More Local History Gone

Eastern Market burned down this morning. Fortunately nobody was injured, but the vendors are totally screwed. Fenty promises to relocate as many as possible, but come on, where’s the guy who sells beaded jewelry going to go? Georgetown? The new baseball stadium?

Why, God, why did it have to be Eastern Market and not 18th Street?

The 8th Circle

Rusty has graciously asked me, HRH King Friday XIII, to guest blog for WIHDC while he’s vacationing in Cape Cod, MA. He picked me because I’m a weaker writer, less witty, and completely unoriginal. My suckage ensures that Rusty’s predictable homecoming post about Beantown is better received by his readers than last time.

Some FYI about me. My frequent use of acronyms probably tipped you off that I’m a federal employee. You can infer that I’ve lived in DC for at least 2 years because I introduced myself by talking about my career. Next follows the DC formality of explaining my job in such a way that makes me sound more accomplished and cooler than you: I work on the Hill as a congressional aide. If we were speaking in person, I’d follow that last statement by whipping out a blackberry and slapping a bluetooth thing to my ear.

But fear not, my fellow haters, for we are kin. Forget I wear a lanyard around my neck (I actually keep mine stuffed in my pocket out of shame). Rest assured that I have a deep seething hatred for Washington, DC. I could prove it by complaining about Metro or telling you how the main DMV office ironically lacks a parking lot, but instead I’ll share something that happened my first week in Washington, DC.

[On a brisk Saturday afternoon in October 2004, I was driving through Northeast after getting my oil changed when a man pulls up beside me waving his hands wildly. We stop at a red light. I roll down my window.]

Guy: Shit, man! Your right front tire looks wobbly like it’s going to fall off. Better pull over.

Me: Really?!

Guy: Oh yeah, man. Pull over!

Me: [Confused] But I just came from Jiffy Lube. They checked my tire pressure and all that.

Guy: They loosened your tires by mistake. I’m a mechanic. Pull over and I’ll check ‘em out.

Me: [Gullibly] Gee thanks, mister! Ok!

[We both pull over. Guy gets out of his car and a second man hiding in guy’s back car seat suddenly emerges. My spidey senses tingling, I peel out and drive away.]

The moral of this story? Even if you drive a dented, rusting 1999 Corolla with missing hubcaps, you’re still a juicy target for a would-be carjacker in broad daylight in Washington. More to the point, survival in DC requires you to accept that man is inherently evil, at least within the boundaries of this diamond shaped house of horrors. One is hard-pressed to find Good Samaritans here, especially in the world of politics, government and K Street. Even Washington’s non-profits are no exception.

If you’re new to the city or a longtime resident who’s convinced of its awesomeness, I have some famous words for you: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”



1. This news is two weeks old, but I was just made aware of it yesterday. Councilwoman Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), who I certainly did not vote for, has introduced legislation to ban trans fats in DC restaurants. Hey, Mary? Go screw. Surely you have better things to do. Like, the city is still killing all those retarded people. Start there.

I really don't want to go on some crazy libertarian rant since I don't consider libertarians to be serious people, but, Christ, leave me be! Why can't I eat what I fucking want? Why can't restaurants cook what they fucking want? I'm all about watching what I eat, but sometimes I just want a fucking fat bomb for dinner. You know the first thing I eat on a steak? The fat and gristle. It's delicious. I also devour the skin on the chicken and I love bacon fat run-off. I know trans fat is bad and I generally avoid it (along with empty calories and tofu), but, really, why can't the government just leave restaurant owners and their consumers alone? What's next? Legislation that bans you from smoking in your own car?

This isn't like the foie gras bans where people are concerned for the health of the delicious goose. This is the government saying "we know what's best for you." The fuck you do!

Well, at least there's an exception for "service to unemployed, homeless, or other disadvantaged populations." "Disadvantaged" seems awfully vague for legislation. I say, assuming this becomes law, we exploit the fuck out of that loophole. I am disadvantaged by my inability to eat what I want within DC's borders.

2. My archives are still down. I hate Blogger. Someone tell me how to fix this.

3. As previously mentioned, I will be in Cape Cod next week. I expect this trip to be awesome. I got about a dozen offers from loyal readers to be my guest blogger. Sorry for not getting back to any of you but superstar reader King Friday XIII, my first choice for this august position, has agreed to take my place for a week. His comments are regularly funnier than my posts, so I think the site is in good, if not considerably better, hands.

