9.18.2003

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.

9.17.2003

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."

9.15.2003

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.

9.12.2003

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.

9.11.2003

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.

    TODAY.

    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.

    9.10.2003

    Army never was good at cleaning up after itself

    "Residents of the upscale Spring Valley neighborhood in Northwest last night questioned officials from the Army Corps of Engineers on their discovery of a dangerous World War I-era toxic chemical in the ground near their homes."

    It's always gotta be a serial SOMETHING here, doesn't it?

    "The number of Washington area fires deemed 'similar in nature' is now up to 28, following an early morning fire on Dix Street in Northeast."

    That's right, I said it's boring

    Washington's got boring radio.

    The end.

    (Hmm... my heart's not in it today. Perhaps I can expound.)

    This isn't necessarily a Washington, D.C.-specific problem. Every major city in this country has had its radio stations swallowed up by horizontal-monopoly-havin' Clear Channel (which also runs major concert venues such as the Nissan Pavillion in suburban Virginia), thus turning radio into a bland, overly researched, non-local experience.

    But in other cities I've lived in or visited, at least some semblance of individuality seems to have creeped through. Atlanta had a largely bland market by the time I left, but at least there were a couple college radio stations I could tune to if I just wanted to hear something different. Seattle and Chicago also seemed to have an independent/college station somewhere on the dial. Jacksonville's a boring city, but when I visited recently, I was shocked to learn that two local stations feature dance/techno music on Saturday night. I believe that's infinity percent more than we get (i.e. zero).

    Plus, one Jacksonville station plays American Top 40 with Casey Kasem, which I grew up listening to and really miss. Even when stations were playing the same damn songs every two hours, AT40 was always a bastion of something new to listen to, including good semi-obscure hits and supremely crappy follow-up hits.

    But Washington's got absolutely nothing I want to listen to in the way of music. That's just sad. My presets are going to waste (but my CD player is getting a lot of work).

    Blah.

    9.09.2003

    D.C. transit wants NFL gala reimbursement

    Metro wants the NFL to pony up $57,000 to account for extra trains it ran during the kickoff event last Thursday.

    And the NFL's like, "Um, no?"

    Here's the Post link from a few days ago.

    When Metro opens early or closes late to handle ridership from a special event, the agency typically charges the event sponsor $18,000 an hour. If Metro recoups $18,000 in revenue during the extra hour, it refunds the money to the sponsor.

    [...]

    The only exception to this policy has been the Redskins, who refuse to pay when Metro stays open two hours past normal closing after weeknight games, Farbstein said.
    Wow, there's just so much going on here that doesn't make sense.

  • Metro charges $18,000 an hour to special events that require extra service? Does that make any sense? Did New York's subway system charge the NFL for extra service when it held the first kickoff gala thingy last year in Times Square? I seriously doubt it; that's going to deter people from holding big events in your city.

  • Metro wants the NFL to pay tens of thousands of dollars... after the fact? What are they going to do if the NFL doesn't pay? Fire up the flux capacitor and take one of their trains back in time, and unplug Britney's microphone? Because that's just going to mess up the timestream. All of a sudden they'll come back to the present and it'll be all dinosaurs and shit. What was my point here? Oh yeah... too late, Metro. Maybe try to collect on services before you render them next time?

  • Metro charges everyone except the Redskins, who refuse to pay the bill? The same Redskins who themselves charge $5 to each to person who arrives at FedEx on the shuttle bus? The same Redskins who built an 85,000-seat stadium in the middle of nowhere just six years ago, but neglected to provide enough parking? The same Redskins who are worth just shy of $1 billion and charge the highest average ticket price in the NFL... don't have the decency or civic pride to pony up a relatively measly $18,000 for one extra hour of service for night games?

    I... don't even know. Just such a strange situation. If Washington manages to trick the NFL into giving it a Super Bowl, it will be interesting to see what Metro does. "Yeah, we decided to take today off. What, it's Super Bowl Sunday? Ohhhh, what a shame! Now if you slipped $100,000 our way, we might be convinced to run some trains... maybe."
  • 9.08.2003

    High-Level Endorsements

    From Howard Kurtz's media column:

    In exclusive interviews carried by the Washington Times, George Washington says he is "deeply moved" to learn "the identity of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon" and that he is "the Messiah." Thomas Jefferson urges Americans to "follow the teachings of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon." Abraham Lincoln calls Moon "the True Parent of humanity," while John F. Kennedy says, "All of humankind and the U.N. . . . have to accept his leadership and guidance."

    The forum for the 36 late presidents -- "from the vantage point of heaven" -- was a two-page ad last week taken out by Moon's Unification Church, whose members own the paper. This has caused some cringing at the Times, which usually limits itself to interviewing politicians who are alive.

    Spokeswoman Melissa Hopkins says that as with any advertiser, "our general principle is allowing people to exercise their freedom of speech." Managing Editor Francis Coombs says he ignores the ads because "I'm responsible for news content."

    The Rev. Phillip Schanker, a church spokesman, says he called "the advertising department, asked what their rates are, paid those rates like anybody else. We did not work any inside deal." He says the church -- which has claimed to have received messages from the likes of Jesus, Buddha, Karl Marx and Joseph Stalin -- hopes to place such ads in other newspapers.
    The Times lost $1 billion from its inception in 1982 through 1997.

