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Support this Avon walker

My darling girlfriend and I have known Jennifer Eubank for a bit over a year now. She’s one of the dozens of friendly and helpful vendors we’ve met by exhibiting at Eastern Market. She’s also one of the half-dozen or so who have helped to make our efforts less profitable by making stuff so great we buy their things rather than taking our hard-earned dough home with us. Ah well. I like to call DG’s ring from jdell designs “the boobs ring,” which is worth it just for the chuckle.

This coming weekend Jennifer will be doing the Avon walk to help raise money for breast cancer issues. Precise details about how the money is spent can be found at the Avon Foundation’s website as well as in the GuideStar data on the charity.

You can support Jennifer’s walk by going here and making a donation. She’s got a personal motivation to be in the walk.

I am doing this in honor of my sister, Gail, who has been battling breast cancer for more than 5 years now. I am completely committed to walking the full 39-mile walk May 5 & 6 in Washington, DC. My sister Beverly is joining me for what will most likely be the most important thing we have done in many years.

She’s already hit her fundraising goal but more is always better. She’s going above and beyond to increase her funds intake, too. Aside from offering to give a free pair of earrings from her stock to anyone who pledges over $150, she’s added a line of pink jewelry that she’ll be selling from this point forward. She’ll be contributing the profits from the sales of them to the Avon foundation so she can keep the giving going past the day of the walk.

You have to support that kind of dedication.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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A beer tragedy

Ack! Since Nice Mirror didn’t get into the Manayunk art show this year, my darling girlfriend and I thought “oh good – maybe we won’t be out of town for the Old Dominion Beer Festival this year like we were last time.” Well, we may not be out of town but we won’t be at the festival either.

We really tried to make it work, but if you have looked at our ‘festival grounds’ (the lot behind the brewery), it is under excavation and construction. We explored other locations, but it was critical that we kept it close by, and ultimately we could not find a site that would work with our traditional dates. Old Dominion appreciates your loyalty to our great beers, our great people and a great summer event. As disappointing as it to all of us, we could not in good conscience put on a beer fest that did not live up to our high standards. We know the Beer Fest is a great tradition and much-loved happening, and we are already planning for a return run in 2008.

This is just heartbreaking! I hate to torment you with tales of something you won’t get to enjoy this summer, but the festival has been fantastic both times I’ve been. Affordable sample size beers from a few dozen breweries, good music, great food, interesting vendors…. *sigh* I’m going to have to go drown my sorrows now…

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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The future of Eastern Market

In a flurry of Twitter messages this morning, my friends and I all wondered what the eventual fate of Eastern Market would be. Mayor Fenty is promising to rebuild, but will the character be preserved? Will Starbucks be permitted to open a store there in exchange for a rebuilding grant?

The Washington Post reported this morning:

In continuous operation since 1873, Eastern Market was designed by noted architect Adolph Cluss and is a recognized National Historic Landmark. The market sits just off Pennsylvania Avenue SE, on the neighborhood’s eastern edge.

Wondering exactly what National Historic Landmark designation means for a property that needs to be rebuilt, I checked out the National Park Service’s National Historic Landmark Program page, only to discover… Eastern Market is not, in fact, designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Wondering how I caught, in 5 minutes of Googling and using NPS’ own database, what the WaPo fact checkers had not (hey guys, did you take the morning off?), I noticed that the National Register of Historic Places is a separate list, also maintained by the National Park Service. Eastern Market does indeed appear on this list.

What’s the difference? I’m so glad you asked:

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Escort Service Hard Ball: Palfrey 1, DC Politicos 0

Randall L. Tobias

Did you see who was the first to fall from grace when Deborah Jeane Palfrey, accused DC Madam, gave her confidential call girl contacts list to ABC News? None other than Randall L. Tobias, the deputy secretary of state responsible for U.S. foreign aid. The WashPost says:

On Friday, Randall L. Tobias resigned as deputy secretary of state one day after confirming to Brian Ross of ABC that he had patronized the Pamela Martin firm.

Speaking yesterday on “Good Morning America,” Ross said Tobias told him Tobias’s number was on Palfrey’s phone records because he had called “to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage.” There had been “no sex,” Ross quoted Tobias as saying, and that recently he has used another service, “with Central American gals,” for massages.

