Archive for October, 2008

Maybe There Is Some Hope For The Nationals

Mike Bauman over at wrote an excellent article last night about the upcoming World Series between the Rays and the Phillies. He called it “Fresh matchup offers must-see baseball.” Here is the general gist of the article:

You hear a lot of talk about “ratings,” as though the game is played primarily to provide successful television programming. This is also definitely not about that and it can be proven.

Ratings took a hit when the Yankees did not reach the postseason. The departure of the Cubs after three games of a Division Series did not help the ratings. The departure of the Dodgers after the NL Championship Series will not help the ratings. The departure of the Red Sox after the AL Championship Series will not help the ratings.

A pattern has emerged here. The biggest-market clubs are not winning. This is not a crisis. This is growing parity. This is increased competitive balance. This is baseball in the new millennium. It is better than it used to be.

Bauman is absolutely right. This World Series is a wake-up call to any team that has been suffering, and any team that has either a small market, or a large market that it has not grown into yet. The Devil Rays have been a small, young expansion team in a large market. This year they exploded, posting 98 wins when they have never won more than 70. Here they are in a World Series. I have NEVER seen Tropicana Field even close to full, and now you can’t get a seat. Washington Nationals take notice!

As I explained in my offseason plan for the Nats, they could be next. Many of the pieces are in place for our local baseball team to charge on to the national scene and compete with teams like the Mets and Phillies. If the Rays can bash heads with the Yankees and Red Sox, and come out on top, then the Nationals can also persevere. In the years to come, others can and will pick up the slack of a weak “big market.” The only question is… who?

The 100% Completely Unofficial and Unauthorized Arlington 7-11 Polls Are In

And it looks like Obama is winning by three key chains, three bumper stickers and two buttons.

Or maybe 7-11 just stocked more McCain stuff and they haven’t sold it yet.

Or maybe an Obama supporter hid all of the Obama stuff in the store so it would look sold out.

Or maybe one Obama supporter came in and bought all of the stuff-skewing the accuracy of this completely unofficial poll.

These types of displays are up all over town-at cash registers everywhere.  Anyone else do unofficial pollster-ing like I do?  Anyone see different results?

Midnight Movies at E Street

There are lots of good things and bad things about living in DC.  Of the good:  the E Street Cinema.  Cozy, cute, and convenient.  And whee! showing midnight movies for the next coupla months. No Rocky, but it’s a tantalizing list:

Quentin Tarantino‘s Pulp Fiction • Nov 7 & 8
Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas • Nov 14 & 15
Christian Bale is an American Psycho • Nov 21 & 22
Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark • Nov 28 & 29
Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters • Dec 5 & 6
David Bowie & Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth • Dec 12 & 13
Jeff Bridges in the Coen BrosThe Big Lebowski • Dec 19 & 20

Of the bad?  Finding a place to get a bite that’s open after a midnight movie. But hey, it’s better than it was, see listings at here and here.

SOUND-OFF: Paying DC Middle-Schoolers for Good Grades

SOUND-OFF presents a current controversy in the news, and invites you to speak your mind.

DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee

DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee

DC is one of three cities that participates in Harvard University’s experimental system called Capital Gains– the others are New York and Chicago. The controversial program allows about 3,000 DC middle school students collect up to $200 per month for good behavior, attendance, completing homework, and achieving good grades. Harvard and the DC taxpayers split the bill- $1.35 million each.

The goal of the program is to reverse the current trend in DC education- 8% of students pass math and only 12% are proficient in English. We’ll see what the results are. The first round of checks, totaling $137,813 and averaging about $43 per student, went out this week.


  • Is it right to bribe kids to do the right thing? DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee views it as “positive incentive.” She adds that there are “incentives to do all the wrong things out on the street, and we believe that having positive incentives for doing the right thing is a good counter balance to that.” Is that a valid point?
  • Is it right to isolate cities like DC for programs like this? Roland Fryer of Harvard compares the incentive based program to the idea of rich families giving their children “shiny red cars at graduation.” DC is an impoverished city in many areas, but it is one of hundreds if not thousands of towns and cities that are suffering academically. Is it okay for DC to use federal funding paid by these other towns and cities on a program like this?
  • Should the spending of the money be monitored? It is wonderful that accounts are being created at SunTrust Bank for the students in the program, and it is even better that the bank is providing free money-management training, but at the end of the day, these middle school students have cash to spend. Isn’t there a risk of some students using the money to “do all the wrong things out on the street?” Would a VISA system with statement oversight work better?


Bad Weather: Bring Your Gamp

Summer official ended this morning at about 3 am.  Leaves have been falling steadily all day, the wind is chill, and the air is damp.  The weekend looks to be perfect for outdoor activities, but don’t forget your “gamp” next week!

gamp (a word that I heard today that I am compelled to share with you)
n. – A large umbrella, a reference to Mrs. Sally Gamp, who always carried a large umbrella in Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit.

