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i'm currently on daily blogging sabbatical, but i'll be back very soon.

DC Colonist Cartoon: “Court Declares State Voters Tax Exempt in D.C.” – Washington Evening Star, March 13, 1940
|| 8/10/2011 || 2:07 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

dc colonist pg65 3 13 1940 DC Colonist Cartoon: “Court Declares State Voters Tax Exempt in D.C.” – Washington Evening Star, March 13, 1940

Source: Page 65 of “Our National Capital and its un-Americanized Americans” by Theodore Noyes



Text of the Department of Justice’s “Cole Memo” – June 29, 2011
|| 7/31/2011 || 1:59 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Following up on the Ogden Memo, I decided to post the “Cole Memo” below:


MEMORANDUM FOR UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS

FROM: James M. Cole
Deputy Attorney General

SUBJECT: Guidance Regarding the Ogden Memo in Jurisdictions
Seeking to Authorize Marijuana for Medical Use

Over the last several months some of you have requested the Department’s assistance in responding to inquiries from State and local governments seeking guidance about the Department’s position on enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in jurisdictions that have under consideration, or have implemented, legislation that would sanction and regulate the commercial cultivation and distribution ofmarijuana purportedly for medical use. Some of these jurisdictions have considered approving the cultivation of large quantities of marijuana, or broadening the regulation and taxation of the substance. You may have seen letters responding to these inquiries by several United States Attorneys. Those letters are entirely consistent with the October 2009 memorandum issued by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden to federal prosecutors in States that have enacted laws authorizing the medical use of marijuana (the “Ogden Memo“).

The Department ofJustice is committed to the enforcement ofthe Controlled Substances Act in all States. Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime that provides a significant source of revenue to large scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels. The Ogden Memorandum provides guidance to you in deploying your resources to enforce the CSA as part of the exercise of the broad discretion you are given to address federal criminal matters within your districts.

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Text of the Department of Justice’s “Ogden Memo” – October 19, 2009
|| 7/30/2011 || 1:56 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

In the yesterday’s newspaper article the DOJ’s 2009 Ogden Memo was mentioned, here is the full text of the document:


USDOJ Seal
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Deputy Attorney General
The Deputy Attorney General
Washington, D.C. 20530
October 19,2009

MEMORANDUM FOR SELECTED UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS

FROM: David W. Ogden
Deputy Attorney General

SUBJECT: Investigations and Prosecutions in States
Authorizing the Medical Use of Marijuana

This memorandum provides clarification and guidance to federal prosecutors in States that have enacted laws authorizing the medical use of marijuana. These laws vary in their substantive provisions and in the extent of state regulatory oversight, both among the enacting States and among local jurisdictions within those States. Rather than developing different guidelines for every possible variant of state and local law, this memorandum provides uniform guidance to focus federal investigations and prosecutions in these States on core federal enforcement priorities.

The Department of Justice is committed to the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in all States. Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug, and the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime and provides a significant source of revenue to large-scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels. One timely example underscores the importance of our efforts to prosecute significant marijuana traffickers: marijuana distribution in the United States remains the single largest source of revenue for the Mexican cartels.

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“Official: Medical marijuana in D.C. by May 2012″ by Victor Zapana, Washington Post, July 29, 2011
|| 7/29/2011 || 1:35 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Today I was in the Washington Post article about the progress of the District’s medical cannabis program.

‘Glacial’ pace

Still, some possible participants — such as Nikolas Schiller — consider the city’s pace “glacial.” Schiller’s group, D.C. Patients’ Cooperative, identified potential cultivation and dispensary sites in the city after the law passed.

Concerned about the program’s pace, the cooperative did not sign any leases, and many of those sites are no longer available. Schiller, the only paid staff member, was laid off by the group’s investors.