Now that was smart of Mr. Tobais. As the director of President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, he learned that the best way to practice safe sex is not to have sex. Now he knows the best way to practice safe politics is not to practice call girl massages.

The question is, who is next to get the call? Palfrey gave her list of 10,000 to 15,000 phone numbers to ABC News for free and ABC is expected to air a report on Palfrey and her clients on “20/20″ on May 4, during sweeps.

I for one, can’t wait to see who is next…

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Horrific Fire Guts Eastern Market

Eastern Market Fire - Washington Post Photo The weekend, for so many people in DC, means Eastern Market. The produce and arts booths that fill the indoor/outdoor market, the lunch counter, the market stalls and the non-existant parking, these are the things that draw the crowds to the 134-year old historic hub of DC’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Built in the Reconstruction era, it’s beautiful South Hall, which houses butchers and cheese shops, produce and more, is an iconic landmark for Capitol Hill.

Mayor Fenty has pledged to rebuild the site, saying, “We’ll bring it back 100 percent. How could we not? It’s too much history to let it get burned away.” It took 160 firefighters to douse the blaze that started around 1am this morning. The fire seems to have begun in the dumpsters behind the building, then spread inside. At this time, it’s not known whether or not this is an accidental fire or an arson, but I have a feeling this is the number one priority for the police and fire departments today.

Market events will be cancelled for weeks to come as the investigations continue and the repairs ensue. This City is a poorer place for its absence. One of my first dates in this town was lunch at the lunch counter there. Mona told me that it was the only place she trusted to get her a good pastrami sandwich. She was right, it was incredible. And now it’s an empty burned hull.

Photo Credit: Nikki Kahn – The Washington Post Photo

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Green Line to National Airport?

This is an odd WMATA Metrorail sign for the Green Line: National Airport.

When the train arrived it was a Yellow Line train, suggesting that while Metrorail has its lines right it is not adjusting to the off-peak Yellow Line extention.

Might WMATA stop the confusion and make the extension both permanent and full service? Those of us who ride and work on the Yellow Line/Green Line would be appreciative.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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5 days till the Avon walk

One week from right now the Avon walk will be over. Last year the walk brought in 5.6 million bucks in the DC area and I presume this year well do at least as well. I discovered today that one of the other craft vendors we know is walking and tomorrow I’ll share her story and motivation with you, along with the link to make a donation to her team.

If you’re walking – or know someone who is – you can drop me an email if you like and include the link and a brief explanation of why you’re walking and what it means to you. I’ll post the first four I receive, once a day, Tuesday through Friday this coming week. Mail me at avonwalk.z.whiteside@spamgourmet.com. (No attachments, please, or it’ll be automatically scrapped. If you want to add a picture I’ll give you another opportunity to mail me something or you can provide me with a Flickr link.)

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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That seems unfair

One of my favorite tools the Washington Post online offers is their Congressional vote information and – more importantly – feeds. Using one of a bazillion RSS readers – I’m partial to Google Reader these days – you can track the votes for your representatives with a specificity that is maybe a little unhealthy. The only thing they’re lacking is a quick & easy way to determine your rep if you’re not sure. Senators are easy but House districts can be redrawn. Thankfully you can go to Project Vote Smart and there’s a finder on the left hand side.

Aside from enabling obsessive-compulsive behavior, they also do some useful aggregation like breakouts for late-night votes or most voted on. There’s not-so-useful too, like vote by astrological sign which is only available in the per-vote breakdown.

Then there’s vote missers, which seems like a way for you to get your indignant on and see who failed to do their legislative duty by showing up.

Except that the rolls are filled with folks who are/were sick and out for an extended period or, in the case of the #1 spot, dead. I personally think that there’s a fair number of good reasons to miss work, but departing the land of the living is without question the top qualifying category. Thankfully the listings have notes to indicate these things, but I feel sorry for poor Charles Norwood who seems destined to hold that top spot through the 110th Congress. His attendance record isn’t going to get any better as the term continues. It’s an unfortunate reflection on a man who was at work through the day he died, based on his votes

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Is Arlington the New No-Ice Cream Zone?

My wife and I had a hankering for ice cream yesterday and went out in search of it. I know there’s a Baskin Robbins store near my home but that’s not what we wanted. BR is really a dumbing-down of ice cream experience, comparable to drinking coffee from Starbucks or eating at the food court in the mall. It’s like the lowest common denominator of what people will eat and pay for.

