You there!

Why are you just sitting around reading a blog? We're at ORANGE ALERT!


Are we ever going to get down to green and blue? Or even up to red for that matter? We only really need two colors on the scale o' terrorism. Yellow, for normal times, and orange, for the times when terrorism indicators are at their highest levels since 9/11. Which has happened like four times already.


I feel we should Rasta-fy AOL by... 10 percent or so.

This AOL memo details the online provider's latest attempt to maintain some shred of relevance. Actual text follows:

We're pleased to announce the initial soft launch of a major new AOL initiative that will soon have teens seeing RED - RED, the new AOL service for teens that is.
Yes, they actually put that as the first sentence of the memo.

This radically new, unique application for teens will allow today's hip-to-click group of Internet users to control and choose the online experience they want, when they want it.
Hip-to-click, eh? That should be the slogan. You guys should hire Huey Lewis to do the song in the commercial... that'll really rope in those 12-17 year olds.

Also, allow them to "control and choose the online experience they want, when they want it?" Do teens have a problem using the Internet, or something? Because when I was a teenager I seem to recall being able to do voluntarily browse the Internet whenever I wanted without AOL's help. Not once did my computer come barging into the living room while I was making out to show me something I totally didn't want to see.

Meanwhile, my birthday is tomorrow, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit already gave me a present: my other favorite corporate behemoth entity, the Recording Industry Association of America, had the smack laideth down upon it.


Winston Churchill and Genghis Khan surrender

From an article in today's Washington Times called "Events in Iraq boost Rumsfeld":

The capture [of Saddam] promises to restore Mr. Rumsfeld's status as the ultimate wartime leader, after months of being pummeled by the Washington press corps.
OK, I guess this post is over, because I can't write anything funnier than that.

Redskins, Wizards, Capitals: You're all an inspiration to me

Redskins (5-9, .357): Quarterback Tim Hasselbeck put up a quarterback rating of zero on Sunday. This matched the number of points the Redskins scored, and also the amount of humility possessed by owner Dan Snyder.

Steve Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy in college as a quarterback; in the NFL, he guided the '76 Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an 0-14 record, still the only team ever to go winless for an entire season. As a head coach at the University of Florida, Spurrier was king of the world, going 122-27-1 and winning one national title, frequently running up the score and enjoying great success. As an NFL head coach... well, these days you look at his face and you wonder who died. Moral: Steve, stick to the NCAA.

Wizards (7-16, .304): After the team's latest loss to the Knicks, head coach Eddie Jordan blamed the officiating. Because, I guess, that's easier than blaiming the players for sucking. "If only we had gotten those calls, we could have been 8-15! 8-15, I tell you!"

The Wizards' number one draft pick from three years ago, Kwame Brown, continues to suck. Every time I see him I wonder if he's somehow mistakenly put on shoes made of molasses. He's slower than John Thompson's thought processes. The 21-year-old Brown lost his starting job again this season, the same year that young draft picks LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have electrified the league.

Meanwhile, free-agent signing Gilbert Arenas was thrown out of a game for arguing a call from the bench. While he was on the injured list and ineligible to play.

Capitals (9-19-1-1 for 20 pts. in 30 games, .333): No-necked whitey owner Ted Leonsis fired head coach Bruce Cassidy about a week after I heard him give the coach a vote of confidence on the radio.

Suddenly, after hearing trade rumors, the overpaid Jaromir Jagr started performing well; sadly for him, he's so overpaid that even the big-budget New York Rangers are unwilling to pick up his contract. As a result of his huge contract, the Capitals were financially unable to sign replacements for defensemen they lost; they've given up more goals than all but one team in the league, and are tied for fewest standings points with that team (Pittsburgh).

All this from a team that reportedly loses $18 million every year.

Average winning percentage of all three teams: .331.

Good seats... are available.

AOL proposes Love.com

AOL is launching a new matchmaking-meets-instant-messaging service, love.com.

The ultimate challenge: finding matches for their employees.

Maybe hold off on that holiday shopping

D.C. schools get into the holiday spirit by planning to lay off a whopping 771-ish employees.

Bomb Threats in NE Disrupt Schools, Traffic

This happened last Friday. I love this story, because not only does it feature some of the under-the-national-radar terrorism we have to face, but also because the D.C. cops once again are made to look 'tarded.

The search for additional devices ended by mid-afternoon, and officials reopened roads and Metrorail lines after concluding that the neighborhoods and tracks were safe. By then, authorities had swarmed upon a home in Northwest Washington and taken a man in for questioning. Hours later, the man was released. No charges were filed.

Police said the man had called 911 from a cell phone about the same time that the threats were called in, also via a cell phone.

Authorities said they identified the questioned man from phone records, began a search for his pickup truck and converged on a house on Kenyon Street NW occupied by his relatives. But they learned that he had called 911 about a traffic accident and had no connection to the case. Ramsey told a reporter last night that equipment was not available yesterday to distinguish among calls made by different cell phones at the same time.
So wrong in so many ways. I guess if you run into trouble in D.C., and you somehow manage to get through to 911 without getting put on hold, and you manage to get the responding officer to pay attention long enough to your petty not-a-threat-to-national-security problem, you could still get hogtied and taken in for questioning later because their sophisticated cell phone number tracking technology, which must be, like, a divining rod or something, erroneously fingered you as someone who called in a bomb threat.

You are beautiful, D.C. metro police department. No matter what they say. Words can't bring you down.


AOL Cuts Jobs in Consolidation Move

Sigh. Remember when laying off people just before Christmas used to be a cliche?


You will be visited by three ghosts!

The first is the Ghost of AOL Past. You will shudder at the ruination of the Internet, the advent of mass pedophilia spam, and of course, frequent layoffs.

Then, the Ghost of AOL Present. Witness the destruction of Netscape, the mass exodus of subscribers to superior high-speed Internet options, and the consummation of the worst merger ever: AOL and Time Warner unite to become AOL-Time Warner, and then just Time Warner again as everyone tries to just forget it ever happened.

Finally, the Ghost of AOL Future... a company so mired in greed that it finally out-stupids itself, falling into the grave of dead dot-coms.

Whew... I think the chained apparition of Steve Case's home page took over for a little while there.

God bless us every one!


Crusade to Redesign D.C. Flag Fizzles

The effort to officially place the words "No Taxation Without Representation - DC" on the D.C. flag appears to have been for naught.

Wow, I wish they had succeeded; that would have looked ridiculous.

And, hello, news flash - nobody else cares. Unless they think that somebody in, say, Nebraska, going to a) ever see the new flag, and then b) call their local congressman because poor little D.C. has no representatives in Congress? Has that worked with the equally boneheaded "Taxation Without Representation" license plates?

Of course not, because nobody cares. D.C. has a well designed flag; scrawling a useless political message on it would have been a new pinnacle in stupidity.

Alexandria Sheriff's Wife Slain At Home

The mysterious death of the Alexandria sheriff's wife has been ruled a homicide.

Worst. Zoo. Ever.

The Post has unleashed one of its always-awesome two-part investigative articles, this time focused on everybody's favorite crime against nature, the National Zoo in D.C.

After reading the article, it would appear that Lucy Spelman, the zoo's director, is about as qualfied for her job as the Fat Boys are to be orderlies. Only without as much comedy, since many of the animals appear to have suffered quite a lot, and died slowly from long-term neglect.

My favorite part, from this timeline about frequent animal deaths, about a pair of giraffes that died from undernourishment:

After the first giraffe died, Spelman initially withheld pathology details from the media, citing the privacy rights of animals.


The Grinch almost wins

Apparently I'm technically not legally allowed to put up a live Christmas tree in my apartment.

Yeah, I'm doing it anyway. Sucks to your fire code!


41 more sued over music downloads

The Washington-based Recording Industry Association of America continues to sue people into oblivion without due process to protect its price-gouging monopoly. You know what to do... boycott 'em.


Time to get fucked up the ass by the federal government, AGAIN

Some fuckwad Oklahoma representative wants to cut federal funding of Metro because they ran a non-profit advertisement calling for the legalization of marijuana.

This week, Istook inserted into a bill language that would cut Metro's funds by $92,500 and prohibit any transit system that receives federal funds from running advertising from a group that wants to decriminalize marijuana.
No... NO... how will Metro pay for the $100,000 SUPER TOILET!?!? HOWWWWW!?!?!???

"Metro is using taxpayer facilities to promote illegal activity," said Micah Swafford, Istook's press secretary.
Um, except it's totally not, you vapid congressional whore.

The ad in question didn't advocate anything illegal; it simply called for the legalization of an illegal drug, which, correct me if I'm wrong, is not an illegal activity, and is covered by that whole "free speech" thing we've got going on in this here country.

Free speech is a great thing, Micah Swafford. It allows you to post a Real Video tour of your living room on the Web, which, let me tell you, had me on the edge of my fucking seat. It allows me to suggest that you take a few minutes to read the Constitution between blowjob sessions with Rep. Istook. (Um, I think I'm probably not going to be invited to Monday at Micah's.)

The moral of the story: stupid, petty federal politics is potentially going to cost us transit money, which is exactly what the city with the third-worst traffic congestion in the country needs not. And it's all because of a blowjob.

