By George Gilfillan
Give me more love, or more disdain,
The torrid, or the frozen zone
Bring equal ease unto my pain;
The temperate affords me none;
Either extreme, of love or hate,
Is sweeter than a calm estate.
Give me a storm; if it be love,
Like Danae in a golden shower,
I swim in pleasure; if it prove
Disdain, that torrent will devour
My vulture-hopes; and he's possess'd
Of heaven that's but from hell released:
Then crown my joys, or cure my pain;
Give me more love, or more disdain.
Monday is my mother's birthday -- she said that she has decided to celebrate her 50th again, which would make her the same age as Barbie (and would mean that she was under ten when she had me, but we won't think about that). We spent the day downtown with her and my father on Sunday after Adam got home from Hebrew school -- once again in gorgeous low 70s weather. We went to the Newseum, which is one of the best museums I've ever visited; nearly every exhibit is interactive or audio-visual, with 15 theaters and dozens more viewscreens on six floors. We saw the introductory movie, the 4D movie, and the history of sports reporting on the lower level, then went up to the sixth floor and worked our way down through various historical galleries -- the special exhibit on Lincoln's assassination in the press, the 9/11 memorial, the progression of print and TV journalism (including a 10-minute film on journalism as portrayed by Hollywood), the Pulitzer Prize photo gallery, the tribute to journalists who died performing their jobs.
From there we walked to the National Gallery of Art to see Pride of Place: Dutch Cityscapes of the Golden Age, which has lovely paintings of the harbors and ships as well as the town centers, windmills and canals, plus some portraits and maps designed in the shapes of animals. We had dinner at Benihana, a Japanese restaurant where the chefs cook on grills built into the tables and put on a show with the knives, spatulas and raw ingredients -- my mother thought the kids would enjoy it and she was right, plus the food was excellent (we got soup and shrimp appetizers with the meal, for which I had fish and family members had two kinds of chicken that I tried -- everything including the salad and zucchini were delicious). We came back to our house for birthday cake that Paul made.
Here are my parents and the kids in one of the glass elevators -- the tallest such hydraulic elevators in the world.
A 12-foot-high section of the Berlin Wall, accompanied by video of how pieces of the wall and a tower from near Checkpoint Charlie were torn down and eventually brought to the Newseum.
The view down the top floor corridor that displays the daily front pages of newspapers from each US state and many foreign countries.
A section of the broadcast antenna from the top of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, recovered from the wreckage at Ground Zero, displayed surrounded by news headlines from September 12th.
An enormous gallery of printed news from the invention of the printing press to the present, including Spanish propaganda claiming the Armada had been successful, an announcement that hats would be on sale following the shooting of Jesse James, and conflicting headlines about who won the Bush-Gore election.
My parents and kids in front of the azaleas in the rotunda of the National Gallery of Art.
The chef at Benihana sends an egg spinning on the teppanyaki table.