Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears (and dinosaurs and diamonds and...) oh my!

I started my day at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History - I could have spent a lifetime there. There were some very cool things, I can't even remember most of them. Perhaps the most memorable was the Hope Diamond. Stunning. Potential suitors - this will do me just fine!

I then headed for the National Archives, saw the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They also had many other cool bits and pieces there - old reports from the Cuban Missile Crisis, the patents for the telephone and the first submarine, and all the records of Vietnam war POWs, including one Mr McCain.

Um, then it was the Air and Space Museum - which Dad would love. They've got the Hubble telescope in there, too many planes to count (including some unmanned spy planes which looked outer space-ish) and heaps of display items from the Apollo missions. I had to laugh when I got to the special pens that NASA designed to write in space - it didn't say this on the display but I remember hearing, that while NASA spent years, and a ton of money, developing these pens, the Russians just took pencils. Oh, those Ruskis, clever till the end.

I then hiked up Capitol Hill to the Library of Congress, and felt like I was back in Europe. It's an amazing building, paintings on the roof and marble everywhere. I was almost tempted to get myself a library card just to see what they had in the shelves (apparently the world's largest collection of comic books AND erotica!!) but was starting to fade.

On the way, I stopped to play with Brutus, the baby British Bulldog (say that 3 times quickly!) who was 14 weeks old and absolutely adorable...and so was his owner!

Time to take it easy for a while, maybe enjoy a bit more of Mr Cooper - I thought I'd try to recommend some more books to Anonymous, who wanted more of Anderson but unfortunately, he hasn't written anything else. I consulted the amazon section "customers who bought... also bought", to see if that showed up anything worthwhile.

There were those that were relevant:
  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (I haven't read this yet, but really want to)
  • Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (as above)
  • A Mighty Heart by Sarah Crichton (I have the Angelina Jolie movie version of this but haven't had a chance to see it)
And those that weren't:
  • Marley & Me by John, Grogan (a wonderful book though nowhere near the same sort of thing, I bawled my eyes out at the end - and coming soon to a movie theatre near you with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston if I'm not mistaken)
  • The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (she's now a gossip columnist but grew up very very poor - good book, but nothing like Anderson)
  • Running With Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs (a great book about an absolutely unbelievable childhood, made into a film with Ralph Fiennes and Annette Benning)
  • Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler (I heard about this book on one of my favourite blogs and think it sounds hilarious...but related to Anderson...not so much!)
So Anonymous, there are lots of good books on that list, but whether they're what your looking for, well, who knows?


  1. i'm pretty sure the hubble space telescope is still up in the sky, and the russian space pencil thing is an urban legend.

  2. I hope you are going to to the Museum of American History...it's the coolest one!

  3. Did you see the enola gay exhibit? Is it super small? i was told there was this big fuss about it but for political expediency (ppl complained) they ended up changing it.

  4. Steve - yes, you're right. The hubble is still up there and taking pictures. It's a life size model though!

    Rowan - I didn't go into the American history one...meh. Isn't the Constitution et. al. enough history???

    Tom - I didn't see the enola gay!! By the end of it, I was kind of aviation historied-out, see comment to Rowan!

  5. Well, you're off the hook because it is actually still shut. They've been renovating for the last 2 years and I thought it had already reopened, but the date is actually November 21. Pity - it's way cooler than animal specimens and diamonds... :P