Category Archives: my film clips

A Capitol Fourth, 2016: Clips, with some surprising political retrospect

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It started with a chain dance, not exactly a Virginia Reel from the old days of straight singles clubs.  Before, a couple of brothers played a game of mistaken identity on Capitol Hill.

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Then Colin Powell gave a speech appealing for the USO, which entertains troops, often at some sacrifice by performers.  Now the USO comes up in the 1999 film “Southpark” when “Big Gay Al” mentions it (before blaming Canada);  he made an allusion to my book and the military DADT at the time.  In fact, Powell, as Chariman JCS, first opposed President Clinton’s 1993 plan to lift the military ban on gays, but gradually accepted “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” which Clinton announced July 19 that year at Ft. McNair.

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Besides the closing of the Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture, the National Symphony played the “Liberty Fanfare” by John Williams:  Two brief clips (the second is the ending)

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(Posted: Monday, July 4, 2016 at 11:45 PM EDT)

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Also: Fort McNair in Washington DC (site of Clinton’s DADTDP speech)

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Sample of Basque music at Smithsonian Folklife festival

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Here are a few clips of Basque music and show from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, opening day on June 29, 2016, on the Mall in Washington DC.

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Concert at 3 PM: Concluding song with accordions, winds, and percussion (four segments)

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Earlier clips from the same group

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Earlier clips before the main event; last two are folk dances

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A cappella singing

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(Posted: Friday, July 1, 2016 at 9:30 PM EDT)

Mountain trip: VA, W Va high country clips

 

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One of the most scenic highways in Virginia is US 250, which crosses eight mountain gaps on the way to the W Va border.  It is the highest normal US highway in the East north of North Carolina-TN (where US 441 is over 5100 feet in spots).  There are plenty of hairpin turns, and the last approach to the divide above Monterey takes forever.   There are no tunnels to my knowledge.

Clip 1:

Along US 250 at Shenandoah Mountain gap, about 3300 feet

Clip 2:
Allegheny Mountain, on W Va border, 4330 feet on highway, about 4500 on surrounding peaks; there is a nice home and property on the border at 4500 feet maybe a quarter mile off the road; a lot of land is privately owned despite National Forest. This is also the Eastern Continental Divide; the same mountain formation houses the Allegheny Mountain tunnel on the PA Turnpike 150 miles to the north. Climate is Canadian in winter, like going 600 miles north. Elevation matters more in eastern US than in the Rockies. The same mountain also produces Spruce Knob about 30 miles to the north.

Clip 3:

Spruce Knob Mountain Center, on dirt road from W Va 28, I think at about 4000 feet; the peak is off in the distance

Clip 4:

Shenandoah Mountain on US 33 west of Harrisonburg, very steep road although elevation not so high (about 3500 at gap)

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(Published: Saturday, June 18, 2016 at 10 AM EDT)

Visit to Rays Hill Tunnel, Pennsylvania

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Sunday, I visited the abandoned Rays Hill Tunnel at the western entrance, near Breezewood PA,  on a section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike rerouted over two mountains between Breezewood and Fort Littleton.

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You can park just east of the Quality Inn, at the Tannery Road lot off US 30, on the north side.  You climb up a little hill, and it is about 8500 feet to the tunnel, about 25 minutes to walk.

The graffiti is striking and vulgar.  There is a work room that looks like a chamber of horrors,

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Donald Trump would ask, why doesn’t the Pennsylvania Turnpike fix this up, charge admission and make money off this land as a park open to the public, especially bicycles (which use the trails “illegally” now).

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Video from Piscataway area of lower Potomac River

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Here are a few video clips from a “field trip” to lower Prince Georges County and Charles County, MD, along the Potomac, on Thursday, May 26, 2016.

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The first four clips are at Piscataway Park, managed by the National Park Service, including the Colonial Farm

Clip 1: Edgar the Turtle

2: Pigs feeding

3 Bird songs

4 “Free Fish”

5 Piscataway Slope repair done

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(Published: Saturday, May 28, 2016, 11:45 PM)

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