Worst of 2004

Bored bored bored bored bored. So very bored. Nothing is going on in this stupid town this week. And I'm apparently the only one who had to work today.

Sooo, let's fall back on that traditional blog staple: biggest things that happened in 2004. Except, for me, of course, it's not so much the "biggest" things as the "retardedest" things.

5. The Bowtie blames the victim. This was weird. D.C. went through a spate of juvenile homicides early in the year, and during the investigation of one 14-year-old witness who was herself murdered execution-style, the city inexplicably tried to color her family as criminal trash. Then, when the mayor finally did schedule a visit the girl's family the offer his condolences, workers cleared the snowy/icy road in front of the family's house. It was the only road in the project that had been salted or cleared. Typical Bowtie. Have fun competing against Mr. Mayor For Life in 2005.

4. The Redskins build 4,000 new seats, but forget to mention the obstructed views to fans. This was the most hilarious local sports stories of the year, and you could argue that the ticket holders were better off not being able to see the 5-10 team anyway. But it was no laughing matter that a lot of people got ripped off, including a friend of mine... let's call him "Paul". Paul bought two of these tickets from the Redskins; they simply did not mention the obstructed view, and wouldn't allow him to check out the seats in person because they were "still being constructed." The face value on these seats is $69, so a pair of these can't-see season tickets set him back $1,380. Not refundable. Yikes.

3. Metro assaults a candy-bar eating patron. Not a good year for Metro; they had countless problems too numerous to mention, including a big head-on collision. But the best thing ever was when the transit police warned a local woman after she finished her delicious Payday candy bar inside the fare gates, she argued, and was taken town like Rodney King. Even better was "Lisa Farbstein's" completely un-apologetic response, a clinic in How Not To Do PR. And, that was also probably my Best Post Ever. Good times.

2. Bush makes light of not being able to find WMDs in Iraq. Politics (by which I mean, discussion of acutal issues and policy) are better left to other, less-stupid blogs. But seriously... this has to be the Worst Thing Ever. Congratulations, Dubya; you got the guy who tried to kill your Dad, and sacrificed thousands of lives in the process. Is it really necessary to mock the deception that started all of it? This, combined with Tenet getting the Medal of Freedom, makes my head asplode.

1. Istook brings red-state fascism to D.C. The worst part about the District is that it's basically run by Congress, which means its residents have to live under the rule of whatever jacked-up retards the rest of the country sees fit to send here. Rep. Ernest Istook of Oklahoma was the best example in 2004; he basically saw an advertisement on Metro he didn't like, and legislated away $92,000 of cash-strapped Metro's funding because of it (The space was worth $46,250; Istook tried to cut twice that amount from Metro's budget "as a warning to other transit agencies.") The law was fortunately struct down by an (activist?) judge, but not before a costly court battle at taxpayer expense. The best part: the ad in question simply criticized the government's anti-drug policies; it didn't even have any boobs in it or anything.

Therefore, I, James, declare Ernest J. Istook, R-Okla., the Fucktard of the Year. Congratulations. You're a complete ass.

But! What was the best thing of the year? It would have to be... Red Jacket Man.

(Artist's rendition removed, I over-trafficked it)

Red Jacket Man saved a man's life, in perhaps the only selfless act committed in D.C. all year, thus extending D.C.'s murderless streak. He was like Mr. T, David Hasselhoff and Jack Scalia rolled into one. All in all, I credit him with forcing the District's homicide rate down by an astonishing 21 percent compared to last year. (OK, maybe better preventive police work had something to do with it. Or the population loss. One of those.)

All right! The end. That was pointless, and I hope you enjoyed it. I'm going to go be bored doing something else. See you in 2005.


Finance it all the way

Former Redskin Ifeanyi Ohalete sued [running back Clinton] Portis in Maryland District Court yesterday over his failure to pay all of the $40,000 he promised Ohalete in exchange for relinquishing No. 26, which the running back had worn the previous two seasons with the Broncos.
I'll bet Clinton's all, "But Ifeany... YOUR JOB'S YOUR CREDIT!"


Some quick stuff

US Airways: blows. Enjoy bankrupcy.

Daniel Snyder: the Devil. Should by all rights be forever haunted by vengeful Indian spirits.

Washington, D.C.: worst sports city in 2004.

U.S. "initial" aid pledge to tsunami victims: less than what it will cost to put on the stupid inauguration next month. I'm so proud.

The funniest thing ever

Not much time to post right just now, so instead, I give you the funniest thing ever. You'll need Windows Media Player.

Click here.


See how easy that was?

Under the final deal, the city will continue to search for private money to cover at least 50 percent of the cost of the ballpark. The District and Major League Baseball will share the cost of insurance against cost overruns. And the city will be liable for $5.3 million for one season of compensatory damages -- compared to $19 million or more in the original deal -- if the stadium does not open by March 2008.
In conclusion: Linda Cropp just saved the city a ton of money on park insurance. All it took was a little haggling. And this is money that the Bowtie would have willingly given up to baseball, without any negotiating whatsoever. All those people who claimed that the owners were on the verge of moving the team to Vegas rather than negotiate... should never play poker. Baseball had little leverage, and the whole "We're shutting down operations! Call now for your refund!" thing was just a toothless scare tactic.

People keep claiming that Cropp was just out to score political points. Well, she deserves them for having the balls to stand up to baseball. I will assign those points right now. She gets 17 points.

Fa la la la la, la la, la, DEATH

'Tis the season for grisly suicides.

The operator hit the brake, but by the time the train stopped, the man's body was between the third and fourth rail cars, Taubenkibel said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ewww. So, great holiday memories for everyone involved.

Oh, and just FYI, there's probably an armed robber running around downtown, who escaped after hitting that well-known cash cow, the Rite-Aid pharmacy.

P.S. Even if you manage to avoid contracting lead poisoning from the water, it could still turn you into a woman. So watch out for that.


He really did say it

The Bowtie, on ESPN: "I think some of these jackass council members [blah blah blah]" and I didn't listen to the rest that closely because the mayor just said "jackass" in a national interview. Seriously. Tony seems like a smart guy, but he may be the godawfulest politician ever. My suspicions were confirmed after reading that Post article this weekend. He basically was ready to give baseball owners everything they wanted, without doing any negotiating whatsover. He's, at worst, in the pocket of the baseball owners, and, at best, a gigantic pussy.

Remember when Tony said, "I actually think historians are going to look back and say I brought this city back, and that I'm one of the best mayors in the country right now"?

Yeah. That was awesome.

Meanwhile, there was also this bizzare column by Marc Fisher in Sunday's paper. It purports to explain how baseball can be a positive force for racial unity. Unfortunately, he chose to use the Senators Mark I as an example. What was his second choice, Pat Buchanan? Sens owner Carl Griffith, now residing in Hell, steadfastly refused to desegregate the roster until well after Jackie Robinson's debut, and also came up with the unusual innovation of segregated bleachers.

Then he goes into this story of this one guy who loved the team; alas, he was black. He wanted to be on the radio, but had to sit on the roof because the team didn't allow blacks in the press box. He essentially had to trick a radio station into broadcasting his show. And in a book about the Senators, the author "notes that black Washington repeatedly rose above the racism of baseball's owners to embrace the team as a point of civic pride." Well, that's not really racial unity, is it? They're enjoying the team despite being repatedly stepped on.

[Hal Jackson] believes to this day that sports is a powerful tool blacks can use to pry their way into the white power structure.
Don't know if that's necessarily the lesson we want to be teaching our black youngsters. Number of black majority owners of a major professional sports team in America: 1 (Bob Johnson). Number in baseball: zero.

Fisher doesn't mention that in the 1940s, when the Grays of the Negro League started playing in Griffith Stadium, blacks eventually started going to those games instead of the Senators' games, which finally prompted the team's move to whiter pastures (Minnesota). So, in the end, baseball really was a racial divider!

Anyway, somehow, this is all supposed to be relevant to Washington's current situation:

That's the choice Linda Cropp, the D.C. Council chairman who stands between Washington and baseball, faces right now: Ride to higher office on a wave of spite or bring us together. History teaches the right answer.
Say whaaa? I haven't really heard race brought up in the context of the Nationals (at least, not by the people involved). But it sounds like Fisher's arguing that, in the interest of racial harmony, predominantly black D.C. should give 29 white baseball owners a free $600 million-plus stadium. This makes sense how?

Mlah. Nobody here even knows how to approach talking about racial harmony, let alone actually practice it. For more hilarious sports-related racism, read this article about George Preston Marshall, original owner of the Redskins, now also residing in Hell:

"We'll start signing Negroes," Marshall once quipped, "when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites."
That's sports in D.C. for you: always a uniter.


The perfect way to start your day

I'm pretty sure that when my clock radio woke me up this morning, the Bowtie was being interviewed, and that he said the anti-stadium forces on the council were being "jackasses." But now I can't find any evidence of that online. Maybe I dreamed it.