It’s not bad, but it’s not good enough for me to want.

I figured we might find some nice, independent ice cream store between Ballston and Rosslyn but never found anything. Have all the mom and pop places been put out of business by the giant conglomerates like Baskin Robbins?

So tell me – what area ice cream places do you recommend? Sometimes a guy just needs a bit of cool sweetness on a warm day.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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One Less Fence Corner

This is what happens when cars do not stop when approaching Rock Creek Church Road in Petworth.

One less fence corner at the Soldier’s Retirement Home and presumably one less car too.

No word if it was a veteran headed home or trying to break out. Either way I am glad the tree was not involved.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Wherefore art thou?

Cell phone case

My dear Blackberry Sled, I am coming to join you. The emptiness I feel is like having something ripped from within me. I sit, perched atop this lookout, and try to see to that place, beyond the towers and the river, where you wait for my arrival. Though physical distance separates us, our hearts are together always.

Until we can be together, I will long for you and stay true to our vow.

I will be yours forever.

From Clarendon and lost without my soul,
I will always be,
Your Cell Phone Case

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Back to basics at WaPo’s real estate section

Personally I’m addicted to the Real Estate Mailbag and the range of pedestrian to esoteric questions answered there. For the less obsessive, WaPo has run several good articles in the last few days about the terms, players, and concepts in the real estate world. Today’s column by Benny Kass walks through the typical players in a home purchase and provides some basic guidance to some new potential buyers.

Hard to believe but it’s true – some people managed to avoid getting sucked into the home-buying craze this last decade.

Michelle Singletary’s column from Thursday breaks down the loan industry, filling you in on prime and sub-prime lending so that you can be clear on their meanings while you’re being terrified about the economy by radio news.

Lastly, if you need your hand held on just how psychotic some lending can be – and apprarently a lot of you do, since over 1 in 4 home owners don’t know what kind of mortgage they have (a statistic in Singletary’s article above :) – you can look at Jack Guttentag’s article on how it’s possible for you to have a loan that you make payments on slower than the interest is added.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Two Concert Thoughts

I wanted to keep these thoughts separate from my review of the Killers show because they have no bearing on the actual show itself, but rather indicate other trends at work in our culture.

Point the First: What’s up with half the audience wearing Killers shirts to a Killers show? Seriously? Didn’t any of you see PCU? The scene where Droz lambastes Gutter for wearing the shirt of the band he’s going to see to the concert? Nobody does that. You don’t wear the shirt for Frog and Toad are Friends to the Frog and Toad are Friends concert. You don’t wear Killers gear to a Killers show. Seriously, people, are you not aware of the rules governing such events?

Point the Second: I had to have seen 50-100 LCD screens lit up on the floor in front of the stage. There must be a complete video/picture record of the concert last night between the various kids with cameras. What’s that trend mean? Is this an issue of trying to capture more memories? Is it perhaps something related to the ephemeral nature of culture and an attempt to grasp pieces of that for posterity? What’s it mean? This one’s a bit more interesting than the first point, I’ll admit, but I’m not sure I can grasp it entirely.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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And Kickball Begins Again

Oh yeah, the sport I swore off a year ago is back in my life. Clock-stopping hottie has me playing kickball flip cup yet again.

I am not sure if I can take another year of Miller Lite in plastic cups but I will endure. What we all do for love.

And now it is time to lead the team in a cheap beer challenge. I may dislike the games but I am a kickball & flipcup master.

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The Killers At the Patriot Center

The Killers

Originally uploaded by robssouto.

All day yesterday, I was on the fence about going to see The Killers. Hot Fuss is quite possibly my favorite album of all time, and Sam’s Town is easily in the Top 50. Part of me was nervous, will they stand up to my imagination of their live show? Can they really sound that good in person?

The answer in short, is They Can, and They Did. Last night’s sold out show at the Patriot Center was an opulent, yet slightly trashy, burst of Las Vegas fueled Rock and Roll that pulsed and throbbed at the right moments, and shone bright like a star when it needed to. It was replete with the glorious rock cliches, like glitter cannons and seizure-inducing light displays, but the heart and soul and urgency of their music was right there at the front of the stage.

Highlights of last night’s show included a slowed-down dirge version of “Uncle Jonny” that was amazing. The intensity of the already-rocky song was clicked up just the extra notch to drive home both the tragedy and ecstacy of drug addiction. The high-tempo version of “Read My Mind” was clearly the band’s favorite song of the night, all their performances were elevated beyond their normal level. Ending the show with “Mr. Brightside,” I wondered what they could possibly have planned for the encore. The crowd was screaming and demanding more before the band had even left the stage.

They came back out, much to the delight of the crowd, to perform “For Reasons Unknown”, Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”, a new song that I didn’t recognize, and they finished the encore set with “All These Things That I’ve Done,” that left the crowd exhausted, in post-rockgasmic bliss. Brandon Flowers standing on the blocks on the front of stage, holding out the microphone over the screaming crowd, singing “I’ve got Soul, but I’m not a Soldier” is the image that’s just burned into my consciousness from last night. It comes back unbidden in my sleep, and in my morning routine. That’s the sign of a great concert, the one that bubbles up in your consciousness days later.

Well done, Killers.

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my 5 minutes of intartubes fame

Hey, remember that comedy class I took? When I invited the other Metrobloggers to the show, it was with the caveat that I wasn’t ready to publicize the event here and I was really only inviting friends. A Metroblogger who will remain nameless agreed, on the condition that after the show, blogging and critique would be fair game, and there might even be a recording posted.

Well, that Metroblogger didn’t actually show up, but there was indeed a recording of the performance. Now you can see my 5 minutes, all without having to sit through an old guy telling graphic self-gratification jokes first! The YouTube video his hidden behind the jump.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Shaw’s Super Bloggy

Shaw: slum historique

Originally uploaded by David Boyle in DC.

Outside.in is reporting that of the ten most bloggy neighborhoods in the world, DC’s own Shaw is number two! Joining Brooklyn, which is #1, and LA’s Downtown (#3), Shaw is one of over 3000 location-based blogs that are tracked by Outside.in, in 59 cities around the world.

Featured among the posts listed today, are a review of a local play, a call for volunteers to clean up Eckington this weekend, a Cry to save the Queen of Sheba’s liquor license, some local renovation progress. There’s so much to the DC blog world, go find your neighborhood on Outside.in and read up!

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forget the headliner, I’m here to see the opening act

The Silver BeatsTom and I went to see The Killers at the Patriot Center last night. They were awesome- glitzed up stage show, great performance, blah-blah-blah they were the headliners and of course they were great. That’s not what I’m here to talk about, and I’m sure Tom will tell you all about it later.

What you NEED TO KNOW is that the middle act (not the lackluster Red Romance) was a Japanese Beatles cover band. The Silver Beats have clearly been working on their impressions of the Beatles for a long, long time, but it paid off- they sound uncannily like John, Paul, George, and Ringo, and got more love than any unknown opening act I’ve ever seen. The best part was that they looked like they were having as much fun as the Beatles themselves were on their first US tour. And of course, it’s always nice when the opening act is playing songs you can sing along to.

I’d pay just to see these guys. You should too. I think they’re headed straight back to Tokyo when they get done with The Killers, so if you find yourself there, be sure to hit the Cavern Club and check them out.

(photo courtesy The Silver Beats)

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Spreading Like Grease Fire

Five Guys

I feel like I’m becoming the resident restaurant reviewer for Metblogs, at least when it comes to Dupont Circle. Last week I wrote about a refreshing new restaurant, Circa of Dupont, which makes me miss the old tenant (Wrap Works) like I miss mullet haircuts. Uh, no, I don’t miss them at all.

Well on the other side of the food spectrum, a new but familiar face has popped up. That’s right, Five Guys. Right next door to the Cosi at Connecticut and R, this place came out of nowhere. Their space is a little tight on seating, but if you’re craving a good dose of grease, this is the place for you and your appetite.

I remember when I first ate at Five Guys, the Georgetown location to be exact, I was NOT impressed. I’d read reviews and heard people say how amazing their burgers are. But my first impression was that their food was greasy and bland. I mean the paper bag that the fries came in was soaked through with grease spots. As Borat would say, “Niiice!” Since then, I’ve come to enjoy their burgers and fries. They’re freshly made, you order them with the toppings that you want, and the fries are fried in peanut oil, not some animal lard like the other fast food chains.

So what say you? Is Five Guys overrated grease, or the best damn burger in town?

Ugh. I feel fatter just writing about this.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs