I hate real estate

I was walking in my hood the other day and passed by a house that was for sale, and I thought to myself, "Self, knowing this neighborhood, we obviously would not be able to afford that house." But if I could, this place would be perfect. It's nothing fancy; just a little three-bedroom job, clearly built a long time ago, near Metro, basically equidistant between my office and my wife's school. It probably needs some fixing up, but it's a nice old little house where I could, on a day like today, grill up some hamburgers in the yard while listening to a ball game on the radio.

Out of morbid curiousity, I looked up the house's listing on the "information superhighway," figuring the asking price would be in the $350K-$450K range.

Wrong. $665,000.

For real. Oh, and it's a 73-year-old house. Thanks a lot, "Ron Cathell Team." You suck in large quantities.

Yeah. $665,000. That's great. Let's see, if I pool all my savings together and sell every drop of plasma in my body, I could scrape together about a... 0.02% down payment*. That would be a fun mortgage to pay off.

*-Actually, it would be more like 2%. But I really need my plasma.

I hate to say I have housing envy, but... well, yeah. Clearly I do. Every once in a while, when I realize that I will never ever be able to afford a house for all of eternity, I'll start wondering, "Where did I go wrong?" I worked so hard in college and grad school so that I'd be comfortable later in life, only to be stuck in Scuzzy Arms for the past four years with little hope of escape. How did this happen? Who can afford these $600K houses?

Then I read this article about the lobbyist Gold Rush. That explained a lot. I don't make enough to compete with people who get paid by businesses to bribe Congress. The starting salary for the especially well-connected is $300,000; of course, that's not including the various "gimme five" aspects of the job.

What a ridiculous industry. It doesn't even produce anything, except bullshit and, I guess, millionaires. If only I were willing to screw democracy up the ass, I, too, could be a lobbyist. Or maybe not.

Basically, it all makes me feel like a chump. I'm feel like I'm paid pretty well, but it still seems to get me nowhere. And I'm getting frighteningly close to that scary grown-up round-number age (don't make me say it), at which point I'm going to feel especially super-lame if I'm still living like a college student.

So I don't know what to do. Except to adopt the rallying cry, "Ramen noodles forever!" Bleh.


Villains United

Hey, remember North Korea? You know, that "axis of evil" member that actually does have nukes?

If you do, you may find it funny that a certain Rev. Moon is kinda sorta helping to prop up its government.

Throughout the 1990s, as Western observers predicted that the Kim dynasty that rules North Korea would collapse for lack of hard currency reserves, the Moon organization invested tens of millions of dollars, which apparently included payments made before U.S. sanctions eased in 1999.
Even funnier: a lot of the Moon front organizations that do business in North Korea are headquartered at a certain newspaper building, located where New York Avenue meets the lovely Anacostia River.

Oh well. Who could have possibly forseen that Congressional support for a crazy self-serving billionaire cult leader over all those years would lead down the road to trouble? I mean, just look at this face:

How could you not trust that face?

Plus, he talks to former presidents from beyond the grave all the time. Surely they'll set him straight on this whole "investing in our enemies" matter.


Where's your car dude?

The police chief's unmarked car was stolen off the street in D.C. Hilarious.

And, unlike when your car gets stolen, the police are actively looking for it:

A few hours after Ramsey reported the theft, investigators passed out fliers to commanders and other supervisors that described the missing Crown Victoria...
They passed out fliers describing the car! Like it was a missing puppy! That is just adorable. I don't think they even do that for missing kids.


You'd better wake up and smell the real flavor

...because 911 is a fake life saver.

The 50-year-old employee of Waldron Inc., an air-conditioning and heating company, was having a heart attack, and all his colleagues could do was watch and wait, the business's owner said yesterday.

Medics arrived 14 minutes after Waldron workers first called 911. The man, whose name was not released by the company or by authorities, later died at Inova Alexandria Hospital.


[Company owner Floyd] Smith said an employee called 911 shortly after 8 a.m. to request an ambulance.

The employee was told that he had reached the wrong call center but that the information would be transferred to the appropriate jurisdiction, Smith said.

"He was told that Fairfax County would call back for the information, but Fairfax County did not call back," Smith said.

Minutes passed. The employee phoned 911 a second time, Smith said, and again the call was answered by an Alexandria call-taker.

"This time the transfer to Fairfax was made with [him] on the phone," Smith said. "The two dispatchers were going back and forth as to which had responsibility for the call. The Waldron co-worker told them he didn't care who came, but to send them right now."
Wow. Just... wow. This poor man actually died... of beauracracy. Unbelievable.

If I didn't know it was real life, I would have guessed Terry Gilliam movie (You're Mr. Buttle? Oh dear, we were sent to revive Mr. Tuttle). Seriously... the two dispatchers were actually arguing over the phone who's responsible for saving this guy's life? I know that, in Washington, we're slavishly devoted to official procedure and carbon copy forms that must be filled out in quadruplicate, but maybe this is one of those times where you just have to let that all fucking go. If you have to send the paramedics a block outside their usual turf, just fucking do it and worry about the consequences after they've saved the guy's life.

ARGGHHH. And the trademark why.i.hate.dc running joke, of course, is that you'd better not need 911 inside the District, because every day, they don't come correct, etc. etc. I always assumed that Virginia was more or less on top of things as far as emergency services, and that the greatest risk you would face would be, say, calling 911 from a cell phone in Rosslyn but getting the D.C. call center, and having them not know what to do. I never imagined that calling from a jurisdictional border inside Virginia could also be fatal.

Come to think of it, when I was in that car accident last year on GW Parkway (my wife thought I was covered in blood, but it was just smoothie), I called 911, got the Arlington dispatcher, and she transferred me to the Park Police, who handled all the details (because that's Park Police jurisdiction). That went OK, but it's another potential wrinkle in the system.

Fascinating. These humans are fascinating.

INS1PID: Personalized Virginia license plates I have hated (part 17 in a series): special DVD commentary edition!

Ohhh yeah. So, um, this is the part where I make fun of the license plates. I do this because Virginia personalized license plates give outsiders some idea of what it's like to live among boring suburbanites who think that puns are the absolute highest form of humor.

Our official motto: "They really need to start charging more for those things."

Well, as Black-Eyed Peas might say, "Let's get it started!" Ha-ha! Ha. Um.


This is a commonly-found genus of plate: the homonym. It says, "I'm clever, because I'm able to think of words that sound like other words." In this case, the word "too" is substituted for the number "two", in the grand tradition of cinematic classics such as Teen Wolf Too and, to a lesser extent, Splash, Too.


This is another interesting sub-genre of plate, in which the driver intends to make it clear to you just how much better his life is than yours. As if that weren't annoying enough, there's the common 1-in-place-of-an-I-aren't-I-l33t trick.


Obviously the most popular technique is to use a combination of letters and numbers to phonetically form a word. Or somewhat close to what actual words sound like; in this case, N2 actually sounds like "Entoo", which is not a word, but could potentially be the name of a Star Wars character. The message of the plate is unclear; is the driver exhorting me to get "ento shape," or herself? Either way, this plate is dripping with that annoying "Just Do It" mentality often exhibited by realtors. Thus, I place the chances this driver is in real estate at 62%.


Ah, yes. These are always particularly amusing; the "I'm hot shit!" genre. The driver has chosen to actually spend extra money at the DMV to let the world know that he is too hot for "YU". Punk.

When I spotted this plate, it was passing me by in traffic on I-66, and I had to speed up to get a better look. The driver appeared to be in his 50s, wearing a floppy hat and what appeared to be a floral shirt. I would have said it was Hunter S. Thompson, but he didn't have a giant hole in his face. Needless to say, I did not agree with the plate's supposition that the driver was 2HOT4ME.


This one isn't particularly infuriating... it's the "ASSMAN" genre. But it is funny, because Dr. Math is a dick for refusing to let me merge onto the I-66 on Tuesday.

You know the type. You've got a car full of groceries, you're on the on-ramp, and there's a perfect your-car-sized space to merge into. You've matched the speed of traffic so as not to slow anyone down. But then Dr. Math just has to accelerate at the last minute to box you out, nearly forcing you off the road in an effort to get to his destination 1.2 seconds faster.

Being of level-headed coolness, I decided to honk my horn at Dr. Math. As it has been pointed out by readers, I'm living outside my means, which should be obvious from the totally pimped-out '91 Maxima I'm driving these days. The entirety of the car's insides are apparently made from papier mache, including the horn mechanism, which often decides not to work. Including just then. So, there I am, furiously pounding on the steering wheel, and nothing is happening. Dr. Math is just sitting there in front of me, totally not being honked at.

Finally, after about a minute of pounding, the horn started working again. To make up for all the honking Dr. Math had missed, I proceeded to honk the horn for the next 30 seconds or so while laughing maniacally. "TAKE THAT, DR. MATH! AHHH HA HA HA HA!!!"

I'd like to think that Dr. Math's real name is Victor Von Math.


Invasion of the Interns

It's June, and they've descended on the city.

They are young and bright and ardently right. They tack Ronald Reagan calendars on their cubicle walls and devote brown bag lunches to the free market theories of Friedrich von Hayek. They come from 51 colleges and 28 states, calling for low taxes, strong defense and dorm rooms with a view.
And they, along with the oppressive heat, conspire to make Washington into the level of hell that Dante missed.

Speaking of hell, here's an intern blog you'll "enjoy".

Can someone explain to me

...why a neighborhood in McLean would be so dead-set against a new youth soccer field?

McLean, was, like... made for soccer fields. It's the suburbiest suburb ever. This takes the NIMBY mentality to a whole new level. And the wacky suburbanites can't even adequately describe why they don't want the field there, except that it would be "noisy" (you know how those youth soccer hoodlums can be) as late as 10 p.m. (obviously well after bedtime).

Why is it nobody here wants to admit they live in a city, in which other people should occasionally be allowed to do fun-yet-noisy things in public during the day?

(Answer: because we all despise the mere presence of other people in our lives.)

Neighbors in Fairfax County often are allowed a detailed say in how nearby land is developed, particularly if it is publicly owned; just a few years ago, in the planning of another McLean park, neighbors stipulated that musical performances there be limited to non-amplified "5-string and/or woodwind instruments."
Oh, well, huzzah for that! I'm going to assume that Rev. John Lithgow had a say in that little ruling.

Boringest... major metropolitan area... ever.

How to thank your Metrobus driver for his dedicated service?

Give the gift of rock in the face.

Police said a man approached the bus and assaulted the driver with a large rock at about 2:20 p.m. at the corner of 3rd and T streets.

The driver had the presence of mind to close the door and begin to pull away. He called police and was transported to an area hospital, where he received stitches on his face.

The attacker never said anything, according to police. Investigators said the man picked up another rock to throw before the driver pulled away.
At least now I know why the buses are always late.

War = teh suck

OK, I'm going to complain about politics now. However, it has come to my attention that some people think that a discussion about national politics has no place in a blog about life in Washington. Unfortunately, I find myself unable to reconcile living in close proximity to the various injustices that go on here everyday, so I'm going to talk about it anyway. If you don't like it, here's a fun letter q to play with:


The rest of you, peep this. I had two of my four parents visiting over the weekend, and they wanted to check out the WWII memorial, which I hadn't seen yet. We went down there, and despite all the criticism I'd read about, it's basically a beautiful addition to the Mall, and seemed very respectful. My favorite part was an inscription on the South end wall:


General Douglas MacArthur
Just incredible imagery in that statement; you really get the sense that, if war is Hell, the end of war is Heaven.

(And wow, it must have been cool to live during a time when our public figures were actually eloquent. That really beats "Go fuck yourself.")

The whole memorial tells a story of death and sacrifice. We tend to romanticize WWII ("The Greatest Generation", etc.) as a time when Americans were banding together in our finest hour, but here the war is painted, appropriately, as a tragedy. Victory was essential and joyous and shaped world history, but at an immense cost. War itself, in human terms, is not shown as something to be proud of.

And then I saw Twinkie the Kid's name engraved on the memorial, and I wondered if he'd read that quote. These days, "He tried to kill my dad" is apparently enough reason to forfeit the heavenly peace that MacArthur described. (You may recall the slam-dunk cakewalk we're involved in, which we've been assured will be over by, oh, 2009. At the latest.)

The other day, one of the reppies who ushered in the Freedom Fries era in the House cafeteria, backtracked.

Jones said he began changing his mind about the war after attending the funeral in April 2003 for Sgt. Michael Bitz, 31, who was killed in the southern city of Nasiriyah. He recalled that Bitz's widow read the last letter she received from her husband.
That's April 2003... one month after the war started. As if he suddenly realized it wasn't going to be all freedom fries and flag-wavin'. (Yousa thinkin' yousa people gonna die? UGH.)

As much as I would like to take schadenfreudian comfort in fact that Operation Let's Get Revenge For 9/11 By Killing Some Completely Unrelated Muslims is losing support, it's too late. Even the Post is taunting me by putting Walter Pincus' stories on A1 now, two years too late. Yeah, we needed that before we went and killed thousands of people.

Besides being good at failing the world, Washington is also good at ignoring that failure. For example, despite having troops who have been hung out to dry (lack of armor, slashed benefits, low manpower, etc.), the tax cuts and huge deficits continue. The World War II memorial had engraved images celebrating some of the sacrifices our civilians made; there's a parade with people holding up signs saying "Buy War Bonds," and images of Rosie the Riveter-like participation. Today, any mention of sacrifice, especially in the form of higher taxes, is met with stoning.

And then, there's last night's $2,500-per-plate (per plate!) fundraising dinner for the GOP. We have these huge blowout "bribery luncheons", as I like to call them, around here all the time (for both parties), and it always drives me insane, because it's happening in a city where over a third of the children live in poverty. And, according to the Capital Area Food Bank's little graphic, "$1 = 3 meals." So, if you were at the fundraiser, that one meal was worth 7,500 meals to someone who actually needed it. Hope you enjoyed it!

In conclusion: to offset this unprecedented display of greed, I just donated $25 the food bank, because I'm an awesome person, and you are not. That's right... fear my philanthropy, bitch!

The nerve of work

Actually making me do work.

Well, this is really a positive development. Maybe they won't lay me off again, forcing me to leave my old new job and go back to my new old new job again.

Unfortunately, I saw the Saddest Thing Ever on the way to work this morning, and I have to get it out of my system before I return to funny things. So,


This was while driving west on I-66, to where the Dulles access road splits off in Fairfax County. Everyone was slowing down and swerving around something in the road... when I got closer, I realized it was a deer. It had just been struck by a car, and it couldn't have been more than a couple minutes, because it was still in the process of dying. There was blood dripping out of its mouth; a bright red pool of it was collecting on the hot asphalt. On the side of the road were a couple cars and some people standing around, including the woman who had obviously struck the deer with her car; she was sobbing and visibly shaken.

That story's not relevant to anything, but it was a striking image nonetheless. If I'd had the foresight to keep booze in my desk, I would be drinking it right now.


Oh great

Near miss.

A vital safety system that keeps trains from colliding failed last week in the tunnel between Foggy Bottom and Rosslyn, forcing two quick-thinking train operators to manually stop their trains to avoid a crash, Metro officials said yesterday.
I love how the first hint Metro had that there was a problem with the system was after the trains nearly collided. Yup, I think that's a clue, all right.


Other people hate D.C.

Stories received via e-mail.

They say a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged. I kinda feel that way about DC. I used to sort of like this place, or at least didn’t have the visceral loathing that I have developed over the past few years. Washington DC does have its moments, It can be remarkably beautiful at times and I would be lying if I said that I’ve never had a good time here. However,….. In recent years the things I truly hate about DC and its surrounding areas have begun to totally overshadow those things that make this place livable.

The thing that tore it for me was having my car, a truly special and unique vehicle that I had lovingly built over several years with my own hands, blood, sweat tears and hard earned cash, was brazenly stolen from right outside my house. I of course reported it as soon as I saw that it was missing and of course the surly voice on the other end of the phone didn’t even try to give a shit. I hoped against the inevitable but the car was not recovered (at least not immediately, I’ll get to that soon).

So I bought another car, a nice little black Acura RSX which I had had for less than a month before some careless asshole rear ended me trying to jump the line of traffic turning on to GW Parkway off of 123. Typical

The real fun started though when I went to try and register my new ride. Of course DC found a slew of unpaid tickets, Yes, A few were actually mine but the vast majority of them were completely off the wall. One of my particular favorites was a $100 ticket written in 96 somewhere in Anacostia for a Ford Taurus. At that time I was attending Catholic University, Living in Alexandria, and I didn’t even OWN a car. Oh and BTW, I’ve never owned a Ford. The real kick in the teeth though was a slew of tickets that were written on my dear departed civic, parked illegally somewhere in Petworth FIVE FUCKING DAYS AFTER I REPORTED IT STOLEN. And this wasn’t one random ticket mind you. Oh no. There were four written for the same location over a 3 day period. Does anyone CROSSCHECK this shit? Oh, that’s right This is DC. Of course not.

I finally got that shit sorted out after wasting a day and a half at the Kafkaesque DC traffic bureau on K street and at DC police HQ at 300 Indianna to get proof that the Civic had indeed been stolen. Then I went and blew another day on getting the car inspected and registered, plus more than $500 in registration fees. Gotta love the pencil pushers.

The last straw though came a few months later. I got a call from the DC 4th district Police Station telling me that my car had been recovered. ??????!! You’re shitting me right? No,… The officer said, It’s in a lot down in South West. I decided to take another half day from work and head down to see what, if anything, was left of my pride and joy. Maybe something could be salvaged (although I didn’t really have much hope of that).

I shouldn’t have fucking bothered. When I got to the address the officer had given me the guy at the lot didn’t know what the hell I was talking about but he told me I was free to look over the lot to see if I could find my car. Nope, Not there. Nada, zip, nothing, stripped or otherwise. So I called the cops again to try and figure out what the hell was going on. “Well, they said, It was found in an alley off of 16th street somewhere north of Columbia Heights. A tow was called for but maybe it’s still there” Great, You couldn’t tell me that in the first fucking place? I thought. But the address they gave me was more or less on the way back to my office in Bethesda so I thought I would go give it a look. Nope. Not there either.

So I gave up on DC’s wild fucking goose chase. I had more or less gotten over the loss of my car, as irreplaceable as it was, and I just wanted to move on.

That wasn’t the final chapter though, Oh no indeed. A few months ago I got a letter from DC public works billing me over a thousand dollars for towing and storage fees for the carcass of my poor old civic and telling me that I needed to get rid of it and pay up or else. I didn’t know whether to laugh or scream.

I told them that my preferred method of disposal would be for them to crush the car into a cube about 16 inches on a side and shove it up Mayor Williams ass. Oh and the fees? It’ll be a cold day in a Washington DC August before they see a fucking cent. I’VE HAD IT WITH THIS PLACE. I’m moving back to California and never looking back. If they want me they can come find me but they better come armed.

Yeah, I fucking HATE DC

The reason above is just the last in a long series of outrages. Stick a fork in my ass, flip me over, I'm DONE. I'll do anything to get out of here.



I'm getting out of here at the end of June. Here's my fun story about the sweet people of DC: Last October I took a new job with a "nonprofit" environmental publisher located on expensive Connecticut Ave. You know the one: the publisher lives in Georgetown and drives an SUV to work. How environmental is that? And how nonprofit. In November my younger brother who lived in Denver was diagnosed with terminal cancer--also in November my son was diagnosed with avascular necrosis which calls for major surgery to keep from having a hip replaced (he's only 30 for god's sake!). Needless to say, I was a little distracted and had to spend time with my family. My son had his surgery scheduled for February--my brother died in January. Out of the kindness and compassion of that nonprofit's heart they waited until the day after I returned from my brother's funeral to fire me. Seems my brother's illness and death and my son's upcoming surgery was a little too inconvenient for the driver of that SUV. The books they publish on saving the large mammals don't extend to the mammals called human beings, I guess. I've been looking for work since January, all the while the $1600/mo. rent (!) has been chewing its way through my savings. Haven't found anything, savings almost gone, lease up end of June and I don't know what the fuck I'm going to do or where I'll go, my career essentially down the porcelain bowl--but I'm getting out of here! Maybe poor, homeless, and bloody--BUT I'M LEAVING DC!! And for that--I'm thankful.

Keep up the good work, my friend. The only thought I have to leave you with is that it's occurred to me that if the terrorists *really* want to harm this country--the best thing they can do is leave DC intact.
Best wishes,


And finally, a picture posted by a commenter (P.B.) that cheered me up, and for that I thank him.

Completely and utterly awesome.

A thin line between good and evil

Some Marylanders are finding they have conflicted loyalties.

In the fourth inning, when Nationals catcher Brian Schneider hit a home run, Hester and Fritsch stood and cheered with the crowd.

"It was a nice play, but it doesn't mean anything," Fritsch said. "If you look at the statistics, the Orioles are better."
Sadly, the Orioles are also SATAN.


I hate being called a liar

Only way someone said "nigger" and "nigger-ball" in Fairfax, VA is if you went to a Klan bar. I don't think so.
Ammo & Appliance | 06.07.05 - 4:53 pm | #

I'm calling BULLSHIT on this story.
Guns N' Rosenthal | 06.07.05 - 4:51 pm | #

I don't always think James F. is the most honest person in the world...
crappy local blog that hates me #412
Where did this come from? I'm a liar now? I can stand being called a lot of things (I pretty much have to), but dishonest ain't one of 'em.

Listen closely and carefully, Internet. I DON'T LIE. When I write about something that I say happened to me, it really happened.

Do I occasionally engage in hyperbole for the sake of humor? Duh. And nobody's ever going to accuse me of being fair and balanced (I mean the real kind). I don't care; that's not what this blog is for.

Bottom line: I don't need to make up reasons why I hate D.C. The real reasons are infuriating enough.

But fine. If you want to focus on me and not certain other, more-important people in Washington who clearly are liars, whatevs. (Maybe the fact that we can't trust the people in charge to be honest with us makes us suspiscious of everyone else.)

Blah. Telling the truth and being called a liar... that makes me flash back to the time I almost went to work for the National Security Agency, until the polygraph administrator decided to dick around with me. Not good times.

Blind people can't see you ripping them off

The old why.i.hate.dc rule proves true again: when in Washington, be sure not to put yourself in a position where you need help from public servants.

This holds true for handicapped people who want to ride the Metro. Obviously there have been amusingly infuriating instances in the past. But I needed a drink after reading this story, part three in the Post's four-part WMATA ass-kicking.

For Scott Hobbs, who has a nerve disorder, a more reliable system could have made all the difference.

Hobbs, 37, loved his job as a campus chaplain at Gallaudet University in Northeast Washington. "I am a minister. It is my calling," he said. But his disorder left him unable to walk in 1999, and he had to rely on MetroAccess to get to work. His ride was late so often, he was forced to quit in 2003, said Hobbs, who is a plaintiff in the suit against Metro.

The worst part was waiting for his ride home from the university, which could be hours late or not come at all, Hobbs said. Because he is also deaf, he would have to wheel himself back into his office and contact his wife, who would call to inquire about his tardy ride. "I would start praying that I would get home somehow," he said.
Oh man... so sad.

You've got to really be the suck to rip-off a blind person. Who DOES THAT? Oh, well, we do it here, of course.

This is such a bizarre community we've created for ourselves. There's a thick layer of apathy over the entire city that's impossible to break through. Trying to get people to care about their jobs or about other people is like... well, slagging through a swamp filled with tsetse flies. Even the people who are supposed to be watching out for abuses like this don't care:

LogistiCare's contract with Metro contained a loophole: When drivers failed to show up, the trips weren't recorded as late and didn't count against the company when performance bonuses were awarded. Although Metro could have regularly spot-checked LogistiCare's numbers, agency officials said they failed to do so.
Of course. And now, on top of failing to take steps to curb the abuses, Metro faces a lawsuit from its handicapped customers for being unreliable, which will result in further financial damage. Which we, hooray, get to pay for.

I wish people would care about things. It doesn't even have to be all the time; just on occasion, to surprise me once in a while.

Best correction ever

"The Washington Times yesterday inadvertently published a photograph of D.C. City Administrator Robert C. Bobb misidentified as the late soul singer Marvin Gaye."



Hmmm. Honest mistake.

My awesome neighborhood

Four years... that's how long I've lived in my Civil War-era apartment. The good news is, they haven't raised our rent since 2002. (Maybe the landlord forgot we live there.) The bad news is: I've poured a total of almost $50,000 into this dump, and during that time my chances of ever actually owning property have dipped into negative numbers. Which shouldn't even be possible.

Plus, somehow, I'm living in what has to be the slummiest neighborhood in Arlington.

You may have read recently about how Bob Woodward would move a flowerpot on his balcony to signal Deep Throat that he wanted a meeting. Well, it's a good thing he didn't live in my neighborhood.

Because the balconies in the buildings adjacent to mine have all been condemned.

Yep, the county affixed the tell-tale Orange Placards of Condemnation to all the doors. They've been up for a month and a half now. Strangely, the balconies in my building were not condemned... even though the structures are basically identical (you've seen one cube-shaped brick building, you've seen them all).

Down the street, on Lee Highway, there's a 7-11. Attached to which, there used to be a "restaurant" called Rita's Place, which was eventually replaced by Wesley Clark presidential campaign headquarters.

Obviously, that didn't work out. Poor Wesley, drafted into service by his supporters, got stomped like a kitten in a crush video. And so, Wesley Clark's campaign headquarters were replaced with...

You guessed it. Absolutely nothing. Plus, for some reason, I have this strange urge to vote for Pepsi on Feb. 10.

(Now I've done it... the comments section will surely be filled with libertarians smugly declaring that they, being in-your-face independent thinkers, voted for a third-party cola; I'm guessing Sam's Choice.)

Meanwhile, across the street is... Psychic Lady.

Oh no, I just realized the irony of the situation... if only Wesley Clark's campaign staffers had taken the time to visit "Ms. Adams: Psychic Palm/Card Reader" across the street, they would have known their efforts were futile. Surely they must have known when the psychic was available, thanks to the neon sign that says OPEN.

So, there you go. Come to my neighborhood for all your Wesley Clark campaign and/or psychic needs. It's a non-stop fucking party.


Meet Virginia; she's a racist whore


The setting: A crappy dive bar in Fairfax, Va. Monday night.

[A friend says he wants to watch the Heat-Pistons Game 7. I walk over to the bar to find the TV remotes; they're on the bar between a bunch of guys.]

ME: You guys mind if I change one of these TVs to the basketball?
GUY: What do you want to watch that nigger-ball for?
ME: [speechless]
GUY: If you want to watch a bunch of overpaid niggers, go ahead.


What is there to say?

What can I say?

I have nothing to add.



Only the murderers and racists work efficiently

A headline you don't want to see: Safety Warnings Often Ignored at Metro. This is part of one of those great multi-part series the Post does from time to time that always winds up pissing someone off. I love 'em.

Congratulations, America: you spent $170 million on a "Virtual Case File" computer system for the FBI. Oh, and it, um... doesn't work. Isn't it funny how, whenever you watch a movie or TV show about the FBI or CIA, they always have this sleek, state-of-the-art, everything-is-a-flat-panel-monitor technology to help them catch bad guys? In real life, they're lucky if they're able to run Letter Invaders.

Meanwhile, here's some shooting deaths, because we always love those. Another teenager was gunned down last week. Ooh, and this guy's dead body was left on top of public playground equipment. How... creative.

And finally, suburban Maryland, apparently jealous of Virginia, is trying desperately to catch up in the racism department. Sorry, guys, but you'll never challenge the undisputed king of racism. Loving v. Virginia, bitch!

I'm still waiting for my hot dog

I'm so happy about baseball. There's finally something interesting going on here in the summer.

Of course, we keep trying to screw up the simple state of "having a baseball team" in new and unusual ways that even I could not have predicted.

The battle for TV rights between the Orioles and Comcast continues, meaning only half the games show up on my TV. And today, the MASN network truck at RFK lost power and lost its feed of the game, resulting in an old rerun of "MASH" being shown at 1:30. ("MASH" is only one letter away from "MASN", so I guess that's why they picked it.) Coincidentally, the game was also not on Z104, because they apparently, for some reason, only broadcast night games. And I can't pick up the other station, 1050 AM (I'm not fully convinced it even exists), meaning that there was no way for me to see or listen to the game in the early innings today.

Surely this is some kind of Peter Angelos conspiracy.

At any rate, they won the game Sunday to take first place, which is just... astounding. I have almost nothing bad to say about the actual players (the only question marks being strange behavior by Byrd and Ohka this weekend). They've been surprisingly good.

The food service at RFK, to make an ironic transition, has been surprisingly bad. The company in charge, Aramark, has been the bane of my food-consuming existence throughout my life (they ran the food service, poorly, at my high school and college). And now they've brought that trademark crappiness to RFK, where any experience the company has had in providing food to masses of people seems to have been forgotten to the mists of time.

Personally, on opening day, I got in line for a hot dog at 6:30, and actually had to abort mission because the line had not moved, at all, 10 minutes later.

Then, a few weeks ago, the mere act of getting a couple sodas and some Cracker Jack proved to be one of the most challenging undertakings of my life. First, the concession stand I went to did not have any hot dogs prepared, because apparently the workers had forgotten to put more on the cooker after running out. One employee walked back down the line of customers saying, "We're out of hot dogs." They had done the same thing with the pretzels.

This was especially funny because the stand was being manned by three Aramarkians: two slack-jawed worker dudes who looked like they were totally out of it, and one flustered lady who was apparently the manager. Manager Lady would yell at the Worker Dudes for not putting the hot dogs out... but then, bizarrely, she would just stand in between them as they took orders, not actually lifting a finger to help them or speed up the whole food-serving process. Pretty funny. Then, the sequence of events for me getting my food was the capper:

1. I order a soda, a diet soda, and a Cracker Jack.
2. Worder Dude struggles to find right keys for that on his register.
3. Worker Dude takes my money.
4. Worker Dude figures my change and gives it to me. So far, this has taken about a minute and a half.
5. Worker Dude asks what kind of sodas I ordered; I remind him.
6. WD slowly fills up cups, one at a time.
7. Another two minutes later, sodas are filled! Celebration!
8. WD says, "I'll go get your popcorn" and walks away.
9. I hurriedly yell out "Cracker Jack! Cracker Jack!"
10. WD says "Oh yeah" and gives it to me.

Total time elapsed: half my life. I missed a good inning and a half, at least. And this was the game where the grounds crew was unable to pull the tarp over the infield during a rain delay, resulting in the game being called due to a flooded infield. Nats win, Mets protest. That's got to be one of the most hilarious baseball moments I've ever witnessed in person.

All in all, one of my biggest fears about having baseball baseball here -- namely, our inability to separate politics from anything -- hasn't really come true. Until last Friday night. My wife and I had given ourselves the yellow-to-purple seat upgrade, and from my vantage point I saw a little black guy with a bow tie in the mezzanine box to the right of the press box. Who else could it be but The Bowtie? Sure enough, later on Screech the mascot and a video camera showed up so that the mayor could do some mugging.

I will say this: I do give the mayor credit for sitting through an entire 11-inning game. I know he stayed to the end because, as fate would have it, he was walking down the same ramp I was after the game, not too far in front of me. And other people noticed, and shouted nice things at him.

"Hey mayor!"

Tony gives a little wave.

"Thanks for bringing us baseball, mayor!" (ugh) says one woman. Tony waves again. This happened four or five times.

Wow. The Bowtie's scrawny head grew three sizes that day. (I tried yelling "Why don't you stand up to Congress once in a while?" but didn't see him give a wave to that. Oh well.)

So there you go. That sums up Tony, I think; he's willing to take credit for baseball and will try to ride that to re-election, despite whatever other recurring problems D.C. might have.

But despite the political pandering and the lack of media exposure and the undercooked $5 hot dogs... baseball. Yay, baseball.


My neighbors

So we know who Deep Throat is now. It's kind of nice, to think back to a time when the Post's anonymous sources were actually useful and would tell the truth. Instead of, you know. Not.

And, of course, Nixon's cadre of goons have totally begged forgiveness for their actions, and don't blame Mr. Felt for what went down, and obviously I'm totally lying.

G. Gordon Liddy, one of the Watergate burglars, said Mr. Felt had "violated the ethics of law enforcement," while Pat Buchanan, a former speechwriter for Richard Nixon, called him a "traitor."
In other parts of the country, people can just laugh at these assholes and turn the page. A Watergate burglar saying that the whisteblower violated ethics? It would be hilarious if I didn't have to live in the Bizarro world of Washington, where not only are we expected to take this crap seriously, but we're also somehow expected to resist covering their houses in toilet paper. (In case you need directions, that's G. Gordon Liddy and Pat Buchanan.)

The real kicker for me was the President's press conference on Tuesday. This part really pissed me off:

Thalia asked about the Social Security issue, and I reminded her that the attitude is beginning to shift here in Washington, because for a while, people here said there really wasn't a significant problem and I wish he hadn't have brought it up. And now people are beginning to see the realities of Social Security, and the fact that we're about to pass on a huge burden to a young generation of Americans -- a burden, by the way, which doesn't have to be passed on.
Oh. So that's a burden. The Social Security. And not, I guess, the TWO TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT that you've rung up in just four years. Check it out!

Oh yeah! That's not going to be a problem! Let's see it again!

BRILLIANT! Way to FUCKING go! Economy sure looks good, when you pour $2,000,000,000,000 or so of phantom cash into it.

See, this is why I can't have children. America's currently in some kind of ghetto-rich denial phase, but it should be obvious from the graph that the future is shaping up to look exactly like it did in The Road Warrior. We'll all be wandering a post-apocalyptic wasteland scavenging for precious gasoline, and Mel Gibson is in charge. No child of mine is growing up in a world like that.


True Father haiku

Taken from the life-enriching stories of lifestyle writer Jen Waters in the Washington Times:

Tom Beal of Glenn Dale
only has eyes
for the birds

Pete Boudriault grows some prickly plants
In the back yard of his home
in Bowie

Maren Michel
is turning her reality
into fiction

The Rev. Ken Horne
understands the old adage
"waste not, want not"

Amy Grant says she has had
a hymn in her heart
since she was a child

Toxic heavy metals
can weigh down
a person's health
says Dr. Ross Myerson, medical director for occupational and environmental health at Washington Hospital Center in Northwest
Not quite 5-7-5, but I thought it was flowing nicely until that last one.