Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius

This is a good example of my favorite rule of statutory construction, expressio unis est exclusio alterius. Roughly translated, it means that the expression of one thing, or class of things, in a statute excludes the things not listed.

The sign here says no bicycles, rollerblades, skates, skateboards or scooters, but it fails to forbid unicycles. Unicycles must therefore be allowed inasmuch as the statute's drafters could have easily included unicycles if they had chosen to forbid them as well.

Well played, unicycle dude, well played.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring Snow at Buckberry Creek

I had a conference in Sevierville Friday, and made reservations at Buckberry Creek Chalet for a weekend in the mountains. I had plans for some friends from North Carolina to come in for the weekend, but illness prevented their visit, so I stuck it out on my own, waking up to snow on the ground Saturday morning. I stayed in and cooked some Benton's bacon and some eggs for breakfast.
The girls opted out of the mountain trip and headed for Nashville to visit Jake, Joey, Grams, and of course, Grams' new kitten, Andy, pictured below with one of his admirers.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Visit to the National Zoo

Most of our final day in Washington we spent at the National Zoo. This male lion was roaring his head off when we came to his enclosure. It was impressive.

These lovely ladies were on the other side of the hill from the male lion, which may explain why he was so vocal.
Sherry and Sarah take a breather inside the Great Ape House, which houses orangutans. There is another building and enclosure within the park called the Think Tank, and the orangutans can move back and forth between them via overhead cables called the O Line. I've seen them swinging overhead from one building to another before, but they weren't in a traveling mood during this visit.
I've always been a fan of the Small Mammal House, because all of the little critters are so interesting to watch. We caught them on kind of a slow day, I thought. Here, Sarah poses with the anteater statue outside.
The Indian Elephant behind the girls had a big rubber ball in his enclosure, and he liked to roll it around the enclosure with his trunk.
This seal was quite playful.
We got to the panda enclosure shortly after the zookeepers gave them apple juice Popsicles, which they seemed to enjoy.
This triceratops used to be on the National Mall outside the Smithsonian Museum of Natural Science, but he has been retired to the zoo, perhaps because of kids climbing on his back when he was on the mall. I confess, I was one of them. He was fenced off, so I overcame the temptation this time.

Friday, March 27, 2015

That Time We Dropped a Toilet on the Commies

Back in 1965 the Navy had a busted toilet on one of its aircraft carriers.  Rather than dump it overboard, they bombed some commies in Viet Nam with it. Above is a photograph showing the unusual payload under the wing of a Douglas A-1 Skyraider.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gilgamesh -- A New English Translation by Stephen Mitchell

I recently borrowed the audiobook version of Gilgamesh -- A New English Translation by Stephen Mitchell from our local library. I was somewhat familiar with the story, but had never actually read, or in this case heard, the whole thing before. It was written about 1700 BC, but only discovered in modern times in 1853. It is accompanied by an essay about the story by Mr. Mitchell. It is definitely not kid friendly.

Natural History and Pizza

I really didn't take many pictures in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural Science, but I made sure to get one of the main hall with the elephant.

Sarah is anxious about the triceratops lurking behind her.
Our parking spot was near this statue of Abraham Lincoln in from the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Aunt Joan hosted a gathering at her house featuring Ledo Pizza, a local favorite. Pictured from left to right are my cousins David, George, Andrew and Andrea, George's daughter.
We had a good turnout of the next generation of the Powell side of the family. Here, from left to right, are Sherry, Aunt Joan, Kelle, Andrea, Matthew and Sarah. The last four are second cousins. Kelle and Matthew are my cousin Elena's children. Elena lived most of her life in the Washington area, but moved to Georgia, where she attended law school, several years ago. Kelle lives in Nashville, and we got together with her for a meal there not too long ago.

