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Tow Company Owner Indicted

Sweet. Excuse me while I laugh myself fucking silly. George King, of Frank’s Towing, got his own ass towed to court this morning for about 20 counts, ranging from failing to register and report business income, and not withholding taxes from employee pay. Hat tip to DCist for pointing this one out, but man, how can you not love it when towing companies get hauled into court?

Especially when they’re particularly good at entrapment. I wonder if Advanced Towing adequately documents the two minors that they pay to sit in parking lots? Or, well, are they paid off the books by the counter girls?

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Barmy, Part Deux

Remember Barmy Wine and Liquor The place with free delivery for when your drunk ass can’t go get it yourself?

Right now there’s a sign in their window that says, “Wines as low as one penny!!!!!”

I don’t think I should drink anything that costs a penny a bottle. It’s not that I’m a wine snob or anything, but a girl’s gotta have some standards, no?

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Do your Christmas Holiday shopping alternative-style

xmas.jpg
If you’re not game to get your craft on yourself you can always go buy something someone else has made in on of DC’s many outdoor markets. The new upstart in the bunch is the Downtown DC Holiday Market on the site of the old convention center at NW 11th and H St. The first day is tomorrow, December 1st and will continue on every Thursday through Sunday, from 11am to 7pm till December 21st.

Formerly the whippersnapper of the bunch is Western Market in Adams Morgan at Marie Reed School Plaza. They’re a Saturday-only 10am to 5pm market that will end their second season on December 17th.

The old warhorse of the bunch is Eastern Market which has run a Saturday market since 1978. The Sunday market‘s not quite as old, hailing back to 1983 on the same location but under different direction and with somewhat different vendors.

You car-free DC ZipCar members will want to buy your Christmas Holiday trees at the downtown market – members get free use of the ZipCars parked on the 11th street corridor to get it home.

photo courtesy of TBoneMcCool

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Tomorrow’s Headlines Today: Blackberries Cease, Withdrawal Causes Massive Crime

Apparently the ubiquitous Blackberry handheld email device may be coming nearer and nearer to a drop dead date:

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. (CA:RIM) (RIMM) on Wednesday was pushed closer to a possible shutdown of its U.S. mobile e-mail service after a judge refused to delay a patent infringement case and rejected a disputed settlement with patent holder NTP Inc.

Still pending before Spencer is a request by NTP to move forward with an injunction that would halt U.S. sales of the BlackBerry and shut its service.

Can you imagine if all those horrid little blue boxes just stopped working? Oh God, what a paradise! No more jerks at poker games throwing them across the table. No more execs emailing me at 10pm to tell me their power is out and why oh why doesn’t their computer work. No more assholes on the Metro paying attention to their Blackberry and not the little girl they’re elbowing.

Can we vote in favor of shutting it down anyway?

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Stadium Politics

Well, we’re about 30 days away from a big day in DC Baseball: Major League Baseball’s deadlines for having a lease on the ballpark and having the site under city control, pursuant to Article VII of the stadium agreement between DC and MLB. We also appear to be nowhere near an agreement about what to do about cost overruns, or a guarantee of the lease should the new stadium fall prey to whatever foul odor besmirched the Library of Congress this morning.

This deal keeps getting shadier and shadier, and with Bud Selig crippling the Nats ability to go after free agents like Esteban Loaiza (since signed with the A’s), there may be no reason to build a new stadium if the club can’t sign some talent and compete. The Hapless Mets have already begun to retool their benches and could well smoke the Nats like the unruly beehive that they are.

Anyhow, as always, Chris Needham of Capitol Punishment has some great insight into these stadium politics that are worth reading. Be sure to check it out.

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Library of Congress Smells Funny

I got the call a few minutes ago from one of my field agents that the Library of Congress had been evacuated due to an “irritating odor”, but by the time I got a free second to check it out, they’re letting workers back into the building. Damn this day job! Damn it to hell!

Anyhow, some workers were sheltering in place, some had been forced out of the Jefferson Building. I’m just thankful it wasn’t pouring like last night!

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Candy Politics

What says love more than chocolate? And what says fun more than M&M’s? And what says DC more than politics? And what could be better than mixing the three?

Not much in my book, so get your candy on!

You can now make custom M&M’s and ship a four pack to your friends and family just in time for Xmas. I’m sending my bag o’ message to every DC Council member. I might even send one to Tom. I know how much he loves my political views.

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Pouring Out There

Radar Map
It’s absolutely pouring out there right now, coming down in buckets and buckets, sounds like drumsticks on my windowpanes. For the first time since Hurricane Isabel in 2003, my satellite service went out. Of course, it wasn’t out for long, but just a cursory 2 minutes outside making sure the dish was aligned properly left me feeling like I’d gone into the shower with all my clothes on. Oy. This is the next to last day in November?

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Bubbles & Boom Times

Certain dear readers will be happy to know that signs are supposedly showing of a slowdown in DC’s overheated (some say overvalued) housing market. Though real estate experts (not to mention ol’ Greenspan) have been warning of a bubble in the area for months, October marks a noticeable rise in the inventory level of existing homes in the area according to the Post. This means houses are staying on the market longer than before, and the mad days of a place being sold on its first open house may be coming to a close. Also becoming apparent is that the preponderance of new so-called “luxury condos” (I’m really begininng to hate the devaluation of the word ‘luxury’) will cause a glut that may drive prices in that market down.

Now, I’m no expert in real estate at all, but I did have a market assessment done of my house a few weeks ago, and the very intelligent agent, instead of dazzling us with an outrageous selling price, stated honestly that the market is “normalizing” to more of an equal footing between seller and buyer, good news for those who want to join the world of homeownership. He said sellers need to start adjusting their expectations of extremely high asking prices (oh, perhaps like the guy down my block who asked for 900k?) and sudden turnaround to a more traditional real estate market.

I certainly don’t want the market to take a total dive, but I do want it to normalize. Speculation makes me nervous; I can’t help thinking of the 1920′s crash or, closer to heart, the 1990′s internet bust. And I have many friends who want to buy right now and just can’t justify or afford it. So let’s hope we can find a more secure and reasonable footing in the DC housing market.

(Though of course the Post also is reporting that sales of new homes hit a high last month, so who knows what the hell is really happening!)

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Who needs a blog when you’ve got a license plate?

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The endless flow of commuters traveling in and out of DC from neighboring Virginia – where a vanity plate only costs an extra $10 – provides for a pretty good amount of reading material on the roads. Sometimes, however, seven little letters just won’t suffice. That’s when you need foot-high letters that communicate your message. I doubt any of us understand what that message is, but we all saw it – possibly even from orbit.

Even though I can’t quite figure out the meaning here, this glittering abomination is still better than the plate I saw several years ago, which I’ll place below the fold for our more delicate readers.

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Butterstick Video

Butterstick This morning, our dear butterstick met the press in his enclosure in the Zoo. Even though they insist his name is Tai Shan, we all know better. His public debut, for which no sexual favors are required, is next Thursday. But if you haven’t gotten a chance to lay eyes on the cute and fuzzy panda bear, the video above is worth a look.

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A look at old DC


View from Capitol Westfront 1977 1

Originally uploaded by smata2.

Flickr user smata2 has uploaded a bunch of scans of images of Washington almost 30 years younger than the one we live in now. I love seeing old Washington, when you could climb the Capitol steps. What a timeless city!

Be sure to catch the other shots in the series.

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Productivity v. Health

I’m sitting at work feeling the beginnings of a cold. Or is it a virus? Or the dreaded flu? Who knows, it’s just annoying. Swollen sore throat, sniffles, starting to feel flushed. Not good no matter what you call it.

Then I begin to notice I’m not the only one. Two co-workers complain of the same symptoms. Another is roaming the halls hacking out her lungs. So of course the debate inside my head begins, “Should I go home? Try to sleep it off? Or should I wait it out, perhaps feeling worse and staying home tomorrow? Can I stay home tomorrow?” Argh.

In the years I’ve worked in DC, it has seemed to me that people here tend to work sick. A lot. Even in this day of crackberries and easy work email access at home. Is this really just a DC phenom, or it is more widespread, more of a national problem? I hear people who, let’s be honest, are just not that essential (myself definitely included) moan and agonize about taking sick days. Why?

A co-worker once proudly boasted to me that he’d never taken a sick day. Not never gotten sick, mind you, just never stayed home. That man is the Typhoid Mary of the DC office world. I’m mystified.

What about you?

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Thanks for the Holiday Love, XM!

Dear XM Satellite Radio,

Thanks so much for adding five holiday music channels to your dial for the holiday season! Though, yes, you did displace Wayan’s favorite channel, I’m rather fond of Christmas music, from the twang of Nashville on 105 to the Novelty stuff on 107 and the Classics on 104. I know Wayan needs to get his groove on, but I really love hearing more seasonal music this year.

So thanks for making with the carols, XM! And better yet, thanks for making most of your music streams available online for subscribers, I have to say, what a kickass feature this is!

Tom Bridge,
Listener and Subscriber since July

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Bring back the music!

Dear XM Satellite Radio,

What are you all thinking? What are you doing? And what is going on in your NY Avenue headquarters that makes you change your play list like this?

I miss my Ngoma Channal 104, I really do. See when I wanna get my groove on, really set the mood, its all Ngoma all the time. Better than dance, more classy that Sade and less cheesy than Vandross, Ngoma was the deep African beat that made the ladies swoon. Now its gone to XM Online only, and banished from my love shack – like I want the hum of a laptop to break up my groove.

