Thursday, December 16, 2010

Perfect Christmas Gift : Certificates for Guided Tours !!

Perfect Christmas Gift : Certificates for Guided Tours !!

To get your own numbered and Official Gift Certificate for a personal tour for up to four people in Washington, DC, please email permanenttouristindc@gmail.com or just call me, Paul Mazzuca, at (703) 407-2211.

Monday, December 13, 2010

On a mission for cannoli...

Picked up a Post Office employee, his wife and two beautiful kids to go up to 15th and H for a cannoli at Potenza.  I was puffing and pedaling my 400 pound pedicab UPHILL on 15th Street, the crowds lined up for something special at The White House cheered me on, but Potenza was closed. They had to walk down a block to Cosi's for a snack, when out came a kind young lady with an iPhone and a bunch of ones, like a waitress would. She helped in our quest for cannoli, went back in and came out with three little cannoli. I gave two to Rich and kept one for my Philadelphia-born wife to sample. (I liked it but she was not too pleased with the citron added to the riccota filling.)

Potenza, a very nice restaurant, is Italian for power.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mother Christmas takes ride from the National Christmas Tree!

Mother Christmas took a pedicab ride from the lighting of the National Christmas Tree last night. She was in the pageant on stage.  We had a  joyous ride from the White House to the parking garage, singing on the way up 15th Street!  "Rudolph the Red Nosed Biker..."  She handed me a red ball that glowed on my nose, attached over my sweater cap on that cold night. (Well, I was puffing and pedaling my 400 pound pedicab UPHILL on 15th Street, so all I could add were the words, glee! and nose!)

So Merry Christmas and Happy 2011, Mother Christmas!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

WW II Memorial database can be updated

Took an 80 plus WWII Veteran to the WWII Memorial to look himself up in their database. To his chagrin his name was not found, BUT to his joy the WWII Memorial database can be updated. Just go to www.wwiimemorial.com and click on "WWII Registry" button on the left.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day and thanks ...

Happy Veterans Day. Dad was a life long Marine.  He served in Korea and Vietnam.  He was part of "The Chosin Few".   Mom taught aircraft engine repair and drove explosives during WWII.  Thanks to all who served and who are serving now.

Wish we lived in a world of peace but from what I see of nature, biology, psychology, politics and history,  aggression will be with this species forever.

www.arlingtoncemetery.mil

Monday, November 8, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sara Benincasa of Comedy Central interviewed me! Rally to Promote Sanity/Fear tomorrow!

Waiting in front of the Air & Space Museum yesterday, I was interviewed by comedian Sara Benincasa, http://sarabenincasa.com/ Delegate from Comedy Central to the Rally to Promote Sanity/Fear.  Sitting in my pedicab, she asked me to imagine what I would do if I were in my first day as Senator. Then  what would I say if I were indicted in a scandal. I told her I would deny it, then vociferously impugn my accusers.  She was impressed with the two-bit words.
She asked what was an ex Appropriations lobbyist doing in a pedicab?
I also told her it was the most American thing we could do, to start one's own company, Permanent Tourist in DC, LLC.

http://www.rallytorestoresanityandorfear.com/

http://sarabenincasa.com/

Thursday, October 21, 2010

National Christmas Tree Lighting Tickets

Tickets for the lottery for the National Christmas Tree lighting on Thursday, December 7 will be available Nov 5-7

5th grader knows First Amendment!

As I drive past the Newseum , I read or collective we read the First Amendment aloud. This time when I told a father and his fifth grader what we were about to do, he chimed in,"Oh yeah, the one that says you can believe whatever religion you want." Out of the mouth of babes, indeed! I was impressed.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Tickets for the lottery for the National Christmas Tree will be available Nov 5-7.  Kudos to about.com for the heads up.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Honeymoon in Italian is Viagge di Nozze

Took nice Italian newlyweds on a slightly longer ride when I heard they were on their honeymoon, viagge di nozze. This Venezian radiologist and the new Sardengan wife were unaccustomed to our uniform sized money where the $20 bill is the same size as the $1 bill, quite different from the multiple sized, different colored Euro. We took pictures at the Capitol as the sun was close to setting.  It brought back fond memories of my honeymoon, and the huge hands of gondola oarsman we hired for a ride in Venice.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Beautiful Day for a Pedicab Ride

Free ride for pregnant ladies is my personal policy.  Took a Marine infantryman who survived Fallujah and his small family to the White House.  He is a CBRN expert who is retiring from the Corps to go into architectural and environmental engineering.