I mean marijuana! It's all because of marijuana.

Dulles Metrorail Financing Plan Fails

The Herndon town coucil turned down a new tax district that would have eventually funded a much-need Metrorail extension to Dulles Airport, primarily because the first phase of the project wouldn't reach Herndon, and there was no guarantee the second phase would actually be built.

"We've tried and tried and tried to get the tracks out to Dulles," [former governor A. Linwood] Holton said after last night's vote. "We couldn't. Now the project is dead and it may be 25 years until we see rail to Dulles."
Looks like I'm going to have to keep driving to work. Blah.

Essay Contest Is Less Than a Dream Come True

Sorry to all the chumps who entered this essay contest. The idea was: pay $100, write a 75-word essay, have it judged by lawyers (who are, of course, the world's foremost experts on creative writing), and if you win, you win a house.

Seems that the contest was cancelled due to lack of interest (imagine that, nobody has $100 to blow). But don't worry, you'll still get a refund... a partial refund, that is! Ho-hooo! You've been SPITFIRE GRILLED, LOSERS!!!

Um, yeah.



What will AOL media look like in the year 2010? Link goes to fark.com


Seen yesterday in a parking lot near Tysons Corner:

A sleek SUV with tinted windows pulls and Diplomat license plates up to a parking space. The space is marked as reserved for expectant mothers.

Out walks the sole occupant of the vehicle, an able-bodied 20-something man, talking on his cell phone. He walks into Pier 1.

And... scene.


Best lede ever

Courtesy of who else but Jen Waters, the darling of the Washington Times.

Meghan Shea uses the strokes of a paintbrush to express herself. While some people communicate best through words, she specializes in visual images.
My goodness, imagine that. I'd grown accustomed to my quaint little world, only using words to express myself... when it turns out there are people who use images. Rocked and turned upside down; that's what my world is, right now.


Blah blah blah newscakes

I'll have the usual embezzlement (Washington teachers union) with a side of falsely inflated earnings (Freddie Mac).

Metro is cutting some of its bus routes, which is a great idea in a city that has the third worst traffic congestion in the nation. It's also having reliability problems with its buses, which I guess is what happens when you hire crazy accident-prone drivers and are lax on maintenance. Also, the sleek new rail cars they paid multiple millions of dollars for still haven't all been delivered two years after the deadline. And the ones that have been delivered have door, brake and software problems that keep 30 percent of them constantly out of service. Fantastic.

Meanwhile, a false radar blip forces evacuation of the White House, the second evacuation in less than two weeks.

As the incident unfolded, some Secret Service guards brandishing shotguns were on the sidewalk in front, cautioning people to stay away from the White House. One shouted "Get out of here" to a cluster of people gathered across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.
First, they closed that section of Pennsylvania to car traffic. Now, you can't even stand across the street from the White House without getting shooed away by men with shotguns. Let freedom ring! Wheeee!


Mass. Gay Rights Ruling May Prompt Va. Clampdown

How do you tighten restrictions on something you've already banned? You can't, like, ban it more. Unless perhaps you "double secret" ban it.

Never mind. The important thing here is this passage:
"I don't want to live next door to people who have a same-sex relationship and have children and have my children playing with them," said Del. Emmett C. Burns (D-Baltimore County), who plans to sponsor the bill prohibiting Maryland from recognizing same-sex marriages in other states.
That language should sound familiar to people in this area. Just change it to be about blacks rather than gay couples, and you call up the ghosts of the civil rights era from 35 years ago. Race riots consumed D.C. and destroyed neighborhoods; school desegregation met with great opposition. And it was illogical xenophobic attitudes, like those of Mr. Burns, that fueled the hatred.

By the way, here's Del. Burns' picture:

Click for more info

You've come a long way, baby.


Because all the marriages that Rev. Moon orchestrates are good and right, I suppose?

Not to be outdone by the Redskins

The Capitals are 5-12-1, good enough for the worst record in the league, and still paying Jaromir Jagr way too much money.

Two good things about the Capitals' performance: half-price hockey tickets, and Caps owner and AOL alumnus Ted Leonsis comes off looking like an idiot. Hooray.


Enough already

I like going to football games, but the Redskins sure makes it difficult to enjoy being there.

Here's a typical game day for me: First, jump on a train and ride out to Landover, which takes about 45 minutes. Then, onto a shuttle bus to get to the stadium, since in their infinite wisdom the team built the new product-placed stadium nowhere near a Metro station. The train ride costs something like $2.20, but the 15-minute shuttle bus inexplicably costs $5. (I guess that's the team's way of gouging people who aren't paying fair market value for a parking pass.)

I like to get to my seat early to watch the teams warm up and listen to some inspirational hip-hops to get me fired up for the game ("I ain't never scared! East side!"... it also gets me fired up for gun battles outside the club).

Eventually, the teams leave the field and are replaced by some sidekick choad from the outrageous WJFK morning zoo crew whatever; his station carries the games on the radio, which apparently also qualifies him to yell at me to get fired up for the Redskins. Typical exchange:


REDSKINS CROWD: [mild response]


REDSKINS CROWD: [mild response]
Then, the band gets introduced and plays some tunes. I really like the fact that the team has a band, which is a nice amenity that usually only college teams get. And they're actually on key this year, and have "September" by Earth Wind and Fire on their playlist, which automatically makes them awesome in my eyes. Even if the clothes they wear make them look like the Indian from the Village People after he's gotten a job at McDonald's.

Then, the cheerleader whores come out to do their routine. Supposedly, according to the PA announcer, these cheerleaders are the toast of the league, performing such tasks as flying to Afghanistan to perform for Our Troops. And yet, they only learn one single fucking routine to perform the entire year.

Last year, the entire routine was set to "Song of the Lonely" by Cher, which of course made me want to claw my face off like that guy in Poltergeist. This year, the team dances to a medley of classic rock songs, including the always appropriate "Cherry Pie," Warrant's loving tribute to oral sex.

["Taking Care of Business" by Bachman Turner Overdrive finshes playing]

WJFC S.C.: OK! Are you ready to help the Redskins "TCB"?!

CROWD: [no response, except for my hysterical laughter]
Then comes the requisite over-the-top starting lineup introductions. First, some fireworks shoot off in one end zone. Then, about 10 guys carrying a Redskins flag run onto the field. In one of the most pointless exercises ever, they proceed to run around in a circle, causing the flag to spin around as if it were projected from one of those rotatey-spotlight things at the Capitals game. Except that this is a flag. With guys holding it and running around in a circle. It's hilarious to behold.

Meanwhile, "Carmina Burana" is playing (of course), and the players run out and are introduced by the PA announcer to much fanfare.

So, despite the face that everybody in the stadium is ostensibly a season ticket holder to every home game, the Redskins don't change anything about their presentation for the entire year. It's always the same music, the same schtick, the same cheerleader routine, etc. This is what paying the most expensive average ticket price in the NFL gets you.

Then, for the next three hours, the Redskins proceed to SUCK HARD. (They've lost five of their last six, and the playoffs are pretty much a dead issue at this point.)
Then, I make the hour-and-a-half commute back home.

And it all only cost me $1,200 for the season.

What is WRONG with me?

Anyway, head coach Steve Spurrier might already be on the way out, despite only being in the second year of a five-year contract, partially because of disagreements with owner Dan Snyder. And Spurrier can't seem to figure out that running the ball wins in the NFL. When the Redskins have run well with Trung Canidate, they've won this year. But the Head Ball Coach complained that he was being "NFL-ized" and wanted to pitch and catch more than he had been. So after a 3-1 start, the team is now 4-6. Brilliant.

Oh, and during the first game this year, there was a violent fistfight in my section between a Jets fan and a Redskins fan at the end of the game. Stupid fucking Northerners.


Republicans Revive D.C. Voucher Plan

It's still not clear to me how "up to $7,500" in voucher money is going to help poor families pay private school tuitions that generally range from $15,000 to $20,000.

When Anal Retentive Neighborhood Associations Attack

Thou shalt not violate the sanctity of the suburbs.

A couple who draped a plastic American flag over their mailbox in support of family members in Iraq has been ordered to take it down by their neighborhood association, which claims it violates local covenants.


Miles to Go To Reach Trauma Help

The Anacostia High School football player who was shot and killed two weeks ago might have had a better chance at survival had there been a trauma center at D.C. General Hospital, as there used to be. Instead, it took 15 minutes for the ambulance to get through rush hour traffic to Howard University hospital in Northwest.

The eastern half of Washington, where gunshots and stab wounds are most common, has not had an emergency room equipped to handle the most serious traumas since D.C. General closed. The wealthier and less violent western half has three adult trauma centers, two of them within a mile of one another in the city's Northwest quadrant.
Health care is clearly only for rich people.

Minnesota Moose

Chief Moose may be taking his unique brand of stupidity to Minneapolis.

Poor, poor Minneapolis.

Reader mail

Sigh. And I was in such a good mood.

