Sunday, April 14, 2013

"A ring-a-ring o' Tidal Basin, a Pocket Full of Cherry Blossoms, DC! DC! We all go now!"

A cluster of Yoshino "Japanese" cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., 2:47PM April 11, 2013.

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This entry contains the bulk of the pictures I took on Thursday, April 11th, 2013 during my walk around the Tidal Basin with the Japanese "Yoshino" cherry blossoms at / slightly past peak. I previously posted seven of them in my entry from Friday, April 12th, 2013 and six of them appear again in this entry.

I took an hour or so off from work on Thursday afternoon and walked the short distance to the Tidal Basin to take these pictures.

Scaffolding creeps up the Washington Monument as part of the repair work due to the Aug. 2011 earthquake; 2:07PM April 11, 2013.

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Pedestrian tourists at the corner of Independence Avenue and 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 2:08PM April 11, 2013.

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Another view of the Washington Monument in scaffolding and the Yoshino cherry trees at floral peak, 2:12PM April 11, 2013.

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A crowd of people walk along the narrow sidewalk of the Kutz Bridge, which is the bridge on the northside of the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 2:20PM April 11, 2013.

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This fellow was fishing just below the Kutz Bridge at the north westernmost corner of the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 2:21PM April 11, 2013.

His name was James and he is from Great Britain (just south of London). His work and personal life takes him to the U.S. for periods of the year. He catches fish -- the lumbering carp -- that swim in the Tidal Basin and apparently can grow up to 40 pounds. James showed me a picture of a 20-pounder he had caught the previous day. He said he throws them back into the water after catching and photographing them so that they don't die. He also said he wouldn't eat any fish caught from the Tidal Basin.

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Japanese Stone Lantern, Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 2:31PM April 11, 2013

This stone lantern was given to the United States by Japan in March 1954 when it was already 300 years old. It is on the north / northwest side of the Tidal Basin under the Yoshinos.

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Another picture of the Japanese Stone Lantern, Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 2:31PM April 11, 2013

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A couple under the Yoshino cherry blossoms, Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 2:32PM April 11, 2013.

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REPOSTED: A grove of Yoshino Japanese cherry trees at floral peak on the north / northwest side of the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 2:32PM April 11, 2013.

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Yours truly under the Yoshino cherry blossoms on the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 2:32PM April 11, 2013.

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A lady with her smart phone camera along the Tidal Basin under a cascading bough of Yoshino cherry blossoms, Washington, D.C., 2:33PM April 11, 2013.

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REPOSTED: Tourists! A group of them take pictures of the Yoshino cherry trees at floral peak along the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 2:24PM April 11, 2013.

To adapt a phrase, tourists descend up on D.C. "in monstrous infinity" this time of year.

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My personal favorite: As the Yoshino cherry blossom flowers begin falling off the trees along the Tidal Basin in a veritable blizzard of petals, they form a thick mat on the water that starts to resemble Pepto-Bismol (Washington, D.C., 2:53PM, April 11, 2013).

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The central sculpture of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington, D.C., 2:35PM April 11, 2013.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was dedicated 20 months ago in August 2011 and I had not been down there to see it. Of note, the address is 1964 Independence Avenue -- with the "1964" symbolic for the year of the Civil Rights Act. (In looking at the location of the memorial, it is sort of in the 1800 and 1900 block west of the U.S. Capitol Building, so the address is not a stretch.)

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The Yoshino cherry blossoms on the west-northwest side of the Tidal Basin, 2:36PM April 11, 2013.

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More visitors enjoying the Yoshino cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 2:38PM April 11, 2013.

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REPOSTED: The Washington Monument as seen through some of the petals of the blossoms of the Yoshino (Japanese) cherry trees at floral peak along the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 2:39PM April 11, 2013.

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This is the "Room 2" Fireside Chat sculpture by George Segal at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Memorial along the southwest side of the Tidal Basin. This site contains additional info on his sculptures.

I started to write political commentary here and invoking what Paul Krugman has been tirelessly saying about how so many economists -- never mind today's loony / cult-like GOP politicians -- have forgotten the hard learned lessons of the Great Depression, but it quickly got too lengthy.


Instead, I'll just note that back when the FDR Memorial opened in 1997, it was during the heyday of the Clinton administration. It was just pre-Monica, but already Benjamin Wittes and The WaHoPo editorial board in general, as well as Cokie Roberts and the rest of the D.C. class of scribes, pundits, opinion-mongers, and corporate whores had yet to truly hit their stride but the basic corporate whoring structure of the Beltway punditry were in place, as was the right-wing media / entertainment infrastructure.

I mention this because I actually had my first of what would be three or four pieces published in The Washington Post (print edition) back then (in the period 1997 - 1999).


All but one were glorified letters that the Great and Mysterious Letters Editor Martha "M.J." McAteer deigned to have published. (The remaining one was a highly edited weather discussion in the old Horizon section.)

Ms. McAteer's main job was to ensure that only elite and/or right-wing "voices" made it into the daily letters and Sunday "Close to Home" sections that existed back then in order to counter chimerical "liberal bias" that was supposedly everywhere.

Fred Hiatt's job was and still is 16 years later to make sure that only the Washington Consensus Approved "voices" are heard on the op-ed pages. This includes the "Professional Centrist" views that Hiatt himself embodies and whatever crap this or that foundation-funded think tank "fellow" or "scholar" puts out. As for the actual editorials, that trash content is overseen directly by Hiatt himself.

As blogger Atrios once brilliantly noted, WaPo editorials are not actually meant to be read by ordinary people but rather they are "a means for certain elites to send messages to each other, a way for the 'Gang Of 500' to take their battles public, to signal their interests and priorities."

It all fits into the Graham Family's agenda of Free Trade, i.e., destruction of the American working class for corporate oligarchical interests, and neocon warmongering as part of endless Empire building.

Is it me or is Don Graham starting to look like a puppet from a Punch and Judy story?

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One of the waterfalls on the grounds of the FDR Memorial, Washington, D.C., 2:43PM April 11, 2013. It's hard not to get a picture of someone else taking a picture this time of year in the city's "Monumental Core."

This is the multiple "stair step" waterfall drop that is supposed to symbolize the Tennessee Valley Authority and other such efforts of the FDR administration. There are at least five distinct fountains in the sprawling memorial that symbolize different aspects of his presidency or of the times.

These are really pretty at night, sublime even, and it was this particular fountain that prompted that original letter.

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A group of tourists at the FDR Memorial, Washington, D.C., 2:43PM April 11, 2013.

The large young man in the center -- he must have weighed 240 pounds easily and been all of 15 years old, so we're talking Middle America Corn Syrup Fed -- had a 3X or 4X-large t-shirt on that had big colorful letters that read, "Don't Hate Me, Hate My Swag."

I think he saw me taking his picture.

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A small stone inscription by a tree marking who planted. The stone inscription reads: "Sacred Heart School Manville, N.J., Class of 1972."

I found this website for the church / school. I'm from New Jersey and I never even heard of Manville.

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A ducky duck couple in the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 2:51PM April 11, 2013.

When I heard them quack-quack-quack, I first thought that Matthew M. Wade Tipamillyun Henry and his current body-double beloved were nearby, and I was, like, whatevah...

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REPOSTED: The Jefferson Memorial and more distant U.S. Capitol dome as seen from the west southwest side of the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 2:52PM April 11, 2013.

I think the U.S. Capitol is about 1.5 miles from this spot.

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A wintertime sign on the Inlet Bridge nearly lost in a billowing mass of springtime Yoshino cherry blossoms, Washington, D.C., 2:55PM April 11, 2013.

The Inlet Bridge runs on the south side of the Tidal Basin.

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Approaching the Jefferson Memorial from the west side, Washington, D.C., 2:58PM April 11, 2013.

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The stately steps of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C., 3:00PM April 11, 2013.

Those two coniferous (pine?) trees on the left really intrigue me (see below).

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REPOSTED: Throngs of tourists inside the stately Jefferson Memorial with the great statue of President Thomas Jefferson himself at the center, Washington, D.C., 3:01PM April 11, 2013.

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The columns of the Jefferson Memorial looking toward the west-northwest, Washington, D.C., 3:02PM April 11, 2013.

Of note, the (barely visible in my low-quality picture) buildings in the distance between two of the columns are actually in Rosslyn (Arlington) and included in it is a crane tower atop a new skyscraper that is being constructed. I can see this same crane and skyscraper from my apartment kitchen window.

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REPOSTED: The columns on the south (back) side of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C., 3:03PM April 11, 2013 (with another ubiquitous photographer visible, which creates a weird kind of postmodern feel to it).

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OK, these are two of the large coniferous trees -- possibly white or ponderosa pines -- that grow on the east side of the Jefferson Memorial (Washington, D.C., 3:04PM April 11, 2013).
 
I'm not sure their exact species so if anyone reading this can determine it or otherwise knows, please let me know.

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A Park Police officer on a horse near the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C., 3:08PM April 11, 2013.

I got close enough just to touch the horse but only with an outstretched hand. I don't like getting near horses. They make me nervous.

I tried to get a picture of its backside and post it as a image of C/H but didn't get a good opportunity to do so.

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This is the exterior of the United States Holocaust Memorial, Washington, D.C., 3:17PM April 11, 2013.

I went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) nearly 20 years ago in May 1993 just days after it formally opened (on April 22, 1993). I went there with my friend Quill. I was completing my first undergraduate year at the University of Maryland, College Park (having transferred in somewhere between a sophomore and junior in terms of credits).

This was before my ill-fated descent into graduate school madness with three frickin' masters degrees and $240,000 (and still rising) in student loan debt between 1997 and 2009 from UMCP (a place I now despise because I see it for the pure tuition rent-collecting racket that it is).

Anyway, it was in the spring 1993 semester that I took this class called "The History of the Holocaust of European Jewry" and it was the most powerful class I ever took in the 100+ courses I took in my absurd multi-decadal professional student life.

The class was taught by Dr. Marsha Rozenblit. She was the quintessential New York City type (whether or not she is actually from there). I quit liked her although she could easily get angry and occasionally yelled at individual students whose tone she didn't like ("AAHHH, WE DON'T TALK LIKE THAT!"). 

She never did that with me, although she shot down my admittedly stupid contention that a genocide like that couldn't happen today (in 1993) "because we have CNN." (It didn't work the following year in Rwanda.)

Rather, I think she just thought (correctly) that I was deeply neurotic individual. Indeed, when I told her I was going to Guadeloupe in the French West Indies in March 1993, she said something along the lines of, "I know I don't know you but I think that's good for you."

The class had about 70 students and I was one of the few non-Jewish students. I think there was also one black student (a girl).

For our final project, I read the book The Holocaust Kingdom by Alexander Donat (the same copy of which I still have). I mention this because I realized as I was reading the book -- which contains many dates and days of the week -- that the days of the week in 1943 matched up to those in 1993 (i.e., April 14th, 1993 and April 14th, 1943 are both Wednesdays.

To clarify my point, I was reading this book in March/April 1993, or exactly 50 years later.

Lastly, I would like to note that my Uncle Richard, about whom I wrote on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his death, was not only born in 1943 but that he died in 1963, and that the days of the week that year match up to those of this year, 2013.

That is, the days of the week of 1943 and 1993 matched at 50 years apart, as did 1963 and 2013 at 50 years apart. (Had we skipped leap year in 2000, as we do every century year (e.g.,1700, 1800, and 1900) except on if divisible by 400 (e.g., 1600 and 2000), this would not have happened.

OK, that's all for now. Oh, yes, April 15, 2013 is the 5 year anniversary of the start of my Regulus blog. Yikes. My apologies that it was all about that idiot back then. I guess the whole thing served some weird purpose in my mind -- and it never really was about him anyway.

--Regulus

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