Either way: awesome.


Why am I not on the take yet?

From Howard Kurtz's column:

Want to understand the real business of Washington?

"Facing consumer clamor for cheaper drugs from abroad and official inquiries into the fatal side effects of some medications," says the Los Angeles Times, "the pharmaceutical industry said Wednesday it is hiring one of the capital's savviest lawmakers as its top lobbyist.

"Rep. W.J. 'Billy' Tauzin, who just had jurisdiction over the industry as the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, will become president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America on Jan. 3, when his retirement from Congress takes effect. . . .

"The 13-term Louisiana Republican will go from a congressional salary of $158,100 a year to more than $1 million, according to a source. As a committee chairman last year, Tauzin helped to write the law to provide outpatient prescription coverage under Medicare."

What an amazing coincidence!
Utterly and absolutely VOMITOUS.

Baseball is such a dramatic sport

ESPN reports that baseball could potentially make more money by contracting the Natxpos and one other team, because the remaining owners would collectively get a bigger cut of the TV contract pie. However, that couldn't happen for a couple years; in the meantime, where do they play? Back in Montreal?

The team is being so melodramatic... it's great. Even though D.C. supposedly has until Dec. 31 to work things out with the team, the Nationals yesterday called off the unveiling of the jerseys, suspended operations, stopped selling merchandise, and even offered to refund season ticket deposits! They're pulling out every scare tactic in the book... but still haven't said where they'll play if it's not here. There's simply nothing lined up for next season at this point.

I have to say again: it's so much fun watch a city pull this on baseball, instead of the other way around. After all the decades of baseball doing the baiting and switching (e.g. the old Nationals Mark II left after less than a decade, and Bud's own Brewers were stolen from Seattle after just one season), seeing the tables finally turned on them is totally worth not getting a team.

ESPN has a good column by Jim Caple that says Cropp's demand doesn't sound unreasonable. And he mentions St. Louis, where the Cardinals are building a new park using almost exclusively private funding.


What those Nats jerseys they were going to unveil look like



Um, $190? They might be collectors' items, but no thanks.

Why is Linda Cropp the only one with any BALLS?

OK, you guys know I love baseball, right? I've got box scores at home, I used to go to about 20 games a year, yada yada yada.

So are you surprised that Linda Cropp is my new personal hero?

It's true. I'm in love with this woman. She put her foot down, and said, "I'm not willing to suck Bud Selig's dick in order to get a baseball team" (I'm paraphrasing). With a masterstroke of legislative manuevering, she's painted baseball, and Mayor "You Will Respect The Bowtie" Williams, into a corner.

"Nobody puts Tony in a corner!" the mayor was heard to say as he stormed out. "Now where's my dancing posse?"

OK, not really. Actually, it was even more hilarious than that:

Williams left the John A. Wilson Building without commenting on Cropp's actions and before the council voted on the legislation. A half-dozen police officers formed a cordon to shield him from reporters as he left the council chamber. The officers scuffled briefly with reporters as they tried to follow the mayor into a public hallway leading to his offices.

Reporters ultimately cornered the mayor in an elevator and demanded to know why he had taken the unusual step of enlisting the police as reporters tried to question him.

"I don't want to talk to anybody, okay?" Williams said.
OK, everybody put on your best Lil John voices... "YEAAAA-UHHHHH! What you gon' do, Bowtie? SHIT!"

I love it. I really do. This really makes me way too happy.

OK, yeah, so maybe, no baseball team for Washington in the long run. But consider:

1. It's partially baseball's fault for delaying so long. This whole "maybe we'll move the Expos to Washington", lest we forget, has been going on since the end of the 2001 season when baseball failed in its efforts to contract two teams. They could have moved the team here two or three years ago, but kept delaying and delaying and delaying some more. The deadline kept getting pushed back; meanwhile, baseball has been consistently losing money in Montreal and San Juan, waiting around for some sucker to come along and promise full public financing for a new stadium. And that sucker came along in the form of... the Bowtie. But all the delaying didn't leave much time to do any actual negotiating. The Council was expected to kowtow to a financially irresponsible plan in the space of a couple months, and it just didn't happen.

2. But... we had an agreement! I love how everytime someone interviewed the Bowtie over the last few weeks, he'd be all: "But... but... we have an agreement!" OK, see, the thing is: D.C. is not a dictatorship. You can make a hundred agreements with the Bud, if you want; it won't actually mean anything. They could have agreed to replace the Lincoln Memorial with the Bud Memorial... Doesn't matter! Wearing the bowtie doesn't give you absolute power over the city and its finances. And, as you might expect...

3. The agreement suxored. This. City. Should. Not. Be. Fully funding. A baseball stadium. Period. We're talking about D.C. here, people. Does anybody remember last year, when they had to fire 422 people from the school system and cancel raises and sports programs due to budget cuts? How can a city that can't pay for its fucking schools agree to spend potentially $600 million on a baseball stadium, the financial benefits of which are going to go almost completely to the team's owners? (And yeah, there are residual business and gentrification effects on the local economy, but it sure as hell isn't going to be $500-$600 million worth.)

Consider San Francisco. They play in a ballpark that was constructed using private funds only. The team leases the land from the city at fair market value. And, by all accounts, it's the best park in baseball, at no cost to the city.

The consider what went down in Milwaukee with Miller Park, where the attendance for Bud Selig's Brewers has dropped to half capacity and the team remains uncompetitive, despite promising that a new park would lead to better teams.

And yeah, there's no owner in place yet for the Nationals to help secure the private funding, but again, that's baseball's fault. Right now the other 29 owners own the team; they're the ones losing money in Montreal; they're the ones who voted to move to Washington. They're also the ones who will profit when they sell the team, and so they should help come up with funding for the kind of park they want. Otherwise, this deal is just a tax revenue giveaway to baseball owners.

4. This whole situation has generated some of the best local news photos, ever.

You'll have to check out the Post for more. Clip and save. Put 'em on the fridge. You won't get more entertaining photos the rest of the decade.

5. D.C., for the first time, actually has some leverage. I actually feel like this is a good time to be playing chicken with the Bud. The team has to play in RFK next year; they don't have a choice. It's too late to go back to Montreal, and that would be a futile low-attendance money-losing proposition anyway, compared to what's likely going to be high attendance at RFK. Plus, none of the other cities (Vegas, Dulles, Monterrey, etc.) previously in the running for the team have a major-league-level stadium currently available. Which means that the Nationals, whether baseball likes it or not, are stuck at RFK for the next three years anyway. We're holding them prisoner! Or, at the very least, we've got a captive team and can still negotiate with them in the meantime. Yeah, it might not work out and they might move after two or three years. But who cares? D.C. gets baseball right now, and some other stupid city can spend $600-whatever million on a ballpark if they want.

In conclusion, this is great and I love it. And there is one more person who deserves our praise:

Adam Eidinger, the guy who jumped up on stage at the Nationals unveiling press conference and managed to say into the microphone, "This is a bad deal, people!" before being pulled off-stage. Adam, you did it; somebody finally, really, listened. To those about to dork... we salute you.


To the retards go the spoils

WJLA: The official station of the Justice League of America

I don't know how it is that straight-laced Washington has the best TV columnist in the country, but Lisa de Moraes is indeed the bomb. Her creativity and spunk (I hate spunk!) really seem out of place in the Post. Notice the bracketed replacement of the word "Redskins," which is also one of my favorite techniques.

In the capital of the Free World, however, people were denied the opportunity to see "Desperate Housewives" on Sunday night. WJLA once again shoved its No. 1 program out of prime time and into the wee hours of Monday morning to broadcast another lousy [wildly inappropriate local football team's name] loss at the same time it was telecast on ESPN.


When WJLA finally did air "Desperate Housewives" -- beginning at approximately 12:45 a.m. Monday -- it cut 4 1/2 minutes from the episode. (It also misplaced one 3 1/2-minute ad break.)
To find out about the missing scenes, read the rest of her column.



A Hagerstown couple sues Wal-Mart because the Evanescence CD they bought from there contains the f-word! (Flan?)

"I don't want any other families to get this, expecting it to be clean. It needs to be removed from the shelves to prevent other children from hearing it," said plaintiff Trevin Skeens of Brownsville.
Trevin Skeens? THE Trevin Skeens?

Just kidding, I have no idea who that is. I just like saying "Trevin Skeens." Anyway, the lawsuit seeks damages of $74,500; what was damaged, I'm not sure. Hopefully, the Skeens children are not reading this: your parents are a couple of fucking pussies.


Sports roundup, in alphabetical order

Capitals: Still locked out. It's for the best; I went to Lethbridge, Alberta, over Thanksgiving, and the newspaper there was deciding the hockey standings, on a game-by-game basis, using a roll of the dice. Even in a completely random alternate hockey universe, the Caps were last in their division.

Nationals: I knew I'd seen that boring logo somewhere before! Separated at birth:


I'll have the, um... José Vidro super combo special.

