Month: November 2011

Moving heaven and earth

When she was in the fourth grade, my daughter Claire — in response to the question “What Does Your Father Do?” — told her class that I “signed papers and went to meetings.” Today was not that kind of day. With two colleagues from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I joined officials from the Washington National Cathedral on a glorious fall morning to see first hand the extent of the damage from the August 23, 2011 earthquake that hit the east coast.  We were visiting the cathedral as part of ongoing conversations about the restoration and preservation needs of this national landmark. The cathedral’s website has a gallery of amazing photographs that document the damage — from just after the quake until the present.  I encourage you to view it and more importantly make a donation to help rebuild this unique place. On our tour, we viewed the damage from outside the building (including the cracks in the flying buttresses at the historic end of the cathedral), and then traveled up to the very …

Acoustic Music Old and New

Airline travel has its occasional benefits. Earlier this week I had a trip to Boston booked on Jet Blue Airlines.  When I sat down in the seat, I glanced at the arm rest and thought, “Hot dog – Jet Blue is the airline with free XM radio!”  I whipped out my ear buds and settled in for 90 minutes of the XM station Bluegrass Junction. I love to listen to my own iPod playlist, but it also great fun to settle in to an airline seat or a rental car to catch XM radio’s bluegrass station.  Every time that happens I always end up hearing some great new music, and my Boston trip was no exception. On one leg of the trip, the station was featuring one of its staples:  a program entitled Track By Track where the DJ plays a full album by a featured artist who provides commentary along the way.  This week’s show featured the new Compass Records album Somewhere South of Crazy by the Southern songbird Dale Ann Bradley. Now I’ve …