Archive for December, 2007

Abstract DC

I’m always impressed when a local photographer finds a way to show one of our beloved monuments in a new way or with a new light. Flickr user jtnhogs does just that with this photo taken behind the Lincoln Memorial. Captured at dusk, the sky is still blue, setting up a great rule of thirds photo. With the top of the memorial peaking over the top and the streak of car lights below, he’s created a very cool shot. This makes me want to take my camera and tripod out for some night shooting. Eh, maybe when it’s a little warmer.

You Can Have Our Freedom, But You’ll Never Take Away Our POSTMARK!

After all the foofaraw about the Postmark last week, it’s nice to see some action about the problem. Delegate Holmes-Norton and Postmaster Moore figured out that this really was pretty stupid to have mail coming from DC labelled with a postmark in Suburban Maryland most of the time. So, rejoice those of you who have yet to mail your Christmas Cards, they could still get a DC postmark, even if they’re processed in Gaithersburg!

In recognition of your initiatiative here’s your suspension

Today’s Washington Post reports (on page 4??) that Lt. Gerald Burton, a DC firefighter, has been dealt a two day suspension without pay for putting out a fire.

I’m trying to keep an open mind about this and consider the possible reasons this could be a valid disciplinary action. Was Lt. Burton not running with a full compliment of crew and this an unsafe course of action? Are there certification issues, given that he was on his way to a training class – perhaps there’s periodic refreshers he or his companion on the truck needed. The WaPo article is somewhat one-sided – there seems to be no official word from the DCFD, even a “we cannot comment on pending” blah blah blah.

However it’s hard for any of us who’ve dealt with city government to not wonder if this is simply business as usual in DC, with any sign of self-guidance being stomped on. Would anyone who went beyond orders to try to bring attention to the massive embezzlement going on have been disciplined for disobeying a direct command? it’s pretty hard for me to figure out what justifies not just a statement on someone’s record but taking two day’s work away from them… for being possibly too aggressive – if that’s possible – in putting out a fire and protecting lives and property.

UPDATE: I mailed the DC FD public information officer (his phone number went to voicemail), the correspondence after the jump

DC’s Best Wine Bar

I believe that you like a restaurant or bar based partially on the quality of its food and/or drink, but also based on the experience you had there. Did you propose to your fiancĂ©e at The Inn at Little Washington? No doubt you’ll always have a fond place in your heart for that restaurant. Did your gag reflex kick in when you walked in the door of Lauriol Plaza, only to see it packed wall to wall with wannabe hipsters wearing way too much cologne and perfume? Well then the kick ass margaritas and fajitas probably didn’t improve your first impression much. So what is Uncle Max trying to say? Well, based on the quality of their wine, cheese, and service, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that DC’s best wine bar is none other than Veritas.

My first experience there wasn’t anything to write home about, but all in all it was a pleasant evening and I knew that I would be back. Note that if you’re looking to have a quiet glass of wine, this is not the place for you. When the after work crowd rolls in, the volume level challenges that of a jet engine despite the soundproofing material that you’ll find attached to the bottom of each table, but don’t let that scare you. My second experience was almost magical. My drinking partner and I were lucky enough to grab a table after lurking waiting for about ten minutes, in fact the table was offered to us by some guys who were also waiting. Who says chivalry is dead? Our waiter, an English bloke, brought us glass after glass of amazing wine since we gave him the power to make our selections for us. He once forgot to bring us the wine that we’d ordered, so to make up for his mistake he gave us each a $22 glass of flora springs “trilogy”, a mix of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot. One word: Heaven. I don’t want to get the guy in trouble, but let’s just say that the cheese and pate that we ordered was nowhere to be found on the bill at the end of our (five and a half hour) night. Let’s also just say that he got a very generous tip as a result.

So that’s it, my favorite wine bar in DC. Done deal. How about you? Now is the time when I duck and cover as people strongly disagree with me and start calling me names.