(Tough to think of a player name to fill in there.)

Redskins: Not much offense this year. In fact, Papa Johns, the "official pizza of the Washington Redskins" (because if the fans can't tell from bad football, I guess they won't be able to tell from bad pizza either), had to alter the deal they've been running the past couple years. They had been giving customers one free topping and one free coke for each touchdown scored by the Redskins; but since the team has become allergic to the end zone, they're now spotting everyone two toppings. Hilarious. I guess everyone got tired of plain cheese pizza.

Wizards: They started 10-5, but did the curse of Les Boullez finally rear its ugly tête? Kwame Brown, former #1 pick and current #1 head case, was suspended for conduct detrimental. Seems Kwame was upset at getting a talking-to from coach Eddie Jordan about his defensive play against the Nuggets (rightfully so), and decided the best way to respond was by sitting on the bench and refusing to go back into the game. Aww, centers are so cute until get into those terrible 22's. Enjoy free agency next season, little Kwame!


Washington appreciates the arts, after a reasonable cooling-off period

I wasn't invited to the Kennedy Center Honors last weekend, which is probably a good thing, since I'm sure I would have wound up throwing objects on the stage during Billy Joel's rendition of "Bennie and the Jets."

Actually, it might have been fun to go just to watch those in attendance squirm in their seats, during Robert Downey Jr.'s speech:

[Downey] said he -- like losing presidential candidate John Kerry -- was suffering "from acute symptoms of another dual-diagnosis disease of mine: the ADD, of course, the altruistic Democrat disorder."

That drew nervous laughter from the audience, which included Sen. Kerry as well as President and Mrs. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, Secretary of State Colin Powell and the woman nominated to replace him, Condoleezza Rice.
He also introduced Elton John as "the other first lady." Which by itself is only mildly funny, but in the context of doing it at the Kennedy Center Honors is comedy gold.

That's the paradox of this bizarre yearly ceremony: Washington does its best to suppress anybody who tries to be edgy or daring or push the societal envelope. But then, 30 years later, it lavishes praise on those same people with a big-ass lifetime acheivement ceremony.

Elton showed up on stage with his long-time life partner, and has been highly outspoken against Bush; and yet, there's President Homophobe himself, clapping along in time (at least, as best a Republican can) with Kid Rock's (!) rendition of "Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting." Ossie Davis, also honored, was good friends with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcom X back in the day... I'm sure he was real popular around here for that. Hell, just for that they probably had an FBI file on him. Thirty years later, now Washington's ready to accept him as an artistic hero.

But my favorite example of the thirty-years-later-now-we-like-you honoree from this past ceremony was Warren Beatty. Here's a guy who pushed the envelope a great deal with his films; as he said so himself at the ceremony, "So much of what I have experienced in life has to do with the contrast and confluence of arts and politics."

His resume is like a primer in generating controversy. Bonnie and Clyde sort of makes you feel for its titular (best word ever!) anti-heroes, until they're mercilessly and brutally gunned down in an orgy of gunfire. Violence so graphic and visceral hadn't really been shown that way before.

Later, Beatty won an Oscar for Reds, a love story about Socialists. I'm sure that went over real well here.

Umm, let's forget about Ishtar for now.

I think his most underrated movie was Bulworth. From the opening scene it's unflinching in its jabs at American politicians:

What it comes down to is a politician who can no longer bring himself to recite the words, "America is standing on the doorstep of a new millennium." Over and over and over again he has repeated the same mindless platitudes, the same meaningless baloney, the same hot air. Now he sits in his office, playing one of his stupid TV commercials on an endless loop. He has not eaten or slept in three days. He is sick to the soul of the American political process.
Yeah, it's kind of ham-handed in places, but it's absolutely priceless when Beatty (as Bulworth), thinking he has three days to live, becomes a rapping truth teller:

Angry black woman: Are you sayin' the Democratic Party don't care about the African-American community?
Bullworth: Isn't that OBVIOUS? You got half your kids are out of work and the other half are in jail. Do you see ANY Democrat doing anything about it? Certainly not me! So what're you gonna do, vote Republican? Come on! Come on, you're not gonna vote Republican! Let's call a spade a spade!
[Loud, angry booing]
Bullworth: I mean - come on! You can have a Billion Man March! If you don't put down that malt liquor and chicken wings, and get behind someone other than a running back who stabs his wife, you're NEVER gonna get rid of somebody like me!


Bullworth: Yo, everybody gonna get sick someday / But nobody knows how they gonna pay / Health care, managed care, HMOs / Ain't gonna work, no sir, not those / 'Cause the thing that's the same in every one of these / Is these motherfuckers there, the insurance companies!
Cheryl and Tanya: Insurance! Insurance!
Bullworth: Yeah, yeah / You can call it single-payer or Canadian way / Only socialized medicine will ever save the day! Come on now, lemme hear that dirty word - SOCIALISM!
Somehow, I don't think they played these scenes on the big screen at the Kennedy Center Opera House. In front of the President. Instead, attendants did get an embarrassing Colin Powell rap as a "tribute." I. Wish. I. Was kidding.

Powell toasted honoree Warren Beatty by parodying the actor's role as a rapping politician in the movie Bulworth: "I'm Colin Luther Powell/Public service is my thing/Don't do it for the fame/Don't do it for the bling."
Glarrrghhh. Um, Mr. Powell, did you see the movie? Hell, did anybody in attendance actually watch any of Beatty's films? Or all they all just playing lip service to how great he is because that's what everyone else is doing?

Here's another clip written by Beatty that they could have shown (you want uncomfortable Washingtonians squirming in their chairs? I'll give you uncomfortable squirming):

L.D.: I'm giving them entry-level positions into the only growth-sector occupation that's truly open to them right now. That's the substance supply industry. They gonna run this shit someday. They gonna have the whole empire. Man, y'all don't give a fuck about it. You greedy-ass politicians. That's what you tell me every time that y'all vote to cut them school programs; every time y'all vote to cut them funds to the job programs. What the fuck; how a... how a young man gonna take care of his financial responsibilities workin' at motherfuckin' Burger King? He ain't. He ain't, and please don't even start with the school shit. They ain't no education goin' on up in that motherfucker. 'Cause y'all motherfuckin' politicians done fucked the shit up. So what they gonna do? What's a young man supposed to do then, right? What's he gonna do? He gonna come to me, that's what he's gonna do. Why? 'Cause I'm a businessman, and as a businessman, you gotta limit your liabilities. And that's what these shorties offer me: limited liabilities; because of their limited vulnerability to legal sanctions, man. It's the same fuckin' thing in politics, Dog. You find an edge, you gotta exploit that shit. That's why y'all sent all them motherfuckin' teenagers to Iraq. Die over some motherfuckin' oil money. Send the motherfuckin' CIA up in the 'hood with all the fuckin yayos. Slangin' in the hood man. It's the same shit in politics.
Beatty didn't even produce or direct The Parallax View, just starred in it, but I'd love to sit the President down and make him watch the scary brainwashing montage scene, and watch him have an accident in his presidental trousers.

It's exactly this kind of truthfulness and edginess that Washington tries to suppress. Take a look at Alexandria's own Parents Television Council. They write down everything... everything... they find offensive on TV, for the purpose of, I don't know, getting Michael Powell to fine them. Either that or to catalog specifically what gets them off. Didn't we unseat this regime already, and wasn't it called the Taliban?

" 'Nip/Tuck' is so much sex," she says, "and it's really graphic. Like people having sex and snorting cocaine off someone's bare butt at the same time; people having sex with sex dolls; threesomes." Then there's the mother-son incest and suicide: In the season finale, the son stabs himself as they hug.

"I mean, incest is evil; why dramatize it? It's like a sick, twisted thing that people do that really hurts people," she says -- and no, it doesn't help that the mother turns out to be transsexual.
Yes, what indeed is the point of showing evil, hurtful things that people do to each other? That's just going to make people feel bad. And we can't have that. Heaven fucking forbid.

So anyway, I think it's funny. Washington appreciates actors and artists who push the envelope, and their contribution to American culture, as long as they do it at the safe distance of 30 years in the past.

I half expect Howard Stern to be up on that Kennedy Center stage 30 years from now, throwing half-peeled bananas at some half-naked stripper. I'll bet it brings the house down.

Home Prices Outpace Area Wages

Yeah, no shit. Translation: I'm never getting a house.


Three things I would like out of my city

1) I like to be able to explore without fearing for my life.

A violent mugging and other recent crimes in and around an abandoned park in Columbia Heights have re-energized longstanding complaints by neighbors for police to take swift action. In the most recent instance, a man was mugged for just 41 cents on the way to buy a newspaper from the BP gas station yards away from his home.
The murder rate has gone down thanks to better police work, but D.C. is still the second most dangerous city in the country.

