June 30, 2005

Return to the 'Cat

july 9 web.jpg

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Nats Hats - Rats!

In general, I've been positively surprised by the Nationals. After a few months in town, they're a winning team that seems to have the support of a good number of residents, as shown by the proliferation of Nats hats and shirts around town. However, the Times points out a quandary I've faced personally:

"As if the feud over ownership is not enough, the Nationals appear to have created a sartorial quandary for some. Certain Democrats, it seems, feel queasy about wearing the team's signature "W" caps, which evoke a certain former part-owner of the Texas Rangers.

Not to mention that the caps the team wears at home games are red - as in red state.

"I like the blue 'D.C.' logo better," Mr. Carville said, though he insisted his objection had more to do with style than with politics."

It's true - I don't want a big "W" on my head, and neither do all the Washingtonians who went out of their way to get the "DC" spring training hats, which are harder to find.

The solution: we should be allowed to vote. At every game, Nats fans should get a ballot on which they can tell the team whether they want the nickname of a man who pulled 9 percent in the team's hometown, or something a little less politically-charged.

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June 28, 2005

So R.J., how was your vacation?

What I've learned:
D.C.South Florida
williams.jpg vice.jpg
Drunk food:Jumbo SliceEmpenadas
Anachronistic cause:Taxation without representationAnti-Communism
Drivers:Can't drive in snowCan't drive in anything
Voting:Can't (de jure)Can't (matter of ability)
Flashed at parties by a**holes:White House/Hill ID BadgeVersace
Display of money:Hiring Bob LivingstonRenting a Maserati
Mechanical metaphor:The revolving doorThe Miami Sound Machine
Advantage: DC.
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June 27, 2005

Consumer Alert

I just got back from Smash Records on M Street in Georgetown, where the New Arrivals bins are stocked with a surprising number of old go-go and hip-hop records, including Rare Essence, Chuck Brown, E.U., not one but two Curtis Blow records and an assortment of Sugarhill Gang releases from the early 80s. I bought a go-go comp, The Jam's "Town Called Malice" single and The Harder They Come featuring Jimmy Cliff et al. I could have spent far more on records from those bins, but I just came back from vacation and have been feeling a bit light in the wallet of late.

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June 26, 2005

Rare non-sarcastic praise from DCSOB

Hooray, hooray, a thousand praises for the new Giant in Columbia Heights!

I don't think I'm unique in my appreciation of a good supermarket, since most people spend time in one at least once a week and the options available therein color the week's eating experience. The quality of local supermarkets has been a thorn In my side for quite some time, with the perpetually disappointing and dingy Soviet Safeway and the expensive Whole Foods my main sources of sustenance when I don't have business in the suburbs that makes shopping at places like Trader Joe's and Wegmans an option.

Why can't a nice, mixed-class urban neighborhood like Columbia Heights have a supermarket at least as nice as the ones you find in Montgomery or Fairfax County, instead relying on decades-old filthy stores with rancid meat, rotten produce and a limited selection of specialty goods?

That being said, I stopped by the Giant yesterday and came back with $90 in groceries (about double my usual weekly total) -- The food was cheap—I just got a lot of cool stuff I can’t easily get elsewhere in the neighborhood, like Guarana soda, Jamaican beef patties in bulk, pre-prepared individually-packaged flan and frozen Paneer. The variety in their International aisles (note "aisles" and not "half an aisle with some gefilte fish and canned Goya products") is amazing. It's a boon for all segments of the changing Columbia Heights community, but has needless to say drawn the ire of local activists, who need a break calling each other racists to get some fresh air and stage a protest. More on that later.

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June 22, 2005

On the road again

Florida is rubbing off on me in scary ways. Just yesterday, while making lasagna, I found myself doing this:

choose life small.jpg

I'd better get out of here before I lose the skills required to vote for my chosen candidate! The drive will take about 18 hours, bringing me back to DC sometime tomorrow night.

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June 21, 2005


Bluestate tonight. Saint-Ex. Be there, even though I won't.