Hey looser [sic], you don't even live in DC and you have the nerve to blog about it? I have lived in DC for many years and now that I am living in Old Town Alexandria I can't wait to go back. Why don't you move to Sterling with the rest of the city-phobes. You have no place criticizing the city when your scared white-ass won't even go there. I have experienced no crime when in lived DC but I have been a victim of several crime incidents since moving to Old Town.

You are a pussy and for some pathetic reason you rail against something you know nothing about. Get a fucking life and leave the complaining to the people who have actually lived there. But I bet you are one of the losers who always tells people "I am from DC." "I live in the District." Of course you don't, never have nor ever will. You are a scared little pussy who just wants to complain. For the rest of the normal set, who have or do live in DC, I say move away and blog about your pathetic life in suburbia.

Tony Rathbone (toonsmith@comcast.net)
It doesn't make any sense to me that, just because I live outside D.C.'s borders, I'm not allowed to complain about it, and supposedly know nothing about it. I live TWO FUCKING MILES AWAY.

This territorial bullshit, "I live in Virginia and not in D.C.," is actually one of the major faults of the area; all the money stays in the suburbs, and the rivalry between D.C.-Virginia-Maryland keeps the governments from working on the same page (e.g. the sniper investigation). Instead of having civic identity through togetherness, we have civic separation.

I live in Arlington, Va. I don't want to live in D.C., nor will I ever live there (I prefer having voting representation and civil services that actually work). The blog is about hating all of the Washington area, which I do. If you don't like it, there's a little "X" button in the top corner of your browser window you can hit that will solve all your problems.

In conclusion, suck my balls.


in·con·se·quen·tial (adj.): lacking importance

Is there anything funnier than D.C.'s pathetic and doomed attempts to call attention to the fact that it has no voting representation in Congress?

No. No there's not.

The latest pratfall involves the new and improved Jan. 13 presidential primary. Moving the date up that early would make D.C.'s the first in the nation, which is somehow (don't ask me how) supposed to call attention to the fact that it has nary a senator nor representative in Congress.

Ah, but the plan has a fatal flaw: five of the nine Democratic candidates have withdrawn from the primary, citing party rules against early primaries.

D.C. Democratic Party Chairman A. Scott Bolden called the candidates' move an "offensive gesture."

"They continue to disappoint us," Bolden said. "These candidates are affirmatively sending a message of indifference to the lack of voting rights in the District of Columbia. . . . Either you care or you don't."
I think that would be "don't".

News flash: the rest of the country doesn't care about D.C.'s lack of representation. At all. And the one time this year someone suggested a decent compromise to get D.C. a representative in the House, it was refused.

But really, D.C., keep trying to draw attention to the lack of representation. It's pretty amusing. Meanwhile, I'm going to keep living in an actual state that has actual representation in Congress. (Trust me, it doesn't do a lot of good anyway).

This is supposed to be the safe part of D.C.

A man suspected by D.C. police in 29 robberies, and who has prior convictions, was inexplicably given no jail time. Residents in Northwest D.C. not happy.

Colbert King writes of carjackings, robberies and gang murders in Northwest.


Hooray for democracy

Only 30 percent of Virginia's registered voters showed up to vote last Tuesday.

In 2001, Republicans in control of redistricting drew districts that were so safe for Republicans specifically and the incumbent party in general that few challengers chose to run this year.
No reason to vote if the races are fixed.


I Fought the Law

And the law won, in this man's attempt to refute traffic tickets in D.C. and Montgomery County, Md.


The Amber Alert is not a toy!

This woman falsely claimed that her car had been stolen with her baby in it.

This is a shameful abuse of the Amber Alert system, but also an ingenious way to get the D.C. cops to actually care about your stolen car.


Jen Waters of the Washington Times Appreciation Society...

...now in session.

Heather Barthel of Baltimore has worn Red Door perfume by Elizabeth Arden for 14 years. Although there are many other fragrances she could use, she says it fits her body chemistry best.

Her loyalty to the brand started when her mother took her to the Red Door Salon and Spa in Northwest as a high school graduation gift.

"Once you find your signature scent, you stick with it," she says while shopping in Nordstrom at the Mall in Columbia, Md. "I have several bottles of perfume in my bathroom that I will probably never wear."
UUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHH. Nothing quite like getting involved in the plight of some rich lady shopping at Nordstrom.

Apparently this article is about creating different scents for perfume, so of course Jen talks to some people who do that kind of thing in New Jersey, which is primarly where they do that kind of thing.

Mr. Smith, who holds a doctorate in organic chemistry,


Further, Mr. Warren, who holds a doctorate in physical chemistry,
Thank you, Jen, for allowing these men to, uh, "degree drop," I guess.

So anyway, this article is boring and stupid, etc. etc. If you really wanted to get educated on any of the "Life"-related things Jen writes about (luxury doghouses, the mating habits of bees, installing stucco siding in your fourth bathroom), you could pretty much just do a Google search or crack open an encyclopedia.

Cue Meeno Peluce! "If you'd like to learn more about perfume making, Abraham Lincoln, or panda fisting, take a voyage down to your local library. It's all in books."

Reopening Of Ballou Marred by Shooting

Ballou High School in Southeast D.C. has been closed for a few weeks due to, of all things, mercury contamination. Now, it's finally open again, and the first day back there's a shooting near the school at the end of the day.

Robert Lewis, 17, said everything went well until dismissal. "That's the only scary thing about coming back to school: shootouts," he said.


Vowing not to let the incident detract from the rest of the day, he said: "It was a good day. School was over. These things happen. . . . We're not going to let it stop us from educating our children."
And yet, I can't imagine it's at all possible to concentrate on getting an education when there are gun battles going on.

Unless you're at, like, Gun Battle School. But that only exists in my mind. And maybe in some Japanese anime shows.


Vote, dammit

Don't forget to vote Tuesday if you live in Virginia. Here's the Post's voters guide if you need a cheat sheet.

My only endorsement: vote against Sarah Summerville for the Arlington County board. She spearheaded the "No Arlington [Baseball] Stadium" effort, and clearly anyone who's against bringing baseball here is allied with Satan.

D.C. Leads Big Cities In Rate of Homicides

Like this is news. Just reaffirming what we already knew: D.C. is again the Murder Capital.

Some lowlights:

The District ranked third for its rate of violent crime -- which includes homicides, assaults, rapes and robberies -- behind Detroit and Baltimore.
Damn you Detroit and Baltimore!

Joanne Savage, an American University criminologist who has tracked D.C. crime trends dating to 1960, said that "in the long term, we're doing quite well." But that's when comparing the city to itself, she said. This kind of success would look like failure almost anywhere else, she added.

"Some cities have never seen rates like what our low point is," Savage said.


Ramsey noted the sharp divide between rich and poor in the District. "It just seems like people are on one side of the scale or another, with nothing in between," he said.
Hey, stop stealing my material!

Many residents sense that conditions are getting worse. "I have what I consider to be a crisis of crime today," said Sam Bost, a Deanwood resident and president of the Far Northeast/Southeast Council.

His Northeast neighborhood has been plagued by shootings and robberies. Drug dealers and their customers block streets, he said, and teenagers go joy riding in all-terrain vehicles. "I certainly don't want to leave home," he said.


In interviews, the mayor and other civic boosters agreed that this kind of crime and the struggling public school system remain the two major impediments to Williams's goal of attracting 100,000 new residents.

"I get e-mail from people who've moved into the city. . . . In some cases, they're sorry they have moved" because of crime, Williams said in a recent interview.


One illustration of what the city is up against comes from police reports detailing Washington's many armed robberies.

Those reports show that in many D.C. neighborhoods, robbers do not feel the need to tell their victims, "This is a robbery."

Instead, they merely show that they have a weapon, and let the victim know in street lingo that they are about to be held up.

One common phrase was used during a 1 a.m. holdup last month near the Howard University campus. The robber simply told his victim, "You know what time it is."
So it's come to this. "Hi, my name is Bob and I'll be your mugger today."

Un-smarty growth; just blows me away

"D.C. Sprawl Crosses Into A New State: Pennsylvania." Another example of smart growth not really working:

There is still plenty of open and developable land in Frederick County, which begins about five miles south of Liberty. But just as Montgomery County did in the 1960s and 1970s, the Frederick government in recent years has clamped down on construction, sending developers elsewhere to fill the region's voracious appetite for housing.

The same is happening in Virginia, where booming Loudoun and Prince William counties are tightening development restrictions. Developers in search of more lenient zoning and greater profit margins are leapfrogging farther out where laws are more permissive and local governments less experienced.

For local governments in the throes of rapid growth, "[housing] density is a four-letter word," said Stephen S. Fuller, a public policy professor at George Mason University. "The consequence is they're pushing the problem to their neighbor, and developers are having to go further and further away because they can't meet the demand for housing closer in."
And there's the problem with so-called smart growth: if you just limit the growth in housing, but not the growth in population, the demand will outstrip supply, and you're going to have sprawl and property value problems.

Meanwhile, the counties that have limited development in the past still have to deal with traffic from the people they've displaced:

A Washington Post reporter leaving Rockville at 4:55 p.m. on a recent weekday arrived in Liberty [80 miles away] almost exactly two hours later, at 6:54 p.m.

