I got back home from Terpville yesterday evening, and got the finishing touches on my root canal this afternoon. The rest of this spring break week looks to be a time of grading and suchlike, but why not blog a little while I’m at it?
A quick observation re: Elizabeth Warren’s departure from the Presidential fray: Anyone who advocates for an academic as president never sat through a faculty meeting.
But there’s important news as well — one of my all-time favorite TV shows is returning!
OK — back to the familial stuff. Monday afternoon, the Spawn, Main Squeeze, and I caught the train to Our Nation’s Capital for a visit to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Of course, there wasn’t enough time to check the whole place out — indeed, I didn’t make it past the first floor, but I did get to see the thing I most wanted to see, more than 40 years after I first saw it.
One of the highlights of my visit to Washington in 1979 for the National Spelling Bee was a serendipitous viewing of the original Star-Spangled Banner — the flag that flew over Fort McHenry and inspired Mr. Key to write a poem that was set to the tune of a wickedly difficult English drinking song and eventually became our national anthem (with an assist from Ripley’s Believe It or Not!). I seem to recall it hanging at some distance from the viewers back then, but it now has a dedicated gallery, with display panels explaining the flag’s story and provenance. The flag is now displayed on an angled platform under glass and I suspect in a sufficiently preservative atmosphere and lighting arrangement. I have to cop to being amused by the fact that the family that owned the flag for generations (descendants of the fort’s commander, George Armistead) was known to cut chunks from it on occasion and give them to friends as souvenirs. I pointed some of the cut areas out to the girls, who seemed suitably impressed.
After that, we headed to a Korean restaurant the girls love, but alas, when we got there, it was closed for a private event. As it happens, there was another location of Busboys and Poets across the street, so we took it as an omen. The Spawn had her customary burger and fries, while the Main Squeeze went for a Cuban sandwich and I had nachos with beef barbacoa. A bonus is that the place serves craft sodas — I had a root beer at the Hyattsville location and cola at the evening meal. Both were more than satisfactory. From there, the Spawn hailed my first Uber ride to a local subway station, and we made it back to campus shortly thereafter.
Tuesday was my final full day in town, so I went on campus with the Spawn, who showed me the library that houses her grad program. After she took off to class, I walked over to the Student Union, where I got a sundae at the dairy bar. The ice cream there is made at the University’s own dairy, which I think is pretty nifty. I had the “Terpresso” (Double coffee with oreo chips and a caramel swirl, created by the U’s field hockey coach) and chocolate syrup — highly recommended.
From there, I made my way to CDepot, a used media shop near campus, and once again, I was delighted to find my favorite type of music store — scruffy, difficult to escape in a fire, and a cratedigger’s paradise. Vinyl and CDs abound, and the store seemed especially strong on jazz. I found a couple of CDs that looked appealing, and the staff were exactly as hip as one might expect, while being delightfully free of condescension and general ‘tude. If I lived in the area, Mrs. M would need to file a restraining order. After that, I swung by a grocery and drugstore to pick up relative staples for the ladies, and then made it back to home base at their apartment.
Since the Spawn had classes until about nine that evening, I took the Main Squeeze to dinner at a place Mrs. M and I had visited last summer, Krazi Kebob. The restaurant combines the theory of burritos with Pakistani cuisine, and I had a garlic naan wrap, filled with seasoned ground beef and various subcontinental toppings, including a hari chutney that delivers heat without losing flavor. I washed it down with a mango lassi, and then the Main Squeeze and I returned home to wait for the Spawn,
As I said, I made it back home yesterday, grabbing a bite in Charlotte before the two-hour drive home. All in all, it was a terrific trip with two great kids, and I look forward to getting back up there soon.
Don’t forget that Noir at the Bar returns to Mondoville one week from tonight, with a nice range of writers breaking out some dark fiction. We’d love to see you, so come on out!
I think that’s enough for now, but I’ll wrap it up with a bit of music. The Spawn had told me that the Main Squeeze is really into music, and sure enough, we made a bit of a connection. Over the breakfast table, she asked if I was familiar with drone-rockers Sunn 0))), and I mentioned that I had seen the somewhat similar doom/stoner-metal band Sleep last year, which earned me some cred, I hope. From there, I told the Main Squeeze about favorites of mine both old (The Asteroid #4; The American Analog Set) and new (The Green Pajamas), and she clued me in to a group I heard of, but hadn’t actually heard, Connecticut’s Have A Nice Life. A quick visit to Spotify persuaded me that they are indeed pretty freaking cool, so here’s the first track from their 2008 debut album, Deathconsciousness. If nothing else, I’d love this song just for the title. Here’s “A Quick One Before the Eternal Worm Devours Connecticut.”
See you soon!