December 30, 2004

2004: The year in whining, Part I

Once again we find ourselves shopping for bubbly, digging out a years' worth of receipts and feeling guilty that we've only heard about half the CDs listed by the better critics as the years' best. It's Erev New Years' Eve, so now is the time for that always-annoying end-of-year wrap-up post. Here goes:

January: The year started, as most years did, with a wicked hangover and a day of lounging about. DCSOB '04 started out with In and Out predictions, apeing El WaPo's annual tradition. In retrospect, I was more wrong than right -- I still don't have BBC America, we didn't have that warm a year and hats with earflaps never caught on the way Uggs did -- but I did end up getting the flu and seeing the Carlsonics.

The first month of the year was also the coldest, with temperatures seldom topping 20 degrees for weeks on end. If you lived here, you knew that. If you didn't, I wasn't sheepish about complaining endlessly about it. But while the cold kept the town shivering and pining for other, more southerly swamps, the cold snap paved the way for DCSOB's Shining Moment of Outdoor Activity: Curling on the C&O Canal.

Other events: The Wonkette launch and the first signs of her soul-crushing ignorance, Caucusmania, here and elsewhere and liberal leave.

February: I don't remember much about February, perhaps because I drank the tap water. There was some complaining about newspaper ads, forthcoming panda sculptures and The Passion, which spurred this blog's first flame war (I was so proud).

Also, I went to a party in a building called "The Hobbit House" and drank myself silly during or near Valentines' Day. That caused a hangover of biblical proportions and a solemn vow to stay away from vodka. Yep, that one lasted.

March: Blessed is the month that I discovered that a few haikou make for an excellent post when you have absolutely nothing to say.

I discovered Rehnquist panties. You read that right.

Also, Metro conked out in the first of many disasters in 2004, geothermal science in Cleveland Park and guest bloggers, who added their perspective while I was in London, where the trains are even less reliable than they are here but the beer is better and the accents are sexier.

April: I arrived back in D.C. to find a city on the brink: an Adams Morgan crime wave, Air America missing from the D.C. airwaves and Wonkette still unable to spell. The escalator at the J-squeezy closed for repairs, leaving commuters both cynical and thunder-thighed.

Also, some people went to the mall to defend abortion rights or something. I had to work.

In ironic news, Vanilla Ice played a gig at a school for the deaf.

All told, April seems to have been a decent month, with more Reagan jokes than bitter missives on people who piss me off. Then again, it's the last month before the ol' seasonal allergies kick in.

May: I saw Dubya's mom! Seriously!

The south attempted to rise again, but the drunk NoVans made it only as far as the Black Cat. I nearly got my teeth kicked in at Kramers, of all places, but I got extremely lucky and avoided pissing off a couple of drunk Republicans only because they turned out to be Democrats. I need to learn a little diplomacy.

Who can remember May without mentioning Washingtonienne? For about a week, everyone knew someone who knew someone who knew her real identity. She was once the talk of the town and now she's just another ho who can't get a good seat at Sake in Adams Morgan. Oh, how the skanky have fallen.

Oh, and the suburbs were COMPLETELY OVERRUN BY HORRIBLE BUGS. I saw the first of many in Falls Church, and found it necissary to send a cameraphone picture of it for posting on the blog. Three weeks later, I'd be vacuuming them out of my car and trying to keep them off my shoes when I entered my apartment. Nasty, but harmless.

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December 28, 2004

One item the Soviet Safeway will not run out of


Who actually bought this? More importantly, who would buy this on sale for 99 cents if they weren't willing to get it for the full $1.59?

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December 27, 2004

Non-SOB of the week

THE WOMAN AT THE BLACK CAT who wished me a Merry Christmas after taking our table when we left on the night of the 25th after a quick yuletide tipple. The bar was getting increasingly crowded and I expected the usual Black Cat hipster surliness and world-weary nonchalance, but the whole evening was filled with pleases, thank yous and excuse mes from complete strangers trying to get around the bar.

I suppose all the truly nasty people were at home, fighting over Christmas ham and candied yams while bitching about how much they can withdraw from their trust funds this month.

