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Jimmy’s Blog

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Just bloggin’ ….

So, this has been an interesting in trying to blog daily for the month of June on a particular topic.  In this case, it was “What i like about Washington, DC.”  I did blog for 26 of the first 27 days in June but they was too busy with work the past couple of days to blog.

The fun thing about blogging is one can write about whatever comes to mind.  It’s simply expressing one’s personal opinion.  I do normally focus one of the following topics — Sports, Diversity, Education and Family.   But, for the past month, I actually tried to blog about different things I like about my hometown.  I didn’t draw up a list of topics.  Instead, I simply wrote about whatever came to top of mind for that particular day.

As we head into July, I’ll go back to writing about one of the aforementioned four areas — although from time to time I’ll write about other random topics.  Again, this is the beauty of blogging.  This is not a money-making business venture — it’s simply a hobby.  And, it’s great to get feedback from friends and students.

Thanks to those of you read this blog from time to time … and thanks for your emails and comments.

What I like about Washington, DC — Redskins

Only four blogs left this month as I try to write daily about what I like about Washington, DC.  I’m sure today’s topic, the Washington Redskins, will create the most number of comments (both good and bad).

For those that read this blog regularly, you’re aware that I’m a fan and season ticket-holder (full or partial) to the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Washington Nationals and Georgetown Hoyas.   So, yes, I like all of these teams.  And, it’s great to see DC turn into much more of a hockey town (the Caps home games are now the best and most exciting sports attraction in town).  Also, it’s awesome to have baseball back in town — especially when the Nats are now the hottest team in baseball.   The Wizards will take time but they’re starting to put a good foundation in place.

But, if you have track the history of Sports in Washington, DC, the Redskins are the name that creates the most excitement and animosity.  Season tickets are passed on from generations to generations.  They sell out the 2nd largest NFL stadium, which has a capacity of over 90,000.   They’ve only made the playoffs a couple of times over the past two decades yet they are one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world (thanks to the business and marketing acumen of their staff).

The Redskins are Washington, DC.  Nothing unites a city like a Super Bowl champion.  Is there anything close?  I hope to see a similar reaction when the Caps win the Stanley Cup.  But, for those of us that were here and remember the three Super Bowl wins in the 80’s and early 90’s, there’s nothing like a city celebrating a Super Bowl victory.  In the streets of Georgetown, you literally come upon hundreds and hundreds of strangers — yet you’re hugging, slapping high fives, hooting and hollering.  It’s unabashed joy and jubilation.

NFL Sundays are quite something.  During a ‘Skins game, the streets are quiet (and the crime rate drops dramatically).   The morning after a Skins game is also interesting — the city jumps to a different beat after a win vs the more solemn nature after a loss (especially to the dreaded Cowboys, Giants or Eagles).

The Washington Redskins are a landmark, a monument, and a fabric of the Washington, DC community.  The locals love them (or at least most of us do).  The transient citizens that moved here or out-of-town guests that come to visit can’t stand the wall-to-wall media coverage the Redskins receive.   But, that’s the power of the NFL (and another reason they need to resolve this strike soon — which will hopefully occur within the next two weeks).

Hail to the Redskins!

What I like about Washington, DC – Arlington

I can’t write about What I like about Washington, DC without mentioning where I’ve lived for the past 20+ years … Arlington.  I originally lived in the Clarendon area while pursuing my MBA at AU, then moved to the Ballston area before moving to Rosslyn in August ’01.

The first time I took a tour of the townhouse I toured during July 4th weekend in ’01, I fell in love immediately for one primary reason … the view of the Potomac River from the master bedroom.   The view took my breathe away.  And, now nearly 10 years later, I’m in still with the view … which overlooks the GW Parkway and the Potomac River … and is directly across from Georgetown University.  I look directly at Healy Tower and I can see the National Cathedral in the background.

One of my favorite things to do is to sit on the back deck … whether it’s reading the paper and drinking coffee in the morning … or, as I’m doing now, having a glass of wine and blogging on my laptop.

I still remember back in Aug ’01, when I first sat on the back deck.   Right away I noticed how loud the planes were that were flying into Reagan Airport.  I remember being a bit bummed at the loud noise.  But, then only one month later, the tragedy of 9/11 struck.   Right away, I noticed the eerie quiet without the planes flying overhead.  The only noises were the helicopters that were patrolling the river (looking for more terrorists) and the military jets flying high above our nation’s capital.  For the rest of Sept ’01, the airways were quiet.  I made a promise to myself I would never complain about the plane noise again … when it started back up it meant life was going to get back to normal.

What else do I like about Arlington  I love the location.  I’m situated 1/4 mile outside of the city.  So, it’s a quick drive or a 15-minute walk into Georgetown.  It’s about 7 – 8 minute walk to Rosslyn Metro.  And, there’s so many roads right here — access to GW Parkway, I-395, I-66, 29 /Lee Highway, Route 50, etc.   It’s less than a 10-minute drive to Reagan and about 25 – 30 minutes to Dulles.

