The Nats today traded one of their oldest players and one of their newest, right before the trade deadline at 4pm today. Nick Johnson, one of two players remaining from Opening Day in 2005, is off to Florida in a straight up deal for left-hander Aaron Thompson, currently with the Marlins’ AA affiliate, and Joe Beimel is off to Colorado in exchange for a pair of unnamed minor-leaguers. With Johnson gone, the only remaining “original National” is Cristian Guzman, pictured above. Willingham will likely take over 1st base for a bit.
It’s the last day of July, and I had no idea it was Rickey Month here in DC. Not surprising really, as I’m so out of it these days.
Wait, what’s a rickey? You didn’t know we have a cool native cocktail? Yep, back in the 1880′s at Shoomaker’s Tavern on Pennsylvania Avenue, publican George Williamson concocted a drink for Colonel Rickey with bourbon, lime and seltzer. Starting last year the DC Craft Bartenders Guild declared July Rickey Month and held a contest for best rickey in the city – and they are doing it again. The bourbon can be replaced by any base spirit and contestants are free to embelish the basic ingredients with say, herbs, flowers and spice.
Peruse the gallery of drinks in competition and then head out this weekend to try as many as you can. Or head over to Bourbon this Monday night to sample and witness the judgement. Festivities start at 6:30pm and it costs $10. Nice way to beat the heat with historical flair.
I really, really thought that we were done with things called “Extreme”. I mean, it’s not like anything with that label in the last few years has actually be an extreme, let alone an outlier, but it became edgy somewhere along the lines. But, since when has been being beaten-like-a-dead-horse stopped a good marketing campaign? So, imagine my surprise to see a big sign in front of 1010 Massachussetts advertising XXTreme Residences at XXMass (1010 Mass. How clever.) and suggesting that folks act quickly, as few units remained.
Surely with a town this creative, you could’ve found better marketroids, Ten Ten. Or, at least made sure that the units in question allowed for base jumping access to the roof and had rock-climbing access to the brick façade…
Car, meet tree by magnetbox
According to Alert DC, that annoying yet informative service that notifies you of water main breaks, car accidents, and even heat emergencies, all westbound lanes on I-66 are blocked just outside of DC due to a downed tree. Between the possibility of severe thunderstorms, 60 mph winds, and now fallen timber on the highway, your commute may be less than enjoyable tonight.
The good news is, it’s Friday.
“Is that a picture of Obama with a Hitler mustache?” Why yes, it is. One of many delightful images being displayed at La Rouche PAC’s table setup at 3rd and Penn this afternoon. There, they were handing out pamphlets entitled “Act Now to Stop Obama’s Nazi Health Plan” and asking passers-by “When did Obama lose his mind?” When I asked the woman didn’t she think they were being a little bit overdramatic and purposely capitalizing on people’s fear and resistance to socialized health care with their Hitler comparisons, she responded flatly that this was entirely serious. Wow, whacko indoctrination at its best. There is so much wrong and upsetting about these people — who among other things, quoted back Obama’s words about his dying grandmother to support their argument that he is proposing healthcare similar to Hitler’s T-4 plan — that I can’t begin. But just wow. I’m all for educated and educational health care debate and for the First Amendment, but ugh *shudders*.
So, Dustin “Screech” Diamond is headlining the comedy show at Listrani’s in Arlington tonight and tomorrow. The fact that you probably didn’t know that Listrani’s Pizza had comedy is your hint about how well it functions as a comedy club. The fact that Screech is headlining it is your hint about how well his career is going. (The pizza is pretty tasty though, if you’re wondering.)
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t even mention it, because usually I make it a point to only highlight local comedians, but a) Mike Eltringham is opening for him, and Mike is quite funny even if Diamond skates by on the novelty of being Screech-All-Growed-Up-And-Cussin’, and b) Eltringham wrote a HI-FREAKING-LARIOUS blog takedown of Diamond’s contract rider, in light of his upcoming appearance at Listrani’s. You really, really should click through and read the whole thing, but here’s a highlight:
HOSPITALITY: Purchaser to provide at no cost to Artist the following in his dressing room:
* 4 half-liter bottles of non-carbonated spring water. (2 chilled, 2 at room temp. )
* 4 cans of Red Bull
* 2 pints chocolate milk, 2 pints 2% milk (chilled.)
