July 30, 2004

The SOB meets the Massholes

I'm on vacation in Boston until Monday. When I get back, there will be convention-related pictures (no, I couldn't get inside and no, I'm not here to protest anything).

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July 27, 2004

Ahem...

Announcing:

The title of "DC's Biggest Prick" has passed to a newcomer.

My company is promoting me and relocating me to DC; I arrive on Tuesday (TOMORROW) and stay in a hotel until the end of the month. I don't know a soul, need to find an apartment, and need LOTS of help getting situated (unpacking, shopping, meeting people, getting to know DC, etc.), working from 8am-8pm all the while! I'm being given a very generous $5000 relocation allowance for miscellaneous expenses (in addition to having all my hotels/airfare/moving service paid for).

I'm only 24, I don't have a wife and kids, so it's not like I have that many
other miscellaneous expenses... SO, I am willing to pay most of this $5000 (or
all, depending on how much you'd be willing to do) to a fun assistant who
doesn't have many commitments to help me find the ideal apartment, unpack my

boxes and organize my closet while I'm at work and show me aound in the
evenings. Perhaps you could also introduce me to all your single girlfriends (maybe you're a sorority girl?), help me figure out what bars/clubs I like, etc.? Basically, I want my transition to be totally seamless... even less hassles than going on a vacation, and maybe even more fun than going on vacation!?

And there's more. Go back to Cambridge, scum.

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Our useless media

I'm the last person to tune out campaign news.

If the networks can rely on anyone to watch the convention, read the newspapers and generally follow every peak and trough of the campaign, it's me -- I've been doing it since 2002.

But it's getting hard.

Last night, Bill Clinton gave a concise 25-minute speech comparing, point by point, the differences between Democrats and Republicans. Serious charges were leveled, amazing speechwriting skills were displayed.

What was on Fox 5 this morning? The local reporter at the convention asking Rep. Moran what he thinks of the photos of John Kerry wearing a silly-looking blue suit in a place they won't let you in to if you don't have a a silly-looking blue suit. I flip the channels, and what is CNN talking about? How the candidate's wife, who is not running for any elective office and holds no formal power, used a mild insult to indicate to a right-wing blowhard editorial page gnome that she didn't want to talk to him.

I know it's hard to find topics to fill 24-hour news schedules between major events, so until now, I've found it hard to complain when newspapers and cable networks go into detail about the candidates' choice of bicycles or food or whatever else.

But this is the bigtime, and the news bigshots are still playing Queer Eye with a clean room suit.

If it wasn't for Jon Stewart, I wouldn't be sure if TV matters any more.

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July 26, 2004

"Strength and wisdom are not oppossing values"

Ooooh, BOO-YA!

Bill Clinton, you are still the best speaker in the Democratic Party, bar none. That Edwards guy has absolutely nothing on you.

This guy was President for the length of my growth from a nieve preeteen to a politically mature person. I've been trained like one of Pavlov's dogs -- There's only one Fleetwood Mac song I can tolerate, and it's the one that usually precedes one of this guy's speeches.

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Cue the tumbleweeds

Congress is in recess.

All the Democrats are in Boston.

Even DCSOBlogger A.G. has skipped off to Europe with an uncertain return date.

What is a boy to do? 9:30 and the Black Cat are running crummy shows, and the movies will be lame until Manchurian Candidate comes out this weekend.

Luckilly, it's restaurant week for those of you who can plop down $20 (as opposed to the usual $40) on a meal.

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July 23, 2004

Expos and outings and income, oh my!

Why does all the interesting stuff take place on a Friday, when I don't have the motivation to write about it? Here's a sample:

Expos told to get ready to move to D.C.: Will the Senators (Version 3.0) be the new "famous for D.C." crowd while they're new and exotic? How will Stephanopolous react?

Big mass-outing of staffers for FMA proponents: In Florida, no less!

D.C. is one of America's most unequal cities: And not just in the gap between revenues and expendetures, either. Experts say this is due to the large number of rich people who live within the city limits instead of in the 'burbs. I suppose that's a good thing for municipal finances, even if it makes the stats look bad.

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No card for you!

By now, you've heard that WMATA has run out of SmartTrip cards and will have to hire parking lot attendants to accept regular Farecards until more cards can be printed up. It's a mess, sure. But worse things could happen.

They could run out of menacing homeless people on the buses.

Or perhaps there could be a shortage of tourists enforcing the "no walking or running on escalators" rule by using their big I-drive-everywhere asses to block the left sides of escalators.

