Boo Creepy Vagina Doctor!

Fun little story in The Washington Post this morning regarding the surging popularity of faith-based OBGYN offices. One of the largest of these offices, Tepeyac Family Center, is located, naturally, in Fairfax. The doctors at Tepeyac won't fill out prescriptions for birth-control pills, but they will teach you the ins-and-outs* of the rhythm method.

If you're unfamiliar with the rhythm method, it's basically a form of sexual Russian Roulette that involves taking vaginal temperatures and examining vaginal mucus samples. I don't possess the maturity to deal with vaginal mucus samples. Loving relationships that aren't sinning in the eyes of God are great and all, but, um, gross. Also, and this is kind of important, the rhythm method doesn't work. I was taught this method in my senior year of high school in my Marriage class. Three cheers for Catholic school!

I guess it's cool if a woman of religious persuasion wants this kind of medical attention. The article mentions that often people who oppose birth-control are teased by their former OBGYNs. That's unacceptable. But that doesn't make these religious OBGYNs any less discomforting. Some aren't exactly upfront about what kind of medical attention they provide. (Although, the Madonna statues in the Tepeyac office should be a big fucking hint.)

My biggest problem isn't with the adult women who want this kind of service. I have no problem with people getting care that best fits their personal beliefs. However, I'm concerned for the teenagers who end up in these places. If your Mom refers you to a religiously oriented OBGYN office, what do you do if you have a pregnancy or STD scare? If you have nowhere else to turn, wouldn't it be horrible to be a sexually active 16-year-old and not be given the opportunity to be on birth-control? If a condom breaks, where do you go for an STD check? At the very least these doctors should refer you to a Planned Parenthood clinic or something, but the article says that a lot of these doctors won't do that. That, to them, would be complicit sin.

By the way, Tepeyac has 15,000 (!!!) patients who don't use birth control. There's going to be a lot of daughters in the Metro area who won't get the care they need and deserve.

*I apologize for that incredibly lame double-entendre.


Big Scoop

I wanted to write about this article on Friday, but The New York Times had to go and publish that ridiculous "36 Hours" piece. It's so much easier to make fun of a bad article than a pointless one. But let's give the pointless article its fair due.

Every Thursday evening I hunker down with the newest edition of the Washington City Paper. I usually skip right to the consistently excellent "Loose Lips," and then focus on the long feature article. The feature article is usually centered around local politics or human interest stories. But what happens when a story is neither political nor interesting?

Answer: You end up with "Exit From Eden."

The Washington City Paper has broken the big news that people don't always want to follow in their parents' footsteps. Stop the presses!

Lo-Ann Lai's parents own a Vietnamese restaurant in Falls Church. But she wants to be a hairdresser. How can this conflict be resolved!?

Usually, when I make fun of newspaper articles, I copy-and-paste a paragraph and follow that with my hilarious commentary. These posts tend to be my most popular, probably because it's a really easy way to be funny while staying relatively on topic. It's idiot proof. But I'm not going to do that here. It would be too draining. It's a long article.

Instead, just read every paragraph and say to yourself, "Who gives a shit?" This is not news. It's not interesting. The topic is unexciting and, frankly, old hat. What a waste of time. The City Paper should stick to its strengths: attacking The Washington Times and printing restaurant reviews.

Post Script: Vietnamese food sucks.


The New York Times Has No Idea What It's Talking About

The New York Times travel section has a feature called "36 Hours." The title kind of says it all. A writer spends approximately 36 hours in his/her tourist destination of choice and reports back to the NYT with little hidden nuggets on how to have a good time there. The column is dedicated towards the Times's more upscale readers and is basically Exhibit A on why I think the NYT is a horrible newspaper. Washington just got the 36 Hours treatment and the results are predictably hilarious.

For posterity's sake, I would like you to pay special attention to the first sentence of the column:
WASHINGTON, in many ways, is an unsurprising place to visit - an expanse of monuments, symbols and sites familiar to any American who watches the evening news (or, at least, "West Wing").

The writer, Adam Nagourney goes on to tell us that with some extra work, you can find the "real" DC. The real DC being, no joke, "a city of surprises and unfamiliar delights."

The first thing to do in the "real" DC is go to the roof of the Hotel Washington for some drinks and a terrific view of the White House. That's right. The first surprise and/or unfamiliar delight is, wait for it, the White House! Good work, Adam Nagourney.

Next on the itinerary is a stop at the 9:30 Club. Nagourney believes that the 9:30 is "arguably one of the best places in the country to see a show." Seriously? Adam Nagourney can probably afford $6 beers. Also, Adam Nagourney is an idiot. I'd put the 9:30 as 3rd best in the Metro area behind the Black Cat and the Filene Center at Wolf Trap.

What's the next surprise and/or unfamiliar delight on Nagourney's itinerary? Why, Georgetown of course!

If the weather is nice, explore Georgetown, a historic neighborhood of narrow tree-lined streets, some still with cobblestones, and historic homes and churches. And the best way to see Georgetown is to get lost there. Wander the streets randomly, notice the pleasing details of the Federal houses and, if the need arises, spot what passes for a celebrity in Washington. (Yes, that probably is the senator or television correspondent you think it is.)

Wow! Is that really Tim Russert??? It is!!! THAT JUST TOTALLY MADE MY VACATION!!!!

Nagourney goes on to suggest that a good way to kill time in Georgetown is to crash open houses. I can just imagine some poor real estate agent in the Carolyn Burnham mold dealing with some pretentious NYT reporter. It's good to know that Nagourney thinks that real estate agents are to be used for our petty amusement.

Once you're done house hunting, it's time to go to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Another "hidden" gem. I'll copy-and-paste the entire paragraph:

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Maya Lin's senior thesis project, looks best late in the day, when the sunlight doesn't shine as fiercely on the harsh, black granite. The memorial is hauntingly moving and easily overwhelming. And it should give solace to those who despair whether New York City planners will be able to agree on a fitting tribute on the grounds of the World Trade Center.

That last sentence is just so weird and out of place. I don't see how that gives any 9/11 mourner solace. The Vietnam Memorial is beautiful, thought-provoking, and literally awesome. It's an amazing thing. New Yorkers, especially with the political charge surrounding any potential 9/11 memorials, will never be able to duplicate the quiet power of the Vietnam Memorial's black granite. But, yeah, that paragraph really sucked the fun out of the travel section.

I do feel bad that New Yorkers are getting stuck with that proposed Freedom Tower. A 1,776-foot tall building...lamest symbolism ever. And at 408-feet taller than the WTC, it will be that much easier to hit with a plane. Just sayin'.

Well, anyways, back to Gerogetown!

Georgetown, is as much theater as food. It is a swirl of young and old, Georgetown and Capitol Hill, Europe and Washington, and the closest thing you'll get to a celebrity palace in Washington. (Was that really John Kerry having dinner on the patio? Why, yes!)

What is with the weird celebrity worship? Politicians in Washington? That's crazy!

And what better way to end the night than driving by the memorials. Remember that first paragraph? About the "real" DC? Yeah, it was total bullshit. And why drive around the memorials when you can walk through the Mall?

The city is not as safe as it once was, so if you decide to walk around here, which is tempting in the moonlight, keep an eye out around you.

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.

The next day Nagourney goes to the Spy Museum and blah, blah, blah.

So, here are Washington's surprises and unfamiliar delights that were exposed by the NYT:

1. Monuments
2. 9:30 Club
3. Georgetown
4. Crime

As for the parts that remain unfamiliar to a typical NYT travel section reader:

1. Any part with black people.
2. Except for a club in a gentrifying black neighborhood that features a mostly white clientele.

Thanks, New York Times, for helping me plan my weekend.


Best Lede Paragraph Ever

Sometimes the opening paragraph tells the entire story:

The District's mental retardation agency has run out of money to pay an independent contractor to investigate deaths in its group home system and is now conducting the probes in-house -- using the same office that previously deleted damaging information from some of the contractor's reports.

You know how I keep bitching about the $611,000,000+ the city is spending on a baseball stadium? This is why. Let me remind DC-lovers that the District considers a recreational activity more important than accounting for the deaths of the city's most vulnerable.


Analysis of Local College Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report recently released its annual college rankings. These rankings are arbitrary and asinine. They certainly don't represent the strengths and weaknesses of any given college or university. All they do is feed into the ultra-competitive world of college admissions where overworked high schoolers fight tooth-and-nails for admission into a top-10. I think that's horrible and counter-productive.

And I still let them get to me. Here's why:

86. American University.

I have my problems with AU. Any sane student would. But, dear Lord....86!? At least we've pushed ahead of the University of Alabama. Every small victory helps.

