Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Metro Mayhem

Maybe mayhem is too strong of a work. But wow what a wonderful commute with the usual lack of pertinent information about what was going on. Is this what Safe Track will look like? If it is people are going to be pissed off big time.

There were two problems on the Red Line this morning:
Trains are sharing a track between the Grosvenor and Friendship Heights stations due to a track problem at the Medical Center stop. It is unknown how long the delays will last.

There is single-tracking between the Dupont Circle and Van Ness stops due to a track problem at the Woodley Park station.
And added to the fun and games was the fact that trains traveling north were skipping the Bethesda station. That was announced, Bethesda being closed, while I was waiting for a train at the Rhode Island Avenue stop. It wasn't mentioned again until the train I was on got to Friendship Heights, the stop before Bethesda.

If people wanted to get to Bethesda, they needed to go to the next station, Medical Center. Get off at that station and then take a south bound train and get off Bethesda that way.

Lots of people trying to get downtown at the Medical Center stop. Trains were sharing one track so that added to the confusion. Adding to the crowding was the delays caused by single tracking. It meant the trains coming into the Medical Center station were packed. And I mean packed. There was very little room for people to get on.

I waited for the second train to come. We'd been told by Metro employees that there would be two trains in a row coming into the station. I will say, at least at this stop, Metro did a good job of letting people know what was going on. There were plenty of announcements over the PA system. There were also employees on the platform letting people know what was going on. I do have one suggestion and that is they invest in some bull horns so more people can hear what they are saying.

The second train comes into the station. It is just as crowded as the first. I was up towards the front of the train so I decided to head to the back. I walked all the way to the end. Lucky for me there was an issue with closing the doors. I was able to find some space and hop on the last car.

In all it took almost two hours to get to work.

I have a feeling this is a taste of what is to come with the Safe Track plan. More on that in an upcoming post.

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Huge Flag on the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

When the students at Catholic University graduate, a huge flag is put out on Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It's on the clock tower.

The flag in the wind made for some really great pictures. This are from a week ago Sunday.

And yes that is the sun shinning.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Little Bit of Spring

There has been a random day or two where the sun has actually shined. Last Sunday was one of those days. I went out to lunch and along the way came across these wonderful flowers.

The irises were out in force.

Some very pretty petunias too.

Rain, Rain and More Rain

It rained so much and so hard yesterday it flattened the rose bush

I feel like I now know what living in Seattle must be like.

15 days in a row with rain. Cloudy most if not all days. It's a huge surprise when the sun actually comes out. It did for a day and half from Thursday afternoon to Friday.

But Friday night the clouds rolled in.

Rain most of Saturday morning. Then clouds for the rest of the day. This morning a cold and damp and over cast with a nice mist coming down.

Posts have been few and far between this past week. Lots of stuff going on which interfered with posting and the weather certainly didn't help.

I'm hoping to play catch up in the next couple of days. It will be mostly be fun stuff (political stuff will come later). Hopefully that will lift the perpetual gloom over DC.

This is considered bright

Monday, May 16, 2016

Saturday's Make Up Game

Saturday was the make up game for the one in April that was called because it was too cold and windy. The day started out nice enough. But then the rain came along and with that falling temperature. As the fans were leaving after the game was over the sun came out. Fitting since the Nats won the game.

It was however a little strange. The Nats scored three runs in the first on just one hit:
Marlins starter Justin Nicolino, meanwhile, experienced an inauspicious beginning to his afternoon when he walked Michael A. Taylor, Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper to start the first. Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman hit sacrifice flies to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead without a hit. Then Harper stole third, his sixth stolen base, equaling his total from his MVP season a year ago. Jayson Werth drove him home with a single through the left side for a 3-1 lead.
In the end the Nats won 6-4.

Here are a couple more pictures of Harper's trip around the bases.

His original walk

Harper moves to second.

Harper gets to third on a steal. That's his sixth stolen base this year as many as he had for all of last year.

For a while Jayson Werth has both of the Nats hits.

Harper comes home.

Strasburg on the Mound on Saturday

I had my new camera and used it to get some really great shots of Strasburg pitching.

Friday at Nats Park

 The rain had finally stopped. It was actually a really nice day and a great evening for baseball.

They were selling this great t-shirts to honor Max's 20 strike out night. Talk about working fast to get them ready for people to buy.
Shortly after Max Scherzer tied a major league record with 20 strikeouts on Wednesday, local T-shirt company BreakingT got to work on a couple of designs to commemorate the feat.

“The strikeouts are sexy, and that just makes it special, and the 20 really puts a stamp on it,” Scherzer said after the game.

The first part of that quote, with 20 forward and backward Ks signaling each of Scherzer’s punch-outs, now appears on an MLBA-licensed T-shirt that will be available at the Nationals team store at Nationals Park beginning Friday.

The game was going pretty well for the Nats until the 5th inning when an error and a couple other miscues allowed the Marlins to get on the board.

From the Post:
The Nationals dug themselves an early deficit thanks to some poor defense and tough luck. The main culprit for the miscues: Daniel Murphy, who, until now, had masked his defensive reputation with the hottest bat in baseball.

But the fifth inning started with Gio Gonzalez walking Marcell Ozuna. Gonzalez got Chris Johnson to roll over a pitch, producing a perfect double-play ball. But Murphy couldn’t make the play, putting two runners on before matters got worse. With one out, Miguel Rojas hit a groundball to Murphy, who made a late throw to first base after a bobble.

Gonzalez and Ryan Zimmerman both covered first, though each was a step late. Murphy’s throw sailed past them and by the time Zimmerman tracked it down near the dugout it was 2-0.

“I have to do my job in getting over,” Gonzalez said. “That’s definitely on me.”
 But things got better from there.

Stephen Drew Ties the Game

The Nats had run into problems. An error and some bad luck had them down 2-0. Then Drew comes to the plate:
“Just trying not to overswing, to just stay loose and be ready,” said Drew, a former everyday player still getting accustomed to a bench role and pinch-hitting. “As of late, I’ve gotten better at it. I try not to take too many swings in the cage, just be ready throughout the game. But also you want to be able to have that good feel when you go up to bat, like you’ve already had three or four at-bats in your mind.”

Harper Homers the Nats to a Lead.

After Drew's two run home run tied the game in the 6th, along came Harper:
The moment Kyle Barraclough saw Bryce Harper make contact, he hopped on the mound, looked down and let out a yell. The ball sailed into the first deck in right field, a two-run home run in the seventh inning that propelled the Washington Nationals to a 5-3 win. The Miami Marlins chose to pitch to Harper with the game on the line and paid dearly.

Miami pitched around Harper in his first two plate appearances. In his third at-bat, he poked a single through the infield. His fourth trip changed the game.

When Anthony Rendon walked to lead off the seventh, Marlins Manager Don Mattingly, with no left-handers in his bullpen, had to stick with the hard-throwing Barraclough, who tried to sneak a 3-2 slider past Harper. Instead, the pitch spun over the plate and Harper pounced.

It was another of those as soon as he hit it you knew it was out of the park home runs.

To see the deal:
 In the eighth, [Chris] Heisey also went deep as a pinch hitter — the third time he has done so this season. The Nationals have six pinch-hit home runs in 35 games; they had five all of last season. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Amazing David McCullough at the Kalb Report

One of my favorite authors, David McCullough, was the final guest of the Kalb Report this season. It was in the morning and not in the usual room at the National Press Club. It was much smaller and a much more intimate setting. 

Here are a few of things he talked about during the interview:

History is not facts. History is a story. If you say the king died. Then the queen died. Those are facts. If you say the king died. Then the queen died from a broken heart that’s a story.

Always have to remember when writing that the people you write about don’t know how the story ends. He pointed how how different World War II would have been by pointing out the following. If the assassination attempt on Roosevelt in February of 1993 had been successful. Churchill was hit by a taxi in 1932 supposed he'd died from that. The outcome of the war could have been much different.

He's interested in people that have been knocked down by life but then get back up and carry on. Or not being afraid to be themselves no matter what might happen. Truman appointing Marshall as secretary of defense. A member of Truman's staff said people will say Marshall should be president. Truman agreed. But Truman wanted the best man for the job; it didn't matter what people said about him. What was important was getting the job done.

Interested in writing about people that have faced conflict in life. What makes things interesting is the dark or mistakes people have made. McCullough paints and said that if he painted Marvin he would balance out Marvin’s face with a shadow behind it. Because you can’t have the light without the dark. He added with painting you don’t think about other things only about painting. It’s a way to block out the rest of the world.

Churchill asked Eisenhower if he had any sort of hobby. Eisenhower said no. Churchill responded that the burden of command will overwhelm you. So you need to take up a hobby. Eisenhower took up painting. McCullough pointed out that Eisenhower never was as good as Churchill at painting, But Eisenhower painted for the rest of his life.

He was asked his thoughts on Trump comparing himself to Truman. McCullough said he could send several hours talking about that. My impression was he would be refuting that comparison.

People he writes about have had some hard knocks in their lives. But they have compassion and empathy with people. Also he thinks that there should be more about women. He talked about how important Abigail Adams was. Also the sister of the Wright brothers. In McCullough estimation flight would not have happened without her.

I asked him why so little is taught about the Wright brothers. McCullough said because all they are teaching is the facts not the story. The Wright brothers and what they did changed the entire world. That's how important their contribution is to the world we live in today.

Thinks it would be interesting to write a book on John Quincy Adams time in the House and his fight against slavery.

The final story McCullough told us was this. He was on the way to a meeting one morning. He got stuck in traffic by Sheridan Circle. Traffic came to a complete stop. McCullough looked at the statue of Phil Sheridan with, he added, the obligatory pigeon on top of his head. He wondered how many people knew who that even was. Or what he had accomplished. It made McCullough very sad. Then all of a sudden Rhapsody in Blue came on the radio. And he was transported and lifted to another place. It was if he was no longer stuck in traffic. He marveled at how important architecture, painting and music are in our lives. That somehow they don't end up in the history books. He wasn't saying Sheridan should be taken out of the history books. He was saying Gershwin needed to added to them.

It was just an amazing event.

Pictures of the book signing after the talk.