I may post once from my home bunker in Yarmouthport, but, if not, have a wonderful week. Please e-mail me any tips you have so I can forward them to King Friday.


Vulnerability is Rewarded with Brain Damage and/or Death

My archives are down so I can't tell you when I said this, but I remember the gist of it pretty vividly. "Any city can be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens." I wrote that in response to the city bureaucracy's tendency to kill off the mentally retarded and then cover it up with oodles of red tape. Reading the Post on my lunch break, I noticed that things have not improved.

First there's this absolutely heartbreaking story in the Metro section that deals with a baby, Rafael Pearson, trying be adopted by his grandmother. In the time it took for the adoption to be finalized, the interim foster mother beat the kid literally senseless.

Today, he is 19 months old. He has doughy cheeks, carefree curls and a sweet spot for anyone who'll rub his back.

He also is profoundly disabled. He cannot see. He cannot walk or talk. He cannot hold his head up. He has the mind of a child of two or three months. He is likely to develop cerebral palsy. He lives in a Dunn Loring nursing home for disabled children.

The systematic abuse at the hands of the foster mother could have been prevented, or, at the very least, stopped before things got this out of hand. Unfortunately, this kid fell through the rather wide cracks in the city's social services policies.

After Rafael was placed with [foster mother] Jenkins, his social worker returned once during the six weeks the baby was in the home. Under court-ordered rules, a social worker must visit weekly during the first eight weeks a child is with a new foster family.

The social worker made her only visit to Rafael on Oct. 3, according to [Child and Family Services spokeswoman Mindy] Good. No one from the child welfare agency would see Rafael again until it was too late.

Of fucking course. I hope heads roll for this. It's not like DC has a history with this kind of monumental fuck-up.

Advocates had sued the District in 1989, saying the city's child welfare system was a wreck. The Washington Post later reviewed cases from 1993 through 2000 and documented the D.C. government's role in the neglect and deaths of 229 children placed in protective care.

In 1995, the child welfare system was placed in court receivership. It stayed there until 2001. But its efforts, catalogued in voluminous reports by a federal court monitor, have been slow in many areas.

Holy Hell. 229 children! I honest-to-God can not wrap my head around this. Two hundred twenty-fucking-nine children dead due to DC neglect. I am so happy that Rafael's grandmother is going to sue the bejesus out of DC. One would think that this sort of lawsuit, bad publicity, and 229 dead children would be enough to start turning things around. But if history is any indication, I doubt it.



Oh, but there's more! Today's editorial page featured a scathing rebuke of DC's treatment towards its most vulnerable citizens.

A 39-YEAR-OLD mentally ill man dies after a perfect storm of failures at St. Elizabeths Hospital. A 32-year-old woman with bipolar disorder who had never received a required mental assessment hangs herself in the D.C. Jail. Meanwhile, a judge determines that 650 people with mental disabilities are suffering because of the "wholly inadequate" job performed by the D.C. government.

...The St. Elizabeths patient, Mark Harris, died of cardiopulmonary arrest when he became violent and a counselor restrained him. The Jan. 9 death has been ruled a homicide. An investigation showed a series of things gone wrong: no other staff available or willing to help; one oxygen tank locked in a closet that no one had a key to; another oxygen tank not working; and no defibrillator. The counselor used a form of restraint now deemed dangerous.

The story of Alicia Edwards, as told by the Legal Times, is equally chilling. Awaiting trial in the D.C. Jail for shoplifting, the woman was flagged as having mental health problems. The required in-depth exam was never done, and she hanged herself while alone in a cell March 31. Also troubling is that jail officials initially released false information about how she was being monitored.

How anyone can call themselves proud to be from or live in DC is beyond me. What an absolute disgrace. There is a long list of people who should be ashamed of themselves for the blood on their hands.

Hollywood for Ugly People

Calling Washington "Hollywood for Ugly People" is admittedly unoriginal. It's also undeniably accurate. Nothing illustrates this better than the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. There's nothing more insipid than journalists and politicians laughing at each other's jokes. Both the current administration and the current national press have proven themselves woefully incompetent over the past few years so I'm really not feeling the urge to share a drink and a smile with these buffoons.

The dinner after-parties are of course the talk of the town. Why? Who knows. It's just a bunch of rich self-important assholes getting shitfaced with other rich self-important assholes. The only people who care are so far up their own asses. That they even think we should care about what cocktail some bureaucrat asshole is drinking blows my fucking mind.

The Washington Post continues to perpetuate this slop. The article written by Libby Copeland and Dana Milbank is such a fucking disaster. It's a tale of two people getting drunk. There, I just summed up the entire article in one sentence. It's also written in a style that's too cheeky by half. To wit:

There's already a line at the Costa Rican Embassy, and some dude in front of us is helping his friends cut ahead, which makes us feel very fourth grade (Hey! No cutting!), and the poor shlubs who aren't on the list are being made to wait in a roped-off "penalty box."

"We were invited by Ludacris!" a woman wails.

Pathetic creature.

Geez, guys. That wasn't very nice. Whatever. On to the celebrities! Let's see who else our intrepid reporters ran into:

There's Georgette Mosbacher mincing past in high-high heels, looking like she should be carrying a teeny-tiny dog in her arms.

I don't know who that is. The article gives no explanation. A quick wiki check shows the following:

Georgette Mosbacher (b. January 16, 1947) is the CEO of Borghese, a cosmetics manufacturer based in New York City. From 1987 to 1991, she was the owner and CEO of La Prairie.

Mosbacher served as national co-chairman of John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign and is co-chair of the Republican National Committee's Finance Committee.

She is the former wife of Robert Muir, George Barrie, and Robert Mosbacher. Her sister is former supermodel Lyn Paulsin.

Yes, folks. This is what passes a hot celebrity sighting in Washington.

Now, where were we? We see Marc Cherry, the portly "Desperate Housewives" creator who looks the teensiest bit like Karl Rove.

This gets a pass because Cherry was on Arrested Development. He inspired some hot boy-on-her? action. That's right, I am making stupid jokes that only Arrested Development viewers will understand because I am getting so fucking bored with this stupid article.

We chat up [Michelle] Kwan, who reports that during dinner she gabbed with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about how hard it is to find the right ice skates.

Man, these two so-called "reporters" couldn't even track down a gold medal winner? Lame.

Valerie Bertinelli is in a corner sitting on some stairs, surrounded by People people, and pronouncing herself a "wallflower."

Jesus Christ I have no idea who this fucking person is either. Again, Copeland and Milbank give the reader no explanation. It turns out she's mostly famous for being Eddie Van Halen's ex-wife. Copeland and Milbank should be lauded for looking straight into the luminosity of these mega-stars and not even flinching.

Minutes later, she stands up on the stairs and surveys the hot and sweaty crowd, looking for her boyfriend, Tom Vitale.

Oh my God. This is the third mystery person in this stupid piece-of-crap article. Wikipedia is of no help unless Vitale is the Senior Vice President of Programming & Original Movies for the Sci Fi Channel. That seems hella obscure for a mention in the Style section of the paper.

Then this happens:

We mosey over to the Capitol File party at the Colombian ambassador's residence, by now quite fuzzyheaded from teeny-weeny drinkie-winkies, and on our way in we catch sight of booted "American Idol" contestant Chris Sligh.

Hey, Chris! What's it like to be temporarily famous?

"Hopefully, it's not temporary," he says politely.

Oopsie-daisy. Awk-ward

At least they explained who the fuck Chris Sligh was. Then they go on to make fun of him. For not being famous enough. Yeah, Chris Sligh! You are no Tom Vitale! Take that! BURN!

And "teeny-weeny drinkie-winkies"? Really? That's what you two agreed on? This was a collaborative effort. One of you should have realized how stupid that phrase is.

The article abruptly ends right about there. I hate this fucking town. The city gets so worked up over an after-party hosted by Christopher Hitchens and attended by the chick who was married to the "Panama" guy. This is what drives the city's gossip. The self-importance is nauseating. These people are not famous. No one cares. Or, more accurately, no one should care. This city is so fucking masturbatory. Politicians! Journalists! Drinking! This is the apex of the Washington social calendar and the Post can't do better than to print a run-in with Michelle "Ha Ha! She Fell Again" Kwan.

I hope Copeland and Milbank have hangovers.


Passion and Enthusiasm are Not DC's Way

Yesterday I made the trip to RFK to see the Nationals host the Hotlanta Braves. The weather was decidedly un-Hotlanta-esque. Nothing says baseball like 20mph winds and cold weather!

I love baseball unconditionally. I had a wonderful time. However, it is clear to me that the city isn't quite as enthusiastic. There were loads of empty seats. That's to be expected when you field a team that has the potential to be the worst in the history of baseball. That's not that big of a deal. No, I'm referring to the passion of my fellow spectators.

The Braves are in first in the National League East. The Nats, the Braves' divisional rivals, are in the cellar. So, you can imagine my excitement when the Nats were rallying from a three run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning. Two runs had already scored and we had runners on first and second with no one out. The cherry on the sundae was that the heart of the Nationals was coming up. I, along with my compatriots, were standing and cheering.

In the middle of this rally, which, in true National fashion, failed to score another run, an usher approached us. She ordered us to sit down because we were blocking the view of the section behind us. We were told to sit down in the middle of a fucking baseball game. A baseball game! With the tying run in scoring position after the seventh inning stretch! We were not allowed to cheer and jump and will the home team to victory. Don't these people understand how baseball works?

(It's important to note that we weren't using obscenities or acting inappropriately. The harshest thing we were doing was chanting "Larrrrrrrrry" at Chipper Jones.)

With the combination of such a shitty team and an unenthusiastic fan base (there were more Braves fans than Nats fans at the game), I predict that baseball will fail in this city. When you're expected to sit down and be respectful in the middle of a late inning rally, it's clear to me that the city just doesn't get it. When the Nationals leave for Virginia, Portland, or Vegas, I think we should rename the (at least) $611,ooo,ooo.oo stadium the "Anthony Williams/Jack Evans Monument." After all, they were the ones who were so desperate to cement their legacy with a baseball team. Then we should shoot them out of a cannon in the direction of wherever the team decides to move.

Here's a game recap. The Nationals wore mismatching Virginia Tech hats in the field. It was a great tribute. Too bad hardly anyone was there to see it.


Douchebag Follow-Up

So, a nice fellow e-mailed me an article from something called Gelf Magazine. It's an interview with Anthony Moniello. You remember Anthony, don't you? Anthony was one of the characters in the great wingman article that the Post published in May, 2006. This was the article that started my long and fruitful love affair with Laura Sessions Stepp. I am saddened to see that LSS didn't disclose that Moniello was a student of hers at George Washington. I didn't learn much in college, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night ace Journalism and Ethics. Tsk tsk, Mrs. Stepp. If I know better, then a Pulitzer Prize winning "journalist" should certainly know better.

As for the interview, it's freaking hilarious. Moniello is, to put it concisely, a dumb prick. See:

The Yankees hat and the necklace are nice touches. I hope he lies his way in to sleeping with someone with the clap. His pee deserves to burn.

I would link to my take on the original wingman article, but my archives are down. Coincidentally, I notice that I've been switched over to "New" Blogger. I doubt this is a coincidence.

UPDATE: Here we go!



I was going to write a post complaining about my roommate getting a jaywalking ticket on Dupont Circle, but that would be grossly inappropriate considering the news coming out of Blacksburg. Please keep Virginia Tech and its students (and the family members of its students) in your prayers. I can't even imagine the pain and horror that the campus must be going through.


Kurt Vonnegut is in Heaven Now

I discovered Kurt Vonnegut in summer of 1998. Freshmen at Sacred Heart High School had to read three books that summer. One of them was Slaughterhouse-Five. I don't remember the other two. I finished the book in three days. I matured years in those three days. I couldn't just go back to reading Michael Crichton and Stephen King. I needed more.

I spent high school devouring Vonnegut. Cat's Cradle, Timequake, The Sirens of Titan, Breakfast of Champions. Almost his entire collection of novels. Then I moved on to his collections of short stories and non-fiction. They were just as memorable as his longer works.

The two things that could best describe the person I was in high school were politics and Vonnegut. Those were my hobbies. I went to Washington looking to pursue the former and was startled to discover that everyone in this stupid town loves politics and would do anything to get ahead. I, perhaps because of the influence that Vonnegut's works had on me, wasn't capable of keeping up with them. I wouldn't blindly accept internships with legislators that I strongly disagreed with. I wouldn't suck up to get ahead. It just wasn't in me.