And speaking of breaking a groove, at work it

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Bill Simmons Returns

Bill Simmons, known to all men as the funniest sports columnist in the world, is coming back to DC for a second signing of his new book Now I Can Die In Peace. He’ll be back at the ESPN Zone on December 6th at 5pm. If you weren’t there the first time, be sure to come early, because the Sports Guy is one seriously popular dude. He ended up having to take a list of people’s names last time and send their autographed books back to the Barnes & Noble next door. Seriously, if you have a penis, you need to be there.

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Hold ‘Em Hold Up! (*groan*)

Armed robbers forced their way into a home in Fair Oaks that was hosting a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament.

The robbers evidently had access to the invitation to the game, and made off with several thousand dollars.

Judging by the Virginians I know who carry their sidearm while hosting poker tournaments in their home, it seems not very bright to attempt such a robbery in Fairfax instead of the District…

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Snow, sea, and pumpkin pie…

After downing all those Belgian beers at Busboys and drowning in Gen X irony, I headed over to meet my husband for the next course in DC nightlife Thanksgiving Eve. The snow had just started to fall and he was standing in front of Stetson?s, peering in forlornly. ?It?s closed,? he sighed, but luckily just for renovations. We could see a fresh coat of paint and what looked like a new, ornate wooden bar, perhaps? The last time I was there a fight broke out and the bartender launched himself over the bar to stop it. Stetson?s is a classic.

We decided to walk up to Adams Morgan for dinner, and picked upstairs at The Reef. With the saltwater fish tanks glowing blue and the tall windows providing a perfect view of snow-swept 18th street, we lingered over bison burgers and yet more Belgian ale.

Then it was on to Asylum, where they were having Pumpkin Pie Wrestling. This was moderately intriguing (as voyeurs only, though I was getting nicely tipsy, who knows?) until we discovered it was a $15 cover. So it was downstairs for a crowded nightcap instead. As we were leaving, a guy was lurching around outside in the cold with no jacket. He had that look of drunkenness and wounded pride mixed with a little indignation. ?These people are crazy here,? he kept saying, wobbling in the doorway as a friend tried to hold him up. At first we thought he was covered in vomit. But it was just pumpkin puree.

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Busboy or Poet?

I wasn?t sure what to expect from Busboys and Poets, the new bookstore/coffeeshop/bar/performance space at 14th and V Streets. I?d heard varied reports labeling it either a symbol of gentrification or a symbol of defiance, either a buppie/yuppie hangout or IMF protesters ground zero. This hearsay incongruity struck me as rather intriguing, so a friend and I headed over Wednesday for happy hour to check it out.

I?m happy to say Busboys and Poets can?t be locked down into any slot. Its aim is to be inclusive. Buy a book, hang out with some coffee, drinks with friends, dinner, hear some poetry ? it?s aim is to be your Third Space, not the Next Hot Space. And the name? Apparently Langston Hughes once worked as a busboy in DC at the Wardman Park Hotel?

The layout, on the ground floor of one of the new condominiums, is large and open ? ambitiously able to hold about 300 people, with a performance space/private room in the back where they hold special events like monthly poetry open mics. The front room is eclectically furnished with tables, chairs, and very comfortable couches, rather like a more upscale Chi-Cha Lounge. There?s an expansive bar that looked very inviting if by chance the room is full. I didn?t get a chance to check out the political bookstore integrated in the front, but it was always humming with patrons browsing through books, a good sign. The lights were bright when we entered, highlighting the airiness of the space, but dimmed to create a cosier feel later on. The crowd also slowly changed from coffee sipping with laptops to Belgian beer drinking ? even with the very high ceilings the sound level stayed at a gentle buzz. I wondered how it would get later on in the night. We noticed right away that it was truly multicultural scene ? a rare thing in DC where nightlife can still be so segregated. There was a strong effort to keep the mood very low-key – our server would sit down on the couch opposite us and chat about the different merits of different ales. Somehow it felt genuine, not forced. I could see returning some rainy afternoon to check out their chai tea ? ?not a fake powdered chai latte like some places,? he winked, ?real chai.?

It all made for a congenial yet apropos atmosphere to discuss Anne Hull?s recent two-article series on the ?boom times? changing our neighborhood. For two hours or so we hung out, listening to chill nu-jazz, curled on a red velvet couch nursing our Deleriums, chatting about property values and housing bubbles and the absurd probability of a sushi bar on 14th in 2006.

And then, as we are Gen X, discussing the ridiculous irony of what we were talking about, our hysterical hipster backlash against yuppification compared with our complicity, the poignant lunacy of being thirtysomethings and having no idea how we went from poor students to responsible adults in the blink of an eye. I can’t help laughing at myself for even writing this…

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