New Website Maps The DC Area Homes Of Stars And Politicos


Bob Woodward Home on BigwigDigs.com


What do Bill Clinton, Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock have in common? In fact, all three have lived in the Washington, DC, area, according to Bigwig Digs, a new website that maps the former homes of celebrities.

OK, so the term “celebrity” is used loosely here. While Hollywood stars like Bullock, Stallone, Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn have called Washington and its suburbs home, most of the stars on Bigwig Digs’ maps are government-related, from former presidents to political strategists and insiders such as Karl Rove, Rahm Emanuel and J. Edgar Hoover. But there are also musicians (Duke Ellington, Dave Grohl), journalists (Bob Woodward, David Brinkley), sports stars (Mike Tyson, Alex Ovechkin), and more.Bigwig Digs, founded by real estate news website UrbanTurf, launched on October 1 with about 80 bigwig listings, a number that they hope to grow with help from the public.

As a 20-year resident of DC, I’ll add a couple homes to the list right now: during the early Clinton years, then White House Communications Director George Stephanopoulos lived in a flat above Kramerbooks and Afterwords. Also, during the George W. Bush years, Donald Rumsfeld’s house across from the French Ambassador’s residence was a point of interest during walking tours of the Kalorama neighborhood, mostly because of the 24/7 (not so) secret security detail outside.

In addition to adding more celebrity addresses, Bigwig Digs could enhance its user interface by adding a full metropolitan DC map and neighborhood maps so users can see celebrity homes in context. But all in all, it’s a fun site to browse.

National Slavery Museum goes bankrupt without ever opening

National Slavery MuseumThe National Slavery Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia, has filed for bankruptcy.

This will make little difference to potential visitors, however, since the museum doesn’t actually exist.

Former Virginia governor Douglas Wilder, shown here in this U.S. Government photo, founded a nonprofit organization in 2001 to create the museum. It was supposed to open in 2004 but never did. A small memorial sculpture garden was opened in 2007.

Since 2008, the organization has owed taxes on the property, which have now risen to $215,000. The city has stepped in and is now trying to sell the land. The museum’s filing for bankruptcy is aimed at stopping this from happening. Its bankruptcy paperwork says the organization has more than $3 million in debts.

The museum is also embroiled in a legal battle with Therbia and Marva Parker, who donated almost 100 historic artifacts with the understanding that they’d be put on display. Since it’s obvious that’s not going to happen, they want their artifacts back.

Ronald Reagan retrospective at Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery

Ronald ReaganRonald Reagan is the subject of a retrospective at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. The multimedia exhibition is called One Life: Ronald Reagan and marks the centenary of his birth.

Most of the material covers his time as president, including the attempted assassination in 1981, his handling of the waning years of the Cold War, and bombing Libya. Yes, Gaddafi has been causing trouble for that long. Visitors will see a variety of photographs and artifacts, including a portion of the Berlin Wall, a portrait by Andy Warhol, and video clips of the 40th president’s speeches.

Space is reserved for lesser-seen images of Reagan from his early years as a sports announcer, actor, and president of the Screen Actors Guild. Yes, Reagan was a union leader! The image above is from his 1938 film Cowboy from Brooklyn. This musical comedy, one of his many popular films, even has Ronny Rayguns singing.

Love him or hate him, Ronald Reagan had a profound effect on the nation’s politics and culture. This show will teach you more about the man everyone has an opinion on.

One Life: Ronald Reagan runs from July 1 to May 28, 2012.

[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Darwin safety becomes a political issue

No, this is not a rallying cry for fundamentalists or a push for evolutionary biology: I’m talking about Darwin, Australia.

After three tourists from Korea were assaulted and robbed, the Northeast Territory Opposition Leader, Terry Mills, called Darwin unsafe for travel. The visitors were relieved of their cigarettes, cell phone and a pair of sunglasses while walking to a bus stop in Parap. Three boys and a girl approached. The girl asked for cigarettes, and the boys attacked the target.

There have been other attacks in the area, as well, including one on a 75-year-old man who was beaten for pocket change en route to a bus stop in Palmerston. The week before that, 20 youths surrounded and allegedly bashed a man near a bus station.

Mills’ message has more to do with perception, it seems, than genuine travel advisory. Tourists, he worries, will get the impression that Darwin isn’t safe.

Yet, another reason to hit South Dakota: George McGovern

With the presidential elections heating up, it’s difficult to gain the perspective of time. Depending on how old you are, there is a fuzzy recollection of some elections, and no memory of others. I do remember the name George McGovern. Both my parents liked him. Regardless of political parties, he seemed like an upstanding fellow and his running certainly must have put South Dakota on the map.

He was born in Avon, South Dakota in 1922 and kept his roots there. Last year The McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service opened in Mitchell, South Dakota. It includes a The Legacy Museum that highlights main points in McGovern’s life. When you think about someone who could remember the Depression, served as a in WWII and ran for president during the Vietnam War and also served in the U.N.– plus a whole lot of other things, that’s some career. The center also has the McGovern Library that is connected to Dakota Wesleyan University, McGovern’s alma matter and the site of The McGovern Center.

Part of the purpose of the center is to educate others to become stellar leaders. That’s not a bad idea. We kind of need those. By the way, McGovern is 85.