That discovery was disappointing. However, I also learned in college that my love for Kurt Vonnegut was far from unique. I was ok with that. I was glad that there were people who appreciated the same style of writing. The same wit. And, most importantly, people who were still capable of outrage over all the injustices in the world and in society. People who shared the same view of the insanity all around them that everyone else was conveniently ignoring. That outrage has served me well here.

Even if everyone loves Kurt Vonnegut, the connection I have with his writing remains intensely personal. His first collection of short stories, Welcome to the Monkey House, is best known for its dystopian "Harrison Bergeron." It's the story that precedes it that earned my attention. "Where I Live" is a short description of his adopted hometown of Barnstable, Massachusetts. (Barnstable is one town over from my hometown of Yarmouth.) "Where I Live" describes Barnstable's aversion to anything new or fancy. Barnstable was made up of people, some of whom were obscenely wealthy, who enjoy the simple pleasures of the natural beauty that surrounded them. It's a story explaining how Cape Codders tick. It ends with a description of the last beautiful place on Earth: the church garden at St. Mary's Episcopal. The church where I was raised and confirmed. The garden where I would play freeze tag and hunt for Easter eggs.

In The Sirens of Titan, a spaceship lands in a Barnstable church parking lot. The description of the parking lot matched St. Mary's perfectly. I know that one of the joys of reading is using your imagination, but having the same mental image as the author and knowing it creates an intense connection that I will probably never have again in literature. The power of that is overwhelming.

Perhaps the ultimate example of how connected I feel to Vonnegut is in his collection of non-fiction, Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons. His description of his trip to Biafra is the most hauntingly depressing thing I have ever read. But the real connection is in his work documenting the case of a Provincetown serial killer, "There's a Maniac Loose Out There." One man he interviews is a journalist with an ulcer who has seen his fair share of executions. He's uncomfortable with the Provincetown lifestyle (which was drugs and free love; this was before the days of Provincetown being a gay hotspot). He also was my namesake. My great-grandfather. Kurt Vonnegut gave me insight into a family member who died when I was eight. Who else can say that about their favorite author?

Of course, there are all pleasant coincidences that are bound to appear when you live a town over from where your favorite author did his best work. No matter. There is no man that I have never met that has affected me as much as Kurt Vonnegut. When I received word of his death today, I felt numb. God knows I want to cry for him, but that's the last thing he would want. He was very public in how he was looking forward to death. I pray that the trip was everything he could have asked for.

If you've never read Vonnegut, I'd recommend starting with his autobiographical collage Palm Sunday. You will find a man who is intensely moral, concerned with family, and who has led one of the most interesting lives imaginable. It's the best way to appreciate the man. The art can come later.

It may be predictable, but there's only one way for an appreciation of Vonnegut's life and death to end:

Kurt Vonnegut was born on November 11, 1922. He died on April 11, 2007. So it goes.


This is Kind of Weird

Remember when I got all up in the Post's grille for their refusal to print the word "faggot" when it was dealing with that Ann Coulter-John Edwards flap? If not, here's a link. I was reading the Post on my lunch break and came across something interesting in Michael Wilbon's column in the sports section. The column was one of thousands to take on the Imus situation*.

In 1997, during a "60 Minutes" profile, Mike Wallace confronted Imus and a former producer who quoted Imus as saying he'd hired a staffer to "do nigger jokes."

The word "nigger" is repeated in the next sentence.

I thought that the Post's refusal to print the word "faggot" was detestable and cowardly. I see the willingness to print the mother of all slurs as a change for the better. It illustrates the extent of Don Imus's racism while not treating the paper's audience condescendingly. I am a little curious as to why the Post let this slide. Do the editors treat these matters on a case-by-case basis? If so, their inconsistency is baffling. Or is Wilbon allowed to use this specific slur in context because he's black? If that's the case, this would be the most confusing and pointless double-standard of all time. Perhaps the Sports editor and the Style editor have differing opinions on what is acceptable in a newspaper. In that case, I am calling for a jihad on the Style section. Censorship and Laura Sessions Stepp? Have you no decency?

Or maybe my earlier post shamed the Post editors into seeing things my way. Haha, LOL.

I have hated these inconsistent journalism practices since The Eagle wouldn't let me print the word "douchebag" while the incompetent sex columnists were allowed to print the obscenity "fuck." Christ. I was the humor columnist. Swearing is funny!

Ugh, I guess I have to e-mail the Post's ombudsman (lame!) to see what's up.

