Hatred news round-up

Police stupidity, government bickering, and best of all, elementary school embezzlement:

[Burroughs Elementary Principal Nae M. Davis] said that "everything that was purchased . . . is in the school being used by or for the children." [...]

The $1,877 worth of merchandise improperly bought with a school system credit card included a Victorian floor lamp, three beaded velvet Christmas tree skirts, gift bags, a leather wallet and a cordless phone.



Apparently some woman named "Gabriella Boston" is replacing Jen Waters as the Washington Times' resident reporter-of-worthless-bullshit. You have to love any story that leads with:

"Capitol Hill resident Danielle Wiblemo loves her hall skylight."

Indeed. Indeed she does. Stop the fucking presses.
"You don't fuck with another man's automobile."

An excellent little blurb from Safe Streets DC on "car jockeys." I've noticed these guys working the streets, trying to extort money out of people trying to park their cars on public streets, and I didn't even know what they were called. Having to deal with these crooks is one of the reasons I hate driving into D.C.. If you don't pay up, you risk becoming a target of theft or vandalism; and, as we know, if that happens in D.C., good luck trying to get the cops to show up, let alone investigate.

I can't say it any better than this:

Six months ago, a group of us met for 3 hours with Asst. Chief Jordan of the MPD...

For three hours we discussed a detailed list of community concerns including the car jockey problem on 18th street in Adams Morgan where men stand in open parking spaces and intimidate drivers into giving them money as they get out of their newly-parked cars (the implied threat to the car after the own leaves is fairly clear)...

It's now been 6 months, and there are more car jockeys than ever in Adams Morgan. I even called 311 yesterday to report one guy - gave his description and everything - and the operator told me she was sending a car immediately. Two hours later we drove through the same block and the same man was still there extorting money.

If Chief Ramsey can't handle a simple car jockey in Adams Morgan, how is going to ever make a dent in our murder rate, or homeland security?


Ft. Detrick Unearths Hazardous Surprises

I really don't want to know how much hazardous crap is buried in and around Washington.
EBay Ordered to Pay $35M in Patent Case

Software patents = pointless.

This lawsuit = ridiculous.


D.C. Lottery betting on keno

D.C. is adding a keno games to its lottery system. See my earlier diatribe about lottery games in general; keno is almost as bad with regards to the house's edge over the player.

Keno is easy to play, but impossible to win. You pick a bunch of numbers between 1 and 80, the house draws 20 numbers in that range, and you win money based on how many of your picks are drawn. Simple enough; it's not unlike most other lottery games. But take a look at the odds: in a 10-spot game, the odds are picking all 10 numbers correctly are 1 in 8,911,711. If you play a $1 DC Keno ticket and manage to beat those odds, your return on the $1 is... a measly $100,000. And, if you were dumb enough to cover all 8,911,711 combinations at $1 a pop, you would win back $5,617,409. While that's better than my earlier example with the multi-state lottery (I computed a house edge of 73 percent in the Mega Millions game--you would collect $36.7 million in winnings if you bought all 135.1 million combinations of tickets for $135.1 million), it's still a house edge of 37 percent (which varies little, no matter how many spots you play); still much, much worse than you would find in almost any bet of any game in any casino in the world.

The money they collect from these games goes into the D.C. General Fund (and not solely to education--wow, what a non-surprise). However, there's pretty good evidence out there that the people who play state-run lotteries the most are those who can afford it the least. Jacking the house edge up to 37 percent and higher, making it much harder to win money back, only exacerbates the problem, in a city that has some of the most extreme poverty you'll find in the U.S.

Now, I'm just here to hate Washington; I'm not generally in the business of proposing solutions to the things I have problems with. But I think this begs the question: why not just open casinos in D.C.?

OK, casinos may very well may be banned by the Home Rule Charter, which I'm too lazy to wade through. And yeah, having casinos in Our Nation's Capital might seem like a black eye on the country, but, let's face it, the District is already a black eye.

Seriously: if you're going to have gambling, why not go all out and do it (more) fairly to boot? Games like blackjack, craps, and video poker can have a house edge of as little as 2 percent if you use the proper basic strategy. In other words: it's actually possible for the player to win if he gets a lucky streak, but the house still has enough of an edge to make money in the long run. Plus, for a city that's constantly trying to draw people in (both tourists and residents), this would certainly do the trick, as the closest real casinos are three-plus hours away in Atlantic City (I think?).

Or, at the very least, open card rooms, like they have in California. People could come play poker legally, and the District gets a cut of every pot.

Wow. All of a sudden I would have a reason to stay here. And I wouldn't have to fly to Vegas every four months to get my gamble on. Which reminds me... it's about that time again...


PTA mismanaging money?

The school administration is unable to string together a coherent sentence. The teacher's union stole millions from those it represented. And now, even the D.C. PTA has come under fire.

It certainly does take a village, eh?


The dead walk among us

The murder counter went from 96 yesterday to... 95 today? I... didn't think that was possible. Presumably someone made a miracle recovery? Or was it another case of "the morgue attendant only thought you were dead?"
DC Residents Speak Out on Chief Ramsey's Raise

There's at least a hundred comments from people on Safe Streets DC speaking out against the proposed raise in D.C. police chief Ramsey's pay raise to $175,000+.
Moose Feared Losing His Job

Moose called the book a "once-in-a-lifetime" chance for him to taste the rewards of fame. "I don't fathom that I'm going to get a second opportunity," he said.
Goddammit! What is it with the civil servants here? You don't exploit your position for profit. It's not ethical. Period.

This town is so detached from that concept... it seems that there are literally hundreds of stories like this every year.


Homicides galore

The murder counter can barely keep up:

  • A 19-year-old Temple Hills man was found shot to death early yesterday in the 2500 block of Pomeroy Road SE. Lenard C. Purvis was shot several times and died at the scene.

  • A 41-year-old Southeast Washington man was fatally shot early Monday in the 500 block of Florida Avenue NE, police said. Michael A. Gorham, of the 700 block of 12th Street SE, had been shot several times when he was found about 12:15 a.m. He died nine hours later at Washington Hospital Center, police said.
  • Oh man, I wasn't expecting to have to throw my 100-murder blowout until next weekend, but now we're already up to 96... better get cracking on those party favors.
    Felon works as chief of D.C. charter school

    The principal of the District's oldest charter school is a convicted felon with a lengthy record of arrests and was on probation in June when he took charge of the school, according to court records.
    Clarence Edward Dixon also makes $75,000 a year, and falsified his resume.

    Damn, that's a lot more than I make. And I'm not a convicted felon. There's no way I can compete financially with all the criminals in this city. Note to self: take up fraud as a hobby?
    5th District chief defends policing

    "The 5th District is just as safe for a police officer to live in as any other part of the city," Cmdr. Jennifer Greene said.
    Which is to say, completely not fucking safe.
    You dropped a bomb on me... baby

    "A D.C. police bomb expert accused of having sex with a woman he had pulled over for speeding pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual abuse."


    Gunshots hit another cop's house

    "Both women claim D.C. police officials have mishandled their cases by not assigning detectives quickly to their cases, or, without warning or explanation, canceling protective details assigned to watch their homes."
    Another JEN WATERS exclsuive

    The Jen Waters Fan Club (est. 2003) gets another hard driving metro-section scoop:

    The ideal garden for butterflies contains plenty of sunshine, shelter from the wind, a reliable source of nectar, host plants for egg laying and for caterpillars to eat, protection from predators, and water. It also should have a combination of annuals, perennials, trees and woody shrubs that provide a suitable environment for the various stages of the life cycle of the insects.

    An adult butterfly, which eats nectar, will lay an egg on a host plant. The egg hatches into a caterpillar or larva, which often enjoys eating the host plant. The caterpillar forms the chrysalis or pupa, usually on a twig. The chrysalis then hatches into a butterfly.

    After emerging from the chrysalis, the adult butterfly eats the nectar from plants for food. Butterfly bush, Mr. Raun's favorite plant in his garden, is used by butterflies for this purpose. It's a woody shrub that comes in several colors, including white, pink and purple. It withstands droughts well and retains some foliage in winter.

    Other plants used by butterflies for nectar include globe amaranth, oregano, white clover, garlic chives and red clover. Certain nectar plants attract specific types of butterflies. For instance, to attract swallowtail butterflies, plant butterfly bush, common milkweed, joe-pye weed, oregano and Oriental lilies. For hairstreak butterflies, plant garlic chives, heath aster and late-flowering boneset.

    Skipper butterflies are drawn to globe amaranth, Brazilian verbena, butterfly bush and mistflower. Great spangled fritillary butterflies like butterfly bush, butterfly weed, common milkweed and purple coneflower.

    Popular host plants used by caterpillars in the garden include bronze fennel, collards, common blue violet, common lamb's-quarters, common milkweed, hops vine, red giant mustard, parsley and white clover.
    Oh booyah, what a FUCKING SCOOP!

    Take THAT, WaPo! You will BOW DOWN before JEN WATERS! You... and then one day... YOUR HEIRS!
    Blair 'couldn't stop laughing' at Times correction

    Washington native Jayson Blair apparently takes pride in destroying the New York Times' credibility.

    Newsweek has reported that Blair signed with literary agent David Vigliano to market his story for possible book and movie deals.
    Well, this is turning into a local tradition: profit from other people's misfortune. Chief Moose could learn something from this guy, since Blair was directly responsible for the misdeeds that might result in a book or movie deal. Genius.

    "I was either going to kill myself or I was going to kill the journalist persona," he said. "So Jayson Blair the human being could live, Jayson Blair the journalist had to die."
    Ummm... so you made up stories for months and months? Why not just quit the paper?

    Fucking asshole. NYT should sue his ass into the ground until only crumbs are left, and then sue the crumbs.
    Missing woman's car found with body inside

    Murder up. Add another notch to the counter.

    Several parking tickets were on the windshield, and authorities said a meter maid who took a closer look saw the body inside.
    I can see it now. "Just because you're dead doesn't mean you don't have to pay those tickets, lady." Bookmark my words: that will be a story in six months. We'll all have a good laugh then.

