Archive for December, 2006

great moments in bad decisions

The story about the guy who got drunk on last night’s United Flight 1295 from DC to Fort Myers and then threw a tantrum is amusing, but by itself not particularly newsworthy. Even the fact that he hit another passenger during his alcohol-fueled hissy-fit isn’t that notable.

Why am I writing about it?

The passenger this moron hit is a federal air marshal. Genius, pure genius.

Even better? The passenger, Andrew Kowalczyk, leaned over to the OTHER marshal on the flight right before he did it and said, “I don’t know who this guy in front of me thinks he is, but I’m going to whoop his ass.”

Mr. Kowalczyk was arrested when the plane landed after having been “isolated in first class” for the remainder of the flight. First class?! That’s not much of a punishment. Shove his belligerent ass into coach between the smelly guy and the gaggle of screaming children.

World Weary Leaders…

DirckHalstead-GeraldFord.jpgAnd you think YOUR job is stressful. I’ve always had this idea in the back of my mind when assessing the wear and tear on a person given the job of, well, leading the world. This recent Washington Post article about how the job has taken it’s toll on the man, especially his facial features, if not emotionally. We have George W.Bush, of course, then Bill Clinton, both relative youngsters when they entered the job. Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush had a bit more time under their belts when assuming the role (although, this photo makes GHWB look sprightly and young ). I know a few older presidents definitely showed, both in their face, and health, of what that role could do to them, especially Lyndon B. Johnson and Franklin D. Roosevelt (I’m sorry, nothing could help Nixon). Does anybody have other theories or good pictures/stories of the worn down “leaders of the free world”?

New Rule: Burroughs + WMATA = Porn Star Arrests

I ask you, is this coincidence? Could this be chance? Could there be a WMATA Burroughs pimp trend? It sure looks that way, what with WMATA announcing:

Theophilis Ammon Burroughs, Jr., a part-time bus operator, has been arrested on a warrant and charged with first degree child sexual abuse in connection with allegedly having sex with a minor on a Metrobus last week.

The complainant, a 15-year-old female, reported the incident to a witness, who assisted her in making a report to the Metro Transit Police. Burroughs and the young girl allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse in the bus after it finished its afternoon run shortly after 6 p.m. on December 19.

Now just to make the coincidence even more bazaar, this Burroughs worked out of the Bladensburg Bus Garage just like the original Burroughs.

No word if they both worked Route 97, drove Range Rovers, and volunteered at High Schools too.

My DC Holiday Pit Stop

Today is my DC Holiday Pit Stop, a relaxing one-day respite. This year we decided to do the Dreaded Double, the Equitable Split – two Christmases, one with my family, one with his. We just returned last night from Phase One: Florida, and tomorrow depart for Phase Two: Pennsylvania. I know I’m not alone in doing this kind of holiday, and I certainly am happy I’m not traveling with kids or cats or dogs (we saw at least one cat, six dogs, and countless babies in the airports – I don’t know how people do it).

So we’re spending a decadent day lolling around, sleeping the morning away (yes, I slept til a slothful 1pm!), breaking for a sushi lunch at Thai Chef, stopping in for hair products at VSL, writing on my laptop while listening to drum-n-bass, the usual ridiculous urban cliches. All necessary antidotes, and a preparation to leave again.

It’s always fascinating to leave DC for completely different environments. The return feels like a re-entry from outer space or deep sea diving. Neither of which I’ve actually ever done, so as usual I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. But indulge me here in a few comparisons.

The difference between the airport security lines of DCA vs. RSW, for one. At DCA, people go through the security lines with a jaded resignation. Everyone looks slightly tense as they remove their shoes and coats and hand grenades, grumbling at the newbie travelers who whine to the TSA reps about why they have to take off their hoodies and flip-flops. It’s a slow shuffle, a cattle call, a death march.

At RSW (that’s Fort Myers, FL) it’s like a game. Everyone’s cheerful, from the teens joking with the laughing guards, to the TSA rep standing in front of a table of samples of what not to bring in your carry-on, smiling and gesturing like an aged Vanna White. People are practically skipping through the lines. Maybe they really do put soma in the water down there.

