Open Season (Weekend Edition)

What do you hate? Go at it. This is yours for the bitching, all weekend long. Have fun.

DC to Potentially Get Vote, More Guns

As you may have heard, the Senate passed the DC Voting Rights Bill yesterday. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada) attached an amendment that would eliminate most of the District's gun laws, and prevent the DC Council from imposing new ones. Guns for Votes, a pretty sweet trade, and I hear it's working out pretty well over in Iraq. This amendment passed, and will need to be addressed during the conference committee with the House.

A different amendment, introduced by John Kyl, would have given DC back to Maryland. That amendment failed, though 30 Senators did approve of giving the District to the State of Maryland without discussing the subject with anyone. Awesome.

In any event, this bill still has to get passed by the House (which it probably will) and then get signed by President Obama. Meanwhile people like Adrian Fenty will have to decide if they want guns or the vote.

I'll take both, please. I'm not particularly against the bill as-is. The amendment strikes down gun registration, and I have no idea what impact it would have on the possibility of concealed carry.

It is true that criminals will not register their guns, nor will they submit them to the police to put data about the gun into a forensic registry (what you have to do now). It is also true that if you required a permit for concealed carry, the "bad people" would likely not obtain a registration card.

However, imagine if they did! Imagine if all of the popular criminal stereotype people DID obtain concealed carry permits, so cops could no longer send them to jail for merely possessing a weapon. Imagine the entire DC blogosphere's head exploding.

BTW: Concealed carry and open carry are allowed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and you don't particularly see wild west shootouts in even the shitty parts of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax.


Message From Virginia

The Virginia chamber of commerce is collecting testimonials from residents regarding how-all and why-all northern Virginia is better than the District of Columbia. Here is mine:

"Though I no longer enjoy the street credibility afforded the racial minority, I am still within walking distance of a farmer's market and at least two wine shops."


Separate Vices

The older black man in the hat with the cane looks at me from his perch on the bench outside of our building and asks me, one more time, for a cigarette.

As always, I apologize to him for not smoking, patting my jacket pocket to make sure that my sleep-self hadn't last night wandered the nightscape, breaking my resolve.

The man reminds me of my father, who smoked Raleigh Filters for nearly a half-century—a brand popular in the ‘50s. As an American classic, I once smoked Marlboro Lights, whereas my hipster girlfriend smoked cloves or American Spirits. Your basic college kid today, or "MIDWESTERN TRANSPLANT SCUM," smokes Camels or Camel Lights, sometimes imitating the native here by mixing loose tobacco with low-grade marijuana to form a "blunt."

To each, his own.

After a blackout one night, I arise to find myself covered in dog hair, strange because I neither own a dog nor recall meeting one—the slight scratch in my throat hopefully caused by second-hand smoke in a crowded Virginia bar. As the gateway to Tobacco Country, the Commonwealth’s addiction dates to the early 17th century, when the London Virginia Company finances the first permanent settlement of Englishmen, in Jamestown.

Yet, in a building adorned with images of tobacco leaves, Virginia’s House and Senate pass legislation by margins of nearly 2 to 1 and 3 to 1, for the governor’s signature—a significant common-sense victory for the people.

Hackles raised, Libertarians and lobbyists cite free will in the debate, asserting that plebeians may choose freely to work or not work in the state’s bars and restaurants. More sensible people, however, listen to the philosophers and scientists today, who increasingly tell us that free will exists only in our imaginations, that we are the products of not only our genes but of their inextricable link to our environment—that we are more like the plant growing in the field than we would like to think.

Moreover, the idea of choice here must be weighted to consider that many in the working class would sensibly choose to risk health for shorter-term imperatives such as rent, food and the car payment—concerns aside from the discovery of something called “third-hand smoke,” by which chemical residue from tobacco smoke permeates by stealth the indoor environment as a surprise and latent carcinogen.

At long last, the Washington, D.C., area joins the greater agglomeration that begins but does not end with New York City, with respectable alcoholics no longer fearing the reaper.


There Can Be Only One

In an unlikely twist of fate, we learn that RNC Chair Michael Steele supports granting DC a vote in the House of Representatives. This is simply another example of how off-message the Republican party is... tisk, tisk, Michael, didn't you know you're supposed to be against voting rights?

