April 30, 2004

We want frequent, cheap and reliable service

... but we get pandas. Lots and lots of fiberglass pandas.

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Expat corner

Just for the fun of it, former Washingtonian Jenny on her foul-mouthed English students in China.

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April 29, 2004

Wi Fi on the Mall

Don't you just hate it when you're playing in your kickball league on the mall and there is a dispute among the teams as to whether the infield fly rule applies in kickball as well as baseball? If no one has a rule book, you're screwed, right? Well, a DC-based non-profit organization named Open Park is out to fix that irritating problem, as well as countless others caused by the the lack of internet access on the National Mall.

Yesterday, Open Park "launched the first public outdoor wireless Internet hotspot in the nationís capital" according to a press release. The hotspot is the first step in Open Park's plan to provide free wireless access across the National Mall.

TechNewsWorld Story

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April 28, 2004

Eat me.

From the eGullet.com forum for D.C. foodies, the world's most finnicky eater looks for a date place in Northwest:

Here's my problem: I hate anything African, Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian (minus Americanized Chinese food, which I don't want, as that's a hit or miss, and -- sometimes -- Thai or Japanese). Dietarily, I eat ONLY skinless boneless chicken breast meat-wise (I once went to a restaurant where they gave me an entire chicken, and I didn't know what to do with it!). No mushrooms, no chickpeas (hence the lack of desire for Middle Eastern, etc). Yes, I do eat veggies (broccoli, spinach, etc), but I don't want to go to a purely veggie place.
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Ronald Reagan U. - Go Contras!

bedtime.gifBy now, most people have heard that some idiot wants to build a Reagan university in Colorado.

I still don't know why Reagan boosters don't get the irony and hypocrisy of naming anything they can find after him all over the country in much the same way communists did for Lennin and Stalin.

Of course, the longer you fight an enemy, the more you begin resemble them.

But anyway, it's probably worth trotting out the same old Reagan jokes to belittle this new endeavor to churn out a new generation of Republo-bots. Below is some suggested late-light fodder:

1) "I hear they have an all-condiment salad bar at the student cafeteria."
2) "To reduce pollution, there will be no trees on campus."
3) "The finals are easy. You get points for not remembering facts."
4) "During spring break, the RRU chapter of Habitat for Humanity goes to Nicaragua to tear down houses."
5) "School motto: 'Leadership is never having to say you're sorry.'"
6) "If I ever go back to college and somehow become an athlete, I want to play and defeat RRU just to say I did it to impress Jodie Foster."

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April 27, 2004

Fly your freak flag

I'm sure I'm not the only person disappointed with the new Iraqi flag, reproduced below:

My problem is purely aesthetic, as I don't really mind that it looks a little like the Israeli flag, which I think is one of the better national flags.

The pale blue and yellow design does not make me think of a beacon to the Arab world, nor of a proud nation rebuilding after decades of tyranny, but instead something more along the lines of "Blue Moon Over Sweden," which I sincerely hope wasn't the point.

Speaking of flags, doesn't the old Iraqi flag:

...remind you just a little of the current DC flag?

Frankly, I prefer the instant psychadelic mindf*ck provided by staring closely at the state colors of Maryland:


I'm fairly sure tobacco wasn't the only cash crop grown by Lord Calvert.

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Is David Brooks a self-loathing cold fish?

David Brooks, both a fabricator even when generalizing and generally a prick, has some choice words for D.C.:

"Don't get me wrong. I love living in Washington. I still think it is the least superficial of the interesting American cities, owing to our inability to experience sensual pleasure."

Now, everybody feels like a social leper now and then, but to write off an entire city as being as impotent as Bob Dole before he asked his doctor about you-know-what is low, even for a columnist as reliant on assumptions as Brooks.

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Free ice cream!

Here's a list of Ben & Jerry's scoop shops in DC where you can get a free cone today and today only.

Thanks to N.M. for the tip.

UPDATE: The email going around DC offices announcing the B&J's offer is prefaced in some conservative circles with the following:

for those of you with political concerns about supporting this lib establishment, good news-- they sold out about a year to a big corporation and are no longer run by BIG GREEN GRANOLAS. So enjoy the ice cream!!!

(as forwarded to me by Token Republican Friend, who shall remain nameless.)

Would you like some diesel with your Chunky Mokney?

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April 26, 2004

I'm a bad feminist

I had to work on Sunday and couldn't make the big superduperhuge march. AG did, and he'll give you the details on his experience in a post later today. Nevertheless, I did walk around my neighborhood after the rally, which was filled with poster-wielding pro-choicers enjoying the nice weather and the variety of mid-priced food options. Some choice overheard quotes.