2) More local flavor and personality; fewer chains. I'm all for the development in Chinatown, near MCI Center, which is becoming one of my favorite hangouts. The new movie theaters look nice (although they presumably feature the fucking 2WENTY, which I have sworn to destroy). But the retail outfits they're putting in predictablly comprise a chain-store yuppie fantasyland: Ann Taylor, Aveda, Benetton, Urban Outfitters, Clyde’s, Sport and Health Clubs. I think there will also be three or four Starbucks. Per capita.

And they're putting in (really expensive) condos above that... at least somebody's using vertical space intelligently for a change. I can't afford to live there, but I think I could simulate it if I pitched a tent in the Tysons Corner parking garage and fed on a steady diet of $50 bills.

(Seriously, did the world need another Clyde's? And that's going to be right across from Legal Sea Foods. How is it that the most mediocre restaurants here thrive and multiply the most? Anyway.)

3. A city where everything doesn't fucking close down at 6 p.m. I was heading to a concert at DAR Constitution Hall a couple months ago; the show started at 8, and I figured I could just grab a quick bite in the neighborhood beforehand.

Ahhh, but that's where I was apparently the chump. As soon as all the workers leave the business district for the day, everything closes. I was walking all around the area from Farragut West station to DAR and couldn't find a damn thing open. Oh, there was a McDonald's with a line of about 20 angry-looking people waiting... decided to pass on that one. And, I hoped to sneak into Potbelly and get a sandwich before they closed. No such luck. Then I walked past an endless stream of cafes that roll up the red carpet at 6.

Eventually, I found a cheap-ass pizza-by-the-slice place, and ordered a mediocre slice of half-day-old pizza. There were two other people in the restaurant, which thankfully didn't close until 8, I think. But wow, I hate going downtown and walking around in the dark, or on the weekend, and finding out that everything's closed... I feel like I'm alone in a ghost town. It's the middle of a major metropolitan area, and yet there's no vitality and no community once work ends for the day. Bleh.

Merry Christmas! You're fired.

After AOL loses 2 million subsribers, 750 will lose their jobs.

Speaking of AOL, I noticed Ted Leonisis in the front row at the Wizards game the other day. Apparently "low fat diet" was not on his list of 101 things to do before dies.



The chances that anybody reading this was among the 13,000 at the BB&T Classic yesterday are small. But, in the second half of the GW-Maryland game, during the first TV time out, if you saw a dorky looking guy in a goofy Colonials hat sinking some baskets, including an NBA 3-pointer, to win free JetBlue tickets... that was totally me.

I'm not kidding. I can't believe it either. And I'd like to think I provided a spark to GW, who went on to beat Maryland by nine. Ahhh.

Now I'm just in way too good a mood to post cranky things. Sorry! Try again later.


Double plus ungood

Former CIA head George Tenet outlines his philosophy about Internet security. It's a slam dunk! (Oops, he's still sensitive about that...)

Mr. Tenet pointed out that the modernization of key industries in the United States is making them more vulnerable by connecting them with an Internet that is open to attack.

The way the Internet was built might be part of the problem, he said. Its open architecture allows Web surfing, but that openness makes the system vulnerable, Mr. Tenet said.

Access to networks like the World Wide Web might need to be limited to those who can show they take security seriously, he said.
Mr. Tenet, I hereby apologize on behalf of myself and the Internet for using satire to confuse the good people of America. Also, sorry about all the porn.

[Internet Over]


Sports Guy

REDSKINS (-2) over Giants
Washington scored 23 points total in the last three weeks. The Giants scored 30 points total in the last three weeks. This is the kind of game where Fox should try a crazy experiment -- like the Hilton Sisters working as sideline reporters, or the cast of "House" announcing the third quarter. "You're risking a quarterback's life!"


Public transportation is for plebes!

The Post reports today that the majority of Metro board members rarely, if ever, use Metro. Wow, you don't say. We all just died from shock.

I think that, most people, if given a important policy-making position on a major city's public transportation board, would probably make a point of using the system to see how well it gets them around town. Or, at least, take it upon themselves to do a little field research, and ride a train or a bus once in a while to get a feel for things like timeliness of service, how customers are treated, etc. etc.

Ahhh, but... this is Washington. Where "public service" and "civic responsibility" are eschewed, in favor of the philosophy, "How much money can I make without actually doing any real work?" Thus, the Metro board members don't actually ride Metro. Because that would be, you know, so inconvenient.

[D.C. Metro board representative Gladys] Mack said her schedule is too busy to rely on public transportation. "My travel, my destinations and my time frames make it very difficult for me to use the system," said Mack, who lives near the Friendship Heights Metro station and works near Howard University [which also has its own station! -JF]. "I would have to take two trains and two buses. . . . It just makes it very inconvenient for me to depend on the system on a regular basis."
OH, YOU DON'T FUCKING SAY! It's too inconvenient and time-consuming to use Metro for your daily commute. Gee, Gladys, if only someone in a position to do something about that would step up and... oh, wait a minute... you're in a position to do something about that, bitch!

Un-fucking-real. Gladys also refused to share her SmarTrip card data with the Post, because:

"I am just very sensitive with what happens with private information that is collected electronically. It's just kind of a fetish I have. I am just really concerned about my information being shared."
Eww. Well, only in Washington would someone get turned on by freedom of information privacy issues, I guess. (And, furthermore, her SmarTrip card is comped by Metro, and is thus paid for by the public... don't we have a right to see how she's using it?)

Here are some more fun quotes that make me want to kill:

Several board members said their transit use has nothing to do with their job performance. "We're a policy board. I'm not called upon to know whether or not something is working at the Gallery Place Station," said D.C. Council member Jim Graham, who represents the city on the Metro board and drives most places. "I'm appropriately involved with the problems of the system."
That's not really the point, fuckhead! You can't adequately set the policy for Metro if you don't even know what its like to fucking use the system. If Metro is something good for the community that we should all use, why are you driving your car all around town? Doesn't that signal to you a fundamental problem that needs addressing? Or are you just completely fucking retarded?!

Metro Chief Executive Richard A. White recently resumed riding the subway each day after four years of driving to work from Fairfax County in a Metro-issued sport-utility vehicle. He has said that daily riding has opened his eyes to problems and weaknesses that need attention.
Read that again. The CEO of Metro has been driving an SUV to work for the past FOUR FUCKING YEARS. WOW. At least now he's riding every day, and surprise surprise, he says it's beneficial to help him see problems and weaknesses.

I will give props to one of the 12 board members, Charles Deegan, who actually has his head screwed on correctly. He's the newest member, which apparently means he just hasn't been corrupted yet:

"I really enjoy riding the train and the buses, and that's how I learn," said Deegan, who lives in Beltsville and has spent free time exploring the subway lines and buses since joining the Metro board. "The big thing is to experience what the public experiences. That's the way to have any credibility as a board member, I believe."
Oh my God... that all makes sense! When the other board members see that he's actually taking pride in serving the community... oh dear Lord, they'll kill him! Run away, little Charles Deegan! RUNNNNN!

Deegan said the public has a right to know whether he uses the system, especially since the public pays for his SmarTrip card. "It's just the right thing to do," he said.


MCI on the bay

How funny is it that the Golden State Wizards managed to squeak through November with a winning record (7-5)... and that's the first time they've had a winning record in November in the last 20 years? What an incredible stat.

At least this year's version can actually shoot. They're scoring 102 points per game, which is a much bigger miracle than that grilled cheese sandwich that looks like the Virgin Mary. Now that perpetual whiner Stackhouse is gone, and they've got a decent group of starters, they might actually be fun to watch.

But how does the team not go bankrupt, charging Michael Jordan-era prices to see the Warriors' castoffs? In the past two weeks, I've found eBay auctions for tickets that allowed me to buy them at rates of $25 for $80+ seats, and $6.50 plus shipping for $48 seats. Granted, I'm not going to the biggest games (Dallas on a Sunday afternoon, and New Jersey tonight), but still... that's a little more like it. I think we know that Washingtoniers will go to see any basketball, at all, if the price is right (judging from those Mystics "attendance champs" banners... heh, they must be so proud).

Adios, motherfucking Reston

Everything's come full circle. You may recall I was laid off from my job last February; today, I'm back at that job, which inexplicably opened back up. I'm back, thankfully, at the McLean/Tysons office (not far from Wasp Lane!).

In fact, strangely, nothing has changed. I'm in the same office I was before. My name was still on the door. The phone number's the same. My message and password were still on the voicemail system. I'm back on the exact same task I was before. And, as before, there's no actual work to be done. I'm guess I'm back to being a full-time blogger... heh.

All year, of course, I'd been working at my company's headquarters in Reston. Dear fucking Lord it was awful. Just such a bizarre environment; people were really grouchy for no reason. Nobody actually talked to each other unless they had a problem. The day I arrived, I wasn't introduced to anyone; the day I left, nobody said goodbye.

It did get better after those first few months. I had this awful, grouchy old cripple of a boss; he eventually left. My "office" was a conference room shared with two other people; we eventually got a real offi... er, well, cubicle space. But at least it had a window, and all my bosses were downstairs, which meant I didn't have to see them too often.

But the best part about leaving is that I'm no longer working for the military; I'm back to working on general aviation stuff. My powers will no longer be used for evil! In celebration, I'm performing a little requiem for MFing Reston. I hope I never have to set foot in that vanilla bean "neighborhood" again. I'm throwing my SmartTag in the trash. (And then digging it out again when I realize it can get me through the tolls up to Atlantic City.)

Most memorable Reston moment? I think it's going to have to be when my boss said he used to live on Elden Street in Herndon, and that it was a "rough neighborhood." His actual quote:

"We should hire those temporary [Hispanic] workers who hang around the 7-11 on Elden St. in Herndon." No longer joking: "I used to live around there; it's a really bad neighborhood."

Ugghh. This guy was really a piece of work. His hairstyle calls to mind what the mascot for a brillo pad company might look like. He was a self-described "control freak", and that was putting it mildly; he drove me and my co-workers nuts with all kinds of over-the-top rules and meetings. In his office, he has a whiteboard and 10 different colored markers; there was a piece of paper with this name and phone number attached to every single dry-erase marker. (Where are they going to go? The dry-erase black market?) His favorite quote was, "Well, this is how we did it at [name of failed telecom currently embroiled in accounting scandal]," which apparently means that's the right way to do it in every possible working evironment, since it clearly helped them out a lot.

Bottom line: I never have to see or talk to this man again. AND THAT MEANS IT'S FUCKING PARTY TIME. Adios, fuckjob!

The Portrait of Dorian Farbstein

The Metro rail system appears to have aged 100 years just in the last month. Add cracked rails on the Red Line to the list of recent problems: one derailment, one ceiling collapse, one fire, one flooding, one runaway train/head-on collision.

Thanks again to all state governments involved, and the federal government, for refusing to pony up for Metro. You've successfully turned our major subway system into a giant clusterfuck. BRAV-FUCKING-O. Oh, I'll bet it's time to raise fares again to make up for it! Yayyy!


Where's your God now?

Number of season after Joe Gibbs' return to coaching before someone suggested he be fired:


You know I loved this article

Mass consumption of high fashion by teenagers! It's like the textbook example of ghetto rich! If... there was a textbook... um... that dealt with being ghetto rich. Actually, judging from some of these kids, maybe there should be:

His first luxury purchase was a pair of shiny black Gucci pants that he bought freshman year for $450 -- all the money he had received for his 14th birthday.

"I'm trying to do it big," he explained.


"People are always telling me that I walk through the hallways like it's a fashion show," Brandon said. "I tell them: 'Boo, it's my fashion show. It's my runway.' "
What a fine, fine, gay young man he's growing up to be. Seriously, could somebody please sit Brandon down and explain to him that pants shouldn't cost $450? Especially if you're going to outgrown them?

Gloria Baume, fashion market director for Teen Vogue, said girls often tell her, "I am going to put all my baby-sitting money away until I can afford the Louis Vuitton pouch."
Pouch? Umm, she'll be the most fashionable kangaroo girl in school? I guess?

Wow, these kids are spending their entire allowance for the year on Prada, because they just have to impress their peers. It's the same pointless status competition I see... well, among Washingtonians my age who should know better.

Oh, and in a totally unrelated story, this clinical psychologist is finding that the "earn-and-spend" mentality ingrained into her patients is making them feel unhappy and spiritually empty. Funny that this article was publised yesterday, before the one about the kids wearing Prada.

So here we are: a generation of fashionistas and Samurai shoppers with full closets and empty hearts.
Now that's the Washington I know and love... we're all Scrooge and no Cratchit.

One thing I don't hate

OK, I survived Thanksgiving. And if I have to give thanks for one thing in D.C... I'd go with the National Transportation Safety Board.

I think that's the one government agency I actually respect. Whenever there's a big transportation accident, like a plane crash, they're on top of it. They go over every single detail; all the evidence is analyzed, everybody involved is interviewed. And, at the end of their investigation, they spell out exactly what went wrong, and specify exactly what needs to be done to prevent something similar from happening again. The NTSBers the reason I feel safe when I fly; they actually do their job really, really well.

And unlike some agencies, they aren't completely beholden to corporate or industrial interests (I'm looking at you, FDA, EPA), and they haven't collapsed under the weight of their own beauracracy (at least, not enough to limit their usefulness).

So, thanks guys.


Wait, what?

I was mentioned in Washingtonian?

Isn't that, like, the magazine for snobby people trying to convince themselves they're actually important socialites from New York? Isn't there a minimum wage requirement for reading it? I don't think the postal service is even legally allowed to deliver it to my shitty apartment.

At any rate, I'm sure I'll be drifting back to why.i.hate.dc now that football is over, and also because I'm moving back to my old job, where there's apparently still no actual work for me to do. I'll be back to being a full-time blogger.

But's it's going to be hard, because I find lately that I'm happier the more ignorant I am.

In fact, I've decided that ignorance really is the driving force behind Washington. If you shield yourself enough from what really goes on in this city, you might be able to somehow tolerate it without going mad. Metro rail falling apart? Bridges about to collapse? Don't worry about that; it will fix itself. Without more money!

Crime and poverty? Not a problem in my state/county/neighborhood, thus not my problem.

Huge deficits in D.C.? Let's lay off hundreds of public school teachers and build a $600 million baseball stadium!

The problem is, if I actually keep up with local events, as I have in the past, it really starts to weigh on me. I don't even have any control or power over anything, but still this stuff just infuriates and depresses me. The less I pay attention, the less depressed and infuriated I am. This must be Congress' philosophy as well, judging from their D.C. track record.

Meanwhile, I've lamented in the past about D.C. trying to make the rest of the country like itself. And it appears to have happened. Here's what the federal debt looks like:

11/19/2004        $7,497,665,301,236.87

09/30/2004 $7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003 $6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002 $6,228,235,965,597.16
09/28/2001 $5,807,463,412,200.06

Now the whole country is ghetto rich, just like D.C. Why does this not bother anyone? What are we going to do, consolidate all our debts into one convenient low monthly payment? It don't work that way, people!

"But the economy is doing so well!" Yeah, if you pour $1.6 trillion of borrowed money into our economy, all of a sudden it looks like it's doing really well. It's like magic! And clearly, since that worked so well, instead of paying it back, what we need to do is increase the fucking debt ceiling. BRILLIANT. FUCKING. IDEA. It's tantamount to maxing out our credit card, and now, instead of reconsidering buying that $900 massage chair from Brookstone, we're calling the bank to ask them to raise our limit. I now refuse to have kids, just so that they don't have to be around when the economy collapses under all that debt.

But back to Washington. I know there are a lot of otherwise smart people here. People who finished near the tops of their classes at Yale and whatnot. And, after moving here, they use that clout to get into junior positions of power and influence; be it in politics, law, journalism etc. Then, once they've done that, they start to use their powers not to help others, but to lobby for themselves. They find very intelligent-sounding ways to absolve themselves of social responsibility. Translation: "I'm looking out for #1, bitches! You're not getting any fucking lunch money from me! Fuck all a y'all A-rabs."

So, when I think about who a "Washingtonian" is, this is who I picture:

A smart 31-year-old who just missed out on being a Rhodes scholar. Working for a Congressman, perhaps lately trying to backpedal for inserting Orwellian passages into the latest budget bill. (Yes, I'm talking about my old friends Istook and Micha.) Sitting in a party, wearing a sweater vest and sipping on a Smirnoff Ice. Laughing at how diners at the Cheesecake Factory are eating "mangy waste." Dreaming of the day they can make $300,000 a year lobbying for the pesticide industry or something.

But enough about Washingtonians. I'm going to try to think about them as little as possible, because they're just going to bring me down. Instead, I'm going to get the fuck outta town and enjoy Thanksgiving. The hard-core hating can wait until I get back. As a wise man once said, "All these pussy niggas putting money on my head? Go on get your refund, motherfucker. I ain't dead."


The best of both worlds

Oh man... a couple of priceless articles in the Post yesterday.

Did you see the profile of my man Lee Van Cleef? I mean, Philip Van Cleave?

Something of a night owl, Van Cleave likes to take walks around the lake in his subdivision around midnight. When he does, he "double carries" in case an assailant knocks one weapon out of his hand. It's not about fear, he said. "Who would do that if they were afraid? The word is preparedness."
I nearly had a heart attack from laughing so much. He double carries in his subdivision. In case someone knocks the first gun out of his hand And I'm sure his subdivision is a war zone at midnight. Where does he live, A-Team Piney Forest Lakes?

The man has never even fired a gun outside a firing range, and has never been the victim of any crime worse than car stereo theft. And yet, he insists on getting open carrying of firearms legal everywhere in densely populated Northern Virginia, including airports and legistative chambers. Even the NRA thinks he should dial it down a few notches. Does that not tell you everything you need to know about the man?

Or, put another way...

DEAR FUCKING LORD. I can't believe this INSANE PARANOID FUCK-JOB is deciding this state's gun policies. Thank you, Philip Van Cleave, for putting the fear of God into me. Now please don't come shooting up my apartment.

Also putting the fear of God into me: the crowd at Big Ben Liquor in Northeast D.C.

"Why would you go over there and get a pack of potato chips when I said mints? He got a [expletive] bag of potato chips when I said mints. Why would he try to give me a pack of potato chips when I said mints?"


"Give me two packs of Dittos," another woman says. "No, I didn't say pickles, damn it."
Wow, these people get really cranky when they don't get their pickles. I mean Dittos! [BLAM BLAM] ARRRRGHH!

Singh bought the business -- not the building -- for $300,000 plus inventory from a man who was shot in a bloody robbery that left him paralyzed.


"Hey, mister," a drunk man says, trying to maintain what is left of his dignity. "Please let me go to the bathroom. I'm about to piss on myself."

A woman in a red coat who wants a $75 money order looks at the man, who races out of the store. "He done already peed," she says, like a narrator.
Who says comedy and horror don't mix?

They also talk to a man named RasD who captures the mood of the city perfectly.

He walks south on North Capitol. The Capitol's dome rises in the distance, looming like a mighty mecca, so far away from this corner and so close. RasD motions to the cars that whiz by. "The traffic flows through without any connection to the spaces and places," he says. "They just pass by. They would rather not see the obvious, the displaced, the homeless, the confused, the hungry. . . . There are brilliant minds at that vortex: incredible mothers, fathers. The homeless are no longer scorned and they are not faceless at that vortex. They are only a blur and an eyesore to those passing through."
Yep. Brilliant people; powerful people; they have the power to change the blight they see around them, but choose not to. They choose to ignore it. D.C. is what happens when good people do nothing.


I hate Reston

Included in the topics of conversation between my co-workers on the drive over to a meeting:

How MFing Reston is so great, because the landscaping is so pristine.

Yes, these were all men. Go figure.


Maybe an obstructed view is the best view, after all

Daniel Snyder. Owner of the Redskins. Nobody else embodies what I hate about Washingtonians more than this man.

The latest article is a laugh-riot. After a loss:

"I was so depressed in the locker room," [head coach Joe] Gibbs recalled Wednesday at Redskins Park. "And [Snyder] walked right up to me and he said, 'Hey look, I just want to encourage you. It takes a while. Maybe you can't see it; you're too close to it. We have improvement. We're on the right track.'"
Funny thing, this new definition of "improvement." He'd better hope nobody tries to make any "improvements" on the Danny-copter.

"Joe has final say on everything. Period," Snyder said. "I've taken my lumps. I've come a long way. I think I've got incredible patience and understand things now that I didn't have when I first came into the league. I've learned a whole bunch."
(Said the man who's on his fifth head coach in six years.)

Patience, you say? Learned a lot, hmmm? Let's recap the quarterback situation:

- Last year, they drafted Patrick Ramsey in the first round. This was a huge stretch; he wasn't projected to be drafted until much later. The team got poor value out of the pick.
- This year, they sign Mark Brunell to a huge contract. Now, I like Brunell, and it was fun watching him on those good Jaguars teams in the late '90s, but let's face it: he's old and busted. He was at his most effective when he was mobile and a scrambler; as a purely pocket passer, he's hasn't exactly been on the A-list lately. Thus, they got poor value again.

But the biggest problem with signing him is that they've benched Ramsey. If you're going to reach for a QB in the draft, and bank on him as your future, you've got to play him. By signing and starting Brunell, they compunded the draft mistake. Brunell would be a good addition to a team in need of a veteran backup QB; he's a bad signing for a rebuilding team that supposedly has its eye on the future.

Despite having some of the worst stats in the league, the Redskins continue to start Brunell. And every game is more potential lost for getting Ramsey some more experience (and getting a better look at him). Apparently, since Brunell is Gibbs' evangelical Christian bunk-mate, he's in pretty much forever. (Where's your God now, NASCAR-boy?)

In other words, in terms of being unable to see the shortcomings in your own decisions, Snyder appears to have a friend in Gibbs. And that's what being a Washingtonian is, in a nutshell: you have to have an overblown sense of self-importance, coupled with an inability to do any self-evaluation whatsoever.

Now, foreseeing this awfulness, I didn't buy tickets this year! Pat on the back, me! Of course, I still have to watch this crap on TV tomorrow, instead of the superior Eagles-Steelers matchup, so I lose either way.

So, who's up for some baseball?

Oh wait, that's not happening either now.



INS1PID: Personalized Virginia license plates I have hated (part 14 in a series)

2B U -2B (e.g. the logical equation, "2B or not 2B"; i.e., NERD!!!)
On a Ford Mustang: LUSTANG
THRU F8H (Also, fuck the gays)

OK, so now I'm in a bad mood

It's Thursday. It's cold, it's raining. My football game this evening is doubtlessly going to be called off. And, to top it all off, America proved it really, really hates gay people.

As if to celebrate that fact, a couple Metro trains bumped uglies yesterday:

Turns out one train lost it brakes, and simply rolled backward into the station. (Safety systems designed to prevent such an occurrence didn't activate.)

Meanwhile, Metro CEO Richard White gave us the understatement of the forever:

"Lately we've got a serious perception and credibility problem about what it is we're doing and how hard we're working on behalf of our customers," White said.
Oh my God... they're finally starting to admit their suckitude! Eat that, "Lisa Farbstein"!

The weirdest thing about this story is that it kept getting worse as the day went on; the first reports talked about two trains "bumping" and injuring four people. Obviously it was a lot worse than that, and scary too; the driver yelled for everyone to "get off the train, run if you have to!"

Twenty people were hurt, and travel's obviously going to be delayed all week. Good times!


Don't be hatin'

Hey haters,

Been in too good a mood lately to be doing any strong hatin' lately. My old job opened back up, so I'll be going back there and leaving behind motherfucking Reston pretty soon. And, it's football season, which always cheers me up. The weather has turned cool; the World Series is in full swing; it's almost Halloween. It's the best time of the year.

What can I say; happiness can, tragically, strike at any moment.

Don't worry, I'm sure the election will reverse all of that and really piss me off. I'm hoping there are a lot, a LOT, of people who only use cell phones instead of land lines these days.


- I think I said this last year, but Halloween is the one time of year I can really almost tolerate D.C. That's because all its uppity, tweedy twenty-to-thirty-something denizens, who have sold their souls in exchange for the illusion of power and/or wealth, finally get one day to shed their inhibitions and let their hair down. And I'm not talking about kicking it with the polo-shirt-and-khaki combo on casual Friday; I'm talking 28-year-old women who spend 364 days a year conforming and repressing to social and workplace mores... putting on Catholic school uniforms and pretending to be bad. That's freakin' hot.

- Oh man, how awesome is Jon Stewart? Tucker Carlson still has bootmarks on his ass. Mr. Stewart, you are a tiny Jewish GOD. It was the ultimate triumph of intelligence over mindless Washington spin. BRILLIANT. The uncomfortable comedy moment of the decade.

- I've got to stop listening to local AM radio. It's like a sickness. The other day, on WMAL, Chris Core was truly flabberghasted as to why Muslims were polling for Kerry by a 10-to-1 margin. After three calls from virulently anti-Muslim Bush supporters, he still claimed to be stumped. On Michael Graham's show, he claimed to prefer the Bush ticket to the supposedly shrill, bitter negativity of the Kerry campaign. This is the same Bush ticket with a veep who said "Go fuck yourself" on the floor of the Senate, is it not? I wanted to call in and issue a beatdown, but I hate myself enough already. I popped in an Oakenfold CD instead.

In conclusion, please bear with me during this fallow period of hate. Probably, when football season comes to an end, and my hands become more idle, you'll be seeing more of me here. In the meantime, stay informed with the excellent DCist. They're all over everything.


Baseball as a political football

OK, I'm obviously happy that we got a baseball team. That's something I've really missed over the past three years. Now there will finally be something entertaining to do during the summer, other than intentionally giving wrong directions to tourists.

Naturally, Washington residents are trying to make the excitement and fun of getting a baseball team as excruciating as possible by bringing politics into the mix. You know what the game of baseball should have nothing to do with? Politics. And yet, here's Mark Plotkin in the Post last week, whining that, because D.C. residents have to senators to represent them, the team should not be named senators.

I understand and appreciate nostalgia. I know it can be powerful. But let's not confuse nostalgia with reality. The District doesn't have senators, so why perpetuate a lie? What better time to discard our accommodating way, our passive personality and insist -- no, demand -- that we name our team right?
Oh, the DRAMA!

Yes, I'm sure naming the team something other than Senators will, after two centuries, finally let those filthy Congressmen know D.C. means business now, bitch. "Oh, you still won't let us have senators? Well... well... then we're not naming our baseball team after you!"

That's adorable.