* 4 x 20 ounce bottles of Pepsi or Coke (chilled.)
* If performing in a club, 6 bottles of Michelob Ultra or Miller Lite per day.
Have you ever came home from a long day of work and thought, “Christ, did I have a long day today. I can’t wait to ease into my favorite recliner, kick my feet up, and begin consuming 2 liters of water, 80 ounces of Coke, 4 pints of milk (two of which are chocolate, all of which are chilled), 4 Red Bulls, and 6 bottles of Michelob Ultra or Miller Lite? Then I’ll really be able to unwind!”
Seriously, go read it.
I think I’m getting addicted to that subtle tingle of anticipation I get when I sit down at a restaurant I’ve never been to before and unfold the menu. I crave that now – ordering a meal and wondering what exactly will appear. I adore the buzz of a place, the low murmur or the boisterous laughter. I like the sleekest of scenes, the sound of my high heels on a polished floor and the dingiest of hole-in-the walls with foamy beer right off the tap. There’s a small miracle in being given a whole list of options, choosing the ones you like best, and then having them brought to you and placed right in front of you (!) for you to devour, judge, accept or reject – when is that experience ever replicated in life? I love not having to cook, I love the simplicity of the process. I love having a dish presented to me, no matter what. I appreciate the showiest constructed dish with sprigs of Rosemary, stacks of accoutrement and a carefully placed spruce of tartare to the simplest plain white bowl of grits topped with shrimp. I love the smells. I love the sounds. I love the possibilities. I love the interactions. In the simplest of statements, I love restaurants.
Good thing I’ve found an outlet for my adoration. I know it sounds a bit overboard, my little poetic waxing about restaurants – I mean, they dot every corner of DC, from Wisconsin to New York Ave. They come in all sizes, all standards, serve a number of purposes. To love something so mundane to someone else might seem silly. But I am unabashedly, unashamedly in love with the food in this fine city. This month was slightly less busy than the last, and August is gearing up to be on par. There have been openings, there have been new menus to try, and there have been simple dinners out with friends. Out of all the places I’ve eaten this month, here are my favorite dishes from eat places within the Beltway. Continue reading
Bread for the City and the Coalition for Community Investment have teamed up to launch the new website Save our Safety Net.com and get the word out about the ramifications of proposed District budget cuts. DC is almost $200 million in debt, a severe problem for the future growth and health of the district. However, nearly half of the proposed budget cuts will affect social services and programs for low-income individuals.
What specific programs will be effected by these cuts? Programs that support rental assistance, adoption subsidies, financial assistance to grandparents taking care of grandchildren, adult literacy and workforce development, to name a few. Sign the petition today and let city officials know that the debt of the city cannot be paid on the backs of its poorest residents.
I’ll admit it; I was a little nervous about going to see two movies about our food supply on two consecutive evenings — Food, Inc., playing in area theaters, and FRESH, at a special screening Wednesday night.
I didn’t know much about FRESH, but what I’d heard about Food, Inc. was to eat something organic beforehand. My imagination ran wild. How disgusting was this going to be? Would I have to start eating seaweed for breakfast? And what if I came out of the theater feeling really compelled to change something? The horrors!
It wasn’t quite what I expected.
Food, Inc. may masquerade as a boring documentary, but really it’s a thriller, full of espionage and ex-military company types roughing up farmers in the black of night, arrests and cover-ups and mad scientist types turning corn into Coke and Cheez-Its. Of course there are blood and guts — those are prerequisites for any box-office hit — but the message wasn’t all kumbaya about growing broccoli and whatnot. It was about how giant corporations run by evil, squinty-eyed people are controlling the food supply.
In essence, this movie’s about rights — among them, yours and mine to know what we’re eating and to order a burger without a side of e-coli. Cool concept, huh? So now for the big question — if you go see this flick, will you ever want to eat again? Continue reading
‘I don’t know TWITTER WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME’
courtesy of ‘Torley’ based on the original illustration by twitter user @yiyinglu
The National Symphony Orchestra got the cute idea to send out program notes via Twitter for their performance of Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony” last night. As someone who finds detailed program notes invaluable in my ability to appreciate music, I think this is something I probably would have signed up for; and indeed concertgoers who tried it successfully reported that it enriched their concert experience. But the NSO didn’t count on their audience not being able to figure out Twitter, and on cell carriers’ general inability to deliver text messages in a timely manner. (Guys: this is why we use Twitter clients and mobile web. Srsly.)
(Of course, no mainstream media article on a company’s use of Twitter would be complete without the obligatory “OMG, what do people DO on Twitter” dig, no matter how COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT it is to the actual topic of the article, and WaPo’s article is no exception. Thanks, guys!)
So apparently when the economy is in the shitter, people spend money on learning new languages. Who knew? Arlington-based Rosetta Stone, maker of popular language-learning software, reported $56.5 million Q2 revenue this quarter as compared to $47.7 million in the 2nd quarter of 2008, and saw a 26% increase in the average cost of its language software to $361. So not only do people take to learning new languages during an economic meltdown, they are also willing to spend MORE money to do so? Huh? Continue reading
Your neighbor is turning the big 4-8 next week. But what do you give him as a gift? Fresh-baked cookies? Some squash from the garden? Unfortunately, he already has a team of chefs as well as his own vegetable garden. And then there’s the 747, a huge personal staff, mansion, cute dog and pretty much everything else. President Barack Obama turns another year older on Tuesday, August 4th. But what will close neighbors (as in the people who work in his house) and DC’s biggest names be getting for him? Politico published an article on this today and I just had to pick a few favorites out of the list.
One of the owners of the DC landmark establishment Ben’s Chili Bowl wants to send Obama an entire case of chili half-smokes! Yum. Newt Gingrich wants to give him a week in Hawaii with the fam (is Newt going soft?). Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT) will throw in a pair of Wranglers and a ShamWow to clean up the economy. In fact, he says he will throw in two because, if he remembers correctly, they come in pairs. And Rep. Westmoreland (R-GA) will so graciously donate a copy of the Constitution to the President (pretty sure they already have a few copies at 1600 Penn., but I get the symbolic joke). Check out the full list here. So, what are you giving your NW neighbor on Tuesday?
The Nationals face their fifth trade deadline today at 4pm, and the latest on the trade wires is that The Nats will stand pat. Of course, there are still serious offers for Nick Johnson (a minor league pitcher from the Marlins) and Joe Beimel (prospects from the Tigers system) and Josh Willingham (the Giants are still interested, but aren’t publicizing talks), but it’s expected that the Nats are going to keep the deck chairs on this Titanic in their current configuration.
Instead, the Nats will likely spend the next two weeks trying to convince Scott Boras and Stephen Strasburg that DC is a decent place to live and play ball. However, it’s hard to think that a team with an interim GM and an interim manager is going to make much of an impression on anyone.
Welcome to another edition of Where We Live. This week we’ll be looking at a whole section of the city that is rapidly changing: the section of Northeast DC north of Massachusetts Avenue and south of Florida Avenue. This area has a LOT of different names: Near Northeast, H Street, the Atlas District, NoMa (for NOrth of Massachusetts Ave), North Capitol Hill, and the list goes on. This part of town is known for the new office buildings in NoMa, the retail/theater/restaurant district on H Street NE, and the quiet, residential neighborhoods that surround them.
History: Florida Avenue was once called Boundary Avenue, and was the northernmost boundary of Pierre L’Enfant’s plan for Washington, so this area was part of the original City of Washington. H Street NE has been the site of major transportation milestones in the history of the city: the Bladensburg Turnpike was a tollgate and entrance to the city, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad was constructed in 1835 and the proximity to Union Station transformed this area, in 1849 H Street itself was built, and the H Street Streetcar was opened in 1872. The streetcar spurred a great deal of development in the area, and streetcars were running along the corridor until 1949.
