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Flipcup to Beat Cancer

Dr. Dremo’s is hosting a Flip Cup Tournament on June 4th, benefitting the Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. $100 per 5 person team, and the beer is included in that fee. For those of you blissfully unaware of the Flip Cup Phenomenon, the best way it can be described is a Beer Drinking Relay Race with an element of skill. Fortunately, since my description sucks, they’ve posted the tournament rules. Anyone interested in entering a team?

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Wegman’s in Mont’y County? No sirree, Bob

DC’s own Radley Balko has a great piece on Wegman’s grocery stores, now in Sterling and Fairfax, and coming to Hunt Valley, MD fairly soon. See, Wegman’s isn’t just a grocery store, and it’s not just another big box, but it’s smart shopping:

Wegmans is a grocery store, of course. So it stocks all the usual toiletries, packaged foods, spices, kitchenware, and the like we’ve come to expect from a mega-grocery. But despite its considerable high-end and hard-to-find offerings, Wegmans prices on most day-to-day goods are actually on par with or lower than its competitors. The store keeps its aisles wide, for easy cart maneuverability. It offers a holder in each cart for fresh flowers, to keep them from getting smooshed by the ice cream. It boxes up perishable items at the end of each day and sends them to local homeless shelters. The store’s seasonal magazine begins by listing areas in which the company feels it has failed, and offers solutions as to how it might do better.

But still, in an effort to crowd out large retailers that serve the community at low prices, places like Montgomery County have effectively blocked such places in an effort to bring their version of conformity to the county. Never mind that Wegman’s is Forbes’ 2005 choice for the best place to work. Of course, what they’re failing to notice is that people will drive out to Wegman’s in Fairfax or Sterling, frequently an hour trip from Montgomery County, to get there. And why not, when they’ve got low prices, better goods than the average Safeway or the truly ghetto-rific Giant, and a pleasant atmosphere. What they fail to see is the tax revenue that it would create for their community, allowing them to ease the tax burden that property taxes in a real-estate-booming area have become.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Nine Teams Vie for Nats

Today begins the bidding process for the Washington Nationals, with 9 groups registered to bid with Major League Baseball. The team is expected to fetch well above $300 million, with the possibility for that figure to reach half a billion dollars if the team is sold with a portion of the MASN network. I’m hoping that it goes to the group lead by Fred Malek and Jeffrey Zients, the Washington Baseball Club. But that’s just me. Weigh in on the other options in the comments.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Memorial Day

While some are headed to the beachs of Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, and others still headed into the mountains of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, there are many of us still here in DC for the weekend. This morning at Arlington Cemetery, President Bush will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in recognition of all those who have died in service to their country. Their deaths purchased our freedom, our rights and our soil. Today, we remember and thank them for their sacrifice.

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Virginians to Blame for Bad Driving? Yeah, Not So Much.

While I am a transplant to driving in the DC metropolitan area, I learned to drive on the suburban streets of Davis, California, I’ve found that driving in DC proper is fairly easy to handle. Of course, I’ve also found that most of the obstacles are caused by absolute morons who somehow managed to get their hands on a set of car keys and a license.

DCist seems to think it’s all Virginia Drivers’ Fault. But there’s a problem here. Here’s the problem:

The District and Maryland tied at 44th place in how well their drivers fared on the test — only 79.8 percent would pass — while Virginia enjoyed a three-way tie with Alabama and Nevada for 15th place — 84.7 percent.

Okay, great, Virginia drivers will pass the test given by the DMV 5 more times out of 100 than their counterparts in Maryland or the District. That’s pretty much a wash. But, Martin (or should I say, That DCist) seems to think it means it’s all Virginia Drivers’ Fault:

So what does this mean? Scientifically, not much. Practically, well, it may mean that those stick-to-the-rules Virginians just can’t seem to deal with driving in a city, where traffic rules are naturally more flexible than in the ‘burbs and are often treated more as suggestions than as actual laws. Virginians may have the book-smarts, but they lack the street-smarts.

Virginia requires that all drivers retake the state exam every 5 years. How do I know this? I just had to do it last October. I went in for my license renewal and was told I had to repass the driver’s test. I got slapped in front of a terminal and tapped in the answers to the questions. I missed one question, having to do with the speed limit on a divide two lane highway (I figured 55, since that’s what I’ve seen along the various divided highways I’ve driven in Virginia, it was actually 65mph.) The point being is that when your license expires here, you get to take the test. When was the last time you saw a driver with a Diplomat or State Department plate having to re-take their driver’s exam? How about those trucks who seem to make it their business to park in the no-stopping-zone along the various main thoroughfares in DC? During Rush Hour? Or how about my favorite: the median merge. Today, I headed up to Baltimore to take in an Orioles game, and there was a huge backup on the Southeast/Southwest Freeway at the Penn Ave exit. Did folks behave like good little drivers and be patient as the officer at the top of the bridge directed traffic? No. They didn’t. Without fail it was Maryland and DC plates that were screaming by on the shoulder or trying to sneak in via the median.

So, Martin, I know you’re trying to be funny, and your shtick seems to be bashing those of us who live on the other side of the river, but man, take a pill. Here’s a better question…

How the hell do you know what traffic’s like in the city? Don’t you take that new-fangled subway thingy everywhere you need to go? I mean, that’s what responsible DC residents would do, right? ;)

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Conspiracy to Commit Comics

So, I’ve never been all that into comics or comic art. It’s not that I look down on it, it’s that it’s just not my thing. But I know a bunch of you out there are fans of the form, and perhaps you already knew about DC Conspiracy, “a group of comic creators, writers, artists, editors, and assorted hangers-on based in the Washington, DC region.”

But I didn’t. And I just stumbled across their blog. They have monthly jams at Dremo’s, so if you’re a budding artist yourself, take a sketchpad and have a beer.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Live at The Birchmere

If you’re one of the brave, you might consider heading out to see The Burlesque-A-Pades at The Birchmere tonight, featuring Angie Pontani and the World Famous Pontani Sisters, as well as Trixie Little, Charm City’s Burlesque Super Hero and The Evil Tap Dancing Hate Monkey. Show starts at 7:30, Tickets are less than two drinks in a Georgetown Dive Bar.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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DC Metblogs’ Favorites: Bookstores

Books. They’re everywhere in this town, from the Law Libraries of K St., to the movie libraries of the cinemas across town, DC is one of the most literate cities in the US. As such, we’ve got our preponderance of bookstores all over this city. We’re here to tell you some of our favorites. Read on.

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An Evening In Dupont

Today after work I meandered slowly through the spring breeze to Dupont Circle and 18th St. NW and up North toward Adams Morgan. We met at Straits of Malaya on 18th just north of Swann St. It’s this little Malaysian place with a rooftop dining room, just across from Lauriol Plaza. I wandered through the streets in the sun, making my way slowly through this beautiful spring town. There are times I just love DC, and today was certainly one of them. Check out some pictures of today’s walk

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More on the Montgomery Stabbing

The Post is now reporting that the woman accused of the Mall stabbing is Antoinette Starks, 48, recently released from prison after serving time for more than $30,000 in property damages.

Many thanks to Irina Slutsky for helping find this information! In addition, Irina has several photos in her flickr photostream from the event. Thanks again, Irina!

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Exploding Manhole Covers: The First Sign of Summer

The increasing humidity, the oppresive heat, the daily 5pm thunderstorms, the exploding manhole covers, these are the signs of summer in Washington. Three manholes blew their lids by the World Bank when a transformer beneath 18th St. NW blew this morning, likely a result of a short-circuit in the conduit.

The World Bank is closing for the day as power to their HVAC system has been severed.

If you lived here a few years ago, you experienced this with the series of manhole fires along the M St. corridor in Georgetown, complete with power outages, bar closures, and all manner of havoc wrought, traffic-wise. Just another sign of the impending summer in DC.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Mall of…Terror?

First a carjacking at Tysons, now two stabbings at the Nordstrom at Montgomery Mall?

Dude, what the hell is in that Mall water? Is this Desperate Housewives meets MS-13?

Damn, just when you thought it was safe to shop.

Update: A local visiting blogger, Irina Slutsky, was there when it happened:

a straggling shopper in a pink sweater was running toward the down escalator. she didn’t pay attention to the woman with the knife and kind of skipped onto the elevator, ahead of her. thinking she was safe, she began folding her jacket.
the woman with the knife stepped onto the escalator behind her.

after a beat, the woman with the knife began stabbing the customer in the pink sweater.

it seemed as if it was almost not going to happen.

i couldn’t scream or move.

the woman in the pink sweater ran down the steps, but the stabber followed her, sticking the knife repeatedly between her shoulder blades.

