Saturday, April 30, 2005

So much for that plan

This was going to be a post about how nice it was to take a trip up to the lake today and relax while watching the waves roll in and the birds fly.

Only I'm too pissed off to write about anything like that. You see, I was supposed to be at a dinner last night for the scholarship I was supposed to have recieved from K-State. I even told them, directly, that I would be there.

Only instead, I spent the day busting my back on oil changes and tire jobs at my dad's gas station and moving furniture in the room my mom is renovating in our house. I was too busy to remember the dinner thanks to the back pain and what not.

Fuck. I can only hope I can still get the scholarship.


I'm not saying it was their job to remember, oh no. I'm mad as hell with myself over that.

I'm mad because I was working my ass off for them when I was supposed to be at an important event.

Friday, April 29, 2005

My friend paints sunsets

The following is a bit of poetry that I've had bouncing around my head for awhile, and finally put down tonight to be read.

There are times I look up to the heavens and see,
A piece of her art stretched out before me.

I recognize the artist, I swear it is so,
Her signature is hidden, but her work I do know.

She needs no initials, no byline, no cursive mark,
to make me think of her while waiting for dark.

It's not every night that she makes a piece,
the time between varies, from days into weeks.

Still it is wonderful when she lets her brush fly,
all over her easel, the great twilight sky.

No work of canvas and oil could ever compare,
to the beauty she makes with the clouds and the air.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

prodigal son

I went to Manhattan today for the third time since I got home.

The last two times were for giving presentations, and this time around it was to turn in some paperwork and do some other things.

First I met me friend Ryan for lunch at Chinese Chef, my favorite chinese restaurant on the face of the earth. I've been going there for 2 years, Ryan for 4.

Chinese food was a staple for me in D.C., but none of the 3 places I ate at there were as good -- food, service, and hygiene-wise -- as Chinese Chef. And it was nice to eat with a friend and having a conversation instead of eating alone in the restaurant or at my desk.

After that I drove over to the Manhattan Mercury and gave them a resume, asking them to consider me if any possible work comes up.

I was told to come in Monday at 8 a.m. I'm not certain if I've been hired or if this is just a try-out, but I'm going to write about the Manhattan City Council.

I went to K-State Campus to turn in my papers, and wound up wandering about aimlessly for a few hours.

I went to the Collegian, and it hurt to be there. I went there last week, and all was well with me. But this time it was painful to see that room, it brought back a bunch of really painful memories.

I drove out to Sunrise Cemetery to speak to a friend, but wound up just standing around unable to put together a coherent thought. I said goodbye and left, defeated.

I went back to campus, spoke to a friend in the bowling alley, and left. I hunted down a few more friends, talked for a little while, then left town. Now I'm feeling rather, down.

Evening Sun, the Senate side of the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and a security hut. Posted by Hello
The Capitol Posted by Hello
The U.S. Supreme Court building. Posted by Hello
"Contemplation of Justice" by James Earle Fraser. Posted by Hello
"Guardian of Law" by James Earle Fraser, with the shadow of the American flag. Posted by Hello
The Library of Congress. Posted by Hello
This is the platform at the Woodley Park MetroRail Stop, my apartment was a few hundred feet above it. Posted by Hello
This is that tiger at the National Zoo I was talking about, the one that kept scaring his keepers. It was funny, really. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 25, 2005

My time with Mickey

When I was in the fifth grade, I found a wounded juvenile hawk in a street gutter, thrashing about and bleeding from a hole in his wing that looked as if someone had shot him with a BB gun or nicked him with a shotgun round.

I scooped him into a paper bag and took him to my parents. They gave me a ride out to the veterinarian, and they took the bird and told me they'd contact someone who takes care of such cases. I never found out what happened with that bird, and I assume it wasn't a fairy tale ending.

I was reminded of that day last night when I was called to the stairs and told to bring a jar. You see, my brother spotted a mouse in our home a few days ago and we've been on mouse alert ever since. Turns out my mother had cornered one on the stairs and needed me to come and capture him.

Here's the tresspasser, awaiting his deportation and exile.
Posted by Hello

I took him downstairs, and took some pictures for this blog. Since it was late, and I was tired, I didn't feel very creative and started calling him "Mickey."

I talked to a few friends online, and was then ordered to get the mouse outta the house, and a few blocks away on top of that.

I put on my coat and started walking, jar in hand, towards a large open, grassy area in Council Grove that's two blocks from my house that's home to a cemetery and a golf course. I walked up to the grass and set the jar, gently, on it's side, to let him out.

Only he didn't want out. He clung to the jar and I had to gently shake him out. He landed on the soft grass and stayed put, staring at me. I tried to motivate into leaving by nudging him with my shoe, and he climbed on board and clung on for dear life.

I swear he was squeaking "take me with you."

After about ten steps, or once I'd crossed the street, he jumped off. I looked at him, then walked on. a few steps later stopped, and looked back. He was still behind me, following me.