This paragraph in article is slightly incorrect. I wasn’t laid off by the group’s investors. As a board member of the non-profit, hired as an independent contractor by the non-profit, I voted to lay off myself with the majority of board members. It’s not that I was failing to do my job properly, rather, after waiting nearly 18 months and seeing no progress, DCPC decided to stop wasting resources on a program that was moving so slowly.


UPDATE – As of May 2012, there is still no legal medical cannabis in the District of Columbia.


wp mmj 7 29 2011 Official: Medical marijuana in D.C. by May 2012 by Victor Zapana, Washington Post, July 29, 2011

Official: Medical marijuana in D.C. by May 2012

By Victor Zapana, Washington Post, Published: July 29

A year after the District legalized medical marijuana, nobody is legally growing or selling it. Patients once thought that they could be getting the drug by early 2011, but bureaucratic delays and the city’s caution in implementing its drug law have caused some would-be patients and entrepreneurs to fume.

But things appear to be picking up. District regulators are forging ahead despite a recent Justice Department memo that has worried coordinators of medical-marijuana programs nationwide, and city officials said Tuesday that dozens of individuals and businesses will be allowed to apply for licenses to operate five dispensaries and 10 cultivation centers.

City officials expect patients to have access to medicinal marijuana — which advocates say can relieve pain and stimulate the appetite — by May 2012.

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DC Colonist Cartoon: “Keep Out of U.S. Elections” – Washington Star, November 5, 1940
|| 7/4/2011 || 1:25 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

dc colonist pg53 11 5 1940 DC Colonist Cartoon: “Keep Out of U.S. Elections” – Washington Star, November 5, 1940

This cartoon shows the DC Colonist trying to enter the voting booth, but is told by Uncle Sam to go to the tax or selective service booths. The cartoon implies that the while District residents pay taxes & go to war for America, they are not permitted the sacred right to vote in U.S. elections. Thus DC residents fight & die in American wars and pay taxes to the Federal government, but at the same time, have no say who makes the decisions regarding taxation, war, and peace.

Source: Page 53 of “Our National Capital and its un-Americanized Americans” by Theodore Noyes



Photograph of the Vigil for the 40 Year Anniversary of America’s War on Drugs
|| 6/17/2011 || 10:53 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

drug war vigil 6 17 2011 Photograph of the Vigil for the 40 Year Anniversary of Americas War on Drugs

Today I setup the sound system for a somber vigil outside of the White House. Forty years ago today President Nixon declared a War on Drugs at a press conference and since then the United States has wasted trillions of dollars on an unwinnable war against the personal freedoms of American citizens. As you can read below, Nixon did not explicitly use the term “War on Drugs” at that press conference but instead used terminology that references combat. I can’t help but wonder, how much longer until this war is over?



Richard Nixon speaking….

Ladies and gentlemen:

I would like to summarize for you the meeting that I have just had with the bipartisan leaders which began at 8 o’clock and was completed 2 hours later.

I began the meeting by making this statement, which I think needs to be made to the Nation:

America’s public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.

I have asked the Congress to provide the legislative authority and the funds to fuel this kind of an offensive. This will be a worldwide offensive dealing with the problems of sources of supply, as well as Americans who may be stationed abroad, wherever they are in the world. It will be government wide, pulling together the nine different fragmented areas within the government in which this problem is now being handled, and it will be nationwide in terms of a new educational program that we trust will result from the discussions that we have had.

With regard to this offensive, it is necessary first to have a new organization, and the new organization will be within the White House. Dr. Jaffe, who will be one of the briefers here today, will be the man directly responsible. He will report directly to me, and he will have the responsibility to take all of the Government agencies, nine, that deal with the problems of rehabilitation, in which his primary responsibilities will be research and education, and see that they work not at cross-purposes, but work together in dealing with the problem.

If we are going to have a successful offensive, we need more money. Consequently, I am asking the Congress for $155 million in new funds, which will bring the total amount this year in the budget for drug abuse, both in enforcement and treatment, to over $350 million.