Woman talking on cell phone: "It was the biggest rally in the history of the world, ever."

Lanky twentysomething guy festooned with stickers: "Now they're calling drug addiction a mental illness because, you know, society disapproves of being addicted to drugs."

Well, if you get a million people together on the same patch of grass, at least some of them will be nuts.

Some other observations:

1. The women who brought along boyfriends/husbands seemed far more affectionate with them then your average Sunday afternoon pedestrian couple. Guys, if you wanna get some, drop the machismo and get down with NARAL.

2. These rallies are big moneymakers. I can't tell you how many people had those "Keep Abortion Legal" blue circular signs in one hand and a Kramerbooks bag in the other. WMATA says metro patronage was more than double the usual for a Sunday, and I'd bet local merchants would say the same.

3. I wasn't around for it, and I'd hate to imagine what the aftermath of the big Promise Keepers rally looked like. Eeh, I bet they stayed in Virginia anyway.

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April 23, 2004

Hidden Treasure

I think it's safe to say that everyone reading DCSOB has been to the 9:30 Club on at least one occasion. Most concert goers stay on ground-level or above, but there's a little bit of underground DC history, well, underground.

The bar below the club suffers from the same problem as the bars upstairs -- namely that it's expensive and serves draft beer in tiny little glasses better suited for mixed drinks. But along the walls are monthly fliers from the club's glory days at 930 I Street (thus the name, the shows rarely start at 9:30). Not only are the designs amazing for the era before Photoshop and Quark, but they're a window into the early days of DC's hardcore scenes. Bad Brains, Sunny Day Real Estate and others share the stage with soon-to-be-historic acts such as "R.E.M. from Athens, Ga." and the Misfits.

Perhaps they'd make a good coffee table book.

Next time you're in that part of town, it's worth checking out.

UPDATE: Wonkette discovers 9:30 listings. Wow, and she spelled everything correctly as well.

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April 22, 2004

West Virginia: Making regular Virginia look like Paris

A righty blog I usually read to get my blood boiling has the interesting story about a rather lame attempt to bring the Mountaineer State to the forefront of something -- anything,

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Metro escalator construction completion pool

So one of the two escalators serving the entrance I use to exit the Metro near my office is undergoing repairs, meaning the crush of people who use it in the morning have to walk up the remaining escalator and stand to the side, creating a huge backup, if someone wants to go down. Despite the fact that I've never seen anone actually working on it, a sign says the repairs will be completed by May 10.


It won't be ready by the 10th, that's for sure, but when will it be done? Enter your guess in the comments and the person whose guess is closest to the datw when the thing starts running again wins a beer on me.

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April 21, 2004

More on tourists

Washington Oculus has more on tourists. Instead of just bitching them out, he provides a handy list of "don'ts" for visitors.

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Overheard on the street

Well, told to me on the street by a former Kerry campaign worker:

"Howard Dean is a sane man trying hard to appear crazy. Wesley Clark is a crazy man trying hard to appear sane."

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April 20, 2004

Who needs locusts when you have middle schoolers?

Most days when I don't pack my lunch, I go to the steam table joint around the corner from my office. The food is decent and it's close enough that you don't need to put on your coat in winter to duck out for a little sesame chicken and ravioli.

When I went today, I was greeted by an unwelcome sight -- dozens of middle schoolers swamping the tables, yakking to one another and generally making a mess of things. Being from some dumb flyover country suburb (probably) they were amazed by the variety of food available at one location, and were, as is customary with that age group, fighting for position and status in various cliques, right in front of the fried rice I planned on getting a scoop or two on to my styrofoam take away tray.

What the hell? It's not like I work very close to any point of interest to tourists. The aformentioned lunch joint is between commercial office buildings and a large government department, so the neighborhood is populated mostly by pencil-pushers, something not of very much interest to your average 13-year-old.

School tour groups are why the downstairs area of Union Station is completely off-limits between the hours of 12 and 2. They run around, bumping into your tray, waving around their meal cards like a $10 bill at a strip club, telling each other (and not in an 'indoor voice') how amazed they are that there's a Cajun Grill and a Mama Ilardos in the same building.

Don't get me wrong - I like kids, even teenagers. I just can't handle more than a dozen or so at once. I don't even mind tour groups -- my school field trip to Washington rocked, and not just because the class bully got caught by a teacher while shoplifting at the Air and Space Museum gift shop. I just wish they wouldn't be let loose in a food court or a mall.

Perhaps the city could set up a feeding trough out by the Greyhound station for Hill-bound students to fill up on sloppy Joes before learning how a bill becomes law.

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April 19, 2004

Hot out therrre

We've gone straight from winter to summer without the usual interlude of nice spring weather for the second year in a row. If, like me, you live or work in a building with central air conditioning still pumping out the heat, perhaps reading DCSOB posts from the recent chilly past will cool you down.

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April 16, 2004

Didn't like him in '91, don't like him now

Vanilla Ice is coming to DC, but not to a venue you might expect. The Iceman will not cometh to the Black Cat or the 9:30, but will instead play a gig at Gallaudet University tomorrow.

Just as a refresher, what makes Gallaudet unique among institutions of higher education? It's for deaf people.

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More Red Line delays

...Half an hour late to work today.

What is this, the London Underground?

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April 15, 2004

Dulles Rail

They may be building a train to Dulles, making it easier to get the hell out of this marble-encrusted festering swamp. Check out the details and a competing vision on Live from the Third Rail, our sister blog.

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License plates

Technically, this blog is about Washington, D.C., but since there's a big license plate at the top of this page, we're at least somewhat interested in tags.

That's why I loved this little story from Long Island about one driver's victory over the man.

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April 14, 2004

Quote of the moment

"New York has total depth in every area. Washington has only politics; after that, the second biggest thing is white marble."

- Former NYC Mayor John Lindsay

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April 13, 2004

Air America hits DC!

I know plenty of Washingtonians who would be willing to give a lesser-used toe to hear Al Franken, Chuck D, Lizz Winstead and the rest of the Air America Radio crew on our airwaves. Sadly, there is no AAR station in the area and the online feed doesn't work.

But I have a workaround! WLIB, the New York AAR station, still has its old page, which includes a live feed (be sure to allow pop-ups). Don't be put off by the Carribean theme -- that's just their old format.

UPDATE: An AAR bumper: "For a complete tape library of all our programs, contact John Ashcroft." Nice.

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April 12, 2004

Metro en fuego

Is it just me, or is the Red Line getting worse and worse?

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Diversity, Georgia style

It's prom season again, which means it's time for dozens of recycled stories about poor kids getting donated tuxedos and dresses, idiot parents cancelling prom because they can't guarantee the kids won't have sex afterwards, idiot parents guarding the entrance to the gym/banquet hall with brethalyzers and this classic: the segregated prom. This year, we have a new twist: The three-way split segregated prom:

Yuri Flores bought a $50 ticket to the white prom in February. She returned later that day with a white girlfriend, Jennifer Hart, who also wanted to buy a ticket. Hart says the White Prom Committee girl wanted to know if her date was white, black or Hispanic. Mexican, was the answer.

"She told me that it was a white prom ó not a Mexican prom, not a black prom," Hart says. "It made me feel mad. That's not right. I wanted to put my fist in her face."

I don't blame her for being pissed off, but this is a state that's still fighting over how much their state flag should resemble the stars and bars.

For so many reasons, I'm glad that my prom's behind me and that I didn't grow up in Georgia.

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April 9, 2004

Smile! A Hummer in Houston is paying for your bus

Thanks to its large and popular mass transit system, the DC-MD-VA region is getting $1.39 back for every $1 we pay in gas taxes.

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Bob Levy's replacement, John Kelly (and why the Post felt they needed someone to continue in Levey's "illustrious footsteps" will forever remain a mystery to me), has published the winners of "the inaugural John Kelly's Washington Haiku Contest."

I think my favorite is:

Leave my city now

Student councils on spring break

Go back to Duluth

There's also one where the poet accuses Kelly of murdering Levey, now that's a celebrity trial I'd pay attention to.

Posted by cs at 8:42 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 8, 2004

Anita Hooker, Juwanna Mann -- let's get together!

Forwarded from the DCSOB Department of Unfortunate Names from a Post article:

"I haven't even had a chance to go around and read all the little quotes they have on this," said laborer Anita Hooker, referring to the inscriptions on the memorial's walls. "There's no time to do that on our 10- and 15-minute breaks."

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April 7, 2004

To put it simply, cherry blossoms suck

I wasn't going to bitch about this, I really wasn't. But the more I think about it, the more pissed off I get. If you've read the title of this entry, you know that I'm pissed off about the cherry blossom madness.

You'd think that a town that's been holding an annual festival for a while would be prepared for it. But this is D.C., a town that's never prepared for anything, try as it might (or pretends to try). I know I shouldn't have attempted to drive towards Virginia this weekend. In general, I have a no-NoVa policy firmly in place. But there was money involved, so I headed down 14th Street, forgetting all about the cherry blossoms.

So, this is partly my fault, I know. But whose fault is it that once drivers got to the National Mall, they were directed away from 14th Street with no detour signs or other helpful hints about getting to the highway? That's right! It's D.C.'s fault. On top of the re-routing of traffic, there was construction going on pretty much all around the Mall, so those who were directed way from 14th Street were then directed away from the street to which they had just been directed.

Eventually, a long, long time later, I found my way to 395, weaving through a sea of out-of-state cars and gawking pedestrians. (They're just cherry blossoms, people! Watch where you're going!) Did no one tell the tourists that they should not even attempt to drive to the Mall during the festival? I guess not.

To sum up, get some detour signs, D.C.

Posted by nm at 5:01 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The great non-debate

An ongoing argument over whether NYC is superior to DC, or vice versa.

I don't really think it's much of a contest: NYC is an international center of culture and commerce, while DC is a provincial town with a social life supported by throngs of interns, contractors schlepping in from the burbs and the odd twentysomething idealist who doesn't have enough money to pay for half of what's offered anyway.

And have you ever noticed the people will look at you funny for anything down here? I remember walking into a bar during the hurricaine, obviously completely soaked. Everyone else was dry and perfectly coiffed and clean. Did they sleep over? How can I simultaneusly be the the most hygenic person I know and the filthiest person at a bar? Sometimes I feel like this place is like an insular little redneck town with an opera company and a subway system.

But I digress.

I'd rather be hither than thither, but given that my job needs to be near the seat of government and that hasn't been in New York since the 18th century, I might as well try to have some fun where I am. In that spirit, we bring you DCSOB.

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Wonkette can't spell, part LXVIII

The Interior Secretary is Gale Norton, not Gayle Norton. Unless that was a gay joke.

For someone who is so in the loop when it comes to any anti-Kerry slander that Drudge or NRO can dream up, she sure isn't handy with a web browser to when checking names.

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Adams Morgan: not just for skanks anymore

The unemployed and destitute of this town could do a lot better for themselves if they got off their fat asses and showed some initiative -- and not just sending out a resume here and there, either. I'm talking about taking some real initiative and putting some elbow grease into searching for what you want and going for it:

D.C. police are investigating 18 armed robberies, 17 of which occurred within a mile-and-a-quarter of each other in Northwest between Monday night and yesterday morning.

Police say at least two robbers using as many as four different cars held up pedestrians at gunpoint in and around Adams Morgan between 9:30 p.m. Monday and 5:40 a.m. yesterday, stealing a car, assaulting one victim and injuring another.

"I cannot recall in my career that many robberies occurring in such a small amount of time possibly committed by the same suspects," said Metropolitan Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile.

Well, you can't call them lazy.

And about the headline: I was just kidding. Adams Morgan is still just for skanks.

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April 6, 2004

When the first thing you see is Dulles, there's little reason not to turn right around and go back to from whence you came...

But nevertheless, I pressed on, spending another hour or so on roads and rails to make it back to DC. My vacation was fantastic. After seeing the sights and enjoying a whole lot of bubble and squeak, toad in the hole, spotted dick, stinking bishop and bangers and mash (they're traditional English food, you pervert), it's time to once again settle in to the numbing sameness of office life.

And who greets me at the Metro station nearest my office?



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April 2, 2004

Goodbye LOTR, Hello Hellboy

The Lord of the Rings has been de-throned. The final chapter's seemingly neverending run at the Uptown finally ended last night. Now playing: Hellboy.

Posted by nm at 2:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The Internet, for all its wonders, has many aspects which really piss me off. I get, from time to time, instant messages from people who see my profile and want to talk to me. About half of these messages are incomprehensible, w17h s74ng3 c0d3z instead of actual English. Forget about grammar, spelling or punctuation, they don't exist. People who can't follow at least the basics of English usage on IM are blocked immediately, possibly cutting down on new internet friends, but oh well.

So, it turns out that I'm not the only one who feels this way. While Ms. Truss may be taking things a bit too far ("Valentine/'/s Day," for instance, has become more of a name unto itself than a possessive form, I think), it's nice to see someone pushing the buttons on this. I'm all for evolution of language, but really, anyone who makes first contact (looking for a date no less!) with "WSUP dUd3?" deserves scorn. And possibly disemvowelment.