Archive for August, 2009

Deadline Looms for Nats and Strasburg

Will Strasburg sign?

Will Strasburg sign?

Good Friday morning DC Sports fans, this is the opening bell for Stras-watch here in the District.  While the club will struggle in Cincinnati trying to take a few off the Reds this weekend, the front office is likely beating its head against and even harder to do (and certainly more costly) task-signing #1 draft pick over all Stephen Strasburg.  The deadline for signing picks is End of the Day Monday, and while the Nats don’t play that day they will certainly finish either winners or losers.

The problem seems to be on the player/agent side, and not on the club.  Although all signs seem to point to the Nationals willingness to pay Astronomical money for the prospect, Scott Boras and said prospect are holding out for “Ludicrous Speed” type money.  This comes out smart on both sides of the ball-Pitchers are notoriously easy to completely miss on-and even though he’s been hailed as the best pitching prospect since Kerry Wood or Mark Prior…well look what happened to Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.  So Stras is smart to want his money up front, and the Nationals are right not to give everything over to this guy.

I agree with Zimmerman’s comments in that this is the kind of guy the club needs to sign.  The problem seems to be the Nationals have made a habit of biting off a bit more than they can chew lately.  You have to applaud the gusto it takes to try sign a guy like Mark Teixeira or to not take a pass on the #1 pick and shoot for the stars-but there is clearly something rotten in the Nations Capitol, and the Major League ball players can smell it.  The really great players want to go to the really great teams, and not just ones that are willing to pay.  And yet, the Nationals cannot get better quickly without signing at least a few of those really big players-even draft picks.

Most people seem to think he will sign sometime late Monday.  Really, the Strasburg’s signing will hinge on whether he wants to play this year or not-and I would guess (with no real information at all, of course) that he does.  Going back to school, or playing independent ball is not going to pay anything and risk injury.  Even slightly less than you want is better than nothing, and Boras and Strasburg have to know that.

Hopefully Tuesday night’s game against the Rockies will not just be a welcome home for the Nationals, but also welcome to the Nationals for Mr. Strasburg.

The Java Shack A Welcome Change Of Pace From The Coffee Grind

Courtesy Java Shack

Courtesy Java Shack

“I need coffee,” I said when I stumbled into my co-worker’s cubicle last week. I don’t know if it’s the stress of my job or my terrible choices of staying up late at night, but I find myself needing a caffeine boost more often than not recently.

I asked my co-worker if there was anything near our Court House office besides Starbucks that would be good for coffee, I like the ‘bucks but I wanted a change of pace (and give me wallet a breather.) She suggested Java Shack, right next to Mr. Tire where I get my oil changed. I’ve passed by the place driving down Wilson Blvd, but it’s a little set into the side street so I’ve never felt the urge to go there for coffee.

However after the reminder of it’s existence and an endorsement, I decided to walk on down.

The atmosphere really puts the “shack” in Java Shack, the hodgepodge furniture and overall lived-in feel makes it a place that belongs on the West Coast more than the East Coast. There were plenty of tables on the front patio and a few more inside, perfect for those looking for that Third Place.

I could tell that social consciousness was a big part of the store as well, from solar panels (for charging what?) leaning against the front window to the biodegradable cups and fair trade coffee. I don’t demand so much from my Batista but it was cool to know.

The prices were also right and I grabbed an iced coffee and walked out a happy man.

Java Shack will definitely get a return visit from me for mobile blogging and look hipster cool, I defiantely recommend it if you are looking for a homey feel that you just won’t get at any big franchise.

Java Shack
2507 N Franklin Rd
Arlington, VA 22201-3939
(703) 527-9556
http://www.javashack.com/

Nine Lives of Marion Barry Finds New Relevence On HBO

nine-lives-of-marion-barryIt was only a week or two after viewing The Nine Lives Of Marion Barry at AFI Silverdocs earlier this summer, that the story told in the film took another turn. When Barry was arrested for stalking his mistress last month, I took in the event with new-found insight on the life of Marion Barry.

For youngsters like me, the former mayor of Washington DC is mostly known for scandal and drug use- the subject of many Weekend Update jokes. However to others Marion Barry was a civil rights leader, and the man who transformed some of the worst neighborhoods of Washington DC.

Fresh off it’s Silverdocs run, The Nine Lives of Marion Barry premiered on HBO this past Monday. The film directed by Dana Flor and produced by Toby Oppenheimer, intertwines Barry’s start in DC with his 2004 campaign for city council. The 78 minute profile depics Barry as a social leader who constantly battles scandal after scandal, but like the film’s title, manages to bounce back every time.

While film shows an inside look of Barry’s life, from riding down the streets of his Ward to his humble apartment in what looks like the middle of the projects, there’s nothing special with the production values- what really makes the film is the subject and story that is almost too spectacular to believe.

Before you write Barry’s latest scandal off, I encourage you to check out the film and learn more about where Barry truly came from- I assure you it’ll change what you originally thought of the current Ward 8 councilman and DC icon. The film is scheduled to re-air at various times throughout the month, check HBO for more details.