(Seriously, you want representation? It's not going to happen via slogans on license plates and flags. You guys need some non-violent resistance up in here. Block off bridges with protestors; convince Metro train drivers to all call in sick one day. Congress can't run without the cooperation of D.C. residents, so be uncooperative. Gandhi-style, bitches!)

But I digress. The fun-loving Plotkin goes on to suggest some "better" team names:

My preference would be the Washington Subjects or the Washington Serfs or the Washington Disenfranchised. That won't happen, I know. Those names too accurately reflect our true status.
Right, the only reason those names won't happen is because that's real life, and the man can't handle it! And not because, you know, baseball is not supposed to be about a futile political cause.

(Heh, "Washington Disenfranchised." I can hear the post-game show now. "D's lose to Mets, 7-4. Fans, don't forget next Tuesday is Felon Appreciation Night at the ballpark. First 5,000 felons through the gate receive a free Katherine Harris bobblehead doll.")

Meanwhile, the ridiculous name suggestions keeps pouring in, showcasing the complete lack of creativity and originality we Washingtonians tend to exhibit. "Diplomats," "Mudslingers," "Politicians?" Stupid, dumb, retarded. I would have thought "Senators" was the only name that made sense, but since two suchly teams jilted the city in the past, I can also understand the desire for a new name and a fresh start. For some reason "Washington Monuments" is popular; because we want our team to be likened to a large, phallic, gray slab of marble. Perhaps they could have two-tone uniforms: one shade of gray down to about their thighs, and then a slightly different shade of gray for the rest of it. (My first architectural joke, ladies and gentlemen!)

The mayor said he'd prefer "Grays." While I can appreciate the homage to the Negro League team (that often outdrew the first version of the Senators), could he possibly pick a more boring team name? OK, I suppose "Grays" would at least match the city's complete lack of personality.

As a service to the mayor, I present a compromise: "Gray Sox." That way, you have the homage to the Grays, but you also have a better sounding traditional baseball-type name that's not quite as boring.

Let's make some calls on this, people. Only you can prevent the team being named the "Serfs."

Ugh... what's worse? Watching creativity-impared Washingtonians trying to name the team, or the anticipation of having to deal with all the "famous for D.C." people snatching up the good seats so they can show themselves off at the ballpark next year? Here's a preview of Wonkette's "Wonk'd" feature in April 2005:

OMG i just saw goerge stephanopolus (sp?) at the game. he was in the sixth row on the thrid base side. oh, i also think i saw ashcroft serving hot dogs, LOL ;)
I can't wait.


My fellow Virginians: so very retarded

Thirty armed people showed up at the Falls Church city council meeting last week. It was our old friends, the Virginia Citizens Defense League of Douchebags, who this week were defending their right to scare everyone shitless, and threaten civil servants in a supposedly non-threatening way.

Meanwhile, in a, and I think you know where I'm going here, completely unrelated story (TM), this idiot sent his son to school with a backpack containing a loaded semiautomatic handgun.

Fouche, a contractor who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, said in an interview that he took his son to soccer practice Wednesday evening, brought along the gun -- which he said he carries all the time for self-defense -- and put it in the backpack for safekeeping. He said he forgot to remove the gun from the pack before sending his son to school.
Utterly. Fucking. Brilliant. Because you never know when those filthy communists are going to take over little Billy's soccer practice! For the love of fucking God, WHY ARE YOU TAKING A LOADED SEMI-AUTO TO YOUR KID'S SOCCER PRACTICE?!? And then, obviously, the kind of man who would pack heat at soccer practice is the same kind of genius who would forget to take it out of his kid's backpack before sending him to school.

Also completely unrelated: the target="_blank">near-Columbine that almost happened at Bull Run Middle School.


Some stuff

1. Police brutality. A woman who was talking loudly on her cell phone outside at a Metro station, and possibly using profanity, ignored a Metro cop's request to quiet down. Naturally, this being Metro, the officer took the only reasonable action available to him and forced her to the ground and handcuffed her.

Bonus points: she's five months pregnant.

Metro's spokespeople, being customer-centric, of course, immediately and profusely apologized.

"We need better enforcement to allow people to know we are serious and want to maintain the high-quality level of the system," said Robert J. Smith, chairman of the Metro board, adding that "ranting youth" have become a plague on the subway. "This isn't Montana. We live in a very dense region, and people are on top of each other all the time."

Smith, who refuses to carry a cell phone, said he thinks Metro riders need to use the devices with care. "We wouldn't allow someone to come into the U.S. Capitol Rotunda and shout obscenities into a cell phone," he said.
So, of course, the cop treats her like he just found out she was the one mailing anthrax to people back in '01.

Seriously, why not do something about the drunk and/or crazy guys who ride the train, shouting in a random yet threatening manner at the other riders, thus scaring the crap out of them? I swear that's happened to me, like, five times. A woman talking loudly on her cell phone, outside of the train? For Metro, that's refreshingly benign.

2. No more Visions. The erstwhile cinema-slash-bistro-slash-lounge, which only did one of those three things well (lounge), is closing soon, or maybe has already closed. Tens of college students, who loved watching the vastly overrated Donnie Darko on a small screen at the end of a long, narrow theater with bad sound, are weeping into their Smirnoff Ices.

Close the book on Visions. It was a good place for people who need to feel cool, but not a good place to actually watch a movie. They did ocassionally get some super-obscure things, but overall, Bruce Springsteen's new E Street Theater is much better.

3. We're still on Orange Alert in D.C. Anybody know why? Ohhh, because the terror alert levels are bullshit? You don't say.

4. D.C. may get baseball, but at a huge cost. Make the team pay for it, like with the new ballpark in San Francisco. The team is who reaps all the financial benefit, anyway; the economic impact of baseball will in no way offset the property acquisition/building costs.

Then again, D.C., much like America itself, has to maintain its ghetto rich attitude. "I want lots of cool stuff, but I don't want to have to pay for it... right now."

5. Juvenile homicides way up in D.C. But, like the rest of suburban fantasyland, the less I think about it, the less upset I get. Problem solved!


Of course!

Why not? Part 1.

Why not elect Marion Barry? Why not make D.C. look like a laughing stock again? The city had only just started to recover from his reign of terror as mayor. So yeah, let's just bring his ass back.

How long until he's caught smoking crack again? Over-under: 1 year from now. Place your bets.

Why not? Part 2.

Why not repeal the D.C. gun ban?

I mean, sure, it's not anything that anybody in the District wants. And also, the murder rate had just started to decline, thanks to better policing.

But hey, who knows what's better for D.C., after all? The residents of the city? Or a bunch of sheltered, self-important, white Republicans representing non-urban areas?

Good job, Republicans. You take up that white man's burden. Repeal that handgun ban that D.C. residents instituted. Remove the prohibition against semiautomatic weapons. Remove registration requirements for ammunition and other firearms. Cancel those criminal penalities for carrying unregistered guns. That will solve everything. YOU'RE SO MOTHERFUCKING SMART. WHAT A FUCKING GREAT IDEA. THANK YOU SO VERY, VERY GODDAMNED MUCH.

Also, while you're at it, I suggest going one step further and allowing guns to be carried into Congress. It's a crime against freedom that American citizens can't carry a handgun into the House of Representatives... to protect themselves, of course. I'm sure nothing bad could possibly come of that, either.


Kurtz Got Served

This is an utterly brilliant opinion piece by Rick Mercier of the Fredricksburg Free-Lance Star. It's about the Post, and its recent non-apology apology for totally fellating the President during its coverage of the run-up to Operation Iraqi Quagmire.

A free press is supposed to question what a government is trying to spoonfeed it, not simply assume that leaders are credible and that their claims about the designated enemy are beyond scrutiny.


[Post media reporter Howard] Kurtz provides no help with these questions. He patronizes readers with platitudes about the basic tenets of journalism, but leaves them wondering how in the world the Post arrived at its conclusions about whom it could trust...
Nailed it. Absolutely stuck the landing. The judges are loving it. That's exactly what Kurtz's opinion piece was: patronizing.

I'm not the type to trot out the "read the whole thing" cliche, but I do think that, if you're a reporter or editor, you should print out this article and tack it to your forehead. Text-side facing in.

We haven't quite mastered the light bulb yet

D.C. is the least well-lit of all the big cities I've visited. For whatever reason, there just isn't a whole lot of emphasis on street lighting; even in densely populated and re-gentrified residential areas, where you might expect a lot of auto and foot traffic, the streets stay surprisingly dark.

Of course, in a city plagued by muggings and other street crimes, this only serves to make things that much more creepifying. But the darkness problem seems to have at least been acknowledged. After the high-profile murder of a popular waiter walking home late near Dupont Circle, the National Guard brought bright floodlights into the neighborhood to light it up at all hours. Now, James' new favorite website DCist reports some community activists are trying to get D.C. to be more dilligent in fixing broken street lights, because... and I hope you're sitting down, because this news will rock your world... the city's DOT is not especially responsive when it comes to fixing broken lights.

