Day 6 – DC

Quotes of the day – 

“News is what somebody, somewhere, wants to suppress.” Lord Northcliffe, British newspaper publisher, Newseum, DC 

“We’re 72% sure that you’ll love it 100% of the time.” Anchorman exhibit, Newseum, DC

“I asked you to take off your bag – what did you think I meant?” Security guard, Smithsonian Institute

“Some reporters said I don’t have vision – I don’t see that.” George H W Bush

So another day in a very friendly DC – our time here has passed so quickly. First a visit to the Newseum, dedicated to the history of news reporting and the principle of freedom of press. Highlights include the JFK exhibit, daily front page news headlines from around the world and a memorial to journalists killed in action.There is also a balcony at the top, with a great view of Capitol Hill. 

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One of the film pieces at the Newseum was about error in journalism – and the effect it has on individuals and organisations. On this theme I would like to apologise for an erratum on my previous post. Ben’s Chili Bowl produces outstanding food. My misspelling of bowl as bowel was a genuine error – and not sarcasm, a medical condition or a Freudian slip. Interestingly spices do have a peripheral neurological effect – there are unique receptors within the bowel which respond to spiced food… nuff said.

Our tour of American cuisine continued today, with a visit to Ollie’s Trolley on 12th and E street. The counter is like the set on Happy Days – the only missing ingredients are the guy in the leather jacket on the motorbike, and the canned laughter when the ketchup self combusts in the corner. Great food, and reasonable prices. 

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A visit to DC would not be complete without a walk past the White House and the memorials, which are very well kept and important symbols of past struggles. However like the Brits, the Americans are very good at snatching victory from the jaws of defeat – taking a highly dubious military campaign and turning it into a Princess Zelda adventure. On the journey around the national memorials it is difficult not to get swept along by the patriotism and moral gluttony. By the time we reached the Jefferson memorial I was ready to buy a ranch in Texas, join the Navy SEALS, invade Cuba and buy something from the gift shop. 

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After an afternoon outdoors, time to see the greatest memorial of them all – the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This magnificent building includes a concert hall and an opera house. The panoramic view from the terrace at night is quite something. We saw the NSO play Kodaly, Liszt and Prokofiev.

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And so our time at DC is drawing to a close – this city has welcomed us with open arms. The first President, Washington, took the oath in Manhattan, just off Wall Street – but it soon became clear that the Confederates would not tolerate New York as the Capital of the Union. A deal was struck to make Philadelphia the capital temporarily, whilst DC was made ready for government. From my limited experience of both –  New York feels like the capital but isn’t, whilst DC does not feel like the capital but is.

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Tomorrow we travel to Chicago.

Much love,

Mike x

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