Traffic on I-270 came to a complete stop nine times during the ride. The first full stop in traffic came a mere 14 minutes into the commute, where the highway narrows from 12 lanes to eight.

As the sun began to set, and I-270 narrowed to four lanes near the Montgomery-Frederick County line, the rearview mirror was filled with a solid column of white headlights. Ahead lay a continuous strand of red brake lights.

Et voila... Washington. Since concentrated development near D.C. doesn't seem to be an option, the only way to fix sprawl is to reduce the number of jobs. That doesn't seem likely either.


No problem

Once I figured out that Key Bridge was not a good way to do it, getting to Adams Morgan last night was no problem. I even found a parking space on the street there, which probably used up all of my good-parking-karma for the rest of the century.

And I have to say, Halloween is pretty cool down in D.C. Lots of creatively costumed folks walking around; clearly people who have to dress conservatively and work nonstop all week need some sexy masquerade debauchery as a release. Too bad it's only one day a year.


Hooray for guns

An Anacostia High School junior, apparently an innocent bystander, was fatally shot in front of the school.

Meanwhile, three miles away at the Capitol, an office building was locked down and the House of Representatives forced into recess after a toy gun meant to be part of a Halloween costume made it through security.

Calvert Plans to Limit New Homes

Previously rural counties like Calvert in Maryland and Loudon in Virginia have a habit of enacting strict slow-growth policies, limiting the number of residential developments that can be built.

Sadly, Washington has a habit of attracting people to come here to work, and is one of the few places in the country where unemployment is relatively low. As more people come to live here... they have no place to live, because all these suburban counties won't let them build homes. So property values go up because the supply of homes is low. And thus, people move even further and further out in an attempt to find affordable housing, thus clogging the roads of the slow-growth counties anyway.

The only way to limit growth is to stop being so attractive to potential workers. Fewer new jobs would mean fewer new residents and slower growth. But since everybody wants more new jobs in order to spur on the economy, population growth is going to continue whether these outlying counties want it or not.

D.C. Metro is Ghetto Rich

That is to say, spending money on luxuries it can't afford.

Metro has spent nearly $1 million on a writing coach for its lawyers, a class to teach integrity and trust to managers and other unusual projects at a time when the system is contemplating another fare increase and wants more local tax dollars.
That integrity and trust class sounds like a blast:

One participant, who spoke on condition of anonymity, called the training a waste of time. "Everybody in our office said, 'Why are we here?' " the employee said. "There's no substance. What were they trying to get us to do -- trust other people or have other people trust us? Not only does it cost the authority money, it costs us time away from work."


It's Halloween. The scariest part will be trying to navigate through Adams Morgan at 11 p.m. tonight trying to get to a party. [shiver]


Democrats Shake Their Booty

I don't even... I can't... I'm speechless. I don't know.

The funny thing is, I'll bet the people who went clubbing at this fundraiser think they're the shit because they got to hang out with quasi-celebrities like Biz Markie and the creepy lobbyist from "K Street" on HBO.

Two years, man

Two years ago today, I started working at my current job.

And it's all right. Probably about the best I could hope for given the current economic climate. We moved here in the midst of very bad economic times, August 2001, so that my wife could attend graduate school.

I started sending out resumes to Washington-area companies in March. I got absolutely no response. Some of my resumes were eventually returned in the mail because the company or headhunter I'd sent them to had gone out of business. When it finally came time to move, I still had no job, but figured it might be a little easier if I had a Washington address. No such luck; every week I would frantically comb the Post classifieds and Internet job websites for a software engineering position I was qualified for, but when I would find one and send a resume out, I got no response.

This continued for weeks. I would send out 20 resumes and cover letters in a week, and get nothing in response. Once, I did get a response to an ad that promised opportunities in database programming; it turned out be just a shill for a class at Rockwell "University" and not an actual job.

9/11 didn't make the job situation better, and just made me more stressed. Then, a virus ate most of the data on my hard drive, including the contacts I had saved. I think that during the couple days it took me to reconfigure my computer, I finally reached my breaking point at about 4 a.m. I was absolutely destitute; there was no way we'd be able to pay the rent on our apartment for more than four months without going broke, especially after being ripped off by the movers. I cried and cursed myself for moving to Washington; away from a steady job, away from friends, and into serious financial difficulties.

Finally, in mid-October, I found a listing on a website that sounded right up my alley, for a software job requiring a master's degree but no experience. I sent out a resume at 2 a.m. and was surprised to actually get an actual phone call, from an actual human being who had read my resume, the next morning. I interviewed, they liked me (of course), and I took the job.

And that's how I landed a job in Washington; after my first and only job interview.

Two years later, I'm still here. It's actually a good place to work and I shouldn't complain much; the hours are very flexible, good benefits, a good amount of vacation time, etc.

But man, it can really get boring. I'm in a windowless office, and basically contracting to do government work; I didn't realize that it was possible to create that many acronyms. There are literally over a hundred acronyms I have to remember in order to do this job; some of them spell funny words; some of them don't spell actually words but you pronounce them like they do. Many of them are just random conflagrations of letters that make little sense.

I guess the disappointing part of working here is that I always envisioned myself doing something a little more creative. I've got the computer skillz, but I also always enjoyed writing and designing things; I've got to get my left brain working as well as my right brain to keep myself happy. I could totally do something related to film/video that involves computers, like computer animation, or creating video games. I think I would love that.

But clearly, Washington is not the place to go if you want to do something creative. With all the monolithic government jobs and bulildings, this city is like a giant iron that flattens out the wrinkles in your brain and keeps you from thinking. I just hope that, when this is all over and I finally get out of town, I'll still be able to pursue my dream of creating things that other people can enjoy; I hope that I'll still have some wrinkles left up there.


Welcome to the D.C., bitch

Yeah, guess I'll have to rescind my compliments of this blog. Basically he takes me to task for whining about my lack of going into D.C. much lately.

Washington has one of the fastest, cleanest and newest subway systems in the world, designed to move people in, out and around the city.
Oh, you mean this Metro? The one that arrests people for eating french fries?

The last time I went to Lauriol Plaza, it was a Saturday, and I had to drive because I was working a football game in D.C. earlier in the afternoon.

But let's see what would happen if I did take Metro on a Saturday afternoon, which I have often done. It's about a 10-minute walk from my apartment to the closest station. According to the rail timetable, trains run every 12 minutes on Saturday from my station, so figure an average of 6 minutes waiting. Fifteen minutes to get to Metro Center, where I wait for a train to Dupont Circle, average wait three minutes, to get to Dupont, average travel time three minutes. Then, figure about 15 minutes total getting-up-the-escaltor-and-walking-to-the-restaurant time. Thaaaaat's... about 52 minutes travel time. To go 3.7 fucking miles. That is fast!!!...? No. It's three times longer than it would take for me to get there by car, even if there was traffic.

Also, is traffic really better in Virginia? There words: Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Two more words: Mixing Bowl.
Since when have I defended Virginia traffic? Make no mistake about it: I FUCKING HATE VIRGINIA TRAFFIC AS MUCH AS I FUCKING HATE D.C. TRAFFIC AS MUCH AS I FUCKING HATE MARYLAND TRAFFIC. Have I ever once defended Virginia as a decent place to live? Jesus fucking Christ on a crutch, last Friday night it took me 2 hours 15 minutes to drive 40 miles down I-95 into Stafford County. REST ASSURED I DID NOT FUCKING ENJOY IT.

Don't let the title of this blog fool you; I hate the whole fucking shebang, and not just D.C. proper.

As for the crime rate – well, I don’t know where his party is, but I think it’s safe to assume it’s not in gang territory.
No, it's not. But, on the off chance that I do run into trouble and, heaven forbid, need the police, I would clearly be fucked. The ineptitude of D.C. public servants has been well-documented on this selfsame blog.

If he truly wants to live in a "vibrant, metropolitan city" with no crime and no traffic, he's dreaming.
I can live with crime and traffic to an extent, if the city is indeed vibrant and metropolitan, and I have in the past. I'm more than willing to balance the bad with the good. But here, there is no good.

And that's why I have... this blog. So that I may whine about the seemingly infinite supply of things I hate. I know it's whiny and self-absorbed. But, by definition, that can't really be helped, can it?

Oh, and one more thing...

Still, James has every right to avoid Washington while complaining about it from afar.
This always drives me nuts. I tell D.C. or Maryland people I live in Arlington, and I might as well have told them I live in Kentucky. Complaining about it from "afar"? I'm two fucking miles away. By all rights, a young person like me should be able to enjoy and take part in what a downtown area like D.C. has to offer.

Instead, apparently I'm a fucking prude because I no longer have the wherewithal to get out of the suburbs and deal with you yuppie motherfuckers. Well, fine. If anyone needs me, I'll be sitting in my shitty suburban apartment, counting down the days until I can leave this vibrant, metropolitan hellhole.

Tired of being ripped off

Blah. I rented a video from my neighborhood Hollywood Video (on Wilson Blvd. in Arlington), watched it, and returned it in the drop box in the morning. The next day I get a cryptic call from an unnamed employee saying the box was missing its DVD.

I'm not the kind of person to forget something like that, especially considering I used to work in a video store myself. I looked around the house and car in case I'd misplaced the disc, but to no avail.

Naturally, nobody I call can help me, and they all refer me to the store manager, who's only around on weekdays. I was dreading the confrontation, but it went about as well as I could have hoped; he only charged me $10 for the missing disc and called it square.

But still, blah. I know I returned the disc in the drop box about an hour before they opened, which probably means that one of their employees either misplaced the disc or outright stole it, but I couldn't convince the store manager that I hadn't just misplaced it somewhere like a moron.

Oh, and you'll be glad to know that my situation fulfilled Murphy's Law of Video Rentals: that the film you lose and wind up having to pay for is as embarrassing to your psyche as possible.

Now that I've closed my account there to prevent further rip-offs (and I'm still getting letters from the corporate office telling me to return the video), I'm not sure what to do about renting movies. Maybe Netflix, although I hear it has its issues as well. I've been to Video Vault in Alexandria, which reminds me somewhat of my beloved Movies Worth Seeing in Atlanta, but the distance and lack of accessibility (little parking and short hours), combined with short rental period and annual membership fee (!) keep me from frequenting that store, quirky as it may be.

I suppose it was bound to happen

The Washington Times ran an editorial today entitled "With us, or with the terrorists".

Perhaps they'll want to look into purchasing one of those Ann Coulter action figures.

D.C. Schools Overpaid Contractor, Audit Finds

Wow, money is being misspent in the D.C. public school system? That never happens.

Dirty money

The state of Ohio sued America Online Inc. yesterday, alleging that the Internet service deceived more than 250 customers by continuing to bill them after they called to cancel their monthly subscriptions.
If you can't get people to subscribe to your service, just cheat the money out of them, I guess.

Delays, 'Missteps' Kept Man In D.C. Jail

A schizophrenic man charged with minor parole violations has spent nearly two years at the D.C. jail because of repeated delays in providing him with a proper mental evaluation, a series of mistakes that a federal judge yesterday called "egregious."
Pray that you never have to be at the mercy of D.C. law enforcement, or the Public Defender Service, which "lost track of their client." Fucking morons, every one.

This is similar to a situation where a deaf schizophrenic man was wrongfully imprisoned from October 1999 through August 2001. Clearly the D.C. prisons didn't learn their lesson.


Twenty-four Officers Have Faced Charges in 2003

It's one thing to be incompetent, which the D.C. police clearly are. It turns out that many of them are criminals, too. Fantastic.

Somebody's majoring in robbery

"Nerves are getting frayed at the University of Maryland's College Park campus, which is now the scene of seven armed robberies this semester. Students and teachers have been the victims of the attacks, including the latest early Friday morning."

Oh, and also, Georgia Tech 7, Maryland 3. Nyahhh.

It's time to play "What's More Sad?"

Is it the fact that the Redskins want to sign Danny Wuerffel? Or that the currently unemployed quarterback doesn't want to play for them?


Unlovable losers

The Redskins are officially a disgrace to football.

Two consultants were brought in to "help" Spurrier, presumably against his will, and presumably by owner Daniel Snyder. Starting linebacker and NFLPA self-exile LaVar Arrington (a.k.a. "LB #56" to those of us who play Madden) criticized his teammates for not taking last week's third straight loss seriously enough. The situation is so bad at quarterback that the team is thinking of re-signing Danny Wuerffel... again. Woo-hoo.

Meanwhile, according to this story in the New York Times entitled "Redskins Slipping Away From Spurrier," players are being cut by the front office without the coaches knowing about it:

The Redskins' special teams coach, Mike Stock, was analyzing game video with several special teams players, telling defensive lineman Ladairis Jackson what he did right on a play and what he did wrong.

Finally, one of the Redskins spoke up and said of Jackson: "Coach, he's not here. He's been cut."

The players realized instantly that Stock did not know it. They believed Coach Steve Spurrier, who was reportedly also in the meeting, did not know it, either.
Hilarious. Wonder if I can sell the rest of my tickets for this year?

In hockey news, whiny Jaromir Jagr is making roughly a bazillion dollars, but he the Capitals are in the midst of their traditional October slumber, going 1-4-1 so far.

Also, Abe Pollin explains that he had to fire Michael Jordan from the Wizards, because the rest of the players on the roster didn't get along with him. Call me crazy, but if your marginally talented players aren't getting along with the best basketball player in history, maybe you should find new players rather than firing the one good one.

And that's sports in Washington. Hmmm... on second thought, maybe don't bring a baseball team here. We don't need more sports-related disgrace heaped on top of what we already have.

E-mail link fixed

Hey loyal readers,

My old e-mail account expired and I forgot to fix the link on this page. It's fixed now. My apologies to anyone who's been trying to send me mail.


Monday, bloody Monday

"Three people were killed in separate incidents in Washington between Monday night and yesterday morning, D.C. police said."

• About 11:25 p.m. Monday, Joseph D. Patterson, 24, was found shot in the head, sitting in the driver's seat of a Honda at 61st and Banks streets NE. Patterson, of the 3500 block of Stanton Road SE, died at the scene.

• About 11:40 p.m. Monday, Mario A. Johnson, 26, was shot in the 4600 block of Hunt Place NE, police said. Johnson, whose address was not known, was pronounced dead shortly afterward.

• At 3:55 a.m. yesterday, police found Wilton Anderson Jr., 49, at Georgia Avenue and Park Road NW with stab wounds. Anderson, of Silver Spring, was pronounced dead about 30 minutes later.

Newsie news

AOL = fucked. First banished from the name of parent company Time Warner, now AOL management has been subpoenaed in the ongoing SEC probe into some apparently shady accounting practices. Oh, and AOL lost 2 million subscribers last year. They must not have sent out enough CD-ROMs in the mail.

Some private-school teenagers appear to enjoy beating on public-school teenagers until they die, as a hearing in juvenile court revealed yesterday.

And a D.C. woman missing for a year was found... dead in her own basement. Under a pile of junk, which supposedly concealed the dead body. Ewwwww.


Officer Too Friendly

"According to investigators, [D.C. police officer] Officer Parnigoni — who is single — organized several overnight visits to his home that would include groups of boys he coached in a D.C. youth league. During the gatherings, Officer Parnigoni would encourage the boys to take part in games of challenge, with the loser having to disrobe and run throughout the house."


Happy 200th murder this year, D.C.! Just in time for Halloween!


Oh by the way

So much for us getting baseball. The deadline for announcing a destination for the Expos came and went yet again. Thanks for dicking us around, Bud Selig and friends.

I wish I lived somewhere else

I'm 27 years old. Way too young to be confined to life in the suburbs. I should be enjoying my youth in a vibrant, metropolitan city.

Unluckily for me, I live in Washington, and lately I seem to be confined to the drudgery that is Northern Virginia. I was in D.C. on Saturday, and I realized it was only the second time I'd ventured into the District since the summer started (without just driving through). And both times were to visit this one restaurant, which is admittedly good.

But my horizons aren't exactly broad; every time I think about going to D.C., I think about all the crap I'll have to deal with. The traffic is ubiquitously bad; on Saturday, even just driving across town in the morning was fraught with peril, including surprise construction, closed-off streets and bridges, insane drivers cutting me off, etc.

Then, there's finding a parking space. My aforementioned usual restaurant has a complimentary valet lot, which saves me from having to drive around all of Northwest looking for a space. But even the simple act of attending a party in D.C., such as the Halloween party I've been invited to, fills me with a sense of dread, as I ponder driving around for half an hour frantically trying to find a place to park the car, and then walking through poorly lit neighborhoods in a city with the highest murder rate per capita.

And, if something should happen to me or my car (and I don't love challenging the relatively high odds of these crimes occuring in D.C.), I know that if I need the police, they will be characteristally unresponsive and/or retarded.

Anyway, these factors, combined with my laziness, conspire to keep me stuck in the suburbs of Northern Virginia. Blaaaaannnnnnnnd. At what point did I skip all of my late 20s and early 30s and become a suburbs-only dweller? This is bad. I'm only accelerating the onset of my mid-life crisis. Nobody wants that.


A Lorton man is suing Pat Sajak, host of TV's Wheel of Fortune, claiming that, after winning on the game show, the "bear hug" Sajak gave him after winning has caused his chronic back pain.

The Washington Post was the only newspaper in the nation to pull controversial comic strip "The Boondocks" last week, as the characters were poking fun at White House national security adviser Condoleezza Rice's dating life. Pander much?


Utilities Held Down Spending On Upkeep

Why do we insist on deregulating industries that are vital to our way of life, such as electrical power? And then why are we shocked when the companies that take over start to cheap out on infrastructure spending?

Then, when a storm hits and predictably knocks untrimmed trees into power lines, and customers of Dominion Virginia Power and Pepco are without power for several days at a time, the companies respond with "This was, like, the worst storm in our 102-year history!" when it clearly wasn't that bad.


Nothing can bring down your day quite like the headline "Lesbian Gang-Raped in District."

The woman tells Channel 7 that six men dragged her into an alley near Logan Circle on Sept. 28 and took turns raping her. She says the men approached her as she was walking home alone from a night club, and she told them she wasn't interested in men. She says the men made anti-lesbian remarks as they attacked her.
Uggghhh. Most hateful city ever.

More soldiers for my I Hate D.C. Army

As the author of new blog Bitch Set Me Up says, "You know what the Internet could use? Another blog."

But when you link to images such as this, a proposed District of Columbia commemorative quarter, you're more than welcome to stay:



For the first time this year, the homicide rate has actually fallen behind last year's pace... 196 so far, vs. 197 at this point last year.

I can make a difference! Um, yeah.

No minorities or poor people allowed

As they tend to sully our good name. Fortunately we can prevent them from getting medical care at George W Bush University ... I mean George Washington University Hospital and Prince George's County.

In an incident Saturday night, one emergency medical technician (EMT) said he notified Dr. Shesser by radio that his ambulance was transporting a critically ill patient to the hospital. The doctor asked where the crew was coming from and was told it was Southeast. Dr. Shesser then said he had just closed the hospital's emergency room. The ambulance continued to the hospital.

The patient — an elderly woman in diabetic shock — died after waiting 30 minutes to be admitted to the hospital, according to city and EMS officials.
Take that, diabetic black lady! Shame on you for going into diabetic shock while simeultaneously being poor!

Meanwhile, in Arlington, the home office of why.i.hate.dc., trouble's a-brewin' in the always-exciting white-knuckle race for... county commissioner of the revenue.

Republican candidate Tim Russo has generated controversy -- and unusual interest in the race -- by contending that his Democratic opponent, Ingrid Morroy, is "attacking the English language" with her proposal to print government tax forms in Spanish. In debates and campaign literature, he has urged voters to thwart her "dangerous plan."
Yeah, see, the thing about Arlington? Lots of people here who speak only Spanish. There's a 20 percent Hispanic population. But good luck with that whole no-Spanish policy platform, buddy.

Fortunately, Jen Waters is still hangin' tough, telling me how I can pretty up my home with stencils.

Stenciling is a way to add a little spice to a home. Pre-made patterns of everything from fruit to animals to flowers can be bought.
There's nothing quite like the power of passive voice. And Jen HAS THE POWER!


Shootout on Busy D.C. Street Kills Man

More gang-related violence, and we've also had an increase in the number of innocent bystanders killed. This time it happened in the ironically named Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Northwest D.C.


Maryland Governor's Wife Makes 'Inadvertent' Comment About Shooting Britney Spears

The wife of Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, Kendel Ehrlich, said she would shoot pop singer Britney Spears if she had the chance.

While speaking at a domestic violence conference.


Come on, Kendel. Why can't you just challenge her to a dance-off like everyone else?

Speaking of violence in Maryland, check out this site, which is a sort of Baltimore version of why.i.hate.dc, only with an infinitely higher percentage of animated .gifs, which are clearly awesome.

The tragedy of white trash-on-mascot violence

Where else but Maryland.


it's cool to get shot down by realtors... in lower case

in honor of city living, dc style, this entire post will be in lower case! and feature random exclamation points.

i'll bet you can't wait for the city living dc style! expo coming up in just a couple weeks. i can't help but notice that the friday, october 24 event is called "city living, dc style! celebration"! everyone will be all, "hey, i can't afford any of these places! hoo-fucking-ray!"

i don't know if i'll be able to make this one! it looks like a cash grab by d.c. anyway. check out the exhibitors page:

you need to be there to:

  • arouse interest in your product [ewww!]
  • establish contact with the market
  • generate awareness of your product or service
  • build preference and further your organization’s brand
  • make specific offers and generate leads
  • close the sale
  • keep them customers for life
  • discover what your industry partners and competitors are offering
  • ALWAYS BE CLOSING! [just kidding]

    exhibit rates…

  • 20’x20’ booth: $3,000
  • 10’x10’ booth: $2,000
  • tabletop (6’x30”): $1,500
  • yeah, that's a lotta cash. supposedly d.c.'s intention is to get more young people to move into the city, but it's pretty clearly also a way for them to get some cash out of the realtors who are making a fortune off of the washington area's ridiculously sky-high property values!

    you kids have fun though.

    D.C. Cabs Still Bypass Minorities, Study Finds

    Which is a shame, considering that most D.C. residents are, you know, minorities. (The cab drivers are too, for that matter.)


    Does anyone in a position of power in this town not embezzle funds? Former Washington Teachers Union president Barbara A. Bullock pleaded guilty to helping herself to some of her constituents' cash.

    The cash went for luxury items including $57,000 for sterling silver tableware, $50,000 for fur coats, $20,000 for electronics, and $100,000 on season tickets for the Washington Redskins and Washington Wizards.
    Dammit, that explains why I can't afford better tickets. Note to self: steal more money.

    Silly Pierre L'Enfant

    It's not enough he has to design exploding manholes into the city. Apparently he also included leaky gas mains that explode in a fiery maelstrom.

    Hooray for guns

    One murder via daylight shooting in Northwest. Another murder of a teenage girl in Southeast.


    The Ultimate Fluff Piece

    You know, the Post occasionally gets criticized for pandering too much to its strong Virginia subscriber base. When they run stories like this, I can see why.

    This is a story about a lost parrot and its owner, who intends to sue the D.C. Animal Shelter because he thinks they found his bird and allowed someone else to adopt it.

    That's basically it right there; I just gave you pretty much the whole story in one sentence. The actual story started on page A1 yesterday, jumped to an inside page, and then jumped to the following page. It's almost 1,500 words long, and has a double byline (i.e. it took two reporters to write this).

    I kept waiting for the big twist to come in the story, explaining why it was so huge and on the front page. Like, the parrot knows how to cure cancer, or was implanted with Hitler's brain, or something. Now that would be a news story. But nothing like that came up.

    The story begins on the evening of April 12 in the Alexandria high-rise apartment that DeGroff, 40, shares with his roommate, William Milan, 44. Until that night DeGroff and Milan also shared it with a parrot named Tallulah, aka Loulou.
    OK, first of all, I don't think I'm making too much of a logical leap in concluding that two men in their 40s sharing an apartment and distraught over their lost parrot "Loulou" are gay.

    But suing over the lost parrot, and making this big a production out of it? Is there a Kinsey scale rating for that? I think that's gotta push the owner's rating up to about a 15 or 16.

    A dinner guest who wasn't wearing her glasses accidentally walked into the screen door leading to the apartment's balcony. She screamed, startling Loulou, who flew through the door, over the balcony and down to a clump of trees 14 stories below. By the time Milan had raced outside to coax her back, she was gone.
    OK, anybody who's first reaction to this situation is anything but rolling on the ground with laughter is a little too uptight. Someone in your apartment who wasn't wearing her glasses walked into a screen door and reacted by screaming. I think I would be crying with laughter for the next 15 minutes. Oh, the parrot's gone? I didn't notice because I was too busy laughing my ass off at Mrs. Clouseau here.

    DeGroff and Milan had raised Loulou from a chick, hand-feeding her with syringes-full of parrot chow. She had become, they said, a third member of the family, attuned to the rhythms of the household.
    *Cough* Not touching that one.

    He and DeGroff feel that Loulou imprinted on them and, wherever she is, is pining for them terribly.

    "We are her flock," Milan said.

    Ha. Anyway, the woman who may have adopted the selfsame parrot is from Pennsylvania. And now she has to deal with crazy he-bitch stalker man.

    DeGroff said Weaver never answered the phone when he called her. And so on a rainy day in early June he drove the three hours to her home in a rural area not far from Shippensburg State University.

    There was no answer when he knocked on her front door, but, he said, "I saw a silhouette of a bird in the back." He walked around to get a closer look. Though the room was dark and the window glass distorted his view, DeGroff felt a connection with the bird.
    OK, he doesn't even know if it's the same bird. Why is this in the paper, again?

    DeGroff has been assisted in his crusade by J.D. Taylor, a former teacher and the author of an upcoming book on Vietnam-era service dogs called "Beyond the Call: A War Dog's Final Duty." He has been a "humane" investigator for 20 years and learned of the Loulou case from a friend who gets her hair cut by Milan.

    Taylor sent Loulou-related documents to D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and U.S. Reps. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) and James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), in an unsuccessful attempt to interest them in DeGroff's plight. He also phoned Weaver so many times that, he said, a local police officer called to warn him against contacting her again.
    Yeah. What a shock that Mayor Tony and Rep. Davis weren't interested in hearing about your stupid fucking parrot, who may have been adopted out by the animal shelter after you lost the damn thing. And really, leave the poor woman alone!

    So this story is alternately hilarious and depressing... but it's also pathetic, since there's no actual evidence of wrongdoing, except for the carelessness of the original owners, who are making everyone else's life a living hell rather than owning up to their own stupidity.

    But really, Washington Post people... why does this "lost parrot" bullshit warrant 1,500 words, while the average D.C. homicide merits about 40 words of copy? I know you guys don't want to be like TV news and overplay violence, but come on. This story shouldn't be in the paper anywhere, let alone on the front fucking page.