Then delivered a ring bearer, first grader Nathan, from the White House to the Grand Hyatt with Grandma and Grandpa, Wayne Harbin.  They are from South Carolina and own Skins Hot Dog Company.

Will be out there again tomorrow offering rides and tours.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Driving from Washington Monunent to Lincoln Memorial.

Driving from Washington Monunent to Lincoln Memorial with a father from Connecticut and his 7th grader who likes world history, I told some of the stories along the way.  Anti-Catholicism and conspiracy theory paranoia kept the Washington Monument 1/3 built for almost twenty years. The golden flaming sword shows the battles of the Second Division over time. Simon Bolivar near the Organization of American States was the George Washington of Venezuela.

Took a picture of father and daughter in front of The White House. When this nice manufacturer of things to hold jet engines said, "If you see Nancy Pelosi, run her over.", I had a chance to speak my own little truth. I told him I would not and that I liked Speaker Pelosi, then turned around and shook his hand saying something like, we may disagree on some things but we both care about America. 

He left me a pretty big tip.

Kennedy Center matinee

Kennedy Center matinee of Beethoven violin concerto and Bruckner symphony was amazing! Live music thanks to Jim E. passing on free tickets. Parked the pedicab and listened joyfully.

Spoke with an FBI agent at intermission on the balcony overlooking the Potomac and Rooselvelt Island tasked to the Counter Terrorism Center.  I asked if he thought social institutions and legislation would evolve to preserve our liberties even though there will most likely be another catastrophic attack on US soil?

His answer was that he was surprised habeas corpus wasn't already rescinded after 9/11 (as Lincoln did during the civil war) and they weren't just rounding people up rather than having to actually investigate and prove guilt.

================
  Drove a nice elderly couple from the Kennedy Center to Georgetown. When he asked about my quadriceps and gastrocnemius muscles I smelled a medical background. He was a retired cardiologist, glad I was in good cardio shape.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Individual Development Accounts?

Gave a nice long tour to three salts of  the earth Minnesota ladies working on poverty issues.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Squirrels at Lincoln and everywhere...

We are all so fascinated with squirrels and birds! These pix of me sharing a little celery and peanut butter lunch with Mr. Squirrel were kindly taken by Al K. at the Lincoln Memorial.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

don't feed the BagMonster!

At the White House yesterday met the BagMonster! Not a mendicant but an environmental activist!
Oh, yeah, I gotta remember to bring my own bags for shopping tonight! This is the only planet we have, so far.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Adams Building of the Library of Congress on the 5th floor, the Jefferson Murals

My young scholar nephew who is here in DC for the Smithsonian Space Camp wanted to see the reading room of the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/loc/legacy/bldgs.html, so we were able to get him a temporary readers card and this fertile mind explored the geneology room,  then the science and business room.

So we wound up on the 5th Floor of the Adams Building, behind the Jefferson Building with the famous reading room of National Treasure fame.  We were sitting reading about naval ships and the history of electronic warfare I saw this quote and had to send it to my wife.



On the left half of the panel of the east wall, Jefferson's view on Freedom:
The ground of Liberty is to be gained by inches. We must be contented to secure what we can get from time to time and eternally press forward for what is yet to get. It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.
Jefferson to Rev. Charles Clay, January 27, 1790

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Scott Broo goes to sea....almost.

We had a mini-picnic for Scott Broo, a National pedicabber who is going off today to become commissioned as an Ensign in the Merchant Marines where he will eventually work on a NOAA ship.

"I'll be sworn in as a commissioned officer of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, and begin a little more than 4 months of training at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY."

We all wish Scott well in his new career, and we know his pedicab legs will help him in gaining his sea legs!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday 07.25.10 sun, storm, Red Cross HQ and a family from Puerto Rico

Triple digit temperatures continued today but I had three bottles of water, gatorade and sun screen spray. I checked the weather.com hourly predictions and it promised ot be hot all day until ~ 4 pm when there was a "Severe Thunderstorm Watch" with a serious chance of thunderstorms and  high winds.

