Category Archives: my film clips

A visit to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad site on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

On “Palm Monday” I visited the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park on the Maryland Eastern Shore (south of Cambridge), which is also a national monument run by the National Park Service.

Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland on 1822. She was injured in a shop when struck by an object thrown by an angry slaveowner weighing goods, aimed at someone else. She managed to escape, and eventually settled in Auburn, NY (near Syracuse), but made return missions and helped rescue over 70 families along an “Underground Railroad” which the motorist today can drive up Md 16 toward Denton on 404 (Reboboth Highway).

The exhibits diagram how slavery worked in southern Maryland. Farms were smaller than in the deeper south, and slaves were traded more often. Undercover “informants” would pretend to help slaves and then turn them in for bounties. Escaping slaves were often kidnapped, and sometimes free men were taken my mistaken identity and returned to slavery (as with the 2013 film “12 Years a Slave” by Steve McQueen. Slaves had a sense of very low station in life. The over all impression left by the museum is one of overwhelming racial bigotry.

The exhibit also raises the question of “resistance” (a term we hear today) in a moral context.  When is it right to disobey existing law?  How do we deal with this in the Bible (like here in Ephesians)?  We see this problem in other contexts, like African American soldiers serving in segregated units through World War II (remember the HBO film “Truman“).

The museum offered a 2 hour presentation of the opening ceremony by video, with Maryland governor Larry Hogan (Republican) speaking.  Later a biographical film will be offered.

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(Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 9:45 AM EDT)

Palm Sunday in the DC 17h Street corridor

The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC had a congregational “Adventuring hike” today after the Palm Sunday service, up 16th St and down 17th Century above Annie’s, below Cobalt.

“The band played on”, providing folksy music.  The march lasted about 20 minutes.

It ended up near the Embassy of Australia.

I did hear from one person that people have recovered relatively well from the flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew last October (when only a Category 1) in eastern North Carolina, especially along the Tar and Nuese rivers.  I do want to get down there soon (no later than early May) to see it.  Resilience is a big issue for me to film and report on.  In West Virginia last summer, people were much more handyman-self-sufficient than the outside world thought after the valley floods in late June.  I did visit Lumberton (where, according to David Lynch in “Blue Velvet”, “woodchucks chuck”) in Sept. 2015.

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(Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 9 PM EDT)

Cherry Blossom Parade, Wahington DC, 2017

Here is some footage from the Cherry Blossom Parade on Constitution Ave in Washington DC, Saturday, April 8, 2017.

The marching bands remind me of the “innocence” of high school.

The Cherry Blossom Queen looked like a monument to the conventions of the heterosexual world.

The Washington Nationals appeared with their bobblehead.

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7   Washington Nationals baseball

(Posted: Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 4 PM EDT)

A barren start, perhaps, to producing my 1960 Sonata

I tried a little experiment tonight.  I tried filming myself performing the “Big Tune” in the Picardy D Major at the conclusion (two pages before the end) of my 1960 Piano Sonata #2, from the original manuscript.

It’s pretty crude, and my brain knows the score better than my arms and fingers do.  OK, it could use a virtuoso pianist.

The piano sound is not as good recorded on a camera as it is right from Sibelius when played from a digital MPG file.

Indeed, I wrote all this out by hand on the kitchen table, a lot of it o snow days in March 1960, my junior year in high school, before entering it in a composition contest.

This is definitely a “work in progress”.

 

Also, note, grownups play with toy cement trucks.

 

 

(Posted: Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 8:45 PM EDT)

Model railroad kingdoms at the Roundhouse Museum Hagerstown MD

Today I re-visited the Roundhouse Museum and model railroading club in Hagerstown MD.

There is a large scale layout (so smaller simulated space) downstairs, and two larger layouts upstairs.  One of the layouts is under scenery construction.

But the layout on the right is one of the more intricate I have ever seen (outside of Roadside America and ChooChoo Barn in PA)   There are essentially three sections and some underground tunnels. There is a lot of industry, even coal.  It sounds like Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again”.  But we have to focus on sustainability, too.

Upstairs

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Downstairs

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(Posted: Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 7:15 PM EDT)

Cherry Blossoms in Washington got to about 40% of their potential after cold snap

I did get to the Tidal Basin in Washington late today to see the cherry blossoms.

They seemed to be only about 40% of what they should have been.  Three nights in the mid twenties last week after the snow, and one cold night this week did severe damage after early blooming starting in late February.

Occasionally, especially near the water where it was warmer, one tree would be fully bloomed.

In the mean time, the GOP was pulling the American Health Care Act from the vote.  But along the Basin, nobody cared.

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(Posted: Friday, April 24, 2017 at 11:30 PM EDT)

DC Environmental Film Festival 2017: “Nuclear Power Play” QA

Wednesday, March 22, 2017, the DC Environmental Film Festival held a program “Nuclear Power Play” at the Carnegie Science Center.  There were two short films, “Nuclear Winter” and “Triad” and “City 40”.  The panel included Kit Roane (Retro Report), Dan Sagayin, and Samira Goetsche.

Generally, there was concern expressed that the US and Russia, following the Soviet Union, tend to make it more plausible that they could use nuclear weapons if they maintain the hardware.  There was concern over making rogue states and non-state actors believe “everybody wants some”.

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4  Question from the audience about the character of scientists

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(Posted: Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 2:30 PM EST)

Characters’ travel itineraries in my novel “Angel’s Brother”

My novel manuscript “Angel’s Brother“, for which I developed a new “screenwriters’ outline” here on Feb. 28, involves the major characters (especially Randy, 40, the CIA agent, Sal, 21, the gifted angel-to-be, and Bill, or “me”) making lots of trips, within the United States, back and forth to and within Europe, as far as Arctic Russia in one chapter.  (Correction: Lake Lagoda is in NW Russia, as is most of Karelia, near the Finnish border.)

There are many novels and films based on road trips.  Most of them tend to be based on one continuous journey from a start to and end, like in a board game.

Clive Barker’s “Imajica“, in the first part, traces its major character Gentle from Earth (the Fifth Dominion), with some running-around between London and New York, through three other dominions (essentially planets);  the second half (“The Reconciliation”) has Gentle and many other characters (one of them very gender fluid) moving back and forth among the dominions through what would amount to wormholes in physics.  He winds up in “Heaven” (the “First”) where, sorry to say for David Lynch, not everything is fine. There is even a “Lenten Way”, a superhighway connecting the dominions.

As I best remember, in J. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” (and Peter Jackson’s film trilogy for New Line) the progress (Bilbo with his ring) is gradually from the Shire to the east, through all the lands of the Middle Earth, until confrontations in a volcano at the end, after which Bilbo sails west and returns home in peace.  But I think it’s one continuous journey, as I recall.   I have to give a hand to Tolkien in inventing bloodlines and families, and a whole language.  The book has many detailed maps (or what amounts to a parallel Earth II) that lend themselves to board and computer games.

Stephen King’s monumental apocalypse, “The Stand“, which became a miniseries in the 90s, traces the lives of many characters after a super bird flu, intended as a biological weapon, is accidentally released.  Generally, the characters progress from New York, Vermont, and Houston to Boulder (the good people), or Las Vegas-Cibola (the bad people).  I remember Tim Cullen’s harrowing journey (to Boulder) up I-15 from Vegas through Utah with an eye watching him.  I’ve even been called “The Walkin’ Dude” myself at work.

In Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged“, which became a three-part movie, and which I read while in the Army in 1969, has the major characters (Reardon and Taggert) wandering around a deteriorating rail system until a crash-landing in John Galt’s ashram hidden away in Colorado.

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(Posted: Friday, March 17, 2017 at 2:15 PM EDT)

Below: Hillary Clinton’s old “Basket of Deplorables”.   For me, in this little video;  I used the guy with the binoculars (the “observer”); the CIA guy has the gun (although be probably needs only the binoculars); the angel looks like the shaman doll, or maybe the man in the space suit.

A visit to Infinity Mirrors by Yayoi Kusama at SI Hirshhorn in Washington

I visited the Infinity Mirrors Exhibit by Yayoi Kusama at Hirshhorn today.

I showed up for the day-pass line at about 9:10 AM.  The line was combined with the other line, and slowly started moving at 9:35.  I finally got my pass at about 11:20,  over two hours after I arrived.

Two hours of my time are worth money.  I would rather pay a fair price for a ticket (maybe $10) at a specific time by credit card or Paypal and not have a hassle.  The Monday noon ticket giveway times out before most users can get ticket.

Before I got in at 1 PM, I encountered Chris the Mockingbird.

Later I encountered him in the garden and he seemed to recognize me.  Mockingbirds are musicians.  But the males do not have plumage color that gives them the obvious external trappings of manhood.  They seem to have made some sort of sacrifice.

In the museum. there were five rooms with the last one temporarily closed.  You go into the room and have 20-30 seconds.  The effect is to see many copies of yourself as in the movie “Interstellar”, where in the end people are saved by creating their own little tesseracts.

You’re not supposed to use flash, and I apologize for one shot;  I thought I had turned it off on my Canon Power Shot but it went off.

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Video 2

There was also artwork simulating life on other planets.

Are these plants or animals?

And there was a piano room.

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More pics

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(Posted: Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 6:45 PM EST)