    Goldwater will leave sports commission

    He earned $275,000 a year, and succeeded in bringing a baseball team to D.C.

    Oh wait, except he totally didn't.

    Eat a french fry on Metro, get arrested

    U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed claims by Tracy Hedgepeth that Metro Transit Police Officer Jason Fazenbaker illegally searched her daughter's backpack and treated her unfairly when he arrested her Oct. 23, 2000, after watching her enter the Tenleytown-AU Station and pop a single french fry into her mouth.
    Add that to the big list of Metro horror stories.

    Panel Studying Deaths at Zoo Won't Lay Blame

    The chairman of a National Academy of Sciences panel looking into animal deaths and care at the National Zoo said yesterday that despite expectations of some of the facility's critics, his committee will not "be pointing fingers" at top managers.
    Yeah, that'll be real useful. No better way to fix a problem than to not hold anyone responsible. Oh, and a cheetah died at the zoo yesterday, although apparently from old age.

    Redskins Can Keep Trademark, Judge Rules

    Sometimes, a story just makes me throw up my hands and say: "I don't fucking understand."

    In her ruling yesterday, Kollar-Kotelly said the trademark board had one legal question to consider: could the word "redskin," used with the popular football franchise since 1933, disparage a "substantial composite" of Native Americans at the time the first Redskins trademark was registered in 1967?
    1. Can anybody use for the word "redskin" in a sentence, in a way that isn't racially dispariging? (And that doesn't involve potatoes, etc.) I can't.

    2. Is the litmus test really whether the term was offensive in 1967? Here's a verse from the original "Hail to the Redskins" fight song circa 1967:

    Scalp 'em, swamp 'em
    We will take 'em big score
    Read 'em, weep 'em, touchdown
    We want heap more
    Fight on, Fight on
    'Til you have won
    Sons of Wash-ing-ton.
    Yeah. Clearly 1967 was a different time, if people were OK with singing that after touchdowns. I think maybe the Redskins original owner may have passed on using a racially diverse focus group to determine whether those lyrics might be offensive to someone.

    [Redskins founder] George Preston Marshall, who named the team in 1933, had a despicable record on race matters. Washington, remember, was the last NFL franchise to integrate its roster, and Marshall agreed to do so, in 1962, after the U.S. Department of the Interior threatened to prevent him from using D.C. Stadium for its home games.
    You might think Daniel Snyder would be more sensitive to racial issues. His Jewish ancestors had to endure some form of persecution over the years, if memory serves correctly. But no, he's been fighting this hard. Whatever; I shouldn't expect great things from a man who commutes across town via helicopter.


    Washington Region's Traffic 3rd Worst and Getting Slower

    <sarcasm>What a gigantic surprise.</sarcasm>


    Check it out

    A four-year-old shot two of his older siblings with a semi-automatic shotgun someone left lying around.

    People from all over the country come to D.C. to become licensed doctors of naturopathy, who claim to cure diseases and ailments using "herbs, homeopathic remedies, vitamins, hydrotherapy, massage, nutritional counseling and any number of therapies practitioners consider 'natural,' such as the use of magnets."

    The Redskins are finding creative new ways to make money on game days, including barring pedestrians from using public sidewalks to walk to the stadium, presumably to protect their parking racket.


    Worst Three's Company episode ever

    The tobacco farmer who paralyzed downtown Washington for 47 hours last winter from atop his tractor seat in a pond on the Mall -- and whose comments led authorities to fear he had a bomb -- took the stand in his own criminal trial this morning to explain it was all just a big misunderstanding.
    Why do the crazy people always have to fuck up our city? Couldn't you go tie up traffic someplace small, where it doesn't matter as much? I suggest Cut Bank, Montana.

    Top PR Firm Advises Zoo, Its Director After Deaths

    The National Zoo, facing outside scrutiny after a succession of animal deaths, has enlisted one of the country's top public relations firms to work on bolstering its image.
    I don't envy that PR firm. What do you do to play up a zoo that lets its animals die on a regular basis? That's a tough one to draft a slogan for.

    How about "The National Zoo: Survival of the Fittest!"

    Hmm. Maybe it would be better to launch a smear campaign against reporters who have uncovered the zoo's problems:
    In an e-mail sent earlier this year, Mason asked her staff to learn more about the Post reporters who have been writing about the zoo: Karlyn Barker, D'Vera Cohn and James Grimaldi.

    Among the information she solicited were "any details on who they are personally (have families, kids, on any boards, etc)."
    Wow... when the National Zoo is looking to put pressure on you and your family, you know you've reached the apex of your journalism career. Quit now, people. It doesn't get any better than that.

    People actually read this newspaper and take it seriously...

    ...including my landlord. The Washington Times web site's top story today:


    Jen Waters exhibits large quantities of excellence

    With the increasing availability of technology, anyone can make a film. Learning to make it with excellence, however, takes training and diligence.
    As does learning to write "with excellence," Jen. As does.

    In addition to being well-rounded, the best filmmakers exhibit large quantities of perseverance.
    What is that measured in, anyway?

    Heyyyyy youuuuuu guyyyyyyys.....

    Ahh, I'm back from my vacation in beautiful, non-hurricane-having Las Vegas.

    For the record, my section of Arlington was relatively unscathed. My apartment's power was out from 11:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., during which I was generally asleep.

    Other people, it turns out, not so lucky, and some have been without power the entire time I was away, with Pepco receiving more criticism for its poor response times (after a big storm a few weeks ago prompted complaints about customer service).

    Of all the movies set in the future, I have to say that I'm disappointed that the one that's been second-most accurate is Robocop, in which a privatized police force is paralyzed by corruption and corporate in-fighting.

    (By the way, the most accurate would be The Running Man, which is about a reality game show where fugitives are stalked and killed on live television. Also features a steel-cage death match between Gov. Jesse Ventura and potential Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. That's just eerie.)

    But my point is, why privatize a utility that's of such vital importance to our economy and way of life? It's hard to hold a private electric company responsible for its failings when there are no other companies to choose from.

    Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D), said he was finally "ready to lower the hammer" after what he described as Pepco's non-response to a downed line in Silver Spring that spit sparks for hours. Despite one resident's repeated calls, Duncan said no Pepco crew came out. When county officials later pressed the matter with the company, it said it had no record of the resident's calls. "That's when I hit the roof," Duncan said.
    Yeah, Doug Duncan bringin' the pain!

    Honestly, does anyone really think that Washington would be anything but utter chaos if we did get hit with some kind of nuclear/terrorist attack? The infrastructre falls completely to fucking pieces after a glancing blow from a tropical storm. There would be some serious Lord of the Flies shit going on if something really serious hit town. Don't be here when that happens.

    (Not that I have anything planned, Mr. Ashcroft.)


    Positive expectation

    Assuming this hurricane passes all the way over us by tomorrow morning, as expected, I'll be winging out to Las Vegas on Saturday morning from National Airport (thus living up to my promise to never again fly out of BWI).

    Some of my regular readers might be surprised that I love Las Vegas so much, just because I'm always complaining about the lack of ethics in Washington. Obviously there's a constant stream of greasy politicians here taking money from PACs and donors, and whoever has the most money (to give to politicians) wins. We also have a seemingly endless supply of local politicians and public figures breaking the law, cheating on accounting figures, etc., all while doing a piss-poor job at serving the public interest, and living in palatial estates, while severe poverty and violent crime devours the District.

    But these qualities can also be found in Vegas. Vegas has a long, rich history of politicans' palms being greased, mafia ties to the old casinos, giant corporations opening huge Strip casinos (making gambling fun for the whole family!), and a sharp constrast between the haves and have-nots, thanks in part to the addictive power of casino gambling.

    Las Vegas and Washington both exhibit some the worst "me-first" aspects of humanity. But I love Las Vegas because it wears its personality on its sleeve.

    Everybody knows that Vegas has a history of letting awful, evil people have the run of the house because of money. And Vegas is proud of this history; Vegas has been built into an adult fantasy-land, but with tacit acknowledgement that there's no greater sin city on the planet. (As its ad campaign says, "What happens here stays here.")

    Washington, on the other hand, is under the impression that it's the epicenter of democracy and decency, a city where everyone has a chance to make a difference; "the most powerful city in the world," with monuments to government and heroism peppering the area. In truth, it's just like Vegas: if you have no money, you have no influence. In both cities' eyes, money is the one and only indicator of personal worth; but where Washington is delusional and/or deceptive about its true nature, Las Vegas is honest and places its evils on the table for all to see.

    And, in the spirit of Vegas, I bring you the missing connection between the two cities: positive expectation.

    Positive expectation refers to a situation in which you've made a bet, and your expected rate of return is greater than the money you've bet. If you're playing poker and have four of a kind, you generally have a positive expectation since that's a tough hand to beat. Casinos have a positive expectation when anyone plays their games, since the payout on a winning bet never exceeds the probably of winning the bet. Anyone with a positive expectation on a bet, making the same bet over a long period of time, will make money; anyone betting with a negative expectation will lose money over time.