Ah, but here is where the story gets even better. As it turns out, before he fled DC to attend Johns Hopkins, Steele grew up right here in Petworth. And now he's the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Formerly he was Lt. Governor of the State of Maryland.

I don't know about you, but it seems like Michael Steele might have more claim to the title of PRINCE of PETWORTH.

Much is unknown about the history of Dan Silverman (aka PoP), however we do know he moved to DC from NYC in 1997, at the age of 22. He bought his "castle" in Petworth in 2003. He works as a government contractor.

So let's compare Steele to Silverman.

Steele graduated from Johns Hopkins at age 23, and then spent three years studying to be a priest in the order of St. Augustine. He never took his vows (obviously). He'd later go to law school, work for a firm in DC, and run for public office in Maryland. At age 37 he was voted Man of the Year by the Maryland Republican Party.

While he may have moved on to political office in Maryland, he too seems to love DC. Like the Prince of Petworth, he makes public statements filled with clueless optimism.

Steele on the GOP's history on civil rights:
We’ve always, as a party, been on the right side of that history so, hopefully, everybody will be there again.

PoP on... well, something:
I’m a huge fan of Grant Circle. It has the most incredible tree in the middle, maybe the greatest tree in the entire city. I’m also a huge fan of President Grant and feel that he has never received the recognition he deserved. No, wait a second—I’m thinking of President Harrison. But the tree really is great.

I don't know folks, what do you think? The Prince of Petworth--Michael Steele or Dan Silverman?


Interstate 15

"Interstate 15 (I-15) is the fourth-longest north-south transcontinental Interstate Highway in the United States, traveling through the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. The Utah and Arizona portions have been officially designated the 'Veterans Memorial Highway'."

"Since I-15's inception, it has served as a long-haul route for North American commerce. It is now officially chartered for this purpose. From the junction of Interstate 515 in Las Vegas to the Canadian border I-15 forms part of the CANAMEX Corridor, a High Priority Corridor, as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement."
Source: Wikipedia

15th Street, NW from K Street to Euclid Street is not, contrary to popular belief, Interstate 15.

DDOT has announced a plan to add a bicycle lane going Southbound on 15th Street. Bloggers love bicycles, and this has gotten a lot of attention around the blogosphere. People have been, apparently, up in arms about the speed of traffic going North on 15th, and how this hurts the neighborhood, etc. I won't lie, 15th street heading North is as wide as a highway and people speed. I speed. I love it, it's a great shortcut to get up the hill. I've occasionally ridden a bicycle (yes, I have ridden a bicycle before) on 15th, and generally I nearly get killed by either a vehicle or another cyclist. Usually one dressed up like Lance Armstrong or whoever else is a popular figure in cycling these days.

But, people in the "Borderstan" neighborhood are perhaps rightfully upset because DDOT has selected quite possibly the stupidest plan to add bike lanes to 15th street. Putting in a wrong way bike lane with a foot wide buffer between parked cars and the curb is a great solution--if your goal is to dismember bicyclists. I can't say I would be against this, just another volley in the war between bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians. Only one will win, and I'll put my money on the one in the two ton killing machine.

While DDOT is reconfiguring 15th Street to be more amenable to the bicyclists who apparently can't be bothered to ride ONE BLOCK OVER on 14th Street... perhaps they can also invest in, I don't know, adding some dedicated BUS LANES to 16th Street. Eliminate two lanes each direction on 16th, enforce it with cameras or some other kind of high tech device, and boom the S buses won't suck as bad.

Bicycles are great, whatever, and maybe in some alternate "Sliders"-esque world, they would save us from both global warming and obesity. But hey DC Government, you ARE DOING IT WRONG. You almost get it... but not quite, and instead you make things worse. Bicycle sharing seems like a potentially good idea... but you give us SmartBike. Not only are they ugly and I assume difficult to ride, the rental system makes them useless for things like "maybe I want to try riding a bike to work today."

Keep up the good work, DDOT.


Eye on Logan Circle

When I wrote the "You too can have your own pretentious hyper local blog" post, I was not taking a swipe at any particular local blog. Several came to mind while constructing the list, and a few of those have been mentioned in the comments. However, there is one local neighborhood blog that fits the bill exactly, and serves as an example of the "hip wannabe urban transplant scum" we all get a laugh at here.

