Washington DC: Air And Space Museum – An Airman’s Dream With A Few Flaws


The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Independence Avenue and 6th Street SW
Washington, DC 20560
Phone: (202) 633-1000
Website: nasm.si.edu
The Air and Space Museum is a dream for an Airman like me, but the crowds drove me bonkers! 
The exhibits are sublime, from Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis to the original Wright Flyer, the aviation history in this building is impressive. However, the massive amount of humanity roaming the halls was a nightmare. People roaming around in a trance or engulfed in conversation or their cell phone caused bottleneck after bottleneck. Having only a week in DC with too many things to do and see, we did not have time to lollygag and that was extremely frustrating.
The building is also in desperate need of maintenance. From a leaking roof that stained the walls to carpets with duct tape covering the holes, the building requires some simple maintenance to bring it up to Washington DC and Smithsonian standards.
CombatCritic Gives The Smithsonian’s Air And Space Museum 8 Bombs Out Of 10 With A Two Bomb Deduction For Crowds And Poor Maintenance … More Bombs Are Better!


Eight Bombs Equates To:


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Title:  Washington DC: Air And Space Museum – An Airman’s Dream With A Few Flaws

Key Words: Washington DC, Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian, air, space, national, Washington, DC, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, attraction, museum, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor

Translation for Civilians: WTFO = “What-The-F#@& … Over!”


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Washington DC: The Largest Library Collection In The World … ‘nough Said


Library of Congress

101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20540
Capitol Hill
Phone: (202) 707-5000
Website: loc.gov/about
Prices: Free

A very impressive building with equally as impressive contents. The largest library in the World, they house books, film, music, and other media in three above ground levels as well as another eight below ground. 

With permanent and temporary exhibits, they display such rarities as the Gutenberg Bible, the map carried by Lewis and Clark, Ira Gershwin’s piano, Oscars and Grammys, Thomas Jefferson’s personal library, and millions of other contents. 

Arrange a tour through your U.S. Senator (recommended) or take the public tour offered several times daily. The tour takes about an hour (and it is free), but plan on spending at least 2-3 hours in the library. You will not regret it!
CombatCritic Gives The Library Of Congress 10 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Ten Bombs Equates To:
“Phonetic spelling of the acronym HUA, which stands for ‘Heard Understood Acknowledged.’ Originally used by the British in the late 1800’s in Afghanistan. More recently adopted by the United States Army to indicate an affirmative or a pleased response.” – Urban Dictionary

“The Department of Military Science and Leadership, University of Tennessee claim HOOAH ‘refers to or means anything except no’ … Regardless of its meaning … the term is an expression of high morale, confidence, motivation and spirit.” – WarChronicle.com

“The U.S. Air Force stole ‘HOOAH’ from the Army because we were part of the Army until 1947 and rather than waste a bunch of time coming up with something new and unique, we said ‘to heck with it, let’s go with HOOAH’ … thanks Army … HOOAH! – CombatCritic


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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: The Largest Library Collection In The World … ‘nough Said

Key Words: Library of Congress, LoC, congress, Wqsgington DC, Washington, DC, District of Colombia, diastrict, Columbia, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, attraction, museum, library, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor

Kansas City, MO: "Great War" Museum Not As Great As Expected


National World War I Museum and Memorial

Liberty Memorial
100 W 26th Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: (816) 888-8100
Website: theworldwar.org
Prices: $$$$

Maybe I was expecting more based on the reviews and word-of-mouth regarding the National World War I Museum, but comparatively speaking it is not even close to the top of my list of “must see” museums. Do not get me wrong, the grounds are impressive, the memorial iconic and spectacular, and the view of downtown Kansas City, Missouri unequaled, but the museum itself is overpriced and lacking in many ways.
Beside the numerous cannons and artillery, there are two airplanes, a tank, a couple vehicles and not very many World War I relics. Like the Eisenhower Library in Abilene a couple hours west on I-70, there are plenty of things to read and a couple movies, but authentic, original World War I artifacts and memorabilia are sadly lacking.

One interesting, interactive display is a large, life-size trench running down the right wall as you enter the first hall. You can access holes in the trench wall at various points as you meander through the first five or six exhibits. As you stick your head through the wall to get a glimpse of what might have been happening nearly 100 years ago, the voice of a soldier reading a letter home or making a diary entry automatically comes on, an interesting and surprising addition.

We paid $12 each with our military and teacher discounts, still a bit stiff considering the size of the museum and the number of exhibits. A significant portion of the museum is occupied by a large circular, central room containing what are supposed to be interactive displays on a variety of subjects. If they worked, they would have been quite interesting, even spectacular. Massive computer screens laid out like large tables, you are supposed to be able to use the little red flashlights, attached to the tables by a cord, to point to the horizontal screens and retrieve information on a particular World War I topic. However, the flashlights did nothing, so the screens displayed whatever they were programmed to display and nothing more. The most interesting aspect of these central rooms were the numerous soundproof studios where you can sit and listen to music and voices of famous people of the time among other things.

Another overly large exhibit portrays trench warfare in a 100 foot long trench, below the overhead walkway and viewing area, with soldiers marching and a bi-plane overhead, all in front of a large screen running a narrated video of how the US entered the war (undetermined schedule). The video was interesting, but we happened upon it by chance, having no idea exactly what it was at first or how often the 15-minute show ran. This exhibit, along with the central rooms with interactive displays discussed previously, take up at least half of the museum’s square footage and could have been better utilized in my opinion.

There were several uniforms and guns, flags and banners, even two Congressional Medals of Honor, an early delivery truck, an ambulance, a mule train, a bi-plane and a tank. We had planned on spending an hour-and-a-half, but were done in a little over an hour.

At $14 for a two-day pass, I am not sure what you could possibly do for two days here, the museum is not particularly cheap. Something more in the $7 to $10 range would seem more appropriate. Don’t get me wrong, the “Great War” does not get the attention it deserves and a far as Kansas City is concerned, this museum and memorial is a big, important attraction. But having seen the Smithsonian and National Air Museum (both free by the way), the Vatican Museum and the Forum in Rome, the Louvre, Musée D’Orsay and L’Orangerie in Paris, Del Prado in Madrid, the National Archeological Museum in Athens, and the British Museum, Tate Gallery and Tower of London in London (of course), just to name a few, this museum just does not stack up in terms of exhibits, artifacts and bang-for-the-buck. Did I say the view of downtown Kansas City is phenomenal?

CombatCritic Gives The National World War I Museum and Memorial 7 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:

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Title: Kansas City, MO: “Great War” Museum Not All That Great

Key Words: National World War I Museum, national, Kansas City, Great War, great, war, World War I, museum, memorial, liberty, world, war, I, 1, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor

Translation for Civilians: S&G = “Shits & Grins”

Another FREE Florence (Italy) Attraction: The Elizabeth Barrett Browning Home – Casa Guidi


Casa Guidi
Piazza San Felice 8
50125 Florence, Italy
Near Palazzo Pitti
Prices: FREE
Casa Guidi, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s (EBB) former home and where she died, is in Florence … and, unlike most everything else in the city, it is FREE to visit!
My wife is a huge fan of the Brönte sisters and EBW was a fan of Charlotte’s. I also enjoy her poetry and have a First Edition of one of her works, so I was also interested in visiting her home.
Just down the street from Palazzo Piti on the Altrarno side of the river, Casa Guidi is located on the first floor (second floor to Americans) of a historic palazzo. There is an engraved stone marker above the massive door indicating where she lived and a brass nameplate above the buzzer outside with details about operating hours. There is also a single brass button below the rest that merely says “Elizabeth”.
Living Room
The apartment consists of just three rooms that you can visit, but they are spectacular and contain furniture of hers and from the period as well as photos, paintings, busts, and other memorabilia. Her husband study is small, but has elaborate frescoes on the walls and ceilings. The dining room is large, but not extremely interesting. The living room, off of which are the bedrooms and kitchen (not open to the public, but apparently you can rent them for lodging). is massive and contains a large library of her works, more artwork, and some beautiful period furniture as well as some of her possessions.
Husband’s Study
The visit is self-guided and FREE, but you must visit on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday (April to November) between 3PM and 6PM only. Just ring the buzzer for Casa Guidi, though the giant door and a gate, then go up one flight of stairs to her apartment on the left.

CombatCritic Gives Casa Guidi 8 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!




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Title: Another FREE Florence (Italy) Attraction: The Elizabeth Barrett Browning Home – Casa Guidi

Key Words: FREE, Florence, Italy, Attraction, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth, Barrett, Browning, Home, Casa Guidi, Firenze, review, museum, attraction, Yelp, TripAdvisor, travel, value

Important Changes To Amici Degli Uffizi Membership (Effective June 15, 2015)


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We were in Florence for a month in 2012 and purchased Amici Degli Uffizi memberships which included free entry to most of the major museums, including the Uffizi and Galleria dell’Accademia, the two “must see” museums in town, among many others. Membership was around €55 at the time and it was a great bargain. Not only did you have access to the best museums in Firenze, but you also skipped the long lines at the Uffizi without a reservation.
Unfortunately, the latest rumors are true and the Amici Degli Uffizi membership IS ONLY GOOD FOR ENTRANCE TO THE UFFIZI effective June 15, 2015. You can visit their website for more details:
However, there is the FirenzeCard which gets you into the vast majority of museums (Uffizi, L’Accademia, Palazzo Vecchio, etc) as well as city public transportation (Ataf, Linea, and tram) and Firenze Free Wifi offered by the City of Florence. The card is valid for 72 hours from first use and costs €72. If you plan on visiting many of the participating museums and leaving the historical center by public transport, it could be worth the rather steep price. The Uffizi and L’Accademia are two of the more expensive museums, both charging €8 for a full-price ticket, so you might want to do some calculations to see if the ticket is a good fit for your budget before you buy. You should also know that the vast majority of Florence sightseeing can be done in the historical center and public transportation is not necessary for most people. I have spent quite a bit of time in Florence and have only taken public transportation once, a bus to and from Piazzale Michelangelo which sits atop a hill across the river from the center of town.

Many of the museums in Florence also offer free entry once each month. For example, L’Accademia (€8 at the box office; full price ticket online is €23) has “Sunday at the Museum” where you gain FREE entry to the museum on the first Sunday of each month. The Uffizi Gallery also offersfree entry on the first Sunday of every month as do several others. So if you happen to be in Florence on the first Sunday of the month, you are in luck … Buon Viaggio!

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Title: Important Changes To Amici Degli Uffizi Membership (Effective June 15, 2015)
Key Words: Amici Degli Uffizi, amici, degli, Uffizi, gallery, Uffizi Gallery, membership, member, free, entry, museum, Michelangelo, DaVinci, da, vinci, travel, value, CombatCritic,