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America, f*ck yeah

I try to start the day well-rested, confident and relatively clean. But sometimes, I strut into work confused after seeing a bizarre article, apropos of nothing, on the cover of the Moonie Times. A recent example is when the paper speculated above the fold on page A1 about who Gov. Ehrlich will pick as a successor, even before his re-election.

Today's head-scraticher is an article about how awesome and dominant America is throughout the world. The accompanying picture, as if you couldn't guess, is of George W. Bush on a television set. How droll.

Question 1: If the Moonies, the WSJ editorial page and the rest of that little cabal spent the entire Clinton Administration boom claiming that the current prosperity was the result of Reagan-era policices, do you think they'll say the same of Clinton when things start to look up during this administration?

Question 2: How do they reconcile using half the article attributing American "soft power" to the media and using the other half attributing it to how religious Americans are while at the same time decrying that same media for corrupting our morals? Is it OK to project freedom and democracy abroad through bad movies because it harms the morals of foreigners, putting us at the top of the productivity/godly pack by default? Is bad television a psychological weapon?

Question 3: Why the everlovin' f*ck is that fluff piece placed in a more prominent spot than the giant tidal wave in the Indian Ocean? Does the worldwide gross of Hulk matter more to the Rev than tens of thousands of deaths? Granted, Moon has presided over larger weddings, but come on now!

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December 26, 2004

Boxing Day Blues

<yuppie bitching>

How on earth can it take 20 minutes to get from the Tyson's Galleria parking lot to the Crate & Barrel across the street? And does Banana Republic sell Anything under $50 anymore, even on sale?

</yuppie bitching>

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December 24, 2004

Chosen... to be bored

I was unemployed a year and a half ago and I was never this bored.

Every day, I would wake up with nothing to do except (lazily) look for work and yet I could somehow find something to do. Even though my friends were at work, I could spend my days walking aimlessly around, blogging, going to movies or otherwise keeping occupied. But today is Christmas Eve, I worked yesterday and I will go back on Monday, yet I'm suffering from levels of boredom seldom reached outside a Greyhound bus rolling down some midwestern highway through wheat fields four hours from its destination.

Maybe it's the bitter cold. Maybe it's the lack of people on the streets. Maybe it's because my furtive excursion outside consisted of going to places that shut down as soon as our little band of bored Jews settled the bill. The one thing I do know is that I shouldn't have returned all my Netflix DVDs earlier this week.

Tomorrow, I will see The Life Aquatic and probably eat too much Chinese food, which will provide a break in the tedium.

Of course, Merry Christmas to all my goyim readers, and may there be iPods under each and every tree. Speaking of trees, I did see one cool thing today: The white feather Christmas tree in the lobby of the Helix Hotel. You can't really tell with the camera phone picture, but it was decorated with little disco balls.


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December 23, 2004

Quote of the timeframe

From Megadork:

"I may still be drunk, I'm not really sure that I can really define the difference between drunk and hungover until the headache sets in."

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Once and for all, no Real World DC!

It's going to Austin and won't be coming here next season or the season after that or the season after that. No political/policy/lobbying organization would ever hire any of the tardy, alcoholic louts they stock the show with these days, and the usual charity organizations that have provided make-work for the cast in the past can be found in other cities where MTV doesn't have to spend as much money on the house or on security.

Besides, does Washington really need more self-involved college-aged kids living it up on someone else's money and crowding the Front Page every night?

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December 22, 2004

An audience with the Pope (of trash)

You may see a lot of hate coming from my direction aimed at a variety of sources: Indymedia twits, baseball potentates, people who slow down cashier lines, Channel 5, Hoobastank, et cetera. But there are things, organizations and people I do like. I got to see two of them perform last night at the 9:30 Club: Mary Prankster and John Waters.

Mary Prankster came on first, dressed in an outfit constructed from a Maryland state flag. Immidiately, I thought of one of my final nights in college, in a house where everything was being taken down or carted off, boxes of books and music covered by cans of beer and cigarette butts carelessly strewn about for the next tenant to clean up.

"You know what I'm gonna miss," said a drunken frat boy from a state with a flag composed of the state's seal on a solid background. "The crazy-ass flag they fly all over the place around here."