Throughout the 1900s the area was a major commercial hub of Washington, with department stores, theaters, and restaurants lining H Street. However, the riots in 1968 following Martin Luther King’s assassination devastated the neighborhood, and many businesses, theaters, and restaurants moved out to the suburbs. On H Street, the suburban-style, car-oriented development created pedestrian-unfriendly environment, and the lack of a nearby Metro station meant that the area remained a car-focused corridor. However, in the last several years, the area has seen a resurgence in development. It is now home to a thriving theater scene, a variety of restaurants, and a growing number of shops. It is once again becoming a pedestrian-friendly district, and with plans of a streetcar in the future, it may one day regain its status as DC’s main commercial district. Next door, NoMa is also rapidly changing from an old warehouse district to a major employment center with over 1,000 hotel rooms, 8,000 residential units, a new grocery store, and new restaurants and shops.
Washington Business Journal reported yesterday that Reston, VA-based comScore networks, a company that collects data on the Web-surfing habits of millions of people around the world and uses the data to measure Web traffic and shopping habits, reported an increase of 9% in 2nd quarter earnings as compared to Q2 of 2008. The company generated $31.3 million in revenue this past quarter and its President and CEO, Magid Abraham, attributed the successful quarter to steady renewals amongst large-midsized clients to its growth, admitting that smaller businesses who were more affected by the economic downturn have not been renewing their membership with comScore. The company went public in June 2007 and has been competing with Nielsen Ratings for dominance in the online user analytics space since.
Andy Roddick by Not enough megapixels
This afternoon Mayor Fenty and other district officials will complete the Official Draw for the Legg Mason Tennis Classic which kicks off tomorrow morning. In its 41st edition, the US Open Series event will feature three of the world’s top 10 and ten of the top 20 players, including (as usual) #5 ranked Andy Roddick, #6 Juan Martin Del Potro, #8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and #11 Fernando Gonzalez.
Folks, this is Jack Kingston. He’s a Republican representative from the 1st District of Georgia, and he’s the latest in a long line of politicians to interfere in DC’s Home Rule. He has submitted an amendment to a House bill that would prevent needle exchange within 1,000 feet of any gathering place for children, a map for which looks pretty sparse. But, since Rep Kingston has displayed such an interest in looking out for the District, you can now give him a call for all of your constituent service issues:
Rep. Jack Kingston
2368 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5831
Fax: (202) 226-2269
Well, this sounds like my worst nightmare. The Washington Post is reporting that ten people were trapped inside the Woodley Park Metro station elevator for about an hour and a half this afternoon. NBC reports that six adults and four children were on board, and one baby suffered respiratory problems.
Anyway, the good news is that everyone was rescued around 4 PM, and everyone is expected to be fine. I’m going to try to pretend this never happened, as I already have an irrational fear of getting trapped in an elevator, and getting stuck in a super-deep one in a Metro station sounds terrifying.
‘American Dream, after Grant Wood’
courtesy of ‘Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com’
The Washington Post has put together a handy little map on DC area foreclosures, including a few tools to help you see the breakdown of auctioned homes by zip code and time period over the last few years. The foreclosing of residential real estate is one of the biggest indicators of a recessed economy. And while it is the effect or result of a failing economy, it’s also one of the biggest contributing causes to the continuation of that faltering economy. It’s a downright nasty cycle to be stuck in and most likely you know at least one person who has had to suffer because of it. But if you live in Arlington or Bethesda…you probably only know one. Other neighborhoods in our area have not been so lucky.
Clinton, Annandale, Petworth? Ouch. They’ve each had between 500 and 1000 foreclosures over the last 2.5 years. Herndon, Manassas, Woodbridge? Wow – now you’re talking over 1,000 each. Including over 3,000 for Woodbridge, VA, the hardest hit neighborhood in the DC metro area. If you live there, you probably know more than a handful of people who’ve lost their homes.