Friday, June 11, 2004

OUT AND ABOUT: Preparing for a Road Race on the Reagan Processional Route

As I've mentioned, because of Reagan-relation road closures, I walked to the Red Line this morning instead of taking my chances with the bus system. I walked along the Massachusetts Avenue processional route from the Cathedral to Dupont Circle. Every 10 yards or so was a security official, keeping the crowds away from the street. The crowds where the largest at Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues and at the intersection of Massachusetts and Florida avenues at 22nd and Q streets. At that intersection, people piled into the landscaping of the Tomas Masaryk statue.

I walked partially to see how many people were lined up along the route and also to get some exercise. Tomorrow, I'm running in the D.C. Urban Challenge, which is part road race, part scavenger hunt, part urban-orienteering exercise and part endurance test. I placed 13th last year in the D.C. qualifier out of 200-some teams. This year, I hope to do better. But I may have screwed my chances. Last night, a French friend of mine received a care package from home with a giant tin of foie gras and invited me over to devour it. Since goose liver pate probably has as much cholesterol as the first five minutes of "Supersize Me," on my walk home last night, I could feel the delicacy coating my stomach and innards. Walking down Massachusetts Avenue toward town this morning, I felt the remnants moving through my system. Not the best preparation for a road race, but oh well.

So walking half way to work was the next best thing for preparation. While the vast majority of those on the processional route were supporters, many with signs singing the praises of the 40th president, there were a few contrarians out there. At the corner of Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues was a group of people with an odd assortment of signs that raised the ire of the Reagan wellwishers. One sign with a United Kingdom Union Jack read: "FAG Flag." Further down near the Brazilian ambassador's residence was a group walking up Massachusetts Avenue carrying anti-Reagan signs, one reading "Remember Reagan's victims." Of course, that stretch of the route was not crowded with people, so the protesters moved up that portion of the route with very little opposition, besides some passive aggressive glares and scowls.

And not everyone got the day off. Workers at the Cote d'Ivoire embassy construction site were banging away on the unfinished structure. Meanwhile, down the way at Sheridan Circle, workers constructing the Greek Embassy annex were sitting watching the mini-motorcades with foreign dignitaries, Congressional leaders, etc., go up toward the Cathedral. Most of the workers looked like they were taking a morning siesta and didn't plan on getting much work done today. Perhaps they're following the example of their counterparts in metropolitan Athens frantically trying to finish Olympic venues for the Summer Games.

STATE FUNERAL: Closures To and From the Next Stop on the Via Sacra

In case you are working Friday ... I'm about to head into work ... here is the motorcade route and related closures from the Capitol to the National Cathedral.

Independence Avenue to Massachusetts Avenue via 17th and 22nd streets. Massachusetts to Wisconsin to the Cathedral.

Around the Cathedral, streets between Idaho and Massachusetts avenues and 34th and Macomb streets will be closed. This is all just a five minute walk from my front door. I'm assuming that my bus won't be running or at least massively delayed, so to get to work this morning, I'm about to walk to Connecticut Avenue.

More information:
"Major Roads to Be Closed for Procession" [The Washington Post]

Thursday, June 10, 2004


My friends will often poke fun at me for carrying around a notebook, but this morning was one morning I was without one and wish I had one. With thousands of people heading toward the Capitol today for the public viewing of President Reagan's flag-draped coffin, I was bound to run into people who were Rotunda-bound on the subway.

With all the talk of Reagan's legacy, leadership, character, etc. this week, it has been rare to hear people question Reagan's legacy out in the open. This morning on the subway, a child who could not have been older than five years old, asked who I assumed to be his mother why people didn't like the late president. It was odd for such a young child to question the conventional wisdom so bluntly.

While I didn't have my notebook handy to take down direct quotes, I do remember some of the conversation.

"Well, some people didn't like him because he wasn't nice to some people, like those who don't have money." He also gave guns to "some bad people far away and some other people found out and were angry."

The mother tried her best to water-down and summarize the contrarian viewpoint of the Reagan administration.

But to no avail, she had crossed the line for one father riding the subway. As the train pulled into Judiciary Square, a middle-aged man with a salt and pepper beard and an "Ohio for Bush" t-shirt, with teenage son in tow, scolded the woman for feeding the child "misinformation." His son was silent. Though I don't exactly remember what the man said next, it was something like 'You're what's wrong with this country.'