Or, God forbid, they could run out of blank tickets to issue citations to 12-year-olds who bring a bag of chips on the train.

Yeah, it could be worse,

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July 22, 2004

SOB Of The Week

PANTS AROUND ANKLES MAN: Monday morning, as I sat in my usual bathroom stall doing what I usually do around that time of day, I hear the bathroom door open and man walk in. Nothing strange about that. I hear a zipper unzip. Once again, I'm in a bathroom - it's par for the course. I finish up, walk to the sink and catch a glance at the man in the sink mirror. This guy, who looks to be in his 50s, is standing facing the urinal with his pants around his ankles. Seriously, just so I'm absolutely clear about this, this guy dropped drawers at the urinal, happily doing his business with his saggy tighty whities and hairy legs exposed for all to see. WTF?

I know that there are random social rules and methods people never learn until later in life. I, for one, am very awkward when doing the sly underhand folded-bill tip to valets, barbers and other service professionals who aren't in the food- or drink-service industry. But I'm getting better and I know it's a problem. But this guy is way, way, beyond me on the social wierdness scale. He has lived more than twice as long as I have, yet nobody ever told him that YOU DON'T PULL YOUR PANTS DOWN IN A PLACE WHERE SOMEONE IS LIKELY TO SEE YOU UNLESS YOU'RE A STRIPPER OR ON AN ACID TRIP. Have a problem with the zipper? Drop trou in a stall.

A caveat: it's not like I'm scarred for life, and I wasn't even offended by his behavior in the moral sense (I don't really know how that could be the case), but I am pretty pissed off that he's so clueless about bathroom etiquette. Therefore, Pants Around Ankles Man, you earn the SOB of the week award. Just be sure to rinse off the trophy if you put it down on the bathroom floor.

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July 21, 2004

There's always one

The above photo is of President Bush reviewing his all-white country club campaign headquarters in Arlington. Along the reviewing line, you'll notice that one guy has a bowtie.

...like Tucker Carlson

...and Anthony Williams

...and the late Sen. Paul Simon.

At some time in their lives, these people decided that the taunts and jibes would be worth it if they could be reliably recognized as "the guy in the bowtie."

It's not something you're born with and it's not something you learn at a particular school; it's a personal decision.

Part of me wonders whether being the only guy with a bowtie provides Bowtie People with a career boost from the instant recognizability.

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Putting the PIN in Pinochet

The Post has an obit for Riggs Bank, soon to be swallowed by PNC Bank, a Pennsylvania powerhouse.

You play with Republican-coddled dictators, you get burned.

Radiohead sums it up:

You do it to yourself, you do
And that's what really hurts
Is that you do it to yourself
Just you and no-one else
You do it to yourself

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July 19, 2004

The government is trying to steal my mojo, baby

You can't make this stuff up:


Sapped by a conspiracy?

How heartening it was to read Vaughn Robison's letter (Readers' Forum, July 12), tying together the problems of fluoridation, mental sedation and the two-party conspiracy.

Finally, someone who knows what I know.

My parents, having fallen victim to this conspiracy early on, subjected me to recurrent applications of fluoride gel as a child.

I first became aware of the effects of these treatments during the physical act of voting. A profound sense of fatigue, a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily, I was able to interpret these feelings correctly: loss of essence.

Wake up, voters! Stock your homes with distilled water and burn your voter registration cards! We can no longer sit back and allow the two-party conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Robert Hammer
Salt Lake City

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Back in my day, you didn't have to pay for Napster

And you still don't, if you go to GW:


Through a deal worked out with the online music library Napster, students living in campus residence halls will be able to access hundreds of thousands of songs over the university's high-speed network, effectively allowing them to use their personal computers as electronic jukeboxes.

University officials would not say how much it will cost to provide Napster subscriptions to all 7,100 on-campus students, but said the program's first trial year will be underwritten by a gift from a donor who wished to remain anonymous.


There has to be a catch here. Donors don't buy 7,100 Napster subscriptions (which cost $9.95 normally) without some sort of caveat, just as they don't donate money to build new academic buildings without getting their name next to or above the main entrance. I can imagine a GW party with mixed CD interrupted as each song started by a nasal old man saying, "this free music is brought to you through the generosity of Frank J. Himmelfarb."

Jeez, what's next for those hotel-residing, bar-ruining, cellphone-yapping, Delta Shuttle-taking, Napster-using coddled bastards?

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July 16, 2004

SOB of the week

THE LADY AT CHIPOTLE in Bethesda yesterday who ordered two burritos, wanted guacamole on both, but didn't want to pay for two orders of guacamole. She spent five minutes explaining to the burrito assembler, then the cashier, then the manager, why she shouldn't be charged for two guacamoles because the one dollop of guac was split between two burritos.

You are a cheap, anal, petty, niggling wretch of a woman who shouldn't be allowed to purchase any food not already pre-wrapped and sealed.

You're also DCSOB SOB of the week. Congrats.

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July 15, 2004

Bad bank! You've been a very, very bad bank!


I used to have a checking account at the Riggs Bank in Adams Morgan. It was near my apartment and looked like a place where people with money went to deposit it, even if I only went inside to drop the $25 I got after taxes on tips as a waiter every two weeks. They're a local DC favorite and have branches all over town.

Well, it seems that some very nasty people also bank at Riggs, including a few dictators:

"Riggs Bank courted business from former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and helped him hide millions of dollars in assets from international prosecutors while he was under house arrest in Britain, according to a report by Senate investigators."

[snip]

"In May the bank agreed to pay $25 million in civil penalties for what federal regulators called "willful, systemic" violation of anti-money-laundering laws in its dealings with the embassies of Saudi Arabia and Equatorial Guinea. Several other federal investigations continue into the bank's activities, and Riggs has hired investment bankers to explore a sale of the company."

Pinochet - right wing favorite, installed in '73 with Kissenger's help.

Equatorial Guinea's president, Teodoro Obiang, pockets billions of dollars worth of oil revenue while his tiny nation remains mired in poverty. The Bush administration reopened the U.S. Embassy in E.G. after Obiang threatened to kill our ambassador in '96.

As for Saudi Arabia, well, you know the story about most of the 9/11 hijackers and money came from there, but we decided to invade Iraq instead, etc..

Three dictators, all of whom are in power mainly by the will of Republicans, use Riggs to launder their ill-gotten gains. I guess now that Lincoln Savings & Loan is out of business, the GOP has a new bank of choice.

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July 14, 2004

They may be moonies, but they speed like everyone else

The Moonie Times provides a handy-dandy list of D.C.'s most revenue-riffic speed cameras.

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July 13, 2004

Metro Noose?

necktie.jpg

As seen on the Red Line home last night. Someone just couldn't take it anymore and tied their necktie to the ceiling bar -- and then clearly left the train.

Think this qualifies as a 'unattended package' I should have warned the conductor about?

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July 10, 2004

Random diner parking lot photo

A band member or just a fan?

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Rate me, my friend

From my new favorite webzine, The Black Table, the city and the season gets a letter grade:


SUMMERING IN D.C.: Perhaps you've said to yourself, while in the fading twilight of your 20s and seeking a sad professional degree of last resort (read: law school), surely it can't be THAT awful to work in our nation's capital for a mere summer. A spot of advice: Think again. While staggering humidity, a beer-guzzling fraternity culture and a wholesale lack of style might seem cheerfully surmountable obstacles in the full flush of youth, the playground of Banana Republic-clad Senate aides fast loses its charm at the dawn of one's crotchety, asthmatic 30s. Sure, the city can boast air-conditioned subway platforms and ... actually that's about all. In fact, not since the days of Mussolini has a train system been so emblematic of cultural achievement. Serves me right for not having gone to medical school, I suppose. D+ -- Rachel N.

Oh, I wouldn't go that far. The air conditioning isn't that great unless you're directly under the vents, and the two-car trains and higher fares may leave us looking for a different pinnacle of cultural achievement. I nominate the collected work of this guy.

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July 9, 2004

The Road Warrior

This was my challenge, and I chose to accept it. Yesterday, rush hour. From my office in the Judiciary Square/Capitol Hill area to the VW Dealer on Butler Road (off River Rd.) in western Bethesda. The ultimate cross-town run.

But how to get there?

The first instinct and the Mapquest instructions said to take Massachusetts to Wisconsin to River. The route minimizes distance and the number different streets taken. Given that Mapquest said it would take 28 minutes, a rush-hour drive up Mass. could end up taking closer to an hour, given need to snake around Mt. Vernon Sq. and wind through traffic circle after traffic circle.

It just wouldn't do.

I had a better idea. To avoid the Massachusetts crawl, avoid it alltogether. But not by sitting on K Street or doing something rash like taking First street to Florida to Connecticut to Calvert - but by going the wrong way.

Would it be faster to cut across the mall, go down Independence Av. to Rock Creek Parkway to Massachusetts above Dupont to Wisconsin to River? Sure, it's longer, but there are fewer lights, no traffic circles and it avoided the Bermuda Golden Triangle of Driving Doom altogether. It was worth a shot.

At first, it didn't go as well as I thought it would. Five minutes into the journey, and I still hadn't crossed into Southwest. Ten, and I got stuck at a nasty merge by the WWII Memorial. But I kept the faith, and I arrived at my destination in 35 minutes, on time and cool as a cucumber to boot.

It's adventures like these that make driving around here worthwhile.

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July 8, 2004

Ennui? Not moi!

So it's getting late in the workday (my workday at least) and I'm starting to worry about going the whole day without posting. It makes me feel like a derelict. I'll be out of town this weekend, so I can't really plug any particular event, as I haven't been looking for something to do. So I'll just leave you with a statement to mull over in the comments:

Yuppies are really annoying, especially when they hold parties and invite all their little yuppie friends.

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July 7, 2004

Riding the 30s

...Makes me want to drink 40s.

Washington Oculus (who I'm seriouly considering just calling "Doc Oc" from now on) gives the rundown on the least-loved lines on the least-loved mode of transportation in D.C.- the 30-series buses that troll up and down Wisconsin Avenue.

My usual bus, the 42, has the positive traits of running a route that goes nearly everywhere I'd want to go, running frequently and not bunching up, but nevertheless pisses me off whenever I take it due to the extent of the crowding and odor/mental health of my fellow riders.

The 98 is less crowded and cheaper, but comes along as often as a double-parker in Adams Morgan who has the courtesy to at least put on his hazards while blocking the street.

Although I've only rode it two or three times, the S-series of 16th Street seems pretty good, all bendy and well-lit and whatnot.

Also, I'm pretty sure there's a 90-series bus that runs from Ellington Bridge to Eastern Market. Adams Morgan to U Street to the Hill? They should market that bus as the Bar Crawl Express (or local, as the case may be).

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July 6, 2004

Let us be the last to tell you

Look forward to four months of this in Capitol Hill windows and on Rockville bumper stickers, Dupont Circle messenger bags and Leesburg effigies:

I dunno - I think the logo looks better-suited for a small-town drug store or ice cream parlor then a presidential campaign.

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The Safe Streets

Purely to piss off the guy from Why.I.Hate.DC, I'm sure, Washington is reporting a 25 percent decrese in homicides year to date, and seems on track to hit the lowest murder rate in 20 years if the trend continues. Don't you feel safer already...at least, that is, if you aren't a juvenile caught in the cross-fire.

More from The Washington Post.

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Wasted labor

Did anyone else notice the hordes of college students in DNC t-shirts registering voters on busy D.C. streets yesterday?

Given the fact that our three electoral votes would go to a dead rat (or Vermin Supreme, for that matter) should the Democratic Party nominate it, it seems like those enthusiastic volunteers would be better-utilized going somewhere competitive.

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July 4, 2004

Mid-weekend social update

Although it's raining cats, dogs, donkeys and elephants at the moment, the DC social scene (more specifically, my DC social scene) is in high gear. A sampling of what's going on:

Friday: 9p.m. and the Black Cat is full of cigarette-puffing underagers waiting nervously in the bar for a hardcore show backstage as the regulars try their best to ignore them. I have a New Yorker in tow who I'm trying to keep entertained. Down the drink, time to make like a tree.

Two hours later, watching the couples and groups walk in drips and drabs east on U Street from the Chi-Cha lounge, everybody wants to pay the bill with twenties -- this happens every time. Here's a hint: ask the cost of a bottle of sangria before you down three of 'em. Good stuff, expensive, but not as good as the stuff you can make at home.

Later on, we're on a stoop at M and 19th. You know the evening has taken a turn for the worse when the sun's down and you're in the Golden Triangle. The New Yorker, we'll call her "Nia," wants to say hi to someone she believes is in the Mad Hatter. But today is the big bar crawl. B&T and Interns as far as the eye can see. The bouncer won't negociate and Nia can't go in with me since I don't have the required wristband or mental deficiency required to give $20 to the buzzcutted bouncer wants to duck in for 10 minutes.

It's 1:30 a.m. and our party has somehow expanded to six very drunk people, who settle down randomly at the Townhouse Tavern next door to Cobalt. I've never been before, but it has the two things I look for in a bar these days -- a patio and a liqour license.

Saturday: Hungover? Sure, but there are out-of-towners to entertain. Off to Baltimore. Crabcakes and Natty Boh at Faidley's, snorting mildew and picking up some free Trillin, Galbraith and Updike at the Book Thing, posing for pictures outside the pier used to film Homicide, checking out the tall ships in the Inner Harbor.