Clearly, more light at night in dangerous neighborhoods would be a good thing, just as a common-sense safety issue. But this is D.C., where common sense is kidnapped and hunted down for sport on a desolate island with only rocks and a crude slingshot to defend itself. Naturally, we have residents complaining that roads like M Street in Georgetown are too bright.

I'm guessing we don't want to be reminded we live in a real city? Just a guess. Imagine a Manhattanite complaining that 5th Avenue is too bright. They would be openly mocked and told to move to Connecticut. And yet, here we have people arguring that, while brighter streets might save a few lives, the brightness keeps Muffy the poodle awake at night, and we can't have that, because she'll be all cranky in the morning when we take her to the doggy daycare on 18th.

Meanwhile, it's not just D.C. that could use more light. Even my neighborhood gets surprisingly dark at night. Not that my neck of Arlington is dangerous... the only unusual characters in my 'hood appear to be of the non-threatening variety (big shout out to Perpetually Drunk Lady, Confused Shirtless 7-Eleven Guy, and Transvestite Cheerleader Guy). But once you veer away from Lee Highway and into purely residential territory, the few street lights there are low, dim, and far apart.

I'd rather live somewhere that's walkable at night, and where you're encouraged to enjoy what a city has to offer at all hours. But then, if I always got what I wanted, I'd be too busy catching the winning space-touchdown in the Galactic Super Bowl to write this.


Please don't pimp my ride

The headline for this article is "Band of Would-Be Pimps Abducted Women." The kidnappers tried to kidnap prostitutes as a way of horning in on the city's sexual service industry, but, sadly, kidnapped innocent non-hookers at gunpoint from off the street.

Could this happen anywhere else, I ask you, than your nation's capital?

Gonzalez was driven around the District for some time. Eventually, she was forced into the basement of a house in Northwest, where she said Watson screamed, "Who's your pimp, who's your pimp?"

Gonzalez said she pleaded with Watson, telling him that she didn't have a pimp and that she was just visiting her cousin.
Makes you proud to be an American, right?

Am I right?

UPDATE! Oh man, I just thought of the best idea for a movie, involving these guys accidentally kidnapping the Bush twins. I see the Olsen twins as the Bush twins, and Chris Rock in a dual role as the pimps. And also, Anthony Hopkins as the mysterious pimp kingpin. Kingpimp...? Wait, now I think this movie's been done before.

Rated PG for MURDER

Good: D.C. homicides are way down this year.

Bad: They seem to have migrated east to Prince George's County.

Oh no, cave in at the old mine!

Have you ever driven up Georgetown Pike in Langley, Va.? Go north on George Washington Parkway, then south on VA-123, then right on Georgetown Pike.

I highly recommend it, because, seriously... it's like Republican Fantasy Land.

As you drive along 123, it looks more or less like the rest of GW Parkway land; lots of trees, not many buildings. The completely unironically named George Bush Center for Intelligence, where they're so good at digging up slam dunks on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, is down the road. There are occasional side streets into neighborhoods belonging to the likes of progressive everyman Pat Buchanan.

All that's standard-level suburban creepiness for Washington. But the supreme über-creëpiness doesn't kick in until you turn down Georgetown Pike. This is where suburban living is taken to a Stepfordian extreme. In fact, they've somehow managed to cross the line from suburban to exurban. I was driving through rural Pennsylvania a few weeks back, and this was almost exactly like that; a narrow two-lane road, with some up-and-down hillyness. The road is completely covered with trees, so that you can't see any evidence of city living (that includes "dc style") in any direction. There's a general store-slash-gas station with just a couple of pumps. And not "store" in the usual metropolitan mini-mart sense; it's literally a little shack, like you would see driving around in the middle of nowhere. After a while you come upon a big-ass high school, just like they might have in a one-school rural county. The mascot of said high school is, once again completely unironically, the Saxons.

And so, the sheltered suburbanites managed to insulate their community from any signs of urban life. There are no restaurants, supermarkets, theaters, bowling alleys, bars, etc. Nothing fun or vibrant; there are no signs of life, and indeed, no sidewalks. A visitor might, for a second, think he had blacked out and driven all the way to West Virginia, if not for two crucial differences.

1. This isn't the middle of nowhere. It's inside the freaking Beltway.
2. I could afford to live in a rural/exurban community. I will never, ever be able to afford to live on Georgetown Pike in Langley. In fact, if I cloned myself four times, the four of us would still be unable to afford to live there as roommates. (There's an idea for the next Real World.

So, then... what's the point? Why re-create Little House on the Prairie in the middle of a gigantic metropolitan area?

Well, Washington's a disturbing place to live. There is a lot of urban blight. There are real problems throughout the area that these people would rather not be confronted with... crime, extreme poverty, homelessness, neighborhoods that appear to have been hit by a nuclear bomb, etc. And, if you're a Republican, your Fantasy Land does not include such elements. (For these problems would cost money to address, and if something costs money, but doesn't involve, say, bombing Muslims at random, well, it's just not worth doing.)

But conscience is a funny thing. Overpriced city living is great, but driving the SUV around Logan Circle and having to look at all those homeless drug addicts just won't do... it tends to make one uncomfortable. Suburban living, is, I guess, too common and crowded for these people. Thus, Georgetown Pike provides the illusion of rural living, but is priced well out of the league of most people, while still being less than 15 miles away from all the blight and other wonders of D.C.

Everybody wins! Nobody has to be confronted with the realities of failed economic so-and-so whatever. The residents can sleep soundly at night, having convinced themselves of the illusion that they live like the Waltons.

So, yeah, I recommend sightseeing in this neighborhood, if you want to transport yourself to a different place and time. Say hi to Michael Landon for me.

Just one more thing: you'll have to drive. Metro doesn't travel anywhere along Georgetown Pike. (Wouldn't want to give those minorities and drug addicts a free pass into Fantasy Land!)

I hate this damn city.

I'm nobody

I could barely bring myself to go into work last week.

My company has largely moved to a new floor it purchased in our building, but I stayed behind in the old digs, which are now empty and largely desolate. It was a strange environment even before the mass migration. I'll walk past people in the hallways, and they won't even look at me. I wasn't introduced to anyone when I started there; just plopped in a conference room as a makeshift office. I have supervisors who only talk to me, via e-mail, when I do something wrong.

Then, in the employee evaluations, I was, strangely, dinged for not keeping my supervisors apprised of my progress (as were my two co-workers on the same project). This was the excuse given for my less-than-average raise. But since then, when I try to tell my supervisors what's going on, they're largely unresponsive. On one part of the project, I asked three times for a meeting to make sure I was meeting the project requirements, and was blown off each time. When I run into a roadblock, it's like pulling teeth trying to get them to help.

Every morning I wake up later and later because I hate my job. But mostly I hate myself for settling for this crap. It's easy to get complacent when they don't pay attention to when you come and go, and just collect a paycheck. But when you get treated like a nobody for long enough, you start to believe that you are a nobody.

That's why it gets hard for me, at times, to even bring up this web page, which I haven't done all week. I sometimes can't bear to look at my own stupid ramblings, peppered as they are with pop-culture references and profanity. Not because I'm embarrassed, necessarily, but because... they don't mean anything. They don't serve any useful purpose, because I'm a nobody. I have no power and no influence. I have no money. I can't change anything about Washington, so I'm just waiting for the day when I can leave.

I'm not exactly making the world a better place through my existence. Congress isn't going to read any of this and say, "Oh yeah, we should do something about that." All I can do is sit behind my computer screen and make fun of all the bullshit, and hope that it helps a few like-minded Washingtonians feel better.

So... hope this helps.


Washingtonienne in Playboy!

Here's a safe-for-work article. The scary part is, her musings on Washington society are frighteningly accurate:

"People like to pretend that money and looks don't matter, but they do. It's supposed to be a big meritocracy, but people here are just as shallow as anywhere else. The thing about D.C. is it's not Miami or New York where there are all these hot people everywhere. I'm cute by New York standards, but when I came here, my stock just shot up fast."
What are you saying, Jessica? That people like "Lisa Farbstein" aren't hot?

For shame.

That's right, Mac... duff. I am dangerous.

Macbeth is my favorite Shakespeare play, and I saw a great performance of it over the summer at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

I will not be going to see the play at The Shakespeare Theater in D.C. Why?

Well, let's say you're casting Macbeth. Who is the absolute last person you would cast as the conniving, murderous Lady Macbeth?

If you said Kelly McGillis, the love interest from Top Gun, you win. And yet, hilariously, that's who they cast: the least convincing on-screen astro-physicist ever. I can see it now...

LADY MACBETH: My review of your performance was right on, Macbeth.

MACBETH: Is that right?

LADY MACBETH: That is right, but I held something back. I see some real genius in your swordfighting, but I can't say that in there. I was afraid that every one in the courtyard would see right through me, and I just don't want anyone to know that... [breathlessly] I've fallen for you.