I literally told him no, he couldn't go with me, and started walking while looking back at him. He broke off and ran up to a nearby house, his new home.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

T + 1 Week

I'm still going through re-entry shock after having been home for a week, and I'm constantly being reminded how much easier it is to love my family from 1,200 miles away.

I took my little brothers to the "Life Center" downtown, it's a community center with a basketball court, excercise machines, a pool, and other such things. It was just a bunch of steel beams when I left, now it's open for business.

Over the past few days I've noticed several places around town that have changed a great deal since my childhood.

There's a church downtown that was supposed to have been turned into a community center years ago that now seems like nothing more than a pile of semi-organized stones with windows and doors.

The Ritz theater, where I used to go almost every Friday night for a movie on their single screen, has been closed for years and will probably never open again. Its sound, heating, cooling, seating, and ceiling are all in tatters, from what I understand, and it needs a miracle of God to reopen. Well, that, or half a million dollars in repair and renovation, which is just as likely.

Some new businesses have opened and a couple have closed their doors in buildings on Main Street that have seen ventures start and fail time and time again through decades past.

Places that once were homes have become empty lots, and a few empty lots have sprouted homes. Hum the opening song from "The Lion King" for full effect

My old schools still stand, and there is talk of making additions to them to better serve students. They added air conditioning to Council Grove High the year after I graduated, and it seems now that all these youngin's are getting through so much easier than I did. Those twerps.

Tonight, as I sat and watched my little brothers abuse the shiny, new equipment at the life center and looked around and took in the smell of "newness" that permeated the place, I thought about how they'll one day see this place much as I now see some places around my home town.

One day, they'll see that center weaken from use and neglect, and it will eventually join the rest of the city in its collective state of partial dilapidation coupled with eternal usefulness.

Such is the way of the Flint Hills.

If any of that makes any sense.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


I'm living in a surreal world these days here in what could be called "my old stomping grounds."

I've been completely out of it for 3 months, and in that time the memories of my hometown and my college town faded a great deal. I walk downtown and everything seems new, yet eerily familiar.

I've been putting in a few hours at my dad's gas station, and I'm able to go through all the old motions of pumping gas, washing windows, and doing general maintanence on vehicles. I don't know how I'm doing it, but I am.

Remember The Bourne Identity? That's the best comparison I can make of it.

I'm going about in a state of confusion, I don't know where I am, yet if I need or want something I can get it. I can decide to go to the store, then a few minutes later I'm parked in front of Ray's Apple Market wondering how the hell I got there and why the parking spaces are so narrow.

These past two nights I've gone on long walks out into the country, winding up standing alone in the middle of the road, staring out into open prairie and feeling the wind.

And when I'm out there, it's so surreal for I know where I am and don't know it at the same time.

And it's quite a high.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


I got tired of missing Taft Bridge, so I went out for a walk at sundown tonight. I chose a path I had been thinking of for a while, a 4-mile trip that would take me out on a few dirt roads that I've driven before but never seen on foot.

You miss a lot at 30 miles-per-hour, let me tell you. The croaking of frogs, the snorting of horses, and the occasional hiss of a baby rattler are all too quiet for one traveling by automobile.

You also miss having the Kansas wind slam you in the chest as you come over the top of a hill on a dirt road, you fail to experience the constant, calming roar and cool feeling it provides.

I'll have to do quite a bit more walking from now on.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Dear Readers: I need your help

This blog will soon reach it's end. But before that happens, I want to have a list posted of what all the very best posts are. Thus, I request that you all send lists of your favorite posts to

Please think more along the lines of major events in my internship than just things you thought were funny.

The Beginning of the End, or a New Beginning

I got out of bed at 6:30 yesterday morning at the urging of my alarm, and told Joe's buddy who took over Glen's bed for the night to go back to sleep. I showered, shaved, did all those little things you do in the morning to prepare yourself for the day.

Only this time around it was especially poignant. This was my last time going through that routine I went through every single morning in D.C.

I dressed and packed the last of my things away. I even had extra room so I packed some things I thought I'd have to leave behind. I checked each room for things that belong to me, became content that nothing remained, and closed the zippers. I put on my backpack, put the strap of my giant blue Jeep duffle bag over my shoulder, and grabbed the handle of my rolling suitcase.

And I left Woodley Park quietly, having said my goodbyes the night before.

I took the Red Line to the Metro Center transfer point to the Blue Line, waited a good 15 minutes for the train, and took it to the Airport. I checked my bags and went through security with little trouble other than my own sleep-deprivation-induced awkwardness.

I walked out to my gate, #30, on the south side of the concourse and gazed upon the plane that would take me home. Then I turned around and noticed the view to the North: Downtown D.C.

I spent the next 90 minutes alternating between painfully staring out that north window at all the places I'd worked at over the past 14 weeks, and sitting by the plane trying to wipe them from my memory before giving in and going back to the glass.

Some were in plain sight, like the Capitol, and others were too short, like the White House and my own office building, but I knew where they were and could see them with my eyes closed. It hurt much to see those buildings and the lyrics to "In My Life" played through my head several times.

Eventually they called for my group to board the plane, and it took all I had to walk away. I saw next this old curmudgeon on the plane that only spoke once during the entire day; I said hello and she snarled back with a few nice words that didn't come off nice, in fact, I've been told to "Eat Sh*t and die" with more cordiality.

We backed away from the gate and taxied to the north end of the runway. The plane turned to the right and I looked straight out the left window and waved goodbye to Washington in my mind as I saw it for the last time. The pilots were granted permission to take off, the turbines roared alive, and we were off.

The first flight was rather uneventful. I listened to an album of work by The Capitol Steps on my iPod and then started picking whatever songs I felt like hearing. The drink carts came by, and I kept with my airplane tradition.
You see, back when I was a little boy, my family went on a trip to Disneyland by air. When I was asked by the attendant what I wanted to drink, I inquired about their selection. She rattled off a few familiar names, but one caught my ear, and my tongue. I decided to take a chance and try something new.

She poured me a drink, and from the first sip, I loved it. Ever since, I have consumed Ginger Ale every time I fly, and whenever I have it on the ground it brings back pleasant memories of travel.
We touched down in Chicago, and the hour or so passed uneventfully. I bought a couple cheesburgers from McDonald's for abou $3, and a copy of USA Today for $0.75. I sat, I ate, I read, and I made a few phone calls. A gate change was announced, and I relocated.

The Boarding call came up again, and I took my seat next to a friendly old guy named Rod and his wife. I shared my paper with them -- they were interested in the Sports page only -- and while we didn't talk that much, all communication was friendly.

Takeoff was scheduled for 1:09. At about 1:10, the Captain came on and told us there was going to be a delay of about 10 minutes. He could have stopped there. He should have stopped there.

But no, he had to be a sadistic bastard.

"We're going to be delayed for about ten minutes as they rearrange the luggage in the hold so it's away from the hole we found," he said, thinking he was helping the situation. "It's about the size of a dollar, we covered it up with tape and it's just fine, we just want to play it safe by not having weight on that part of the plane."

American Airlines lost all chance of ever getting business from me again at that very moment.

We took off, or as it seemed, we were shot into a hurricane. Up and down and all around we went, our seatbelts thankfully preventing us from developing intimate relationships with every hard, flat object in the cabin.

The turbulence stopped, and I got out my laptop and watched a few episodes of Red versus Blue, had another ginger ale, and before I knew it the plane was on final approach.

As we neared MCI, the pilot's streak of sadism came out again, and we started rocking back and forth in the wind. I seriously believed I was going to die.

And then we actually landed. Surprising enough, it was rather soft... as far as airplane landings go.

We pulled up to the terminal, I walked off the ramp, and the first thing I saw was my little brother Neal jumping up and down like he'd brought his own trampoline to the airport.

I almost ran back onto the plane.

Instead I marched onward toward him, and the rest of my family. As I neared the security gate I saw that another brother, Ryan, was also waiting for me.

I walked through, and was obliterated as the security officers busted up laughing while Neal and Ryan started jerking me about like a Bass on the hook. My poor mother looked like she was about to deny knowing 3 of her sons.

I finally pried them off of me and walked over to the carousel to pick up my baggage. 15 minutes later it stopped popping out bags, and none of them were mine.

"Oh God," I thought, "They got sucked out the hole."

Then I looked over my shoulder. Turns out American Airlines had two luggage carousels, and my luggage had been going around and around for a few minutes. I collected it and went outside. We threw them in the van and went home.

We pulled into Council Grove 3 hours later. When I left, the place was coated in several inches of ice. This time, everything was green, and completely surreal.

We pulled into my dad's gas station. The sign in front said the following in 8-inch letters:


Those little sh*ts.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

My last days in DC: Saturday

Aside from Lauren and Kate leaving without really saying goodbye to me, this day was dull right up till 5:00, when I left the apartment for the Nationals game.

There were eight of us, Me, my friend Scott, Joe, two of his friends, Jessie, and two of her sisters.

Count em if you must, but it might be easier to trust me.

Joe arranged tickets for us all in a nice row of eight seats on the upper deck, and we sat there after arriving a good hour before the game started. Scott, to show gratitude for me buying his ticket, bought me a beer. As he put it, it's baseball. You have to have beer.

I wasn't surprised to get it in a plastic bottle. That's what they do so they don't have to worry about broken glass everywhere. But I still griped, glass is always better for beer, in my honest opinion.

The whining stopped after a sip or two. It was ice cold, beyond delicious, perhaps beer and baseball just make each other better.

We watched with great interest as they soaked down the infield dirt, with a team of guys holding the hose off the ground to keep the grass pristine. We just sat, speaking from time time, but mostly staring intently at a prestigous landscaping job. You could consider it akin to watching the Zamboni at a hockey game.

Scott later joked that it's the means by which new players are grown.

Then a Gospel choir from Howard University walked out and sang a couple of hymns. At least we all assume that's what they did. Whatever they were doing, all we heard through the PA system at RFK stadium, well, wasn't all that worthy of the Lord. (the fault of the PA system, not the choir). Maybe it would've helped if they'd had spelled "Gospel choir" right on the Jumbotron instead of "The Howard University Gosple Choir."

They did get the PA system right for the national anthem, fortunately, and their rendition was brilliant.

At first, I had trouble deciding who to cheer for. I could root for the Nationals, or I could cheer for the Diamondbacks. I'm not sure why I had trouble with that decision, but since I'd been a resident of the District for over 3 months, I concluded they were my home team.

The feeling of being in that stadium with 34,000 other fans was amazing, the aroma of beer and nachos permeated the stands while the soft and ever-changing roar of the fans was both soothing and energizing.

By the way, this was my first ever Major-league baseball game.

After 6-7 innings in the nosebleed section, Jessie's sister Debbie talked Scott and I into trying to fill some of the open seats near the field. We waltzed on down like we knew where we going, and took up three lovely seats that were sorta-behind the catcher.

As Scott said, no one will bother you if you look like you know where you're going... and you can go anywhere you please if you're wearing a hard hat.

And then, right after we sat down less than 20 rows from the field, the nationals got 5 or so runs in one inning. Debbie said we were good luck, and I'm more than willing to take some credit for the scores.

Pretty soon, the game was over with the Nationals winning 9-3, and we made a mad rush to the Metro, swam our way through the river of people, and got onto one of the first trains. I wound up pulling one poor soul aboard so he wouldn't get nailed by the closing doors. He should've tipped me.

We made it back to my apartment, hung for a couple hours and ate some pizza before parting ways.

I got to sleep around 1, my alarm was set for 6:30 to get me up and going for my flight home to Kansas.
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Friday, April 15, 2005

The last night

This was an interesting night. I attended the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Awards. Well, to be truthful, I worked at it.

I arrived at 5:30 in a nice, rented tux to serve as an escort and photographer for Snoopy, that is, an actor going about as the lovable creation of Charles M. Schulz. (E.W. Scripps owns the company that owns "Peanuts").

I was to carry a polaroid camera about and take pictures of Snoopy with dinner guests. My buddy Joe carried extra film an picture-holders for them, and would hold their drinks during the picture session because Snoopy was not to be photographed with alcohol, or anything that looked like it.

When I got there, Snoopy was still in her pink evening dress. That's right, Snoopy, while male, is played by a female. I'm serious. Hey, Lassie the dog was a female character, but was played by males. Go figure.

Anyways, we were told to wait while Snoopy suited up. And we waited. And waited.

After and amount of time that was way too long for me to endure, I decided to go check on Snoopy. I walked up to the door, knocked to give Snoopy some privacy, and Snoopy's main escort appeared, and told me they were still getting ready.

And then the actress who plays the doghouse-roof-dwelling dog appeared in the right side of my field of vision, without the dog suit. Or her pink dress. It was at that moment I learned something: Snoopy wears lingerie.

I'll never look at the Sunday Morning Comics the same.

I courteously left quickly, laughing a bit, and told my friend Joe about it.

We waited a while longer, and Snoopy finally appeared. I winked at them, then started taking pictures, meeting people, and generally enjoying myself.

A month or so ago, we interns were each assigned 3 award winners to write about. The stories would be published in the booklets that were set at every person's seat in the ballroom during the dinner so people would know what each award-winner had done.

So tonight I was able to meet the men and women I'd interviewed, and they were all very appreciative of my work, and making them look good. A few implied I should look them up when I graduate and wanta job. I already have some great clips I know they'll like, and they all were impressed with my interviewing skills.

Networking: it's a good thing.

And so are The Capitol Steps, they were the entertainment for the dinner. Damn they were funny. It's hard to beat seeing the 4 liberal Supreme court justices singing "keep us alive, keep us alive" to the tune of "Stayin Alive."

Finally, the best thing about these awards is the open bar, thanks to which I can now tell you that Budweiser tastes much better than Heineken.

Hey, you try seeing a cartoon character, one you'd admired since you were a little boy, in their skivvies. You wouldn't want to be sober either.

Last post from Scripps

My desk is clean, it's contents shipped home via Fedex. I've got my backpack and little else.

Goodbye 1090 Vermont Ave NW, Suite 1000. You've been a great deal of fun, now I must go.

Tonight: the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Awards, with entertainment by the Capitol Steps.

Tomorrow: Washington Nationals game at RFK Stadium.

Sunday: Homeward Bound, baby.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Yet another personal project...

Adams Independent Wire

Check back for fresh photos and information.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

My Day

I had a portfolio of my portraits reviewed by the new photo editor at the bureau today. I wanted his opinion because he also does wedding photography each weekend for $5,000 a pop; he knows his stuff.

He looked at a disc of my work, 7-8 pictures on it, and left me a kind note that said "thanks for sharing, keep up the good work." Well, I love compliments as much as any aspiring photog, which is too much. I wanted some criticism, I wanted to be told what I was doing wrong.

And I got what I wanted on request, how nice.

He told me I need to stop thinking about technique so much and focus on the image, the composition, the person. Before now, I had prided myself in what I thought was excellent expression.

Perhaps this is a setback, perhaps it's a challenge.

Earlier on, I went to a discussion on graphic images in mass media at the American Society of Newspaper Editors conference. The images were, well, graphic. There were dead babies, dead teenagers, dead moms, dead dads... You get the picture yet? (No pun intended)

But the blood and gore didn't even phase me. Several people in the audience were visibly shaken, and I was completely unbothered. Even a few of the panelists were remarking how hard they were hit by the images in question (burned bodies in Iraq).

But there was one image that did affect me with a great deal of force, this picture of a boy crying while a soldier who died in Iraq, his brother I assume, is buried. That hit me harder than the first image that showed a woman crying by dozens of dead babies who drowned in the 2004 tsunami.

I'd rather not speculate why.

Wire Story

Losing interest in science? Not if these lawmakers can help it

By Logan C. Adams
Scripps Howard Foundation Wire

WASHINGTON - Sponsors of a new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives hope to build interest in science, mathematics and engineering by getting rid of interest.

Loan interest, that is. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., on Tuesday introduced the Math and Science Incentive Act of 2005. It would forgive up to $10,000 of interest accumulated on student loans for students who promise to spend five years working in jobs in their fields after graduation.

“America’s dominance in science and innovation is slipping,” he said. “We are facing today a critical shortage of science and engineering students in the United States.”

A high school principal in Council Grove, Kan., said he has been advertising a math teaching job for several weeks but must compete with other nearby school districts that also need math teachers.

“If you talk to school administrators, there’s a general statement that says if you’ve got a math opening, guys will say, ‘Wow, that’s a tough one,’” said Kelly McDiffett, principal of Council Grove High School.

B.J. Bryant, executive director of the American Association for Employment in Education, said the shortage in these subjects is a cyclical problem.

“Let’s say that I’m a high school student and the teachers that are teaching chemistry and physics and math were actually prepared to teach general math and general science, but because of the shortage of science teachers they’re all of a sudden teaching upper level chemistry and physics,” she said. “Well, then I as a student am not going to really feel turned on by science.”

Wolf was joined by Reps. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., and Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y.; Sen. John Warner, R-Va., who plans to introduce the bill in the Senate; and Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House. Wolf said the legislation was inspired by Gingrich’s book “Winning the Future.”

Wolf estimated the cost at $600 million over 10 years.

The lawmakers said that by allowing the country to fall behind other countries in these fields the United States will lose its position as the world’s economic leader.The subject was a topic of discussion among university engineering faculty members attending a conference this week, said Terry King, dean of the College of Engineering at Kansas State University.

“In China, over 34 percent of all graduates from universities are in engineering, as compared to the United States, where it’s closer to 3 percent,” King said.

Wolf listed several indicators of America’s weakened position, including declining numbers of patents, published research and Nobel Prizes.

“From the 1960s through the 1990s, American scientists dominated,” he said. “Now, the rest of the world has caught up.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A toast to the Hollingers

I got an email today that made me happy. It turns out I got a scholarship for the 2005-06 school year, for $1,000.

Here's what it says about it on the JMC website:

Max E. and Jean Hollinger Scholarship
This scholarship was established in 1997 by Max E. Hollinger, a 1950 journalism graduate, to recognize his long standing commitment to excellence at K-State and the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications and to provide financial assistance to journalism majors or pre-majors. The donor requests that recipients shall have taken, or plan to take, a class in finance and insurance and that preference be given to Dickinson County High School graduates. This scholarship can be renewed if scholastic standards are met.

So I'm happy about that.

And then I found out that Canon will be starting a bunch of rebates this friday, including $100 off the Canon 20D, the camera I intend to buy when I'm home, and a bunch of their lenses and flashes.

That's all for now.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Something I plan to do upon getting home

Here in Washington, I have grown to resent large building and the constant crowds.

I have come to feel uncomfortable being in a big city, and at risk of sounding like a Dixie Chicks song, I really look forward to seeing some wide open spaces.

So once I've taken care of my laundry and have gotten some extra sleep, I think I'll get in my Jeep, drive five miles in one direction on 177 or 56, turn 90 degrees, and go another five miles down the gravel road of my choosing.

(Ohhh, gravel, I quiver with joy at the thought of thee.)

At that time, I intend to stop my vehicle, turn off the engine, and look around. Hopefully, there won't be a single person in sight.

But I'm not going to tell you what I plan to do.

A big thank you to the Moron in Black

Take a gander at this imbecile.

This jackass showed up at the Capitol today and scared a lot of people. My poor mother was one of them, and she wasn't even there.

She heard about some bomb threat at the Capitol today and called me scared, I assume, that her son had been blown up. I had watched the pictures be posted on the AP and Reuters wires and knew about it already because that AP, they're queeeeeeck.

I just told her I was ok, and that I hadn't heard a horrible explosion in the hour after the SWAT team wiped his sorry ass all over the capitol steps, (not the best metaphor, I'll admit) so I assumed everything was ok.

As I read it, he wanted to speak with the President. This is great, not only does this guy think he's Keanu Reeves or Johnny Cash(black clothes and sunglasses), he was at the wrong f*cking building!

In the end, all he got was a few scrapes and such, and had his stuff shot up by the bomb squad's water cannon.

Which is fine by me.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Gasp, One Week left

One week from today I will be back in the great state of Kansas.

Just let that sink in for a second.

Don't stop there, let it really sink in. Don't be afraid, come on...

Ok, enough sinking. Now go about your business, please.

Washington, Jefferson, and Arlington

I can now say that there is not one thing here in Washington that I wanted to see but did not see before going home.

Yesterday I got up in the morning and went down the the Washington Monument hoping to take a ride up to the observation deck. That plan was thwarted when I arrived at 9:30 and discovered that tickets for the day had run out at 9. (They start handing them out at 8:30).

But I saw the thing from where I stood, and was satisfied. I then started walking south to the Jefferson Memorial and the banks of the Potomac where the cherry blossoms were. For those of you who don't know, the cherry blossoms appearing each spring is a big to-do for some reason.

I'll admit, they do smell nice and they look kinda pretty.

But I don't think it's cool enough for every photographer in three states to go on a pilgrimage to the place. I mean the place was crawling with photographers, heck, I had my AE-1P with me.

But I didn't try to get some wild-eyed, new looking images of the blossoms. That would have been impossible. The legions of photographers had every inch of the tidal basin rendered to film and/or pixels several times over.

So I decided to be a smartass and started photographing the photographers as they were photographing the over-photographed cherry blossoms.

I'm so devious.

That got old after a while, so I got back on the Metro and came home for the day, and went to church later on.

This morning, I got out of bed around 7:30 and showered, put on my black suit, and left for Arlington National Cemetery to pay my respects to the great men and women buried there.

It was a beautiful day outside; blue skies, calm breeze, and naturally... legions of dull-minded, disrespectful tourists.

Maybe I'm just crazy, but you'd think people would wear something nice to the final resting place of thousands of men who died protecting this country. But you'd be thinking wrong.

The only people I saw who were dressed formally other than myself were the soldiers who took part in the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown soldiers. It was amazing to watch, but I was infuriated at how many people I could hear mumbling and whining during the ceremony when they had been specifically asked to be quiet.

I was also bothered that John F. Kennedy's grave and memorial was treated like a bench. This poor security guard had to keep going about telling people not to sit on it.

It was also interesting seeing that John F. Kennedy had a huge memorial and eternal flame, while Robert F. Kennedy was off to the side and had but a rock and a white cross over his grave.

Talk about your sibling rivalry.

As for me, I saw what I needed to see, and I did my best to honor those who rest there.

I also helped a few families out in finding their way when they saw my suit and figured I was a tour guide or history professor.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Mmmm... television

I was channel-surfing this afternoon and stopped on C-SPAN 2 when I recognized the location: an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference that I covered some time ago. I watched for a few minutes, and then my suspicions were proved correct when I watched myself walk behind the interviewee.

I had my trademark scowl and my hair looked like crap, but hey... I was on T.V!

Then again, who on earth actually watches C-SPAN 2?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Waiting on another Senator...

I'm sitting here at my desk awaiting a telephone call from Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and while I'm waiting I figured I'd leave a note about my experiences these past few days.

Yesterday morning I was told that the News Service liked my story on the Jews at the Helsinki Commission and was going to run it. They also wanted a couple of pictures, so I got a pair of nice photo credits too.

So far, I know the Knoxville News-Sentinel and the Abilene (TX) Times-Record have printed it.

One thing I didn't mention in my previous posts is how inspiring it was for me to work on this story. Not sure why.

But it was a spiritual experience for me to work with these people, a positive one. The amount of faith and passion these men poured into their testimony was beyond anything I've seen in quite some time. The old Jewish rabbi accent, in its many forms, is a very, very powerful thing to hear. They were talking about books with love and tenderness usually reserved for long lost friends in painful whispers that found volume by pulling on the heartstrings of all present.

And seeing the Holocaust survivors standing, all of them under 5 feet tall, their growth probably stunted from their time in the camps, as they seemed to tower above everyone else in the room.

Amazing. Just amazing.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Wire Story

Seized Jewish religious library subject of Helsinki Commission hearing

By Logan C. Adams
Scripps Howard Foundation Wire

WASHINGTON – The Helsinki Commission heard of the struggle to reclaim a piece of Jewish heritage Wednesday that has been held for nearly a century by the Russian government.

Members and friends of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, one of the largest Jewish organizations in the United States, testified about the Schneerson collection, a compilation of rare religious books and manuscripts owned by the movement’s former leaders.

“The value of the Schneerson collection of sacred Jewish texts is not financial but immeasurably spiritual,” said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., chairman of the Helsinki Commission. “They are a link between humanity and divinity.”

The collection consists of 12,000 volumes and an additional 25,000 documents assembled during the movement’s 250-year history.

It was seized from them by the Soviet Union in two parts. The first part, a collection of works by the first five leaders of the movement, was taken near the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, and is currently in the Russian State Library, said Ambassador Edward B. O’Donnell Jr., special envoy for Holocaust issues at the State Department.

The second part, an archive of teaching from successive leaders, was seized by Nazis in 1939 during World War II. It was later discovered to have been captured by the Soviet Union and taken to the Russian State Military Archive.

Members of the Schneerson family and others originated the movement in the Russian town of Lubavitch. They faced discrimination and were forced to flee after the Russian Revolution. Some went to Poland, and others came to the United States.

The Russian government was invited to testify before the commission, but opted to issue a statement that said the collection originated in Russia and the Soviet Union and is a part of the nation’s history.

“It is our position that the collection belongs to Russia,” it said. “It is a part of the national cultural heritage of Russians and Jewish Communities around the world.”

Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, director of Chabad-Lubavitch on the West Coast, disagreed, citing Russia’s treatment of the collection.

“The books are being kept under the worst condition that books and manuscripts can be kept,” he said. “The books in the Russian State Library, they have never been catalogued. ... They are in a horrific state of neglect.”

To show support for the return of the collection, Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., wrote a letter and had it signed by all 100 senators. President Bush delivered it to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in February.

“I don’t know of another issue where 100 members of the Senate, every one, has signed the letter,” said Brownback to wide applause from an audience of at least 120 that included many members of the Chabad-Lubavitch group and at least 16 Holocaust survivors.

This was not the first time the Russians have been asked to return the collection. The Senate made a similar appeal in 1992 to then-president Boris Yeltsin. Only eight volumes, one as a gift and seven as a loan to the Library of Congress, have been released since then.

Actor Jon Voight, who has been working with Chabad-Lubavitch for several years, told the commission the documents should be returned.

“Everyone asks, ‘What is your connection to him and his cause?’” Voight said of Cunin. “Since I am of Catholic faith, I understand the basic values of life, including the Ten Commandments, and they say, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’”

All the commission members who spoke endorsed giving the collection to the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

“This administration will be pushing the Russian administration to do whatever we can,” said Brownback.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Me with Jon Voight. I love my job. Posted by Hello

Lawmakers, Angelina Jolie's Dad, and Jews

The story posted below is a preview of what I covered today.

I arrived at Hart Senate Office Building 45 minutes early today despite taking the wrong train to get there and easily found the main hearing room where I was going to cover a hearing before the Helsinki Commission, a group of congressmen responsible for keeping track of everyone under the Helsinki accords, which is a long story and you can all look it up on your own.

I sat down and watched as the room filled up. Before I knew it, there were more than 50 black fedoras floating about on the heads of more than 50 Rabbis. I have no problem with jews, but when their headgear blocks my view of something, I get edgy.

But no worries, they sat in a nice arrangement that gave me a fair shot at the speakers from my seat at the press table, which became an "anyone" table when people, all Jews, started sitting at them when the regular seats filled up.

This place was packed with Jewish individuals, heck, there were at least 4 Jewish photographers.

As I said, I have no problems with Judaism. I didn't hate the person sitting at my table because she was Jewish, I hated her because she never stopped coughing in the direction of my tape recorder. I would have hated her just as much if she was a buddhist. Not that I have anything against Buddhists either.

I'm just noting the obvious, and it was blatantly obvious to me that 95% of the audience was Jewish.

Another thing: You hear all these stereotypes about Jews pinching money or smelling funny, but those aren't true as far as I can tell. True, the were dressed formally and this one rabbi had breath that gave the impression that all the roadkill in Kansas had been stuffed down his throat, but it was a congressional event and the Rabbi was an old man. Have you ever met an old man with minty fresh breath? I sure haven't.

But here's a new stereotype for the teeming masses: Jews never turn off their cell phones. It's rare that I hear one go off at a congressional hearing, but I counted at least six today.

Then Jon Voight walked in. I nodded in his direction in smiled, he came up to the Press table and got friendly with us reporters, he even pointed out that a whole bunch of copies of a new document had been set out and handed a few out. What a nice guy.

I returned to my seat and watched what was happening around me, taking mental notes on who does what and who to speak to and what to take pictures of (I had the bureau's camera with me, stupid carrying-case and all).

The case began, and the Congressmembers played musical chairs as several votes had been called but they so dearly wanted to hear what would be said today.

Everyone spoke, except for the Russian embassy who decided to be turds and not show up to even read a statement. They saw fit to simply leave a statement for people to read, and people seemed pretty pissed that they didn't even show up.

The hearing ended, and a photo op was called with the Senator, Voight, and the 16 Holocaust survivors there. I took plenty of pics, even had to change cards. I also did interviews with a few people, Jon included, and I got a photo of the guy with me. I'll post it later on.

Story's done, posted online, and I even got a free lesson in Yiddish thanks to this story.

Wire Story

Seized Jewish religious library subject of Helsinki Commission hearing

By Logan C. Adams
Scripps Howard Foundation Wire

WASHINGTON – The Helsinki Commission will hear about the struggle to reclaim a piece of Jewish heritage Wednesday that has been held for nearly a century by the Russian government.

Members of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, one of the largest Jewish organizations in the United States, will testify about the Schneerson collection, a compilation of rare religious books and manuscripts owned by former movement leaders.

The collection consists of 12,000 volumes and an additional 25,000 documents assembled during the movement’s 250-year history.

The collection was seized by the Soviet Union in two parts. The first, known as the “library,” was taken near the time of the Bolshevik revolution from Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson in Russia. It is in the Russian State Library, said Rabbi Chaim Cunin, a representative of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

Schneerson was sentenced to death for his religious activities, but foreign governments protested and he was banished from Russia instead. He moved to Warsaw, Poland, where the second part was seized by Nazis in 1939 during World War II. Called the “archive,” it was later discovered to have been captured by the Soviet Union and taken to the Russian State Military Archive.

The Chabad-Lubavitch leaders are testifying before the commission to gain public attention for their cause and to pressure Russia into returning the collection.

“What we expect to come out of the influence of the Helsinki Commission should correct an injustice that goes on nearly 100 years,” Rabbi Joseph Wineberg said. Wineberg worked with Schneerson during the bombing of Warsaw and will be testifying Wednesday.

State Department officials and actor Jon Voight will also testify.

“Jon has been a strong supporter of our efforts since the early ‘90s,” said Cunin.

To show support for the return of the collection, Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., wrote a letter and had it signed by all 100 senators. President Bush delivered it to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin.

This was not the first time the Russians have been asked to return the collection. The Senate made a similar appeal in 1992 to then-president Boris Yeltsin. Only eight volumes have been released since then. A

spokesman for the Russian embassy said a response would be posted on its Web site Wednesday afternoon.

Still, the leaders of the movement remain optimistic.

“I believe that we are on the verge of a major breakthrough,” said Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, director of Chabad-Lubavitch on the West Coast, who will testify. “Mr. Putin is a good man, I believe he wants to give the books away.”

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A Tribute to Denison Hall

Posted by Hello

For those of you who aren't Wildcats, this is a composite image of before and after the razing of Denison Hall at Kansas State University.

A lesson in journalism terms for ya'll

I made some nice progress today on the Jewish Property story, in fact, it could have gone on the wire if my editor hadn't needed to go home early, but that's life.

One of the my sources for this story works for the state department, and spoke only on background. That means the information is not attributed to their name, but can be used. When I finished the interview, he said he'd speak with a press officer about what he could say on the record, and get back to me.

There's a good reason for this: when he is quoted, he is speaking for the entire department of state and a bad quote on his part can royally screw up foreign relations. Thus, I allowed him to speak on background.

He called my desk phone after I'd left, and got my message which included my cellphone number. When I got to my apartment I checked my voicemail and heard his message. It was interesting, because he was scared.

He was very scared indeed. Scared that I, a young reporter, would not keep him on background and get him fired at best and screw up our relations with Russia at worst. He must've said"it was not on the record" five times. Poor guy must've thought he'd started World War III.

In case you're still wondering, no, I did not identify him.

Monday, April 04, 2005

A photo-essay by Logan C. Adams. Posted by Hello
I couldn't help not to get myself a nice "art shot" while walking by the North Side of the White House. Posted by Hello
Some umbrellas couldn't take the pressure of a White House Performance. Posted by Hello
Here we see Jennifer Fuentes singing the national anthem. She sure had the crowd going like... ok, a few fell asleep, but that's ok. Posted by Hello

For those of you who are curious, she sings for the Ringling Brothers/ Barnum & Bailey Circus.
And here we see the Easter Bunny leaving for his lettuce break. Hey, it's a Union thing. Posted by Hello
In case you hadn't figured out why it's called the "Easter Egg Roll." Posted by Hello
... and to think I'd believed that evil monster to be dead and gone. Posted by Hello
Yeah, the kids took real good care of the White House lawn, didn't they? Posted by Hello
... once the blob finished consuming the full-grown man, the kids made a lovely desert. Posted by Hello
And here we see a magician in serious need of Visine. Posted by Hello
John Cassidy asking Antoinette Brown to pick a card.  Posted by Hello