WASHINGTON, D.C. — Among other things I learned during a recent trip to the Smithsonian‘s National Museum of Natural History was that the elephant in the main lobby had a name. He’s Henry!
While the origin of the name is unknown, the details of Henry were published in June 6, 1956 Sports Illustrated – The Biggest Elephant Ever Killed By Man. Big game hunter Josef Fénykövi hunted the elephant on his ranch in Angola and later donated it to the Natural History museum. It took sixteen months for Smithsonian taxidermists to prepare Henry for display (Wash. Examiner). In 1999, it was restored (Scripps Howard Foundation Wire) and given a more realistic exhibit.
By the way, the museum seems to keep a hungry 4½ year old occupied for about an hour which is fine since we’re local. The cafeteria isn’t cheap ($22 for an adult and child) but above average. We mostly went through the dinosaur exhibit and that was fairly enjoyable for the 4½ year old mentioned above. More trips are sure to follow. Archives (yellow/green) and Smithsonian (blue/orange) are the closest Metro stops.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — There is only one week left of the National Building Museum’s LEGO® Architecture: Towering Ambition exhibit. We went the previous weekend.
While the models of the Empire State Building, Sears Tower (what you talking about Willis?), Burj Khalifa and other landmarks are well done, they have a flaw — too many custom pieces. Those Lego models have been so customized that you barely recognize that they are Legos; a problem with Lego in general these days. Also, the entire exhibit isn’t the same scale either which would have added some perspective. It is still interesting, but a bit disappointing.
The highlight of the exhibit is…playing with Legos. The Building Zone has several stations with a few hundred thousand Lego bricks. Kids and adults were building away. That imagination on display was more fun that most of the models. Coming up with a design and assembling it out of the typical 2 x 4 blocks is quite a bit more challenging. I did not have much success with idea — a Washington Nationals curly W, but my wife did a pretty good job.
Now, isn’t that a lot more creative than putting a bunch of custom pieces together?
[flickr : Photos tagged with lego%C2%AEarchitecturetoweringambition/slideshow]
The Lego exhibition runs through Labor Day, September 3. The Building Zone is open until 4 p.m. Adult admission to the NBM is $8, kids $5. My advice — pick a time an hour or two after you arrive for your Lego exhibit entry and see another NBM exhibit first.
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The closest Metro stop to NBM is Judiciary Square (Red Line), but Gallery Place/Chinatown (Red, Yellow, Green Lines) is a short walk away too, so don’t bother switching to the Red Line for one stop. Street parking nearby may be limited if there is an event at Verizon Center.
Pennsylvania’s dialects are as varied as its downtowns — and dahntahns – Patriot-News
The bottom line is few kitchen tables can be as linguistically cluttered as a Pennsylvania table when the family comes to town.
Based solely upon pronunciation and grammar, researchers generally split the United States into a number of linguistic regions. Those regions come together in Pennsylvania — which makes the state kind of a crossroads of the English language.
Thanks in part to immigration patterns and relative geographic isolation, Pennsylvania is home to six — count’em six — distinct English dialects.
My Pennsylvania friends and readers may enjoy the article linked above. It would be fun to learn more about linguistics.
I’m pretty sure the greater DC dialect, if it exists, if the most homogenized in the United States. I think there used to be a distinct dialect for D.C.’s gold coast, but that is probably just about gone.
Oh and its soda, not pop. More on that sometime soon.
BOSTON — I was not that familiar with Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, but I was informed by the Ombudman’s attorney that it “the” Boston children’s book. Since I have a son, I decided to get it, though I wound up buying it outside of Boston in the Curious George bookstore which is located on the ground floor of CarTalk Plaza.
“Make Way for Ducklings” is about Mr. and Mrs. Mallard looking for a place to raise their family. They choose the pond at the Public Garden, but decide it isn’t safe for newborn ducklings after a close call with a bicyclist. They hatch the ducklings on an island in the Charles River near the Longfellow Bridge. The island isn’t there anymore, if ever was — perhaps a little artistic license by McCloskey. Anyway, after Mr. Mallard ditches the family for some reason for a week, Mrs. Mallard leads the ducklings across Storrow Drive and down to the Public Garden where Mr. Mallard is waiting for them. A policeman helps them along the way. McCloskey’s artwork is quite good and many of the illustrations are accurate today.
The book is celebrated with a sculpture in the Public Garden, not far from the pond and pictured above.