Thursday, October 12, 2017

Make War No More

I went for a walk through the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden on the Mall recently, reflecting on the increasingly bombastic war of words between our president and the dear leader of North Korea, two fat little men with delusions of grandeur and total lack of consciences.  I labeled this artwork Attempt at Decapitation.

Could words alone lead to devastating consequences?  This piece I named War with North Korea.

It happens in schoolyards, and these cunning megalomaniacs demonstrate the guile and silly word escalations of schoolchildren.  I called this statue The Battle.

The faux deity who has killed his half brother with a chemical agent and executed his uncle by shooting him with an antiaircraft gun, and the lazy grifter who has assaulted women, lambasted gold star families, disparaged war heroes, praised neo-Nazis, assailed the free press and displayed shocking ignorance and startling narcissism are two scorpions in a bottle with everyone in the world watching anxiously.  Meet The Victor.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Columbus day

it was a tranquil Columbus Day in Westover.  The weather was 80 degrees and sticky by noontime, when I had a Polynesian Pizza at the Lost Dog Cafe.

The Lost Dog was crowded and I watched many more people stream in for lunch.  It's at the west end of the Westover market area, but there's a new anchor point at the east end of the strip, the Italian Store.

It was packed with people ordering pizza or gourmet deli sandwiches, shopping for pasta or canned sauces or sitting at the multiple eating perches or tables to enjoy the store's fare.  It was like an Arlington happening inside this former 7-11 store.

This block-long commercial venue has its old standby mid block, Ayers Hardware Store, but has new aspirants for most successful venture such as the aforementioned Lost Dog and Italian Store, plus the Westover Beer Garden and Market with its local bands and the Sunday Farmer's market with its fresh produce and products.  It's a gem of a tiny commercial center, with a school, library, post office, drug store, hamburger place and an ice cream shop right there too.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Columbus Days

It's Columbus Day tomorrow.  My neighbors are citizens from South America originally, and there is no mistaking their loathing for the Christopher Columbus holiday, for introducing dominant Europeans to the "New World."

I remember the Columbus Day holiday, during the first few months of my divorce in 2001, when I took my boys to Columbus, Ohio, to visit my sister.  When I came back, and returned the boys within my allotted time, the most vulnerable boy, our youngest, was coaxed by his manipulating covert narcissistic (in my opinion) mother into complaining that he came back "tired" and couldn't do his homework.

She called the court-appointed "meditator" that night and this charlatan psychologist, Victor Ellon of Fairfax, who billed a four-hour session with her (!) on the day I took my kids off for my summer month with them, issued a late-night letter to the court suspending my visitation until a hearing two months later.  This forever ruined my relationship with my three children, the prevalent Mother Knows Best attitude of courts effectively ending my fatherhood.

Danny, you totally manipulated young man, now married, I hope you are well and that your achieving wife keeps you.  Hello Johnny, the young man whom my ex-wife said was the most like me, and I remember when you came over to cull my military book collection, and I practically never heard from you again after you took those books home.  And Jimmy, living nearby, loathing me and skating personally, maybe I'll see you tomorrow at noon.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sputnik is overhead.

Sixty years ago today, I came home from kindergarten and my mother was at the stove in the kitchen of our house, making my lunch. I don't have a lot of memories from this period of my life but this image is locked in.

My mom told me that the Russians had put a sputnik into space and it was flying overhead even at that moment.  I had no idea what a sputnik was, or what the import of what she said was or even what it meant, but her tone, reflecting concern and momentousness, and the unusualness of her talking world events with me, a kindergartener, made this brief interaction forever frozen in time in my memory bank.

This started in lockstep the space race, because we were behind, for awhile, the Russkies, the supposed missile gap, the specter of hordes of Russian tanks sweeping over Western Europe and the Cold War, which we might still be in, after a brief pause for detente. This was the paranoid fifties, when we huddled under our schoolhouse desks with our arms covering our heads during nuclear attack drills.