I picked up this very nice family of 4, one boy and one girl, near the White House to take to the Lincoln Memorial. My cellphone was buzzing text warnings all day of the bad weather coming and to take shelter.

 (If you want to be prepared and get almost realtime emergency alerts in DC go to https://textalert.ema.dc.gov/index.php?CCheck=1  and register your cellphone or digital device.)

Thought I would just get shelter at Lincoln but the sky was darkening and the winds were really whipping up. There had been a Boy Scout parade commemorating 100 years of Boy Scouting http://scouting.org/ so Constitution Avenue was almost empty. A Park Police Officer in a  pickup truck opened the window and said get to shelter, there are 56 mph winds coming, so I turned off to go up to 2025 E St., the American Red Cross HQ where I knew we could find shelter. The State Dept. and Office of Personnel Management didn't seem too inviting, so pedaling uphill as fast as I could we went.

We ran in and I called the security guard and then out came the smiling VP for Disaster Services, Armond Mascelli, working on Sunday, not surprisingly with all the disasters all over the country. Our Puerto Rican father was a warrant officer in the National Guard and so had plenty of Red Cross experience.

20 minutes of storm left 30,000 without power and the Natioanl Capitol Area Red Cross activating shelters.


==================================================
A tropical rain poured but we were safe inside. So sitting inside, I continued the tour in Spanish and English lecturing on the Einstein Monument, showing the phone message of the recordings of Einstein and commentary I have stored on my cell for science nerds like me. (202) 595-1836.

I often tell the same historical stories as we pass or visit  the Monuments (and am preparing the stories in Spanish and Italian and checking for grammatical correctness.)

 "Einstein was famous for the photoelectric effect where particle and wave nature of light was demonstrated when a certain frequency of light can knock out an electron from metal and ionize the metal. As a young patent clerk, he derived the general theory of relativity. He was also famous for the equation relating the release of energy in a nuclear reaction, much greater than a chemical reaction, to the speed of light squared. Finally at the end of his life, Albert Einstein worked for international peace and disarmament."

 http://www.nasonline.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ABOUT_building_einstein_memorial

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Moving towards the Lincoln Memorial, we pass the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Maya Lin designed this gash in the earth where 58,267 names are inscribed on the stone walls when she was an undergraduate at Yale. My father, a Lt.Col. in the Marine Corps buried in Arlington National Cemetery never visited The Wall because he said he had to write letters home about "somebody's Mother's son." who will return home in a body bag.

http://www.nps.gov/vive/index.htm

___________________________________________________________

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Microsoft Partners and a sanitation workers' family

Microsoft partners conference at the convention center brought geeks (“solutions providers” as we used to refer to ourselves in the software development biz) from around the world. Had a great chap with a couple Italians who actually work for MS. Francesco told of a press conference today about the new Apple i4 iPhone booboos. (Competition can be good for a species. In ecology, there a graph of competition vs. resources and population. At one end of the graph is extinction where a species eats itself out of its environment; another end of the asymptote is monopoly where one species completely dominates (MS?) , but the best equilibrium are where the asymptotes meet and the dynamic of competition hums alongs - birth, consumption, death, depletion of resources/renewal of resources)


Italy-grazie mille, Californian, Khazakstan – Rakhmat; Belgium and France bienvue – merci; Nigeria – one can usually tell by cheekbone structure if a Yoruba – Oshe or Ibo-  Daalo or Hausa – most are statistically Yoruba.

Picked up above the White House a Larger African American family – he is sanitation worker (garbage truck driver) from Cleveland OH . Had to share the tour with my Turkish friend, another rogue driver with his own rig had to cut short the tour for costs and crying baby.

He repeated the happy wife = happy life maxim cited previous posting.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Americans on both sides of the aisles pedicab through the 4th of July : Happy birthday America!

He had a huge silver and gold belt buckle and a very Texan hat, she had her big toes painted in an American flag. "We're from Texas and very conservative and listen to Fox News, " she proclaimed. Took this nice couple on an hour or so tour to Jefferson, Lincoln, driving past FDR and Dr. King's future memorial between TJ and Abe.

