I think they set aside some of the pieces of Hindsight is Always 20/20 to survey and/or undertake actual construction. But guys, those are the words of our presidents there in the dirt! "Empire islands German" are words from the State of the Union address given by William McKinley on December 5, 1899. The empire is China (also Germany and Turkey), the islands are various small yet significant rocks in the Pacific like Tutuila, Ofoo, Olosenga, and Manua, and "German" refers to a construct known the German Empire which lasted from 1871 to 1918. A quote which may convey some of the concerns of the moment: "In this age of keen rivalry among nations for mastery in commerce, the doctrine of evolution and the rule of the survival of the fittest must be as inexorable in their operation as they are positive in the results they bring about. The place won in the struggle by an industrial people can only be held by unrelaxed endeavor and constant advance in achievement." (McKinley op. cit.)
Umbrella Shaped Object
Can't explain this entirely--conclusion of wind-blown umbrella caught by semi-abandoned bike undermined by inexplicable bungie cord accent on underside of umbrella, leading to alternative theory of a failed mobile rain shelter. Perhaps it's an Urban Precipitation Protection System, Phoenix-style. Get up. Go ride.