Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More from Lucy on Charlie Brown's Faults

A continuation of one of the funniest series of strips in Peanuts.

Buyer and Cellar

What a great show. Can’t remember when I’ve laughed so much at a play. Here’s the set up of the play:

Among the first things the actor Michael Urie admits as he addresses the audience at the start of Jonathan Tolins’s Buyer & Cellar is that the premise of the 90-minute one-man play is “preposterous”: “What I’m going to tell you could not possibly have happened with a person as famous, talented, and litigious as Barbra Streisand.”

I hope that stipulation is sufficient to keep the lawyers at bay, because the story that follows is too hilarious, and oddly loving, to shut down. In it, Urie plays all of the characters, starting with a fictional out-of-work actor named Alex More who is hired to staff the underground mall of quaint shops that Streisand has built (really — this part’s true) beneath a barn on her Malibu estate. Mostly he just waits there, in period costume, dusting and sorting and, in frequent asides, arguing with his boyfriend, Barry, about the legend of Poor Barbra: the girl who grew up with nothing nice but emerged as the woman nothing could ever be nice enough for. To Barry, Streisand is the apotheosis of revenge-entitlement gone wild, and the proof is not just in her private shopping center but in her determination to star as “Grandma Rose” in a remake of Gypsy (also, God help us, true). “I hear they’re developing new technology to photograph Barbra via ultrasound through seven layers of Sheetrock,” Barry says.

Urie also adds that he is not going to try and do an impression of Streisand in the play. There are plenty of people who do her really well some of them are actually women. But as the play progresses the impression starts to grow or I should say the over playing of Streisand grows into an extremely funny stereotype of her.

This is part of a review that I think does a great job of summing up the show:
This is one of those productions that remind you why you love theatre. Because it is live magic performed without a net. This is something that could NEVER be made into a film. It is too pure for that. This is an evening of rabbits being pulled out of a hat. You watch it being done over and over, and yet you cannot put your finger on exactly happens. You only know that it does and you are one of the people fortunate enough to see it.

This from the New York Times:
The play could be called inconsequential, ultimately amounting to little more than the anti-aspirational message that who we are is more important than what we acquire. But as a reflection on all of us “struggling to make a perfect little world to fit our life into” it’s a seriously funny and remarkably sustained slice of absurdist whimsy on which both Barbra lovers and haters will be sold.

Here’s link to Playbill with a short clip of the show.

So much fun for a Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How Much is the Doggie in the Window

Went past this pet store near the Barrow Street Theater where we saw Buyer and Cellar (more about that later).

These guys had so much energy and were having such fun. everyone stopped and took a look at them. They were whirling balls of fur.

Times Square Readies for the Super Bowl

Times Square was getting ready for the Super Bowl in a really big way. There was construction going on as we were walking around on Sunday. And I'm talking about Sunday night. I'm assuming it continued into the night until it was finished.

There was a really cool count down clock on one of the video screens in the square. Christian and I waited and waited for it to come back up again. When we first notice the clock, it seemed to stay on the screen for a while. But of course it disappeared just as we were getting ready to take a picture of it. Then we waited for it to come back up. And we waited for a while for it. It took a little while but finally got a picture of it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Taking in a Movie

I took today off after the trip to New York. Went to the zoo this morning. I'd hope to see the new panda cub, Bao Bao, but she stayed in her den.

I'll post pictures of my visit. 

I decided to see a movie too. I'm seeing Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. I'm the only one in the theater so far with about ten minutes until the movie starts. 

Pretty cool. 

A quick P.S. to this. In the end four people showed up just as the previews started.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Great New York Bakery

Another trip up to New York. Passed this great backery with these in the window. 

A Sunday Smile in All the Cold

Well it's still cold. Who'd a thunk it. But then again it is winter. But it is still soooooooo cold. A brief warm up for a day or so and then right back into the deep freeze.

