Thursday, October 8, 2009

An Early Autumn Washington Walk Among the Living and the Dead

The pictures from this entry are those I took on a solo walk today through Washington, D.C.'s nicer stretches in its Northwest quadrants, as explained below.

The house at 4611 44th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 4:09PM, October 7, 2009.

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I am so exhausted tired at this midnight hour as I watch reruns of The Golden Girls on Hallmark. I actually need to go to bed before my usual 3AM to 4AM hour, which means skipping reruns of Cheers, Roseanne and/or The Cosby Show (which I hated when it was on in the 1980s) and supremely inane Three's Company. It is true that I actually took about a 7 mile walk today but I also think maybe something is amiss with my health.

Trees at the edge of the parking lot for the Giant grocery store at Friendship Heights / Bethesda on the Maryland side of the DC-MD line, 2:53PM, Oct. 7, 2009. It was a breezy, sunny, cool day with temps in the 60s. The trees are still leafy green although hints of color are beginning to appear.

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Of course, I have no health insurance or money in the happy-faced demi paradise, or rather, a pro-death corporate oligarchical dystopia that IS America 2009, and I could die before I got any help.

And don't expect the populace to "rise up" and demand progressive changes because liberal reform in America is thwarted nowadays by the combination of right-wing religio-insanity, an enervating American idealism about getting rich, excessive egocentricity, and that torpor into which our hyper consumerism (facilitated by the 24/7/365 bleating and braying of the media) put too many people.

The 5300 block of 43rd Street, NW, just inside Washington, D.C., 3:23PM, Oct. 7, 2009 -- there's no doubting that fall has arrived.

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It probably won't be until early next week (Monday) that I update this blog again. I have a lot of work to do for my weird contracting job.

Indeed, I need to go into my contracting company office tomorrow to print out some stuff (incl. parts of the two climate bills before Congress, H.R. 2454 "Waxman-Markey" and S. 1733 "Kerry - Boxer") for an assignment. That is, for more at home intellectual piece work. More importantly, though, I am supposed to pick up a check for $1040, nearly all of which ($953) is going to my October rent.

Here is a convenient side-by-side comparison of "W-M" and "K-B" produced by Resources for the Future (based on the first draft of S 1733). Click here for a larger version of this image.

I applied for a job with Resources for the Future (RFF) earlier this year but all I got was rudely turned down. That's how it goes in America, esp. in Washington, when you apply for something you really would like: a "chaotic and rude" rejection. I'm quoting the hapless man in this article in The New York Times.)

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I then have to take the scheduled 3:30PM J4 "express" bus to College Park, which still takes 50 minutes on a good day, and go to the dumb tutoring that I do on Tuesday and Thursday nights, before returning home on the Metro into D.C.

The houses at 4919 (left) and 4917 (right) on 44th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 4:02PM, Oct. 7, 2009.

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Meanwhile, Gary will be heading to London and Paris on a 4-day whirlwind trip on the cheap made possible by David and Air France. They are going together and will actually be visiting Kristof, staying in his small flat near Cockfosters tube station that is the northern terminus of the Piccadilly Line. What a great name. There is even a Wikipedia article on the station. The other end of the Piccadilly Line is at Heathrow Airport.

The 3900 block of 45th Street, NW, as it sort of curves into Massachusetts Avenue, NW, along side (Friendship?) park, 4:25PM, Oct. 7, 2009.

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Of note, I haven't been to England or France -- including London and Paris -- since April 1991 when I was but 21 years old. Prior to that, it had been in the 1970s when my mom and her husband (my stepfather) Ray lived in Belgium and I was living in New Jersey with my dad and grandparents and would visit her.

That was a lifetime ago.

Speaking of a lifetime ago, here is a picture of me that I scanned and made into a JPEG image (and that I have posted before on my old Arcturus blog and possibly on this Regulus blog). It is a picture of me taken in July 1974 at age 4-1/2 years standing by the hydrangea bush that grew on the side of my grandparents' house at 368 Kirby Avenue in Long Branch, N.J.

A lifetime ago.