It’s also close to family.  My brother moved into Arlington in ’01 and my parents moved in ’04.   Both of their homes are about 10 minutes away.

And, of course, there’s the Clarendon area, which is now full of so many restaurants, bars, clubs, stores, etc.  It’s a wonderful collection of ethnic and diverse dining options.  Also, our beloved Washington Capitals also call Arlington its home base.

Arlington, VA – living it and loving it.

What I like about Washington, DC — Roy Rogers!

This other blog posting about What I like about Washington, DC is a trip down memory lane.   What’s the choice?  Roy Rogers restaurant!

Today, we had a baseball game to play in our 30-and-over hardball league at Mt Vernon High School in Alexandria.  One of the Roy Rogers is still there!  We haven’t played at Mt Vernon HS in a while so I haven’t been down Route 1 for a couple of years but as soon as I saw it on the way to the game I knew I’d stop there to pick up lunch after the game.

If you’re a Washingtonian and over certain age, you absolutely will remember the Roy Rogers restaurants.  They’ve been bought and sold a few times …. so there’s only a handful left in the greater DC area … but they always do bring a smile to my face.

There was a Roy Rogers across the street from where I went to high school — WT Woodson in Fairfax.  And, there was on River Road … not too far from where I went to college, American University as well as where I worked, Q107 and WMAL Radio.

(As an aside, being back in the Mt Vernon area also brings back memories.  I was born there at DeWitt Army Hosptial on Ft Belvoir; I took my SAT’s at Mt Vernon HS (although I didn’t do that great); I watched one of best friends make a memorable catch in a regional high school football game played at Mt Vernon HS; and I used to DJ a lot of weddings at Ft Belvoir and in the Mt Vernon area.)

Anyways, I do my best to try to eat healthy — and try not to frequent fast food places too much — I love the salads at Sweetgreen and the subs at Subway — but, I must admit, it was great to order my old stand-by this afternoon …. Roast Beef sandwich, loaded w/ condiments, french fries and Coke.  Life’s good when you eat at a Roy Rogers.  🙂

What I like about Washington, DC — Air and Space Museum

While I just wrote about the Lincoln Memorial being my favorite memorial in Washington, DC, my favorite museum is the Air and Space Museum.  It’s definitely one of the things I like about Washington, DC.   It is also one of the most popular and most visited museums in the world.

There is much to see in the museum … as it displays air travel from the very beginning of Kitty Hawk through the planes from World War 1 and World War II … to the incredible machines that have been to the moon and beyond.

But, by far my favorite thing to do in the Air and Space is to go see the Imax movies.  The movies are shown on a screen that is 6 – 7 stories high.  And, the movies are spectacular.  I’m in awe every time I see them … even ones like “To Fly,” which I’ve seen at least 12 – 15 times.  I’ve probably seen 6 – 8 different movies over the years.  I’m in amazement every time I see the Imax films.

Also, during the hot and humid summer months, there’s nothing better than taking in an Imax movie in the cool, air-conditioned theatres.  My father told me that growing up in Oklahhoma City, they used to go see double features in the movie houses primarily for the air conditioning in the hot summer months (before most homes had their own AC units).

The Smithsonian museums are wonderful … there’s so many great places to visit on the National Mall … but if I were to recommend one museum, it would be the Air and Space Museum (the other annex near Dulles Airport is terrific too).

 

What I like about Washington, DC — Key Bridge

Only a week to go for my goal of writing a daily blog in June on the topic of What I like about Washington, DC.  I thought I might run out of topics but I think I’ll have another 8 choices.  Today’s choice?   Key Bridge.

Next month will mark 10 years since I moved into a townhouse in Rosslyn, right next to the Key Bridge Marriott and the Key Bridge.  The back of the house overlooks the GW Parkway and the Potomac River.  And it’s directly across from Georgetown University.

As noted in other blogs, I like to walk to work to Georgetown University a couple of times a week.  One of the best things about the walk is the absolutely beautiful walk across the Key Bridge.   To my left are great views of the Potomac River and of Georgetown University.  To my right are views of Georgetown, the Washington Harbour, Watergate, Kennedy Center, etc.  It’s a breathtaking view.  It never gets old.

Key Bridge, which is named after the author of the “Star Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Key, is known as the link between Washington, DC and Virginia.  It’s a beautiful place and it’s definitely one of the things I really like about Washington, DC.

What I like about Washington, DC — Lincoln Memorial

There are many memorials and museums to visit in Washington, DC, but my clear favorite is the Lincoln Memorial.   Whenever out-of-town guests want to see DC’s best places to visit, I always drive them by the White House and then to the Lincoln Memorial.  Last week, a friend was in DC for a few hours during a lay-over to Europe.  She only had a couple of hours so we went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (another one of my favorites — for its sheer beauty and solemn feeling one gets when visiting it) and the Lincoln Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial is majestic, powerful and serene.   It’s neat to walk up the many steps (it always reminds of Rocky in the famous scene in Philly where he’s running up the steps).  Then, the view from the top of the steps takes your breathe away.  The Reflecting Pool (which is undergoing major renovation right now), the Washington Monument, the US Capitol, etc.   It’s a spectacular view.  And, as great as the view is during the day, I like it better at night, especially when there’s a full moon.