Photo by Hoffman

Emergency Stop

After a windy Sunday spent shopping for giftable DC novelties at the Smithsonian museum stores and around Gallery Place/Chinatown, my wife and I headed into the Metro station to head home and rest our feet. As we descended towards the Red Line level, I noticed two teenage girls walking around the mezzanine escalators. Then, with a look of mischief, one of them nonchalantly reached out pressed the Emergency Stop button on the Up escalator, resulting in a loud buzz, a squeak, and, as should be expected, a stopped Up escalator.

I must point out that there was no emergency in progress, that no one was riding on the escalator in question, and that there was absolutely no reason for this girl to push that button and stop that escalator, thereby giving a hard time to everyone who had to go up to the Gallery Place Metro mezzanine from the next arriving train.

I looked sharply at the girls in annoyance, but they were already casually strolling down the still-moving escalators to the Green Line, tittering to themselves, no doubt congratulating one another on their ability to successfully push red buttons marked “EMERGENCY.”

It makes me wonder just how many of the numerous stopped escalators on Metro aren’t actually broken but are just waiting for a station manager to start them up again, thanks to dumb idiot button-pushing kids without any sense of common decency.

Bring out the Grinch

As we said last week, we’re looking for your Grinch of the Year! We’ll close nominations on Wednesday and put up a voting booth for everyone to tell us who they think is the Grinch of the Year. Current nominations include:

  • Roy Pearson, Administrative Law Judge who tried to get a ridiculous sum of money from a dry-cleaners who lost a pair of pants
  • the DC Schools employee who expensed titty bars and pricy dinners, taking money from the kids
  • Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) who thought DC is part of his Congressional District
  • Keith “I’ll Kill Ya!” Washington
  • Those who voted against DC’s Vote in Congress
  • Victor Kolako, who mowed down two pedestrians with his Metrobus and didn’t even stop to notice.
  • The DC Tax & Revenue workers who stole $40 Million in City Funds.

      We know that can’t be it, though, so give us a few more suggestions, and we’ll start working on the ballot.

Hurry, Dammit!

As the wind whips my neighborhood’s remaining foliage into a gusty frenzy, sullying the just-cleaned grass, it seems that everything is rushing toward the holidays. My clients are calling with last-minute jobs that I enjoy, trying to sprint their way to week-long lull that exists between Christmas and New Year’s. Friday seems to be the day that has everyone full of dread before a four-day weekend of revelry, family, celebration, or relaxation, contemplation, and rest. What greeted my inbox this morning was this wonderful sight:


Yes, every online retailer I know begging me to please put my order in before tomorrow comes and the shipping windows for goods closes for the year. But, as Amazon and its friends are less able to help you, there are a slew of local businesses that will be more than glad to. Eschew the malls and their chains, find a neat place like Home Rule, and their awesome Christmas Window, or maybe hit the Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter (thanks, Penn Quarter Living!) and find something beautifully crafted there. Tell Amazon to shove their hurry hurry hurry and go grab something that allows you a stroll and some leisure time.

Even if it’s windier than Chicago out there.

Cold Rain

radar20071215.gif Sorry to those of you who were holding out hope that the upcoming winter weather warning would bring snow; the weatherfolk are quite clear that it will be just rain, perhaps starting as freezing rain tonight. I was just out at Cleveland Park and there was a light misty sprinkle, but that was it. The heaviest of the rain will fall tonight, easing up through the morning, then turning sunny.

Afterward we’ve got high wind warnings! After the rain subsides tomorrow, expect wind gusts of up to 60mph, with possible power outages and a small chance of flying lobbyists.

Above: Capitol at night in rain, c. 1919, photo courtesy Library of Congress.


As I sat in my car, top down, enjoying being only slightly cool in a t-shirt, the person on the radio talked about a winter storm watch for tomorrow morning.

I love our crazy weather.

New National Wrote Thank You to HGH Dealer on Stadium Stationery

Ah, Paul Lo Duca. Welcome to Washington. Please, please, don’t make the same mistake you made in LA:


Yeah, you thanked your HGH dealer on Dodger Stadium Stationery. That was great. I know, my mom always told me to send thank you notes to folks who helped me out, and I certainly respect that you took the time to send the guy who helped you break the law a nice thank you note.

I look forward to future notes sent on Nationals and Nationals Park stationery.

Hat tip to Chris Needham for the news.

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