DAILY MUESLI: Please Respect the Pylon
Good morning. This weekend, Washington was filled with lots of anti-war and some pro-war protesters. So there's been a lot going on.
1.) On Saturday, I snapped the photo above with my camera phone. While I am hopeful that this person didn't do any visible signs of damage to this historic pylon at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 15th Street, that Aquia Creek sandstone I'm sure would fare much better without protesters climbing all over it. Aquia Creek sandstone, after all, isn't all that strong.
If you look at the area of Constitution Avenue between 17th and 15th streets NW, there are some old structures which I always thought were associated with the Tiber Creek Canal that once ran along with what was known as B Street generations ago. But this pylon and matching gatehouses nearby are about 175 years old. Original to the Charles Bulfinch-designed Capitol grounds, these structures were moved to 15th Street when Frederick Law Olmsted radically redesigned the Capitol's landscaping in the 1870s. The other pylons were moved to Fort Totten.
2.) You know that oddly located bikini shop on 15th Street NW, a stone's throw from the White House? Well, it looks like that the Woodward Building's tenants are going to be booted. The building will be gutted according to The Washington Post and rebuilt to "create a property more in line with its upscale neighbors."
3.) This photo is priceless, but also frightening. Can you guess who doesn't belong? If you can't, Freudian Slip can help explain.
4.) Last night on a special "CNN Presents: Is America Ready?" a number of disaster and terrorist scenarios were discussed and analyzed. And the one for Washington was a dirty bomb exploding on a school bus near the Mall. (If I looked at their scenario map correctly, it exploded outside the National Gallery. And winds from the southeast blew the radiation plume to the northwest, up toward Metro Center.
Southeast winds? Fortunately, normal winds -- from the west -- would blow such a plume toward the east, away from my home and workplace (and toward Capitol Hill). Surprisingly, such a radiation plume isn't as threatening as you might think. Only those who were directly exposed would need to go into contamination showers. Although the explosion and plume wouldn’t be do too much damage, trying to contain the panic would lead to greater disaster. The natural instinct is to flee, but problems could worsen. So don't run away needlessly, even under the threat of snow.
5.) If there are any representatives of Austin-based Whole Foods, your Tenleytown location needs attention. Ever since I moved away from the Wisconsin Avenue corridor, my visits to Whole Foods have rapidly decreased, which is probably a good thing. The Tenleytown location, which is essentially located inside a parking garage, is cramped, crowded and lacks a wine section. This combination, coupled with easily agitated Tenleytowners who must shop there, all lead to a staff that isn't all that helpful or knowledgeable.
It would make sense that Whole Foods would carry tortillas and red beans and rice. Nope. When I asked store personnel at the store about the missing items, they didn't really have any answers, pointing me to long-grain rice and cans of beans, suggesting I mix the two. All I was looking for was a box of Zatarain's. (As always, the Parrano cheese samples were plentiful.)
6.) So what did I throw together for a party of eight?
-- Homemade hummus which I didn't think turned out all that great, but everyone said was very good
-- Dill-topped salmon on rye crisps with cream cheese
-- Lettuce and cucumber salad, with choice of two dressings (a red chili/sour cream mix; and a mustard vinaigrette)
-- A vegetarian chili with beer-boiled fire-roasted tomatoes, onions, red peppers
-- Baked cod fillets with parmesan-encrusted asparagus in a tomato sauce
For being thrown together in about three hours with no recipe to follow, I thought it turned out well.
7.) It is generally known that Larry David is nuts. Watching last night's season premiere of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," I had to ask myself what is wrong with Larry David? In the episode, Leo's deli names a sandwich after Larry David, a sandwich that he hates: Whitefish, sable, onions, capers, cream cheese. I'm sorry, but that is a very good sandwich. Perhaps Mr. David would enjoy it more if there were a slice of tomato on it. And Ted Danson hated the sandwich too. Whitefish haters should be banished. It's one thing to not like whitefish, but to be a hater is not acceptable.
Image of "dirty bomb" taken from my weapons magazine in my basement. Just kidding, it's from the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.