In this period of mass murders and massive hurricanes, it seems like it was a quaint era back then.  My classroom five years later was on the 3d floor of a schoolhouse five miles from what would have been ground zero for a hydrogen bomb airburst over Manhattan; my wooden desk and flesh forearms would have saved my life in such an event for sure.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

More summer doin's

Twice I went to the ballpark this past summer--once to see the Nets lose 11-2, not much of a game but I did run into a law school small section classmate and we compared notes, as I have left the legal profession after a bout of age discrimination at my agency and he is still steadily rising through the ranks of power in the government.  The other time was to watch the Democrats beat the Republicans at their annual intra-party charity game, an event both marred by the shooting earlier of representative Steve Scalise by a crazy man and elevated by the public outpouring of support for Congress as a result and recognition of the heroic actions of the Capitol police officers who prevented a massacre.  (Play ball!)

I answered a 6 am phone call to discover that a friend and neighbor who was sick had suddenly and unexpectedly died.  He was laid to rest in a peaceful cemetery in bustling 7-corners after a beautiful ceremony at the Catholic church.  Two people at work passed suddenly earlier this year as well and workmates gathered to pay their respect and celebrate the lives of Dave and Dana.  (...and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.)

I went to several museums which I had always formerly just run by, like the subterranean African Museum which has its entrance in Katies Garden, the Museum of Natural History, the Air and Space Museum, the National Gardens and the National Art Museum.  (The Wind Sail outside the African Museum.)

What I didn't do was run a single mile, as my Achilles strain slowly, very slowly healed, or perhaps just got better to a degree.  What I did do was take a tour of the Capitol which I hadn't done since the visitors center was constructed, or perhaps ever.  Although I kept up with my tour group (required), more or less, I wandered around its edges seeking out the 13 or so endangered CSA statues reputed to be on display inside (each state gets to present two statutes), spotting for sure at least five of these odes to slavery and secession.  (Bobby Lee.)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Summer's Gone

Well, summer's done now and my injuries are getting better to the point where I can start thinking about when, or if, I'll get back to running.  Meanwhile, it was a summer that seemed to pass me by with plenty of business that I was engrossed in but no trips, except to visit a vineyard out by Leesburg with a friend.  (A Rose.)

I did manage to visit some museums in the District which I hadn't been inside of in years.  I had some lunches, and walks, or both, with friends.  (My running buddy friend from my former workplace.)
I did my annual Billy Goat Trail hike with a friend, and saw some movies, the best of which was Dunkirk, a noisy but emotion-laden film which underscored the cost, horror and travail of war.  I clomped around in a boot trying to heal my achilles strain, and saw a couple of ballgames, one at which I saw an old law school classmate unexpectedly.  (The Museum of Natural History.)
Now that I'm looking ahead to fall, when my sore back gets better maybe I'll take my long-promised car trip or sign up for more volunteering in the Virginia governor's race or read more than a book every other month.  Or maybe I'll do nothing at all except go to DC occasionally.  (The cool atmosphere inside the National Gardens.)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Summer's Almost Gone

The summer is over, and I haven't been running since May, although I have gotten into the District a bit and seen some places and friends.  Here is the bright summer sky reflected off the tranquil waters of the Haines Point channel across from the DC waterfront.

I recently went in for lunch with a couple of my former running buddies and we took a walk instead and went to the Ai Weiwei exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum.  We've all fallen off the running wagon due to injuries but at least Katie, on the left, hikes miles and miles on national park trails out west where she now lives and Leah, on the right, plays ice hockey twice a week.

I went to Great Falls with a friend, and we hiked its trails and enjoyed views of the rugged falls on the upper Potomac River.  It's not the District but it is a nearby national park.

I enjoyed lunch of all the fixin's from a nearby BBQ shack with my former colleague Leah at a new waterfront park in DC near the Marina.  A running group came through and stopped to do calisthenics in the park before running off, which made us feel guilty as we ate our chicken and beans.