Smart people go to American University for our School of Public Affairs or our School of International Service. The administration tells us those are some of the top programs in the country. I don't really believe that, but I doubt they're just making things up. Spin is different than fiction. (I think the trick is to call it "Public Affairs" instead of "Government.")

So, why the low ranking? I'm pretty sure it has something to do with our outrageously poor math and science departments. As a friend of mine, Marc, put it:

"You'd have to be an idiot to go to AU for math or science; you can get programs that are 100 times better at most state schools for at least a third of the tuition."

Marc is exactly right. I mean, have you seen the AU Bio Labs? It looks like they were built in 1948. But those departments drag us down in these arbitrary rankings and sully my good diploma.

Anyways, for fun, let's look at the other local college rankings:

16. Johns Hopkins University
Fair enough. I mean, it's Johns Hopkins. I am not going to say anything bad about them other than that they are really good at lacrosse, the rapiest of sports.

23. Georgetown University
I was praying that Georgetown would get beaten out by the University of Virginia but, alas,

24. University of Virginia
For a Virginia resident, the cost of moving from #24 to #23 is probably around $15,000 a year.

I have a cousin getting an accelerated doctorate in sociology here. This makes me look bad at family gatherings.

31. College of William and Mary
I've been told this is an excellent school. I have also been told that William and Mary features a heavy Greek population. I don't know how those two things can coexist.

52. George Washington University
I don't really have a problem with this. I know, in my heart, that GW is a better school than AU. Of course, in the hearts and minds of GW students, the difference is far greater than the reality of the situation. A lot of GW kids are snobbier towards American students than their Georgetown counterparts. That's just silly, especially when they share the exact same inferiority complex from being less than five miles from a superior university.

54. University of Maryland
And here's where I start holding a legitimate grudge. 32 spots greater than American? Then fucking act like it you cretins. I don't care how high the average high school GPA is for their incoming classes; I have never met a UMD student who wasn't significantly dumber than me. Yes I know I'm dealing with a ridiculously small sample size of, like, nine people, but a 100% idiocy rate is still nothing to dismiss. It's not like their actions after any significant athletic achievement are going to convince me otherwise. (Blogger Irina was a UMD student who is now attending an Ivy League grad school. Therefore she's almost certainly smarter than me. But I haven't met her so it doesn't count.)

77. Virginia Tech
This absolutely blew my mind and it highlights the stupidity of these rankings. What do you go to Virginia Tech for? Agriculture? Mining? Whatever it is, it's not anything that American offers. I don't want to sound elitist or anything because tech schools are useful and all, but comparing it to schools like GW, Georgetown, UVA, and American is an exercise in futility. And then to somehow decide that VTech is better than American...stupid.

And how does this qualify as a local school in The Washington Post? I didn't even know where VTech was until some crazy dude starting shooting people a couple of days ago. It turns out, it's in middle of fucking nowhere.

88. Howard University
I don't even want to include this school on my blog the way the comment threads have been going lately. Seriously, commenters, stop with the casual racism.

120. Catholic University
Sophomore year (2002) I had this new girlfriend. And she wanted to see Rusted Root at Catholic University. I hate Rusted Root, but, as I said, new girlfriend. I would have gone to a Dave Matthews concert just for the brownie points. Anyways, Rusted Root consists of a bunch of hippies and is therefore a pro-choice band. Some of the Catholic University kids took umbrage to this and decided to wear all white at the concert to represent fetuses or something like that. Of course, they still put money in the pockets of those baby-killers to see the show. I'm sure Rusted Root had no idea why half of the kids were wearing white t-shirts. So, way to get your point across, morons. Any school that has a student population that fucking stupid deserves triple digits in the college rankings.

Not Listed: George Mason University
Man, all that basketball success was for naught.


Two Notes

1. The Dupont South Metro escalators were broken again today. I'm glad to see so much forward progress being made at such a busy station. I can't believe it's that much to ask to have just one working escalator going in the right direction. (The "right direction" is whichever way I happen to be going.) If this continues, an injury is inevitable. Maybe a heart attack. Maybe a dizzy spell that results in a fall and a domino effect taking out dozens of commuters. Who knows? But it will suck. And WMATA will be held accountable.

