April 22, 2013
elections — again
posted by soe 11:26 pm
Tomorrow we have an election in D.C.
First, and foremost, let me urge anyone in D.C. who’s registered to vote here to do so. Even if you don’t care who wins the council seat, there is a referendum question on the ballot that is an important one to address. It concerns the District’s ability to decide how to use the money, such as tax revenue, that it raises.
Currently, we are at Congress’ whims for all our budgetary concerns. Regardless of how you might feel about the Founding Fathers’ opinions about D.C. governance and our representation (or lack thereof) in Congress, it seems only fair that we should have some autonomy in setting our own budget priorities. You know how everyone’s talking about how sequestration will affect various government bodies? D.C.’s one of them. When the government threatens to shut down all non-essential federal agencies? That includes D.C.’s libraries, because Congress gets final sign-off on our entire budget. An argument could be made that it is fair that the national government should oversee the District’s use of federal funds. However, it is harder to see how it’s fair that they dictate how we spend the percentage of our budget (roughly 70%, by the way) that comes into our coffers via our own sources of funding, such as local taxes. Voting yes tomorrow on the referendum will indicate that residents of D.C. would like and expect to receive that same privilege that other local governments take for granted.
Harder for me to offer insight into is the at-large council race seat that’s being contested. This is the seat that opened up when Phil Mendelson won election to council chair, which in turn was vacated by Kwame Brown in a corruption scandal. So at its heart, this election should be about ethics. And, at least on the surface, it is. All the current contenders bandy the term about. If we eliminate the candidate who’s already dropped out (but who still remains on the ballot and, thus, will take at least a certain percentage of the vote), we’re still left with six candidates, four of whom are running in the District’s de facto single party. (more…)
March 7, 2013
posted by soe 12:05 am
This was pretty much the highlight of our accumulation in today’s Snowquester “storm”:
Yes, we got the day off from work. Can’t you see why?
November 18, 2012
fall comes to dc
posted by soe 5:12 am
This past week, I’ve really seen the foliage around town start to change. Here are just a few of the trees in my neighborhood:
November 7, 2012
four more years
posted by soe 4:32 am
I admit that I was worried about this election. So many ways for it to go so wrong. So much at stake. So long we’ve been hearing about it. I felt worn down by it all and stressed. And I didn’t really want to be worried in public, even among friends, even after a massive infusion of sugar. Which did not make me good company when I found myself hanging out at a bar watching election returns.
But if I’d stayed home, I would have missed out on being part of this:
The impromptu crowd at Lafayette Park, just north of the White House, on Election Night, shortly after President Obama clinched a second term.
Four years ago, we were in a car, heading home after Barack Obama won the presidency, when we found ourselves caught up among revelers heading toward the White House.
This year we got off the bus by the White House and became revelers ourselves, four (Rudi, John, Nicole, and me) among hundreds of jubilant voters.
It was a good night.
June 13, 2012
a grand day for a garden party
posted by soe 11:58 pm
On Saturday, John, Nicole, Rudi, and I took part in the annual Seersucker Social.
We met at Fort Reno — along with several hundred other cyclists — in our best bibs and tuckers.
We biked a modest four miles across Rock Creek Park to the Hillwood Estate.
We ate, drank, and attempted to dance the Charleston to the sounds of a live band. Some of us were better at this than others.
We laid on the grass and talked. We walked through the gardens. I got tossed out of the mansion.*
The croquet course and badminton courts were full, but there was no line to play with the hula hoops.
We danced a bit more and then pedaled back down to town, having passed a perfectly lovely afternoon.
(The rest of the shots I’ve posted are here.)
*Rich old ladies do not like you to walk around their homes without shoes on, even when they’ve been been dead nearly 40 years.
It should be noted that I was shoeless because my shoe broke, not because I was being willfully anti-establishment. It also should be noted that while I was not thrown out of the Met for touching a sarcophagus (I know, I know. I was a teenager who did not, at the time, realize what a stupid thing that was to do.), I was for a rather trifling violation here.
I’d also like to mention that I knew they were going to toss me out and that I skittered off to see what I could before they caught me. Turns out, when you have to come back to the main hall to move from one room to the next, that that’s only two rooms — neither of which contain the famed FabergĂ© eggs.
May 24, 2012
the tulip tree
posted by soe 2:07 am
Just last night, Karen and I were talking about how confusing it is when two different things go by the same name. We started the conversation with the chigger, which refers both to a mite (which takes a bite out of you) and to a flea (which burrows in you), and moved on to daddy long legs, which can be an arachnid (what I grew up with), a spider, or a fly.
And today I found a third, although this one is admittedly closer than the previous two examples.
I grew up calling this a tulip tree:
That would be a Magnolia Soulangiana. Living in the south, you come to know this is a magnolia, because it rivals the cherry for earliest flowering tree in the spring.
Come to find out, there’s another tree that’s also called the tulip tree. That would be this:
It’s also called the yellow poplar, but it’s not actually a poplar. Instead it’s a Liriodendron tulipifera.
It’s in the Magnolia family, but not in the Magnolioideae genus (where all the magnolias are classified). Instead it’s in the Liriodendron genus.
These particular trees are growing in Rock Creek Park near Woodley Park.
Pretty cool, huh?