Then on my way back to the shop picked up a Chicago building union man and his wife, and made their night special by taking them to Jefferson Memorial, one of the most spiritual monuments we have. Originally they wanted to just go to the other side of the White House, and then they shared they just had a tour of the West Wing. I asked how they were able to get the tour. She was a State Senator from Chicago!

Then at Mass at St. Dominic's I heard the priest say, "Conservatives and liberals need one another's corrective action. We all need to listen to and learn from each other."

Happy 4th America! The experiment continues! I sure hope God continues to bless America.

"I tremble for my country when I reflect God is just." carved into stone at Jefferson.  Off to get a pedicab with a shade covering on this day that will get into the high nineties...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Carved in stone at Union Station...

Sometime it's very good to just to take a deep breathe and look around and read these words carved all over Washington. Union Station is especially good to get the American spirit, that fin de siecle ethos of 100 years ago. Imagine the amazement of the telegraph or even radio when Pony Express seemed so quick to travel so far.


Aside the inscriptions are Apollo (Imagination or Inspiration)  and Ceres (Agriculture).

THE FARM - BEST HOME OF THE FAMILY - MAIN

SOURCE OF NATIONAL WEALTH - FOUNDATION OF

CIVILIZED SOCIETY - THE NATURAL PROVIDENCE



THE OLD MECHANIC ARTS CONTROLLING NEW

FORCES BUILD NEW HIGHWAYS FOR GOODS

AND MEN OVERRIDE THE OCEAN AND MAKE

THE VERY ETHER CARRY HUMAN THOUGHT



THE DESERT SHALL REJOICE AND BLOSSOM

AS THE ROSE

Friday, May 28, 2010

Paul on riding through DC history

Paul on Riding Through History


"I was born in Camp Pendelton, California. I came to the D.C. area in 1968. My Dad was in the Marine Corps and just came back from Vietnam and was stationed to Marine headquarters. I was in the 5th grade, so I followed him. I went away to college and finally finished last year. I was on the 34 year plan and finally finished with a degree in biology at George Mason.

"Growing up in Virginia, my Mom would take us to lunch or dinner every Christmas in the District. I didn't get my real feeling of the District until I started working on the Hill during college. In my time here, I got to see Washington from a lot of different perspectives. I have done all kinds of work here. I have worked in the bowels of the beast on K Street and on the Hill. I have done stuff at the homeless shelters and seen that side of Washington. D.C. is a very diverse place. One of my favorite studies is by the Brookings Institute called Polyglot Washington, it says that 21% of the people who live in this city do not speak English as a first language at home.

"I started driving a pedi-cab in July of 2009. I really love D.C. and think that I am a permanent tourist here. There are so many worlds in this 60 square miles area.There is a lot to see and know in Washington and I am always learning. Many of us don't realize that we are walking, or riding, through history every day here. When I have passengers, I like to know where people work and what their interests are, so I can tailor the tour to what they like. The great percentage of people that I pick up and take on tours are nice, honest folks who share my love of Washington. Every once in a while, I get a few bad apples.

"I have been all around the world and Washington D.C. in the spring is probably the most beautiful place in the world. And I am not just talking about the cherry blossoms. Look at all of this beauty around us. This place is really amazing."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why are there no hi-rise buildings in DC? From our Uncle John, the Catholic priest who married us.

"LAUS DEO !"
Do you know what it means?
One detail that is never mentioned is that in Washington , D.C. there can never be a building of greater height than the Washington Monument ..

On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. , are displayed two words: Laus Deo.

These words have been there for many years; they are 555 feet, 5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the Father of our nation, overlooking the ~69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia , capitol of the United States of America.
So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four syllables and only seven letters, possibly mean? Very simply, they say ' Praise be to God!'
Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848, when James Polk was President of the United States , it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and opened to the public.

From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure, visitors may take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments. From that vantage point, one can also easily see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles l'Enfant ....a perfect cross imposed upon the landscape, with the White House to the north. The Jefferson Memorial is to the south, the Capitol to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.
Praise be to God! Within the monument itself are 898 steps and 50 landings.. As one climbs the steps and pauses at the landings the memorial stones share a message.

On the 12th Landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore ;

on the 20th is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians;

on the 24th a presentation

made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7 , Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6 .. Praise be to God!

When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848 deposited within it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Praise be to God! Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy 'One Nation, Under God.'

I am awed by Washington 's prayer for America . Have you ever read it? Well, now is your unique opportunity, so read on!

' Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.'

Laus Deo!
When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation's capitol, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed everywhere you look.. You may forget the width and height of 'Laus Deo ', its location, or the architects but no one who reads this will be able to forget its meaning, or these words: 'Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain' (Psalm 127: 1)

Judy, the Killington realtor, a Mom and her son and the Japanese American WWII Patriotism Memorial.

Christopher Isherwood said,"I am a camera."  As I drive the pedicab around DC many amazing and different people come into my visual field. At Jefferson I picked up a spry Judy Storch from my favorite East Coast ski spot, Killington, VT.  She sells real estate there, Killington Valley Real Estate and worked on the slopes for years. Took her the long way back to the Marriot on "effin 9th Street" past the monument to Japanese American Patriotism in WWII with the eagle ensnared in the barbed wire, like the miles of barbed wire we strung to pen in Japanese-Americans in concentration camps away from the coasts so they couldn't help in a possible invasion.

http://njamf.com/index.php/virtual-tour-of-the-memorial

I took a young man there studying art in college and showed him and his mother the sculpture of eagle and the barbed wire and the oriental tubular gong that wasn't quite working. Mentioned as I dropped him off at Union Station that we still have a Puritan strain here as those Centurion didn't have shields in front of them when erected. He gave me a big hug when I told him to follow his bliss, make the best art he could,  and that the rest of his life belonged to him. His Mom gave me a big tip, and that felt good too after a slow day.

Next I have to post about Uncle John's email on why the Washington monument is the highest edifice in DC ....

Saturday, May 8, 2010

One Step Ahead of Hitler author Fred Gross (and his 3 granddaughters)

Much of what I do driving around the Mall is to give simple directions between the various Smithsonian Museums. So a nice looking family with a stroller asked me where Air & Space Museum was from Natural History. After I pointed across the Mall diagonally, the middle aged Mom and Dad put grandpa and three little girls in the pedicab and asked me to meet them there.
I give everyone a tour, even if it is 100 yards and try to engage them. Grandpa was a writer, Fred Gross, here from Kentucky to do a book signing at the Holocaust Museum 1-4pm. I think I'll go.
Or as Santayana wrote, "those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it."- Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur - "man's inhumanity to man", my Mom used to shake her head and say. Will it ever end!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/13303252@N06/sets/72157623432947007/

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Discovering the Shaw neighborhood via pedicab: 3 quotes about travel

Sometimes, no, often, we pass by and through places and never really see or know them. Yesterday, I had the privileged of taking three dynamic women on a larger group tour of the Shaw neighborhood. Arranged by Danny Cochrane of National Pedicabs and Alexander M Pedro, Executive Director of Shaw Main Streets, we started our three hour tour in front of the Carnegie Library between 7th and 9th Streets across from the Convention Center.

A convoy of pedicabs started out in front of the library, through an alley where the movie "Being There" was shot with Peter Sellers, and then to one of the oldest liquor stores in the area. There, the tour members (NOT pedicab drivers!) sampled mint juleps in honor of the Kentucky Derby. Next we went to Chatman's D'Vine bakery and cafe and sampled their cupcakes and sweet potato pie.

We stopped at Azi's for more delicious samples, and then an amazing bed & breakfast dcguesthouse.com that was so chocked full of amazing artwork it reminded me of a mix between William Randolph Hurst's San Simeon castle (Rosebud?) in a brownstone rowhouse. We ended at a wonderful Ethiopian restaurant, Asefu's Yegna restaurant with excellent lentil and beef snacks.

So where did the name "Shaw" come from? Remember the movie "Glory" about an African American brigade during the Civil War? Matthew Broderick played the white commander, Shaw, of this brigade.