The woman was shocked, caught off guard. She was instantly quieted. The man scowled some more and then calmed down by the time the train pulled into Union Station. C'est la vie, vox populi.

While I remember Reagan growing up, all my memories of his administration are simple television images, and not enough to make personal blanket analysis of his leadership in the 1980s. But it is heartwarming on certain levels to see the outpouring of love and admiration, even if there are many out there who are treading dangerously close to idol worship.

By tomorrow morning, the Rotunda viewing will be closed and thousands, upon thousands will have seen the closed casket. In television reports today, I've heard one phrase over and over: People "from all walks of life" have paid their respects.

But did you think that people would show up drunk to the Capitol to pay their respects? Yes indeed. Roll Call this afternoon in its Rotunda viewing overview quoted one girl in a tight-fitting dress who said she arrived at the Capitol drunk after a late night at Wet, the male gay strip club in Southeast.

More information:
"Goodbye to the Gipper" [Roll Call]
"Thousands Make Pilgrimage to Capitol" [The Washington Post]

ON THE STREETS: Numbers of Homeless Up Says Council of Governments

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has released a study of the area's homeless population. And the numbers have increased since the survey was conducted last year. As with all surveys, the analysis can be confusing. In this case, differences are made between the varied forms of homelessness.

From the MWCOG:
COG’s enumeration project provides a “snapshot” of the homeless people who come into contact with service providers on a single day, and is not intended as a scientific count of the population trend over time. For the first time, it counted the number of people who are housed permanently in shelters or other supportive housing because they are unable to support themselves independently due to extreme poverty and serious mental or psychological disabilities. On January 21, 2004, there were 3,151 “permanently supported homeless” who have reached a stable housing setting that represents part of the overall solution to homelessness. Increasing the number of available permanent supportive housing units would in turn decrease the number of those who are “literally homeless,” with either no shelter at all or temporary housing only. Of the total count for 2004, 11,386 people were literally homeless.

ANIMAL WORLD: Lots of Puppy Abuse

The Washington Post's Animal Watch has some depressing items in about puppy abuse. In one, the Humane Society found that a veterinarian was mistreating a personal dog. In another case, a man on B Street Southeast who was alleged to have been abusing his pit bull puppy said that he had gotten rid of the creature, but "did not explain how."

STATE FUNERAL: Friday Closings for Cathedral Service; Will the Potholes Go Away?

The Washington Post reports this morning that roads could be closed around the Capitol today for Regean-related activities. Additionally, it seems that the procession from the Capitol to the National Cathedral has been sketched out:

Constitution Avenue to Rock Creek Parkway to Massachusetts Avenue to Wisconsin Avenue. So does that mean that the massive potholes on Waterside Drive, the roadway linking Rock Creek Parkway and Massachusetts Avenue will be filled as to not jostle about the funeral procession? Downtown-bound commuters from west of the park would certainly hope so.

So what was up with Wednesday's route from Andrews Air Force Base to Constitution Avenue? Commenters on DCSOB were wondering about the odd route which took the casket from Andrews Air Force base to D.C. via Suitland Parkway, the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, the 14th Street Bridge, the George Washington Parkway, Memorial Bridge to Constitution Avenue. Obviously, the most direct route to the 1600 block of Constitution Avenue Northwest (where the casket was loaded onto a horse-drawn caisson) would have been to exit at Maine Avenue to Independence Avenue to 17th Street to Constitution.

My hypothesis: Great, ceremonial and historic images of the procession crossing the Memorial Bridge and going by the Lincoln Memorial. After all, the Memorial Bridge was built to be a ceremonial and symbolic link between the city's monumental core and the country's most hallowed national cemetery. (This may have been explained during the live coverage of the procession, but I was working at the time and my back was to the office television set.)

FALSE ALARMS: Thousands Flee Capitol After Warning of Imminent Attack; Ky. Gov. to Blame

Roughly two hours before the arrival of the late President Ronald Reagan's coffin at the Capitol, thousands of staffers and Members inside the Capitol complex made a mad dash for dear life after Capitol Police told everyone to leave the complex as soon as humanly possible.

My sources on Capitol Hill indicate that the sudden warning to evacuate was much scarier than the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as the notice to leave was so dramatic and immediate that people were under the impression that a plane was within three minutes of striking Capitol Hill ... or in one case, as one cop said, the "plane's comin' right now!" So people ran as far away as possible, some, apparently as far as Eastern Market. Overall, it was chaos. One person told me that there were police officers tripping on their way out while telling others to run.