To warm your inside if not your outside here's more from Peanuts. Lucy continues to tell Charlie Brown about all his faults.

Enjoy and stay warm.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Bridge to Nowhere

I guess a traffic jam to nowhere is more appropriate. I haven’t posted anything on the Chris Christie imbroglio because well it just makes no sense to me. How would causing a traffic jam get people angry at the mayor of a town near where the traffic jam took place? How is this punishing this mayor? It just makes no sense.

If there are problems on the Metro I’m not going to end up blaming the mayor of DC. No I’m going to blame the people who run Metro (which by my previous post people know I have no problems of venting about). I’m not going to think badly of the DC mayor. I’m going to think badly of the guys running Metro.

So what exactly was the point of this. And how small and petty and stupid this all is. As if people would not somehow find out what was going on and what they did. Also why was it necessary to punish this recalcitrant mayor. This guy who wouldn’t support Christie for re-election. It’s not like the race was close. Christie won by over 20 points. Thus the “punishment” was completely unnecessary. And that to me is the dumbest thing of all; there was no reason for this to be done at all.

And now all sorts of other charges coming out of the wood work. It’s too early to tell if this finishes Christie off as some on the left have said it does. I will say the evening talk shows on MSNBC are just wall to wall about this. Some of the coverage is just a little over the top. Their speculation on very few facts is just running wild. It is just possible that Christie didn’t know what was going on. However that’s a problem too with his take charge persona. The question then to be asked why didn’t he know this was going on in his office.

Other pundits don’t see this yet as a huge problem for Christie (no pun intended). They don’t see how, if Christie runs for president, people will remember this in a year and a half in Iowa or New Hampshire. I think, if this is the only thing that Christie has to deal with, then come primary time he will be fine. But if there are more of these (and they seem to be coming out of the woodwork now) he will have a perception problem. If the stories of intimidation of mayors to support projects turn out to be true then the bully label will start to take hold in people’s mind. People may not be able to point to a specific event but they will get an overall impression. And that won’t be a good one.

People want someone to fight for them. To shake things up and get things working for them. To get things done. A take charge kind of guy. These have been Christie’s strong points. But there is a thin line between the above things and intimidating people and bullying them to get your way. That people don’t and won’t like.

Friday, January 24, 2014

More Smiles to Keep the Cold Away

Wow is it cold or what. It seems the deep freeze is going to be blasting away at us for awhile.

A smile can help keep the cold away. It at least gets your face to move.

Here is the start of an hysterical series in Peanuts where Lucy illuminates for Charlie Brown all of his faults.

Enjoy and stay warm.

When Snow Falls

I went out twice during Tuesday’s snow to shovel my sidewalk and clear off my car. I went out around 6 and then again around 10. I did so the second time because I knew I was leaving early for work the next morning and wouldn’t have time to do it in the morning. The other reason was Tuesday night was going to be much warmer than Wednesday morning.

A couple other people were out with me at 6. I helped clear their car off. When I was out at 10, I was the only one out. The snow was very easy to shovel. It was very light and fluffy. All you had to do was push the shovel down the side walk. It took next to no effort at all. I did more than my part of the sidewalk. I figured I could spend an extra ten minutes or so clearing the area. After all I would need to walk that same sidewalk the next morning to get to the subway to get to work.

I also cleaned off my car again.

I got up the next morning and headed out early. Here’s what I noticed on my walk to the subway. The majority of people had done some shoveling on the sidewalk. There was of course that no man land area between the end of the last house and the intersection which was untouched. That called for a quick detour into the street to get around that. Some cars were cleared off but not all. But it was still early. I set out a little before 6 so there was time for people to do something with their cars.

As to the cars actually being driven, some of them had been cleared and others well hardly at all. I have never understood why someone does not completely clear or as completely as possible clear off their car. You see people that clear just enough room for them to see out their side of the front windshield and just enough in the back to see out the back window. The hood of the car covered in snow. The top of the car covered in snow. The trunk covered in snow. All of that snow ready to fly off and land on the car behind. Posing a potential hazard to the car behind. All you would have to do is take an additional five minutes to clear off the car. That’s what I do. I can’t get all of the snow off the roof of the car but I try my best.