As far as the new money is concerned, incidentally, I have made it clear to the leaders that if this is not enough, if more can be used, if Dr. Jaffe, after studying this problem, finds that we can use more, more will be provided. In order to defeat this enemy which is causing such great concern, and correctly so, to so many American families, money will be provided to the extent that it is necessary and to the extent that it will be useful.

Finally, in order for this program to be effective, it is necessary that it be conducted on a basis in which the American people all join in it. That is why the meeting was bipartisan; bipartisan because we needed the support of the Congress, but bipartisan because we needed the leadership of the Members of the Congress in this field.

Fundamentally, it is essential for the American people to be alerted to this danger, to recognize that it is a danger that will not pass with the passing of the war in Vietnam which has brought to our attention the fact that a number of young Americans have become addicts as they serve abroad, whether in Vietnam, or Europe, or other places. Because the problem existed before we became involved in Vietnam; it will continue to exist afterwards. That is why this offensive deals with the problem there, in Europe, but will then go on to deal with the problem throughout America.

One final word with regard to Presidential responsibility in this respect. I very much hesitate always to bring some new responsibility into the White House, because there are so many here, and I believe in delegating those responsibilities to the departments. But I consider this problem so urgent–I also found that it was scattered so much throughout the Government, with so much conflict, without coordination–that it had to be brought into the White House.

Consequently, I have brought Dr. Jaffe into the White House, directly reporting to me, so that we have not only the responsibility but the authority to see that we wage this offensive effectively and in a coordinated way.

The briefing team will now be ready to answer any questions on the technical details of the program.



Citation: Richard Nixon: “Remarks About an Intensified Program for Drug Abuse Prevention and Control.,” June 17, 1971. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=3047



DC Flag Day in the Flesh
|| 6/15/2011 || 7:01 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Back in mid-May, late at night after a few of our friends had gotten out of jail after being arrested outside of the U.S. Capitol demonstrating in favor of voting rights & statehood for DC, Ally B., Adam E., and myself were discussing ways we could do another action. I brought up the idea of using Flag Day as an upcoming day that people could mobilize around and everyone agreed that there was enough time to plan & execute an event. Inspired by Shana Glickfield’s collection of DC Flag tattoos, together we wrote the first press release and since Adam & I were busy working on other projects, Ally did the rest of the organizing for “DC Flag Day in the Flesh“. In all, this was one of the best events I’ve ever helped to organize because we had such a great turnout and very positive media coverage. I’m looking forward to helping organize the second annual DC Flag Day in the Flesh :-) I’d like to get the folks from Guinness Book of World Records to come and document “the most tattooed ‘state’ flags in one location.”


dc flag DC Flag Day in the Flesh

Inked and Non-Inked Gather in Dupont Circle

Celebrate Flag Day Tuesday, June 14, 6-8 pm

It is well known that thousands of District of Columbia residents past and present sport DC flag tattoos. In fact, George Washington, whose family crest is the source of the DC flag, would never have predicted that so many would passionately adorn themselves to show their civic pride. Over the years, the “Three Stars and Two Bars” has come to symbolize over 600,000 Americans who can not enact their own laws nor elect voting representatives to the House and Senate.

This Flag Day 2011 we encourage a large gathering of people with DC Flag tattoo’s and those that support them as a way to get under the skin of America and bring attention to DC’s lack of rights in Congress.

Come celebrate DC Flag Tattoos, paint large Give Me a Vote Hands, and find out what you can do to get DC equal representation in Congress.

WHO: Inked, non-Inked, and all who LOVE DC
WHAT: Flag Day DC Celebration, Speakers sponsored by DC Vote, Art sponsored by Give Me a Vote and Albus Cavus, and surprises!
WHEN: Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 6pm to 8pm
WHERE: Dupont Circle, Washington DC, USA
“Home of Taxation Without Representation”


byt dc flag day in the flesh DC Flag Day in the Flesh
A couple photographs of me from BYT by Dakota Fine
byt dc flag day in the flesh2 DC Flag Day in the Flesh

DC Flag Tattoo Day – June 14 by Brandon Bloch


Video by Mike Flugennock


Video by Edgar Elmore


Video by Matt Bevilacqua

dc flag day in the flesh1 DC Flag Day in the Flesh

Press:
+ D.C. faithful get inked, rally for representation – Washington Post
+ D.C. Flag Tattoo Day: Show off your city pride – AP via Washington Post
+ D.C. residents to celebrate flag tattoos – AP via WTOP
+ D.C. residents to celebrate flag tattoos – AP via Federal News Radio
+ Tattooed DC Residents Push for Representation – WMAL
+ Flag day is for… showing off tattoos? – Seattle Post-Intelligencer
+ D.C. Ink: Flag-Tatted to Gather at Dupont Tomorrow – DCist
+ Photo Booth: D.C. Flag Tattoo Day – DCist
+ DC Flag Tattoo Day: Does it Matter If You’re Not Punk? – Washingtonian
+ With flag tattoos, D.C. residents seek representation in Congress – Scripps Howard
+ D.C. Flag Tattoo Day mixes District flag with tattoos – TBD
+ D.C. Flag Day tattoos: The Polaroids – TBD
+ Got a DC Flag Tattoo? Celebrate Today – NBC Washington
+ Showing off some inked skin for D.C. – WJLA
+ D.C. Flag Tattoos We Don’t Endorse, Even for Voting Rights – Washington City Paper
+ Welcome to Our Strife, Tattoo – Washington City Paper
+ Norton Commends Youth Activism and Achievements Today at Two Separate Events, DC Flag Day Tattoo Rally and Ballou STAY High School Graduation – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
+ DC Statehood advocates unveil DC flag tattoos for Flag Day – DC Direct Action News
+ Photos: DC Flag Tattoo Day! Go DC! #dcflagtattoo #dcvote – Vincent Gallegos
+ DC Flag Tattoo Day – Frank Turner
+ DC Flag Tattoo Day – Borderstan

dc flag day in the flesh2 DC Flag Day in the Flesh

From the Washington Post article:

When Allyson Behnke’s friend was arrested back in May for rallying in support of District representation in Congress, she and a few others started brainstorming ways to raise awareness for the cause in a more entertaining way. Somebody mentioned Flag Day, and an idea tattooed itself on her mind.



Cameo on the History Channel’s “How the States Got Their Shapes”
|| 6/14/2011 || 11:02 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

how the states got their shape dc Cameo on the History Channels How the States Got Their Shapes

How the States Got Their Shapes – Episode 6 – Use It or Lose It
If you thought our borders were set in stone, you’d be wrong. Who stole a corner of Washington, DC? Is Ohio actually a state? And why isn’t St. Louis our nation’s capital? One thing’s for sure — our map could look very different. How did we create order out of so much chaos? With the vote.

Back in November of 2010 I was invited by a producer from Half Yard Productions to be interviewed for the upcoming History Channel show “How the States Got Their Shapes.” Near the Lincoln Memorial, I was interviewed by host Brian Unger for a good 30 minutes, but after watching tonight’s episode about Washington, DC, I found that most of the interview was left on the cutting room floor. Nonetheless, I came across as knowledgeable (albeit briefly) and the episode did a decent job at explaining some of the issues residents of the District of Columbia face (like no Congressional representation). If you have a chance, watch the rerun of Episode 6 “Use It or Lose It” on the History Channel or purchase a digital copy from Amazon.com.


