Saturday, June 13, 2009


Well, after sleeping in Lakeland for a few hours last night, then driving to Titusville at three this morning, I discovered that the shuttle launch had been scrubbed just after midnight thanks to a hydrogen leak. So much for a picture perfect countdown. It was a long way to go only to miss the big show, but I did get to shoot Endeavour on the pad, albeit from an awful long way away.

I did get to see the sun come up from the causeway, though. But I had to wait a couple of hours for even that to happen. Trust me when I say I was there early! When I finally got back to my house on the other coast, I slept for another four hours.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I'm thinking about heading over to Cape Kennedy early tomorrow morning for the launch of space shuttle Endeavour. That's Endeavour above from the last time she shot into space back in November. This time, launch is set for about 45 minutes past sunrise, so it should make for some interesting pictures. This trip will involve getting up around 2 in the morning, so I'm hoping I don't loose my willpower between now and then. We'll see...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Charlotte Choo Choo

Aha! I did have a picture of the Charlotte (NC) commuter rail. I don't think it ever goes underground, so I can't call it a subway. This was at a stop right in downtown, sometime last August. Lynx, I think they call it. I told you I liked to take pictures of subways and trains. :)


Took me a while, but I finally found a picture of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. This was one of the many places I wandered past during my trip to DC last month, but didn't go in. It was a little off the beaten path, but not far from the subway entrance I used. This is where all the trouble went down yesterday when an armed gunman entered the building and killed a guard before he was shot and killed by other guards. Shame, that. Well, not the killing of the gunman, but the fact that he felt the need to carry a gun, invade a museum and threaten others.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Other Sculpture

Just down the way from the Three Servicemen sculpture I just shared is this sculpture dedicated to the women who served in Vietnam. It's called the Vietnam Women's Memorial, and was sculpted by Glenna Goodacre (she sculpted Sacagawea on the gold dollars!). This one doesn't seem to get the attention given to either the Wall or to the other sculpture, but it's still a moving piece of art that serves as a fitting tribute to the unsung women who served in Vietnam. Did you know there are eight women listed on the Wall? Neither did I, but I learn things like that while researching my posts. That's why everybody should have a blog, it's a learning experience.

The Three Servicemen

Located overlooking the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is this sculpture showing three soldiers in Vietnam returning from patrol. The sculpture is situated so that it appears the men have just come out of the jungle and have stumbled upon the Wall for the first time.

The sculptor, Frederick Hart, purposely left off any indication of rank or branch of service on these men, so as to make them more representative of all the people who served in Vietnam.

The genesis of this sculpture lies in the feeling among some veterans that the Wall itself was not a fitting tribute to those who served in Vietnam. They saw it as too cold or too abstract and wanted something more direct and tangible.

The Wall

There are just so many pictures I have yet to share with you from Washington, DC. There's never enough time in the day for me to throw up all the things I want. Here's a shot of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the giant wall that lists the names of all those who never came back. I saw the traveling version of this memorial many years ago, and it's impressive, but not nearly so much as the real thing.

Another Anniversary

Happy 41st wedding anniversary to Mom and Dad! Yes, they've been together for a long time now. That's them posing in front of the steam locomotive we rode earlier this year. And either last year or the year before, I believe I showed you one of their wedding photos. Nope, that was four years ago. My, how time flies when you're having fun.


Right outside of the National Museum Of American History in DC, I came across this triceratops skull on a post. I thought it was pretty impressive, and pretty fragile to have out where anybody could touch it. Turns out I needn't have worried. It's not real.

This is a detail of the lower jaw, stating that it's a cast, not a real fossil. Still cool, I guess, but not nearly so cool as the real thing would be. No idea who this Millersville University is though.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Our American Cousin

Across the street from the house where Lincoln died is the theater where he was shot. I guess that most people assume that he also died in Ford's Theatre, but that is not the case. Anyhow, here it is. I think that's the original theater above, and there is a newer entrance, shown below. It definitely looks a little too modern to be original.

PS-For those of you that don't know, the play Abraham Lincoln was watching when he was assassinated was Our American Cousin.

Just A Little Bit Morbid

One of the things I didn't expect to see in DC was this house. After Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theater (across the street), he died at this house. The US Government bought it some time later, I guess to keep it out of the hands of people who might try to make a spectacle of it. And then, they turned it into a tourist attraction.

Under McCormick Place

Ah, I knew I had pictures of the Chicago trains somewhere. Here's a shot of the train approaching the station under McCormick Place from March 2008. No doubt that poor engineer wondered why some tourist was pointing a camera at him. The line I rode in Chicago was all on the ground or under it. I didn't get a chance to ride the elevated trains, but I did get some pictures...


I just love taking pictures of subways. I don't know why, I just do. I think it has something to do with the fact that we don't have such things here in Florida, or at least they didn't when I was little. Closest thing we had was the Monorail at Disney, and I LOVED that thing. This is the Metro train deep under the National Mall in Washington DC. Those round red lights along the platform beside the car start to flash when the train is approaching the station, and they look really cool when the train is flying by. I always thought it was going too fast to stop, but at the last minute they slam on the brakes and the train stops in exactly the right place on the platform. It's as if they've done it once or twice. Let me see, what other subways have I shown you? NYC and Chicago, I think. Looks like I didn't post any pictures of the Chicago trains, but I know I shot some. Don't know if I took any pictures on the public trains in Atlanta, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Cleveland or San Francisco. Maybe next time.

Hot Hot Hot

Here's a little bit of faux astrophotography for you. This is the surface of the sun. Well, at least it's an artists depiction of the surface of the sun. There are a series of informative placards that begin in front of the National Air And Space Museum in DC, the first of which shows you the sun. Then each of the following placards is spaced out in scale to show you how big the solar system is. I don't remember exactly where poor Pluto is, or if they even have a Pluto anymore since it got demoted from planet, but if they do, I bet it's over in Arlington somewhere. Uh-oh, I'm wrong. Pluto was down by the Castle.


I see Microsoft has created a new search engine, or maybe they've just rebranded what they already had, but anyhow, it's called Bing. And oddly enough, if you type ERNIE into it, I am the tenth result returned. That's not too shabby! On Google, I'm 119. Guess I got some work to do there.

We Got Spirit, Yes We Do

From the National Air And Space Museum in Washington, DC, this is the Spirit Of St. Louis, the plane that Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. Note that he was the first person to make that flight solo, not the first person to make that flight. My grandfather used to tell the story about how he got to sweep the plane out when Lindbergh flew into town on a cross-country tour after his historic flight. I hadn't thought of that story for years until I saw the actual plane hanging there.

Art Meets Nature

Here's another interesting artwork I spotted outside the Hirshhorn Gallery in Washington, DC. This piece consists of two bronze wings and a central pillar made up of a piece of petrified wood. The two wings feature cutouts of letters, Cyrillic on one side and Latin on the other.

Hmmm. A little research on the good old World Wide Web, and I discover this piece is called Antipodes, and the sculptor is James Sanborn. It also appear that there is some secret message hidden in the lettering. Good luck with that.

But the part I almost missed, and thought was perhaps the most interesting, was this birds nest perched atop the structure. No, it's not part of the artwork, that was a real dove in a real nest, who was keeping a very wary eye on me as I shot pictures. I guess it turns out that birds can be art lovers, too.

Ick Factor 10

As someone who doesn't appreciate spiders one little bit, this spider sculpture in Washington, DC, really freaked me out. This was on the backside (Or the non-Mall side, if you prefer) of the Hirshhorn Museum. I didn't get any closer than I had to, so I have no idea who the artist is. Sorry...