Meanwhile, Judy Woodruff reported on CNN that when Capitol security officials told her to take her shoes off and run, she knew something "was wrong." It was sort of an odd and awkward instant analysis, but you get the point.

So what happens to Congressional pets when there is an immeidate threat of a plane full of jet fuel dive bombing the Rotunda? In one case that I heard, one Member's dog was too fat to scamper off, it was carried by a trusted aide.

So what caused all the chaos?

From The Washington Post's John Mintz and Spencer S. Hsu:
F-16 fighter jets and Black Hawk helicopters were sent to intercept the errant twin-engine turboprop plane. It turned out to be a Kentucky State Police aircraft ferrying newly elected Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R), a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, to Washington for Reagan's funeral.

That's right, the transponder of the governor's plane was broken, which freaked out Federal Aviation Administration monitors in Herndon, Va.

More information:
"Capitol Cleared Over Errant Small Plane" [The Washington Post]
"Capitol building briefly evacuated hours before Reagan honors" [Louisville Courier-Journal via AP]

"New York Police Say E-Mail on Subway Attack Is Hoax" [Reuters]
"'Al-Qaeda' threat to US airlines" [BBC]

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

TELEVISION: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil or Just Plain-Old Dupont Circle?

While it is well known that Comedy Central's "Daily Show" has mastered the art of the fake news live shot, you have to wonder what was going through their minds with Wednesday night's "live shot."

Steven Colbert, as the show's "senior summit analyst" was doing a fake live shot from Savannah, Ga., covering the G-8 summit on the sort-of-nearby and secluded Sea Island. Colbert was supposed to be in Savannah in what appeared to be a non-descript strip of older commercial buildings. Could it have been Savannah's 19th century-era Bay Street? Maybe it was the Cotton Exchange?

Nope. Colbert was standing in front of Dupont Circle's Kramer Books. He was exactly at Q Street and Connecticut Avenue above the Dupont Circle underpass.

While the show's host, Jon Stewart, will often quietly snicker at the ridiculousness of the fake live shot, his comment about "Savannah" was interesting. After hearing what was actually a car shooting through the underpass at Henri Paul-like speeds, Stewart commented on the sound of the "ocean."

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

LUNCH BUZZ: Where Are the Best Cafeterias?

Tired of being extorted at your favorite Asian pay-per-pound lunch buffet? Are the kids at Union Station getting on your nerves or stepping on your feet? Is the crew at your local Cosi a little too chipper about their flatbread? Where can you eat in peace and at good prices? Listen up.

The eGullet dining forum lends its expertise on the best office cafeterias in town.

Can anyone eat at the National Geographic cafeteria? Yes, just get a subscription.

From "babka" via eGullet:
... [J]ust subscribe to the magazine. They'll send you a membership card, and that will get you into the cafeteria every day that you'd like. The food is cheap enough that the membership will pay for itself, if you eat out a couple times a week, though I actually like the magazine itself. And the food and atmosphere is much better than the the [National Education Association] 'atrium': there's a little half-garden outside with real sunlight and some decent bbq whenever the moon turns blue. Plus eavesdropping on gossipy NG employees is much more fun than doing so on NEA folks.

What about the rumors that the Department of Energy has the best cafeteria food in the executive branch. Not so, says "laniloa":
... Sorry I don't have a link to the article but I see it hanging in the Dept. of Commerce cafeteria! It lists Dept. of State as No 1 and Commerce as No 2 and had Labor pretty low. Any Federal employee can gain access to the Commerce building and, therefore, the basement cafeteria (with outdoor courtyard seating for nice weather). Others need to be cleared by an employee. I don't know if the same is true for the Supreme Court cafeteria but we used to go there sometimes when I worked in the Senate (horrible cafeteria -- House food court is much better).

And what of the buzz about the World Bank dining facilities? According to "Malawry," it's top notch, but stay away from the FBI headquarters.
Definitely get a friend to get you into the World Bank cafeteria if you can. I ate there several years ago and enjoyed a respectable chickpea curry for something like $4 (including rice and bread).

