The Phase

April 11, 2015

The Phase

Cosmic balance returned to Barracks Row two weeks ago when the Phase 1 Bar and Nightclub was reopened after three months of  renovation. Founded in 1970, “The Phase” is said to be the oldest continually operating lesbian bar in the USA and the oldest LGBT bar in the Nation’s Capital. That’s pretty amazing, since America’s lesbian bars are an endangered species.

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-l8v

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The Audacity of Hoops

April 9, 2015

The Audacity of Hoops

LEDs. Programmable. Bluetooth-enabled. These are not your grandma’s Hula Hoops:

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Cherry Blossom Webcam

April 7, 2015

Cherry Blossom Webcam

Cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin; that’s springtime in Washington, DC. The National Park Service estimates that peak bloom will be April 11th to April 14th. Keep track of blossom progress on the Cherry Blossom Webcam.

NPS Tidal Basin cherry tree locator map

National Cherry Blossom Festival website.

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Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-l8Z

Image (“Cherry Blossom Webcam, after After Hiroshige”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Springtime Sports!

April 6, 2015

Springtime Sports!

April is here, when many a sports fan’s fancy turns to the Major League Baseball opening game Honozumo sumo tournament at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. All the sport’s heavyweights were at the ceremonial meet-up on Friday, the top sumo wrestlers from Mongolia, Georgia, Bulgaria and Estonia who currently dominate this quintessentially Japanese sport.

Here are some of the highlights and controversies:

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Iceland’s Elf Church Moved for Highway Project

April 5, 2015

Iceland's Elf Church Moved for Highway Project

A highway project in Iceland, blocked for over a year by a legal dispute over “elf habitat,” has resumed work after an Ofeigskirkja (“elf church”), a 70-ton lava boulder, was removed from the road’s path and moved closer to similar landscape features.

More:

“Elves make compromise with Road Ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Anna Margrét Björnsson, Morgunblaðið

Related:

“Why So Many Icelanders Still Believe in Invisible Elves,” Ryan Jacobs, The Atlantic

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Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-l5p

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Passover Seder: Greek Symposium?

April 3, 2015

Passover Seder: Greek Symposium?

The Haggadah (הַגָּדָה‎) is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover ritual meal, the Seder.

“There’s a reason the haggadah feels goyish: Formally speaking, it’s Greek. It’s a Judaicized version of a Greek genre called ‘symposium literature’. Plato loved the form. So did Xenophon. The symposium enshrined the most appealing traits of the Hellenic personality: conviviality, Epicureanism, a love of good conversation.”

–”Platonic Form,” Judith Shulevitz, Tablet Magazine

The ancient Greek symposium (συμπόσιον) was a drinking party; drinking four glasses of wine is a Passover obligation. Diners are supposed to recline while they do so, just like the Greeks.

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Geriatric Brits to Invade North America

April 2, 2015

Geriatric Brits to Invade North America

The British pensioners known as the Rolling Stones will visit sports arenas in the United States and Canada this summer. The elderly musicians are reissuing their classic 20th century gramophone recording, Arthritic Sticky Fingers. It’s the one with the cover by Andy Warhol (see the model here).

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April 1, 1582: Pope Gregory XIII Invents April Fools’ Day. Maybe.

April 1, 2015

April 1, 1582: Pope Gregory XIII Invents April Fools’ Day. Maybe.
In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII instituted the (you guessed it) Gregorian Calendar, which moved New Year’s Day from March 32nd (really) to January 1st. People who didn’t know that March 32nd was now April 1st and were still celebrating the old New Year looked pretty foolish that day, hence April Fools’ Day.

Or maybe the story’s just a prank. Pretty good tale, anyway.

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Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-l9d

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Hoosier Hospitality

March 30, 2015

Hoosier Hospitality

Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a formerly prominent Republican, is flabbergasted by the uproar about Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. After all, it has the same name as a Federal law and laws in 19 other states.

There are three main differences:

1.  Indiana’s law explicitly allows for-profit businesses to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.”

2. Indiana’s law allows businesses to assert such rights as a defense against lawsuits by private individuals, not just against actions brought by government.

“So, let’s review the evidence: … there’s ‘nothing significant’ about this law that differs from the federal one, and other state ones—except that it has been carefully written to make clear that 1) businesses can use it against 2) civil-rights suits brought by individuals.”

— “What Makes Indiana’s Religious-Freedom Law Different?” Garrett Epps, The Atlantic

3. Timing. Public opinion in America has swung in favor of same-sex marriage, and Indiana Republicans are out of step with their “freedom to discriminate” legislation.

More:

“Indiana’s Mike Pence is starting to look like Lester Maddox — without the spine,” Joan Walsh, Salon

Legal types can see a letter by 30 law school professors here.

Related:

“When ‘Religious Liberty’ Was Used To Justify Racism Instead Of Homophobia,” Ian Millhiser, Think Progress

“Disciples Of Christ Cancels 2017 Convention In Protest Of Religious Freedom Law,” Daniel Strauss, TPM Livewire

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Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-l8f

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Spring Break: Vacations for Villains

March 30, 2015

It’s Spring Break in America. While college kids head to the beaches of Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Cancún, career criminals are off to Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming, Louisiana and Montana. The college kids will come home with a tan, a tee shirt and a hangover. The bad guys will come home with guns — they plan their trips on CrimAdvisor.com.

More:

“The ‘friendliest’ state for criminals to buy guns?” Tim Devaney, The Hill

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Short Link:  http://wp.me/p6sb6-l3b

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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