2. So, yeah. More bad things happening in Georgetown. Can Chief Ramsey declare a crime super-emergency? If I need to buy my baby a diamond ring, I'll buy it beyond the District limits thank you very much.


Going Crazy With Google Maps

OK. Imagine you're relatively new to Washington. Your extended family has tricked you into going to the zoo with them. You're giving your second cousin instructions on how to get to your group house on 49th and Brandywine from Connecticut Avenue. So, we're driving, we spot Brandywine, and we take a left-hand turn. After all, it's my street.

But it's not my street. Taking Brandywine from Connecticut Ave. will lead you straight to Wilson High School. See. Brandywine starts up again about a half mile later. Same thing happens to you on Chesapeake, Davenport, and Ellicott.

A few years later I was staying at an apartment complex off of Macomb and Massachusetts. At this point I had a better feel for DC. My family knew my cross streets, but I was very particular about one thing: If you see a Macomb, avoid it at all costs. Why? Well, Macomb starts and stops as it pleases. That's three Macomb Streets. And none of them are connected!

The confusing roads persist in other parts of town. In Friendship heights there are two 42nds and two 43rds. There's a 9 1/2 Street by the 9:30 Club which, incidentally, has its own set of problems. The numbers are just as bad across the Anacostia which features two 31sts and two 32nds.

I guess my point is this: This is an abortion of a grid plan! It seems like proper city planning would prevent this silliness. To think, this is a city that depends on tourism dollars! This "system" is confusing for people who are new new to DC. Heck, it's confusing for me. When I was looking for housing in January I walked down 42nd Street instead of 42nd Place. Result: Knocking on a lot of wrong doors. (A big apology to that family whose baby was asleep.)

I understand that it's kind of fun to watch people who don't know DC as well as they should get all confused and disoriented. But they deserve a little pity. Washington has made it as difficult as possible with its duplicate streets, no J Streets, and traffic circles. It can be pretty easy to get lost if you don't know the city's idiosyncrasies like the back of your hand. Just another negative quality of DC to throw onto the pile.

Most of my examples are limited to the 20016 zipcode. There are probably a ton of other examples of this. Feel free to leave more examples in the comments.



No posts since Tuesday? What's up with that?

Well, I haven't had anything DC-centric to complain about. As I put it in the comments section of my last post, I've got the hater's block.

Don't worry. I'm sure something will come up over the next few days. In the meantime, enjoy the weather, have a couple of drinks, and see Little Miss Sunshine. That's a recipe for a good weekend.


Prime DC Hating

I gave ya'll 2,000 words yesterday, so I'm going to take today off*. Instead of ranting about the Metro for the 439th time, I'll direct you to The DCeiver's most recent post** regarding the Washington Post's "Best Bets." It's pretty amazing. This is a level of snarkiness that blows me out of the water. Well done, sir.

*Unless an intern makes eye contact with me at lunch. Then it's war.
**I even put the hyperlink in boldface to make sure you clicked it!


Soul-Crushing Journalism

Ok, The Washington Post article on interns isn't as funny as I hoped it would be. It is, however, incredibly depressing and should be used as Exhibit A for why I hate DC. Let's get cracking. As usual, all excerpts are indented. Also as usual, I won't be copying and pasting the entire article. I'll focus on the ridiculous parts.

"You know where you need to start?" asked [Ryan] Holte, 22, whipping out his Treo Smartphone. "Right here."

He scrolled down to a spreadsheet that listed what seemed like every happy hour in the Washington area. Organized by day and neighborhood, it reported the specials at about 75 bars and restaurants each weeknight.

You know in American Pie how there's that legendary book passed down through the generation that document the proper way to perform cunnilingus on Tara Reid? Well, there's an alcoholic version of that. And what kind of intern gets a Treo? I want a Treo.

This spreadsheet is the Washington intern's summer road map to cheap booze and greasy grub. For years, this list has been passed down through e-mail by friends and friends of friends, and now by universities to group e-mail lists of students in the city. Its accuracy is questionable. Still, to many interns, the listing is gospel.

These fuckers depend on a spreadsheet? Lame. That's so Windows 95. Those lucky enough to be members of the super-exclusive DC Late Night Shots Club don't need a spreadsheet. They list all the happy hours for you. Microsoft Office is no longer necessary! It's so nice to be one of the beautiful people.