Aunt Joan and Sherry take a spin through a photo album. We had a great evening, and are looking forward to seeing our kinfolk again this summer at our next family reunion in West Jefferson, North Carolina.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Washington's Saint Patrick's Day Parade

It was David's turn to drive us around Washington on Sunday, and at Sarah's request we headed to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. We parked near this statue of the great Chief Justice John Marshall, so I commenced explaining judicial review to Sarah. I don't think she got it.
Frankly, the child was much more interested in clowning around with these two guys.
As we approached the museum, we saw a big group of people on the steps in front of the National Archives building and realized we had happened upon the city's Saint Patrick's Day Parade.
We decided to watch a bit of the parade, and we walked through another sculpture garden to get out to Constitution Avenue.

Mounted police officers prepare to enter the main parade route along Constitution Avenue.
The fire department had quite an impressive assembly of equipment, and also a bagpipe brigade.
We watched the parade for about half an hour, and it was enough time for Sarah to collect some of the candy and beads they were tossing to the crowd. We then made our way into the museum, and by the time we were through it the parade was over.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Family and Friends in Washington

On the day Andrew was chauffeuring us around Washington, he took us to this sculpture garden. Sherry particularly liked this rabbit.
We saw plenty of construction equipment and workers in various places all around the mall.
Anybody who has watched any national news in the past few months is aware that the Capitol dome is covered in scaffolding as it is being repaired. I took several pictures of it as we drove around that area.
As one might expect, our nation's capital is filled with statuary, including this sculpture of Daniel Webster.
David and Margaret live in the home Margaret grew up in, and one of the focal points of the home is its large dining room table, where the family congregates for meals and games. We played several different card and board games while we were there. My personal favorite was Pirate Fluxx, a card game that requires one to talk like a pirate at various points during the game. Arrrgh!
I pose flanked by Andrew to my right and David to my left. As kids, David's hand-me-downs came to me, and then I returned them to Andrew a year later.
After dinner discussion ensues in the Albamonte dining hall.
Andrew and Sarah consult the computer.
Craig, a childhood friend of mine, also lives in the Washington, D.C., area, and he and his wife Lucile drove to David and Margaret's house to visit with us. Craig and I have been friends since I was eleven (Sarah's age) and he was twelve. In junior high and high school he was a jock, and I was a little, tubby, geeky kid who got picked on a lot. Craig kept the bullies at bay, for which I have been forever grateful.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Walkabout Continues on the National Mall

As part of the forced march tour of the National Mall I inflicted on Sherry and Sarah our first day in Washington, we visited the Lincoln Memorial. By the day ended, Sherry's feet were blistered, and Sarah had a headache. I broke my womenfolk.
Sherry declined to climb the steps to go inside the building, but Sarah and I did so I could get this shot of the big guy on his throne.
Near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was a small portable building that was headquarters for a group raising money for the laudable purpose of establishing an interpretive center for that memorial. Being a U.S. Constitution geek, I was perplexed by this sign saying that Jefferson "Gave us the Constitution." Jefferson was American Minister to France and was in Paris during the Constitutional Convention and did not leave until late in 1789, after most states' ratifying conventions had concluded. In fact, he managed to hinder Madison a bit in getting the Constitution ratified in Virginia all the way from Paris. Jefferson, of course, was principal drafter of the Declaration of Independence.
As we made our way back across the National Mall, we saw a crowd of people watching the White House, where a helicopter was sitting on the lawn. After a couple of minutes three helicopters with paint jobs like Marine One took off from the White House grounds.

Our cousin Andrew took off from work on one of the days we were in town, and he offered to drive us around. We hadn't planned on visiting the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, but we lucked into a parking spot right across the street from it, so we spent an hour or so wandering around it.
The Wright Brothers Airplane
The Hindenburg
Sarah tried on a lot of hats in various gift stores during our visit.
As a kid I was fascinated by the Apollo space program, and probably a little worried about what I later knew as the Cold War. I remember asking my parents why the Russians hated us, and wondering if they were normal people that loved their families like we do. Perhaps that is why I was particularly interested in the Apollo-Soyuz space mission. The astronauts and cosmonauts docked their respective vehicles in space, a feat never accomplished before. It was a hopeful moment in history.
Andrew, Sherry and Sarah pose in front of a lunar lander.