Irina is also quoted in the Washington Post story regarding the very odd stabbing.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Ollie’s Trolley


Ollie’s Trolley

Originally uploaded by tbridge.

Downtown DC is full of expensive restaurants: Butterfield 9, Bobby Van’s, Smith and Wollensky, Morton’s, Galileo and too many others to name. It’s hard to find a good simple place for lunch when you’re just in the mood for a burger and some fries.

Enter Ollie’s Trolley.

There’s one about a block from my office downtown, they make a mean (and cheap) burger, and their fries are head and shoulders above the garbage that fast food chains put out. Covered in a mix of paprika, carraway seeds, salt, light garlic, lemon pepper and a myriad of other spices I can’t easily identify, they make for the perfect rainy day lunch food. Some days I’m just glad to spend the $6.50 for lunch instead dropping a ten-spot for a takeaway sandwich or a twenty for a sitdown lunch.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Thank you, people of DC…

I just want to thank everyone who contributed to my hour-and-a-half commute this morning (to go 7.5 miles!)

Thanks to whoever it was that jammed traffic on 395 for twice as long as usual. Nice work!

Thanks to the lady who walked out in front of my car this morning as I was leaving the intersection, completely oblivious to the fact that I had to swerve to avoid her as she bopped along to whatever was on her iPod.

Also, I can’t forget to thank the pedestrians at 14th and K and 20th and L who think that a green turning arrow is the same as a walk signal, and who look at me like I’m the idiot for trying to get through the intersection while they have the “Don’t Walk” signal.

And of course there are the scores of truck drivers who decide that rush hour is the perfect time to stop in a lane of traffic, turn on their blinkers, and leave their trucks for god-knows-how-long. Trying to merge into the next lane, which is as congested as the one I’m in, to get around those huge, traffic-obstructing monstrosities is one of my special joys, and when I call the companies that own the trucks, I’ll be sure to tell them how much love I have for their drivers who do this. What’s that truck ID number again?

I mustn’t forget the people who block the intersection while they have the green so they don’t have to sit through another light, and then get stuck there. This causes ME to have to sit through another light, and sometimes two or three, which gives me more time to listen to my iPod. Thanks, guys!

To all of you, the driver of the silver Passat who cut me off this morning, the guy on the bike going the wrong way on L Street, and everyone else who made my commute such a joy this morning, my heartfelt thanks. I wouldn’t have made it all the way through that Stereo MCs/Frou Frou/Madonna mashup without you this morning.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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DC adding more red light and speed cameras

In a move to bolster the city’s bottom line, DC’s going to be adding 11 more red-light cameras, 5 more speed cameras and two new mobile speed camera vans which will target those pesky construction zones. Despite Virginia nixing red light cameras after a study showed they were causing more accidents, the District has decided that they care more about cash than about citizen safety.

Of course, they’re paying out nearly $12.2 million for ACS State and Local Solutions, Inc. to do all their dirty work. Better yet, for every ticket over 53,750 (per month) they write, they get more money. So, instead of getting DC’s fattest cops a bit more work chasing down speeders and red-light breakers, they’re going outsource the process to machines that just issue citations which may or may not hold up to the courts.

Bogus.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Comcast and The Orioles Continue Fight

Watching Peter Angelos and Comcast duke it out in court over the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network is a bit like watching Stalin and Hitler in a boxing match. You’re not quite sure who to cheer for, both parties are evil, but you know you’re in for a good fight. The Orioles want to pull out of Comcast Sports Network in 2007 and move their telecasts to the newly-formed MASN which currently shows Nationals’ Games over the DirecTV network and on cable companies that are not owned by Comcast (which, at last count, was 3). However, Comcast isn’t so hot on this idea, and is now bullying the other cable companies (again, all 3 of them) to not pick up MASN. Angelos, being the fearsome whiner that he is, is bringing his army of lawyer goons into the picture, and Comcast has responded by doing the same. Expect this fight to be ugly. The only way baseball fans are going to win is if both parties happen to be in the courthouse when it is struck by a meteor.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs