Category Archives: my film clips

Again, On the Road: Spruce Knob, W Va


Spruce Knob, on the Allegheny Front eastern continental divide, is the highest point in W Va and the highest point within 200 miles of Washington DC (about 185 miles, 5 hours including 40 minutes to drive the narrow paved road, 12 miles, to the summit, from US 33/WVa 28 near Riverton).

I thought I hadn’t gotten to the summit since 1994, but I then discovered I had been there in August 2010, and then returned to Blackwater Falls in September.





SR 93 from Davis through the old strip mine fields is now replaced by US 48, which is being made into a freeway.  The Atlas shows 48 intersecting 32 just north of Davis and south of Thomas.  But the sign still says 32. The W-bound side still is about 8 miles short of completion to Davis.  The reclaimed strip mines look like terraced landfills, near the Mt. Storm power plant.  There is one coal processing plant. Halfway between Mt. Storm and Moorefield there is a rather ugly quarry, shortly after the scenic overlook, looking east from the Allegheny escarpment (with wind turbines on top of the ridge).


(Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016, at 11:30 PM EDT)

A couple more cell pictures, posted on Instagram

Spruce Knob summit


US 48 view,  some stripmine cuts or quarries visible from overlook 20 miles NW of Moorefield



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


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.



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.


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)



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


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


Sample of Basque music at Smithsonian Folklife festival


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.


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





Earlier clips from the same group








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







A cappella singing



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

Mountain trip: VA, W Va high country clips



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)

Clip 5:

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