DO NOT eat at FBIHQ's cafeteria if you ever have the misfortune to be invited or hired and therefore given access. I worked on the same floor and they were closed for a couple of days due to evidence of rodents. (We had glue traps all over the offices to catch the little buggers.) Everybody at the FBI eats out unless they're desperate for time or just want a donut delivered by Dunkin Donuts every morning. (Those, and the coffee, are "safe.")

And of course, the Department of Agriculture's cafeteria has a dubious reputation. (Remember this?)

STATE FUNERAL: Authorities Warn of Massive Traffic Gridlock in District

If you have a car, you're best to leave them home as Reagan-related funeral activities will close major avenues and commuter corridors in and around the District. Adding to the confusion is the secrecy of the motorcade route from Andrews Air Force base. According to The Washington Post, commuter alerts have been issued for the entire Mid-Atlantic to avoid the eastern arc of the Beltway in the vicinity of Andrews Air Force Base. This is all supposed to hit during Wednesday's evening rush hour.

The exact path for the funeral procession from Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County to the 1600 block of Constitution Avenue Northwest -- where Reagan's coffin will be transferred to a horse-drawn cassion -- will be keeping area commuters guessing. Expect the Beltway, Suitland Parkway, Anacostia Freeway and the South Capitol and 11th Street bridges to be affected directly or indirectly.

Here's what will be closed:
Constitution Avenue between the Roosevelt Bridge and the Capitol
12th Street tunnel between Constitution Avenue and I-395
Ninth Street tunnel between Constitution Avenue and I-395

Also, watch for closures around the Capitol, including Independence Avenue. And Pennsylvania Avenue will be shut down as well.

Inbound traffic on the Roosevelt Bridge will be diverted to the E Street Expressway

The I-395/Third Street/Center Leg tunnel beneath the Mall will remain open to traffic and will be one of the only north-south corridors across the Mall open. Expect traffic on the Whitehurst Freeway and M Street through the West End and Georgetown to be jam-packed, as the Key Bridge will be overloaded with Virginia bound-commuters.

(And we haven't even touched on the potential closures on Friday for the official state funeral service at the National Cathedral in Upper Northwest. That promises to affect a good chunk of the Northwest quadrant directly or indirectly.)

What about WMATA? Local authorities are encouraging commuters to take public transportation ... err, metrorail. Nowhere on the Washington Area Transit Authority's website is there any notice on how Reagan's funeral procession will disrupt buses that use Constitution Avenue or cut across the Mall or go near the Capitol, except that 20 metrobus routes will be rerouted causing "brief" delays. (There is information about shuttle buses from RFK Stadium to the Capitol for the public viewing in the Rotunda.) So if you're waiting for a 30-series bus to take you to Georgetown or take you uptown tomorrow evening, don't count on the buses to be anywhere near to schedule.

More information:
"Region Braces for Funeral Processions" [The Washington Post]
"Traffic and Security Information for Reagan Procession" [AP/WTOP]

The funeral route from Andrew's to D.C. has been released ... Suitland Parkway to I-295 to I-395 to the George Washington Parkway to the Memorial Bridge to Constitution Avenue ...
WMATA has posted a notice of metrobus detours for the funeral procession ...

CRIME: Almost-Real Statue Is Found

The AP is reporting that the case of the pilfered statue from the Reston Town Center has been resolved. The statue, worth $38,000, was found in a raid on a Herndon apartment. The statue called "Legs Folded" is supposedly almost lifelike and was stolen in broad daylight back in May.

More information:
"Stolen Statue Recovered" [Associated Press via WTTG/Fox 5]
"CRIME: Real Man Steals Almost-Real Statue" [Oculus]

FOGGY BOTTOM: Sniping and Griping at the Watergate; Development vs. Allure

The Washington Post reports that residents of Watergate co-ops are up in arms about a proposal to convert the Watergate's hotel into luxury apartments.

From the Post's Dana Hedgpeth:
Three of the six buildings in the complex are already co-ops, whose residents include national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, opera star Placido Domingo and Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) and her husband, Bob. Leading the opposition is lawyer Jack H. Olender, who says the Watergate's way of life is at stake. "It's another Watergate coverup," he said. He started a group called Watergate East Committee Against the Hotel Conversion to Co-ops.

While some residents are complaining that new luxury apartments could diminish the allure of their luxury co-ops, Domingo believes that the elimination of the hotel would diminish the concept of the Watergate as originally envisioned back in the 1960s. In a letter to District zoning officials, he wrote: "The elimination of the Hotel would not only diminish the lifestyle of the residents, but would adversely affect the position of the Watergate Complex in the District as an acclaimed example of urban living."