Pretension? Check. Hyper exaggeration of how "hip" their neighborhood is, and woeful declarations about a lack of a good (read: not filled with gay men or minorities) watering hole? Check. This isn't news. There are literally dozens of DC blogs whose sole purpose in life is to self-fellate to the masses via Blogger. Last week one of the many Logan Circle blogs, District Schmistrict, added a new item to my list of things necessary for local pretension: self-righteous to the point of screening the low number of comments received on said blog to keep out anything perceived as negative.

District Schmistrict itself is an uneventful altar of the goings on and happenings in Logan Circle which would normally be fun to read if 500 other blogs weren't doing it better. If DCist is considered the CNN (a stretch, I know) of local DC blogs than District Schmistrict is the equivalent of your friend's Facebook news feed: nothing original, nothing new, and nothing worth noting. Until now.

I was tipped off that District Schmistrict, despite its attempts to be a serious neighborhood blog, gets a little hot under the collar when presented with comments that are unfavorable to the progenitors Noah Wiese and Katie Knorovsky. In 2008, while Katie was supposedly working for the "National Geographic Traveler" magazine, her husband won an essay contest sponsored by the magazine. The prize was a sweet DVD box set, the Indiana Jones DVD collection. Now, I mean, I had never heard of National Geographic Traveler before, but I would assume that something affiliated with the National Geographic Society would at least have the good sense to not let spouses of employees win prizes in a public contest. Maybe that's giving National Geographic too much credit, I don't know. But I do know that a commenter put together that: 1.) District Schmistrict is run by Katie Knorovsky and 2.) called Katie out on this in a comment which went unposted by the purveyors of District Schmistrict, saying it was inappropriate for her to name her husband a winner in an essay contest, especially considering that the essay is written about Katie herself. This commenter with way too much skill at Google searching dug up proof that the winning announcement was given by Katie herself to her husband, with no disclaimer of their relationship. The reason given by the duo? "There were only a few entries." Huh. You would think a few entries by someone other than the guy who's legally bound to put up with your shit from now until eternity would outweigh entries by your old man. Who cares if they're good (and frankly, his wasn't). It's a conflict of interest and bad form. It technically doesn't break any laws, save for the laws of decency and journalistic integrity. It's a conflict of interest to have your spouse win a contest that you're administering. It'd be like if my girlfriend worked for Ruby Tuesday's (the National Geographic Traveler of restaurants) and I won a year's supply of UNLIMITED SALAD BAR because hey, a few other people wanted to win, but it was easier for me to take the prize rather than have her do any work in actually giving it away. Or you know, promoting the contest in the first place.

We all know that in DC it's not what you know, it's who you know. If you want the prize you have to know the powerful people in charge. In breaking news, WIHDC has learned that Marion Barry's successfully hasty kidney transplant was the result of an essay he wrote about Katie Knorovsky and the Iowa State Fair. You'll be up and rooting for the PG United in no time, Hizzoner.


A Meeting Of The Minds

D.C. Councilman Marion Barry, our city’s notorious former mayor, received a kidney transplant Friday at Howard University Hospital. We wish him a speedy recovery.

As a younger man in college, I once smoked crack with the only black man in central Vermont.

After our shift ends at the restaurant, I give him a ride home to the apartment he shares in a yellow duplex, a house sitting only feet from the two-lane rural highway. Inside, the surprisingly clean and smart décor gives way to a roommate—Chad—sleeping on the living room couch. In the Midwest, it’s called a sofa. And the roommate is named Phil. But it doesn’t matter. We speak in soft voices and grab a couple of ales from the fridge—Magic Hat, a beer “cloaked in secrecy.” Not quite a pale ale. But close.

After I describe my “relationship” with a pretty young blonde, the man tells me about his girlfriend—and of the arrangement they have. “I told that woman, ‘I don’t care what you do on your own but don’t bring any niggas back here to my bed.’”

Short and wiry, he looks like the type to attract large, heavier women—dominant. “So, when it happens, I beat the shit out of him; I mean, what would you do?”

Taking some bud from my pocket, which I then granulate and smooth into my metal pipe, I allow that I would do the same. The man leans back in his armchair, legs straight, reaching into his pants pocket with weathered hands, lighter on the inside, to withdraw a small, crinkled bag, filled with white.

We exchange pipes.


I'm resigning

That's it. I hereby quit my post as the resident WMATA apologist. Sorry guys, but Thursday took the cake.