Only Mary Prankster can make that Carnaby Street accident look good:

Mary herself also brings me back to my days in Charm City. I first saw her at the old Ottobar and her (now dismembered) band was one of the first modern punk acts I listened to. That being said, things have taken a turn for the, well, mature. I've only seen her once since she spilt with Phil Tang and John E. Cakes because the middle-aged hacks that came in to fill the void didn't do it for me, nor did her turn to country music.

But she came back in full force, bandless and unplugged, but still rocking with the best of them. I fully realize that I wouldn't be as happy with her performance back in college, but I've matured along with Mary: I value my hearing and the ability to understand the words. The only major downer: She didn't play "Art Fag Bastard" or "Breakfast."

Next up was John Waters, fresh off the release of his Christmas album, which is currently #12 on Amazon, proving either that there's a market for the strange or that Little Cindy has a posse.

I really like John Waters, although I always come out of his movies dissapointed. He's a great interview subject, whether on Graham Norton's short-lived show, Letterman or Fresh Air on NPR. He talked about shoplifting, deviant sexual practices, books, primary education, movie directors you've never hears of, what he wants for Christmas and the usual stuff, but in much greater detail (and with much greater humor) than broadcast media allow. He also took questions at the end, most of whom were from people trying to get him to attack celebrities or the Bushes. I had heard much of the schtick on Fresh Air, but it was better without Terry Gross breaking in every 90 seconds with an asinine question. Really, Terry, just let the man speak.

After tonight's stand-up act, I get the feeling that his movies make excellent 30-second stories, but don't flesh out very well. John Waters should do a one-man show one of these days, taking it around the country to scare the squares.

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December 21, 2004

More stunt idiots

Those "community activist" stunt devils are back at it again, pissing off the very people who are in charge of giving them what they want. In the spirit of negotiation and mutual goodwill, these folks are going ape at the Wilson Building over a homeless shelter. One particular moron caught my eye:

"Also, according to a press release Jamie Loughner, Founder of May Day DC, is now standing on a fifth floor ledge of the Wilson Building, and has announced she will begin a hunger strike tonight at midnight if a demand by the coalition is not met for a new homeless shelter to be opened in Northwest D.C. Just an idle threat? We're not so sure: in 2001, Loughner staged a 30 day hunger strike in opposition to the closure of D.C. General Hospital."

What, exactly, is the point of threatening a hunger strike after the same tactic has proven to fail to sway the same group of people on a larger issue? It's not like Jamie is threatening to cut off the food supply to everyone else: activists can starve themselves, make paper mache puppets, chant the same inane slogans over and over again and generally make a spectacle all they want, but nothing will be achieved other than a photo op unless they are willing to come to the table with options and arguments that don't start with "hey hey, ho ho."

Insanity (n):

1. A deranged state of mind leading to actions that may hurt oneself and/or others.

2. Doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result.

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December 20, 2004

No, I'm not mocking your values

The DCSOB Funtime Party Wagon stuck out like a sore thumb in some of the more rural places along the way during the big road trip last weekend. While I love my "Taxation Without Representation" tags (as you might guess), they may be seen as provocation for people who think Washington exists exclusively to take their money and fight their religion.

A Bluegrass State gas station offered a $1.99 inoculation:

Sort of.

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Chew on this

As is usually the case on the first day back after a vacation, I'm working furiously to catch up with everything I missed whilst eating ribs and drinking cheap domestic beer down south. So to keep you busy, here are some "greatest hits":

- It was so cold this morning that my hair froze on the way to work. I suppose that means that it's curling season once again.

- Not too many shopping days until Christmas, so you'd better finish off your list ASAP. Try our gift guide for some local flair.

- I like going on vacation.

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I'm baaaaaaaack

So, what's this I hear about problems with the stadium deal?

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December 19, 2004

Day 4

It's easy to get up early in the morning when you're in a city that doesn't offer much to do at night. Due to this, we were at Graceland by 9:30. Neither of us are huge Elvis freaks, but you can't go to Memphis without visiting it.

Graceland in a nutshell: Everyone has a relative with no taste in interior decor who has left things pretty much as they looked in 1977. Picture what this person would do with unlimited money. Green shag carpet on the floor and the ceiling. Fake fur everywhere. It was an atrocity.