Camera Trick Explained: In order for people to draw on the screen, like I am doing above, the producers mounted a clear piece of plexiglass in front of the camera, and then in the editing room they reversed the footage (left to right) to make it appear that we were drawing correctly. Had my outfit had some lettering they would show up in reverse due to their camera trick. I’m also right-handed…


Also see DCist’s brief review of the show.

how the states got their shape dc Cameo on the History Channels How the States Got Their Shapes


The Triumph of the Humanities By Stanley Fish, New York Times
|| 6/13/2011 || 11:50 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

GeoHumanities The Triumph of the Humanities By Stanley Fish, New York Times

Geohumanities, the recently published book that features my map “The Modern Geographer” on the cover, was reviewed in the New York Times by Stanley Fish:



June 13, 2011, 8:30 PM

The Triumph of the Humanities

By STANLEY FISH

Our house in the western Catskills overlooks the Pepacton Reservoir, a 20-mile ribbon of water between Margaretville and Downsville. Maps on the Internet, depending on their scale and detail, will show you where the reservoir is in relation to nearby towns and roads. What they won’t show you, although every resident of the area knows about them, are the four towns — Arena, Shavertown, Union Grove and Pepacton — that were flooded in the middle ‘50s so that the reservoir could be constructed. (Today, after more than 50 years, resentment against New York City remains strong.)

The maps and pictures of the reservoir are determinedly linear; the eye follows the water in its journey down Route 30 toward the city. But for the the old-timers, and the new-timers who have been caught up in the romance of the lost towns, the eye stops and looks down to what are now the geological layers of civilizations, one on the surface and claiming a literal, no-nonsense empirical reality (“If you want get from Andes to Downsville, you can travel on either side of the reservoir”), and the other below the surface, where lie subterranean Brigadoons that emerge not every hundred years but whenever the reservoir gets so low that pieces of a drowned culture suddenly and unnervingly come into view. At those moments the eye simply cannot travel the straight line encouraged by visible coherences and road signs; the natural pull of forward progress is forestalled and one begins to ruminate on what lies beneath our every step as we raise our feet to take the next one.

There is now a (relatively) new discipline in which this breaking down of time into spatial units that are read vertically rather than horizontally is the obligatory gesture. It calls itself GeoHumanities and its project is nicely encapsulated in the title of one of the essays in a collection that officially announces the emergence of a field of study. The collection is called “GeoHumanities: Art, History, Text at the Edge of Place”; the essay (by Edward L. Ayers, an historian and president of the University of Richmond) is entitled “Mapping Time.”

Ayers’s project is to map the changes that followed upon the emancipation of the slaves after the Civil War. He and his colleagues begin with a simple map and then they locate populations on the landscape and “put down one layer after another: of race, of wealth, of literacy, of water courses, of roads, of railways, of soil type, of voting patterns, of social structure.”

The layered picture that results can then be “read” and a story can be told, the story of complex relationships that are frozen by the analysis but which, of course, are really in motion. The next step is to acknowledge the motion by using cinematic techniques that present the passage of time as spatial units that succeed one another. “By converting time to motion,” says Ayers, “we can visualize the passage of time (as one watches the hands of a clock move).”

Ayers calls this technique of representation “deep contingency,” and he acknowledges its artificiality. The metaphor of a layered reality “is a fiction of course, since the layers continually interact and the ‘top’ layer of humans constantly changes the ‘bottom’ layer of landscape; but it is a useful fiction, since it reminds us of the structural depth of time and experience.” The project is a synthesis of geography (now renamed Geographic Information Science, or GIS) and history: “GIS is about patterns and structures; history is about motion; by integrating the two, we can see layers of events, layers of the consequences of unpredictability.”

That is, we can read events not merely historically, as the product of the events preceding them, but geologically, as the location of sedimented patterns of culture, economics, politics, agriculture. What is being attempted is a reorientation of perception, an alternative way of interpreting the world in which “space is not merely in the service of time, but has a poetics of its own, which reveals itself through a geographical or topological imagination rather than a historical one” (Paul Smethurst, “The Postmodern Chronotope”).

The interplay in these quotations between a literary and a geographical vocabulary tells us what GeoHumanities is all about; it is the elaboration, by methods derived from the humanities, of “the stratified record upon which we set our feet” (the title of another essay and a quote from Thomas Mann). It is the realization, in a style of analysis, of the “spatial turn,” a “critical shift that divested geography of its largely passive role as history’s ‘stage’ and brought to the fore intersections between the humanities and the earth sciences” (Peta Mitchell in “GeoHumanities”).

“Intersections” is perhaps too weak a word, because it suggests two disciplines that retain their distinctiveness but collaborate occasionally on a specific project. The stronger assertion, made by many in the volume, is that the division between empirical/descriptive disciplines and interpretive disciplines is itself a fiction and one that stands in the way of the production of knowledge.

An apparently empirical project like geography is, and always has been, interpretive through and through. “The map has always been a political agent”(Lize Mogel), has always had a “generative power” (Emily Eliza Scott), and that power can only be released and studied by those who approach their work in the manner of literary critics. Geography “demands a reader who is at once an archeologist, geologist and geographer, a reader who … is at all times attentive to the stratification of history, memory, language, and landscape and who can read obliquely through their layers” (Peta Mitchell).

If interpretive methods and perspectives are necessary to the practice of geography, they are no less necessary to other projects supposedly separate from the project of the humanities. And that is why, in addition to GeoHumanities, we now have Biohumanities (“the humanities not only comment on the significance or implications of biological knowledge, but add to our understanding of biology itself” — Karola Stotz and Paul E. Griffiths), Disability Studies (of which the X-Men films might be both a representation and an instance), Metahistory (the study of the irreducibly narrative basis of historical “fact”), Law and Literature (the laying bare of the rhetorical and literary strategies giving form to every assertion in the law), Cultural Anthropology (an inquiry into the very possibility of anthropological observation that begins by acknowledging the inescapability of perspective and the ubiquity of interpretation), Cultural Sociology (“the commitment to hermeneutically reconstructing social texts in a rich and persuasive way” — Jeffrey C. Alexander and Philip Smith), and other hybrids already emergent and soon to emerge.

What this all suggests is that while we have been anguishing over the fate of the humanities, the humanities have been busily moving into, and even colonizing, the fields that were supposedly displacing them. In the ‘70s and the ‘80s the humanities exported theory to the social sciences and (with less influence) to the sciences; many disciplines saw a pitched battle between the new watchwords — perspective, contingency, dispersion, multi-vocality, intertextuality — and the traditional techniques of dispassionate observation, the collection of evidence, the drawing of warranted conclusions and the establishing of solid fact. Now the dust has settled and the invaded disciplines have incorporated much of what they resisted. Propositions that once seemed outlandish — all knowledge is mediated, even our certainties are socially constructed — are now routinely asserted in precincts where they were once feared as the harbingers of chaos and corrosive relativism.

One could say then that the humanities are the victors in the theory wars; nearly everyone now dances to their tune. But this conceptual triumph has not brought with it a proportionate share of resources or institutional support. Perhaps administrators still think of the humanities as the province of precious insights that offer little to those who are charged with the task of making sense of the world. Volumes like “GeoHumanities” tell a different story, and it is one that cannot be rehearsed too often.


Source: New York Times



America the Beautiful
|| 6/10/2011 || 12:28 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

america the beautiful America the Beautiful

When I was on the top of Pike’s Peak yesterday, I discovered that the song America the Beautiful was inspired by Katharine Lee Bates trip to the summit of Pike’s Peak in 1893. She later wrote of her trip:

One day some of the other teachers and I decided to go on a trip to 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. We hired a prairie wagon. Near the top we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.

Seventeen years later composer Samuel A. Ward rewrote Katharine Lee Bates poem into what is sung today. Below are the two versions side by side:


America. A Poem for July 4.
Written by Katharine Lee Bates, 1883

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife,
When once or twice, for man’s avail,
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain,
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

America the Beautiful
Composed by Samuel A. Ward, 1910

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness
America! America!
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for heroes prov’d
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country lov’d,
And mercy more than life.
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.



Photographs from the top of Pike’s Peak
|| 6/9/2011 || 11:14 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Today my step-father & I decided to play tourists and take the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway up to the top of Pike’s Peak. I’m slightly ashamed to say that this was my first time to the summit of a 14er in Colorado. I’ve been up a few high-13ers, but never a 14er, until today (and by way of a train instead of a trail!).

From the top I could see distant forest fires that were burning to the west as well as the entire expanse of Colorado Springs to the east. I can see why the earlier explorers found this mountain to be of such military importance- you can see for miles in all directions. After walking around the summit, we went inside the welcome center and I bought some of their fresh donuts for the slow ride back down the mountain.

top of pikes peak1 Photographs from the top of Pikes Peak


top of pikes peak2 Photographs from the top of Pikes Peak


top of pikes peak3 Photographs from the top of Pikes Peak




Hello from the base of the Contiental Divide
|| 6/8/2011 || 12:05 pm || + Render A Comment || ||


I filmed this short video at Kroenke Lake in the San Isabel National Forest. Click here to see some of the photos from the hike. If this video does not work, blame Facebook’s embed code and/or try clicking here.


This short video includes a 4 short video clips I took of our hike to the snow-covered Kroenke Lake at the base of the Continental Divide.

Clip #1 = view of an unnamed peak near Mount Yale and snow in the forest
Clip #2 = view of the snow-covered meadow near Kroenke Lake
Clip #3 = “Hello from the base of the Continental Divide”
Clip #4 = driving away from the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area with Mount Princeton off in the distance.



Photographs of Backpacking in the San Isabel National Forest
|| 6/7/2011 || 11:04 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

One of my goals for the trip to Colorado was to return to the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area. After some cursory planning, my step-father & I decided to spend three days in the backcountry near Buena Vista, Colorado. The ultimate destination was Kroenke Lake, which is situated at the base of the continental divide in the San Isabel National Forest. The plan was to hike as far as possible the first day, setup camp for the night, the following day hike to Kroenke Lake, and the final day hike back to the trailhead. While we were expecting there to be some snow still on the ground (it’s June after all), we were not expecting to hit dense snowpack within the first mile of hiking toward our destination. We ultimately pitched our tent on a snow bank that was nearest to dry land about 2.5 miles from the trailhead. Earlier this year I purchased snowshoes and by the end of the trip I sincerely wished that I had brought them! All in all, I love backpacking in this part of Colorado! My next goal for this area to is to climb one of the Collegiate Peaks.

mount princeton from buena vista Photographs of Backpacking in the San Isabel National Forest
View of Mount Princeton from Buena Vista, Colorado.


kroenke lake1 Photographs of Backpacking in the San Isabel National Forest


kroenke lake2 Photographs of Backpacking in the San Isabel National Forest


kroenke lake8 Photographs of Backpacking in the San Isabel National Forest


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Photographs of Rock Climbing in Pike National Forest
|| 6/4/2011 || 11:39 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

I’m not a big into rock climbing, but my mom really wanted to take me to one of her favorite climbs “Madacat” in Pike National Forest. I used borrowed climbing shoes, which were slightly too small, and while I didn’t fall once while climbing, my feet were in severe pain by the end of the day.

colorado rock climbing madacat1 Photographs of Rock Climbing in Pike National Forest


colorado rock climbing madacat2 Photographs of Rock Climbing in Pike National Forest


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Photograph of the Aftermath of the Haymen Fire in Pike National Forest
|| || 6:38 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Today we are going rock climbing at a place my mom & step father regularly climb at. On the way to the site I snapped this photograph of the burnt remains of Colorado’s largest fire, the 2002 Haymen Fire.

haymen fire Photograph of the Aftermath of the Haymen Fire in Pike National Forest




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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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