So Domingo is against the conversion. But other high-profile residents, like Rice and Ginsberg seem to be trying to avoid the whole matter. The Post reports that both the co-op faction and Monument Realty LLC, the group pushing the hotel conversion, say they have the national security adviser and the Supreme Court justice on their side. But representatives for both are declining to comment on the Watergate matter.

STATE FUNERAL: Fly-Over Practice Set

The Washington Post reports Tuesday that Air Force fighter jets will practice a fly over of the monumental core Wednesday evening in preparation of the Reagan funeral.

From the Post:
The [Federal Aviation Administration] spokesman, Greg Martin, said the jets probably will fly over the city at between 3,000 and 5,000 feet. A brief hold will be placed on commercial airline departures from Reagan National Airport during the flyover, the spokesman said.

Monday, June 07, 2004

DINING: Chipotle's Big Fat Burritos

The Upstate Life has a post about the big, fat burritos at Chipotle. And they are fat, filled with lots of saturated fat. So much so that the Center for Science in the Public Interest's blood is boiling. That's old news. But all of this reminded me of a post from six months ago, where I documented what happens when a crazy old man gets hold of a Chipotle coupon.

From the Oculus archives ...
The Flaws of a Coupon-Based Marketing Campaign.
I was at the Dupont Circle Chipotle to grab a bite for lunch today and came across the latest campaign by a franchise to lure customers in. An older man in line behind me, probably in his late 60s or early 70s who looked quite disheveled and acting mildly eccentric, shoved a brown Chipotle bag on the counter.

Man: "Yeah, I want a burrito."
Chipotle: "Sir, what kind of burrito?"

He again shoves the bag (which I then see says "One Free Burrito"), motions down to it as if that one step alone would get him a burrito. "What, ahhh, what, you have different kinds?"

He looks up, stares a bit and says he wants steak. Meanwhile, I'm down the way being asked what kind of salsa I wanted (I normally get the tomatillo-green chili) and watched the whole drama unfold. The decision between black and pinto beans was no problem -- he definitely wanted black beans.

Then when it was time for Chipotle to spoon on the steak, he stopped the process as he looked down at his many choices.

Man: "Ahh, cancel the steak, I want the roast beef."
Chipotle: "Sir, that's shredded beef."
Man: "What? Ahhh, yeah, roast beef, shredded beef. Yeah."

At this point, I'm down paying for my burrito con pollo and watched him glide through the rest of the Chipotle burrito-building process. He wanted mild salsa, lettuce, cheese, but no sour cream. Then came the beverage selection decision. He looked at the drink case behind the cash register station.

Man: "I want orange juice. Orange drink."
Chipotle: "Do you want soda?"
Man: "No, no, orange juice."
Chipotle (turning around pointing to a Nantucket Nectar): Juice? You want this orange-mango juice?”
Man: "Mango? No. Orange, yes."

Chipotle was not to keen on extending the process any further by notifying him that he was unable to extract the mango juice from the Nantucket Nectar, leaving just the orange juice.

So he shoved the bag-coupon to the register girl, paid for the drink and walked out.

The Chipotle chain which I believe is being sold by McDonald's or has already been sold off, seems to be desperate to attract new customers in a very competitive area. (McDonalds also pulled out of its convenience RedBox 24 hour conveneience hut at 18th and California streets NW.) And both Chipotle and Baja Fresh, which is owned by Wendy's, have been fighting some bad press lately, as the Center for Science in the Public Interest has declared war on not disclosing how unhealthy their food is. Baja Fresh responded by implementing a healthy-choice menu a few months back. I initially thought it was only Baja Fresh that was so bad, but apparently Chipotle is almost as bad too. Cross that place off my list.

Instead of just handing out Chipotle bags promising free burritos to randoms on the street, the franchise should consider implementing a healthy choice menu. That, however may deconstruct Chipotle's niche market of having only a handful of items on its menu.

THE PALISADES: Rove Perhaps Picking Convenience Over Quality for Dry Cleaning

The Oculus has learned that one of President Bush's top advisers, Karl Rove, has his shirts cleaned at an unassuming dry cleaners at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Cathedral Avenue on the western edge of the Palisades, down the hill from his home in the Kent section of the upper Palisades.

