Sunday, April 28, 2013

The National Aquarium in Baltimore

After Ft. McHenry we went to the The National Aquarium. A very very impressive place. There's a huge dolphin area called Dolphin Discover:

Guest's admission includes unlimited access to Dolphin Discovery. All guests will see the dolphins any time, for as long as they like, and enjoy interactions with the dolphin team, including dolphin training, feeding times, enrichment, and play activities.

We kept coming back to this area in all three times. Very impressive and the rest of the aquarium was wonderful too.

I'll have some more pictures in a later post.

There are a great exhibit on jelly fish

These are upside down jelly fish

Saturday, April 27, 2013

More from Fort McHenry

What an incredible place this is.  Stu and were really impressed with this. There's a ten minute movie about the battle. After it's over the movie screen rises up into the ceiling. There are several huge windows behind the screen and the view out those windows is the fort. Really fantastic.

Here are a few pictures of the fort.

These two pictures show the major battle that were fought in the War of 1812 around Washington and Baltimore.

Here's a little more about the Ft. McHenry leading up to the War of 1812:

Fort McHenry was built on the site of the former Fort Whetstone, which had defended Baltimore from 1776 to 1797. Fort Whetstone stood on Whetstone Point (today's residential and industrial area of Locust Point) peninsula, which juts into the opening of Baltimore Harbor between the Basin (today's Inner Harbor) and Northwest branch on the north side and the Middle and Ferry (now Southern) branches of the Patapsco River on the south side.

The Frenchman Jean Foncin designed the fort in 1798,[3] and it was built between 1798 and 1800. The new fort's purpose was to improve the defenses of the increasingly important Port of Baltimore from future enemy attacks.

The new fort was constructed in the form of a five-pointed star surrounded by a dry moat — a deep, broad trench. The moat would serve as a shelter from which infantry might defend the fort from a land attack. In case of such an attack on this first line of defense, each point, or bastion could provide a crossfire of cannon and small arms fire.

Fort McHenry was named after early American statesman James McHenry (16 November 1753 – 3 May 1816), a Scots-Irish immigrant and surgeon-soldier. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from Maryland and a signer of the United States Constitution. Afterwards, he was appointed United States Secretary of War (1796–1800), serving under presidents Presidents George Washington and John Adams.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

2Political Episode 86


2Political Podcast Episode 86 is now available. You can listen to it or download it from the podcast site, You can leave comments there as well as download or listen to any episode (you can access the five most recent episodes from the list on the right side of my blog).

There was a lot in the news this week, and we start with the Boston bombings. First, Jason asks how it was reported in New Zealand? We then move on to the generally poor newsmedia coverage.

From there it’s on to a happier topic: The enactment of marriage equality in New Zealand. This lets Arthur talk a bit about how the legislative process works in New Zealand, and how it differs from the US.

You can leave a comment (anyone's welcome—agree or disagree!). Or, you can ring the 2Political Comment line on 206-350-3982.

Links for this episode:
Boston a Week Later - Jason’s blog post about the bombing
False Flags, Fake Blood, and Michelle Obama: A Guide to the Boston Marathon Conspiracies – “Danger Room”,
Reflections on the Recent Boston Crisis – Reddit’s General Manager looks back
Boston – a post on Jason’s blog with one of this favourite photos
My favourite moment – Arthur’s blog post with the video he mentioned
My favourite speech – Arthur’s blog post with the speech Jason mentioned
The New Zealand Parliament’s YouTube Channel is called InTheHouseNZ. To find the videos, look for “Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill - Third Reading - Part # (where # is 1 – 20).
Arthur’s blog, podcasts and videos can be accessed here.

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Another Nationals' Game

A fantastic day for a ball game. Hopefully the Nats win.

Spring is Here

In light of how horrible last week was, I thought it was a good idea and take a little break from all the bad news and see how spring is here in Washington.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Boston a Week Later

What an incredible and very sad series of events. A terrible attack on Boston on last Monday. By Friday of that same week the suspects killed and caught.

Like I said very sad. I’m not one to usually say it could have been worse so I won’t. We still lost Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lingzi Lu. They are never coming back. Loosing them have left huge holes in the lives of their family and friends. Those who have injured have still yet to heal. Some it could well take years to heal physically and the mental trauma may take even longer. No we lost a great deal. All of us last Monday were attacked.

But here’s what I’m thankful for. This terrible attack happened at the finish line. So there were many medical personnel right there to help out. I went to see the end of the Marine Corp Marathon one year and was truly surprised by the number of medical staff there to help out. There is no question because the same level of medical support was at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that many people were saved who probably would have died.

I’m thankful for all the first responders that were there. These people instead of running away from danger ran toward danger. All the volunteers for the marathon who continued to do their jobs after this horrible event. The everyday people who decided they had to help people. This is one example of many:
Carlos Arredondo heroically jumped into action after the bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line. Trained by the Red Cross, Arredondo says he tried to stop a severely wounded victim from bleeding. Jeff Bauman survived, but later had both legs amputated.
It turns out Bauman had an important part in the investigation:
In the intensive-care ward, Bauman, who had been near the finish line to see his girlfriend complete Monday’s race, wrote words that would help lead to quick resolution of the bombing that killed three and injured 176 others: “Bag. Saw the guy, looked right at me.”

FBI agents quickly came to Bauman’s bedside. A man in sunglasses and black baseball cap had walked right up to him, placed a black backpack on the ground and stepped away, Bauman remembered.

His tip became a critical lead, according to law enforcement officials.

I'm thankful for the actions of the police and the FBI in going through all the evidence and finding these two guys as quickly as they did. It was nothing sort of amazing.

I'm thankful for the happenstance of the curfew being lifted and a guy going outside to stretch his legs. Looking at his boat in his backyard and finding something amiss. Then calling the police.

I'm most thankful for the fact we all became Americans and Bostonians when the the bombs went off. We grieved for those who died. We were concerned about those who had been hurt. We were concerned for the city of Boston and the surrounding areas.

I'm thankful in a moment of great evil; there was also great good. 

Friday, April 19, 2013


I've been thinking all week what to post about the events in Boston. I'm sure yet how to put all my thoughts into words right now (tonight's events will probably help with my thinking). I think this from the Chicago Tribune from earlier in the week comes pretty close to saying what I feel.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fleetwood Mac

What an amazing concert. Just as good if not better than a few years back when I saw them at Verizon Center.

Here’s a link to the posts I had about the last time I saw them. I think my enthusiasm for the this time around is just as great. Just an amazing performance by everyone involved.

I tried to think what the best moment was. Hard to come up with that. Silver Springs one of my favorite songs. They played that as one of the encores. Go Your Own Way probably the quintessential Fleetwood Mac song. Chain, Dreams, Big Love. Wow what to pick.

Then it hit me. Mic Fleetwood has a drum solo in the song World Turning (another favorite). During his solo you can see the love he has for music in his every expression, movement, his very essence. It was truly joyous to watch. Just as the concert was joyous to watch.

Here’s World Turning.

Now it’s been 35 years since I first saw them.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Peanuts and Baseball

An integral part of Peanuts are strips on baseball. I think it only fitting that since baseball season is upon to post part of a particular very funny series about Charlie Brown playing his first game of the season.

Part II of Peanuts and Baseball

Take Me Out to the Nats Game

It's Sunday and I'm at another Nats game. Today they play Atlanta. Hoping for better results than the last two games played against the Braves.

It is also pups the park and mascots day.

2Political Episode 85


2Political Podcast Episode 85 is now available. You can listen to it or download it from the podcast site, You can leave comments there as well as download or listen to any episode (you can access the five most recent episodes from the list on the right side of my blog).

We begin today with a "special month" and "special days", which gave us a chance to reminisce. Politics comes along, of course, and we start and talking about Republicans as it relates to marriage equality. We end up discussing the Supreme Court cases a little more. From there, the budget—what a mess. Is the fight over social security cuts part of a larger strategy? Ultimately, this leads us to a discussion of religion in politics, of all things.

Near the end, we have a more general discussion about how the Internet has changed political interactions. Not only are things faster, people don’t check things but express their outrage, anyway. We even talk about things from Arthur's activist past.

You can leave a comment (anyone's welcome—agree or disagree!). Or, you can ring the 2Political Comment line on 206-350-3982.
Links for this episode:
The Republicans Try and Reinvent Themselves - Jason’s blog post about this
REPORT: Partisanship And Diversity On The Sunday Shows In 9 Charts– Media Matters for America
Christianity As State Religion Supported By One-Third Of Americans, Poll Finds – Huffington Post
Religion isn’t the enemy – Arthur’s blog post
Arthur’s blog, podcasts and videos can be accessed here.

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Metro Breaks for Blossoms

That's what Metro has been telling riders for the past month. Weekend track work is being suspended for a month during the Cherry Blossom Festival. They've posted signs like the one below that say in part:

After fixing tracks, repairing escalators, improving platforms, upgrading communications, and more almost every weekend, we're taking a break so you can ride the Metro to the festival.

On the one hand, I'm glad Metro recognized what a mess they would have on their hands if they continued to do track work when the festival is on. All the additional trying to ride the Metro with track work going on would be a complete and total mess.

On the other hand, well I find the sign more than a little self-congratulatory and pompous, condescending and patronizing all at the same time.

First off the weekends when there hasn't been track work on one or more lines are few and far between. Most weekends all the lines are being worked on and sometimes in more than one place. The Rhode Island Ave stop was closed not once but twice in March. That's when buses replaced trains. Don't even get me started on that one.

If I could see some improvement in service, I might not mind it so much. But I have to say I rally haven't seen much improvement. The delays, on the weekends, are ridiculous. You need to at least double your travel time and if you have to transfer well you're in real trouble then. When Metro single tracks at a station (that is when trains going in both directions share a single track), there is  little, if any help, to riders to figure out which direction the train is going. This is especially true if people are not familiar with the system. 

The easiest thing to do would be to make an announcement when a train pulls into the station. It could go something like this: the train now pulling into the station is going to downtown Washington its final destination is Shady Grove. This would at least give people an idea if this is the train they should take. But that rarely if ever happens.

The final thing that really bothers me about this is weekend track work will continue for the next four to five years. As I've said before the Metro slogan should be "Expect delays." Because that's what weekend riders will have for the next four to five years.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Blossoms by Day

There are three cherry trees about a block from my house. Last Friday they only had buds. By Monday they had exploded into this. A look at them by day and in the next post a look at them by night.

It was just amazing how quickly the blossoms opened. Today you are starting to see leaves come out.

Blossoms by Night

The same three trees only from early this morning. Still night out. But still very impressive.

Charlie and Linus Play Plumber

I was in the bathroom the other day first Linus and then Charlie came in. They both decided to try and get something from the bathroom cabinet. There must have been something sticking out at the bottom of one of the doors. They both came in and well it looked like they were trying to fix the plumbing.

Linus tried for a while to get whatever was sticking out but failed. Then along came Charlie. He was more determined then Linus in getting this thing. But even Charlie gave it up. Then they both decided to chase each other around the house.

Oh to be a cat.

Linus tries his hand at getting at whatever it is.

Charlie comes along and tries too

Linus is over it.

Linus continues to be over it. While Charlie continues to try.