An even greater atrocity was the cost: even with a student ID and a AAA card, it cost over $21 for an hour and a half of mild entertainment. A.G. calculated that the full non-discounted cost of admission came out to about 30 cents per minute, which means you'd spend less money calling Nigeria.

After a plate of mediocre ribs, it was off to Nashville, 200 miles away and far, far more fun.

Just like with Jeff's help figuring out what to do in Little Rock, ex-Tennesean Smith gave us a detailed list of things to do, all of which were absolutely perfect.

Whole Hog BBQ in the West End? It was worth eating outside in a cage.

Ernest Tubbs' record shop? You're reading the blog of a proud owner of Van Lear Rose, due entirely to the fact that I liked the store so much.

Goo Goo Clusters are indeed a delicious treat. They're like a Milky Way hit with a mallet, topped with nuts and coated in chocolate again.

Broadway honky tonks? They had actual locals, not to mention cheap beer and great live music. I always zip past country stations on the radio, but when you're in a smoky bar and it's loud, it makes sense: I too have a belly full of domestic beer and do not know where neither my dog nor my pickup can be found.

Roiter's does indeed serve the best cheeseburger in America.

The Sweetwater is a dive bar of the highest order, and is consequently a lot of fun. Washingtonians: take note that a real "dive" does not have three kinds of IPA and does not charge $2.75 for a can of Schlitz.

Major lesson learned: A.G. and I both owe Smith some drinks. That, and you can get blitzed on cheap booze the night before driving for 11 hours and live to tell the tale.

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December 18, 2004

Day 3

I love Bill Clinton. I consider myself a modern, rational Democrat in his mold, sans the scores of mini-initiatives on things like the V-Chip and school uniforms. He survived over eight years with an antagonistic Congress for six and billionaire crazies throwing millions of dollars to shady private investigators and partisan hatchet men using political jujitsu and a cool, non-defensive demeanor that neither belittled like Donald Rumsfeld nor gave off an aloofness to the world like George W. Bush.

But this museum was just too much for me. It’s on a beautiful campus across a highway from the Rivermarket, at the end of a dead-end railroad bridge. Depending on your (physical) perspective, the building itself looks either like a trailer or a futuristic bridge reaching out across the river. Inside, Clinton gets a Reaganesqe hagiography treatment, some of which is narrated by Mr. Slick himself. It’s a shame that historians didn’t get full run of the place, but in this day and age, the ridiculously positive treatment Clinton essentially gave himself is a defense mechanism. If Reagan smashed communism and made America believe in itself, Bill Clinton can transform the economy, heal racial tensions and play a pitch-perfect sax all while fending off Richard Mellon Scaife, Newt Gingrich and the rest of the mouth-breathers.

If you’re in Little Rock (not likely, I know), plunk down $5 to see the museum. Walk around the “policy alcoves,” watch the orientation movie, read eight years of half-redacted daily schedules, gawk at the expensive gifts Bill and Hill got from world leaders. It’s worth your time – and a critical eye.

Next up was Central High School, site of the 1957 desegregation battle that required the use of the military to enforce the law of the land. The building itself is still an operating school that looks just like it does in historical photos; tourists visit a former gas station across the street, which is a National Park Service visitor center with a small exhibit.

All told, I think we did a fairly good job with Little Rock – any more time and we may have started to get bored. That being said, if you find yourself in Memphis or on your way to points south or west, a day in Little Rock is worth your time and money.

By about 2 p.m., we left for Memphis. It’s about two and a half hours’ distance, but we managed to stretch it out to three and a half by detouring into Mississippi to say we’d visited and getting caught in Memphis’ tangled highway system. Whereas Kentucky’s state-designated parkways were clean, clear and easy to navigate with the map provided at rest stops, Tennessee roads have narrow and tight onramps in the middle of empty fields, lanes that end in the middle of cloverleaf interchanges. The people who planned the construction at the intersection of Interstates 40 and 240 have a special level of hell designed for them to share with those responsible for the 395-495-95 Mixing Bowl, Seven Corners in Falls Church and pedestrian access around Union Station.