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So I've been thinking and talking more about that job interview I had on Monday, and I must say the whole thing was a bit annoying and insulting ... a 20-minute perfunctory interview where nothing was said, not even carried out by the woman who was supposed to interview me because she was "busy" and instead she passed it off on someone else who didn't even know he was supposed to do it. Additionally, I found out the previous person had occupied that position for just three weeks. As Chris T. said, none of that sounds promising about the job.

The McKinley Building on the AU campus, Washington, D.C., 4:51PM, Oct. 7, 2009. Apparently, Pres. Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the building and it houses several university departments.

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At this point, the rest of my entry simply is a recounting of my walk on Wednesday, from which the (lousy) cellphone camera pictures I took are the accompanying images.

The house at 3115 44th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 5:02PM, Oct. 7, 2009.

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My walk route was from the Friendship Heights Metro, detouring into Maryland to the Giant to go to the salad bar, and then back into D.C., heading south on 44th Street, NW, all the way to near American University, where the street sort of ends by veering to the left into 45th Street and then Massachusetts Avenue.

I crossed the grounds of Wesley Theological Seminary, even stopping in the library for about 10 minutes, and then across the campus of the adjoining American University. The campus is rather steeply inclined on a hill and it is separated from the seminary by a fence, but there was an open gate.

The house at 2909 44th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 5:11PM, Oct. 7, 2009. These houses are $1 to $2 million a piece. What exactly do these folks do for money?? I'd like just to be able to rent an upstairs room (with air conditioning, of course) in a house like this.

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The AU campus itself is rather small and leads out to Rockwood Parkway -- which runs westward into Spring Valley, which is THE wealthiest part of the District of Columbia with palatial homes in a tree-cloaked setting that dwarf those in Georgetown, even though ironically it includes the site of an old World War I era munitions depot that has also made it an EPA Superfund site.

The intersection of the 4300 block of Forest Lane and the 2800 block of 44th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 5:13PM, Oct. 7, 2009. Until this walk, I didn't know there was a Forest Lane in D.C.

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I have walked through Spring Valley numerous times, including with Gary, Chris T., LP, and Kristof when he was still here, and I blogged about it before on various occasions.On this walk, though, I stayed a bit farther east, cutting across the AU campus and out to Rockwood Parkway at Nebraska Avenue, and then to Newark Street, NW, and back south on 44th Street, NW.

The 4300 block of Garfield Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 5:17PM, Oct. 7, 2009.

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I was going to follow 44th Street as it dead ends into the tangled, forested wilds of Glover Parkway. This, in turn, becomes Archbold Parkway and emerges at Reservoir Road near Georgetown University.

The house at 4320 Garfield Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 5:18PM, Oct. 7, 2009.

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However, I opted to walk east down Garfield Street (actually, I went a block south to Forest Lane and then turned around) and over to New Mexico Avenue and thence to Tunlaw Street, which is intentionally "Walnut" backward. It takes its name (as I understand it) from an old farm called Tunlaw that was there in the 19th Century. Anyway, this curves around the vast and imposing Embassy of the Russian Federation, which is blocked off by a towering brick wall -- painted a bright yellow, but still imposing looking -- that runs all the way to Calvert Street near Wisconsin Avenue.

OK, at this point, the pictures in this entry and the narrative now match up.

The 2400 block of Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 5:39PM, Oct. 7, 2009. This is the Burleith neighborhood north of Georgetown.

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Here is the view of Holy Rood Cemetery along the 2000 and 2100 blocks of Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 5:45PM, Oct. 7, 2009.

This cemetery dates back to the 1830s and used regularly for the next 100 years, although there were burials there (based on the tombstone dates) as late as the 1990s. The cemetery is on a hilltop and has some lovely views, including of the Washington Monument a few miles away, and the distant hilly rise of Prince George's County in the direction of Suitland about 10 to 15 miles away.

I apologize for the second Wikipedia link but its article on this cemetery is informative. I didn't know Georgetown University owns it and wants to dig up all the old graves and build on the site. That's a little a lot disturbing.

This particular marble gravestone from the 19th Century is about two feet high and in the shape of the Washington Monument. If my cell phone camera were any better, you would be able to see that the object on horizon to the right of the red-brown rectangular building (which, I believe, is a Holiday Inn) is the actual Washington Monument, making for an intentional and strange juxtaposition.

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Another view of Holy Rood Cemetery on a brisk and gusty October evening, 5:45PM, Oct. 7, 2009. Even in this crummy cellphone image you can see in what a state of disrepair and decay the gravestones are in.

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Yours Truly, Regulus, at the Holy Rood Cemetery, Washington, D.C., 5:58PM, Oct. 7, 2009 on an uncharacteristically cool, blustery October day (since our crappy, torpid summers here usually last well into fall).

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The gravestones in Holy Rood Cemetery are old and sometimes especially poignant, such as the one with the names of basically an entire family of young children who died during 1918, almost certainly as a result of the global Spanish Influenza pandemic.

This particular cross-shaped gravestone marks the tomb of a lady and her young son: Annie M. Dorsey, who died July 19, 1930 at age 72 and her very young son she far outlived, Thomas S. Dorsey, who died some 37 years earlier on Nov. 8, 1893 at age 7. There was no mention of a husband / father or other children. I wonder what their story was. It's a pretty vile thing to want to disrupt their rest place.

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Thereafter, I walked to R Street, and headed east on it through Georgetown, along the south edge of Dumbarton Oaks and Montrose Park and the adjoining Oak Hill Cemetery, and south on 28th Street to Q Street, and thence over Rock Creek and Rock Creek Parkway and back to the Dupont Circle area.

The pastel blue colored house at 3100 R Street (at the corner of R and 31st Streets, NW), Washington, D.C., 6:14PM, Oct. 7, 2009, in the Georgetown section of the city.

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A ginkgo tree along R Street, NW, in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:19PM, Oct. 7, 2009. catching the rays of the setting Sun. This was a male ginkgo biloba tree since it didn't have those nasty "fruits" (sacrotesta) with their smell of rotting flesh / crap when they are smeared open, as always happens.

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This was the view peering into Oak Hill Cemetery -- yes, my second cemetery of the day -- through the tall wrought iron fence along R Street, NW, in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:21PM, Oct. 7, 2009.

This cemetery, unlike Holy Rood, is still very much in use. Because the cemetery is fenced off, I don't know to what family that Washington Monument-like obelisk tombstone belongs, but at 30 feet high, it dwarfs the small, forgotten, 19th Century on in Holy Rood Cemetery. Ultimately, though, its fate and destiny will be the same.

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One of the four giant bison sculptures that stand guard on either corner of the Q Street bridge over the Rock Creek that connects Georgetown and Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 6:29PM, Oct. 7, 2009.

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OK, that's all the images from my walk. I am going to bed now. My next planned entry will not be until Monday of next week.

--Regulus

7 comments:

krzysztof said...

Oh, no, no , no,
They are supposed to get the Piccadily line train from Heathrow in the direction of Cockfosters which is the end of the line and far from central London but I'm nowehere near Cockfosters. I live in West Kensington/Hammersmith area

this is where I live

The nearest Piccadily line tube station is Barons Court

Regulus said...

Oh. Why the hell did I think you lived near Cockfosters??

Anyway, what did you think of my D.C. house and cemetery pictures??

krzysztof said...

Very nice photos! As for the text itself I haven't had time to read it carefuly yet. I just hit Ctrl-F serched for my name and read that part:-)
But I will.

The confusion probably stemmed from my old email to Gary in which I said "take the Pic. line to Cockfosters" meaning "towards" or "in the direction of". Then everyone just got hung up on the name. I later emphasised to both Gary and David that they need to get off at Barons Court tomorrow and I will wait for them there. I actually have a fairly central location south west of Hyde Park.

Also, I'm sure your readers will be interested in the most recent university ranking. My current work place scores as 5th in the world along with Oxford, higher than Princeton and MIT. Yay!

к.нео.физ.де.му said...

wow!

that's quite a journey! the weather was great, a bit too blustery for me...

loved the rant about america 2009 :)

Regulus said...

Kristof -- I can understand about the source of confusion. I also understand about searching just for refences to oneself!

Gary should be leaving in less than two hours and you will be seeing him in about 24 hours. Hip-hip-hooray!

MikeG -- Glad you liked the commentary and entry!

к.нео.физ.де.му said...

btw, does it always have to be about fosters with you people? :)

krzysztof said...

does it always have to be about fosters with you people?

ha ha ha!