all actually loved our neighbors as ourselves.

A Year Ago: Late Exuberance

Flowers on stone wall.Against the autumnal tones of the stone wall…
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Organized Grief

Pentagon Memorial

The Pentagon Memorial is structured around dates. You cross a threshold marked “September 11, 2001.” Each of those who perished is identified by a bench cantilevered over a pool of running water, and they are grouped along metal meridians by birth year.

I’m not clear what the undulating effect of these benches (which look a bit like granite hangnails) is meant to convey.

A Year Ago: Spiffy Infographic