Thoroughly exhausted and satiated, drinking begins anew. Listening to other people discuss their sexual perversions on the roof deck at Local 16. Four G&Ts and I'm ready to go home.

Is it possible I can do another night of this before going back to work on Tuesday?

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July 2, 2004

"A new day, another morning after"

Remember how I wrote yesterday that I couldn't see the Streets/Dizzee Rascal show and that I'd have to settle for Ted Leo at Fort Reno?

Well, that didn't happen.

Nobody wanted to go to Fort Reno, so I ended up buying a scalped ticket to the 9:30 show and going with N.M. In retrospect, as I one again work to scrub off that damn handstamp and recover my hearing, I believe I made the right choice.

First of all, Dizzee Rascal, the opener, speaks some language other than English when rapping, because it's not anything I've ever heard. This is strange, because when he freestyles a capella, I catch every word. In any case, he slowly got the crowd moving and served as an above-average opener, proving the Mary Prankster Theory of Bad Opening Acts Stealing Your Glory is not true. Heck, the one person at the club who was having the most fun watching Dizzee was Mike Skinner of the Streets, who spent the whole set head-bopping and skittering around the balcony over the stage.

At this point it is worth noting that N.M. left me in the middle of the crowd to take pictures closer to the stage. I couldn't press forward during the set break to meet up again, so I spent about 95 percent of the show standing alone in the crowd, like some sort of creep.

That being said, I very much enjoyed the main act, although N.M. later said she didn't like it. It's an acquired taste - Skinner doesn't so much rap as he speaks with the tacit acknowledgement that there's a beat behind him. This makes for some interesting rhyme structure, which compliments the narrative style of his songs, something almost completely gone from American rap.

Skinner raps about getting drunk, being whipped (relationship-wise, not with an actual whip, you perv), seeing a hottie on a fast-food restaurant line, owing money to a drug dealer or just being young, bored and unemployed. The stage act reflected this celebration of the mundane. Set up on the front of the drum kit were two liqour dispensers: one for vodka and another for brandy. During "Too Much Brandy," perhaps the most realistic account of a night of getting pissed ever recorded (how he remembered all the details, I'll never know), he handed out shots to the audience.

When passed up to him by an audience member, Skinner put on a Burger King crown, mentioning he once worked there. Perhaps a little cheesy, but it endeared him to the audience.

streets.jpg
Mike Skinner displays his royalist tendencies.

Despite the free brandy, energetic performance and bouncing audience, there were some flaws worth mentioning. While fine for someone who has the album, I can understand how someone not too familiar with the songs could be put off by Skinner's mumbling. He needs to ann-un-ci-ate.

Also, it may fly in the U.K., but Skinner's on-stage partner's "F.B.I.- Female Body Inspector" shirt belongs in the trailer park, not on the stage.

And those smooth R&B interludes did get to be a little bit much.

But in general, it was a good show, even if it did end with Skinner crowd-surfing overhead, covering me in his sweat.

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July 1, 2004

"Rat Poem"

Reprinted from Craigslist DC without comment (or permission, for that matter):

I did not hear the trap, dear rat
I did not hear it close
But when I woke the other morn
It had clapsed you on your nose.

I do not feel guilt, dear rat
Nor do I feel shame
I will not write your family
I did not seek your name.

It's not your fault you had to die
My roommate - such a slouch
He leaves his dishes in the sink
His crumbs surround my couch

I've never lived with such a pest
(meaning you and he)
If I could afford the rent alone
You certainly still would be.

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Indierockandbritishrapapalooza is cancelled

The plan for tonight was for a crosstown music extravaganza.

Getting an early start (and possibly some Rocklands BBQ on the way), I would go see Ted Leo at Ft. Reno, enjoying the last rays of sun on a warm summer day.

Then, back in the car for the trip halfway across town (well, halfway across NW) for Dizzee Rascal and The Streets at the 9:30 Club. For those who don't know, both of these acts are British rappers, the latter of which recorded Original Pirate Material, the official summer album of a certain then-unemployed D.C. blogger (good stuff -- learned a whole new set of slang phrases as well).

But then the signs of trouble came. First, the plug on WHFS. Then the one-page color spread in Express. Finally, N.M. told me the show was sold out.

Dang.

Bollocks.

It looks like it's just Ted Leo tonight.

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Dark side of the Moon

Moonie paper defends Moon's little "coronation" bit by quoting Moonies. Attempting to make this bizzarre event seem normal results in the most confusing article ever.

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