Humbug: DC Christmas attractions

This year, my wife and I stayed home for Christmas day. After exchanging gifts, we headed over the Ellipse in the hope of walking around the Pagent of Peace before the forecasted rain. Unfortunately, our hopes were dashed when we arrived to discover the gate was not going to be opened until noon. That is not unreasonable, park rangers deserve to have Christmas morning too, but it would not have hurt to have the lights on.

We then headed to Union Station to take in the 10th Annual Norwegian Christmas. It was beautiful of course, but the model train wasn’t running. We held out until noon hoping it would be turned on, but no such luck. For the $6 we paid to park, I would have liked to have seen the train in action. I guess expecting Christmas attractions to be available in all their glory on Christmas day is too much.

Ah, the Sweet Smell of Fredericksburg Gasoline

Whenever I meet someone who thinks Virginia has nothing to offer other than traffic congestion or moonshining hillbillies, I remind them that Fredericksburg consistently has some of the least expensive gasoline on the East Coast. And, as if by magic, when I leave Myrtle Beach with a full tank it will be just enough to get me to the Fredericksburg Exxon, where last night regular unleaded was just $2.19. Good times.

I don’t know the economic reasons for this. I’ll just assume they’re sitting on an oil field manned by locals wearing Civil War uniforms. In any case, until VA rest stops get Wi-fi, filling up down Fredericksburg way will be my favorite part of driving through the Old Dominion.

Gerald Ford, 38th POTUS – Dead at 93

My first president (being born in ’75), died on Tuesday. Albeit he took over in a time of crisis, both during a war and the defiling of an office, he rose above his station and led the country forward. I’m sure there will be a number of obits regarding his life over the next few days, but somebody who wasn’t necessarily remembered as “great” during his term, should be remembered fondly today. Someone so connected to this city, someone who changed this city so much.

LA Times – AP Obituary

CNN Coverage

WaPo Obituary

Why you should support alternative energy sources

shakerscollection.jpgIt’s that time of year again. The annual rite of passage of getting “toasted” on New Years, with yourself and/or your significant other. It seems the WaPo likes to publish the fun stories late in the evening, like this one about the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (Minnesota) who, besides making that gasoline additive we all know and love, as a byproduct, with some cajoling of new equipment, hi-test Vodka!

Now that’s some pretty, hiccup, cool ingenuity, burp! I wonder what other flavors they’ll come up with. Just hopefully you’ll get out of the party without having gasoline breath!

Holiday Travel at National Airport: A Welcome Relief

I have to say that flying out of DCA is a breeze, at least in my experience. I am working with a skewed set of comparisons, though, so this may not be a fair assessment. Even during the holiday rush a few days ago, the security personnel were very friendly, wishing me and my million or so traveling companions that day a good flight and hustling us through in a speedy manor. My basis of comparison may not be fair. I have flown extensively out of airports in Boston, Providence and Hartford in the last several years and up there the security people seem about as willing to do a cavity search as scan your carry-on bags. It’s like they are itching for a fight sometimes.

At any rate, it’s good to be someplace where the security folks are good to people and the general feeling is positive, or at least neutral. Usually neutral is about as good as it gets but this time I was delighted to meet such friendly folks.

I just hope that when I return home to DC in a few days that things go even half as smoothly and that I am eventually reunited with my bags at the end of this long trip I am on!

How Stupid Do You Have To Be

Okay, so this is last Friday news… and to those of you who read, it’s even older news… but it seems the news outlets finally discovered it and put a name with the nom-de-plume… although it wasn’t that hard…

You see, with the election season coming full-steam ahead, it seems a certain Congressional staffer wanted to change his grades at his higher-education institution so his resume would seem even more perfect (I never saw the original, but if it was paired with a stint at 7-11, he need all the help he could get). The soon to be communications director for Representative Denny Rehberg (R-Montana), Todd Shriber, contacted the caustic staff of Attrition to help him hack into the university computers of his alma-mater. Maybe because he didn’t read close enough (it’s official title is Attrition On-Line, not to be confused with America On-Line… which enough do)… but he got led along for months, including a request for photos of pigeons and squirrels

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