Memphis itself is a big, mostly-empty tourist trap. Its downtown streets are plied by three trolley lines stocked with restored old trolley cars that have drivers who stop to chat with cops and other trolley drivers. The downtown destinations, mainly Peabody Place (a mall) and Beale Street (supposedly a blues haven) were nearly empty on a Thursday night. The people who did make it out to the juke joints were all out-of-towners escaping conventions and corporate meetings. The bands, helpfully pumped out into the street from every empty bar, played soul, blues and R&B standards to pasty white folks from New Jersey and Denver.

In search of something exciting, I searched the Memphis Flyer (helpfully identified as an alternative weekly by the photo of John Waters on the cover) for the places that real Memphibians hang out.

Major lesson for the day: When you see addresses on a street and a streetcar going down that street, it is not enough to assume that the line will go down that street all the way to the addresses you’re looking for. The conductor announced the end of the line at an empty and vaguely menacing corner in what he insisted was Midtown, despite being about 10 blocks from the Midtown bars the Flyer listed.

It looked like a set designed for COPS.

Not wanting to stray too far from the train tracks and their guarantee of a safe ride home, we walked up a block toward a neon sign that turned out to belong to a laundry and then turned back to the trolley, which we shared with a passed-out homeless man and two drunks who wanted to sing "Time is on my side" but only knew one line. They addressed the conductor as "ma'am" when "sir" would have been more appropriate and then staggered off to the minor league baseball stadium for some reason.

So Memphis is a bust. They have so "renewed" their downtown that there is very little left for people who want a good time and don’t have to wake up for the 9 a.m. sales meeting.

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December 17, 2004

Day 2

The people I met in Kentucky, while friendly, were a little, well, clueless. I walked out to the official DCSOB Road Trip Mobile Party Lounge to find it completely caked in ice. The lady at the front desk apologized for not having an ice scraper to offer, but pulled out a set of AOL discs from behind the desk and told me that they work well for removing ice from car windows.

For the first time in several years, I thought back to Mr. Berman, my slightly eccentric high school geometry teacher. When a circle meets a straight line and that line does not go through the circle, they meet at exactly one point. That doesn’t make for efficient window scraping.

I eventually got the windows cleared and we high-tailed it out of Kentucky. As it turns out, the state has a wonderful parkway system with four-lane limited-access roads that is more or less invisible to Mapquest. Some more lessons learned after 600 miles of driving:

- There is nothing in Western Kentucky. Few cars or trucks on the road, nothing to look at – just set the cruise control to 80 and pop in some Von Bondies;
- If you think Western Kentucky is empty, check out the bootheel of Missouri;
- The whole concept of stopping to gawk at a strange roadside attraction was once foreign to me, it isn’t any more. Once you’ve been staring at the back of a big rig for two hours while scanning between Christian talk radio stations, it is very easy to go into a fit of joy and excitement upon seeing a sign marking the beginning of the Central Time Zone or a power plant of modest size. A.G. was particularly overstimulated by Missouri’s non-numerical county road designations “Route U? What the f*ck?”
- Products with Jesus’ likeness are available at stores other than Urban Outfitters. This is probably due to the lack of Urban Outfitters location in rural Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas;
- The nations’ most intense political debates are not on Crossfire or the floor of the Senate, they can be found above the urinals in truck-stop bathrooms;

Following about 9 hours of learning lessons, we arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas. Following a short trolley ride, we proceeded to get smashed, as per Jeff’s directions, at the Flying Saucer (where the hot waitress said she would be leaving for L.A. next week, poor thing), Sticky Fingerz (where A.G. and I beat the entire bar in video trivia) and the Midtown Billiards Club (which can stay open past the official 1 a.m. closing time because it charges a nominal fee and has 75 cent PBRs). Eight beers each later, we took a cab back to the hotel and had a deep and technical conversation about barbecue with the cabdriver, who gave us a very good recommendation for lunch the next day.

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December 15, 2004

Day 1, lessons learned

500 miles, Washington, D.C. to Winchester, Ky.

- West Virginia sucks, from end to end;

- Listening to Rashid Taha's Arabic version of "Rock The Casbah" while speeding through mountains in the snow makes for some major cognative dissonance;

- The fact that you can't get beer in gas stations in and around Washington is not a law, it's a crime against humanity;

- Measure once, cut twice, then stop using MapQuest and use an actual paper map instead;

- Did I mention that West Virginia sucks?

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December 14, 2004

SOB of the Week

WEST VIRGINIA may indeed have plenty of “Wild, Wonderful” things for visitors to do, but driving through it shouldn’t be so heavy on the “Wild” part. You can’t blame the state for the snowy weather we encountered or the winding, high-elevation Interstates, which are actually quite amazing feats of construction. What West Virginians can be blamed for, however, is that they have no idea how to drive.

Around me, at least.

In the more mountainous areas, one can’t drive very badly for long – the steep inclines, icy bridges and endless gorges would sort the wheat from the chaff after a few trips to and from the local DQ. My problem is that, while probably quite talented alone on the road, West Virginians do not play well with others. In the middle of a snow squall, while squealing around a switchback at a 5 percent gradient and 1000 feet of rock on either side, THERE IS NO NEED TO RIDE MY ASS when I’m going 75 mph.

Additionally, when the terrain flattens out between Charleston and Huntington, drivers follow the “don’t move until you see the whites of their eyes” maxim when making a turn across two lanes of oncoming traffic. Good for preserving musket-balls, bad for preserving your own. As I am writing this, we’re in the pitch black Kentucky night on the highway, several hours behind schedule and in desperate need of about seven beers apiece. My knuckles are still white from fighting for lane space with trucks held together with duct tape, about two hours behind schedule.

Thanks. I’m never coming back again.

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December 13, 2004

I'm on vacation and you're not

Tomorrow morning, DCSOB is hitting the road for what is shaping up to be one weird-ass road trip. The car has been vacuumed, tire pressure checked, CDs burned, laundry done and fridge emptied of perishables.

But that doesn't mean you won't be getting your daily fix of misdierected rage and... um, other stuff. Road Trip Revolutionary Council Minister of Information (and Smorgasblogger) A.G. has finagled a notebook computer and WiFi card, so we'll be posting from the road, here and on DCFÜD.

The itinerary? We're not telling until we get there. It makes for suspense, you see.

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December 10, 2004

SOB of the week

POLITICAL STUNT IDIOTS ruin my day. Seriously, there is nothing like some large puppets or a screaming idiot at the back of a hearing room or a traffic-snarling banner unfurling by some Indymedia twits to make a legitimate argument seem completely wacky.

This week's case in point: There are legitimate arguments to be made for not selling the Randall School men's shelter to the Corcoran Museum of Art or at least for making a better alternative available to the people who depend on it for housing during the cold winter months. You do this by working with elected officials, presenting your chosen option to administrators and even going through the courts system if you think you have a case. You might lose or not get exactly what you want, but the goal is to get what you can given competing interests and to live to fight another day.

The problem with the tactics employed in yesterday's fiasco is that a real concern has been turned into a sideshow by the activists' tendency to make every dispute into the Alamo. Newsflash: This isn't apartheid or the British Raj, where groups had to appeal to the world community through nonviolence. There are people working in government who you vote for, at least some of whom would be more than interested to hear a reasoned argument in favor of keeping a homeless shelter open or moving it somewhere convenient. The way to reach these people is through email, telephone or polite personal conversation, not screaming like a lunatic out of turn during a meeting or shutting down their building.

That's not how you make friends.

The same thing happened last month with SOB of the Week Adam Eidinger, who turned a story about the economic benefit of stadiums and a hotly-contested City Council battle into a story about a senior citizen fending off an attack from a deranged man with a sign.

The system isn't perfect, but it generally works and it's the one we've got. If you want to win, you've got to be constructive. If you want to make a scene, go right ahead, but please try to choose issues with which I disagree with you.

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December 9, 2004

We're a community, people

Last night at Cricklewood Massive's IPod Jukebox at Saint-Ex was far less crowded than last month, making it easier to move around and get drinks, but quite a bit harder to test out potential songs for Bluestate, although we did advance our cause by papering that whole damn bar with our flyers.

The R.J. playlist:
The Futureheads, "Le Garage"
McLusky, "Random Celebrity Insult Generator"
The Hong Kong, "Mazerati"
Q and not U "Beautiful Beats"

One thing worth noting, however, is that the bar was not just half bloggers, but half bloggers from blogs I know (n.m has the full list, but I should add that it wasn't just Catherine from Unrequited Narcissism, but the whole crew.).

Then it hit me: the only people who read this blog aside from other bloggers are my neighbors Kate and Katie, who are fairly sure that the three of us should star in a reality show called "The Apartment," which would consist mainly of us sitting around in one anothers' apartments watching other reality shows. How meta.

I really need to meet people with no desire to tell the world about their most recent meal, record purchace or romantic dalliance.

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December 8, 2004

Mystery solved

DCist reports that WaPo reports that firefighters report that they may have seen a blue van pulling away from the scene of the Charles County arsons.

Blue van? They came from the airport:

I love it when my deductive powers allow me to be useful to law enforcement.

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WaPo cheese, oh, puh-leeze

Funny how when a newspaper writes about itself, it does so in mind-numbing details that end up making the subject seem so, well, heartwarming? Witness the seven full paragraphs on how everybody had to leave the WaPo offices yesterday in advance of Iraqi President Ghazi "Fozzy Bear" Yawar yesterday.

The best (by which I mean worst):

"There was a burst of excitement when the dog "alerted" on a highly suspicious package under foreign news aide Emily Messner's desk. C-4 explosive, perhaps? No, just a bag of dog food Messner bought to give to a homeless woman to help her feed her pooch."

Of course. The do-gooder. Do you think they would have mentioned it if the dog found Charles Krauthammer had three grams of Neocon Dancing Dust in his desk for when the relentless armchair psychoanalysis of public figures he doesn't like gets tedious?

Therefore, I propose a new rule: If your newspaper gets involved in something that puts it in a newsworthy spotlight, just run the wire story.

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December 7, 2004

Feliz surveydad

The New York Post, which is like the Moonie Times but with better sports coverage, has an article about the worst Christmas songs ever. It cites this Edison Media Research poll that ranks Eric Cartman's version of "O Holy Night" as the worst ever.


Read a little into the Edison blurb and you'll find out why:

"Edison tested more than 600 songs with 30-to-49-year-old women specifically recruited because they loved Christmas music and listened to all-holiday radio every year."

Yes, these are the people who you'll find at the Michael's in Falls Church at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday snapping up felt and sparkles for God-knows-what. These are the people who make their cats (plural, of course) wear fuzzy antlers from Haloween until President's Day. These people watch QVC like I watch CNN.

This isn't America.

To quote Homer Simpson, "That's not even Mexico."

For the record, my favorite Christmas song is from South Park, but it isn't from Cartman -- it's Mr. Garrison's "Merry F*cking Christmas."

(link from Coolfer)

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"Douchebag of Liberty"

Check out this excellent article in the Washington Monthly on Bob Novak, Jon Stewart's least favorite Crossfire host (take that, Tucker, you bowtied dimwit). It explains that, while a tool himself in the larger sense, he's a tool of his sources:

Novak's bipartisan networking helps explain how he survived what was, until recently, arguably his gravest error. In 1997, he relied on Robert Hanssen—later caught for and convicted of spying for the Soviets—as the primary source for a column accusing Attorney General Janet Reno and the Justice Department of covering up campaign finance scandals. Novak later disclosed the identity of his famous source, explaining his decision to do so on the grounds that the circumstance was “obviously extraordinary.” Writing about his relationship with the spy, Novak admitted that it was possible “he was merely using me to undermine Reno.”

Oh, nice.

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Looking for an Orthodox Jewish girl in Baltimore? Somebody could score $2,000 to set you up.

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December 6, 2004

Wax attack

I don't think I have time today to get into too much detail on what went down this weekend: crime, violence, graphic design and computer peripherals all played a role over the topsy-turvy two-day period.

However, I should mention that I spent some time Saturday browsing the racks at Joe's Record Paradise in Rockville. Many people have lamented the lack of a good used music store in D.C., and while Joe's doesn't fit the bill (being in Rockville and all) it's worth a trip to Joe's to stock up on vinyl before the long, cold winter.