The sheer hilarity of February 19, 2009 will hopefully forever be remembered as Black Thursday by John Catoe. It was a rough enough morning, with the Orange Line single-tracking from Clarendon to Foggy Bottom, and the Blue Line single tracking from Arlington Cemetery to Farragut West. A vacuum truck or some such lost a wheel and derailed, damaging the track. Had this been the only thing that happened, knowing me, I would have said "Awww but Metro got it fixed by 2PM, it's not that bad!"

But then, as they are removing the broken vacuum train, it derails AGAIN, 10 minutes later, outside East Falls Church. Right before rush hour. Yeah, that damn vacuum truck.

It was bad enough that the vacuum truck derailed, but then at 6:15, at the tail end of rush hour, an empty Yellow Line train derailed at Mt. Vernon Square. More single tracking, interrupting COUNTLESS BLOGGERS as they travel north on the Green Line to U Street, Columbia Heights, and Petworth. THE HORROR.

But really, I can only imagine Catoe's reaction when his Blackberry goes off at 6:15 saying there is yet ANOTHER derailment.

Bad things come in threes, I know, but there's not a whole lot of excuse for having something derail twice. In the span of what, maybe 2 miles?


Thankfully I wasn't impacted by these delays, I rode the bus home. I bet M@ was pissed, 'cept he probably drives to work.

Maybe it's all a ploy to try and get more stimulus dollars.


Sacred Cow

This post is about nothing. This post is about everything. This post takes place in our city. But it could happen anywhere.

A young man rises in the moonlight bathing the room he shares with his girlfriend, an early love. They look out the bay window beyond the sparse conifer hedge and birch trees, where scores of men and women—shrouded in black—mill around the neighbor’s lawn, candles flickering.

Settled afterward in Washington, D.C., they leave behind those sorts—until the discovery of a cancer afflicting the city, a burgeoning arts community whose adherents worship false gods and follow blindly an ideology that presents itself in digestible chunks, to be consumed by Visa and MasterCard once or twice weekly by self-selecting members of the elite.

With a Bachelor’s degree in humanities and aspirations of graduate school, the typical adherent to this ancient Vedic tradition hails from the middle and upper-middle classes of white America. They may be seen boarding subway trains early on Saturday morning or disembarking late in the workday, rolled foam mats—purple or pink with swirls—slung across their backs, like a rifle on a soldier. With the music turned low, one may hear them chattering on the train or on the street.

“For the past several years, I’ve studied under Kimberly Wilson,” one says to another. “I used to study under David Thompson, in Baltimore.”

One of the most prominent local gurus and self-styled “tranquil chick,” Kimberly Wilson has for years served the city as the proprietor of Tranquil Space, with locations in Dupont Circle (the mother ship), Bethesda, Md., and Arlington, Va. Declared by the Washington Post in 2005 to be the city’s “best yoga studio,” Tranquil Space bills itself, too, as “among the top 25 yoga studios in the world”—presumably besting countless studios in India, a land with nearly a billion Hindus, home of the sacred cow and the downward dog.

Aside from a busy class schedule and training sessions for instructors, Kimberly Wilson also offers her following of hip, tranquil chicks a plethora of events and retreats, in addition to “mentoring” services—something that combines the wishes and hopes of the young, educated white woman into a unified field theory of city living. For $150 per hour, Kimberly Wilson offers “client-driven” personal mentoring services to those inspired by her self-published book (Hip Tranquil Chick), focusing on personal and professional growth “on and off the mat.”

On a pink background devoid of any testosterone-driven capital letters, Kimberly Wilson’s Web site offers testimony to the benefits adherents may receive while working on the mat and, as it were, on the couch. “[M]any clients have been inspired by [K]imberly’s entrepreneurial spirit and would like her insights into a proposed business venture. [W]omen have also approached [K]imberly for her guidance on becoming more creative or deepening their on the mat experience.”

With a Master’s degree in women’s studies and a black belt in relationships, Kimberly Wilson intends the Vinyasa yoga experience of Tranquil Space to represent not just a chic affectation but a comprehensive lifestyle choice, as instructors encourage “yogis” to linger after class over tea and cookies to discuss whatever inane cognitions might be flickering momentarily through their animal minds.

Upon reading of Kimberly Wilson, I gain sudden and total understanding—an epiphany, if you will—of Al Qaeda and African Americans. I know now why they hate us. And it is not for our freedom.


Hip Tranquil Chick ("hip-tra[ng]-kw&l-'chik), n., A woman who weaves her practice of yoga and love of all things fabulous into a hip and tranquil lifestyle. A hip tranquil chick juggles a busy life with grace, gives of her resources, puts her best face (and foot) forward, nurtures herself with compassionate care, exudes her signature style, and lights up the room with her presence. She weaves all of these great characteristics rolled into one fun-loving, chic, and conscious chick!

Source: Tranquil Space


DC United To Move To PG, No One Cares

This is going to piss off a lot of readers, because people who read blogs most likely enjoy soccer. Or, I'm sorry, "fútbol." I know I'm pissing off about 80% of the world population by hating on soccer, but we're America and that gives us some of that "American exceptionalism" charm. Supposedly we have some sort of local soccer team, that plays in something called "Major League Soccer." (Sounds like serious business). Now I couldn't tell you the difference between Manchester United and Oxford Comma, but I can tell you that I'm not upset whatsoever that the DC United are leaving town for "greener" pastures in PG.

"I bear no ill will toward the process in D.C. But it's over," [DC United Owner Victor] MacFarlane said. "We want to be in Prince George's County and we're going to be in Prince George's County."

Team officials met with local politicians, who have introduced a bill that would build a new stadium in suburban Prince George's County.

The bill, if approved by the Maryland legislature, would authorize a 24,000-seat stadium at a cost of $180 million to $195 million.

Pictured: Prince George's County

See, if we had attempted to keep this team here, we would have probably ended up dropping a good $300-400 million on developing a site somewhere stupid. Marion Barry kept lobbying for Anacostia, and Mayor Fenty made it clear he doesn't give a shit about soccer.
When reports first surfaced last week that the team was close to a deal with Prince George's County, Fenty would not comment except to say he was still interested in keeping the team, but could not remember the last time he spoke with team officials.
Barry is totally up in arms and writing letters about this. For a man on dialysis who can't even file his taxes, he sure really likes soccer.

I know we'll hear some whining about how the DC United are the best sporting team this city has ever had, blahblahblah, etc, etc. Who cares? PG County are the suckers here who are financing a single purpose soccer stadium. I know that a lot of yuppies in this town will groan about how DC United is leaving, and how they won't want to venture into scary PG County to watch their "matches." I'm sure you'll find solace at home watching your European soccer on your plasma arguing about which squadron from a city you backpacked through is superior.


You too can have your own pretentious hyper local blog

You know what DC has way too many of? Guns is the wrong answer, I don't even have one yet. I'm talking about neighborhood blogs.

I bet you probably have your own neighborhood blog. Everyone has their own damn blog that talks about their neighborhood and how awesome it is. How it's the only place in the whole universe they want to live. And how even though they have to push a passed out crackwhore off their porch each night, $425,000 was an absolute STEAL for their house.

Well you know what? If you don't have your own already, click on that "Sign Up" button on the annoying Blogger bar and create one for yourself. Here's some tips to get you going:

Tips to making a successful neighborhood blog

Your blog's banner must include a photo of either the local Metro station, or a group of rowhouses.

You should only live in a neighborhood that's considered "gentrifying." Only fellow gentrifiers read blogs. People who live in the already posh areas do not read blogs. This is a fact.

At a minimum, one post per week must be dedicated to the discussion of dog parks.

Feign outrage at people's "indifference" to homelessness and poverty while making sure your iPod is loud enough that you don't hear requests for change when walking to the Metro.

You should always discuss how awesomely friendly your neighbors are, in so much that the people who have "lived there forever" say hi to you.

Hearing gunshots warrants an immediate "live blogging" event. You should definitely make note of how long it took the police to arrive. You should also mention that while you aren't sure what actually occurred, you intend to call the police station to find out. You may or may not post a follow up, explaining how unhelpful the police were on the phone.

Highlight how much the neighborhood has changed since you moved in, and how you now feel comfortable "walking anywhere you want" before 7 PM.

You should lament how despite the growing number of restaurants and bars, you have yet to find one that's "cozy" or "neighborhood" enough for you. Don't mention that any place that would meet this criteria is EWWW waaay too gross for your taste.

Post a lot of poorly composed, low quality photos that you took with your iPhone/cell phone.

Lament the lack of a good (name brand) grocery store in your neighborhood.

When a new, name brand grocery store arrives, lament the harm done to local grocers.

Talk endlessly about how you ride your bicycle to work, and how much you hate DC drivers. Leave out the fact that you most likely don't even ride on the street, and you mow down a few pedestrians each week.

Refer to your neighborhood with a ridiculous acronym (i.e. BloMi for Bloomingdale).

Decry those who refer to a neighborhood with a ridiculous acronym (i.e. MtP).

Attempt to have constructive dialogue about race relations on your blog.

Become frustrated about the lack of constructive dialogue about race relations on your blog.

Talk about how the new people (or businesses) moving into the neighborhood don't understand the true character of the fourteen square block area called "Viagra Triangle Square."

Whenever you see police or fire activity, make a post asking your neighbors what happened. Because you know, you were too busy to actually go look but you care enough to write about it on your blog.

Champion all local businesses, so long as they cater to the "young to middle age affluent white" crowd. Florida Avenue Fish Market can suck it.

Periodically sprinkle in references to your true hometown (Englewood NJ, Des Moines IA, the State of California) and that "DC is nothing like I expected, but I still love it."

Describe yourself as a "DC lifer" after you have spent three consecutive years in the area.

Refer to your blog as if you live inside it. "We here at BloMiStan absolutely love the new dog park at 7th and Upyours."

Highlight the fact that you have, on at least three occasions, ridden on the city bus.

If you follow these tips, you should find yourself linked by DCist and The Washington City Paper in no time! Maybe you can even become blog friends with Tina.


Diabetes Set Him Up

If you haven't already heard, Marion Barry hasn't been paying his taxes. Well, he didn't pay them from 1999-2004, and then stopped paying them again in 2007. This violates his probation, and prosecutors would like to send him to jail. However, Barry has an excuse. He has diabetes. He has dialysis treatments three times a week, and you know, that makes it so he can't file his taxes. Doesn't impact him collecting his $92,500 salary as a DC Councilmember, but hey taxes are complicated.

Barry truly is the gift that keeps on giving. I'm not even going to pretend to be outraged at this, because really now, what else would we expect? Of course he has diabetes, and that makes it so he can't even, I don't know, buy a copy of TurboTax. Obviously! And it gets better, he's even got a donor lined up, and will be receiving a kidney transplant.

According to WUSA:
Barry is hoping a federal judge will consider his medical condition and not send him to jail for probation violation. He says he'll file his 2007 and 2008 returns in a day or so.

"In a day or so!" Hey, don't rush. You might hurt yourself. 2008 isn't due until April.

You know what I have to say about all of this? (And I think you all will agree):

Wilford Brimley pays his motherfucking taxes. And he's got twice the diabetes Marion Barry ever will.

WMATA Not Givin' Virginia Much Love This VD

This is going to be short, I've been sick today and am going to be a wuss and go back to bed. But, I wanted to give you all something to chew on because I know how antsy readers get when there isn't any new content.

This weekend, the Pentagon Metro Station will be completely closed, and no trains will pass through it. That means that the Yellow Line will only run from Huntington to Pentagon City, and the Blue Line will run from Franconia-Springfield to Pentagon City, and then Arlington Cemetery to Largo Town Center. If you are going into DC from Alexandria/Franconia or trying to get to the airport or anywhere else on the Yellow/Blue in VA from the District, don't even bother. Take a cab. You can take the ridiculous shuttle bus from L'Enfant Plaza to Pentagon City, but god only knows how long that would take. There will be no shuttle service for the Blue Line.

Now I realize that sometimes you've gotta to track work. And bridge work. I guess it's too expensive to hire people to do this work at night, when the system is already closed. The joke is on anyone who is flying into DCA for the long weekend.


Memo to Apple: Georgetown just isn't that into you

OK, this is a nice, juicy, things we can all hate about DC topic. The "Old Georgetown Board" has yet again (for the fourth time) rejected Apple's design for it's store on Wisconsin Avenue. The fact that #1 ANYONE CARES ABOUT THIS and #2 Apple has presented them with four different designs makes this whole thing even more unbelievable.

Personally, I could really care less if the District has an Apple store. I have a 3-year old iMac at home, and used to own a Powerbook when I was in college. The Powerbook eventually fell completely apart (the screen broke off the hinges) and a new Apple laptop is so ridicuously expensive compared to a PC, it's not even funny. And who am I kidding? I don't need a laptop. I have no business being able to blog from Jolt 'N Bolt. But even more importantly, if I ever did want to visit an Apple store, I'd ride on the Metro to the one in Pentagon City. Or the one in Bethesda. Or the other one in Bethesda.

But anyways, the two main discussions I see about this are "OMG GEORGETOWN IS STUPID" and "WHY CAN'T MY NEIGHBORHOOD ___________ GET AN APPLE STORE."

I especially loved the discussion over at DCist, where someone referred to Georgetown as being full of asshats. Here was a reaction by "TX2DC," which at first thought was a sarcastic response.

As a resident of Georgetown, I take offense to your assertion that we’re all “asshats” over here. First off, the “asshats” you refer to are mostly tourists and suburban riff-raff that infiltrate our neighborhood – that is hardly our fault. Obviously there is something to the neighborhood or people wouldn’t flock to it. Additionally, Georgetown is one of the most exclusive, and expensive, neighborhoods in DC for a reason. Perhaps you’re jealous? Secondly, why the hell would Apple put their store in Logan Circle? For starters your neighborhood borders Shaw – so taking into account the spillover crime, I doubt Logan is upscale enough. Besides, what the hell does Logan have in it? Answer is, simply, not a lot. A friggin Whole Foods (or is that DuPont)? A few crappy restaurants? No Parking? There’s a reason there is nothing in your crappy neighborhood – not upscale and no infrastructure to support it. Lastly, I have no doubt you, like everyone else, loves to hate on Georgetown yet still comes over regularly to enjoy our bars and cuisine. So you can quit hating on Gtown, hater. Clearly there’s at least one real “asshat” in Logan.

I really, really, really thought this comment was snark. But it wasn't. And then there was a nice back and forth about Logan versus Georgetown versus WHO CARES.

Apple paid $13 million for a building they are going to demolish and then replace with a new one (that looks old, but not old). They want their fancy futuristic looking spaceship store, and Georgetown doesn't like that. But Georgetown wants an Apple Store. God, really, I love that this dominates the local blogosphere for days on end whenever a new design (which is the same as a previous design, essentially) gets rejected. It's like that pathetic kid who keeps asking the hot girl out, and keeps getting rejected. But she doesn't want to be too mean, so she doesn't outright say no. Sell the building (at a loss, I'm sure, but maybe they could get a Dippin' Dots to move in), and build your monument to luxury computing somewhere else, maybe Penn Quarter.

I'm obviously contributing even further to this nonsense, but I'll say that I think there's asshats in Logan just as much as there are asshats in Georgetown. I'll even one up it and say there are asshats everywhere in the city, even though I don't believe asshat is a real word.

God. Happy Friday.


Rahm's Illegal Apartment

I'm not sure where to begin with this. In case you haven't heard, there's a "scandal" going around about how Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is living in a basement apartment that doesn't have a proper Certificate of Occupancy. This little factoid was apparently discovered by a private investigator, who did a quick search of DCRA records. Which, by the way, you can do yourself!

Now, the first reaction views this as a political issue, saying "if this is the worst you can find on this guy..." so on and so forth. The other reaction that I have seen is one of disregard for having a proper C of O for a basement apartment. I've seen a lot of comments along the lines of "everyone in DC does that" or "it's a rite of passage to live in a crappy basement apartment in DC."

My reaction is thus: I am sure there are bigger things to be dug up on Rahm. While I respect him as a former Congressman and White House Chief of Staff, I am sure he has skeletons in his closet. That's beside the point. However, unlicensed and thus unregulated landlords are a problem in the city. A big problem.

While Congresswoman DeLauro is not a slumlord, there are many who rent unlicensed and unsafe apartments to low income people, families, and students. Back when I was in college, a student died in his basement apartment that was in violate of fire/occupancy codes.

DC has made some attempts to educate renters, and created the site thisshouldbeillegal.com to help inform people of their rights. While this was mostly designed for students, personally I urge anyone who rents to check it out.

While this whole DCRA Twitter thing is pretty dumb, I'm actually not completely enraged by the response the DC government has shown towards this problem. I only hope that this stupid non-scandal won't hurt the cause of getting landlords to be properly licensed. One of the few things I don't hate about DC is the strong advocacy for tenants' rights.


Restaurant Letter Grades in DC?

There's been talk of this over on DCist, and over at the City Paper's City Desk. Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh plans to introduce legislation implementing a letter-grade system for restaurant cleanliness. This would be similar to the system they have in Los Angeles, which I am only familiar with because of The Shield. A similar idea is in the works in New York City, as well.

There's been little "official" response to this, as they story has not received a whole lot of media attention yet. I think it's safe to say that most residents/restaurant patrons will welcome this, and most restaurant owners will not. I'm going to echo a few concerns, and I'm curious what people here think.

The first main argument against this is that the city can't possibly have enough inspectors to make this work. Also, the system is most likely already so corrupt, that anyone with enough money can just purchase an "A" grade. If, and a big if, it would be possible to accurately inspect all food serving establishments with a decent frequency, then I think this could be a good idea. Right now, you can go into a restaurant and you have no idea what the last inspection found, and you wouldn't have a clue if the restaurant had just reopened after a 2 week closure for rat feces in the kitchen.

Example, did you know the Johnny Rockets in Georgetown has been closed before because of rats? Well, if you eat at Johnny Rockets, I assume you have no concern for your health (or money), but that's just one example. You'd expect the Popeye's on 14th (Logan Circle) to have been cited for rats (it has been), but you might not expect some of the others.

Restaurants will cry foul, that a poor letter grade could come from just one bad day, and would destroy their business. This is true, a poor letter grade would, most likely, cost them many customers. However, I'm appaled by this idea that a restaurant should get a pass for having "one bad day." If it's an issue such as the hot water was out for one day, then perhaps. But most other problems are not so temporary... I don't think you see many cases of a 24 hour-only rat infestation. One bad day is enough for people to get sick, so it should be enough to get you a bad grade. The caveat here, though, is that if restaurants must display these letter grades, there should be enough inspectors to allow a re-inspection after a drop in grade.

Do you think this is a bad time to be doing this? Should we let things slide as we fall into recession?

For some good information on food safety, check out The Barf Blog.


Give This a Caption

So I was reading about Tom Daschle's problem with taxes, and couldn't help but notice his eyewear. Maybe he was stimulating local business over at BLINK on P Street. Since the "Sally Jesse Raphael called and wants her glasses back" joke has already been made, I thought I would one up EVERYONE IN THE UNIVERSE. With this travesty, of course. Good God this should not exist and I will most likely go to hell for creating it. But it's funny in a very disturbing way. So I present it to you, dear readers, and ask you to GIVE IT A CAPTION.

Click for Full Size!


Trash City, USA

From the lovely Washington news source, WTOP News, we have an apparent AP article that was published in the Washington Times. Here's the intro:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sporting a used toy box, a few Christmas ornaments and a Discovery credit card, a model of Augua Nova hardly looks like a city of tomorrow. But for Loudoun County middle school students Daniel Aldana, Thomas Martin and Sophia Folena, that's the point.

"We want to see the potential in what we throw out," said Daniel, 13, as he and his colleagues presented their model utopia on Jan. 24 at the National Engineers Week Future City event at the University of the District of Columbia. "In the future, it might be that what we view as waste could be used to build a city."

At first, I was wondering what the hell a Discovery credit card was, to then realize it was a typo. But that's not really important for this piece, rather I was intrigued by the idea of building the city of tomorrow out of trash.

These kids are pretty creative,

The recycled metropolis, built on a 2-foot by 3-foot base of plywood, includes skyscrapers, a stadium, an industrial zone and even a water desalination plant.

"I'd say 95 percent of everything in the city is recycled, just things we gathered from trash and stuff that would normally be thrown out," said Sophia, 14.

The kids also used Sim City 4 to determine if the design of their city would be sustainable.

Now the interesting part is that the competition was held in a city that's already made out of nearly 100% trash. We don't yet have skyscrapers, but we did recently finish construction on a $611+ million dollar stadium, built completely out of garbage AND hosting the nation's first baseball team actually comprised of compost material.

Now we just need to convince those fat cats down at the Wilson Building to invest in a few copies of Sim City 4. We'll just have to convince Maxis to add "Inauguration" and "Snow Flurry" options to the disasters menu.