DC Noir

No, not the book of short stories, edited by DC’s own George Pelecanos, which you may have seen.  Rather, the film festival at AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring.  There’s a festival of Film Noir classics which has been seen in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and now it’s come to DC metro.  (Via DCist.)   The festival, which runs from today through November 5, will include classics like Double Indemnity (trust me, if you’ve only seen Fred MacMurray in The Shaggy Dog or My Three Sons, you’ll want to see this), They Live By Night, and Sunset Boulevard, to name only a few.  I’ve already bought my tickets for next Saturday evening’s showing of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Strangers on a Train, partially set here in the DC of the 1950s.  The Pentagon was new!  The traffic circle round the Lincoln Memorial was open!   Just the anachronistic shots of city life back then, make the film worth watching.  Besides it being, you know, a Hitchcock classic with a great story!  

An added bonus will be that the film’s leading man, Farley Granger, will be making a personal appearance at the Saturday evening showing of Strangers.  Actually, the festival includes several films which star Granger, and I recommend watching at least some of them.  He was gorgeous in a Tyrone Power sort of way, and ended up with many leading roles that would have gone to David Niven had he stayed at MGM.  He’s also the star of my all-time favorite movie, the schmaltzy wartime romance Enchantment.  I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl!

BWI Smart Garages

So I have been traveling an awful lot lately and I recently had to take a flight out of BWI instead of my usual airport of choice, Reagan National. Pulling into the garage at BWI I noticed that the facility was wired to show how many spaces were free and where. I was impressed with the lighted sign at the entrance telling you how many free spaces were on each floor- I was shocked to see they even had row indicators to point you directly to free spots. I noticed there were overhead sensors underneath every space that communicates with the garage within seconds of a car parking. When I parked my car I saw the sensor change from green to red- and I saw the number of free spaces shrink by one.

As someone that loves to drive around DC but is not a fan of finding spaces in parking garages; I couldn’t enjoy parking at BWI anymore than I did at that moment. I am absolutely in love with the SmartPark system- and I know I’m not the only one.

I know that the garages in Montgomery County have a similar system but wouldn’t it be great if more garages in the district had this technology?

Lunch Bites: Organic To Go!

Mmmm Salad. Thanks to the helpful young woman doing O-T-G's PR for supplying this image :)

I only come into town (DC Proper that is) a few times a week these days but I remember the frustration of having the same 5 places to eat at when I worked downtown full time. The last few months though I’ve added a few new places worth eating that you, dear Metblog reader, may or may not know about. So I thought I’d do a few posts sharing my thoughts on some good lunch places-just in case it’s helpful.

At the top of the list is Organic to Go.  Replacing the old “High Noon” locations in Washington DC, OTG (that’s what the kids call it) offers a mostly organic menu with vegetarian and vegan options. Now while I’m not usually concerned with something being organic or not-I listen to NPR, but I’m not a Whole Foods Shopper or anything- I have to say that the difference here is very noticeable. Everything looks (and is!) incredibly fresh and tastes the same.

(read more after the jump)


Live Blog: Final Presidential Debate

Well I had some fun with a live blog during last week’s live blog of the Presidential Debates- so let’s try it again!

I will be blogging live on DC Metblogs during the final Presidential Debate at Hofstra University. I hope anyone interested will stop by during the debates- leave a comment or question while I continue to throw out my random commentary and running tally on buzzwords.

8:41 PM: Hello internet, I’m back for constantly update you with random thoughts about the final debate! It’s a little more than 15 minutes to go and here are my initial thoughts I have on top of my head coming into this debate:

  • Towards the end of the workday I heard my state of Virginia is now apprently leaning towards Obama according to CNN. To me this is the latest in current pulling ahead of Obama in the polls. It’s clear that here in the DC area, as well as across the country, that Obama could not only win this election- but may even win big. I am still a little sketpical of how realistic a landslide could be- and others are as well. For me this debate is McCain’s last effort to stop the growing wave of Obama. I am waiting to see how McCain is going to play this last card in his deck.
  • Bob Schieffer will be moderating the action tonight- will we see the candidates play by the rules? Or will this be another sit down message point delivery session?
  • Will I pick better buzzwords this time around? I have 10 minutes now to pick some.

8:59 PM: Ok after looking at the C-SPAN Debate Hub (thanks Steve) some of the keywords that have been mentioned so far include President, Taxes, Spending, and Billion. Obvious words that would be said- but I’m looking for the buzzwords that wouldn’t normally be said. On that note I will look for these phrases: “voted with bush 90% of the time”; “just doesn’t understand”; “ready to lead”; “I got the scars to prove it”; and “maverick.”

Read the rest under the more tag…


Pepsi Max Hits The Streets

I took a walk to Georgetown today, and here is what I found on about six street corners:

Courtesy of Lara Gori

Pepsi Max is running a huge promotion in Washington DC, as I would imagine they’re doing in other large cities as well. The basic premise behind the campaign is simple: give away as much free Pepsi Max to as many people as possible. It is actually very good. During the course of my three hours in Georgetown, I downed at least five cans. This is the second time I’ve seen the Pepsi Max crew out and about. Last time was on Friday in Foggy Bottom. Keep your eyes open.
Courtesy of Jim Goldston

Courtesy of Jim Goldston

Pepsi Max is very similar to Coke Zero. Both have no “sugar” and zero calories, though like the Diet lines they contain the artificial sugar aspartame.  It is definitely worth a try. I would call it superior to Coke Zero and the Diet sodas.

Fun fact from the all-knowing Wikipedia: “In the… Borat TV series, a Pepsi Max factory is… responsible for the decrease in Kazakhstan’s Aral Sea.” It’s nice.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.