And 3 quotes animate my perception of travel: First, Mark Twain, "Nothing is more dangerous to prejudice than travel."
Second, Henry David Thoreau,"I have traveled extensively in Concord."
Third, T.S. Eliot from Four Quartets, "We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Quote from sociobiologist EO WIlson's new book Anthill

"He constructed a broader context in which he drew a picture of humanity, and of himself. The image was at first vague, but grew thereafter steadily in clarity. In time he understood that nature was not something outside the human world. The reverse is true. Nature is the real world, and humanity exists on islands within it."

Monday, April 19, 2010

I really enjoy my passengers. The couple that came up to me when I was being interviewed, the Ellmores of North Carolina, and I had a a wonderful ride. Unfortunately the US Botanic Garden was closed as they have an amazing orchids exhibit. (I used to have hobby of killing orchids, now I water them less and they live longer and bloom once in a while!)

And for Mr. Ellmore, who works for Duke Energy, at the end of a joyous ride, I pointed out the fin de siecle ethos carved into the stone at Union Station something like - "electricity- lighter of darkness, conveyor of messages," etc. and I want to find it exactly online and post it because it honored him and his work and gave an idea of the hustle and bustle and manifest destiny jazz of the turn of the previous century when electricity was a new and marvelous thing, not just another semi-regulated industry we all take for granted.

http://peoplesdistrict.blogspot.com/2010/04/paul-on-riding-through-history.html

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's springtime in Washington: the cherry trees are blooming!

Wow! Spring has finally sprung in Washington DC! And a simple gesture of peace by a Japanese businessman around the turn of the previous century, a gift of dozens of cherry tress, has become a Cherry Blossom Festival drawing thousands from around the world. Tomorrow starts the two week Festival!
http://www.nps.gov/cherry/schedule-of-events.htm

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pedicabs on skis?

After two relentless snowstorms, one the National Weather Service http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ called a blizzard, Washington is still digging out from mountains of snow. Biscuit, a Red Cross buddy, called, laughing, saying he wanted his birthday pedicab ride now. I said, "Sure, just get me a half dozen hardy Huskies and a couple of skis and away we go!"
We pray for spring.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Poem for passing through Springfield

01/28/2010 10:36 EST

Poem for passing through Springfield

Malaise or Evolution?

Driving through Springfield just off 95, where we lived 30, no 40, years ago when Dad was transferred here from VietNam, I noticed a few little changes.

What a surprise to see Mickey Dee’s now a Saigon City selling pho and an orange neon sign saying, OPEN. Gone are those golden arches touting how many billions sold. Where is that idealist on the bus on the way to Lee High School dividing the Earth’s population and wondering how many days McDonald’s could feed us all?

And Pizza Hut is now Kabul Kabob. (I imagine Paul Simon’s “My Little Town” song floating through my multi-media mind…) Do we invade countries then adopt the cuisine of their refugees?

My old Little League field is now an office complex that has my destination, a coin counting machine so that cup full of $64.04 minus a few wheat pennies and silver dimes, will keep things from bouncing. (And Joni Mitchell’s “Pave Paradise, Put Up A Parking Lot is enervating cells in my auditory cortex…)


We’re just doing the best we can. Or are we? Depression era Marine Corps parents had flabby kids who woke up too slowly to join the struggle. (And Jackson Browne’s “struggle for the legal tender..)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Free Chinese Terra Cotta Warriors Exhibit at National Geo. every Wed 6pm

At National Geographic Society Museum at 17th and M Sts., until March 31 when the exhibit leaves, 200 free day-of tickets will be available for the 6:00 p.m. exhibition viewing every Wednesday. Tickets will be distributed at 5:30 p.m. with a limit of two tickets per person. $5 for an audio tour was well worth it.

An entire necropolis of an army made of clay with 100 rivers of mercury was discovered in X'ian province from the Qin dynasty, just after the Warring States period in China.

"Qin Shihuang, the first creator of a unified dynasty in Chinese history, died at the age of 50 during his tour of inspection. Emperor Qin Shihuang's experience, life and merits and demerits are noticeable, even the Qin Shihuang Mausoleum sitting at the foot of Lishan Mountain has drawn great attention due to many unresolved mysteries."