President Lincoln sits proudly in the center of the memorial.  Then, to the sides, are two of his most famous speeches — “The Gettysburg Address” and his second inaugural address.

The other highlight is stand near the top of the steps where Martin Luther King delivered his historic “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963.   Standing there will give you chills and goosebumps (for those of us that volunteer and mentor inner-city children to help provide a level playing field, this is a particularly special place).   This spot is also where President Obama spoke to so many people during his Inauguration.

A couple of times in the past 25+ years, when I’ve felt down or frustrated with school, work, life, etc, I’ve gone to the Lincoln Memorial, sat at the top of the steps, and just reflected on life.   Then I think of the great sacrifices that President Lincoln, one of the greatest American heroes, endured in the mid 1800’s.  It always puts things in perspective — and I always walk away refreshed and more positive.

The Lincoln Memorial is a special place.  And, it’s another highlight of what I love about Washington, DC.

What I like about Washington, DC – Washington Post

What I like about Washington, DC?  The Washington Post.  The newspaper is like a trusted friend.  It’s always here and I can always rely on it.  It feels comfortable and it feels like family.

Some friends in DC insist on the superiority of the NY Times or the Wall St Journal.  Those are great publications … and I read them too.  But, in terms of what I prefer — and what gives me the most information for a Washingtonian, I much prefer the Washington Post.

Ever since we moved back to DC from Tokyo in the late 70’s, we’ve been subscribers to the Post.  I also have fond memories of one of my first mentors, the great Mr. Joe Bouchard.  He was a late-night editor of the Washington Post.   And, we used to visit him sometimes at the Post office after midnight – where he insisted we have some doughnuts.  🙂   But, the reason I really connected with him is that he was a former sportswriter (in Baltimore where he covered the legendary Colts and Orioles teams in the ’50’s and ’60’s).  He used to regale me with stories.  I also loved when he used to bring me the black and white photos (they had so many extra photos – and, of course, well before the digital age).

During my 14 years at AOL, I didn’t take time to ready the print version since I was rushing to get to work but I would also go to http://www.washingtonpost.com at the office.  It’s also my go-to website when I travel.  I do a fair amount of business travel — but I now access the site via my laptop, iPad and iPhone.  I always get a snapshot of what’s going on back home — whether I’m in Japan, China, Brazil, Europe, wherever.

Since I left AOL in ’09, one big difference is I now try to read the print version every morning (along w/ my morning coffee).   Since I no longer have the 45-minute commute to the AOL campus, I use that time to peruse the paper on a daily basis.  And, one of my favorite things to do is to take a couple of hours on Sunday morning to read the paper from cover to cover.   Thanks, Washington Post, for being a dear and trusted companion.

 

What I like about Washington, DC — Len Bias

With this weekend marking the 25th anniversary of the passing of my all-time favorite college basketball player, Len Bias, #34 of the University of Maryland Terrapins, I’m writing about Lenny as one of my favorite things about Washington, DC.

Yes, Washington, DC is a football town … and now more of a hockey town … and a baseball town w/ the Nats … but, at its heart, DC is a hoops heaven.  So many legendary teams and players over the past few decades.  But, in the minds of many, the most talented and greatest player to ever come from and play in the greater Washington, DC area was Len Bias.

I absolutely loved watching Len play … especially as he transformed from a raw, freshman player into one of the ACC’s greatest players ever.  As the great Duke head coach, Coach K, eloquently stated, the two greatest players that the Duke Blue Devils faced in his many years of coaching were Michael Jordan and Len Bias.  That’s about a big a compliment as possible.

Also, this weekend, there were two terrific pieces that ran about Len.  One was Dave Ungrady’s wonderful article yesterday in the Outlook section of the Washington Post.  Dave, a former Terp athlete, nailed it perfectly when he wrote about Len’s impact on the Univ of Maryland, DC and the nation. He also argued that Lenny should be inducted in the Maryland Terps Hall of Fame.  I agree w/ him 100%.  There was also the terrific ESPN 30 on 30 documentary that aired on Saturday morning.  That was a brilliantly-produced documentary that was emotional and overwhelming.  Plenty of tears flowed as I watched that piece.

I watched Lenny play often.  And, I was there at Cole Field House in ’86 for his memorial service.  I went there with one of my best friends, Kurt Helwig.  It’s a day we will never, ever forget.  So powerful and moving.

The strength of Len Bias’ mother, Dr. Lonise Bias, is so remarkable.  She lost not only her beloved, Len, but she also lost another son, Jay, to a shooting in ’90.   Yes, this wonderful lady carries on about the important issues of drug awareness and gun violence.  She is a complete inspiration for her strength and resolve.    We will never forget Lenny … and we will continue to be moved and inspired by Dr Bias.  Peace.

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