Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Beat Goes On

Washington DC (see the picture)
N 38 52.736 W 077 01.507

Yesterday Libby wanted the day to clean up the boat in preparation for company this weekend. I went off on my own toward the American Indian Museum.

Along the way, I decided to pop my head in to the downtown Smithsonian Air and Space Museum to see if they had anything new. They sure did.

The first two things I saw as I entered the building were two more of the many famous Bert Rutan machines. I saw Voyager, the plane that flew around the world non-stop and without refueling. Behind that was Space Ship One, the first non-government plane to reach space. Boy oh boy that Bert Rutan is quite a guy. Should we elect him or Enrico Fermi as the best engineer of the 20th century?

Then I looked again. Nearby was the Spirit of Saint Louis, a German V1 rocket, and a German V2 rocket, the command module from Apollo 11, a Cray 1 computer, and the X15. Wow. I use that expletive a lot this month. Wow wow wow. What icons of the span of my lifetime.

After that, I continued to the American Indian Museum. There, I saw a wonderful collection of Indian designs, especially beaded dresses. It was very good to hear that many Indian women today continue the tradition of making such dresses and that they consider it an important part of their culture.

Today, we went off with Ray and Pat again. We went to the headquarters of NPR, and took the free tour of their facilities. That was very impressive and very interesting. It was somewhat unsettling to see the faces and the correct spelling of the names of many people who are completely familiar to me by their voices. I prefer to keep my own fantasy picture of their appearance and their names. Their studios are very sophisticated. NPR technology and editing policies are responsible for the very high quality audio and verbal content that we are used to hearing. As a listener, one seldom thinks of the mechanics of production.

After that, we went to the nearby National Building Museum, where I bumped in to Hillary and Bill last week. That is a very interesting and pleasant place to spend time on a hot summer afternoon.

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