What the Puck is this statue?

Something just makes me want to smack the smile off this statue.

Puck, that annoying fairy of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, is a four-foot statue outside the Folger Shakespeare Library. He looks in mock horror at a fountain, but something tells me the little jerk is up to trouble.

Puck was known in Greek mythology as a prankster and treated not much better by The Bard in British literature. On the pedestal is the immortal line, “Lord, what fooles this mortals be.”

Whatever you little troublemaker.

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Wordless Wednesday: FBI style is called Brutalism – really

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The poet of New Spain

Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651-1695) was considered the poet of New Spain in the late 17th century when women were forbidden to read or write in her hometown just outside Mexico City.

Sister Juana was renowned for her theological knowledge. However, the Counter Reformation was growing and condemned her writings that made her “The Tenth Muse” in Spain. The move indeed silenced Sister Juana in 1993 rather than risk trial for heresy by the Spanish Inquisition.

The bronze statue atop a cement base is part of the Organization of American States grounds along Constitution Ave. and 17th St. N.W. It’s a version of one in Madrid, Spain.

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Flashback: Finding my own monumental tree

(Reprinted from Jan. 14, 2011)

I have a family member buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

I never knew him. Never knew of him until researching my family tree.

But, Fallas Broche, my maternal grandfather’s brother, is among the 330,000 buried in Arlington. About as far back as possible, a few rows from the stone wall bordering Fort Myer. It was a very long walk on a hot summer day, but I found him.

Fallas wasn’t a war hero. In fact, he was in his fourth week of boot camp when World War I ended. Two weeks later, Fallas was mustered out. Guess they didn’t need him so Fallas’ military career was a grand six weeks as part of the 24th artillery CAC, Battery D as a private. And no, it wasn’t a dishonorable discharge because I checked and he wouldn’t have been buried in Arlington.

The rules were certainly less restrictive when Fallas died in 1946 at age 50. Today he wouldn’t be interned there. But, it’s always an honor to know that one of my family rests with so many brave men and women.

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Wordless Wednesday: Mount Vernon slave quarters

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Flashback: Crossing the Wilson Bridge on foot

(Reprinted from my former blog – TheRickSniderReport.com on Jan. 9, 2011)

The new Wilson Bridge was the best billion dollars ever spent in my opinion. I smile every time I drive over it with no backup at all during rush hour. It’s just a joy after a generation of hour-long backups.

I’ve seen joggers and bikers on the trail of the inner loop side since its 2008 opening and said, “I’ve gotta do that.” And like most people, I didn’t.

But I did it last year when the weather was cool, perfect for a three-mile walk. My high school buddy Anthony Lee came with me.

Here’s the key for anyone who wants to trim a long walk – start on the Alexandria side. You’ll hear everyone talk about National Harbor on the Maryland side, but it’s a long, long ways from the bridge and you have to pay a king’s ransom to park.

(Click to keep going because lots of photos ahead)

Continue reading

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The Wharf is a gem

OK, it took me six months to see the new Wharf in Southwest, but what a fine place it has become under the new development.

The Anthem serves as the anchor of the waterfront project. It’s a nightclub of touring bands that aren’t popular enough to fill Capital One Arena. The rest is a collection of bars, restaurants and pricey shops plus the old Captain White’s outdoor seafood . Thankfully, there’s ample parking.

You can stroll the boardwalk area, even walk out onto the pier where there are benches. Maybe catch a boat ride. It’s damn civilized.

We ate lunch at Kirwin’s, an Irish pub. It is a gem. The steak and eggs was excellent, the Killian’s cold and the service fast and excellent. The price was even reasonable. It’s nice to find such a combination. I’ll eat there again.

The Wharf represents the many great changes around town in recent years. I always say my Washington is very different than my grandparents and it will be very different for my grandchildren. The Wharf is among the reasons it will be better.





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Dockside on The Wharf

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Men of science in Museum of the Bible

It would seem a strange sight at first. Men of science in the Museum of the Bible. But, the displays show the two are not incompatible.

Galileo is shown with his telescope. The 17th-century scientist is known for saying the sun was the center of the universe at a time when people believed Earth was the center. When church leaders challenged Galileo, he said the Bible tells “how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go.”

Sir Isaac Newton is known for his theories of gravity prompted by an apple hitting him in the head. The 18th-century physicist believed to know nature is the know God and that God provides order to the universe.

George Washington Carver was born into slavery in 1860, but grew to one of the 20th century’s leading botanists and inventors. He created more than 500 agricultural inventions and 300 uses for peanuts. Carver referred to his laboratory as “God’s little workshop.”

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Crowds bloom as cherry blossoms peak

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A different view from the water

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Cherry blossoms at dusk

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Walking through Lafayette Park

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Cherry blossoms hit peak bloom

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My favorite cherry blossom photo . . . so far

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Japanese Magnolias always underrated

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Best photo locations for cherry blossoms

The time of day you’re photographing cherry blossoms determines the best place to photograph them.

Many serious photographers arrive at dawn to avoid crowds and get that sunrise shot. The best spot is along the Tidal Basin by 15th St. SW and Independence Ave. SW across from the Holocaust Museum. The sun will be behind you and cast a glow on the water with the Thomas Jefferson Memorial as a backdrop.

If you’re coming more around 7 p.m. for sunset, go to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at Independence Ave. SW and West Basin Dr. SW. The sun will be behind you near the Lincoln Memorial so you can shoot eastward with the Thomas Jefferson Memorial or the Washington Monument as backdrops.

Any time of day, you can photograph around the King Memorial. It’s a good entrance way into the Tidal Basin and the oldest 50 trees that were part of the 1913 planting still remain to the left of King as you near the water. You can tell by their large girth. This is a good place to photograph King through the blossoms.

There are isolated pockets of cherry blossom trees throughout Washington, but you can’t beat the Tidal Basin when it’s in full bloom.

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Wordless Wednesday: Rev. Graham at the Museum of the Bible

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Personally, Japanese Magnolias > cherry blossoms

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Remembering Charles Davis at Arlington National Cemetery

It’s easy to miss things in Arlington National Cemetery. Most people want to see the changing of the guard and the eternal flame of John F. Kennedy’s grave. It’s already a long walk so they don’t see much else.

Those are great things to see, but the more you wander Arlington’s grounds the more you can appreciate what a special place it is. And so I spent a day in February walking Arlington, looking for things I hadn’t seen or not for awhile when I came across this gorgeous large black marble stone in section 7A not far from the Tombs of the Unknown and just down the row from heavyweight champion Joe Louis.

Charles W. Davis was a Congressional Medal of Honor winner for his heroics in the 1943 Battle of Mount Austin, the Galloping Horse and Sea Horse on the island of Guadalcanal. Davis volunteered to carry messages between companies under fire. Captain of the 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry division, he later led an attack. When his rifle jammed on its first shot, he took out his pistol and kept fighting. The daring move inspired others to follow in winning the battle. He was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Davis later served during the Korean and Vietnam wars and retired as a colonel. He died in 1991. His wife Joan died in 2013 while their son Pvt. John Broderick Davis died in 1984.

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