Category Archives: my film clips

Dulles Airport Model Train Show, Christmas 2017

Today I visited the Greenberg Train Show for Christmas at the Dulles Convention Center.

There were three main layouts and they did not seem to be as interesting to me in terms of complexity of the model communities offered as in the past.

Nevertheless, I made light of it on Facebook as the small towns presented made up Trump’s “base”.




There were many exhibitors and items for sale. One person was selling train paintings and objected to photography by another person.  That’s a warning to bloggers:  sometimes photographs of art work might be copyright infringement, particularly if the artist actually intends to make a living selling the items.

(Posted: Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 5:30 PM EST)

Network Neutrality “undo” vote “passes” at FCC: part II of the demonstrations

Well, there was a screenwriter’s “change in plans” today (as in Hauge’s screenwriting classes), and I did make it to the demonstrations around 10:30 AM.

I made two more videos:

1:  Note: the call to do things “collectively” and “keep the eye on the prize”.  Also the call to “hold on”, like us little bloggers would all get blocked tomorrow.  The Left likes scare tactics. The speaker sounds so authoritarian himself, ever much so as Trump or Pence, but on a different side!


2:  (some old time religion maybe, or solidarity?  — “Hold On”)

We all know that the FCC vote took place and Ajit Pai “won” by 3-2.  There was a small security disruption reported later; I saw no evidence of this outside except for one or two Secret Service cars.  (ICE is across the street.)

One of the most succinct summaries is on Yahoo, here,  I’ve talked about some of the more controversial (especially Left-wing) predictions on other posts (see the Pingback on yesterday’s post here).   I’m still in the Cato-like libertarian camp on this one.

As to my opening comment, my condo building had a scheduled power outage this morning because Dominion Energy, with little noticed, did a major grid upgrade, including underground cable replacement. I think that there is some security-oriented concern over the need to harden the grid with new neutral grounding circuitry to protect it from Carrington-sized solar storms (we dodged one just barely in July 2012)  and possibly terrorism or enemy attack (E3-level EMP).  (I’ve blogged in detail about this on the news commentary blog mentioned in the pingback above.) Dominion is said to be one of the better companies in taking this seriously.  Dominion Energy ran TV ads on WJLA7 and CNN that seemed to be automatically selected on Cox (at least) by viewer zipcode, right before this upgrade — I say this noting that the more “mainstream” media outlets seem very squeamish about discussing this topic seriously.  Since I’m new to the building, I was fastidious about disconnecting and shutting things down first, but it seems as thought the power in high rise buildings is re-energized slowly by floors to prevent surges.  People who aren’t retired like me don’t have the luxury of being home and being that cautious with their gear (which for me is critical “infrastructure” for my “second career”).  The outage was much shorter than predicted, about three hours.  The power came on literally as I returned home from the demonstrations.  Cable and Internet and everything else came back very quickly (more quickly than it would have in the house I had sold.)

(Posted; Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 5 PM RST)



A day trip to the area near a nuclear power plant, while the nation sleeps on power grid security, as possble war with North Korea looms

Today I visited Flag Ponds Nature Park, about ¾  mile north of Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, at 50 miles from Washington DC, north of Lusby, MD.

I just wanted to do a video related to concerns over power grid security, that I have discussed elsewhere, most recently with North Korea’s missile tests, which could (besides nuclear threats to the homeland) lead to threats to the power grid (E3) and electronics (E1).

You can drive off MD 4 toward the plant, some distance, despite the trespassing signs warning of arrest, until you can see some of the work buildings, then there is a gate (you would think it would be closer to Rt 4).  There is supposed to be a visitor’s center but it apparently only in the secured area (like on a military base).  The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is about 1500 feet inland.

You can see some of the layout from the beach at Flag Ponds, especially the fishing wharf.  Presumably the US Coast Guard watches the area.




In 1982, I visited the nuclear power plant in Glen Rose, TX with the Sierra Club before it opened.  It required a night of camping out. In 1988 I’d have a job interview for the place.

