Saturday, March 30, 2013

Under Construction

Today was the first time since November that I've visited in the area around the Washington Monument. I was greeted by a large fence preventing visitors from getting close and views of scaffolding being constructed around the monument.

Since the 5.8 earthquake rattled the region in 2011, the Washington Monument has been closed to the public due to the appearance of large cracks and other structural damage throughout the monument.

For past repairs, the National Parks Service (NPS) added decorative red, white and blue lights to the scaffolding to reduce its appearance as an eyesore on the National Mall.

Since it will take at least five months to build the scaffolding alone, hopefully the NPS is planning to add the lights again once the scaffolding is completed and repair work begins. Adding an artistic element to the construction work may decrease locals' grumbling and reduce tourists' disappointment.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Preventing Suicide One Walk at a Time

Apologies to family and friends who may have already received this request. This is such an important issue for me that I am trying to use every venue available to get the word out and build support for this great cause.

As a friend shared recently, everyone has been touched by suicide at some point in their life. Perhaps a loved one or yourself contemplated it, attempted it, or even worse, successfully completed suicide. In my own life, there’s AJ, Adrian, Barbara, Dillon, Dimitri, Eleanor, Jeb, Kevin, and tragically, my list could go on.

While I raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention through my job, I wanted to do more to help those thinking about suicide. In June, I will be joining hundreds of people walking 18 miles through the night in the Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk benefiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I would appreciate any support that you can give for this worthwhile cause.

AFSP is at the forefront of research, education and prevention initiatives designed to reduce loss of life from suicide. Also, they fund a national suicide hotline to help those in crisis. With more than 30,000 lives lost each year in the U.S. and over one million worldwide, the importance of AFSP's mission has never been greater, nor their work more urgent.

Thank you for considering this donation request. I rarely ask folks to support fundraisers, but this cause is different. It’s my hope that the money we raise together will become a lifeline that saves lives of those thinking about taking their life.

You can make a 100% tax deductible donation online here through my fundraising page or if you would prefer to donate by check, print out this form and mail it to the address listed.

If you’re unable to contribute at this time, I understand. All I’ll ask of you is to please keep those in crisis in your thoughts and prayers and save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number in your phone – (800) 273-8255 – to get help for you or another person in need at a moment’s notice. Also, feel free to forward this message to friends or share my fundraising page on your social networks. The more money we raise, the more people we can help.

Even in the darkest of days, we are never alone. That’s why I’m walking in June to demonstrate that everyone matters and there is the hope of brighter days ahead. As one of my favorite musicians Tyrone Wells sings, “There is always something more."

Friday, March 15, 2013

Strange Mountain for a Strange Week

Strange image, right? This is the facade of one of the rides at Universal Studios Orlando, and it's a bit haunting.

Not sure why but I felt like today's photograph was an appropriate image to summarize my week. It was a week where primal screaming would be a fitting response to several situations, but in the end, not really worth doing.

Unlike this frustrated gentleman stuck with his mouth open and water running out, I'm hoping for a more peaceful, dignified week ahead. And I'm crossing fingers, toes, legs, etc. hoping for that outcome.

As Aristotle once said:
"There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
Well, since that's not an option I can live with, I'll just keep doing something, saying something and being the best person I can be next week and the weeks thereafter.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sunlit Bench

The simplest of life mottoes is "Do onto others as you would have them do onto you."

If you were going for something a little longer, this thought might just work:
"Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress. Don't strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt."

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sunset at the Winery

Seventeenth century French author François de La Rochefoucauld once said:
"True eloquence consists in saying all that is fit to be said, and leaving out all that is not fit."

Friday, March 8, 2013

Eisenhower Executive Office Building

This building is one of the fanciest office buildings in Washington, DC. Why? Its occupants.

The Eisenhower Executive Office Building is next door to the White House, and contains the offices of White House staffers and the Vice President.

A friend on Facebook shared this morning an interesting quotation by Socrates that made me think of this building.
"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."
Right now, White House staffers are working around the clock on critical issues impacting Americans, including lifting the sequester. So far, White House staffers and their colleagues on Capitol Hill are are spending most of their time "fighting" opponents rather than "building" consensus.

Hopefully, someone will take inspiration from Socrates and start constructing change rather than investing so much time, energy and resources breaking down walls with little success.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Just Like a Postcard

I feel it coming. Warmer, sunnier days are approaching. Slowly, but coming soon nonetheless.

While we wait in anticipation of the arrival of spring and summer (and to say so long to winter), let's recall places where the sun shines down on waves and sand.

And let's think about this thought for the day which was said by Satsuki Shibuya:
"Remember to breathe as many of our worries today will probably not be so important a year from now." 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bolivar on Horseback

It's strange how life leads you back to forgotten images. Today's photo was taken last May when I was introducing New York City -- and at this moment, Central Park -- to my sister for the first time.

In response to the news of Venezuela President Hugo Chávez's death, The Washington Post reporter Clinton Yates in his "Lunchline" newsletter today pointed readers to an old Christopher Hitchens' column  that recounts the writer's first encounter with Chávez during a 2008 visit to Venezuela.

Apparently, Chávez was obsessed with Simón Bolívar, the man depicted in this statue located near Central Park. Chávez went to great lengths to associate himself with Bolivar's legacy, even drawing the connection that he was the reincarnation of  legendary revolutionary. Strange behavior for a very strange, polarizing man.

For those unfamiliar with South American history, Simón Bolívar (1783-1830) was born in Venezuela in 1783 and became one of the continent’s greatest generals before he died in 1830. Known as El Liberator,  his victories over Spaniards won independence for Bolivia (the country was named in his honor), Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

The sculpture, which stands 15 feet tall on a 16 foot pedestal, depicts Bolívar sitting resolutely on his horse. The bronze coats-of-arms on the pedestal represent all of the South American countries for which he helped win independence. This is one of a trio of bronze equestrian sculptures representing Latin-American leaders located at entrances of Central Park.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Look for Right Answers

Up close, this Kennedy Center copper bust sculpture of President John F. Kennedy looks a bit scary. So let's focus on Kennedy's words instead:
"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."

Monday, March 4, 2013

Capturing Light

As you admire the projected light of the Kennedy Center's Northern Lights exhibition on the trees surrounding the venue, contemplate today's thought courtesy of poet Maya Angelou:
"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bright Lights, Bright Shirts

Thought of the day courtesy of the great British statesman and Prime Minister Winston Churchill:
"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."
Our nation's leaders should take to heart Churchill's wise words. If we did more listening and less talking, we might be able to resolve more issues faster and keep policy moving forward instead of remaining in this stalemate.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Other Shirt Ship Hull

Like I shared in yesterday's post, the ship made of men's dress shirts at the Kennedy Center was presented in two parts. Visitors could actually walk between the two parts of the ship's hull and see the interior.

When I photographed the opposite hull from yesterday's photo, I loved how this spotlight behind the art exhibition was diffused by the shirts in front of it. The material of the shirts seemed to dull the intensity of the spotlight, making it broader and an interesting addition to today's image.