    Typical D.C.: they ticket the car multiple times, but nobody thought to look inside, or, say, check to see if anyone was looking for the car (it and the woman had been missing since last week). A little effort might have uncovered that fact, and gotten the detectives on the trail of the crooks before it got cold.

    But the murderer(s) were smart followed my advice: if you're going to kill someone, do it inside D.C. proper, where you get better than a 50-50 shot of getting away with it. Try finding odds that good anywhere else in the country.

    Crack police work again. By which I mean, of course, that they're on crack. But you saw that coming.


    Even cop doesn't feel safe at home

    Hey, a spiffy new redesign for the Times' web site, and a pretty good metro scoop to boot.

    Mind you, the editorial content is still fully insane. This one laments a WHO treaty the U.S. is considering that would "[make] it difficult for tobacco companies to do business" through higher taxes, bans on advertising and increased health label warnings. And this one features this logical gem:

    It is a hop, skip and a jump from telling Americans they are too fat to issuing regulations to insure they do not exceed daily food intake rules set by the government. It extends government control that now includes monitoring the right to smoke whenever and wherever one wants.
    I hope the editorial board has absolutely bitchin' health insurance.


    Pop quiz, hotshot

    A prank played by a passing motorist led a trucker to believe he was carrying explosives Monday and led to the three-hour closing of major commuter route outside Washington.

    The trucker was driving on the Capital Beltway when he "had people pull up next to him and tell him that if his truck slowed below a certain speed the truck would explode," said Sgt. J.R. Braun of the Virginia State Police.
    OK, well, that would have been funny, if it hadn't shut down GW Parkway for hours. Still... this driver sounds kind of gullible to me. OK, maybe he never saw Speed, but... would someone who had installed that kind of bomb on your vehicle then drive right up next to you to announce what they had done?
    Homeland Security, Washington-Style

    Our pols and their minions are consumed with dreams of a new $339 million stadium for a Major League Baseball team. They are busy throwing fits over school vouchers and otherwise demonstrating to the world that when it comes to meeting citizens where they really are and on issues of urgent concern, our politicians and the government they have given us are about as useful as screen doors on a submarine.
    Controversial Educator Emerges In Charter Plan

    Anigbo was convicted of assaulting Washington Times reporter Susan Ferrechio, illegally taking her notebook and then assaulting two D.C. police officers.
    All school systems should have a "violence" track.
    Nighttime Parking Curbed in Arlington

    In a unanimous vote, the five-member board decided to restrict parking in two South Arlington neighborhoods between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. to residents who live on specific thoroughfares, effectively preventing those who live in nearby apartments from parking in single-family home areas.
    Despite the fact that apartment dwellers are also tax-paying residents of the county.


    Teenagers invade prom using as much gas as possible

    Those stretch-SUV limos are apparently popular with the rich suburban prom-going kids. The best part:

    At American Eagle Limousine in Lorton, it costs $2,500 to $3,000 for eight hours in a Cadillac Escalade, decorated with murals of dolphins that glow in black light on the ceiling.
    Wow. That is classy. Paint Darth Vader on the side, and bust out the Frampton Comes Alive, and you're guaranteed to get some, providing it also can travel back in time 25 years. ("Damn! Damn damn! Where's that kid?")

    Actually, with the glowy dolphins on the ceiling... it's like my first high school girlfriend's bedroom (except with the promise of sex).
    Report Says D.C. Official Should Go

    More corrupt city government officials, blah blah blah. I should just make this post a macro, since it happens every week. F12 key: D.C. government official misappropriated funds. F11: Manhole fire.


    WT+GW 4EVA!

    This is the kind of hard-hitting editorial insight I expect from a major metropolitan newspaper:

    "George W. was a hottie in his flight suit."
    OK... ew.


    Hey Rocky, watch me pull a book deal out of my hat...

    Chief Moose: Dumbass. DUMB. ASS. Your First Amendment rights are not being violated. You're free to write a book of your supposedly heroic plight. Hell, write 10 books. Knock your fucking self out.

    You just can't profit from writing about the sniper case. It's an obvious conflict of interest. Twelve people didn't get shot so that you could write a book about it and become famous.

    Oh wait, I forgot I live in Washington, where ethics go to curl up and die. Isn't that right, Jayson Blair, who graduated from Centreville High School and attended the University of Maryland?
    Maybe the administrators need special ed

    "The D.C. school system received 3,044 requests for hearings in cases where it allegedly failed to provide required services, compared with 2,831 such requests filed in [the entire state of] California. The District has about 11,700 special education students, and California about 670,000."

    "The audit also found that as a result of a lack of in-house programs, the school system sent thousands of students to private schools last fiscal year, costing a total of $102 million, or an average $52,632 per student, for tuition and related special education services, far more than the national average."
    911 is a joke

    "After initially denying that 911 problems slowed the city's response to the fire, officials acknowledged that the first three people who called about the incident were put on hold." But since the computerized records of received calls contradict each other, the people responsible for not answering the calls could keep their jobs.

