1. First and foremost we have a new story from Laura Sessions Stepp. You'll never believe it, but she's writing about how gender roles have changed! It seems like she's written so much about this stuff that it could fill an entire poorly reviewed book! Here's a fun quote:
A preppy guy in high school might pair a lime-green Polo Ralph Lauren shirt with light yellow J. Crew pants, a Lily Pulitzer belt and Rainbow flip-flops.
Is a Pulitzer belt even real? Or is LSS subtly trying to remind her audience that she actually won one? The Pulitzer Prize I mean. I don't know if she has ever won a belt.
She also used Jack Sparrow as proof that men are more in touch with their feminist side. And of course this new femininity is a result of women being sluttier. Duh.
2. Now to something more serious. As a privileged WASP growing up on Cape Cod, I remain unaffected by most of the problems in the world. AIDS and heroin addiction have been two exceptions. Both have hurt my family and I take them very seriously. That makes this New York Times article especially important to me. Hopefully the many NYT readers around the country will read this and note how the federal government is allowed to jerk us around.
Of course Chandra Levy is but one of many murder cases that remains unsolved in the District. Did the new chief meet with the parents of these other victims? I bet the families of these other victims don't have the resources of Levy family. Does excessive media coverage six years ago still mean that Chandra Levy is more important to Chief Lanier than all the other unsolved murders out there?
I guess if you're going to get murdered it doesn't pay if you're an anonymous dude in Southeast DC. It does, however, help if you're a white girl from a well-to-do family who was fucking a Congressman. Lanier's implicit suggestion that Chandra Levy's life and death is more important than countless other unsolved murders in her jurisdiction is disgusting.
I served all of them. I steamed their lobsters, asked if they wanted paper or plastic, and offered to walk their bags to their car. Did I like doing that? Not especially. If I refused to serve them would my employers have had my back? Probably. But it was my job to serve them. So I did.
The University of Maryland doesn't see things the same way. An employee at the Maryland Food Collective, a sandwich stop in their student union, refused to serve a customer. Was the customer abusive or belligerent? No. She was wearing a shirt that offended the cashier. It read: "Baltimore Zionist District" and "I Stand for Israel." The horror!
Here's how the story should have ended: The cashier gets fired. The university tells the Collective and any other employees working on campus grounds that is has to accept the viewpoints of its students. After all, the entire point of a learning institution is to be surrounded by as many opinions as possible, right?
Instead, UMD students end up tripping over each other to show how understanding and politically correct they are.
The collective, which rents space from the university, announced last week that it would serve any customer who was not physically or verbally abusive, but that any worker who was offended by a customer's politics could discreetly slip away and find another clerk to serve the patron.
No. That's wrong. The customer's politics? They can refuse to serve anyone wearing a shirt saying they attended a pro-life rally? They can refuse service to someone who was espousing conservative views in the classroom? Think about how crazy this is. It's a public university! If you can't deal with someone having an opposing viewpoint, please do the world a favor and kill yourself. You are obviously ill-equipped to handle the world and you are only going to be a drain on our precious resources, namely air, water, and space. The cashier is showing a lot of chutzpah (ha!) by being offended that someone had the gall to disagree with her. Especially on a subject as cut-and-dry as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There's hardly any room for disagreement there.
By the way, the cashier is remaining anonymous. Way to stand behind your core beliefs, you fucking coward.
The cashier who refused to serve Lazarus will not talk about the incident because "she would be misrepresented," one co-op worker told me. The workers who would talk to me -- most would not because "the collective speaks collectively," as one member put it [ed note: WTF!?] -- said no one should have to have contact with people whose views they find hurtful.
Oh it is going to be sweet when these people enter the real world. Being forced to acknowledge other views? That's fucking rough.
By the way, I would bet a million dollars that these Collective fucks would be incensed if some ass-douche pharmacist refused to fill out their Plan B prescription.
So, fuck the Collective. I wish I could end this post here. But, alas:
"The arrangement we worked out, while not ideal, is a reasonable accommodation," said Avi Mayer, president of the university's Pro-Israel Terrapin Alliance, who joined the meeting with the collective. "I would not want to force anyone to act against their own political beliefs."
(Side note: Am I wrong for capitalizing "Collective"? It's referring to a specific store so it should be capitalized, no? Why isn't the Post capitalizing it?)
What the Hell is going on here? This is ok with you? Not being served at a sandwich shop for being pro-Israel? Why don't people understand why this is so foul? This is only a step away from refusing to serve someone for disagreeing with their religious beliefs. I hate slippery slope theories as much as the next debate team president, but, come on. The connection is easy enough to make.