An Ohioan’s View Of The Suddenly Downtrodden Cleveland Park

(Captain’s Note: The sudden emptying of Cleveland Park sparked some conversations between my pal Suburban Sweetheart who happens to live in the neighborhood. I invited her to share with us her unique take on the situation. I hope you enjoy and I encourage you to check her out. Well check out her blog at least- but she’s pretty cute too.)

Photo courtesy of Flickr user M.V. Jantzen

Photo courtesy of Flickr user M.V. Jantzen

I’m from the Cleveland area, so I know what it’s like to hear the hometown you love trashed by others who feel that their place of residence is superior to yours. Nearly everyone seems to hate “The Mistake on the Lake.” Haven’t you seen the videos? And believe you me: When King James (LeBron, of course) finally abandons the Cavs’ ship, you can bet our beloved city will resume its spot right back at the bottom of pile of Cities Other People Love to Not Live In.

But it’s a new Cleveland’s turn to be bashed – and I happen to live in this one, too. DC’s own Cleveland Park, once a bustling ‘hood full of local amenities & friendly faces is dying. Hey, it may even be dead – I declared it so in a blog post on my own site, Suburban Sweetheart, just days before local media outlets began reporting on the tragic & mysterious demise of Cleveland Park.

Our Cold Stone Creamery closed first, hanging a curious sign that read “Closed Until Further Notice,” though all the ice cream topping remained on the counters & the logo signs still hang in the windows. But that was just the beginning. Our friendly neighborhood stores have, one by one, closed up shopped & shipped right on out of Cleveland Park:

  • The consignment shop went under soon after. My reaction? “Oh, hey, I’ll miss the weird shoe-shaped chairs you sometimes displayed on the sidewalk.”
  • Next, Magruder’s farmers market went out of business, sending a ripple of fury across the Internets. “It’s an institution!” folks yelled, but were they giving that institution their patronage or buying their groceries at the nearby (cheaper) Brookville Market, like me? That’s what I thought.
  • And then the unthinkable happened. Two bastions of consumerism & capitalism went under. In June, we said goodbye to Starbucks. In July, we bid adieu to 7/11.
  • Two more are on their way out: Supercuts is taking off, and so is the tailor next to that vacant Cold Stone. Who’s next?

That makes for eight vacant storefronts in little old Cleveland Park, not a very large strip of neighborhood to begin with. (PS: If you were counting, you’ll only have noted seven closings, but an old McDonald’s has been vacant for five years.)

In fairness to remaining vendors, Cleveland Park still has lots going for it – t’ain’t no better spot for a blockbuster than the Uptown, & Brookville has the kosher meat market cornered. I eat at Paragon Thai weekly, indulge in Yogiberry closer to daily & live so close to the library that I hang my head in shame at my exorbitant fines.

But what gives? Some say Cleveland Park is racist; maybe this is our karma. Some say it’s the parking, but that hasn’t hindered growth in other neighborhoods. Some say the Cleveland Park Citizens Association charges too much for retail space, which seems like the most likely culprit. Will realtors & landlords be able to continue charge as much as they currently do for apartments in a neighborhood suddenly lacking in luster & amenities? Who pays $1,200 a month to live in a ‘hood void of Starbucks AND Slurpees? (Me, I guess.)

I moved to Cleveland Park because its subtle vibrancy & friendly, suburban feel made me feel like I could live an Ohioan’s life in a Washingtonian’s land. But as my adopted neighborhood begins to go under, I’m left wondering: Is it worth it? Take note, Cleveland Park. It’s time to reassess your value & reinvent yourself. As neighborhoods like Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant gain go-to tenant traction, Cleveland Park is losing both its relevancy and its luster, & even the most devoted among us are beginning to reassess.

Beat the Heat

DSC_1063_smThe dog days of August are finally here: today’s temperature is expected to rise nearly to 100 degrees, folks.  In fact, the heat index was already at 85F before 9:00 AM today.  We Metbloggers worry about you, DC, and we want to be sure you have some handy-dandy tips on beating the heat.

Drink lots and lots of water, or other non-alcoholic fluids.  And don’t wait until you’re thirsty!  If you do, it means you’re already dehydrated, which can be downright dangerous on hot days like today.  And it’s OK to be sweaty; your body’s just trying to stay cool.  If, on the other hand, you find that you’re not sweating (or you encounter someone who isn’t) when exposed to this heat, seek help immediately.  It could be a sign of hyperthermia.  Other signs include nausea, cramping, or confusion.

Don’t go crazy with the exercise, either, DC.  Do you usually walk five or ten blocks from the Metro to your  home or office instead of taking a bus?  Swallow your pride and hop on that bus today.

If you must be active outdoors, then try to restrict activity to the early morning or late evening hours, when the sun’s rays won’t be beating down directly over your head.  Be sure  to replenish with extra cool water or sports drinks while you’re doing anything outside.   Rest often, in the shade if you can.  In fact, everyone should try to stay in the shade as much as possible on hot summer days – while the temperature is of course just as high, the air can feel as much as ten degrees cooler.   It’s worth it to cross to the shady side of the street!

Protect your skin with sunscreen, and a wide-brimmed hat if possible. (Well, this is good advice no matter what the weather.  Even on cloudy days or in the winter, those UV rays are still whizzing down from space!  I always say, “there’s no such thing as a healthy tan.”)

Never, ever, leave anyone (human or animal) in a car!  Windows up or down, the temperature inside a vehicle skyrockets in a matter of minutes! And don’t forget that your pet is wearing a fur coat that can’t be taken off.  Be sure they also have extra cool water and a place to relax with some cool air.

If you’re like me, you have an elaborate strategy in place to ensure that you’ll be exposed to the heat as little as possible, and will instead stay indoors, in air-conditioned comfort.  However, not everyone has A/C in the home or workplace.  If you don’t have A/C, then I highly recommend escaping to an air-conditioned public place.  We all know DC has plenty of free attractions like museums and historic places you can visit for free.  (The Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/Portrait Gallery even has free wi-fi!)  Public libraries, other government buildings, or even shopping centers are also good bets.  Then there are my two favorite choices:  the movies, or the ice rink.  And if you can’t leave your  home, try taking a cool shower or bath.

More tips available from the EPA, CDC, and Red Cross.

Tonight: DC Blogger Happy Hour

When it comes to things to do in DC, I’m not as good as the folks over at Going Out Gurus, Washingtonian, or DCist– nor do I try to be.

However as a lowly DC Blogger I will suggest that if you want something to do tonight, then I’d like to introduce you to a really fun group of people.

All of my DC Blogger friends are holding a happy hour tonight at Evolve 1817 at 7 PM. For anybody that actually reads my personal blog, you know they are a good time.

I’m so confident that tonight will be a legendary that I feel compelled to spread the word of this event, even though I am flying out to be with my family back in Massachusetts.

You don’t understand how much it kills me that I’m missing this happy hour.

So head on down to Evolve and tell Lilu, Lexa, and the Restaurant Refugee that Patrick sent ya- you’ll be welcomed warmly.

hhaug7th

DC Video: Teddy Makes Sportscenter, But Not In A Good Way

Some more video for you this morning.

In Teddy’s ongoing quest for a President’s Race win, he had a rough turn last Friday when he was decked by one of the Pittsburgh Pierogies during a relay race around the park. While the sight would of been a highlight to those watching the game, the clip made Sportscenter and traveled it’s way around the whole ESPN family, becoming topics for both PTI and Around The Horn. I didn’t know the incident was so scandalous.

The part I particularly like from the Sportscenter clip is the freeze-frame graphic tell everyone that Teddy still has yet to win a game. Way to rub it in ESPN.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiMfloNF670[/youtube]

DC Video: Fairfax Responds To Arlington Rap

Everybody by now knows about The Arlington Rap (except my friend Rebecca who told me tonight at Happy Hour she never saw it.)

Well it looks like there maybe a Virginia rap battle brewing, local comedian Chris Culosi released today his own Fairfax response to the Arlington Rap.

Culosi raps that, Arlington isn’t the only place that, “has douchebags going to Starbucks to use the free Wi-Fi.” Culosi should note that Starbucks usually charges for their Wi-Fi, in Arlington we go to Panera and Cosi for the free Wi-Fi.

The production values aren’t as crisp as Remy’s original rap, Culosi manages to drop some beats at some more notable places in Fairfax like the Fair Oaks Mall and Fairfax Corner. However I think trying to tie Tyson’s Corner into it’s jurisdiction is a stretch.

I did enjoy the swipe he takes on Fairfax County’s stringent (or lack there of) adherence to the legal drinking age, and the fact Fairfax does have GMU while we have to toil with Marymount (does anybody go there?)

Culosi ends the piece not by visiting all the Starbucks, but by visiting all the Korean restaurants (bulgogi anyone?)

While the video has some funny moments, is it good enough to truly spark a Virginia Rap Battle of Narnia like proportions? I’ll you guys decide:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3ltMTXlCvk[/youtube]

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Nick Douglas

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Nick Douglas

Everyone here at DC Metblogs wishes our 44th President on the United States a happy birthday as he 48. Despite the weirdo birthers who are taking the chance to question his citizenship, I personally hope President Obama has a moment to celebrate his day, just like the rest of us do. Maybe he’ll have another beer summit or take Michelle out for another night in Old Town, or maybe he should follow his Chief of Staff’s lead and catch a performance of Barack Stars.

His exact plans aren’t known yet, the official guidence for the day says he’s going to have lunch with Joe and the Senate Democratic caucus. Besides that not much is known, even though the press tried it’s best with Gibbs yesterday.

Maybe he’ll go out and see Adam Lambert, maybe he’s a closet American Idol fan.

DC Video: Cooley Family Causes Some Training Camp Hijinks

Now that Redskins training camp is well underway it was only a matter of time before Chris and Tanner at The Cooley Zone started having some fun. Apparently Tanner (Chris’ brother) decided to steal Redskin’s quarterback Jason Campbell‘s helmet and practice jersey. Where it was then secretly paraded about the field while Tanner decides if he should sell it to the fans.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5WqAFfBC2Q[/youtube]

Let’s say Jason wasn’t happy, however oblivious to whom the culprit is, taking out his frustrations on an unnamed rookie.

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