    Moral: When you're in D.C., don't get into any kind of life-threatening emergency situation where you might need 911. Your odds of survival won't be good.


    Cinco de Mayo goes sober

    According to this Times editorial, some activists who ran a "dry" Cinco de Mayo celebration in L.A. were funded by the anti-alcohol Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which supports "sin" taxes on alcohol and restrictions on public consumption.

    This raises an important question: who gives a shit?

    It's all explained by the writer's mini-bio:

    Richard Berman is executive director for The Center for Consumer Freedom, a non-profit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies and consumers.
    Ohhhh, it's a random restaurant lobbyist! I love how you can be a lobbyist for anything and give it a completely unrelated name... you could start a special interest group in favor of autoerotic asphyxiation and call it "The Institute for Consumer Satisfaction" or something, and nobody would have any idea what you're actually trying to do.

    In this case, The D.C.-based Center for Consumer Freedom (tee-hee) sums it up everything it stands for in its FAQ:
    Remember -- even an ugly baby can be named "Tiffany."
    Well said, Center for Consumer Freedom. Well said.

    (And no, that quote doesn't make sense in context either.)
    Minus one

    OK, my link to the crime statistics tell me there was one more murder over the weekend in D.C. I have no idea, when, where, or who, since it wasn't reported in the papers. I guess it's not important.

    Also, Forty-three slayings in Prince George's County, Md., so far in 2003. Apparently most of the county's crimes happen within a couple miles of D.C.; seems that criminals capitalize on the fact that the D.C. cops and the P.G. cops don't work together well (their radios don't communicate with each other, for example). That makes it easy for criminals to make a "run for the border" to evade capture. Brilliant.
    GUEST STAR! Chris J: Fighting the dumb fight

    Photo of women in Lafayette Square in front of the white house on page B3 in the Post today. No story, just a caption: "At Lafayette Square, members of the women's antiwar group Code Pink rally against President Bush's policies on Iraq, noting several family-related issues still are facing that country."

    Wish I could have been there. I'd like to ask them, 1) if they knew the war was over, and 2) which policies they specifically protested. Presumably, they think the Iraqis were better off under Saddam's rule. Do they demand utopia now? After all, it's been a month since the war ended! I wonder if the "family-related" issues they cite include the breakup of families by authoritarian, brutal rule. How many Iraqi women lost male family members to torture and summary execution? Does Code Pink protest the liberation of the Iraqi women who were used as tools of torture--i.e. being raped in front of their husbands? Or are they miffed that less than a month after the war, Iraqi women still only make three-quarters of a dinar compared to men in similar jobs?

    Just another stupid day in the District.
    GUEST STAR! Chris J: Little things post script

    Another illusion-casualty of the District is the supposed community of co-workers. Like I've posted elsewhere, I work in the media. It's a disfunctional family, but a group of people who more-or-less approach the world the same way. So, when I went out to my beloved Jeep the other day and discovered a huge dent with cracked paint on the passenger's side door, I expected to find a note, or an e-mail about it.


    This wasn't a morally ambiguous little dent like a nick or a scratch. This is a two-foot long crease on a black door, with white and silver in the center where the metal buckled. A co-worker did this to me. And didn't leave a note. So, somebody, possibly sitting in one of the nearby cubes, now owes me a couple of hundred bucks, or at least a free swipe at the groin with my nine-iron.

    Oddly enough, something Homer Simpson said comes to mind--"I'd kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet, sweet beer." Or something like that. It's a paraphrase.
    GUEST STAR! Chris J: It's the little things

    Every day I go to work down the Spout Run Parkway, down the GW Parkway, and loop up to 395. It's usually here that my mood for the day is set.

    Now, I may have found the one place in the D.C. area where drivers are actually nice and helpful. When merging onto the GW Parkway, by and large, people have let me in, or at least haven't tailgated me all the way to the Jefferson Memorial for aggressively inserting myself into the flow. But it's where the Parkway meets I-395 that things get ugly. If I take too much time in the morning psyching myself up for another foray into the cesspool, I'll have to get in line about a half-mile from the on-ramp. Drivers who neglected to get in line like everyone else sometimes like to cruise up on our left at roughly eight times our speed, screech their tires, and forcibly insert themselves--usually right in front of me. The best way to describe it is traffic rape. I've even had one guy pass everyone on the left ON THE FREAKING RAMP.

    Now, I drive a short Jeep. I can pretty much merge without a problem. And I always give the "thank you" wave. I learned it from my Dad--right arm up, two quick side-snaps, and your gratitude for a nice gesture is articulated. I even give the thank you wave when their generosity is questioned, such as when I make a snap decision had to be made and I may very well have cut someone off. (You have to be careful with this one because it can come off as condescending).

    I don't expect points or a gold star or a medal for this, it's just common courtesy. But see, that bites me in the ass every time. D.C. people know as much common courtesy as they do Pashtu.

    It's one thing to be cut off in traffic--my favorite is when they needlessly thrust their cars in front of me, then slow down--needlessly. But on the fairly common occasion when I slow down and wave someone in, what really gets me is the lack of a thank you wave. I'll inconvenience people behind me so that someone in front and to the left or right can ease in.

    And I'll get no wave.

    It's a little thing, but you feel like a sucker when you do it. Especially when it's some hottie in a little Mazda. Like this morning. It's like she's saying "Thanks, ass."

    So, just give the thank you wave. I'm just saying.


    A cornucopia of stupid

    Lots of good D.C. stories in the papers today.

    School voucher debate

    Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday gave his clearest explanation yet of why he is now supporting school vouchers, saying that he "got up one morning and decided there are a lot of kids getting a crappy education and we could do better."
    Amusing tidbits:
  • A school spokeswoman said, "The majority of our students are receiving a very good education in D.C. public schools."
  • Four of the nine school board members are appointed by the mayor; two of his appointees resigned earlier this year. One of the board members said he quit after he could not get the mayor to return his calls. Williams has not replaced either of them.
  • Supporters of vouchers say they would force competition that would result in better performance in the public schools. Wouldn't improvement require both a) competent administration, and b) money? Of which the D.C. school system has neither?
  • The mayor said "crappy." I wish I had been there.
  • Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), sponsor of the voucher measure in Congress, said, "Not even a flake would seek to impose vouchers on anybody." That should be grounds for dismissal.

    DMV Fires Clerk, Says He Pilfered Cash Fees

    The clerk ... allegedly would ask customers to place cash in a nearby cardboard box in exchange for printouts of their records.

    The cost for a three- or five-year driving record is $7. The man allegedly charged $8...
    In a cardbox box. Priceless; a scheme totally worthy of the D.C. DMV.

    Reluctance over police chief raise

    "I'm not a miracle worker. There's been a lot of progress in this department, and we're moving it in the right direction."
    Judge for yourself here.

    Cover-up claimed in police shooting

    [Attorneys] said they have three witnesses who contradict police accounts that Charquisa Johnson was holding a 9mm pistol when she was shot.
    We already know how hard it is to get murder witnesses to come forward in D.C., so this is not a good sign for the cops.

    D.C. leaders unhappy about salary probe

    "Any congressman who wants to get involved in a local matter should go back and read their Constitution," said D.C. Council member Adrian Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat. "It's completely wrong for a federal lawmaker to look into a local matter."
    Huh? Doesn't the home rule charter pretty much give Congress the right to do anything it wants to D.C.? At any rate...

    Council member Harold Brazil, at-large Democrat, questioned the priorities of congressional leaders who would want to get involved "in the minutiae" of D.C. affairs.
    Minutiae? Just compared to Baltimore, which has a slightly higher population, D.C. employs more than twice as many people, and has 17 times as many workers earning $100K and up. The local government is basically a scam, and it's inept at just about everything. I'd consider them lucky if the Republican-led Congress doesn't try to take back all control of D.C.
  • 5.09.2003

    D.C. Cutbacks Force Slashing of Summer Youth Programs

    Because how else are we going to afford baseball?
    Ramsey offered 17 percent raise

    I believe if you click on the murder counter to your left, you'll find that's just slightly less than the percentage rise in D.C. homicides this year over last year.


    An open letter to Rockwell "University"

    I received this piece of e-mail spam today from Jennifer McCarthy at Rockwell University in McLean:

    You are invited to a Free Oracle and Java Training!


    [sic, the retards left out my name]

    Congratulations! You have been selected for a Free Oracle and Java training at Rockwell University.

    If you are tired of 3% raises year after year in a dead end job.....
    If you don’t want to wait until you are downsized.....
    If you have have 6 figure responsibilities without the 6 figure income.....

    Why not consider moving into or up the E-Commerce/Information Technology (IT) career path?

    An expert practitioner instructor will give you through a step-by-step introduction to key elements of Oracle and Java technologies including:

    * Oracle: SQL, Data Modeling, and client/server architecture
    * Java: JVM, JDK, Applets, Servlets
    * XML ,Java Server Pages

    You will have the opportunity to explore moving into or up the E-Commerce and Information Technology (IT) career path even if you do not have prior experience. We will show you how you can get :

    * Greater job satisfaction
    * Better job security!
    * Additional money!
    * Upward mobility!



    Jennifer McCarthy

    P.S. Because seating is limited to the first 30 responses, you should register immediately.
    Dear Ms. Vapid egg sac,

    I received your e-mail spam today and would like to respond to your offer. I would like to point out the following things:

    - The specific kind of "Information Technology" you purport to teach has tanked in the wake of the failed "New Economy".

    - When you send out a form letter, you're supposed to fill in my name after the word "Dear," up at the very top of the letter. I don't have much faith a technical "university" that can't figure out how to do that.

    - And while we're on the topic, "University?" Isn't that a bit presumptuous? Traditionally, a university consists of a graduate school and professional schools that award master's degrees and doctorates and an undergraduate division that awards bachelor's degrees. Rockwell "University" awards master's degrees in something called "Commerce Technology" and "Internet Security and Information Management." The 13-week program that your "free seminar" plugs awards some kind of unspecified "certificate" in Oracle/Java nonsense.

    - The reason I know that your "free seminar" is actually an hour-long advertisement for your non-free 13-week program is because I was duped into attending one by a classfied advertisement placed in the Washington Post by Rockwell. The ad spoke of a job opportunity, but was instead a veiled reference to the incredible opportunities that await me should I complete your non-free 13-week seminar. This is also why you have my e-mail address. Besides the time I wasted attending your "free seminar," the bait-and-switch tactic you used was demoralizing to me during my job search. Fortunately, in the one interview I scored in six months, I landed my current job.

    In conclusion, I don't want your piece-of-shit IT degree. My Masters of Computer Science degree from a real, accredited institution will suit me quite nicely. Please take your free seminar and shove it up your candy-coated ass.


    [this space intentionally left blank]
    Drowning in a sea of blandness

    I think one of the reasons I hate D.C. sooooo much is because I'm often bored at work.

    I drive to work, spend hours looking into a computer monitor while doing very little actual work, and then drive home. It might be easier to get through the day if I had someone to talk to around here. I'm easily the youngest employee in my department, with most everyone else being white middle-class suburbanite fathers putting kids through school. (It's not the most diverse company, which may explain why it's in McLean.)

    That makes it a little hard to keep any kind of conversation going with anyone without having it devolve into sheer, unfiltered boredom. I don't have a mortgage or kids, and I don't find work interesting or challenging; they never watch TV or movies, follow current events, or do anything interesting whatsoever. That leaves very little common ground for things to talk about, and I wind up eating a lot of lunches alone.

    Which leads me to today's fun office anecdote. I've been a fan of electronic/techno music for years; after finishing college my friend John and I always made it a point to hit the biggest raves that came to Atlanta. There was usually a good one every six months or so; we would head downtown, dance around from 10 to 3:30, then head home and try to recover our hearing over the course of the next day.

    Yes, I was and am still too old to be going to these things; no, I never got into the rave drugs you hear about in the news. I just enjoy the music and the people-watching. The best part is, everyone was so friendly; if you're dancing around and bump into someone or accidentally step on their feet, you've made a new friend. I've never seen a fight break out at any of the rave-type events I've been to.

    A few weeks ago I visited an old roommate in Miami, partially so John and I could attend the Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park. It's a gigantic concert featuring electronic/techno music; 10 stages spread out over a big park, with some great food vendors in the middle (mmm... Cuban sandwiches and gyros...). Think of it as Music Midtown with DJs.

    The park was absolutely packed, filled with people much more physically fit than I am. All the biggest names in DJing were there. We had a great time, and I especially liked it because I never have the opportunity to go to rave-type concerts in Washington. (The big-name DJs do sometimes show up at D.C. clubs, which presumably I'm not self-absorbed enough to get into; and besides, being alone in sketchy D.C. at 3 a.m. after the Metro has stopped running isn't that appealing.)

    So anyway, this one guy in my office asks about my trip to Miami. I mention the Winter Music Conference, with which the Ultra festival is attached, and how all the big-name DJs perform there. He sounds interested, and asks if the morning crew from Mix 107.3 was there.

    Hrrmm... right. I try not to be to patronizing, and explain that they probably weren't there, seeing as how it's more of an electronica/techno music thing. He proceeds to pull up the Mix 107.3 website to show me exactly how awesome the Jack Diamond morning-zoo-crew really is. Aaaand, the conversation kind of grinds to a halt right there, since I don't care to experience the wacky-yet-assuredly-whitebread antics of Mix 107.3, and he has no idea what I'm talking about with this concert-thing anyway. And so, I wander off to have lunch by myself again, and stew in my own boredom.

    And now you know... the rest... of the story. Paul Harvey... good day!
    Upping Ante, Williams Seeks $338 Million For Baseball

    The mayor wants to spend $338 million on a baseball stadium. Williams had previously said he wouldn't go above $300 million. I blame the new "young people's" haircut. It's controlling his mind, making him irrational!

    I love baseball as much as anyone, but a city that's struggling to keep its residents from slaughtering each other, can't pave its roads and has one of the most inept and money-starved educational systems in the country shouldn't be spending that much public money on professional sports.

    What's wrong with private financing? The Giants build Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco using only private funding... of course, only after the residents refused to pony up any public money. If the mayor would play some hardball here I think the city would be better off, even if it does cost them the chance at a team in the short run.
    Birders board Metro for "Big Day" Count

    These people are birdwatchers riding the subway to watch birds, apparently for some kind of competition, which is so boring I want to kill myself. Unless I already killed myself... and the birdwatching story is my own personal hell... in which case this is the worst Twilight Zone ever.

    On the bright side, this story does feature the sentences "A pigeon was noted" and "A hairy woodpecker sat on the trail ahead."
    Only the Wizards...

    ...and only the Wizards, could completely alienate the greatest player of all time:

    "[B]efore Jordan could make his case, [team owner Abe] Pollin began the meeting by informing him of his dismissal, sources said. From there, the discussion quickly escalated into shouting and invective that one person familiar with the meeting described as being as bad as it could get without fists flying."
    Only the Wizards. I really didn't see it ending this way.


    Post reports on Nature Conservatory

    The Post recently completed this series on the Nature Conservatory, the largest environmental nonprofit in the world, headquartered in Arlington. Predictably, they're a bunch of corrupt jerkoffs, who are also drilling and logging on the land they acquire, selling land they buy to their supporters at a tax-deductible loss, and paid their CEO a salary of $420,000, plus a $1.55 million home loan at 4.59 percent. (No wonder I can't afford a house.)

    So basically, add them to the hall of fame with AOL and MCI, since they cheat their donors the same way those companies cheated their investors.

    Funny, these stories haven't shown up on the Nature Conservatory's In The News links page.
    Jordan out as president of Wizards

    This has been a weird story. Jordan's un-retirement has predictably been wildly popular here, but despite his service on the court (and the wild profitability they reaped), the Wizards are no longer interested in his services off the court.

    His player moves were definitely disappointing. He claimed that his playing would help teach the young players how to win. It really didn't; this was perhaps the laziest and whiniest professional sports team I've ever seen. If there was any city in the world where Michael Jordan could come to play basketball and be considered a failure, of course it would be this one.

    I am grateful that I got to see Michael score 51 points against New Jersey on Dec. 29, 2001. Although I'd like to point out that when he scored his 50th point, I jumped out of my seat, and was told by the guy behind me to sit down. Yeah.

    At any rate, Jordan, who was paid $1.1M to play this year, stands to collect $10M now that he's leaving. I guess the ticket prices won't be going down next year. And I guess I won't be going to any games.
    BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Mayor's New Haircut

    After yesterday's team coverage of Mayor Williams' new haircut, Post columnist Courtland Milloy today weighed in with his opinion. His 686-word opinion. Bringing the total word count on the mayor's hair to 1,418.

    What's next, Post? How about a whole section of coverage? Section H, coming this Sunday in the Washington Post.

    They're addicted to you, mayor's haircut. You're a hard habit to break.

    Here's a good website I'm adding to my bookmarks, dedicated to improving the D.C. police department. The guy who runs it was violently mugged, and the cops were all like, "meh," as usual.

    There are some good horror stories and some success stories on there, and hopefully he can raise some awareness and focus on the positives when they happen.

    My favorite story: "A man watches someone trying to break into a row of parked cars in Dupont Circle. He alerts an officer who tells him she’s on lunch break. The man calls the mayor’s office who tells him the officer has a right to her lunch break." Classic.

    Meanwhile, one murder in D.C. yesterday and two in Prince George's County, Md.


    GUEST STAR! Chris J: The education of me

    So, I’m cruising the web at work (because it’s my job), and I link to this site called “Why I hate D.C.” Hmm…Interesting. Perhaps a kindred spirit here.

    I spent the rest of the day laughing my ass off. Sometimes it takes the naked, unvarnished truth to shake you out of self-delusion.

    I moved here from Montana about a year ago with ideals about finding the perfect fit for a meager writing talent and some interest in politics. I was sure I could make a mark with my Western, down-home ways—maybe bring a little levity to Washington. Or, failing that, meet some women. I mean, the nation’s capital. Monuments and museums. Ambitious, driven, idealistic people. The exchange of ideas in public discourse, the marketplace of ideas—more than just the ranting of ill-informed drinking buddies.

    Here it is now, about 345 days after I drove across the country with everything I owned (except my damn iron), and I hate everybody. I still love the country, but I have no hope for her. Thank you, Washington D.C.

    I’m in the media, and having never attended more than a Journalism 101 class, I’ve been getting an education. Journalists, I’ve found, are the most pompous bunch of incestuous smart-asses around. And not the funny kind. Campaign staffers, legislative assistants, interns and politicians are all forged from the same humorless mold, regardless of party. Everyone has a law degree, and everyone begins a conversation with either, “Who are you with?” or “The last time I lived in Europe, I…”

    Driving in the District is the first test of one’s ability to make it here. Assuming you don’t get forced onto a ramp with no exits until you hit Richmond, you still have to avoid the asinine stoplights at every corner. Crosswalks are mere suggestions. Tourists follow the “natives” lead and cross wherever, regardless of the color of the light. The Metro is almost a saving grace, but only if you have enough change after being duped by fifty people’s homeless sob stories on the way there.

    I was at a “round table” hosted by a big libertarian outfit here the other night. I ran into some guy I had to re-introduce myself to once again. I asked him how work was going, and he said “Good. We got Tom Delay to speak at a function.”

    “Oh,” I say, trying to be clever, “Who’s Tom Delay?”

    He looked at me in horror, as if I didn’t know who the fuck Tom Delay is, and said, “The House Majority Leader? You’ve got to be kidding…”

    “Of course I was,” I say, trying to be jovial. But he turns away and resumes a conversation with some L.A.

    That’s it in a nutshell—no one in D.C. can take a joke. And I’ve barely begun to exhaust my collection of dick jokes…

    The one time I’d ever given another driver the finger was when some ass in a mini-van cut me off to take a parking place I didn’t even want at a Perkins restaurant. He found me inside and gave me the bird in the crowded waiting area. I’d never been so ashamed. Here, though, along with the horn, the bird is the lingua franca.

    The number one insult is “he’s an idiot.” Don’t like his take on the new bill? "You're an idiot". Disagree with a point raised in that editorial? “He’s an idiot.” Didn’t get your invite to the White House Correspondents Dinner in time? The Administration is packed with idiots. (Well, there may be some truth to that…)

    So, welcome to D.C. Glad to be here. Hey—have you heard that Native American men have the longest average penis size, and that Polish men have the greatest girth? Oh, I’m sorry, my name is Tonto Kawalski…

    Can’t take a joke? You’re an idiot.
    BREAKING NEWS: The Mayor Gets a Haircut

    Word count on this story from the Washington Post: 732.

    Word count on their story about a corpse found in a burning dumpster in Northeast D.C. two weeks ago: 42.

    That right there tells you all you need to know about Washington.
    D.C. Pleads for Hosptial Accreditation

    The one hospital in Southeast D.C. (in the... wait for it... poor part of town) is so awful that it's about to lose its accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

    The commission issued a preliminary denial of Greater Southeast's accreditation in March. It cited problems with blood transfusions, infection control, the clinical lab, quality assurance programs and training and screening of workers and physicians.
    The hospital reported three erroneous blood transfusions in the past year. Three! Is it that hard to match up "Type A" with fucking "Type A"? I think even I could do it!

    Oh, and the hospital's parent company is bankrupt. Good luck guys.
    Pedestrian Hit, Killed by Tour Bus in Arlington

    Did this not just happen last week? I thought this story was a repeat at first.

    "Tourism is worse for your health than was once thought! Plus, meet Ruben from American Idol! Tonight on Fox 5 News at 11."
    Another JEN WATERS WASHINGTON TIMES EXCLUSIVE: Spines growing sideways

    "Even though everyone's spine has natural curves, which round the shoulders and make the lower back curve slightly inward, some people have curves in the spine from side to side. Unlike poor posture, these curves can't be corrected by learning to stand up straight."

    UPDATE: "One of the easiest ways to detect a curving of the spine is for a doctor to examine the spine as the patient bends over and touches his or her feet."


    Washington City Paper Cover Story: Virginia Is for Sluggers

    Here's an essay about how Virginia should shoulder the burden of baseball for the Washington area, rather than the district, because Virginia has so little to offer the region.

    Here, I'll paraphrase the article for you: "Bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch."

    Virginians sometimes forget that it's not IKEA and cinema/draft houses that attract talent to the region. What makes the Washington area worthwhile is the District, with its museums, monuments, and secure government jobs, and all the imperial majesty that comes with being the capital city.
    Allow me to retort.

    1. D.C.'s museums are boring. There, I said it. Go to the British Museum in London, which has the original manuscript of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, original music sheets penned by John Lennon, and the Rosetta Stone... and that's just scratching the surface. That, my friends... that is a motherfucking museum. Having Archie Bunker's original chair doesn't really hold a candle to any of that.

    2. Monuments are boring. Did you know they just sit there taking up space? It's true.

    3. Secure government jobs are boring. Take it from me.

    "Imperial majesty?" The city is in a constant financial crisis; it's murder rate is one of the highest, if not the highest, in the nation; it's a bastion of homelessness, illiteracy, incompetence, corruption, and severe poverty. The District is a dark and scary place, and I can't think of a less majestic city in the nation.

    Not that I'm defending Virginia. Virginia is as boring a suburb as they come (which is one of the reasons I would love to see baseball here). But don't claim that D.C. is the crown jewel of the Washington area. There are no crown jewels.

    This article also illustrates another big problem I have with living here: D.C. hates Virginia hates Maryland hates D.C. There is a lot of resentment on all sides, and absolutely no civic pride. Cities thrive when residents work together and take pride in their civic identity; Washington is an area divided by its boundaries.


    D.C. touts N.Y. Ave. for ballpark

    New York Avenue? Welcome, baseball fans, to Crack Whore Stadium.


    INS1PID: Personalized Virginia license plates I have hated (Part 4 in a series)

    On a convertible: DSRVSIT (DOUBTIT)
    REDLINR (Good luck trying to red-line here, poser)
    On another convertible: CALI4N (I'll bet you fit right in)
    On a red car: LDYINRD (I guess DNTPAYTHEFRRYMN wouldn't fit)
    IFLEW 4U (Whattaya want, a cookie?)

    And, finally, the be-all and end-all of stupid personalized vanity plates, the grand prize winner on which I am forced to close out this feature, since I will never find a stupider one:


    That's right. This person clearly is "too hot to be cool". I applaud you, ass.
    This lady is utterly, utterly insane

    "District school board President Peggy Cooper Cafritz, after saying that she did not write an essay against school vouchers posted on her Web site and that a computer hacker might have put it there, has acknowledged that she and a former aide wrote the column."
    Teachers' Union Fiscal Oversight Criticized

    We have a new slogan for Washington:

    "It seems everyone in a responsible position fell asleep at the switch. The only ones who were vigilant were the thieves, who took everything that wasn't nailed down."