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June 20, 2005

Site problems update

As you can tell, I can now make new posts, but the template may be a little messed up on some browsers and comments may or may not work. If you are having any specific problems, email me at biatchsetmeup [at] gmail [dot] com.

Also, I'll be back in DC by the end of the week.

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Premium Malt Lawmaking

While I was off in Key Biscayne getting savagely attacked by hundreds of giant mosquitos, DCist notes that U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer has struck down Adrian Fenty's incredibly stupid law banning the sale of 40s in his district, citing procedural problems with hearings and public notice. I would have liked some chiding from Collyer about how dumb the law is on its merits, but that would be unjudgely.

The big question now is how the new council members will vote on any future attempts by Fenty to advance this penny-ante social control. I suppose this will have more to do with whether Barry et. al. want to help with the Bald Mullah's mayoral campaign and less to do with how much they like the cool, refreshing taste of Olde English 800.

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June 17, 2005

I hope I don't leave here the same way he did


This is the house where Elian Gonzalez stayed when he lived with his family of overemotional anti-communists before Janet Reno sent him back into the warm embrace of Fidel Castro. It's in a lower-middle part of Little Havana (a.k.a. the City of Miami) and has been turned into a museum, supposedly open on Sundays, but closed on the Sunday I visited. As you can tell, it is covered with propaganda and religious items. This isn't the sort of place you'd like to live next to, even if it isn't a museum.

Let's start with Marisleysis Gonzalez's constant crying jags at all hours.

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Still not fixed

I've been having problems posting for the last few days, and while I am now able to make new entries, individual archive pages and trackback are both still a little screwy.

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June 16, 2005


Riding Miami's pathetic Metromover downtown circulator system, I heard a familiar voice -- it was coming from the PA. Next time you're down here, take the 'Mover for a stop, and tell me that the automated voice on the Omni Outer Loop line isn't a dead ringer for M.G..

(Suggestion does not apply to those who do not know what she sounds like.)

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June 15, 2005

Enjoying the heatwave?

I am.

Meanwhile, read a Third Rail post on the sorry state of Miami's transportation network. I've seen at least three grizzly accidents since I've been here, and I'm not even commuting.

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June 14, 2005

Miami Beach update

No, I don't like the vacant, inconsiderate people that fill the streets. I don't understand how so many new condos can be going up while the completed ones still look mostly empty. I don't think any mixed drink should cost $10 or more unless it comes in a bucket or something the size of a bucket.

I couldn't move down here -- I'm too high-strung.

But man, there is nothing better than noticing how hot it is outside and then going east three blocks to jump in the ocean.

UPDATE: MT is being all fussy and webmaster A.G. is being all in Asia. I'm working on it.

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June 13, 2005

Soundsystem v. Soundsystem

One of the things that gave me the slightest pause about leaving D.C. to go to Miami (probably the only thing) was the LCD Soundsystem/M.I.A. show at the 9:30 Club. Michael reports that while M.I.A. was the hotness as expected, James Murphy and crew had some rather annoying technical problems.

I think it may be bad luck to name my future band "R.J. and the Non-Broken Guitar Strings."

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One recount short of Bluestate

Braving the last winds of the tropical storm on Friday night, we left the beach and went to Revolver at Pawn Shop, a club in Midtown Miami that features large parts of a school bus and an airplane fuselage used as bottle service areas. Although the crowd was composed of the usual indie crowd one would see at the Black Cat, this being Miami, there was a crew of hipster door people and hipster bouncers making people wait behind a hipster rope before letting them in.

The music was purely Bluesate: something old, something new -- you know the routine. My friends were starting to get bored of explaining that I played this or that song.

Well, that's what they get for asking what we spin the night before. I would estimate that we have played about 90 percent of the songs I heard on Friday at some point. The other 10 percent are now on my list for next month.

So no, it's not all Burberry, Bling, Bentleys and bad house music and rap down here.

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June 12, 2005

Meanwhile, elsewhere on Smorgasblog

I write about exurban supermarkets on DCFü'd.

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June 10, 2005

Live from America's wang

Greetings from Miami Beach, where the glamour and excitement of the East Coast's premier warm-weather habitat for migratory celebrities is a little less glamourous because of this:


The rain is coming down hard, the wind is whipping the street signs hither and yon and J.Lo is at the supermarket in an orange poncho stocking up on milk and bread (well, not really). To tell the truth, I really was fooled by the rocks that she's got.

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June 9, 2005

Treat yourself - you deserve it

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June 8, 2005

Dear Apostrophe Waitress

From today's FentyMail:

"In order to execute the grass-roots peoples campaign we intend to run, we have no choice but to start early," said Fenty. "We will travel across the entire city, visit every neighborhood, and continue to hear what people want from their next Mayor."

"Peoples campaign"?

Does Team Virtue & Vice want to bring back the old Peoples Drug?

(Photo from this photostream)

Before Fenty can become mayor, he needs to get two things: a clue and a copy editor.

And FYI, no, I am not looking for any excuse to criticize Fenty and his campaign. Ask N.M. about how much we collectively care about improper apostrophe use.

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June 7, 2005

The Situation Room: Pretty vacant

CNN is finally putting Inside Politics and Crossfire out of their misery, replacing the mid-afternoon lineup with The Situation Room, a DC based show hosted by the monotone Wolf Blitzer.

Hat: Check
Cattle: None

"There will be no better place to monitor developments than in The Situation Room, whose studio has been expressly designed to incorporate traditional reporting methods with the most innovative online resources, such as blogs, Web sites and podcasts.

"The program will gather dozens of experts, analysts and opinion leaders, establishing a CNN Security Council with expertise spanning topics from personal security to the economy to the war on terrorism. Regular contributors will include former Crossfire hosts Paul Begala, James Carville and Robert Novak; political analysts Victoria Clarke, Jeff Greenfield, Bill Schneider and Carlos Watson; security analysts such as former Defense Secretary William Cohen, Richard Falkenrath, a former terrorism advisor to President George W. Bush, Clark Kent Ervin, former inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, and John McLaughlin, former acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency; and military analysts Gen. David Grange and Gen. Don Shephard.

"In addition, Jack Cafferty will move from CNNs morning newscast American Morning to offer commentary and insights on the days events; Ali Velshi, host of CNNs small business show The Turnaround, will contribute regular business updates; and Zain Verjee, co-anchor of CNNs international news report Your World Today, will report on international news developments. CNNs groundbreaking Internet reporters Abbi Tatton and Jacki Schechner will cover the blogosphere, reporting on who is saying what and what information can be trusted."

I can safely say that there is absolutely nothing on this show that is the least bit new, save the studio and the hokey "CNN Security Council" gimmick. The talking heads are the same old talking-point spouters, the reporters are just shifted-around CNN geezers and the most groundbreaking segment involves reading off a screen.

Been there (here now?) done that, seen it mocked by Jon Stewart.

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June 6, 2005

Quote of the Year

From Jessica Cutler, via email:

"But really, all women are crazy. And all writers are crazy. Therefore, women writers are way way crazy! But everyone knows that crazy women are awesome in bed, and that's why people put up with us."
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Defending Fenty

Despite holding the title of Most Loathsome Washingtonian, Adrian Fenty has some supporters. "Josiah Swampoodle" of City Desk is one of them. Let's take a look at his defense of the Ayatollah of Ward 4.

SINCE THE MAYOR has chosen to trash Adrian Fenty, a few words on his behalf, albeit far short of an endorsement, might be in order. Whatever his faults Fenty could be expected to return some of Washington to Washington. Since the federal takeover and the election of Williams, DC has not only increasingly become a city in service to major corporate interests but it has been steadily drained of its own spirit and soul. If it's not about making money it doesn't matter. The new "local" baseball team - called the "Nationals" and whose ownership is still undetermined - symbolizes the deeply colonial gestalt of the city. And DC has been the target of relentless socio-economic cleansing that has left its schools and health system in shambles even as our leaders brag about "economic revitalization."

"Socio-economic cleansing"? Really, now. People want to move in because D.C. is somewhat more safe, clean and hip than it was a few years ago. Having more money, they outbid existing residents for housing. The pour millions into their new houses, employing contractors and attracting businesses to formerly abandoned storefronts. How many Drum Circles For Peace do you have to attend to get so deaf to the market economy that functions everywhere around you that you confuse it with Serbian war crimes? The problem is not that new people are moving in (generally a good thing) but that the city's renters aren't seeing any of the benefit. Blame redlining. Blame racist creditors. Blame the federal minimum wage. But don't blame the people who are paying the much-needed property taxes.

Keep in mind that Columbia Heights, Shaw, Eastern Market and Mt. Pleasant were all getting yuppified a year ago when we didn't have a baseball team. Yes, "Nationals" is a crummy, nondescript name and the stadium deal is getting worse with every revised cost estimate, but what does that have to do with gentrification? Would you prefer a model more like Gary, Ind., in which people migrate in only one direction?

The city, as we have noted before, often feels like the lobby of the world's largest Marriott Hotel, filled with people moving through without loyalty or interest in the place they are using.

In case you haven't noticed, D.C. has a raison d'etre, and it is government. Administrations and summer internships come and go, bringing in a stream of people who do their business here for a while and then skedaddle when it's over. As opposed to steel, carmaking or soybean production, it's a relatively smart thing to base your city's economy on, since it never really falls out of fashion.

It's time we got some of our own faults back. Whatever Marion Barry did wrong, he didn't have to subsidize a major corporation to do it. In fact, Barry was the last leader in this town to give it a reputation. Unfortunately, he didn't care enough about what sort of reputation, but you never forgot under Barry that you were living in a special place called DC.
What, a bowtie isn't enough personality for you?
Good mayors do the same thing. It's only a part of their work but it's an important one and Fenty at least has the potential. He is, among other things, the product of a small business family, something not only rare in DC politics but in national politics as well. Small businesses have never had an advocate in this town yet a thriving small business ecology would produce far more local jobs than continuing to import non-taxpaying suburbanites to downtown high rises.

Now, Josiah is treading a thin line between Marxist class-consciousness and biological determinism. Did Jimmy Carter spend his four years in the White House on peanut issues? Is Abe Lincoln primarily known for his work on log cabin building codes? Just like it doesn't take the son of small businessmen to look out for local shopkeepers, you don't need to be born as a scion of the corporate machine to respond to the interests of big business. Besides, who said this is an either/or issue? Why can't the corporate lawyer who spends his days on K Street also want a decent place for coffee when he gets back home to his new condo in Shaw?

With his youth, Fenty also has the hook to cross ethnic boundaries, creating the potential of a young white-black coalition. He's smart, and he's been on the right side of things more than most of his potential opponents.

Why can't an old person build a white-black coalition? Also, how is Fenty's youth a benefit to his campaign if he is best known for his Falwellesque crusades on small-bore social issues? The fact that he's going after booze and video games shows, more than anything, that he is more attuned to bullsh*t posturing than providing the concrete non-partisan solutions that we young people are supposed to crave.

But on the more personal side is the likelihood that Fenty would start to bring DC home again. And that would be real good because we sure have missed it.

If bringing D.C. "home," whatever that means, can be achieved by spouting platitudes about "listening" and "unity," we must be in better shape than I thought.

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A roundup of what I've been reading:

- Michael (who I don't link to nearly enough, although he's on the sidebar) takes the MARC train and discovers Soviet Realism in the service of Neocon Fantasy.

- It looks like I'm on the Team Fenty media list for good. Decision: keep stalking the clown at his meetings, or move on to public events of the other possible candidates? 17 months is a long time to tag along with this jerk.

- These new crosstown bus routes could be a lifesaver. There is no good reason why a trip from Union Station to Georgetown shouldn't be a one-seat affair. Let's see if they run on time.

- D.C. firefighters are engaged in a battle over whether they should be allowed to sport beards due to risk of improperly sealing masks. A substantive dispute ends in farce when an ACLU lawyer claims that African-Americans' curlier hair causes more ingrown hairs for regular shavers and thus a "disparate impact" on black firefighters who are forced to shave.

- Congrats to N.M. for her new job. Scowls to N.M. for getting to go to Boston and catching an Ad Frank show while I'm on the Internet drinking coffee and rubbing my eyes.

- Now that they've killed the Montgomery County board charged with designing sex-ed guidelines, are MoCo's well-hidden fundies going after evolution next?

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June 2, 2005

Parking Karma: now in deficit

So I'm running some errands today heading back from the Hill to Dupont on Massachusetts Avenue when I decide that now would be a good time to stop at the AAA store at 15th and New York for some maps for my upcoming trip (I'm leaving tomorrow). No way in hell I'll get a spot, I thought. Middle of the day, a block from the White House, it's all permits and double-parked UPS trucks by now.

But, I thought, it's worth a swing by. This 5 percent shot of getting anything within five blocks would be worth it if I saved the 20-minute walk both ways after finding a spot in Dupont, which can take just as long.

And there it was. I almost wanted to take a picture. I parked across New York Avenue from AAA, in a metered spot, without any hassle or circling or anything.

And yes, I want a f*cking medal.

But this means that I'll be stuck circling around the backwoods looking for a spot to pay this one back to the parking gods.

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June 1, 2005

Yo, Adrian!

Unlike many other mornings recently, I had a reason to get up early. As Dceiver has noted, I was invited to witness the days big non-event: shiny-headed mullah Adrian Fenty's announcement that he will, really, for sure, run for mayor.

Fenty earned the top spot on the Loathsome List for his zealous work garnering attention for himself on beside-the-point social issues like the sale of large malt liquor bottles in his ward and the sale of violent video games in the District. A hunger for publicity and a lack of recognition that this particular jurisdiction is both geographically small and has easy access to areas that don't have a problem collecting sales tax revenue on Grand Theft Auto.

The plan was to get Jeff to take a photo of me presenting Fenty with a 40 oz., an ironic comment on his legislative history and an opportunity to see how he reacts to unexpected and potentially embarrassing situations. But as we went from store to store on Mt. Pleasant St., we couldn't find anything over 24 oz. Although we were a few blocks south of the ward boundary, our juvenile prank had been foiled. Empty-handed, we walked to Chez Fenty a little early.

But first, who is that? Why, it's the fifth most loathsome Washingtonian, gadfly and former SOB of the Week Adam Eidinger. Since hes not going to make the society pages in DC Style, Ill grab a photo to add to my list.


Yep, he brought his kid. Not because he's more likely to get attention holding a cute little baby, but because hes just a regular guy. The former Shadow Representative candidate puts his pants on one leg at a time and buys his glasses at the estate sale of a deceased Chicago Cubs announcer, just like we all do.

Then, the big event. After a few false starts of "Run, Fenty, Run!" and simply "Fenty!" the Fenty family and assorted advisers gathered on the steps of his Mt. Pleasant boyhood home to support a decision that was probably first announced at the family dinner table around 1985.

But having a longstanding dream isnt necessarily a bad thing, all gentle ribbing aside. However, it would seem more sincere if two things had been different. First, when he said "today, I have decided," audible chuckling rose from the small crowd ("about 100 supporters" my elbow, WaPo!). Be honest about your decision. Second, if you're going to announce your campaign 17 months before the election, have some reason to run. Ticking off a list of normative issues (crime, affordable housing, schools) that everyone agrees would be nice if they improved, he stayed away from anything approaching originality. Government waste? Fentys against it. The homeless? Fenty wants to help them. Ummm, somehow. That wont keep anyone's attention for the duration of this campaign.

After a brief and uninformative question and answer session, I piled in to the crowd for my handshake and another picture for my collection. I looked him in the eye and shook his hand (lanky, not sweaty), but someones head obstructed my photogs view. Plan B (devised on the spot) involved simply getting in the frame with the candidate. Mission accomplished.


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