Thomas Jefferson Memorial

A powerful monument recently restored

I have lived in Washington, DC for more than forty years. Washington is a beautiful city with many grand monuments. My favorite is the Jefferson Memorial.

The exterior of the Memorial is simple and elegant. The exterior of the Memorial is a circular, open-air structure featuring a shallow dome supported by a circular colonnade composed of 26 Ionic columns. 

© David H. Enzel, 2022

The interior is powerful. Thomas Jefferson stands 19 feet tall. He’s holding the Declaration of Independence and peering out to the Tidal Basin. The bronze statue of Jefferson weighs 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg).

© David H. Enzel, 2022

A rehabilitation project to replace the Thomas Jefferson Memorial’s three roof systems and clean all of the exterior marble was completed in in 2021. And the statue sculpted by Rudulph Evans has been cleaned. Evans was born in Washington, DC and studied in France. His fellow students in France included  Auguste Rodin and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The Memorial was built between 1939 and 1943 .

Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC (2020)

Creator of ‘The Americans’ On Russia

Joseph Weisberg, a former CIA officer and the creator of the terrific TV series The Americans has written a new book entitled Russia Upside Down An Exit Strategy for the Second Cold War. Weisberg challenges commonly held American assumptions about Russia. Weisberg was interviewed about his book on an episode of SpyCast, which is produced by the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.

In October of 2021, Weisberg was interviewed on the excellent SRB Podcast, produced by my alma matter, the University of Pittsburgh.

‘White Noise’: A Poignant Look at the Alt-Right

This chilling documentary offers an inside look at white nationalism in the United States (the alt-right), including Richard Spencer, Lauren Southern, and Mike Cernovich:

The documentary was directed by Daniel Lombroso. Lombroso was interviewed on this episode of People of the Pod podcast, which is produced by AJC.

Facts matter.

COVID Testing Required for International Air Travelers Starting January 26

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an Order on January 12, 2021 requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the US. This Order will be effective on January 26, 2021.

This Order applies to all air passengers, 2 years of age or older, traveling into the US, including US citizens and legal permanent residents.

The Wall Street Journal has a helpful guide to the new rule.

The coronavirus is controlling the entire world.

The Sheridan-Kalorama Neighborhood of DC

A neighborhood rich in history and architecture

Art on Call, Washington, DC, Artist: Peter Waddell Photograph: © David H. Enzel, 2021

Yesterday, I was walking in the Sheridan-Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, DC. I stumbled across one of the many works of art in Washington’s abandoned police and fire call boxes. The project is called “Art on Call.” I have been making photos of these call boxes as I come across them. They have educated me about the city’s rich history.

This call box explains that three chief justices of the United States Supreme Court lived in Sheridan-Kalorama:

  • William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States was appointed Chief Justice by President Harding, after serving as President. Taft is the only person to have served in both of these offices. He lived at 2215 Wyoming Avenue.
  • Charles Evans Hughes, a U.S. Secretary of State and an unsuccessful candidate for President in 1916, became Chief Justice in 1930 and resided at 2223 R Street.
  • Harlan Fiske Stone, a U.S. Attorney General, occupied 1919 24th Street. during his tenure.

In addition, other prominent Supreme Court justices have lived in Sheridan-Kalorama including Louis Brandeis, Joseph McKenna and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female justice of the Supreme Court.

The rendering of the Supreme Court in the call box is the creation of Peter Waddell, a native of New Zealand who came to Washington in 1992 and became a U.S. citizen in 2002. Waddell’s beautiful paintings focus on America’s history and architecture. Waddell’s view of the United States is inspiring.

The Sheridan-Kalorama neighborhood also includes a number of diplomatic residences, including the residence of the French ambassador at 2221 Kalorama Road, shown below.

The French ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. is located at 2221 Kalorama Road, N.W., in the Kalorama neighborhood of northwest Washington, D.C. The residence was built in 1910. © David H. Enzel, 2021

The Sheridan-Kalorama neighborhood is worth visiting.

Stacey Kent

Stacey Kent is an American jazz singer with a glorious voice. She was born in 1965 in New Jersey and is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. Her paternal grandfather was a Russian who grew up in France. He later moved to the United States where he taught Kent French. Once she learned French, it was the only language she spoke with her grandfather. Kent travelled to England after college to study music in London, where she met saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, whom she married in 1991.

I have the impression Kent is better known in France than in the United States. Her album Raconte-moi was recorded in French and became the second best selling French language album worldwide in 2010.

Kent has also faced serious health challenges. In a 2004 interview with Robert Kaiser of The Washington Post, Kent recounted that she’s been in comas three times caused by brainstem encephalitis:

Each time, baffled doctors were not certain they could bring her back. The last coma was in 1999, and Tomlinson nursed her through it. On doctors’ advice, he brought records to her hospital room. When she awoke he was playing Mildred Bailey, one of the great jazz singers of the ’30s. “There’s just so much emotion in that voice,” Kent says. “It’s a cry - even when she’s singing a happy song.”

I love Stacey Kent’s music and discovered this marvelous 2018 interview en français with her. The interview is also available as a podcast.