The Occassional Find

I love scoring an odd shirt now and then at the local thrifties. This one might be made of ramie but I dunno. Whatever the material, it’s a textile that I’ve never seen.

My kids say it’s Thai, but I thought maybe it was made in Korea (the white tag?) but has an importer’s tag in black? Help me out if you know what language this is!


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When Safety-First Trumps All

The Superintendent of the C & O Canal sent me the below message in response to my inquiry concerning the new train bridge lights at Arizona and Canal Road. The response clearly absolves the new lighting of any Historical Preservation transgressions, but I am not persuaded by the proper “lumens” that are required for safety purposes.


Dear Mr. Dupin:

Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns about the recent replacement of lights on the Arizona Avenue Railroad Bridge and how the new lamps carry a different aesthetic value. The replacement of the former light fixtures with efficient LED units was conducted as part of a broader initiative to reduce energy use in the park. Aesthetics and historical accuracy are required to be taken into consideration for projects involving alterations to historic structures. So your concern with the aesthetics of the new lamps is a valid issue. As it pertains to the bridge lighting there were two key points to consider: safety factors and the history of lights on the bridge.

The contractor who installed the new lamps evaluated retrofitting the old housings with the new lamps but could not achieve the required lumens to meet safety requirements. While this is unfortunate, it is less so when you consider the origin of the former lights. My staff reviewed our records and determined that the previous lights were neither original to the 1906 bridge construction nor historic in and of themselves. The plan to install the first set of lights was actually initiated in 2000. Safety concerns drove that project. Still, it was understood that the lamps would pose a modern addition to a historic structure and so consultation with the Washington, D.C. State Historic Preservation Office was necessary. The result was the former light style.

With the recently installed LED fixtures it was deemed unnecessary for the lamps to conform to the former light design since the earlier ones were not historic. While we acknowledge that, aesthetically, these units contrast with the historic character of the bridge, it is an anticipated consequence given the re-purposing of the bridge for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. As with the other non-historic additions, such as the chain link fencing and emergency call box, these lights assist with requisite safety measures. Fortunately these additions are reversible and do not pose an adverse effect to the historic fabric of the bridge itself.

I appreciate your attentiveness to the changes that have been made with the light fixtures on the Arizona Avenue Railroad Bridge. Hopefully the explanation provided here is sufficient to address your concerns and explain why the replacement was made.


Kevin D. Brandt

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Tiki Hut – the third iteration

This year’s tiki hut was built from a tradition started two years ago. The village elder overseeing its construction was not amused.







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C & O Canal Train Bridge in Washington DC

Here is a dispiriting example of how historical preservation slips through the cracks in the District of Columbia. Unfortunately for the old railroad lamps that lit the converted railroad trestle bridge, there is no development money hustle that might stir up concern for their disappearance.



The lackluster daytime appeal is only outdone by its nocturnal obscenity. The newly illuminated bridge creates an unnecessary source of light pollution affecting 1/8 mile of the C&O Canal. I think the National Park Service should reconsider this choice of lighting as it violates both the historical and environmental mission of the agency.


Thanks to Brett Young for finding a photo of the original lighting.


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Into the Woods with James McMahon

Here is my new film of James McMahon doing his thing in the woods. The film is a sequel to the one I did in 2008.

Into The Woods with James McMahon from Doug Dupin on Vimeo.

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Pollinators in the Woods

I was helping with a wild bee survey near Fletchers Boathouse today. The traps catch all sorts of pollinators found in the woods – bees, flies, and butterflies. Here is a Zebra Swallowtail specimen.


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Skate Ramp

The skate ramp has already attracted drifters, hustlers, and other deviants. Here is John O visiting Saturday May 9th.


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Attic Find

I’m amazed that some items in my house are still undiscovered. Today while insulating the attic I came across this contest card.

york theatre-1

The York Theatre built in 1919 still stands but without any of its original charm at Georgia Ave and Quebec.

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Moss Graffiti

I was alerted to this possibility by a neighbor and promptly collected some samples of moss and lichen.

I mixed the samples into buttermilk and “painted” some tiles. The fine-powdered lichen sample seems to be the most promising (center tile).


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My First Archeo Dig in DC

At the beginning of the big dig, I remember my tarps brought unwanted attention in 2002.


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