Although my trip was ostensibly related to stocking up for bluestate (peep the new logo), I ended up with two records that probably won't make it to the Black Cat - Judas Priest's British Steel and the English Beat's What is Beat. I like records: taking them out of their sleeves, carefully placing them on the turntable, flipping them every few tracks, etc. is so much more interactive than just queuing up an MP3 playlist and forgetting about it.

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Beef on both ends

Online Citypaper columnist Mark Jenkins rolls with the hate DCSOB style this week, laying out the beef with The New Yorker's David Owen for praising New York City for its green tendencies (all while living in Connecticut with three cars) and dissing D.C. for being badly zoned and hard to walk around.

While some people may find New York nearly as forboding, I could search long and hard to find an intersection as anti-pedestrian as Columbus Circle, right outside Union Station. Why here, at this center of non-driving commuter traffic is it so dangerous to get between the station and any intersection street other than the ones directly connected with a crosswalk. Want to get to Louisiana Ave.? Either you swing around the side of the circle through three intersections or you dart through traffic like a roadside newspaper salesman. It might be worth it to make Massachusetts Avenue go underground for thru traffic in front of the station and to erect crosswalks to all the intersecting streets instead of just a few.

So yes, Washington is harder to walk around.

And as for zoning and commercial access -- is there a CVS between Eastern Market and Chinatown?

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December 3, 2004

Ted Leo @ Black Cat

Not much to say about the show that hasn't been said already. All I would add is that I'm really glad that I saw TL/Rx at Baltimore's Ottobar in October at the beginning of their tour with good acoustics and functioning equipment. Nevertheless, a bad Ted Leo show isn't that bad at all.

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December 2, 2004

SOB of the week

THE BROOKLYN CARDLICKER: We all know that record store employees are a little on the strange side -- the movie industry has filled many a seat with films based on the notion that these people are either idiot savants or repressed geniuses. But my experience over the long weekend has made me question whether I should switch entirely to the sterile world of mail order.

So there I was, in the "cool" part of the "cool" borough (the part of town "bracketed" by "quotes"), with my expensive multi-disc purchase, when my credit card wouldn't go through. Swipe again, nothing. Swipe slow, doesn't read. I gave the clerk another card and it doesn't work either. He tries the trick with the plastic bag, and that doesn't work. So now, of nowhere, he says "excuse me" and LICKS the card's magnetic strip.

Holy mother of everything that's even remotely holy!

You don't LICK someone else's credit card without fully explaining what it is you plan to do. If there was some sort of rule on this (i.e. if it worked), the clerk would offer the customer the chance to lick his or her own card.

I was so taken aback that I didn't even say anything.

So this goes out to you, sitting in your Brooklyn record store, listening to ESG B-sides while your English buddy hits on female customers as they browse the racks: You are SOB of the week all the way down here in Washington. Try to keep your tongue to yourself next week.

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Last bluestate post today, fo' real

Bluestate now has its own website!

Bookmark accordingly, homies.

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Bluestate is in the hiz-ouse

With bluestate (and 2005) fast approaching, behind-the-scenes machinations by our talented DJ team look to be leading to some exciting surprises for attendees.

Also exciting are tje mad props we got from the DCeiver, who takes a little time out to write about yours truly's griping on the topic of dead blogs:

"Maybe DCSOB could revive DorkCity's fortunes by publishing a series of needlessly vitriolic indictments!"

This is D.C. - no vitriol is needless around here. In fact, the city powers its street lights with vitriol captured during special order speeches and a modified Tesla coil.

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December 1, 2004

Bread and circuses

Yesterday was the day when all hope of stopping the stadium boondoggle ended.

In the end, it was inevitable. Mayor Willams & Co. didn't do something super-stupid yesterday -- other rotting mid-sized cities from Cleveland to neighboring Baltimore have done the same thing, to similar minimal effect. So from now on, I promise to stop writing about how bad a deal the new stadium is. This promise elapses, of course, as soon as I can start complaining about how ugly the proposed stadium will be.

In unrelated news, I'm really happy with DCFÜD. Check out the orzo action, get your tea-hate on and spend $240 plus tip on good Italian food with bad service. I have seen the future of blogging, and it has an umlaut.

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