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.

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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)

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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.

I get to work on “Angel’s Brother” again (for a third cycle of revisions)

I am starting to get back to reviewing this novel, with all its loose ends, now that I have finally pretty much finished my relocation.

One of the most critical concepts is the “fact or fiction” divide.

It looks like I went into great detail about this on Nov. 3, 2014, where I refer to my other two big manuscripts that I described here July 3, 2014. ‘

Essentially, everything in “Novel 2” centered around the retired FBI agent Ali has really “happened”, up to the events in Minnesota in the middle of the novel, before their characters resume their journey to the “spaceship”.   The “real” Ali had learned about Bill’s manuscript through a grapevine, as Bill had only put some summaries up online.  Then, as a teenager around age 14, Sal has developed his hacking tools to find the entire manuscript in the Cloud.  Sal’s motive is to find out if he really is “gifted” enough to become an “angel”.

Bill’s idea of an “Academy” also really exists;  it had come from a job interview in the 80s with a company that managed “civilian defense reservists”.  But Bill had never lived there.

What then happens in “reality” is that a second “Matt” is born, to be the right age, to a woman who is a doppleganger of the “Kelly Skiis” in Bill’s “Rain on the Snow” novel.

Ali has the pull to get the government to look into Bill’s writings and Sal’s hack, because it does predict an “AIDS II” pandemic, of sorts, a kind of Andromeda strain.  The CIA locates its special “quasi military” agent Randy, and Sal is tracked down (also in Dallas) in his ROTC program. Without any one person in the CIA, FBI or Homeland Security understanding everything, the meeting of Randy, at the prime of life in his 40s. and Sal, 21, finishing college, in Poland at the Holocaust site is set up.  Their relationship, which more or less parallels marriage but is not that, drives everything else, leading to the journey toward the end and the meeting at the space ship and “going up”.

Then, there is the idea of “retrocession”.  Not everyone will make it. Some of the “angels” were ceded to Earth to start civilization, and now they are ceded back.  Civilizations fail and have to start over, while the best of us get to explore the stars.  It sounds so elitist, but maybe that’s how it is.

It’s up to us.  Don’t blow our civilization and leave it to the preppers, the “leftovers”.  But it looks like we are about to do that.

(Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 at 11:45 PM EST)

“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.

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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

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(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)

New exoplanet near a red dwarf 11 light years away may fit the criteria for my script “Prescience”

There’s a lot of interest in a planet around red dwarf star Ross 128 b, just 11 light years away.

This particular star is much more stable than most red dwarfs and probably does not blast its planets with radiation that would strip away the atmosphere or destroy life.

The planet seems to be slightly larger than Earth, and may be tidally locked, which means that an annular zone would be in perpetual twilight. But winds might make the climate everywhere fairly mild.

Such a planet is described in one of my scripts, “Prescience.”

Loren Grush has a detailed article on The Verge

By NASA/Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics/D. Aguilar – http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/reddwarfplanet_cfa_full_1.jpg, Public Domain, Link

(Posted: Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 at 11:30 PM EST)

The Richmond monuments still stand, and not all of them have to do with the Confederacy

Today I visited the controversial monuments along Monument Ave. in Richmond VA.

There are some reports on the controversy, following Charlottesville, for example WTVR and Richmond Times Dispatch.

The westernmost one is of tennis star Arhtur Ashe.

But others include Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and (the most elaborate) Jefferson Davis.

Near the Davis monument, as I took a picture while stopped in the car, a vehicle threatened to sideswipe me.

After I parked and got out, a haggard woman came up to me and asked me if I could start her car when she lost the key. No, I’m no good at things you need for crime, which is a bit ironic.

But then another silver Focus identical to mine, and I tried to open that one before I found my own after the photos.

The Richmond Marathon was held today, and some streets around Broad and Boulevard had closures.

Arthur Ashe:

Jefferson Davis:

Robert E. Lee

 

(Posted: Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at 7 PM EST)

Bedford County PA town recovers from spectacular train wreck and displacements; visit today

Today I made a brief visit through the town of Hyndman PA, on state route 96 in southern Bedford County, 10 miles north of the Maryland border above Cumberland.

On Wed. Aug. 2 CSX had a freight train derailment which led to a fire and evacuation of many residents.  Many had to stay in a shelter (maybe in Bedford) by some were housed by the railroad in hotels in Bedford or Cumberland. Winding up in a shelter because of disaster could happen to anyone.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette account.

WTAE account.

WESA FM account of return.

1   Stop on 96

2    Intersection where accident happened

3  cell phone

 

4  (cell phone) train passes

5 Bedford (cell phone)

I found that the accident did not happen on 96, but on a street that extends north of town.

(Posted: Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 at 10:45 PM EDT)

Comparative media reviews on hot topics