May 27, 2004

Automotive Deathmatch: Metrobus vs. Illegally-parked Car

If D.C.'s exorbitant parking fines weren't enough to keep you from parking illegally in the city, this should. While walking north of Dupont Circle on friday, we came upon this scene:


One of WMATA's short metrobuses was trying to turn into the circle off of Connecticut Avenue. This idiot had parked illegally in front of the Riggs Bank and was blocking the space needed to turn, but apparently the WMATA driver decided she could make it...and proceeded to rip the front of the car off.

Consider this a DCSOB public service announcement. If you drive in D.C., don't park your car illegally at the end of the street. If a Metrobus takes you on, you're definitely going to lose.

[apologies on the picture quality]

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May 26, 2004

Beware the unlicensed hacks...

untitled.bmpAs a semi-frequent cab rider in the district, I've learned that cab drivers in D.C. have some insane stories. I've heard about stories about human-eating zombies in Zimbabwe, had conversations about the socio-economic status of African immigrants with a cab driver who sent his children home to Africa becaues they were turning into Americans, spoke to computer programmers turned Montgomery Co. cab drivers, and listened to Russian immigrants tell me how they were trained architects but prefered cab driving because they could put their kids up from school in the evening.

But, what I heard the other night was news even to me. Cab drivers in Washington -- as with almost all other cities -- are required to be licensed and insured. Apparently, the test to become a cab driver in D.C. is rather difficult -- and costly and time consuming -- so there are many more people willing to drive a cab in Washington than are able to pass the test...and there are many cab drivers in D.C. who don't want to deal with driving late at night in the city and dealing with drunk interns and college students.

The solution? Lease out cabs to unlicensed cab drivers.

More after the break

According to my cabbie source (whose identity I couldn't reveal even if I wanted to, as I don't remember his name), the cab companies have started renting cabs out to unliscened drivers who are willing to work the overnight shift. The drivers are required to post a "bond" equal to the $500 fine for driving without a license (and potentially another $500 for the fine for permitting the operation of a cab without the identification card). They then rent a cab from the company as a normal driver would and either don't display a Hack license or display the license of someone who looks somewhat similar to them. A network of these drivers has developed (most are recent immigrants) and they spent most of the evening on cell phones, relaying information about where fares can be picked up and where the police are, so that they may avoid detection.

From an economic standpoint, it makes complete sense. There's a dearth of individuals willing to drive at night, so cab companies are willing to take a risk to have their cabs earning money.

From a safety point of view, however, it is a serious concern. Part of the reason the hack licensing process takes so long is the background screening process. All hack license applicants are fingerprinted and have their criminal histories checked before being allowed to transport people. Unlicensed cabbies mean no criminal background checkes -- and no background checks means that you have no idea who next person whose cab you get into at 3 a.m. while drunk is, nor what they've done in the past. As someone who has taken many cabs home while drunk, I'd much rather know that my cab driver passed some form of background check, even if its not a great one. And there's no easy way to tell if the cab you're entering is driven by a licensed driver or not. Just add it to the list of other reasons to be careful when wandering around Adams Morgan while intoxicated.

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May 25, 2004

Potomac Fever

This is sort of funny, but somewhat strange. Doesn't it read a little bit like a lecture from the leader of a small cult on the sins of hoarding gruel or sending out a postcard to your "former" family? But maybe I'm not enough of a partisan Republican to react as the intended reader would.

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Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack; Buy yourself a clue

Why not put it right alongside the Mixing Bowl?

Or perhaps on a barge only accessible by sliding down a rope tossed off the side of the Bay Bridge?

Maybe we should build the new Washington baseball stadium right next to Camden Yards. It wouldn't be that much worse of a trip than Dulles and it would have the added benefit of making Peter Angelos' head explode.

But seriously, this Loudon County plan is complete bullplop. It would cost taxpayers an arm and a leg, make Toll Road traffic even worse and would require multiple transfers and over an hour on buses and trains for cityfolk who don't want to or can't drive. Even with a Dulles subway extension, there would be a decade-plus long gap with no train service.

Add to that the traditional arguments against Washington Baseball: Two teams already left at the first opportunity and everybody here already has a favorite team from somewhere else, and you have perhaps the worst thing to happen to baseball since this.

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May 24, 2004

Monday Roofblogging

On a clear day, you can see the Potomac. Today is not one of those days.

Underneath the sunset, Washingtonians practice the ancient rituals associated with the coming of the New News Cyle.

(click on the photo for a larger version)

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The Washingtoniend

We know who she is, we know she's not a wreck and we know she won't be working on the Hill any more. So what's left in this story? A book deal? Short book. A trip around the talk show circuit? She can't talk about most of the good stuff on TV. My guess is that she'll hit the NYC/LA party circuit for a while, do some interviews and then slip back into the working life, probably not here.

As scandals go, this one leaves you feeling a little empty, no?

BTW, we also now know that Wonkette (on the left) has fantastic bone structure.

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May 21, 2004

OK, I admit it

It was me. I support Washingtonienne's lavish lifestyle by paying for sweet, sweet poontang.

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May 20, 2004


Nothing to say, really. Maybe tonight's planned beer binge will generate something to write about tomorrow. Meanwhile, read Josh Marshall's story about getting hassled by the man.

If security was that tight for Bush, imagine the lockdown for Bono's arrival...

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May 19, 2004

The world is ending

This album is selling more briskly than this one.

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$250 a month rent?

This Craig's List ad seems a little bizarre. Is this a cult? A crackhouse?

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The northern snakeheads of street politics

Oculus notes the Larouchite New Federalist newspaper has taken over the writers' workshop box in front of the Dupont Circle metro. I noticed this as well, and given my need to shout at them when they come to my neighborhood. Any other day and I would have taken them out, but I decided not to because I was in a rush.

If they're still there tonight past around 8:30, I'm doing something about it myself.

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The Council makes itself useful

Liqour sales until midnight! Now, if I could pick up a six-pack at the local Safeway, we'd be in business.

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May 18, 2004


Bono is up on the Hizzle again today. Swoons all around.

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Holy cr*p, literally

The inmates are running the asylum.

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May 17, 2004

News you can actually use

The cheapest gasoline in all of Washington, D.C. can be found at the intersection of New Jersey and Rhode Island Aves., NW. The Lowest Price doesn't take plastic, but for a few cents more, the Hess across the street does.

We're talking $1.89 here as of yesterday afternoon, $2.07 for the preemo sh*t.

No other gas stations in the District are cheaper. Not the Lowest Price by Van Ness. Not the BP on 18th and T.

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May 15, 2004


The escalator is operational, as of May 14 in the afternoon. Let's see the entrants' guesses:

Terrance - June 10
Aaron - May 29
Amanda - May 24
Chris - May 20
Matthew - May 14 in the afternoon.

And the winner, who predicted both the date and time of opening, is Matthew.

You win a drink on me, comrade. Unless you work for WMATA and set this up.

Posted by rj3 at 8:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 14, 2004

You'll photograph anything

Walking back from lunch today, I ran into a huge mass of high school students on a school field trip.

Nothing strange about that.

But as they passed me, one stopped, knelt down, took out his camera, and took a picture of the Department of Labor building, a boring concrete 1960s structure with nothing to define it from any other federal agency building built at the time.

Oh well, in most of this country, a very large ball of twine counts as a tourist attraction.

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I aim to please so you don't shoot to kill

Welcome M.G. and Michael to the DCSOB blogroll!

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May 13, 2004

Real World DC?

Rumors aside, it would be a horrible show. They'd inevitably get stuck at some horrible or unrepresentative internship, where they would goof around or mess things up in ways that would get any other unpaid college student fired. They'd inevitably spend their time falling all over each other at Dream, getting chewed out the next day by their boss when they stagger in, bleary-eyed, at 11 a.m. Of course they'd have a big SUV and of course they'd be able to park it without a 30-minute tour of the neighborhood.

No, it's not that I hate DC interns - I don't, and at one point I was one. I hate Real World. Every Real World after San Francisco, that is.

Posted by rj3 at 3:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Blogrollin', rollin', rollin'

Please direct your attention to the list of websites on your left, as they have been expanded.

Pretending Along is the personal site of C.S., who supposedly posts here. Trust me, he's not as miserable in real life. But then again, he's usually drunk when I see him.

Seeking Irony is the site of frequent commenter N.M. She has occasional access to really good O's tickets. Let's all be nice to N.M.

I've never met the guy behind the Washington Oculus, but I like his work.

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May 12, 2004

It's Offical - Let the Invasion Begin!


A DCSOB exclusive: the first official cicada picture of the year!

And for your dining pleasure, some tasty Cicada dining tips from our friends at the University of Maryland.

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First Starbucks east of the Anacostia!

An occasion for celebration.

Now, if they could only do something about that whole "people getting shot all the time" thing...

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May 11, 2004

Union City Gray

N.M. catches Blondie at the 9:30.

Other titles considered for this post:
- Gum to the Beat
- Heart of Glass, Hip of Molded Plastic
- Sunday Old Lady
- Call Me (on my phone with the big buttons because I can't see too well anymore)
- Dreaming (of 1979)

(Completely unrelated: I checked N.M.'s Site Meter, and I was the 10,000th visitor to her site. Congrats to N.M., and to me!)

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May 10, 2004

Thanks for the information

An eagle-eyed reader of the Washington Oculus says NYT columnist Thomas Friedman's daughter has a nice rack. Good to know.

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Local blogger plug

N.M. of Chevy Chase is doing a new top-10 indie singles thing called "10 on 10" featuring a bunch of bands I like and a bunch of bands I've never heard of.

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Greatest. Sighting Ever.

On Saturday at about 6 p.m., I passed Barbara Bush (wife of H.W., not the lush daughter of W.) and small entourage on the 2100 block of P St. NW, right in front of the Barcelo Hotel.

I didn't have the chance to say anything to her, since I wasn't entirely sure it was her until I saw the Secret Service agent tailing ten feet behind. Besides, what would I say?

"Hello Mrs. Bush. Can you please sign my forearm?"

"Hello Mrs. Bush. It's a shame they don't make ex post facto birth control."

A mess would ensue in either case.

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May 7, 2004

The DCSOB mean nightlife guide

This is how it works: I tell you what to do. You do it. Understand?

Friday: Put on a suit. Rumple it up like you've been working in it all day. Head down to Capitol Lounge. Mingle with the staffers. 50 points to the person who can pull off a successful pick-up line that includes the word "ethanol."

Saturday: Go to the Found reception at Visions' Bar Noir. You know, like Found Magazine, but in book form. Stay for the midnight show, which is Bubba Ho-Tep.

Sunday: Catch Clinic at the Black Cat. They wear surgical masks and drone a bit, but are still awesome. No complaining about having to wake up for work on Monday -- nobody actually gets anything done on Mondays anyway.

This is for your own good, y'see? I can't be on the phone to you each and every one of you every Friday and Saturday night to tell you to turn off Law & Order to go get plastered and meet some people [Eds note - Check the site stats; you could do that fairly easily]. So just trust me, these events will be fun and will significantly reduce your chances of dying alone and not being discovered for weeks until your neighbors complain about the smell.

By increasing the chances you'll die in a crowd.

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May 6, 2004

Signs of spring

- Corporate softball on the Mall

- Dixieland Jazz at the top of Dupont Circle

- Tourists: fewer students, more fat families

- Cicadas coming to kill us all.

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Smartrip on Metrobuses by August! Now I won't have to fish dimes and nickels from my couch to visit Mt. Pleasant!

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Gotta love this town

So I was sitting in a certain bookstore drinking a beer (that should narrow it down) when a drinking companion spotted two young men in suits and cheap-looking cowboy hats near the poetry section, animatedly talking with a third person about something. Something seemed amiss. Could it be Cinco de Mayo related? Naah, they would be wearing sombreros instead. I came up with the dumb idea that they were Mormon missionaries, but that got shot down when one of the suited guys whipped out a bottle of wine.

Noticing the people staring at him, one of the guys came over to talk to us. He was obviously drunk and his hat had a fake brass medallion on it that said "W."

Uh-oh. A beer ago and I could have been nice. No more.

"Oh this," he said. "I just came back from a Bush fundraiser. I was like 10 feet from the President. Our landlord had extra tickets and gave them to us. They gave us these hats."

I felt it coming on -- the horrible, yet self-satified feeling when you think of something so totally inappropriate but funny that, damn the consequences, it has to be said.

"With what they charge to get into those fundraisers, you'd think they'd at least give away brown shirts."

Shït. I can stop myself from saying it for three more minutes tops, then it's coming out whether I want it to or not.

"And the best part is," he said. "We're Democrats!"

Phew! I get to hang on to my front teeth for a little longer.

Posted by rj3 at 11:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 5, 2004

Ye of little faith may just win

Bad news for those of you who bet on an early completion date for the Metro escalator completion pool -- they changed the sign. Originally, it said the escalator would be ready on May 10, then it was updated to May 15. Now it just says May, 2004.

To make matters worse, a WMATA employee greeted commuters at the entry/exit gates with a warm "good morning." Why does that make me think we're really in for it?

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May 4, 2004

It Came From NoVa

Virginia trash take over popular DC hipster joint!

Hair-slicked NoVans fighting in front of Tom Tom over some hoochie should be expected by now, but do they really need to expand out to 14th Street?

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What passes for celebrity in this town

From this morning's WaPo:

"It was the middle of the summer. A lot of people were away," remembered Linda Greenhouse of the day in July 2002 when two mailboxes went missing from the Westmoreland section of Bethesda. "I thought it was a little strange that the Postal Service would wait till the summer and take the boxes out when everybody was away."

Is that Linda Greenhouse this Linda Greenhouse? And shouldn't you tell your interviewer you're one of the best known New York Times reporters? Shouldn't John Kelly have known?

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May 3, 2004

Old people will pay through the nose for anything

Blondie is playing the 9:30 Club a week from today.

The club is charging $40 for the privilege of watching a bunch of middle-aged punks pretend they're 20 again. Considering the success of other geezers on tour (notably the Rolling Stones), one wonders if the next big money maker is hauling caskets on stage to "play" with a backup band full of replacements. Never got a chance to see Hendrix in the 60s? Give us $75 and you'll get a second opportunity.

Posted by rj3 at 12:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

DC Music: Beyond Sousa

You know what's friggin awesome?

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, that's what's friggin awesome. I've been listening to their particular brand of melodramatic long-form punk all weekend and I still can't get it out of my head. What's more, they're from DC.

Click here for some MP3s - scroll down to the bottom for "Where have all the Rude Boys gone?"

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