*Wonkette's take on the Imus imbroglio is by far the best thing I've seen on the Internet in a good long while.

Notes from Underground: 18th Street

[ed note: One of my college editors is known to complain about aspects of the city from time to time. Whenever her diatribe gets dangerously close to "rant" status, I tell her to write a post for me. With her writing talents, it would be an absolute waste to air her complaints to an audience of one. She clearly deserves an audience of dozens. You can find her previous rant right here. Take it away, Jen.]

So, seeing as how my first guest spot on Rusty's blog went so swimmingly, he asked me to make a semi-triumphant return. I guess the man actively avoiding booze for a set number of days has turned the creative part of his brain into sober, sober mush [ed note: I quit drinking for Lent Holy Week]. That's fine, hopefully the man will be able to recall at least parts of his college education.

I was pondering what on earth I could possibly write about in regards to hating D.C. that wouldn't be abundantly trite or overdone. I've moved out of Ward 3 and into, uh, Ward 1. Mount Pleasant, to be exact. My immediate access to liquor stores and good tamales increased thirtyfold. My reason for moving stemmed not from escaping the throes of Tenleytown (although I may never fully be able to accept that I don't live a stone's throw from Mayflower [ed note: really crappy Tenleytown Chinese restaurant] anymore) but more because I wanted to be in a new part of the city, closer to friends and... ugh... my job. Right off the bat I should note that I didn't want this to be nearly as bitter as it turned out, perhaps including some more anecdotal snarkiness and mischief, but alas. Here we are.

Moving to be closer to work is a pretty classic switch. It makes total sense to want to be closer to the building that showers (or in my case, lightly mists) you with money. But when that job is on 18th Street, the soul-selling factors seem a little bit nastier. I had the same garden variety complaints about 18th Street that everyone has: Watching anorexic sorority girls scarf down jumbo slice is depressing, dudes in vertical-striped button downs talking about getting tanked at Nolan's is heartbreaking and the feeding frenzy atmosphere from 9 pm to 4 am Friday and Saturday nights is enough to keep anyone who haunts the strip on a weekday miles and miles away. It's sort of like the difference between people who hang out in Manhattan on a Friday versus a Tuesday. Everybody knows that Friday nights are reserved for people from New Jersey. My place of employment opens really early, so there would be some mornings where I would roll in at 6 a.m. and see stranded Maryland residents lovingly smearing the remnants of their pizza all over their faces in an attempt to hit the mouth.

Yes, 18th Street is kind of unsightly but it sort of started to grow on me until I came to my senses. I made fun of it relentlessly before I started working at one of its tried and true establishments but I had no idea what was in store. It is a hub for incestuous work relationships that are unprofessional anywhere else, for drunken debauchery at 1 or 2 pm because that's when the morning shifts end, and for a strange form of coming-of-age that makes it start to seem like a giant episode of The Real World, starring a cast of the same 20 bartenders and 60 servers picked to work on a street, get free food and alcohol and pretend like it isn't high school. The real show actually held a casting call at Felix, about a block from my work, and it was a stunning sight to behold.

18th contains a lot of misery, from the people behind the bars and counters to the people in front of them. Even in college, I never encountered so much wasted potential. The neighborhood is a bermuda triangle that takes bright, enthusiastic, driven young folks and turns them into bitter misanthropes. That's par for the course when you spend 7 hours a day catering to yuppie pricks trying to impress their dates by mispronouncing "Rioja." There's something about it that eats away slowly enough to not recognize it until you've actually considered slapping someone for asking for another glass of water. Emerging from your workplace onto a street where, depending on the time of day, there is an actual zoo parading down the street can be harrowing.

Yeah, I've spent too much time in this bermuda triangle that tentatively stretches from Mount Pleasant to Adams Morgan and up to southwestern Columbia Heights. My lease is up on May 1 and I've already secured housing on 11th and Spring, a location that seems safely poised at a distance from The Real World casting call. But given its quaintness and retardedly low rent, I have a feeling legions of briefcase toting interns will be dawning upon me soon, swallowing their fear of Georgia Avenue and excited to go "slumming," upon which I can commence my campaign to make Tom Tom ironic enough to move back down to 18th Street.


