Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Welcome to Write On with Dave Price

Hey there.

I'm Dave Price and I'd like to welcome you to my blog page on which I post about what we do, see, and hear in Washington D.C., which is only 3 Metro stops from our Crystal City apartment complex, as well as some entries about other places we visit in our ongoing retirement from the 9-to-5 working world.

This freelance blog writing project is part of my writing/speaking/tour guiding practice I operate DC, which is actually my 5th career, if you define career by the main way you pay your bills. You can visit my formal writing compendium Wordpress page by clicking here.

At the keyboard ...
In high school and during my years at Villanova University, I made money playing keyboards with a few different bands in the South Jersey shore-Philly-Delaware area.

However, in 1973, when I married the former Judy Lynn Snyder and our only son Michael Keith Price was born, it quickly became apparent that making $50 a night playing in a bar and running up a $25 bar tab at the same time wasn't going to support a family.

Fortunately, I found an $80-a-week job as a reporter on my hometown newspaper.

... in the newsroom ...
After a 10-year career in journalism that I loved, I realized that if I wanted to be home to help my son grow through his teenage years, I would need to switch careers. I had already taught news reporting for 5 years in college, an adjunct position which helped me secure an English teaching job at the high school I had attended.

I taught there for 20 years and completed my New Jersey education career by serving as a language arts coach and program designer for the Talent Development program out of Johns Hopkins University for five years.

In 2011, my wife and I retired and moved to our apartment complex. I didn't plan to work again, but friends convinced me to spend 4 years as a national DC-based educational consultant assisting at-risk students and overworked teachers in troubled urban schools.

After spending 14 months in Atlanta, where our son, Michael, our daughter-in-law Shannon, and our our two grandchildren Audrey and Owen, I decided to end my education career and start a new DC opportunity.

... lecturing in DC and getting
older by the day
Now while some freelancers undertake all kinds of writing (and I would too if the conditions and the cash were right), I decided to focus on 4 subjects I know fairly well:
  • the Baby Boomer generation
  • classic rock 
  • issues on aging, especially as they affect men and
  • dissent, protest, and free speech 
Take your time and look around this page. You'll find out a lot more about who I am, what I'm writing about, how I write, and why I'm writing.

I do have one final request. My wife Judy, who edits all my work, contends that I'm self-centered, insensitive, juvenile, careless, and verbose in both my talking and my writing. If you encounter her, even if you agree, please don't tell her that. She doesn't need any more validation for her views.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Osama bin Laden: From 2 Who Interviewed Him

His small tent in the secret, arid Arab wasteland was sparse. True, he wore a military jacket over his robes, had a loaded AK-47 propped at his side, and unleashed a scathing verbal diatribe decrying the infidels of the West, most especially the United States. But he spoke his words of hate in a monotone. Despite the impassioned nature of his rhetoric, he remained calm and collected.  There was much more cleric than killer commandant about him. In short, there was little evidence to believe in the late 1990s that Osama bin Laden and his handful of Al-Qaeda followers would ever be able to pull off a massive attack like 9-11, 2 veteran news correspondents who personally interviewed bin Laden told a standing-room only audience at The Newseum today.

In a wide-ranging, hour-long discussion, CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen and ABC News Correspondent John Miller, who were 2 of the only western correspondents to ever interview bin Laden, revealed details of those interviews and talked about their take on conditions in a post-bin Laden world.

"People who say bin-Laden's death means the end of terrorism are wrong," Miller, who interviewed bin-Laden in 1998 said. "But people who say his death is meaningless are also wrong." 

Both correspondents said that America's focus on Al-Qaeda and recent killing of its spiritual leader have drastically weakened the organization's ability to mount significant attacks in the United States. "So much has changed since 9/11," Bergen said, noting that, for example, where the US then had about dozen agents sorting out terror signals that group numbers more than 2,000 today. "Or take the TSA. It may be a mixed blessing, but with the TSA, those box cutters wouldn't have gotten on board."

Both correspondents pointed out the difficulties in originally securing their interviews with bin Laden. First there was the substantial costs of such an operation.  Then, at the time, America and American news organizations were more concerned with the the O.J. Simpson trial or the President Clinton/ Monica Lewinsky  scandal than they were with an unknown bearded leader from a little-known part of the word.

And then there were the conditions imposed by the ultra-secret, always paranoid bin Laden and his followers.  There were countless questions of intent. And more questions of motive. Locations were set and locations were  moved. Guns were produced. And guns were fired. But Bergen said he believed there was never any real danger and the benefits to be gleaned from his 1997 interview far outweighed any risks."They (bin Laden and Al-Qaeda) wanted to get the story out and I didn't think they would do anything to jeopardize that," Bergen said. Miller concurred, but noted that not everyone was blase about the danger. "After the interview aired, I got a call from my mother. I thought she was going to say what a good job, but she said 'don't you ever go to Afghanistan and do something like that again.' "

Of course, one of the great questions for any leader of hate is how do you justify the taking of innocent lives in your struggle, no matter how right you believe your cause to be.  Miller said he asked bin Laden that question and the Al-Qaeda leader, ever the master of manipulation and rationalization, matter of factly answered: "We learned from you.  Did not the Americans kill women and children at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? We are simply doing what you taught us."

Friday, March 6, 2020

Beatles Scholar Explores Abbey Road

Judy and I attended a Smithsonian Associates presentation on the Beatles' classic album Abbey Road delivered by Beatles expert Kenneth Womack.

Here is the Smithsonian blub about that sold-out talk.

Was it their greatest album? Maybe. Was it their most musically innovative? Definitely.
Released in Sept. 1969, Abbey Road was the last album the Beatles—by then, coming apart amid internal strife and bitterness—recorded together. Its tracks included such classics as “Come Together,” “Something,” and “Here Comes the Sun.” With the band’s peerless producer George Martin at the controls in London’s Abbey Road recording studio, the album introduced innovative recording techniques and technologies, such as the Moog synthesizer, and featured music as compelling today as it was 50 years ago.
Acclaimed Beatles historian Kenneth Womack draws on rare clips and videos to show how Martin and the band broke rules and innovated work-arounds to achieve the album’s unique sounds, especially in the song cycle known as the Abbey Road medley, which brought the album—and a musical era—to “The End.” 
Womack’s book Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles (Cornell University Press) is available for purchase and signing.
More About the Speaker and His Latest Book
  • Kenneth Womack, Ph.D. is the dean of humanities and social sciences at Monmouth University.
  • Book excerpt
  • Kenneth Womack website

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Noted Sports Author Talks Taking The Back Roads to March

I listened to an entertaining and informative John Feinstein talk about his latest book, The Roads to March: The Unsung, Unheralded, and Unknown Heroes of a College Basketball Season at Politics and ProseFeinstein, who has written more than 40 books, continues to write a sports column for The Washington Post.

More About John Feinstein:

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Homeland Star Claire Danes Comes to DC

Judy and I attended a special presentation at The Washington Post featuring a discussion with actress Claire Danes, who for the past 10 years has been playing CIA operative Carrie Mathison on Showtime's Homeland. Ms. Danes was joined by the show's two creators as well as one of the series main directors.

Here is a podcast from that presentation.

Here is a transcript of the entire discussion.

And here is the Homeland website.

The Many Looks of Claire Danes
(photos by Judy Price)

Monday, March 2, 2020

DC Music Scene -- Billy Gibbons, Carmine Appice, and More

Attended a benefit show for the Vinyl Records Preservation Society at Pearl Street Warehouse featuring music by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Carmine Appice of Vanilla Fudge and the Ozzy Osborne and Rod Stewart bands.

The LineUp:

YouTube Videos