Wikipedia aerial of the Calvert Cliffs plant.

(Posted: Monday, December 11, 2017 at 8 PM EDT)

60th Annual Christmas Candlelight Service at First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC

The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC held its 60th Christmas Candlelight Service tonight.  I believe the first one was held in 1957 (the sanctuary opened on Christmas Day 1955).  There have been two or three years missed to storms or construction.

Here are two hymns




3  Silent Night and Tableaux

There was other music:

There was one excerpt from Rachmaninoff’s Vespers (III), “Veiled in darkness, creation hails the promise of a new King”.  The complete a cappella work over an hour.  I heard this in New York City in a Catholic church in the 1970s.

The Ave Maria (based on an unusual scale) from Verdi’s Quattro Pezzi Sacri (“Four Sacred Pieces”) was also performed.  The complete work ends with a Te Deum, that, after a final shout, seems not to end on the tonic.

The concert also included an organ fugue “Il est ne” (“He Is Born”) by Marcel Dupre, and Good King Wincelas adapted by Virgil Fox.   There was traditional music from the Runymede Singers (Harward/Vaughn Williams, Derric Johnson) and a Christmas Spiritual Medley by Johnie Dean.  There were brass transcriptions by Jim Lucas.

Before the concert I had stopped at JR’s, for a mini drag-show mid Sunday afternoon (3 blocks away).

and then I saw an AI stroller on 17th street, right out of a Spielberg movie.

(Posted: Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 9 PM ESR)

Silent disco event at Kennedy Center for concert goers

After a concert tonight (which I will review on a separate blog) I peeked at the Kennedy Center Silent Disco, in the Atrium on the Terrace Level tonight.  It was called the “In the Beginning Dance Party”.

The event was free for anyone who had attended the Terrace concert or other event, but headsets could be borrowed.

Even without headsets it was possible to hear the music, which varied from 80s to hip-hop.




I wanted mention another article today by “Blogtyrant” on how to increase visitor flows to a blog. Ramsay has provided a lot of other tip regarding email lists and gaining visitors.  Most of these would apply to narrowly focused blogs supporting sales by a small business.  It does seem conceivable to me that a musician could use his tips to promote interest not only in sales of his/her recordings but also to gain commissions for new works.  Likewise it sounds conceivable that screenwriters could attract interest in new scripts this way.  The lifting of network neutrality regulations could eventually have some bearing on how these markets work, and make blog performance more critical.  They’ll be more about his on my own content work as we move into 2018.   Maybe his tips could be helpful in promoting specific classical works, like the “completed” Bruckner Ninth Symphony which I have written about before.

(Posted: Friday, December 8, 2017 at 11:15 PM EST)

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, demonstrations in front of Supreme Court today

Today I attended the demonstrations outside the Supreme Court building in Washington DC regarding “Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission”, while oral arguments took place inside at 10 AM.  There was still a long 3-Minute line, and I do not think I could have gotten in.  People had camped out since Sunday night.

I tried to shoot clips from both camps about evenly.  The “gay rights” (so to speak) camp was on the right side (ironically, as an anti-pun).  But many of the speakers on both sides were way off base as to the legal issues.  The crowds as a whole were very polarized and intersectional.

At one point I was asked if I would carry a sign for NGLCC but declined, for two reasons.  One is that I try to be objective when I go to demonstrations and film. The other (“lab practical”) is that I can’t handle the cameras and carry a sign very well physically at the same time.

Toward the end, the Masterpiece crowd was chanting “Jack, we have your back”.

There was an acoustical feedback disruption on the gay side that shut down the gay speakers for four or five minutes.

My own take is pretty much like Smerconish on CNN Saturday.  It seems to me that the cakeshop is a public accommodation, and cannot legally refuse to sell to gay customers for that reason under religion alone. But it can refuse to make certain artistic changes, like showing two men on a wedding cake. Bit there might be some problem in the idea that the shop would not service “same sex weddings”,  A wedding is not the same thing as a person.

I met a photojournalist from the New York Times in the crowd.  We started talking about Trump, North Korea, and not only the nuclear weapons threat but the possible intermediate threat to the power grids in the US (including Hawaii, Guam, Japan, and South Korea) along the way.  I said that the mainstream (as opposed to conservative) media is sleeping on this issue of infrastructure stability in the face of foreign hostilities. This sounds like an odd conversation to have at a gay-related case rally.

1  (Transgender emphasis, way off the legal issues)








Also on Monday, December 4, the Cato Institute held a forum “The First Amendment v. anti-Discrimination Law: A Preview of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission on the Eve of the Oral Argument“.  It was moderated by Roger Pilon and featured John Paul Schnapper-Casteras from the NAACP, and Ilya Shapiro, from Cato.  I did not make it to this event, but a full video and description from Cato itself is available now at this link.

(Posted: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 3:30 PM EST)

Virginia Piedmont communities disturbed by “KKK fliers” incident; my own little gumshoeing today

Local media in Rappahannock County, VA have reported that KKK fliers, weighted down with bird seed, were delivered near numerous homes in and around “Little Washington” VA (on US 211, a few miles East of Sperryville), Flint Hill  a few miles N on US 522(especially on rural Fodderstack road which goes into the mountain foothills to the west), and even Warrenton, where US 211 meets US 29.

These towns have some significance to me. At least one distant relative grew up in Flint Hill, and one or two coworkers (when I worked for ING in Arlington in the 1990s) lived in Warrenton. One coworker now runs a farm in Orange County in retirement.

1  (“Little Washington”)   (This nickname reminds me of “Little Rubio”)

2   Library and Book Barn on Library Ave in Little Washington

3   Flint Hill


(Posted: Saturday, December 2, 2017. 6:15 PM EST)

Update: January 14. 2018

More flyers in Loudoun County VA around Leesburg, WJLA7 report here.

I visited the affected areas January 19.  I may have seen one flyer upside down near an elementary school in Leesburg — not good.  And the Round Hill area has many back roads with a mixture of expensive estates (accessible only by dirt road) and shacks, roads often rolling and crooked, however scenic.  It would not be hard for a right wing group to hide out and not be noticed in hidden areas like this, only 50 miles from DC.

“Shop Small” Event held at LGBT DC Center for “Small Business Saturday”

The Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the DC Center held a Shop Small event at the DC Center on 14th and U Streets NW today, to celebrate “Small Business Saturday”.

How many of us are ready to “go small” like in Matt Damon’s upcoming movie “Downsizing”?

There were novelty items, a book publisher, a coffee business, a vegan restaurant, pizza, and a chiropractor.  I took the chiro exam and was found out-of-alignment toward the Left, no pun intended.



3  Homage to “Charlie’s Angels”.

(Posted: Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 at 5 PM EST)

Damage debris still remains in much of Florida Keys from Irma — today’s visit

Here is some footage I took of Hurricane Irma damage and recovery in the Florida keys today.

1   Between Islamadora and Marathon, a condo that appeared to be replaced by mobile homes

2 Deer Key

Linemen repairing still

From Islamadora to 30 miles from Key West there were many piles of debris along the road, some with parts of buildings

Cell videos




(Posted: Sunday Nov 19, 2017 at 11 PM EST)

Florida East Coast seems OK after hurricane Irma (2 months)

Well, Fort Lauderdale, FL, even on the beach, seems to be in good shape two months after Hurricane Irma, whose eye apparently stayed 60 miles to the west. They were buffeted by weak tornadoes (east side of storm) and had some trees blown down and some minor damage, but a lot of flooded roads.

More beach bars:


Wilton Manors — I hear the power never went off, and that many power poles in Florida are made of cement rather than wood, which seems a reasonable alternative to going underground.

Yes, the draw bridges work.

And the freight trains run (and so does the Miami Metro).

Recall,  however, the nursing home in nearby Hollywood Hills that had a number of deaths due to lack of sufficient backup generator air conditioning, NBC story.

(Posted: Saturday, Nov. 18, at 6:30 PM EDT)