Wolf Trap Schedule Update

(Alternate Title: In Which I Waste an Entire Post to Make Fun of My Mom)

Two weeks ago I wrote a post bemoaning the Wolf Trap summer schedule for being excessively crappy. Crappy for everyone except for my mother who appears to be the key demographic that the Wolf Trap is going after. Between Hootie and Blowfish and Huey Lewis and the News, my mom's favorite bands were well represented.

Well, Wolf Trap updated their schedule. The good news is that the acts are a little better. I know plenty of people who will go ga-ga over Morrissey. I'm a bit excited for The B-52's. Although I'd be a little shocked if Cindy can still hit the high notes on "Roam." What can I say? Cosmic Thing was one of the first albums I ever listened to.

The bad news is that this schedule looks more and more like it was chosen by my mother. The Neville Brothers? Frankie Valli? k.d.lang? West Side Story? It's like all the shit I had to endure in my youth is coming back to haunt me. My mom would go apeshit to see any one these acts.

The cherry on this sundae though is the inclusion of The Moody Blues. I hate the Moody Blues so very much. Why? Full disclosure: my mom used to be a Moody Blues groupie. Well, that's conjecture. But the way she speaks of them in such a reverent tone makes it plausible conjecture. I think she actually memorized the poem after "Nights in White Satin." That's weird and sick.

So, readers, what's your thought on the Wolf Trap schedule? I say it's still shitty, but no more or less shitty than anything any other local outdoor venue has to offer this summer.

Washingtonians are Philistines

Toby sent me a phenomenal article that appeared in last Sunday's Post. It's quite long, but I recommend you read the entire thing and watch the videos that accompany it. Basically, The Washington Post hired one of the greatest living classical violinists, a virtuoso named Joshua Bell, to play above the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station. This grand social experiment exposed the uselessness of having Metro performers and the soulless drudgery of working for the federal government.

So here you have a genius playing mind-boggingly difficult songs only feet away from you. This is an experience that some people would probably kill for. And almost no one stopped. He was ignored. What does it say about the Metro's stupid plan to feature musicians if one of the greatest living musicians is being brushed off. If we're ignoring Joshua Bell, what are we going to do to the John Mayer clone clumsily picking at his acoustic guitar?

In the interests of full disclosure, I should note that I would probably walk right on past Mr. Bell too. Why? Well, I admit that I don't exactly have the best ear for phenomenal music. I mean, I listen to Avril Lavigne. I say it's ironic, but I'm perilously close to crossing that line. Liking her music for real is pretty shameful. (Her new album drops next week, yo. Hey! Hey! You! You! I don't like your girlfriend! I actually tried buying the Japanese version of this for my new ringtone last week. Thank God for technical difficulties.)

The other reason I'd walk right on by is that Washington gives its citizens cancer of the soul where the daily grind and death by paper cut slights and inconveniences make it impossible to appreciate anything. I thought that was just me. But this Post article seems to imply otherwise. It's everyone. I mean, check out those videos. The commuters look like cows going to the slaughter. Not even a virtuoso can brighten their day. Yeah, D.C. is awesome like that.


Meta Posts are Wiz-eek

Well, posting twice in two hours on Tuesday was an error. I am, temporarily, totally out of ideas. So let's meta-post* this, ya'll.

Today's Washington Post featured a picture of Cape Cod. Ah, home. I'd like to announce that I'll be taking another trip to the Cape in early-May. I need a guest blogger. I would offer it to Schuyler since he did a fantastic job last July filling in for me, but he lives in Detroit now and is therefore disqualified.

So who wants to write for Why I Hate DC between April 30 and May 4? I would expect something around three or four posts. It's easy! I'm not a very talented writer and I'm getting by ok. Just be funny. And sort of mean-spirited towards journalists.

Obviously applicants get bonus points if I know them or am familiar with their writing. My first choice is frequent commenter HRH King Friday XIII. Of course I have no way to contact him other than through this post, so, yeah. After that it's a free-for-all. Surely someone wants a chance to write about the problems they have with the city. There must be grievances that I'm ignoring. This is your chance to complain to an audience of dozens. Maybe even an audience of scores if you can get Wonkette to link to you.

Seriously, there's no better feeling than taking a slight Metro inconvenience and turning it into 900 words of pure hate-filled bile. Let's share the hate together. For a week. E-mail me for your shot.

Again, I apologize for the super-weak post. Sorry if this got your RSS feeds all aflutter.

*I think I invented a verb!


LSS is Back in the Post Spewing Nonsense

Thanks to the commenter who pointed this article out to me.

That's right, folks. LSS is back writing in the Post. Perhaps her book tour is done?

(I got 225 pages into Unhooked before giving up. It's not just wrong-headed, it's awful. The last straw was when an example of a good parent was someone who wouldn't let her daughters, who were Haitian, hang out with other black kids because their families were "low class and lacked ambition." Seriously. It's on page 211. That was one of the few examples of a good parent. Unbelievable. You can only read so much about super-wealthy kids and their difficulties making connections with people before you go stark raving mad.)

This article, however, isn't that bad. It's about female college students being wary about getting the new HPV vaccine. It's expensive and it's a hassle and yada, yada, yada. I mean, I've read this a story about a thousand times since the HPV vaccine was approved by the FDA. I guess the Post expects their crack reporter on teenage sexuality to shine some new light on the issue. Which, I guess she does. I had no idea that, even when used correctly, condoms only have a 70% effectiveness rate against HPV. After almost a year of making fun of her, I finally learned something.

Of course all good will generated by LSS is destroyed by this sentence:
Some assume that hookup partners who can afford popped-collar shirts and expensive jeans are not the kind of guys who would be infected.

It doesn't cost extra money to pop the collar! Watch this. I just popped my collar. And now I'm unpopping it. I DID NOT HAVE TO PAY A COLLAR TAX! Argh. Can you imagine a girl not using protection because the guy had a popped collar? That hypothetical chick deserves HPV.

I will say this: It's good to have LSS back in the fold. I look forward to criticizing every single thing she publishes. Forever.

Someone Should Tivo This

WUSA 9, the local CBS affiliate, will be airing footage of rodent infestations in three DC restaurants at 4:30pm. Obviously, I'll be at work. I'd love for someone to Tivo this and put the money shots of the rodents up on YouTube so we can all share in the grossness.

"Inside Edition found the disease-carrying vermin dancing in the alleys and leaping out of trashcans behind restaurants," according to the show's news release. "They even found some nesting inside parked cars."

One of the closed down restaurants is the Baja Fresh at 1333 New Hampshire Avenue. That's the same address as The Front Page and Buffalo Billiards. Just letting you know so you don't get rat feces in your buffalo wings.

Speaking of vermin in DC eateries, I leave you with a picture a reader sent me of a gigantic rat in the 14th Street Manny and Olga's. Bon Appetit.


Neighborhood Tomfoolery

Saturday night I found myself having a pretty crappy time. Yeah, I was in Georgetown. Instead of spending another $150 like last time, I decided to call it a night early. I took a cab back to my place in Friendship Heights.

The next door neighbors were having a party of their own. I guess it would be more accurately described as a pre-party since a bunch of guys were spilling out of the door trying to grab the cab I was getting out of. These guys, save for one wearing a Navy Wrestling shirt, were all wearing Georgetown gear. So they wanted to go to Rhino bar. I sensed an unnaturally high level of douche in the air.

My suspicions were confirmed when another pack of douche canoes came storming out of the neighbor's house. They were yelling. One of them punched a Georgetown kid in the face. Those two started going at it.

I was right there. Literally, right there. I decided to do my part to break up this ridiculousness. And, yes, I'm aware that this is exactly how Chris Chambers got stabbed in the neck.

My part was woefully inadequate. By the time I got to the fray the fight had erupted into a ten person brawl in the fast food parking lot across the street. I really had no business being within a hundred feet of these morons. It was nothing but haymakers and people yelling "faggot" at each other. One of the Georgetown guys saw me, a face he didn't recognize, and immediately dropped into a fighting stance while screaming "WHAT!? WHAT!? WHAT!?" I just threw up my hands and took a few steps back. I scuttled back to my house.

Finally, the aggressors (from my vantage point anyways) took off in a car as the Georgetown four and the Navy wrestler chased after it. By the time they got back to my neighbor's, there were three police cars waiting outside with their sirens on. I got to watch all that fun from my porch. The cops were outside for a good two hours.

I am immensely disappointed that Georgetown douchebags were able to infiltrate my neighborhood. What does one do to fix this? Call an exterminator?

Hyper-aggressive males are certainly not unique to Washington. I'm just pissed that I had to deal with them outside of my own house. If I were ok with these asshats I would have moved back to the dorms.