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.