Archive for July, 2008

Anthropologist Explains Crystal Skull Mystery

museum of natural historyFor those of you looking for answers, tomorrow afternoon Jane MacLaren Walsh will be available to talk about the Natural History Museum’s crystal skull on temporary display in the “Science in the News” case.

At noon, the documentary “Legend of the Crystal Skulls” will screen in the Baird Auditorium on the ground level of the museum. When the lights come up, Walsh will be available for what should be a very interestinga session of questions and answers

While the event is free, seating is first come, first serve.

The crystal skull is on display in the ground level of the Natural History Museum through September 1st. The museum is open until 7:30 pm daily thru the Labor Day weekend.

Eastern HS Marching Band Needs YOU!

The Eastern High School marching band has been invited to perform at the Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities next week.  Problem is, they’re having trouble raising funds for the trip.  According to a great piece over at City Desk, the band was counting on checks from summer jobs to pay for their bus tickets to Canton.  If you haven’t heard, there was quite an issue with the District’s payroll system and now the band has $500 total.  Unsurprisingly, the Redskins organization “doesn’t do smaller grants” and basically isn’t helping, even though the band is representing the District (what, the Redskins are in Md now, so I guess that doesn’t count?  The school’s practically in the shadow of RFK, but hey, those days are over?) and 2 of the 6 inductees for 2008 were Redskins players (Darrell Green and Art Monk – Green, as you probably know, spent his entire career with the Redskins).

Their plan is to leave at midnight Friday.  If you can, please help by contacting band director James Perry at James2081[at]comcast[dot]net

Screen on the Green: Arsenic and Old Lace

screenongreen.jpgThough Amy covered most of the city’s summer films a couple weeks ago, I want to shine a special spotlight on DC’s Screen on the Green.

I’ve been a big fan of this outdoor film festival since its debut nine years ago. I remember stuffing a blanket into my brown leather backpack, emailing friends with a meeting location before I left work, and finding a prime viewing spot by the Washington Monument (when the films were screened on the Mall between 12th and 14th Streets).

Little has changed in that time – except now the giant screen is set up between 4th and 7th Streets in front of the US Capitol.

There are three films left. Tonight’s feature is Frank Capra’s Arsenic and Old Lace

All of the films are shown on a gigantic movie screen in front of the Capitol Building and start at dusk around 8:30-9:00 pm. Diehards claim their spots on the lawn as early as 5 pm, so you might want to consider getting to the Mall an hour before the classic begins.

Introducing The Hub


If Metblogs is a city, hub.metblogs is the playground. We kept hearing from people that one of their favorite parts of Metblogs was meeting and interacting with readers and writers from other parts of the world, as well as getting requests for more ways that readers could be involved besides just posting comments. We thought about this for a while and decided that with a network like this, a giant community area where folks from all over the world could hang out, post photos and videos, talk with each other, form groups, play games, send messages, and do about a million other things was probably a pretty fun idea. The Hub is that.

If you have any tech ideas or suggestions join this group and speak up. See you on hub.metblogs!

Buy it Fresh

baby tomatoes @ dupont farmer’s market
Originally uploaded by gingher

Discouraged by the slim pickings at your local Safeway and Giant? Worried about FDA warnings about Salmonella contamination of fruits and vegetables? Don’t want to spend more than $1 per orange at Whole Foods?

Support local growers and buy your produce at one of DC’s many farmer’s markets this weekend.

Saturday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Adam’s Morgan
18th Street and Columbia Road, NW

Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Chevy Chase
Broad Road and Northampton Street, NW

Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Heritage Park
Division Avenue and Foote Streets, NE

Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
U Street
14th and U Streets, NW

Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Mount Pleasant
Lamont Park

Saturday and Sunday 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
Eastern Market
7th and C Streets, SE

Sunday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Dupont Circle
20th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NW

DC Restaurant Week: August 11 – 17

OpenTable just announced the participants for one of my favorite semiannual events – DC’s Restaurant Week.  Some of the city’s finest restaurants offer fixed price, three course meals for lunch and dinner.

DC Restaurant Week:
$20.08 3-Course Lunches
$35.08 3-Course Dinners

Book your reservations today on as most of the time slots at the more expensive fill fast.

Heavy Metal: Renaissance Warfare at the Folger Shakespeare Library

armor exhibitWarfare today mirrors its state during Shakespeare’s time. Science delivered a period of transformation. As technology improved with the introduction of gun powder and the musket, the role of the armored knight and his physical strength lost its military usefulness.

Most of the custom made armor reflect the look of contemporary fashion. While these breast plates and helmets protected the wearer, they also served as vehicles for establishing social status and as a reminder of familial ties.

You can see these old suits in “Now Thrive the Amorers: Arms and Armor in Shakespeare” that runs thru September 9, 2008. The Higgins Armory Museum, the only museum dedicated to armor in the western hemisphere, lends from its collection of military treatises, fencing manuals, gilded arms and etched armor.

Three quarter armor, coats of arms, broad swords and rapiers line the walls of the Folger Great Hall. A free cell phone audio tour provides additional information on family ties, the day’s fashion trends, and Renaissance battle strategies.

201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Eating Out: The Good Stuff Eatery

An occasional series where my friends and I go out to eat. And then tell you about it.

Outside The Good Stuff Eatery on Friday night

At the urging of a friend from school, we ventured to Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn’s new restaurant on Capitol Hill: The Good Stuff Eatery on Friday night. As yet another entry in the DC burger scene (recently chronicled by the Post’s Tim Carman), I found myself wondering if a celebrity like Chef Spike could move product. The answer, as proven by the crowds on the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Ave. SE, is unquestionably “yes.”

Full review after the jump.


"I am the Bat-Man"

Queuing for The Dark KnightYesterday, when leaving the noontime showing of The Dark Knight at the Uptown Theatre, a friend and I noticed the queue for the next showing.  Eager Batman fans braved the muggy heat, winding all the way round the corner and up the hill on Newark Street NW.   I was already nearly crippled by nostalgia; the first Batman film opened on the day before I graduated from high school, and I waited in just such a line for hours on end.  My friend, however, was thinking back on more recent times.  She remarked that it put her in mind of the lines we’d stood in over the years.  Various Star Wars films, Independence Day, the all-day Lord of the Rings marathon.   We always want to sit on the right side of the balcony, and time our arrival at the theatre (queuing as needed) accordingly.  I can’t think of a better place to see movies (epics, action, sci-fi) in all their larger-than-life glory.  If only it had digital projection…What are your favorite Uptown experiences? 

Mysterious Crystal Skull Revealed

Crystal SkullIn 1992, a mysterious package was delivered to the National Museum of Natural History containing an unsigned letter and an enormous, milky crystal skull.

On display for the first time, the 31 pound Smithsonian skull dwarfs the crystal skulls on view at the British Museum in London and the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris.

Is this one of the legendary 13 Aztec skulls? Does a mystical healing energy emanate from this crystal object? Does it come from Atlantis?

Smithsonian anthropologist Jane McLaren Walsh thinks not. She began her investigation soon after the milky quartz skull arrived at the Smithsonian. She identified modern stone-carving tool marks and determined that the skull couldn’t have been carved before the mid-19th century. Instead, she believes the skull was manufactured in Mexico around 1960.

Is this really a story of New Age hype? Or could there be some truth to the skull’s mystique?

The crystal skull is on display in the ground level of the Natural History Museum through September 1st. The museum is open until 7:30 pm daily thru the Labor Day weekend. Why not head over there after work and check it out for yourself.

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