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Friday, July 29, 2005

Earl Checks In

Well the vacation is going swimmingly, apart from all the walking and &*%$# Chelsea beating DC United and disappointing me and my several dozen fellow Arsenal fans that were in the stadium. In fact, I seemed to be in the Arsenal section of Fed Ex Field as there were 4 of us all within two rows of one of the small scoreboard sections. I however, was probably the only one loudly proclaiming that Chelsea were a bunch of wankers and singing "One-nil to the Arsenal everytime Freddy Adu touched the ball in the second half. Fed Ex Field was quite nice, except for all the Redskins paraphenalia (Full disclosure - Earl is a Cowboys fan.)

Chelsea were quite good though for an exhibition and I have to admit that Damein Duff's first-half goal on the volley was first class and worth the price of admission. The angle was ridiculously shallow and Rimando, the United goalkeeper was well placed and still had no chance. It happened right in front of us, although afterwards our view of the field was obscured by the group of West Indies football fans in front of us. These lively blokes chattered loudly the whole game and although they seemed nice, if loud, they were mostly Chelsea supporters. The one DC United supporter revealed his depth of knowledge of football when he loudly contended that Shaun Wright-Phillps, just purchased by Chelsea from Manchester City for over 34 million pounds, would never make it at DC United. I hadn't the heart to tell him that should Shaun Wright-Phillips ever deign to play for DC or any MLS team, that he would instantly become that team's best player (with the possible exception of LA Galaxy, who have the very talented Landon Donovan.)

We have seen at least four museums. I say at least because we went to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and I'm not sure whether it is technically a museum. So four and a half. The documents were even more faded than I remember and I could have sworn that one of the signatories to the Declaration was "Pat Morita", but that can't be right.

We saw the museum of National History which included a 3-D IMAX film about how ancient dinosaur eggs are powerful hallucinagenics (It's a long story, but the girl in the film about T-Rex's did hallucinate after gas shot out of a dinosaur egg - that was shortly before she was snapped in half by a Tyrannosaur.) That did explain why the cinema was half-filled with hippies.

The gems were magnificent. The guards didn't respond too happily to my query as to whether Mrs. Fando could try on the Hope Diamond. Perhaps I should have asked before taking it out of the case. I can assure you that the security system there is quite formidable and I'm fortunate to still have all my fingers. After all the trouble I went to, you'd think they'd have at least let me hold it up to her to see how it would look.

The National Gallery has some fantastic work. We saw the authentic version of a print we have in our living room (Monet's wife with a parasol.) One tip for this museum: If you have allergies, stay well back from the paintings. The good news is that the art restorers will have gainful employment for at least another six months. My apologies to all fans of Da Vinci, Monet, Cezanne, Raphael, El Greco, and James MacNeill Whistler (Not that you'd notice, in Whistler's case).

The Air and Space Museum was magnificent (and not just as a testimony to there being air in space, as all Simpsons fans know.) The Spirit of St. Louis, The X1, Skylab, the Lunar Lander, and the Roswell spacecraft (special exhibit - today only) were all very cool. The flight simulator was slightly nauseating, especially when the littlest Fando was piloting. I should never have told her what a barrel roll was. The most unusual moment of that visit was when our child declared her desire to leap over the railing of the second floor and onto one of the planes. Thank heavens I was able to talk her down.

The Museum of American History was nice, with some inspiring flags (Old Glory, the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner, and The Pentagon flag from 9/11) and lots of Presidential history. While in Julia Child's kitchen I continued a long tradition started by Dan Akroyd when I loudly exclaimed "Oh, I've cut the dickens out of my finger!" I then proceeded to spray the dozen ketchup packets I picked up at the Air and Space cafe all over the place. Again, the security personnel didn't share my appreciation for American pop culture and history and gang-tackled me. If I hadn't been wearing Fonzie's jacket (borrowed from the TV exhibit), I might have been seriously hurt.

The zoo and the monuments await. I've always wanted to sit in Lincoln's lap, so I'll let you know how it goes.




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