Archive for August, 2006

Talk about the Weather.

You’ve been there: waiting for a bus, taking a smoke break, standing on an elevator… right next to someone. The lack of conversation in such a small proximity is stifling. But what could you say to start a conversation with a stranger? If you’re like me, you probably start questioning your own character for having no more to offer than a polite “Hello.” And then, without fail, your mind-reading companion busts out with some Weathertalk. Oh, you sweet savior of the conversationless. However awkward and forced it may be, Weathertalk is the glue that holds together your cohesive unit at the bus stop. We can all talk about the weather! Hooray Beer! Uh, I mean… Hooray Weathertalk!

And we’re fortunate here in DC, if you don’t like the weather, just go inside and wait a few hours. Write that down, try it later. I guarantee you can draw at least a chuckle from your smoke break companion.

DC Hack Inspector Strikes Again!

How’s that for a sight never seen before: A DC Hack Inspector giving a taxi driver a ticket.

Yeah, I didn’t know we had hack inspectors either, definitely not by the way DC taxi drivers try to cheat us every damn trip or gouge the tourists mercilessly. But we do.

Six even, apparently. I talked with D.C. Walters, Hack Inspector, for a good 30 minutes on his job and the city’s taxi system. Here’s a few tips I learned:

  1. If you think you’ve been cheated, and its 9-5 M-F, call the Taxi Commission Hotline – they’ll send a hack inspector to investigate.
  2. If you’re think the ride is too much other times, cal the cops. They’ll care, I’m sure.
  3. There are supposed to be a dozen hack inspectors, but due to past budget cuts, there are only six now.
  4. The Taxi Cab Commission is supposed to increase the number of hack inspectors to 16.. soon
  5. DC hack inspectors have no comment on the zone system, no matter how hard you try to get them to come out for or against it.
  6. Taxis can get tickets from hack inspectors for sitting at a designated taxi stand – if its rush hour and there are no standing/no parking signs

Oh, just in case you’re in need, Inspector Walters can be reached on 202.210.7465 during normal business hours.

Happy Birthday, Lewis Black

lbbig.jpg Happy Birthday to local son and generally hilarious mofo Lewis Black, who turns 58 today.

To stir the pot, I’d like to present you with a couple of choice Lewis Black quotes about his hometown:

“I’m from Silver Spring, but I tell people I’m from Washington, DC. Because if you tell people you’re from Silver Spring, they think you’re a pussy.”

And of course:

“Its only claim to fame is that it’s the largest unincorporated city in America. In other words, we were too lazy to govern ourselves. The town motto was, ‘I’d like to vote, but I don’t feel like driving.'”

His latest HBO special, Lewis Black: Red, White, and Screwed was filmed right here at the Warner Theater downtown. Tom and I went to the filming, and you can read his comments from the MBDC archives.

Flickr Adds Geotagging

Flickr TaggingEver-popular online photo server Flickr has launched a sweet new Geotagging feature that takes advantage of locational data that you can put into your stream.

Check out this awesome map of DC with spots that show off some of the locations that have been photographed by all you DC shutter bugs! Great shots of the Capitol, of the monuments and Mall, of DC’s districts and wards all over town. Isn’t this awesome?

Transient Spin

“A Transient City.” You tend to hear that phrase a lot when people describe Washington. “Everyone Here is from Somewhere Else.” “No One Stays in DC.”

Irritating as it may be, it’s understandable that some people persist in believing this is a city solely made up of interns and politicos who change with the seasons. After all, it’s a large part of our economy and culture. But what really bugs me about these comments is that people tend to make them as if DC were somehow more transient than any other city, or has less native residents. There’s always an assumption of truth in these statements without any data to back them up, other than the lame “Well, I’ve never met a Native Washingtonian, ” or, “Personally, I don’t plan on living here long.”

So I decided to pull some data from the US Census and see how DC compares with other American cities. Obviously I have my own bias in interpreting the results, so draw your own conclusions from this handy little chart I whipped up, and let me know what you think (other than the obvious, “Damn Jenn, you must be bored today!”)…
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Dremo’s Last Days?

When I first moved here, it was Ningaloo, and I played pool on the tables there in the summertime, drank beer out of pitchers and flirted with the bartendress. Then it was closed, and it eventually became Dr. Dremo, or just Dremo’s. Good beer on tap, old video games, interesting interior decor, and famously, no air conditioning. Now they’re down to what could be the last days of Dremo:

Dremo’s lease runs out at the end of August ’06. The developer’s plans are up for review at two Arlington county meetings: project planning meeting Sept 5 ’06 and the county board meeting September 16 ’06. We are guessing we are safe until Sept 16th. If the plans are approved, then the sale will take place and we will have to get out. What we don’t know, is when we will have to get out. It could be Sept 1st, it could be January 1st. We don’t know.

It would suck to lose such an august member of the Beer Bar Family in the DC area, air conditioning or no, just to put up yet more condos. Please go out and support Dremo at the Arlington County Council Meeting on the 16th.

free ice cream at 14th and K

PNC Bank is giving out free ice cream right now in front of its new K Street branch.

If you want your own, hurry up. I got a Nutty Buddy and they were going fast.

Salsa dancing is good for social justice

A friend who is new to town tipped me to the salsa nights held by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission. For $5, you get a salsa lesson, drink specials, and door prizes. Your super-cheap salsa lesson fee will benefit the GHRC’s mission to end political violence, violence against women, and other human rights abuses in Guatemala.

Shaking your ass for a good cause. What could be better?

Metro Fires Politicking Driver

Last week, we wrote about the the bus driver who loved some Vitamin C, and promoted Vincent Orange for Mayor on his bus route, asking his riders to think about the votes on September 12th. While I can support his civic-mindedness, and certainly his drive to educate DC’s voting populace about the upcoming race, his devotion to his candidate has indirectly cost him his job. After the Post’s article on Sidney Davis, he was suspended for improper behavior on the job, and now he’s been fired for failing to disclose a criminal record.

Davis has been out of prison since 1992, and crime-free, so it strikes me that Metro’s decision, while to the letter, policy-wise, will do it more harm than good. We hope they reconsider, as it appears that aside from Davis’ proselytizing for Vincent Orange, he’s been a good driver, and we all know how rare that is on the Metrobus system. WMATA has released Dan Tangherlini’s response to Vincent Orange (PDF) who had petitioned for Davis to be given only disciplinary action, not a dismissal. In addition, WMATA’s Lisa Farbstein has said that the Post and other news sources have “missed the point” with regard to their stories.

So, what is the point? That their driver was fired for failing to disclose a criminal record, something that apparently they were not checking on their own? How “routine” was the personnel file review, if it resulted from the Post’s initial story on Davis? Goes to show, if they’re looking to fire you, they’ll find just about any reason under the sun to do it.

Restaurants for Relief

In memorium of Katrina, today is Dine out Tuesday, sponsored by Restaurants for Relief. Funds raised by participating restaurants will support continued efforts to rebuild the Gulf Coast, not to mention the lives of those directly affected by the disaster.

Strength.org contains a list of participating restaurants, pop in your zipcode, and Robert’s your father’s brother. Georgetown has a slew of participating restaurants, get out and grab some good eats, I’ll be here slaving away at my desk, just remember to feed me when I start drooling.

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