Ground zero for schmoozers-in-training is the weekday happy hour. If it's the right bar on the right day, they can chat up a congressman and jump-start their careers. Ultimately, it's all about making as many lasting, positive impressions on as many important people as possible, right?

Wrong! It's about getting coffee and forging your congressman's signature. Number of important people I met on the Hill during my four-month internship: ZERO!

"They're just blown away by the fact that they grew up watching 'West Wing' and now are a part of it," said James Hoppes, 34, who interned at the World Bank and still throws back Coronas at the Front Page in Dupont Circle when he finishes work at the Aspen Institute, a think tank.

Oh my God. First and foremost, stop going to The Front Page. Secondly, I'm willing to bet that The West Wing has little to do with interns drinking during the day. In fact, I bet there were interns before The West Wing was even on the air! Research confirms this.*

Known as the nation's intern capital, Washington could add another title: the happy hour capital. Interns say the D.C. scene reigns supreme. If you asked them, here's what they'd tell you:

New York? Nope, too many investment bankers crunching numbers through the wee hours.

Los Angeles? Nope, not enough of a walking city to pub hop.

In defense of investment bankers, the biggest (and bestest!) alcoholic I know is a New York City investment banker. If DC had more people like her, I would be a happier man.

In Washington, though, happy hours are part of the culture. On Capitol Hill alone, 4,000 interns head down the columned steps of their office buildings by 5:30 or 6 at night, many of them heading for bars. You can spot interns by their security badges, which some wear even after punching the clock.

Ah yes. The interns who wear their badges after they get out of work. What assholes.

In the barrooms of political Washington on a weekday evening, you can hear the names rolling off the tongues of the young and ambitious: Hillary! Obama! McCain!

Yeah, you can meet a lot of important people when you're willing to work for free. Showing off about it is incredibly lame. It never fails to amuse me how people claim they want to make a difference when what they really want is to climb the ladder as quickly as possible. What's at the top of the ladder? A cushy job as an Executive Assistant.

Back at Tortilla Coast, the side room filled with Republican interns eagerly awaiting a congressman. An appearance by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was promised by the Leadership Institute, an organization that recruits young conservatives, trains them for public service and helps place them in government or policy jobs.

"Being able to set up a rapport with an influential Republican congressman like himself is valuable to me," said Holte, a second-year law student at the University of California at Davis and an intern at the U.S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals. "It'll hopefully set myself up for job opportunities or future career growth."

Why does this guy think that Steve King could give two shits about him? And job opportunities? Ha. I met Tipper Gore during a (very) brief stint on the executive board of the American University College Democrats. I don't use her as a job reference.

Another day, around the corner at Hawk 'n' Dove, the venerable Capitol Hill honky-tonk, draft pitchers were $5. A couple of interns and their co-workers from a human rights and government watchdog group gathered at a table in the back room. They bandied jokes around a pitcher of foamy brew and jumbo potato skins (no bacon), then started to rail about those interns, the relentless handshakers and name-droppers. You see, not every D.C. intern goes to happy hours merely to network. And when asked about the networkers, Daniel Werner, 22, and Michael Piccinelli, 21, just shrugged and laughed as if to say, That's Washington .

Werner, a senior at the University of California at Berkeley, recalled attending a panel for interns this summer that featured Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and NBC News' Tim Russert. After the talk, audience members swarmed the headliners.

"All those interns want to do is get a picture with them and post it on their Facebook and say, 'Hey, look at me,' " Werner said, referring to the online networking site popular among college students. "That really turns me off about interns here."

"They might care about their work," Werner added, "but all they do is name-drop."

Yes! I think I'm in love with these guys. These are the people I want to drink with. If Dan and Mark are reading this, first round is on me. We will seek out dudes wearing their House badges and punch them in the nuts.

That's really it for the article. There's some more talk of ladder climbing and, for some reason, a Monica Lewinsky reference. Blah, blah, blah. Although interns drinking after work isn't exactly a hot story, I'm glad this was published. These are the people that have ruined DC. Name-dropping, ladder-climbing, back-stabbing, brown-nosers. I hope someone spikes the Coronas at The Front Page with cyanide.

*I didn't do any research.

I'm Trying Really Hard to Care

So, I've registered to vote in Washington. Legislative representation is overrated anyways. I am trying really hard to look at all the candidates up for election and make a sound decision on who would best represent me as a mayor or council member. I've found out that I really don't care.

Washington, DC is so politically homogeneous that every candidate blurs together. It seems like there are a dozen people running to represent Ward 3 on the City Council. All of them (except for the insane Jonathan Rees) harp on the same issues. They all promise to fight crime and to fight for our schools. That's all well and good, but it doesn't distinguish one candidate from the others. I'm being asked to pick one name out of a dozen lookalikes. The only one that really stands out for me is Sam Brooks. And that's only because he is so freaking handsome. Mary Cheh and Paul Strauss also seem highly-qualified, but they don't have Sam Brooks's dimples.

The race for the at-large council seat is really no better. The Washington Post has a wonderful article today on how the race is evolving between Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) and Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3). Since both candidates are fighting for the same things (better education, less crime, no tax increases for the poor, etc.), people are choosing their preferred candidate based on race. Blacks are going to vote for Gray and whites are going to vote for Patterson. I guess it's as good of a distinguishing factor as you'll find between two otherwise indistinguishable candidates. That still seems a bit unsavory to me. I may leave my ballot blank on this one. I will not vote for someone based on the color of their skin.

The race for mayor isn't that different. At least the two front-runners, Council Chairwoman Linda Cropp and Adrian Fenty (D-Ward 4) are finally going at it. Cropp is attacking Fenty's "nay" vote to that poor excuse of a crime bill. Advantage Fenty. That crime bill was a joke and a waste of time. Unfortunately, Fenty's history of being a legislative climber and his reputation for not being the sharpest knife in the drawer have made me wary of his candidacy. And I'm a little pissed at him for debating mayoral candidate Marie Johns (D-Verizon) deep in the heart of Anacostia at nine in the morning on a Saturday. I wanted to go to that debate. Why put it somewhere that isn't Metro accessible? It's cool that people are trying to involve the political dead zone that is Ward 8, but the time and location allowed only hardcore supporters of Johns and Fenty to watch the candidates battle it out.

I guess I'm going to vote for Johns. The position of mayor should go to an administrator. Fenty, who has been blessed with great political skills, doesn't really fit that description. Cropp's negative attacks on Fenty and Johns haven't sat well with me. Also, I want electoral revenge against anyone who threw $600 million at Major League Baseball for a stupid baseball stadium. That leaves Johns. (Yes, I know there are two other candidates, but I can't be bothered with them since they're such longshots.) Johns has been aggressive and has the background that I think a Washington mayor needs. It wasn't that long ago that Washington was financially insolvent. Home-rule is still relatively young and the city is still recovering from the Barry years. Johns' history as an executive is what the city needs.

Also, there's no way she'll win. Voting for Johns gives me a four-year license to bitch and moan about DC government. The "Don't blame me, I voted for Johns" attitude should suit me well over the next few years. I apologize in advance.

I will tell you who I voted for after I cast my ballot. In the meantime, I've heard there's a ridiculous Metro article in today's Post regarding interns and happy hours. I'll tackle that over lunch. If it's as stupid as it sounds, expect a full write-up.


The Kids are Not Alright

I decided not to support Linda Cropp in the mayoral race after she pushed through that ridiculous "crime emergency" legislation that extended a youth curfew to 10-friggin-pm. I can't imagine being 16 and having to deal with that bogus legislation. It seemed especially pointless considering the 15-year-old who helped kill Alan Senitt was out at 2am. That was way past the old midnight curfew. If anything, that shows that curfews don't work. Why extend it?

And I was only 16 seven years ago. I remember how pointless youth curfews were. All they did was promote the image of teenagers as being driftless thugs. It was fundamentally unfair to people my age! Outrage!!

I still think that curfews are pointless and don't do anything other than make legislators feel good about themselves. But my opinion of teenagers took a pretty steep tumble after reading this horrifying story in The Washington Post.

Someone fired a gun in the crowd, shooting a 14-year-old girl in both legs and a 13-year-old boy in one leg. A 17-year-old youth was pistol-whipped. Bottles were thrown, [Assistant Police Chief Brian K] Jordan said.

It goes on:

Police are looking for another teenager who left the scene in a white Honda. In the chaos of the shooting, two girls, ages 13 and 14, began to beat another girl with a bottle. Police arrested them, and the victim was taken to a hospital, Jordan said.

Good Lord. The cause of this violence? Police seem to believe it was a neighborhood rivalry exacerbated by a go-go concert. Apparently local go-go bands shout out local neighborhoods to get the crowd excited. I think that's kind of neat. Unfortunately, it doesn't work if portions of your audience are criminally deranged.

I no longer believe the children are our future.


Video Evidence of DC Idiots in Their Natural Habitat

Big thanks to Deadspin for posting this video of diehard R****ins fans.

Every city has brainless sports fans. To mock Washington for that would be ridiculous. But let's be honest, these guys are dolts.


Metro Continues to be Both Physically and Emotionally Exhausting

Is there nothing better than arriving at the Dupont Circle Metro stop on a Monday morning and finding that both of the "up" escalators are out of service? I know last time I complained about an escalator outage I was accused of being out of shape. So, I'd like to point out to you that there were quite a few commuters who were so tired out by the Trail of Tears to 19th Street that they had to take a couple of breathers. I know because I was caught behind one and couldn't squirm my way into the passing lane.

I understand that bad things happen and that elevator outages are to be expected. The Metro has always had elevator and escalator outages. I guess it's part of its charm. To expect anything less would be a pipe dream. That being said, the Metro failed its many commuters by having the escalator going down into the station in fine working condition. Here are some observations:

1. The number of people arriving at the 19th Street Dupont Metro stop greatly outnumbers the number of people departing. 19th Street is nothing but office buildings. It's home to two gigantic law firms (Steptoe & Johnson and Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld) and various other soulless corporate stuff. It's where people work, not where people live. So the working escalator should be the one that benefits the most people. The escalator should have been going up.

2. Walking downstairs is easier than walking upstairs. Duh. The Dupont escalator has a lot of stairs. Anyone who is even a little bit out of shape is going to get tired. It turns out there a lot of out of shape office workers. Anyone who is past their physical prime is going to get tired. There are a lot of people over the age of 50 working in law firms. People walking downstairs don't get as tired. This is the most super-obvious thing I have ever written; it tickles me that Metro still couldn't get it right.

3. Metro deserves bonus points for not telling anyone about the escalators until after they get past the gate. So if you happen to have an artificial hip and need a working escalator, you're shit out of luck unless you pay another $1.35 and a whole lot more in opportunity and inconvenience costs.

This better be a temporary problem. Getting caught behind elderly women who almost collapse from exhaustion is not the best way to start my workday.


Oh My Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord

Coming home from the Sleater-Kinney concert last night reminded me why this city is so intolerable. This is a city that was built for work rather than play. This is especially frustrating on the U Street Corridor which is covered with green flags urging us to enjoy the culture and the nightlife of the area. Of course, people who enjoy nightlife also enjoy getting home in a timely manner. And in Washington, that's damn near impossible. Well impossible if you don't want to shell out 15 bucks for a cab. My student loans just went up, so every extra cent helps.

The concert at the 9:30 Club ended at 11:30ish. I got to the U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial*/Cardozo stop at 11:37. I was immediately dismayed to find that the next train wouldn't be arriving for another 16 minutes. I counted my lucky stars that I wasn't headed off to College Park. That would have been a 19 minute wait. Why does DC even bother marketing itself as a fun place when the fun involves long waits underground?

I got on the Branch Ave. train and head towards Gallery Place. I was ecstatic to see that I would only have to wait six minutes for the next train.

The other shoe drops once I hop into the train and get to Metro Center. For some reason, the train idles there for 25 minutes. It may have had something to do with the Metro closing. I wouldn't know since the mystery went unexplained by Metro's crack team of customer service representatives. I was sweaty, exhausted, and tired. All I wanted to do was to get home and fall asleep. Metro would not oblige me.

I finally got home at 12:45am. 68 minutes of travel time. I live 4.8 miles from the U Street stop. That means I was going approximately 4.23 mph. Jesus Christ. I could have just walked and saved myself the $1.35.

*I loved Glory as much as the next guy suffering from white guilt, but the African-American Civil War Memorial is super-lame. It does not inspire me. It's boring and uninteresting. Anyone who goes to U Street to check it out is a sucker. It's a glorified tourist trap (though granted, one with excellent intentions). The 209,145 black veterans of The Civil War deserve better.


Fact Finding Mission

So, I was reading this Deadspin comment thread and someone from DC, "Unsilent Majority," made a disparaging remark about the historical racism in one of America's greater cities (I won't mention which one). I defended this unmentioned city while taking a small poke at DC's current struggles with racism.

Then, some dude calling himself "Larry Bird Flu" had this to say:

"Anyone hear about the whole uproar about calling Prince George's County "PG County?" That PG is racist? That's ridunkulous."

This is news to me. I did a rudimentary Google/Wikipedia search and came up with nothing. So I turn to you, my faithful readers. Are there people out there who think abbreviating "Prince George's" is racist? If so, why? Any information you have on the subject would be enlightening. I am inclined to believe that such a belief would qualify as ridunkulous, but I'd like to have all the facts before making a final decision.

UPDATE: Ok. A few commenters sent me a link to The Washington Express Blog. They provide the following excerpt taken from The Washington Post:

"Going back at least 30 years, some county politicians have associated use of the abbreviation with disrespect and have worked to discourage it, even as some residents scratch their heads about the connection. The debate is a complex one, fraught with racial and class implications and compounded by sensitivities about where the county fits in among its more affluent suburban neighbors, including Montgomery and Fairfax counties."

I don't really see any claims of racism. It's little more than a public relations move. It's not really ridunkulous, just asinine.


Road Rage

So last night was a disaster. Something went wrong at the 9:30 Club and the Fire Department had to evacuate the building. It wouldn't have been quite as sucky for the club if this happened in the middle of The Wreckers concert. Instead, this went down at a show that sold out in less than ten minutes. On a farewell tour no less. Lots of suckage there. Thankfully, Sleater-Kinney will be back on August 3, so, no complaints. All the kids crying in the U Street alleys after the evacuation can cheer up.

I certainly wouldn't dream of criticizing the 9:30 Club for this fiasco. I mean, if your transformers overheat, what other option do you have? And blaming the Fire Department would be ludicrous. I just hope they get these problems fixed by Thursday.

Instead of complaining about the evacuation, I will complain about a dangerous little habit I've noticed in DC's drivers. I decided to walk from my office in Golden Triangle to the 9:30 Club on 9th and V. (Two miles in 100 degree heat. I don't know what I was thinking.) Across from the Liberty Gas Station on V Street, there is a crosswalk. I shouldn't have to remind you that, in the absence of "walk/don't walk" lights, pedestrians have the absolute right of way. It would be madness to just walk across the street without looking both ways; proper precautions still apply. But when I walk across the street, I expect cars to slow down.

Yesterday, a car sped up. It got close enough that I felt the need to sprint out of the way. That's some scary shit. This isn't the first time this has happened to me either. Anecdotal Evidence A: The intersection of Wisconsin and Garrison. Anecdotal Evidence B: The intersection of Massachusetts and Macomb. The latter is especially frightening during rush hour when cars are racing to get to the Marylanfd suburbs as fast as possible.

Why do DC drivers do this? I've had the same frightening experience a few times now. And it isn't like these cars are maintaining speed. They are noticeably accelerating. Like, you can hear their engines rev. What a psychotic thing to do when someone is crossing the street. People who do this have broken brains.

I know New York and The New England Commonwealth That Will Not Be Named have the same pedestrian laws. Drivers there actually stop for you. Both of those states are bright red in Schuyler's wonderful map. Yet drivers there, in my experience, don't actively try to scare the living bejesus out of pedestrians. So not only are DC drivers stupid, they are also aggressively dangerous.

I don't own a car, so I shouldn't have any reason to complain about bad driving. Yet here we are.


Off the Topic of DC Hatred

Last night I went to the Fiona Apple concert at Wolf Trap. Needless to say, I had a wonderful time. (Though, if anyone else went to the show, I would like to discuss Fiona's stage antics. Was it histrionic or genuine? Please discuss in comments. I lean towards histrionic.) I love Wolf Trap. It's got to be the best venue in the area. It's close by, it's beautiful, and the acoustics, in the two shows I've seen there, have been excellent. It's a shame they don't get more contemporary acts to make the trip to Vienna.

One thing I noticed during the concert was the use of signers. Off to the side of the stage, two women wearing all black were signing Fiona Apple's lyrics for the benefit of the hearing impaired. The Wolf Trap website has this little blurb:

Sign language interpretation can be arranged by calling (703) 255-1849 (TDD accessible). A minimum of three weeks advance notice is required.

Which of course raises the following question: Why would a deaf person go to a concert?