    Hatey news roundup party time jubilee, presented by Pepsi Vanilla

    Gang violence in suburban Virginia. Many stolen cars in Prince George's County, Maryland.

    Courtland Milloy expresses rage at the lack of recognition by George W. Bush of a funeral for a D.C.-based National Guardsman who died in Iraq. W isn't the best neighbor in the world, it seems.

    Although I noticed that Bush did have time to tape a message before the Redskins-Jets game Thursday night, praising football for exhibiting teamwork, sacrifice and determination, just like we Americans do, blah blah blah. (I was in the bathroom at FedEx when this came on the speakers, and heard an 8-year-old boy say, in a disgusted tone, "Awww, not GEORGE BUSH!" Pretty funny. Oh, and the Redskins actually ran the ball more than they passed, and won. Maybe all that yelling at Spurrier to LEARRRRRN DAMMIT! is working.)

    Jen Waters, in writing about stained glass, lays this number on us:

    The age-old art of stained glass, which probably originated more than 2,000 years ago, is still being enjoyed.
    I've never seen a sentence with more passive voice than that. Passiver voice? Wait... I mean, a more passively voiced sentence than that has never been seen. By me.

    Mixing Bowl Crews Welcome Extra Attention

    Boringest... people...

    Some northern Virginians have discovered that late-night crane watching can be free family fun.

    Two weeks ago, when crews hoisted the first three of six 100-ton beams onto massive bridge piers, more than 100 people showed up to watch.

    "It's almost like an old drive-in theater," said Steve Titunik, primary spokesman for the Department of Transportation's Springfield Interchange Project. "People bring their children and make a night of it."
    ...ever. Come on, people. You're not thinking of the children. Think of the children. Take them to Six Flags or a water park or something.

    Who wants to sit around watching construction equipment in action? Really boring motherfucking people, that's who. What's more boring, this or the smelly flower? I can't decide.

    9.04.2003

    Redskins hope to tame parking madness

    So glad I'm not driving tonight.

    Tina Brown, 36, of Sterling, who went to the preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, said the parking situation was "really crazy." The new cash lots, where spaces cost $25 apiece, were in "the middle of nowhere," she said. She described a scene in which shuttle buses were packed and it took a linebacker's strength to get through the crowd that formed in front of the buses after the game.

    "People were fighting to get on the buses," Brown said. "They were pushing. There'd be one bus, and it would fill up, and then it was like a free-for-all again. . . . It was horrible."
    Ahhh, I love Washington. Where else can you pay $25 to park miles away from your destination, and then have to fight your way onto a shuttle bus?

    Where else can a parking pass for a game sell for more than the price of a ticket?

    Nowhere, baby.

    9.03.2003

    Shuttle disaster jokes: always funny

    Which team has funnier names on its roster? Find out IN PERSON!

    Am I above using my blog to pimp my own eBay auction for two tickets to the Redskins-Giants game on Sept. 21?

    No. No I am not.

    9.02.2003

    Saying Goodbye to Roommates -- All 12 of Them

    Guroian and her roommates, who shared the $10,600 monthly rent for their Capitol Hill house, welcomed a friend who moved in halfway through the summer and slept on the floor. After all, when five people are sharing a bathroom, what's one more?
    Damn, that's a lot of money for a house rental. If feel bad for these interns; 13 of them in a six-bedroom house all summer in D.C., each paying about $815 in rent by my calculations. Bleh.

    What a world

    This sounds like a nice idea. A sing-a-long to The Wizard of Oz at the Kennedy Center. Bring the kids, see a fun movie, sing yourself silly.

    Oh by the way, tickets are $27.50.

    That's not a typo. Twenty-seven fucking fifty per person.

    Who the fuck can afford to pay $27.50 for a movie? If you bring three friends, you're paying $110. I mean, it's a good movie and all. And especially fun with a bunch of people. I saw it during a Screen on the Green thing at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, which included lots of singing along. Drunken singing along, granted. (I even saw a couple drunken fights break out in the crowd, which I wasn't expecting to happen during this particular film.)

    However, that was free. If I'm paying $27.50 to see it, it better be the super secret special edition with Ray Bolger and Judy Garland's sex scene, which I just made up in my head. And I really doubt it is.

    Hmm. I just don't know what to make of this. Maybe the gay community in Washington has a lot more dispoable income than I suspected.

    9.01.2003

    The Most Powerful City In The World

    "Three D.C. Schools Paid Mystery Company $59,000."

    Bank statements show that the payments were made last winter to Mott's Sales & Service of Temple Hills. Mott's is not a registered corporation and has no telephone listing or Web site.

    [...]

    The company slogan on the bottom of the invoices reads that Mott's is "the source" for computer equipment and software, but the items purportedly purchased by Moten included 20 toilet plungers, 27 bottles of degreaser, 30 bottles of drain opener, floor stripper, bandages, 20 mops, file folders and 5,400 pens.
    Response Too Slow, Pepco Chief Admits.

    Ann McDonell of Chevy Chase said yesterday that she received five of the automated calls from Pepco that wrongly announced her power had been restored. "Then they would give you an option and say, 'If the power has not been restored, press two,' and I thought, 'this is truly a mess.' "
    Two Newborns Found Dead In Loudoun And Fairfax

    In the Washington area, at least a dozen abandoned infants have been discovered in the past five years.

    8.29.2003

    Sorry, no hatred today

    I'm in too good a mood. Why?

    Northern Illinois 20, #14 Maryland 13 (OT).

    Can I get an "Overrated, clap, clap, clap clap clap?"

    Thank you.

    8.28.2003

    Jen, Jen, back again

    Party on, party people. Here's another tantalizing full-of-vitality article by Jen Waters.

    A plaster copy of the 11-inch model is made, which, in turn is used to make a negative form of the new coin in rubber. The rubber form is used to create a positive, 11-inch model in epoxy.

    A transfer engraving machine creates a coin-size copy of the 11-inch epoxy model in steel. The result, called a master hub, is used to press a master die in a negative form. Positive-relief work hubs are made from the master die, and from those work hubs, negative-form work dies are made.
    Zzzzz... huhwhah?

    Mommy, why is that zebra coughing up blood?

    Worst... zoo... ever.

    "Public concern has been raised in the last eight months, not over the last few years," Evans said. "A lot of it actually has been led by campaigns in the press, and I ask you as a scientific body not to take the local press as necessarily a reliable source, either of public sentiment nor as an authority on animal care."

    [...]

    Zoo and Smithsonian officials have said human error caused the deaths of the zebras and the red pandas. The panel will review the circumstances of those deaths as well as those of a Persian onager that died of salmonella after being transported in a contaminated container; three Eld's deer that died after being attacked by dogs at the zoo's conservation center; and a lion that died of complications from anesthesia. Questions also have been raised about the deaths of a bobcat, an elephant, two giraffes and a tree kangaroo. A bald eagle was fatally attacked last month by a fox that got into its enclosure.
    Right, but it's just getting blown up the media. The fact that the National fucking Zoo can't keep its animals alive. Clearly everybody's overreacting to the idea that these animals might have a better chance of survival in the wild than in D.C.

    Vomit.

    8.27.2003

    For $100 and an Essay, Win a Home

    A 79-year-old woman who owns a bunch of property in Northern Virginia is essentially raffling it off via an essay contest.

    Wow, I don't know where to start with my hatred for this woman. Among the highlights:

  • She got the idea by watching Oprah.
  • The entry fee is $100. Considering the negative expectation related to your chances of getting a return on your money, that's a considerable gamble that some people are going to take who can't necessarily afford it.
  • "The essays can say anything, 'as long as it's positive.'" Well, clearly I would be a fucking shoo-in. Stupid elderly fucking bitch. Who needs your fucking handouts anyway, wrinkle-bag? First place. Ding.
  • "Students from Washington and Lee University will pare the list of entries for final judging by three anonymous Virginia lawyers, Johnsen said." Again, how could I lose? I'm sure a lot of Virginia lawyers would love my writing.

    But the worst part is that the limit on the essay length is 75 words. What is that, like five sentences? What the fuck can I possibly say in 75 words that's going to convince three anonymous fucking lawyers to give me a house? My writing's fairly compact anyway, but by the end of this sentence, this blog post is at 213 words. And I haven't really said much, except that I hate this particular senior citizen.

    If you decide to enter this contest, you're going to have to write what the three anonymous lawyers want to hear. My recommendation is as follows:

    "Greetings! For a long time, I have wanted a house, and this is my big chance. When my former employer fired me for being a handicapped minority, I was forcibly evicted without notice at gunpoint by my crack-dealing landlord. The state revoked my unemployment benefits after John Ashcroft branded me with a scarlet letter "T" for “Terrorist” on my forehead for checking out library books about Islam.

    Award me the house and I’ll hire you."

    Boom! 75 words, we have a winner. You can thank me while kicking back in your new one-third of an apartment complex from the 1940s.

    A winner is you!
  • 8.25.2003

    Oh well

    I heard that Good Charlotte, a pop-punk band from Annapolis, was added to the NFL Kickoff concert thingy. Wait, I'd better give the official title... "NFL Kickoff Live 2003 presented by Pepsi Vanilla." Gah.

    Now I kind of wish I could go, just to see hear them sing this line from their song "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous"...

    And did you know if you were caught and you were smokin' crack
    McDonalds wouldn't even wanna take you back
    You could always just run for mayor of D.C.
    That'll probably get a cheer on the Mall.

    No New Senators

    This is a funny Slate column about why it would be awful to put a new baseball team in Washington.

    The endless flocks of lightweight Beltway harpies that would descend on the team—"Hey, Bob, let's go down in the stands and talk to George Stephanopoulos"—in short order would render that team the most insufferable sports experience not involving George Will. Except that it likely would involve George Will.

    INS1PID: Personalized Virginia license plates I have hated (part 8 in a series)

    MADE MAN
    DEEEP
    CANN DEE
    UNDRTKR
    WHEELS