Photos: The other Air & Space Museum

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I took off Monday and we drove out to the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum, the downtown location’s sprawling suburban sibling, a giant warehouse filled with important planes and aviation things. Like the space shuttle! Maybe you’ve heard of it. We’d both wanted to go for a long time, and we weren’t disappointed.

What I regret not photographing: the containment trailer where the Apollo 11 astronauts stayed after their trip, to better protect Americans from possible “moon germs,” the beautiful computer terminals from the early space missions, the Concorde, and the unbelievable width of the main hall.

What I do not regret: photographing less, experiencing more.

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‘Patrick’ nears record worst

The possibility of a comeback teases so.

After losing ground every year since 1984, “Patrick” finally leveled off in 2010 in the Social Security boy-baby name rankings: holding at spot 129. But in 2011, the name dropped to 144, its biggest tumble in years.

In 2012, my hopes rose again — an improvement to 141st position. But 2013 brought a dive to 154th. I was guarded when 2014 came in at 153rd. And rightly so. I just checked the numbers for 2015, and Patricks now sat at 164.

This spot is the name’s second worst showing since 1900, the beginning of Social Security’s name data. Patrick finished 164th in 1915 and 166th in 1919. We are alarmingly close to our worst showing in a hundred years.

Meanwhile, Cooper as a first name for boys hit 77 in 2015, near its peak of 75 in 2010. The biggest gaining names for boys in 2016? Riann, Huxley, Wilder, Jazien, Canaan.

 

Favorite opening credits recently

I like opening credits. I like the creative opportunity, like making up words when I don’t remember them (Netflix’s Bloodline, I’m talking to you), and dislike when a show fails to provide them. But my favorite opening of the last couple years is from FX’s Man Seeking Woman. Thank you to friend Andrew for finding the song from which this clip comes, Photay’s Reconstruct.

Man Seeking Woman Main Titles by DK Studios from DIGITAL KITCHEN on Vimeo.

Goodbye to my car

I said goodbye in June to my 2000 Honda Accord, my first car.

I first drove it regularly during an internship in Florida in early 2001. I bought the car from my parents a couple years later, drove it every day during my time commuting out to Tysons Corner and kept it around even when my commute moved to D.C. and became Metro and then walking. The car drove well nearly the entire time. The sound system was great. I loved that spoiler.

At 16 and 110,000 miles, the car still ran smoothly. But noises had grown a little louder, and the expensive timing belt was due for replacement again. Plus, Lori’s car was nine years younger and had a few more airbags. CarMax took good care of me and promised to take good care of the Honda. I missed the car well before I walked away from it. On its last weekend with me, I took it for a wash.

At least once a week this summer, I’ve seen a car parked on the street and thought it was mine. I’ve hoped the car was happy, with whoever its new owner was. More than any other factor, the car was just the right size. The right amount of hood, trunk, views all the way around — I was happy to grow up with that Honda.

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I’ve missed Bad Hemingway

Found a compilation that I’d forgotten I owned and read it this week during a welcome break from magazines in the mail. I love Hemingway parodies. I’ve written a couple, one about Agile and one about cucumbers. I wish the Bad Hemingway contest was still around. The best opening sentence in the book I found, which collected most of the winners and near-winners from the 1980s:

You know how it is when the old drunk finds his place at the foot of the great seated Arsenale lion and the proprietor of the Bar Arsenale puts out the little metal tables with the Campari umbrellas and the young Italian sailors stand at the counter to have their morning cappuccino and to talk about the girls they had had last night, or about their mammas, because they are mostly from the country and not really Venetians, in spite of their immaculate uniforms, white and very beautiful.