Archive for November, 2008

Will Obama Make a Peace from Washington for ME&SWA ?

ME&SWA

ME&SWA

Will he ever be able to create a peace zone ?

Martin Luther King,Jr.

“One of the most persistent ambiguities that we face is that everybody talks about peace as a goal. However, it does not take sharpest-eyed sophistication to discern that while everbody talks about peace, peace has become practically nobodys’ business among the power-wielders. Many men cry Peace! Peace! but they refuse to do the things that make for peace.”
Martin Luther King,Jr.

John F. Kennedy
“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind…War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.” — John F. Kennedy

Does The Obama 8 Dollar Make You Holler?

As we approach the day we sit down and say thanks, we grow closer to another important milestone in the holiday season- Black Friday.

I’ll be back home in Massachusetts possibly waiting in lines at 5 AM, but I wanted to write about something else people may not be waiting in line for.

Last week I was watching TV at work (don’t worry it’s my job) when I saw this crazy ad for the “Barack Obama Limited Edition Coin.” I bet it would go great with “Obama Vitcory Collector’s Plate.”

Shortly after seeing the ads I was disappointed in the lengths people will go to cash in on history. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised however. DC locals are familiar with the vendors that line the streets of The Mall, selling all sorts of knock-off DC apparel. Everything from “Witness Protection Program” to knock-off sweatshirts with the local Alma Maters on them.

Carlos Lee at Politico recently wrote a piece that highlights even more items I didn’t know were out there- did you know that there’s a fake 8 Dollar Obama Bill? I just had to check it out.

Low and behold there was a bill on eBay for sale- the best part of the item is the fine print:

‘THIS NOTE HAS NO MONETARY VALUE BUT IS GOLD IN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THOSE WHO SEEK MEANINGFUL CHANGE FOR ALL AMERICANS’

In the words of John Stossel– give me a break!

All sorts of people are joining in the madness- WMATA will be unveiling Obama SmartTrip Cards and Farecards for the special event. I can’t wait to swipe Obama’s face on the Orange line!

The buzz around Obama has risen him to rockstar status – so it makes perfect sense that the merchandising is nothing short of that as well. What does everyone else think? Are you all ready to get your loved ones Obama plates for the holidays?

One Day I’ll Fly Away

Taken, on Iphone, between Crystal City and the Airport.  Yellow Line to Huntington, Doors Closing.

I hope you’ll forgive the Moulin Rouge inspired title, but it fits.

How do I know tomorrow is a holiday?  I mean other than getting the day off and, you know, being passingly familiar with a calendar?  Well-

Most workday mornings involve me getting on Metro at the Crystal City stop and “reverse commuting” to Old Town.  This ensures not only an empty seat, but usually enough room to lay down and play scrabble against someone else on the floor.  Not that I would. 

This morning?   The height of travel frenzy (at almost 10am by the way!) as those using the Ronald Reagan/Washington National Airport were making their way (bags and all) to stand in line to get on a plane and fly home. 

I actually had to stand on the way to work.  If I wanted to do that, I would work in the District!  :-P

All of this by way of saying-safe travels and happy holidays from me (and probably all of the DC Metblog crew).

Crazy for Black Friday

Via DCist, we can bring you the thrilling news that WMATA has decided to open its doors at 4 AM on Friday, November 28 to accommodate shoppers who would like to use public transport for their early-morning trips to the sales.

In a crazy enthusiastic press release, WMATA offers you helpful tidbits on which line to take to which shopping center (and provides bus information for Tyson’s Corner Center and Georgetown)!  For example:

Blue and Yellow Lines
• Pentagon City Metrorail station is the home of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
• Crystal City Metrorail station is the underground home to over 200 shops, restaurants and cafes.
• Franconia-Springfield Metrorail station and the Springfield Mall can be accessed via Metro and a short bus ride to a major shopping center in Farifax, VA.
• From the King Street Metrorail station, Alexandria city offers free shuttle bus to Old Towne Alexandria shops.

Awesome!  Metro also wishes to remind you that “[s]hoppers taking Metro on Friday are likely to find another bonus. With many workers taking the day off after Thanksgiving, more parking will likely be available at Metrorail stations. Shoppers can park their cars at Metrorail stations and forget the hassle of trying to negotiate crowded city streets or looking for a parking space at the shopping mall. A SmarTrip card is needed to pay for parking at Metrorail stations. ”

From personal experience, I can tell you that it would definitely be worth the bus ride from WFC to Tyson’s…I once drove my sister there — before she could drive herself — to do some Christmas shopping and we spent 90 minutes trying to park.   60 minutes shopping.  (Don’t say I didn’t warn  you, DC.)

To cut down on holiday-related stress, I will be doing most of my shopping on Cyber Monday (yes, it has its own web site; so does Black Friday).  All the benefits of the sales, with none of the crowds, cold, or queueing – and the gifts arrive at my door or their intended recipient’s!

Another great way to beat holiday anxiety is to use the various packandship services available from shipping companies.  If you are a holiday baker, like me, you can take your tins of cookies to the shipping spot with a list of addresses, pay them and leave.  No scrounging for boxes that are the right size, searching for packing peanuts or bubble wrap, or bothering with wrapping your tasty treats yourself.  Which reminds me, I’ve got to make my baking supply list and get cracking!

Oh, and to get you in that shopping mood, you can stop by the Metro Center Macy’s for their holiday window unveiling party, tonight at 5 PM at 12th and G Streets, NW.   Brian McKnight will be there to sing holiday tunes, and the exciting Ballou High School marching band is also due to appear (trust me, they’re awesome).

Happy holidays, DC!

No More Sketchy Inauguration Rentals!

Hot off the presses at City Desk, there’s a new website in town to replace Craigslist, which has quickly become the dubious blind-date hub of the Inaugural world of room-renting. InauguralHomes.com has emerged as a more logical option, collecting both personal and credit card information to give an identity to those folks who will be renting your homes, along with a more visual, detailed interface than Craigslist to those who wish to rent.

According to founder Andrew Butters: “We’re the safest way to go right now.” We’ll see if the site catches on despite its fees.

The Real Dirt In DC

Do you know what I hate about moving?

Trying to furnish an empty house. I recently moved to a new place in Clarendon and Craigslist has been my best friend. I’ve been on it to find everything from roommates to TVs. Something I’ve noticed in my Craigslist travels is how much free dirt is available in the DC area.

Now I’m not dumb (well most of the time)- I realize people with their home improvement and gardening projects will have mounds of dirt leftover and wants someone to take it away. We’ve all driven by houses with signs advertising free firewood- it’s the same logic. However I can’t help but laugh at the headline- “free dirt.”

When I’m browsing through the listsings, I get excited about free TVs, Couches, or Pet Items. Free dirt just doesn’t get me as excited however. Maybe it’s because if I want dirt I just need to go into my backyard to get some.

Maybe I’m being ridiculous, but doesn’t anyone else gets a chuckle when they see free dirt on the DC Craigslist?

Holiday giving dilemma

A great place to shop, or get on a train and visit your mom instead.

Union Station: A great place to shop. Or spend your money on a train to visit your mom instead.

Today brought snow flurries and a chill north wind, and it’s really beginning to feel a lot like that old Holiday gift giving season.  However, with the wholesale rejection of the outgoing administration’s admonition to go shopping, and with belts tightening, a lot of us are wondering just how this is going to work.

While there is an upcoming sales tax holiday (and the markdowns are just going to get better and better), my family is looking at this an opportunity to do some housecleaning.  I’m embracing Freecycle, with e-groups across the region.  I also recommend the “free” listings on craigslist because who doesn’t love a curb alert?  Help out a neighbor–and give yourself the gift of less clutter. 

Finally, giving of oneself is the ultimate in generosity.  Check out these opportunities, consider something more vampiric, or you can even barter your volunteer time for fun and profit.

Happy holidays?

Photo credit to zizzybaloobah on Flickr.

Inaugural Subletting: Don’t Believe the Hype

So if you’ve just come out from under a rock, this new guy got elected President of the United States.  A lot of people like him and want to come see him become the President.  Like millions of people.  So they are all going to come to our fair city and delay our Metro rides and hope to catch a glimpse of the magic that happens when the Barack Obama takes the Oath.

So many people are coming in fact that there is nowhere left for them to say stay-which is why people are renting out their rooms at incredibly extravagant prices.  No seriously-look here on craigslist.

So here I am:  Feet from a Metro stop, with a nice one bedroom in a huge three bedroom apartment, a Federal Employee with a four day weekend in January on one hand.  On the other hand I have the Super Bowl of tourist weekends with no reasonable way to do anything or go anywhere for four days while Barack-a-maniacs clog the tubes and roads.

Sounds like a perfect time to do some “What the Inauguration is like from another, warmer, city” blogging for the old DC Metblogs doesn’t it?  Don’t get me wrong-I know how cool this is, that it is a once in a lifetime event and all of that-I really do.  I just can tell you already I’ll be watching the show from my couch.  And if I’m watching it from my couch, I can watch it from any couch anywhere.

And why not advertise my room for the weekend as well and see if I can make a few grand in the process?

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Preview: American History Museum

In three days the National Museum of American History reopens to the general public. I was fortunate to tour the renovated building yesterday.

The first thing I notice as I step through the Mall entrance of the American History Museum is how light it is. A skylight brightens the three story atrium and the artifacts, like a home computer circa 1985, that line the walls in 10 ft. cases. A grand staircase constructed of metal and glass connects the first and second floors.

As I walk into the Selin Welcome Center, videos preview some of the events and special exhibits on the four flat screens as helpful volunteers provide maps and membership information.

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Mike Huckabee @ Pentagon City- Wednesday

Mike Huckabee has begun a countrywide bus tour to promote his new book, Do The Right Thing: Inside The Movement That’s Bringing Common Sense Back To America. The tour will stop at the Costco in Pentagon City on Wednesday from 12pm-1pm. According to Huckabee’s website:

Do The Right Thing is his amazing story, in his own words-from making commercials with Chuck Norris to meeting a Michigan woman who insisted on donating her wedding ring. But this is more than just a campaign memoir. It’s a vision for a smarter, fairer type of politics–“vertical politics”–that focuses on common-sense solutions for education, health care, the economy, and many other issues. It’s not about right versus left; it’s about taking America up rather than down.

Huckabee also shows how the Republican Party can heal its divisions-between social and fiscal conservatives, the wealthy and the middle class, the religious and the secular-and become a true majority party again.

There are also additional stops in Virginia, which you can find on the tour information page. Let me know if you plan on stopping down. You might just see me there too.

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