News Bullets, Wheat Thins Wednesday;

Check out the new Wheat Thins box design. Doesn't it look a bit like the District, if the Potomac were a bit wider? All it needs is a small hairline crack towards the left of the cracker to represent the Anacostia and we'd be set. Thanks for representing, Nabisco!

Several bad days for Metro this week. I've noticed worse than usual crowding along the Red Line in the afternoons, and I've been hearing of problems on the Orange Line as well. It looks like these rush hour problems have been due to mechanical issues where trains have been removed from service. Preliminary browsing of the Tweet-o-sphere this morning indicate more bad news for the Orange Line. I have a theory that this is all a big test of longer headways and shorter trains, to prepare for possible budget cuts. Even if that's not the case, the sorts of crowding seen this week will be the usual if WMATA enacts serious service cuts to Metrorail.

Peebles not running for mayor, who will get his cash? Millionaire Don Peebles, who has been toying with running against Fenty this year, made a wishy-washy statement saying he isn't running for mayor right now. His announcement cited family concerns. Keep in mind his spokesperson has said the "door is still open." I'd imagine Council Chair Vincent Gray isn't too happy with this non-statement, as it doesn't help him make a decision. If you recall, Peebles has a bunch of money and doesn't even live in the District. He has said he's willing to finance a challenger's campaign if he doesn't run himself. The primary is still nine months away, and as of right now the only person challenging Fenty is Leo Alexander.

Council passes penalties for minors possessing tobacco. Not sure how to feel about this one. Under a new bill passed by the Council, minors who purchase or possess tobacco products could face a $50 fine. If a minor uses a fake ID to purchase tobacco, the could face a $300 fine and a misdemeanor charge. As far as the fake ID thing goes, I don't see as much of a problem with that. Back in my old ID-checking days, it was a good tactic to tell people that having a fraudulent ID could be a violation of the USA PATRIOT Act, and if they didn't surrender the fake and leave immediately, we'd have to call the authorities. Most underage kids get real scared when you tell them that. Given that it is illegal for minors to purchase cigarettes and tobacco, I don't suppose there's much of a problem with writing them tickets for smoking. Seems like something that could be filed under the there's bigger fish to fry category, though. Also included in the bill was a provision that could allow business owners to prohibit smoking on sidewalks near their entrances. This seems 100% impossible to enforce without having a security guard outside at all times.

Parking meter changes go into effect, people complain. Free parking on Saturdays is over in the District. There are round-ups about the changes all around the nets. I don't drive a car, so it's not a big deal for me. $2/hr is a bit steep, I suppose, but cheap compared to parking in a garage. I don't see a problem with charging for Saturday parking, and if it wasn't such a big deal (with parishioners) why not expand it to Sunday, too. It's not like it's free to ride on Metrorail or Metrobus on the weekend.

Holy crap Yeardley Smith grew up in Washington, D.C. Yes, the actress who does the voice for Lisa Simpson spent her formative years right here in the District. Why do I know this? Who doesn't read the Wikipedia entries for the cast members of the Simpsons? Smith's family moved to DC when her father became the obituary editor for the Post. She began her acting career in theatre, and performed with Arena Stage and other local companies before moving to New York. In 1985, before she became Lisa Simpson, she appeared in a film called The Legend of Billie Jean. The notable part about all of this? In that film, Yeardley Smith gets her period during a gunfight. In fact, there is so much blood the other characters think she's been shot before they realize nope, "She's become a woman!" Think about that the next time you hear Lisa Simpson talking. Thanks to my lovely fianceƩ for doing the research work on this one.


  1. OK, what you really should mention is:

    1.) the Black Cat showed "Legend of Billie Jean" last night, hence the relevancy. Christian Slater also appeared as a white trash yokel and Yeardly Smith can just barely be considered a high-functioning moron in this film
    2.) your awesome fianceƩ did that wikipedia research.

  2. I get nervous seeing the word cracker in a piece about DC. Maybe use "thin, crisp biscuit" next time.

  3. When I was in high school in Vermont (1998-ish), I got a ticket for possessing tobacco. Wasn't even smoking it. Ticket was for $47 with a $25 "surcharge." I'm actually surprised that D.C. didn't already prohibit minors from possessing it.