It used to be a gas station way back in the day, but today, all it says is: "Cleaners."

While Rove may be the White House's top political strategists, is his pick in dry cleaners a smart move? The Oculus once had his shirts cleaned at the Rove dry cleaner and was not satisfied with the level of service. (But looking back on the situation, the place is much better than Georgetown Valet, which seems to place profit over customer service in regard to shirt care ... the crew there lost two of my shirts and only would offer me replacement shirts from the lost and found pile.)

While Rove apparently was picking up his dry cleaning last week with his teenage son, one thing remains unclear. Does he ask for light starch?

COMMUTING: Red Line Delays This Week

Track preparations for the New York Avenue-Florida Avenue-Gallaudet University metrorail station will cause delays on the Red Line after the evening rush hour this week. According to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, trains will share the same track between Judiciary Square and Union Station after 9:30 p.m. this week.

FROM THE EDITOR: Free Ticket for Urban Challenge

Barring any Reagan-related funeral logistical issues, the D.C. Urban Challenge is set for this Saturday morning.

What is the Urban Challenge you ask? ... It's part road race, part knowledge test, part urban orienteering exercise. I placed 13th last year and hope to compete again this year.

I have access to a free ticket, but need someone to race with. And I play to win. You don't have to be in prime physical shape, as last year, I beat a couple of professional runners. Cleverness and know-how get you the medals, not necessarily the fastest feet.

If you're interested and up for the challenge, e-mail me at: oculus [at]

STATE FUNERAL: Gov't Shuts Down Friday; Security Heightened

The Washington Post reports this morning that federal workers will have the day off on Friday for a national day of mourning for former President Reagan's funeral.

And security is being heightened across the capital. The National Cathedral is under "modified 3C" security, the Post reports, which means that in advance of Friday's service. That means that Cathedral grounds will be shut down, with checkpoints set up on the perimeter. And I imagine that the day of the funeral, traffic in Cathedral Heights will be tied up, with the potential for Wisconsin Avenue to be shut down.

But there has been some confusion as to the route the funeral procession will take to the Capitol. Initially, it was reported that Reagan's coffin will be loaded onto a horse-drawn cassion at "16th Street and Constitution Avenue" for a procession down Constitution Avenue. Of course, 16th Street does not intersect Constitution Avenue, though the 1600 block of Constitution Avenue does sit at the foot of the Ellipse. CNN has reported that the procession will go down Constitution Avenue, but the Post reports it will go down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

STATE FUNERAL: Honoring Reagan, an Update; Cabbie Learns of Ex-President's Death

In all of the Saturday evening news coverage of the immediate news of former President Reagan's death, it was difficult avoiding vignettes of Reagan playing a key role in the destruction of the Soviet Union and his famous declaration that Moscow and its satellite states were "the evil empire."

Of course, the Soviet Union is no more, but its heir, post-Cold War Russia, was respecting the death of Reagan as well this weekend. As I passed by the Russian Embassy on Mount Alto near the National Cathedral late Saturday, the Russian tricolor had been set at half staff.

The Washington Post reports Sunday that Reagan's funeral will model Lyndon Johnson's.

From the Post's Elizabeth Williamson and Spencer S. Hsu:
Initial plans call for Reagan's body to lie in state for a day at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. His body then will be flown to Andrews Air Force Base, most likely Tuesday or Wednesday, arriving at 5 p.m.

The body will be driven in a motorcade directly to the U.S. Capitol for a viewing for national and international leaders. It will then lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda for about 24 hours. The public will be allowed to enter through the West Front Terrace, and crowds can assemble at Third Street.

Following the official observance at the Capitol, there will be an official funeral service at the National Cathedral, perhaps Thursday.

One Cabbie Shocked by News. It is always interesting to deliver big national news to someone who has been out of touch all day. I was chatting with my cab driver, who had Jamaican knit cap and dreads, as he was taking me south down Wisconsin Avenue when I was on my way to meet a friend for drinks late Saturday. I informed the cabbie of Reagan's death, since the driver had been listening to soft jazz all afternoon, he said.

"Jesus Christ, you don't say! ... Wow, Ronnie's dead. Shit man, he's dead? ... Well, he waaaaas an old mon, wasn't he now, mon?"

The cabbie's mind immediately shifted to the traffic problems Reagan's funeral will cause mid-week. He was already considering taking those days off work.