Month: January 2016

Still Singing

(Editor’s Note:  Candice posted the following on her Facebook page earlier today.  I’m putting it here on More to Come… as she wrote it.) In 2001 at the age of 8, Andrew began singing at the Washington National Cathedral as a novice boy chorister. In 5th grade, he joined the boy choristers and went on to become head chorister in 2007. Pictured here is Andrew in 2005 with Leonard Slatkin of the National Symphony Orchestra when Andrew was the treble soloist for the Chichester Psalms. Those were exciting years. Today, Andrew sang for the first time as one of the men of the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. The second picture shows Andrew this morning as the choir was ready to process into the service. It’s been a great ride, Andrew, and we are excited to see where life, your talent, and your dedication takes you next. More to come… DJB

Walking as an Act of Citizenship

I love the fact that smart phones now have built-in pedometers. Knowing I can count my steps has encouraged me to find opportunities to walk around the places I live and work each day. In the process I’ve become much more familiar with the Foggy Bottom Historic District (near the Watergate where I work) and Silver Spring (near my home).  In snowy weather, as we’ve seen this weekend on the east coast, walking is sometimes our only reliable means of transportation. Fred Kent, the founder of the Project for Public Spaces, has noted that “If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.” Walking doesn’t have to be for any great purpose.  The BBC News Magazine had a recent article that highlighted the “just to walk” stroll – titled appropriately The Slow Death of Purposeless Walking. But the same study found that a mere 17% of trips were “just to walk”. And that included dog-walking. It is that “just …

Observations from the Road: The “There are Worse Places to Spend a Blizzard (Day 2)” Edition

After 27 inches of snow fell in Central Park over Friday evening and Saturday, Sunday dawned bright, clear…and cold!  So after being fortified by breakfast, I decided to wander out to see how New York City was faring as a follow-up to yesterday’s There are Worse Places to Spend a Blizzard.  First, a check of 5th Avenue at 54th Street.  When I was at that intersection last evening, it looked like this: While the hustle and bustle in the roadways hasn’t picked up, there are many more people out walking through this part of the city by mid-day on Sunday. It was great to be out with the “crowds” (using that term loosely).  I saw dog walkers…and (small) dogs wearing booties.  I saw people gawking at the Trump Tower.  I saw men (mostly) doing the hard work of shoveling snow (with the main culprit in bad sidewalk maintenance being the luxury store Bergdorf Goodman.) I stopped by and saw the handiwork of old friends George Taylor and John Boody – Opus 27 – built by …

Observations from the Road: The “There are Worse Places to Spend a Blizzard” Edition

I came to New York City this weekend knowing full well that some of the meetings I had scheduled could be changed or cancelled due to the snow.  But the predictions were off significantly, and the blizzard that blanketed Washington came right up the eastern seaboard to New York. However, our team made the best of it, and we were fortunate to have two of our members here from New Orleans.  So they just did what they always do in the face of natural disasters, and we ended up having a great “hurricane party” in their apartment about a block from our hotel. What a wonderful way to spend a blizzard in New York City. More to come… DJB  

The World, Explained in Ten Maps

I’ve been sick much of the past week, with rest the best prescription.  As I’ve rested, I’ve read.  And read.  And read some more. I should get sick more often. Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Explain Everything About the World is a book I bought for my father for Christmas.  But in leafing through it at Politics & Prose, it piqued my interest, so I picked up a second copy for myself.  I’m glad I did. Author Tim Marshall is a long-time British foreign affairs journalist.  In this easy-to-read yet thought-provoking book, Marshall writes “The landscape imprisons their leaders (of all nations, big and small), giving them fewer choices and less room to maneuver than you might think.” This is a geopolitical book, which looks at the ways in which international affairs can be understood through geographical factors.  For my friends in the Foreign Service or at the World Bank, this is no doubt old hat.  But I don’t read much in either geopolitical theory or international affairs, and so I found this a …

The Power of Identity

I’ve been reading two important books in recent weeks. Both have challenged some of my deeply held assumptions.  Both books and their authors have received extensive coverage in the media. And while I didn’t originally plan for this post to come out on the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, perhaps it is only fitting that I spend this time on America’s racial history as we honor one whose life work was spent on correcting injustice. One book was not written with a white audience in mind, while the other is clearly intended to open the eyes of the those who see the civil rights movement as a three-day event:  “On Day 1, Rosa Parks didn’t give up her seat on the bus. On Day 2, [the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.] led a march on Washington. And on the third day, we signed all of these laws.”  Both books – in their own ways – have affirmed for me that the work I can do to help build a more complete American identify can …

Observations from Home (The It Is Still the Christmas Season Edition)

If it is the Christmas season, it means that the Browns are likely to have a new family photo taken by our friend John Thorne. (Blog interruption:  For those who may be wondering about the use of Christmas language after New Year’s Day, just think of the 12 Days of Christmas.  That’s how we celebrate at the Brown home.) I’ve written before about the fact that we wouldn’t have family photos if not for John.  Thankfully, he showed up at church on December 20th and asked if we would like a family picture.  All four of us were there, and it was also Andrew and Claire’s 23rd birthday.  A perfect day to capture the family for 2015! John used two settings, with two different cameras.  At the top you see us in the church yard, while the photo below shows the Washington National Cathedral in the background. What a wonderful gift for the Christmas season.  Thank you John! Speaking of getting the family together:  I’ve been hinting over the past couple of months that I’d …