This story devolves into both camps trying to out-understand the other with politically correct gobbely-gook.
"I would have rung her up," said Kiki -- "no last name, please, we're getting too many ugly phone calls" -- "and nobody was refused service. She paid for her food less than a minute after it happened. But it's hard to gauge. Is it intolerant to say that America's actions in Iraq are intolerant?"
Wait, what? Shut up, Kiki. You're speaking nonsense.
When Lazarus [the spurned customer] and others active in Maryland's Jewish student groups met with the collective, the visitors baked a vegan chocolate cake and brought it as a peace offering. In a letter to the cashier who turned her away, Lazarus was as non-confrontational as could be: "I got the impression that your action at the register was a very 'in the moment,' emotional reaction. Nonetheless, the way you expressed your feelings was not the most constructive."
Oh my God. OH MY GOD. More fuel for my "UMD must be destroyed" argument. Shut up, all of you, you sniveling fucks. Man, if I am ever refused service at a publicly funded institution for wearing a political shirt, I am leaving that fucking place in handcuffs. Someone gets their rights trampled on and she responds with a vegan cake? That is so fucking weak. Grow a pair.
Thank goodness for the stellar (as usual) work of Washington Post Metro columnist Marc Fisher. He, like me and other reasonable humans, sees right through the very thick layer of bullshit. I can't believe these college students are so cavalier about First Amendment rights. What a disgrace. At least UMD told the Collective to cut this out or lose their lease. Now if they could only get around to not admitting these twat-waffles in the first place.
1. The person who cornered me at DC9 and tried selling me heroin. Bonus points for mentioning that he just got out of jail. Double bonus points for sensing my discomfort and angrily asking me if I was a cop. "You have to tell me if you're a cop!" Surely someone who actually believes that will be going back to jail shortly. Good riddance.
2. The person who frantically rang my doorbell six times at 8:00 am on Saturday morning. I had only been asleep for four hours and was still a little tipsy. What kind of emergency could necessitate waking me up then? Oh, some dude with a lawn mower asking me if I needed my lawn cut for twenty bucks. I told him that if he came back at this hour I would call the police. Perhaps I am too grumpy in the morning. I will have to work on that. Or, even better, I could be one of those crotchety old bastards with a "No Solicitors" sign on my front door.
3. I hate Clarendon for, and I am directly lifting this from The Washington Post, "becoming the place to move in Northern Virginia after a life-changing event, like divorce, the loss of a spouse, a cross-country move, kids moving out or parents dying." Why would people pretend this sounds like a good thing? Your parents just died? Move to Clarendon! Husband cheating on you? CLARENDON!
4. I hate how my comments have again devolved into racially tinged rants and personal attacks. This has happened before. I solved the problem by enabling only Blogger users to leave comments. So, unfortunately, I have to do that again. A lot of good folks leave great comments anonymously. I urge you to register with Blogger so we can continue having a dialogue about DC without that one dude calling me a douche or the other folks talking about how all the problems in the city can be attributed to black people. (Yes, I'm talking to you, Ron Paul.) This is a bummer for me because comments make me happy. It's also a bummer because I know a lot of people who comment anonymously and their remarks are far too clever to go unnoticed. So, please register! Don't let King Friday get the last word on everything I write!
5. I despise outgoing George Washington University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. Why?
The graduation was largely overseen by outgoing President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, who in a printed farewell handed out to attendees compared his feelings about the school to a love affair.
"We haven't been just hooking up -- we've been going steady, you and I and all the students who came before you," he wrote.
What in tarnation? Hey, Joel? That's a creepy way to end your tenure. I guess I wouldn't expect anything less from the man who employs Laura Sessions Stepp. What is with GW and their creepy infatuations with "hooking up?" (h/t to Matthew Barney Gumble at Mostly Semantics.)
Thankfully, the DC Firefighters Association decided to fuck WASA's noise by checking the hydrants themselves. The results are hilarious. And by "hilarious," I mean "life threatening."
WASA's shit is not together. They claim 38 hydrants are out across the city. In actuality, it's probably over 900. That's over 10% of city's hydrants that aren't working. Since WASA is blind to this, they can't tell the firefighters what's up. In the words of DC Fire Chief Dennis L. Rubin, fighting fires in DC is akin to "playing Russian roulette."
Perhaps even more hilariously, there are 125 hydrants that aren't even on WASA's maps. It's hard to check to see if a hydrant is working if there is no record of its existence.
Let's check to see how other cities and counties are doing regarding fire hydrants:
In neighboring counties with newer infrastructure, there are few problems. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission maintains about 40,000 hydrants in Prince George's County and more than 20,000 in Montgomery County. Of those, about a dozen in various locations were out of commission on a recent day, and repairs were imminent, officials said.
In Baltimore and Baltimore County, where there are about 22,000 hydrants, 91 are out of service, according to Kurt Kocher, a spokesman for the Baltimore Public Works Department, which also oversees hydrants in the county. The fire departments in the city and county conduct quarterly tests to maintain them, Kocher said.
It takes a special city to make Baltimore look good by comparison.
WASA has a long history of incompetent suckage, too:
The problems once again put WASA under public scrutiny over safety issues. High lead levels in D.C. drinking water posed a potential health hazard from late 2001 to 2004, and WASA was criticized for failing to quickly alert the public. The agency later agreed to replace all lead pipes in the city.
[Jerry N.] Johnson is the only person to serve as WASA's general manager, having overseen the quasi-independent agency since 1997.
Perhaps it's time Jerry looked for a new line of work. He'd be better suited quasi-independently flipping burgers. He is doing a terrible job. I mean, if your home or business ends up on fire, you have a 10% chance of getting fucked over. Unbelievable.
In the comments of that post I just linked to, someone suggested that I tell everyone about the competition before it happens instead of just gloating afterwards. This same person also challenged me to a game in the comments. I invited him to the April GH competition and, well, let's just say that things didn't work out for him. One should not mess with the "God of Rock."
So, yeah, I enjoyed beating 31 other players. 11? Not so much. So, dear readers and Guitar Hero aficionados, I invite you all to come out to Wonderland tonight at 7pm (not sharp) for the Guitar Hero II competition. No cover. The competition is followed by Evil Disco. If you like the bands listed there, you will like Evil Disco. It is a great time. It's an opportunity to knock me off my high horse and an opportunity to listen to AC/DC and Iron Maiden at an extraordinarily high volume. You can't lose. Except to me. At Guitar Hero.
It's obvious to me that these families deserve a sizable chunk of change. These victims weren't jaywalkers. They were simply walking down the street when they had the signal. They were killed by gross negligence. Metro should be paying out of its ears.
Unfortunately that may not happen.
In a response to one of the lawsuits, Metro attorneys said "some or all of the claims may be barred" under the legislation creating Metro. The response did not specify which claims might be considered barred.
A rudimentary Google check came up with this from Jones v. WMATA decided on March 17, 2000 by the U.S. DC Circuit Court of Appeals:
Under the Eleventh Amendment, " 'an unconsenting State is immune from suits brought in federal courts by her own citizens as well as by citizens of another State.' " Morris v. WMATA , 781 F.2d 218, 222-23 (D.C. Cir. 1986) (quoting Edelman v. Jordan , 415 U.S. 651, 662-63 (1974)). "Moreover, though the immunity is that of the state, 'some agencies exercising state power have been permitted to invoke the Amendment in order to protect the state treasury from liability that would have had essentially the same practical consequences as a judgment against the State itself.' " Id . at 223 (quoting Lake Country Estates v. Tahoe Regional Plan- ning Agency , 440 U.S. 391, 400-01 (1979)). WMATA was created by a compact enacted by the Congress and to which the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Maryland and the District cf Columbia are signatories. We have consistently recognized that in signing the WMATA Compact, Virginia and Maryland each conferred its immunity upon WMATA, which therefore enjoys, to the same extent as each state, immunity from suit in federal court based on its performance of governmental functions. 4 See, e.g. , Morris v. WMATA.
That's right. You can't sue Metro because its signatories, MD, VA, and DC, are exempt from federal lawsuits. This is some crazy shit. Three people lost and their loved ones are going to get zilch? Sovereign immunity, my ass. This is a disgrace.
To my surprise, Saturday's Post featured a cover story on some development in Friendship Heights on Wisconsin and Ingomar. The property there is currently being wasted on a dilapidated used car lot, flower shop, and abandoned PEPCO substation. It couldn't hurt to have something a little more exciting there. However, I also sympathize with the people who want to keep everything as is. I mean, the neighborhood is already frighteningly close to some high-sclare retail. Unfortunately, both sides of this argument are acting like total douche nozzles.
Jim Sefcik thought he was buying a slice of urban nirvana when he paid $700,000 to live in Northwest Washington. Then he went shopping on his stretch of Wisconsin Avenue, with its pet shop, trophy store and boarded-up buildings, and he decided he had moved to a retail wasteland.
I'm sorry, but, you invested how much money into your house before having any idea what the neighborhood was like? You know, some people like the retail around where they live. As much as I despise the city, I could do a lot worse than living next to a charming coffee house and the little grocery store that sells beer cheaper than anywhere else in the city. Who the Hell does Jim Sefcik think he is? I hope the people opposing the condo project are a bit more sympathetic. Of course the NIMBY folks are never sympathetic.
"They're coming in to rape our [expletive] neighborhood," Carolyn Sherman, an advisory neighborhood commissioner and an opponent, said of developers in general as she toured the site.
Hyperbole much? I mean, it would be one thing if they were trying to push out all the little stores that I like. I suppose that could happen in the long term if the development keeps seeping into the city. But, Wisconsin and Ingomar is a dead zone. It is not charming. It is all but abandoned.
On the other side, Reed Fawell, a project supporter, compared the block where the proposed project would be to a "Third World country," albeit one within walking distance of a Williams-Sonoma.
Oh my God. I had the decency to call the area a "dead zone." "Third world country" is a bit much, don't you think? The location is within walking distance to stores that sells $600 shoes and $1,800 purses. Fuck you, Reed Falwell, you insensitive prick.
Team NIMBY isn't done acting silly either.
The opponents refused an invitation from The Washington Post to appear in a photograph with the project's supporters, saying it would convey the impression that the neighborhood is evenly divided over the issue. (They also declined to be photographed on their own.)
This isn't really fair, but the guy who came to my doorstep to get me to sign an anti-development petition was really unfortunate looking. I think that's the real reason why this group wants to keep their faces out of the papers. That has to be the reason. They knew refusing to have their picture taken would make them seem like paranoid morons, right?
"How many of your members live within one half-mile of this site?" Lucy Eldridge, a leader of the opposition, demanded of a supporter testifying last month before the zoning commission.
Well, I live within a half-mile radius of the site. So I guess that makes me qualified to have an opinion here. My opinion is for both sides to chill out and shut the fuck up. You're both acting like babies. Why don't you both pool your resources into doing something for Washington's schools or homeless or anything other than a way to maintain your property values.
I'm not stupid. I'm aware that whatever Mayor Fenty and his advisers intend to do with Washington's schools is going to be based on something another city has done. That's the way it should be. But stealing? That's another can of worms.
Naturally, the plan we're stealing - obviously, plagiarism is stealing, kiddies - isn't even what made the Charlotte school system the toast of urban public education. We're stealing a plan with unknown effectiveness. And Fenty ran as the candidate with "vision"?
I hope some smartass kid plagiarizes 32% of a term paper he/she found on Google and then points to this when he/she is called out on it. Of course for the DC analogy to hold up the paper would have been graded "IC" anyways.
I've never been to The Birchmere. There's an automatic strike against it for not being remotely Metro accessible. I've always considered it to be a place where artists that skew towards older audiences can go to sap cash out of their boomer fans. A quick look at their schedule shows that to be an accurate description of this venue. For sixty bucks you can see ASIA with all four original members. How effing sweet is that!?
Seriously. Sixty bucks for ASIA!
So, I was checking out The Birchmere website to see exactly how to get to this place. Pentagon City and then a cab. Great. I can say that The Birchmere, at least according to the website, seems like the strangest venue in all of the land. I mean, every venue has rules. Most of the time they're along the lines of "No Drugs" and so forth. The Birchmere has this:
- Silence is requested while the performers are on stage
- You must remain seated during the performance (Unless the dance floor is set up)
Hey! I embedded something!
Perhaps the most hilarious part of their no standing or making noise rule is their menu. That's right, their menu. Look at it. As Toby pointed out, it sure looks like everyone inside is having a good time standing up and being loud. Come on, Birchmere. You can't have it both ways.
And how can I bring up the menu without noting this totally bizarre rule:
There is no outside food or drink allowed. This includes birthday cakes.What the Hell? "QUICK! BLOW OUT THE CANDLES BEFORE SECURITY SEES YOU!" Why do they take extra care to point out that you can't bring birthday cakes? Can you buy birthday cakes inside? Who the Hell brings a birthday cake to a concert!?
This venue seems like it's in an alternate reality (which is as good a way to describe Virginia as anything else). Someone please tell me that the acoustics here are great and that I'll be super-close to Aimee Mann. Because this sounds like the stuffiest concert venue on the planet and I need something, other than the delightful Mrs. Mann of course, to get me pumped for the show.
I got back into town Sunday at 2:45 pm. My suitcase ended up on the National Airport conveyor belt at 3:42. 57 freaking minutes of my life spent standing around uselessly. 57 minutes gone forever. This happens at National every single time. Every. Single. Time. When do they break ground on the Silver Line to Dulles? 2012? Ugh.
After I finally get my tasteful flower-print suitcase, I head up to the Metro platform. I was quite relieved to see that a Yellow Line (my preferred method of National Airport travel) train would be picking me up in three minutes. The next train, on the Blue Line, wouldn't be arriving for another eleven.
Well, we all see where this is going, don't we? That three minutes turns to two. Progress! Soon after, that two turns into nothing. A black void where a number should be. Uh-oh. A minute later, the entire train disappears. It's like it never existed. *Poof* into the ether.
I'm amazed that this stupid city had used up all that disgusting good will building inside of me for the past eight days in only an hour. It took an hour for me to remember why I hate this place so much.
At least there's that one thing I love about Washington: going to Eastern Market on a Sunday morning. After spending the last two Sundays on Cape Cod, I can't wait to go back!
Rusty, who promised me oral sex as compensation for my services, will return next week.
Tonight I’m getting the hell out of crackville and spending the weekend in Manhattan. That might be the only redeeming quality about Washington DC; it’s proximity to better places.
In the meantime, check out this link to a fake D.C. DMV website. Warning: It’s culturally insensitive (but pretty fucking funny). My favorite is the "Star Employees" page. If that kind of thing bothers you, don’t get mad at me. I warned you. Just pretend I’m like the Washington City Paper who told everyone about it last year by faking outrage over its offensiveness.
Goodbye, fellow haters. I don’t know if we’ll see each other again. That’s the life of a guest blogger; we live hard, fast, and never stay in one place for long. Don’t cry, sport. You’ll find other guest bloggers. It’s a big blogosphere. You need to stay strong. Let me wipe away those tears. Everything will be okay, don’t you worry. Everything will be okay.
Pay up, Rusty.
Update: True story. While walking to my gate at
I replied, "Yes,
Her smile collapsed into a frown, and her face displayed a sense of remorse as if I just told her that my dog had died. "Oh, I'm sorry," she quipped and walked off.
Yeah me too, lady.
Say, does anybody think it’s too soon for the Borf Brigade to be dressing in paramilitary outfits and making YouTube videos that threaten juvenile retribution against society?
Last night I worried that I’d have nothing to write about today. The Washington Post’s Metro section has been painfully boring this week and without a single LSS article to rip on. But then I opened today’s paper:
“The likelihood is that the fire would have been controlled with one single sprinkler head.” -D.C. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin about Eastern Market.
Eastern Market was a fucking death trap! Who new?
Turns out that the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee asked the City for fire sprinklers and electrical upgrades FOUR years ago. The City acknowledged the request, but opted to lump critical safety upgrades in with the Market’s broader long-term renovation plan. City Administrator Dan Tangherlini said the renovation plan itself was delayed because vendors and community representatives were sparing over other aspects of the plan. “We wish they had managed their way on this quicker,” Tangherlini said, referring to city officials, community groups, and market vendors.
What a dick! Tangherlini is simply dispersing the blame. Sure, the market vendors could have moved faster, but it’s the City’s responsibility to jump on things like fire hazards and public safety. The old saying “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” seems apropos. What kind of city puts off installing fire sprinklers in buildings packed with produce, antiques, baked goods and oh yeah…. PEOPLE. All flamable items, Dan.
Oh and then there's this:
Dozens of fire hydrants across the District are not in working order, including the two closest to Monday's fire at the D.C. public library in Georgetown. Fire and union officials say the faulty hydrants often aren't discovered until a fire breaks out, as was the case in Georgetown. [T]he firefighters union has been complaining for years about problems.
I think I speak for everyone in DC who drives or walks to work when I say, GOD… DAMN… IT.
I drive to work. There’s nothing worse than “sharing” the road with a biker who insists on driving IN the lane. No, not on the shoulder, I mean in the MIDDLE of the fucking lane. Come May 18th, I’m sure to get stuck behind at least 1 of those 7,000 spandex-wearing fucks. This always seems to happen on my commute though Rock Creek Park, which infuriates me because there’s a nice shiny asphalt trail just off the road specifically for their use.
And what does Lance Armstrong do when he hits a red light? Why run the light of course, by hopping the curb and mowing down pedestrians on the sidewalk. I know this is a one bad apple scenario (actually, it happens more than you might think), but if bikers want to be respected as vehicles, with all the rights, privileges, and car exhaust they can inhale, then WABA should push their members to obey traffic rules: Bike on the shoulder, don’t impede traffic, and stop at red lights. Just once I’d like to see a cop ticket one of those ass dildos.
You know what… fuck it. Mayor Fenty needs to instate “Maryland Drivers MUST Drive to Work Day” to coincide with “Bike to Work Day.” Bicyclists would be no match for all those clueless, swerving Maryland drivers. Problem solved.