    And in Washington, D.C., you have a positive expectation when you commit murder. That is, assuming the benefits of commiting the murder outweigh the risk of being caught and punished. As we already know, the homicide case closure (i.e. solved) rate is hovering around 50 percent. Now you can add to that this recent news:

    Homicide prosecutors in the District have failed to win convictions against 11 of the 15 people who stood trial for murder this summer, even in cases in which they said they had eyewitnesses.
    The story says that prosecutors are usually more successful than that, but chronically shoddy detective work and a dearth of credible eyewitnesses have sunk prosecutors' cases in such a way that juries are reluctant to convict.

    If the police closure rate is 50 percent, and the conviction rate drops to 25 percent, as it has the summer, your overall chance of being convicted after a homicide would be 8-to-1. With those kinds of odds, someone in D.C. who has something to gain through murder might be convinced that homicide would be worth it, since the odds of being caught and convicted are so low. And, presumably, the more careful you are in carrying out your homicide, the better your chances of eluding capture.

    Who would want to live in a city where murder has an expectation of being profitable? And yet, that's D.C. Like Vegas, it's also running on positive expectation.

    It's official: AOL Time-Warner

    AOL is so over.

    Time Warner partisans have called for a corporate name change for more than 18 months, since America Online's business and accounting troubles dragged down the price of the parent company's stock and depressed the value of their stock-based compensation and retirement accounts. Numerous Time Warner officials, who resented AOL from the start, have made their views about a name change known, both at an open meeting convened by Parsons and in private sessions.
    What's funny is this was once seen as AOL gobbling up Time-Warner, when the merger was announced. Now AOL is being shunned like a deformed freak-baby.

    And I love it.


    D.C. once again murder capital, mayor brags

    Thanks to the Onion for making my day.

    "I knew we'd come back," Williams said. "These other cities are pretenders. Detroit doesn't have what it takes to keep up with the real champ. They talk a good game, but that's all it is: talk. We don't mess around here. We're for real."


    Pieces of hate

    Low-Income Renters At High Risk of Lead:

    [A study's] findings suggest that for many Long Branch residents, low rent comes at a high cost: More than half of the 268 tenants surveyed said they were not notified of potential lead-paint hazards by their landlords, possibly in violation of federal and state laws. About 48 percent reported rodent infestations in their apartments. Forty percent cited electrical problems, and almost 20 percent were without heat at least once during the winter.
    The serial arsonist continues to arsonize all over town.

    Alexandria Student Dies After Attack In Old Town. It's tragic and all, but I can't help but notice that the Post dedicates 827 words and two writers to the story of this (presumably white) Virginia kid's death, while the last 25 or so homicides in D.C., generally murders of blacks and Hispanics, have averaged between zero and 25 words of copy per incident. Draw your own conclusions.

    IMF Arrests Improper, Police Found

    A lot of people come to Washington, D.C. for protest rallies and the like.

    Bad idea. D.C. cops no likee First Amendment.

    An internal police investigation into the roundup of protesters and bystanders at a downtown Washington park last September found that all 400 people were wrongfully arrested.


    "There are some things at Pershing Park that we could have done better," he said. "Any person who wasn't involved in any infraction of the law, it's unfortunate if any of these people were caught up in this."
    "Any" person? More like, "every" person. Have fun defending some more lawsuits at taxpayer expense.


    Bite-sized hate

    "A federal judge called upon District Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey yesterday to publicly admit that police wrongfully arrested as many as 400 people during demonstrations at a downtown park last year."

    "District government leaders have begun to reactivate the city's credit card purchase program this week, expressing confidence that new oversight rules and employee retraining will prevent the kind of abuse and mismanagement that shut down the program for five weeks." Well, that should give a boost to the local retail economy if nothing else does. Time to hit Best Buy!

    Boys will be boys

    The Washington Times is running a column today titled "Kobe's mistake: Being a guy."

    It's about Kobe Bryant, the L.A. Lakers star who has been accused of sexual assault.

    You couldn't make this stuff up.


    This Moose *does* have something up his sleeve

    Dear God, how I hate Chief Charles H. Montgomery Moose.

    Er, I mean... How I hate Charles A. Moose, former police chief in Montgomery County, whose 15 minutes of fame were assured when he became a TV talking head during the Beltway serial sniper mess almost a year ago.

    And what should public servants do when they become famous for their work? Why, profit from it of course! Moose's book, entitled "Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper," comes out Monday.

    Moose left his job as chief of police when an ethics commission insisted he shouldn't be profiting from the case while on the job. He, of course, chose profit over service. But there are still problems with publishing this book... such as the fact that a jury pool for the trial hasn't even been selected yet.

    Prosecutors are troubled that Moose's book could do more harm than good. They say that Moose promised to let them vet his book, so that it would in no way compromise their efforts. They haven't seen a copy.

    Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr., who is overseeing the prosecution of Malvo, says, "When all the furor about the book took place, I recall the chief saying he would run it by the prosecutors, and I was glad he said that."

    Horan says no one in his office has received the book.


    When Moose was called for comment, he hung up, saying he was "too busy" to talk. His agent, David Vigliano, would not comment for this report, either.
    "Yes, I'm too busy whoring myself out to the highest bidder. Please call back after my Dateline NBC appearence on Sunday."

    People magazine reports that Moose is pursuing a movie deal and spending some of his time on Oahu, where he and his wife, Sandy, own a home. He reportedly received a $170,000 advance for his book.
    Holy fucking shit. Do you think he feels guilty? Sitting there on the beach, sipping on a mai tai, waiting for the movie producers to call... after selling out the rights to a serial killing spree in which his performance as a law enforcement officer was questionable at best?

    Last October:

  • The snipers kill some people in Monty County. Then they kill some people in other places around Washington.
  • Several branches of law enforcement are working on the case: county police in Virginia and in Maryalnd, D.C. Metro Police, and the FBI. Unfortunately, it turns out they work together very poorly, failing to share information or coordinate their respective investigations.
  • The snipers continue to terrorize the region. The longer it drags on, the more face time Moose gets on TV, and the more famous he becomes. When the snipers shoot a minor, Moose breaks down in tears on camera, which presumably helps his Q rating but doesn't exactly put fear into the hearts of the snipers.
  • Moose tells everyone that they're looking for a white box truck or van. There are no license plates or descriptions of the sniper(s). That narrowed it down to "just" several thousand vehicles... and was wrong anyway. In fact, Montgomery County and D.C. police each pulled over the snipers' actual car during the investigation, but figured they had the wrong vehicle since it didn't match the description.
  • As it drags on even further, Moose gets more desperate to catch the snipers, and begins kowtowing to their demands, sending them cryptic verbal messages during his TV face time, and at one point explaining to them that they were unable to donate money to the old "snipers' protection fund" via credit card.
  • In the end, the identities and whereabouts of the snipers fall into Moose's ample lap.

    Explain to me again... in what way is this man a hero? As far as I can tell, he's a bumbling idiot who happened to get a lot of face time on Fox News. For this he gets a fan club and a book deal?

    In March, after Moose had announced that he had signed with Vigliano to write a book, the Montgomery County ethics commission met and decided he shouldn't profit from his public service. Moose chose to write it anyway and resigned from the force in June. He told the commission: "I care a lot more about this case than anybody in this room. So to have people say to me that I'm going to jeopardize these people going to prison or accepting the death penalty so I can write a book is like about the meanest thing anybody can say to me."
    Oh, I DON'T THINK SO, fat boy. Here's the meanest thing anyone will say to you:

    Take your fat fucking ass back to Oahu and stay there. Have another roasted pig. Really, it's on me. Anything to keep your bloated, retarted self as far away from a police force as is fucking humanly possible. It's a good thing they're not making a TV show out of you moving to Hawaii, Chief Moose. First of all, I think I would call it "Fucktard, P.I." Each episode, you're trying to solve the same crime all season. Then, in the season finale, someone else (perhaps Higgins) solves it for you! Yay!

    How's that for mean?
  • Hello my brutha

    My brother, whom you'll recall is funnier than me, has his own new take on blogs... the graphical blog.

    Comic genius, as usual.

    Ex-D.C. Official Gets 3 Years

    "A federal judge yesterday sentenced a former executive assistant in the office of D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams to a three-year prison term for taking kickbacks to help his former girlfriend divert and steal $20,000 in city grants that were supposed to help impoverished District residents."

    Wow, it's yet another D.C. official engaged in wrongdoing. That's only the 73rd time that's happened.


    Blow out your candles, 9-11

    Hooray. Let's hear it for 9-11-2003. Another year of people using 9-11-2001 as a crutch, or an excuse, or a reason to stress.

    Seriously, can we fucking get over this already?

    Yeah, I know it was terrible. I remember what happened quite vividly. But we bill ourselves as a country with tough resolve that doesn't let anything stand in the way of our freedom. And yet, we're still feeling sorry for ourselves, afraid to question the government, and afraid to fly. "Oh, no! You can't bring your backpack into MCI Center! Al Queda might want to bomb the Washington Capitals game!" Please. As if anyone enough about the Caps to want to bomb them.

    Let's make this next year one in which we stop acting like a bunch of fucking chickens with our heads cut off. Let's live our lives like we used to. Let's not make the '00s a decade in which we spent the entire fucking time recovering from one terrible day.