I remember in the big snow a few years back all sorts of cars were like this. Snow blowing off and hitting the car behind. Then at one intersection this SUV had to stop suddenly. The roof of the car must have had at least 5 or 6 inches of snow on it. For a change instead of falling off the back of the car, it fell forward on to the front windshield. It completely covered it. The driver could not see out at all. He got out and was less pleased at all. It took a great deal of effort on my part not to start laughing at the guy.

All I could think was served him right. And that’s why you clean your whole car off when snow falls.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Keeping the Cold Away with a Smile

It is still cold in DC. People are struggling to get back to normal. That's hard to do when it is this cold. It's better than yesterday; temperatures will at least be in double digits for most of the day. The big problem will be places where the snow melted yesterday from the sun and then froze when night came.

It should be an interesting walk to the Metro this morning because of that and also not everyone shoveled their sidewalk.

Because of all that I think a smile is in order to get through the day.

Here it is.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another Cold One

The view outside my front door last night.

Polar Vortex part two. Well not exactly. There was some snow. Lots and lots and lots of cancellations even before a flake fell. The reason was not to repeat a huge disaster from a few years ago.

Similar circumstances. Snow was supposed to hit the area but not start until mid to late morning. Most everything was open most importantly the federal government. Then as the weather got worse schools started closing early. Then the federal government closed and traffic hell broke out. It took people hours upon hours to get home. A commute of an hour turned into a six hour commute. The reason was a snow crews were gearing up to plow the roads there were all sorts of people on the roads due to the early closings. Disaster to say the least.

This time around schools, the federal and district governments just closed for the day. I went to work. Not a bad commute at all. In fact it went really well because so many people were at home. Getting back home I had no problems. I left work around 1. No problems walking to the subway and not problems walking from the subway to home. In fact I think I could have stayed another hour and still gotten home easily.

Around my house the roads had some snow on them but there were spots where it still hadn’t stuck. Finally around 3 things started to pile up. I went out around 5:30 and cleared off my car and shoveled the walk. The TV weather people had said that by 7 most of the snow should stop. I looked out around 9 and the snow was still coming down. Finally around 10 it stopped. I went out and shoveled again. I figured it was going to be warmer out at that time then it was supposed to be for all of Wednesday. Better to get it done and out of the way. I also had decided to get into work early so I didn’t want to get up at the crack of dawn and shovel.

Turns out to have been a very good idea. Very little snow fell after I shoveled. And it was cold and windy. It’s nice when things work out the way you planned them.

This morning the sidewalks were not bad walking to the Metro. It was cold but the wind was not bad. Well it wasn’t bad until I was waiting for a train on the Rhode Island Avenue platform. The platform is about 30 feet above the ground and when the wind comes up there’s very little to block it. There were delays because of some sort of an electrical problem at one station. Another station had to off load a train due to some problem with it. So there were delays in both directions. Finally along came a train and I hoped on. I warmed up pretty quickly except for my feet.

There’s supposed to be a few more days of below freezing temperatures which means what snow we have won’t melt all that fast. What does melt from the sun will re-freeze at night so the next couple of days may be a little difficult.

The view outside my office window this morning.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Yesterday's Sunset

Here's the view from the back window of my house yesterday as the sun set.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Construction at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center

Construction at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center is now in high gear. Also the Brookland Middle School construction is going well too. I went by today and took some pictures.

The construction on the center began last fall. I don't know the time frame when all this will be done. Seems to me the rec center will be done first. I assume they want to get the baseball fields ready for the spring.

Here are some pictures.

This is the construction going on the rec center's fields

Here's the construction of the school.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Charlies and Linus have a New Toy

A friend gave me this because it scared his two cats. As you can see, Charlie and Linus love it. It's called the Cat's Meow. Here's the description from the manufacturer:

The Cat's Meow is an irresistible toy that fulfills your cat's natural instinct to pounce and prey. Its ingenious design features a durable rip stop nylon cover, concealing a hidden peek-a-boo "mouse" which skitters around and around. Designed with your cat's needs in mind, this toy randomly switches directions and speeds for endless hours of activity and entertainment.

Here's a picture of what it looks like.

And here are Charlie and Linus going after it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Something to Smile About

After the last dark post I thought I needed to lift that a little. What better way then to post something from Peanuts. Sure to always bring a smile to your face. Here Lucy orders up a bunch of good days.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tragedy on Metro

I have to say this has never happened while I’ve been riding on Metro and I hope that it never happens again.

To set the stage I’m in the middle of the car in a seat very close to the door. Here’s the story.
It’s last Wednesday and I’m on way home from work on Metro.

In the tunnel between Judiciary Square and Union Station the train I’m on stops. It does the usual move forward and stop. The train was very crowded because it was rush hour.

 A Guy standing near the doors fell (I didn’t process that he had fallen to the floor). First thought I had was he had not hung on to anything when the train had lurched forward and stopped. Then I realized he had been hanging on. The next thought that came to mind was that he fainted. Then I realized it was much more serious than that. In the back of my mind I think I knew something really bad had happened to the guy.

People reacted quickly. Calls to give the guy some room so he can breath. People thinking he had fainted (like I did). Then people tried to get the attention of people at either end of the train (that’s where the intercoms, to contact the train operator, are in the cars at either end of them) to let the operator know that someone was down. Of course sense it was rush hour and the car was very crowded it took a little while to get people’s attention and get them to understand something was going on in the middle of the car.

People looked for a intercom where we were sitting. Someone reached to pull down the emergency door opening mechanism (thinking it was an intercom). I told them not to do that; that it wasn’t an intercom but the emergency release for the doors. I had to say that a couple of times. But that person finally stopped trying to pull that (I was concerned that if it was pulled and the doors were opened the car wouldn’t move into Union Station complicating the attempt to get help.) A woman near me got hysterical saying that why wasn’t there an intercom nearby. Eventually she calmed down.

Another woman said very loudly “we have a man down here. Let the driver know.”

More people said give the guy some room. People asked if anyone knew CPR. A couple people came forward to help out. A guy said he couldn’t feel a pulse. Renewed calls to let the train operator know what was going on.

We finally get into Union Station. Someone gets off the car and heads up toward the operator to let them know what was going on. A woman pulled out her cell phone and dialed 911. She said there was a man down and didn’t seem to be breathing. I believe she said he didn’t have a pulse too.She stayed on the phone and gave information on where we were. She stayed on the phone until someon from Metro showed up.

I was able to get a look at the guy. He was not moving and looked bad. I thought again this is not good at all.

Things now began to move quickly. Someone showed up from Metro. He seemed to have some medical knowledge and was carrying a pack of some kind. (I later found out that a defibrillator was used on the man). He radioed for additional help. He took over CPR. Then Metro employees were at the ends of the car telling everyone to get out. The rest of the train had been off loaded too. They then closed all the doors to all of the cars except the one where they were working on the guy.

They continued to work on him. Paramedics then arrived.

All trains were running on the opposite track. The platform got very crowded. The trains coming into the station were crowded too.

Metro did an excellent job in controlling the situation. They blocked off all platform access to the car where the man was being worked on. They had employees on the platform telling people trains were single tracking. Telling people which side of the platform trains were running on. They also kept people back from the barriers around the car where the paramedics were working. There were also announcements over the loud speaker system telling people what was going on. Also when a train pulled into the station, they announced what direction it was going in.

I waited around for a train since the first couple were so crowded. Then I decided I would wait a little while longer to see if they brought the guy out. I was hoping he might be conscious or at least responsive in some way. He was not. I thought well he probably is not going to make it.

I talked to a woman who’d been on the train. She say the guy being taken out by the paramedics (they was someone still doing CPR on him). We both thought it looked pretty bad. Finally a train came along that I could get on and I headed home. Not the evening commute you usually think of.

If there is any consolation from this, it is that people did not just stand around. People reacted immediately to get help for this guy. People stepped forward to help out. Once we got into Union Station and the doors had opened people went to get help. And Metro’s response was fantastic. It’s just too bad there wasn’t a happier ending.

I found out the next day that he died from a story in the Washington Post.

In all likelihood the guy was dead by the time he hit the floor. So I literally got to see a man drop dead. I hope I never have to see that again.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

I Survived the Polar Vortex

It sounds a little more dramatic then it really is.

One thing I was concerned about was that my pipes might freeze. Well not really concerned but I thought I could take a couple of steps to make sure nothing would happen to them. Better to be safe then sorry.

I was most concerned about the wash tub that is in my basement. It is very close to the basement door. I decided to do a little winterizing. I got a bunch of towels and put them on the floor by the door’s threshold. I then got a blanket and covered the door and the window by it (it’s actually frosted glass blocks to allow some light into the basement). Then I put towels above the blanket to block the air coming in from the top of the door. The final step was to turn on the faucet in the wash tub a little and let it run for the night.

I came down in the morning and everything was fine. I turned off the water but kept everything else as it was. I think I will probably take it down tomorrow when I get home from work.

This morning was the layeraton to make sure I would not freeze when I walk to the Metro. I started off with tow pairs of socks for my feet and my heavy work boots. I brough along my regular shoes to change into once I got to work. I’d hope to find something to wear under my jeans but really didn’t find anything that would fit right. I ended up settling on a pair of boxers.

As for my torso, it had many layers. I started out with a heavy undershirt. Then a heavier than normal shirt. Next was a sweater. After that I put on a hoodie. From there a scarf around my neck. On my head a regular knit hat. Then one of those three quarter skii mask (not entirely sure what they are called) where the area around your mouth and nose is open. On went the hood. On went the winter coat. On went my second scarf to wrap around the area not covered by the mask.

Off I set for work. I decided to go early to avoid crowds. I figured people might be leaving later so as to be going to work when the sun was up. Also if there were any delays on the Metro it would not be over flowing with people. There was a problem at Brookland with a crakced rail. I’d thought of walking to that stop because the platform isn’t as high off the ground as the one at Rhode Island Avenue is.

No such luck. I had an uneventful walk to Rhode Island Ave. It wasn’t all that bad when the wind didn’t blow. But when it did blow WOW it was cold. Got to the station. Only had to wait like three minutes for a train and off I went. The walk from Metro to work was fine. Stopped off at the Starbucks on the way (for a change there was no line) to warm up and get something to eat.

The commute home was really no problem. Yes, it was cold but there was little or no wind and that made all the difference.

Here I am at work getting ready to head out to home.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Cold, Cold COLD!!!

Did I say it was going to get cold. Well it is.

Here's what the overnight looks like in DC.

So it will be cold here. Very cold for here. Unseasonably cold for here. Like really fricking cold. And the wind will make it feel even colder.

But and yes there is a but this is going to last for about a day. By Wednesday mid morning it will be in the low 20s. By Wednesday afternoon it will in about 30. So there is need to be careful in the next day and a half. Dress warmly. Take care to make sure your pipes don't freeze like running water over night. Make sure your pets are inside.

But people by Wednesday it will be pretty much fine. No need to raid the stores. Oh wait I forgot this is Washington, DC. Raid the stores people raid the stores.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

More from the First Snow

Here are a few more shots from the first snow in DC.

This coming week DC will be going into the deep freeze. A low in single digits which is cold for DC. I think I'd rather have the snow.