Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Washington City Paper Unveil’s Best of D.C. 2010

It’s time again for the Washington City Paper‘s annual Best of D.C. The 2010 edition is dedicated to “the newcomer,” as Erik Wemple writes:

“In the best spirit of civic journalism, we are dedicating this issue to the newcomers. We want the rest of the city to stand up and look at what you folks are doing for this town, and at the same time, we want to impart advice on what’s worth checking out around here.”

The list is expansive as ever, with a wide variety of categories from Best Brunch to Best Strip Club.

I read over the complete list and here are my thoughts:

  • Best Brunch: Tabard Inn, Twist Dupont at the Carlyle Suites Hotel, Open City – now I’m not a brunching person but two out of the three “best brunches” at a hotel just sounds little bit snobby to me. What’s wrong with Matchbox or Kramer’s?
  • Best Coffee Shop: I was hoping for something other than Tryst when I saw the results- Tryst is fine but it’s also a hybrid lounge/bar that happens to be open late at night- I would never go there at night to do coffee house-like things- like write this blog post. I’m happy the staff pick was Chinatown Coffee Co. – place I’ve blogged in.
  • Best Dive Bar (Staff Pick): Cafe Wazobia – now I don’t go to shaw all the time but this list of reasons Amanda Hess has provided sold me:
  1. Mysterious drink pricing
  2. Negotiable cover
  3. Music videos displayed on the bar’s TV screens do not correspond to the music actually being played
  4. Aggressive neon signage
  5. 50-50 chance that the only other person at the bar will vacate her stool when you arrive, as she is your bartender
  6. Meat on a stick
  7. Bar design consists of a bunch of alcohol bottles stacked on a table
  8. Poorly lit
  9. Though plenty of glassware hangs behind the bar, drinks are served in red Solo cups
  10. Extremely low name recognition among D.C. residents
  11. Disco ball in back
  12. When asked for a house special, a bartender served me a cup of cranberry juice and Hennessey.

I don’t know if I want to go here or stay away for fear of death.

  • Best Way To Pronounce “Pho”: The WCP staff may say, “any damn way you want,” but I say I’m more than ok with ditching the correct Vietnamese pronunciation and using my last name instead. I do own all the Pho shops in DC after all- my name is Pho!
  • Best Electronics Shop: The top choice was Best Buy- but really where else are you going to go?
  • Best Wizards Player: Really? Gilbert Arenas?

My final note: everybody appears to be in love with ChurchKey. I guess I should check it out.

Party Crashers: The Complete Story On The White House’s Uninvited Guests

(Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

(Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

This past Thanksgiving my whole family gathered around the table and the talk amongst the meal didn’t center around my newly engaged sister or speculation on when I will get married, but on the Virginia couple that snuck into President Obama’s first Presidential State Dinner. It was a story that quickly dominated the slow holiday news cycle when I flew back to Massachusetts last Tuesday. It all started when Tareq and Michaele Salahi of Front Royal, VA decided to show up to the State Dinner welcoming Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.

According to Time, the couple drove up to the White House gates (which is allowed during State Dinners) and were turned away at first- but then hopped out of their car and walked to another entrance and somehow were allowed in by Secret Service. The surprising wrinkle was that the couple didn’t go around to this pedestrian entrance before getting their make-up touched up by the Bravo camera crew that was filming them. Bravo networks confirmed that the couple are in consideration for a spot in the upcoming Real Housewives of Washington DC.

Beats sending your kid up in a balloon I suppose.


Michaele and Tareq Salahi

As the couple worked the press cameras, they managed to mingle and snap photos with all of DC’s elite including Mayor Adrian Fenty, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, VP Joe Biden, ultimately working their way to shaking hands with President Obama in a receiving line. They also got to meet news anchors Katie Couric & Robin Roberts; as well as A.R. Rahman of Slumdog Millionaire fame.

After pulling off the party crashing of the decade, the couple posted photos of the event on their Facebook profile.

So who are Tareq and Michaele Salahi? Well they aren’t strangers when it comes to meeting famous faces. They have an entire Facebook photo album with the couple meeting Former President Bill Clinton, John McCain, Prince Charles, Richard Branson, Oprah, and President Obama at a previous event.

Michaele is a former Redskins cheerleader and Tareq is a board member on the Virginia Tourism board. State records link the couple in a family dispute over the ownership of Oasis Winery in Hume, VA. The story on their role in the winery is muddled even though their names are clearly on the website; the Warren County Report says that the couple are long disaffiliated with the winery.


It's ok guys, they know Oprah- they must be nice people.

The couple are not only wine socialites but are also heavily involved in polo. They founded America’s Cup of Polo, which links them to Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar- a possible inside connection for the two? Gawker explored the idea but Embassy denies any involvement. Fox News has even more information behind the couple.

The couple is laying low as Secret Service is trying to get in contact with them for questioning, the couple originally were booked on Larry King Live but the interview was canceled and the couple are quickly trying to sell their story.

There is a lot to say about America’s party crashers. The biggest debate is whether there was any threat to the President? Even though they went through magnetometers like every other guest, pundits are quick to say that a knife could of been taken off a table or perhaps anthrax could of been snuck in.

Maybe the couple could of coated their hands in poison like Mandy did when she tried to kill President Palmer in a season finale of 24.

I really enjoyed reading Michael Russnow’s piece on The Huffington Post that clearly reasons that The President is exposed more often than we like. Russnow is right, there are so many times that the President is exposed to people that aren’t given background checks- and in reality he wasn’t really in any danger.

So what about the couple? Gawker thinks that they are what America needs right now. Some think they should go to jail. Unless the secret service goes the “lying to a federal official” route it looks unlikely that will happen.

The bigger picture question is what does this say about society? With two extreme examples of what people will do to for fame, have we become a society that encourages more and more extreme acts for the spotlight?

UPDATE: The Salahis appeared on the Today Show yesterday where they not only claimed they were invited, but say that their lives have been ruined because of this ordeal


The Sports Guy Bill Simmons Kicks Off Book Tour In DC Tonight

9780345511768_500X500If you aren’t listening to Bill Simmons’ B.S. Report podcast, then you don’t know what you are missing.

Sports fans may know him as the ESPN columnist that’s a die-hard Boston sports fan (which appeals to me as a former Bostonian), I know him mainly from his daily podcasts that feature interviews with his friends, fellow writers, and the occasional GM or actor. His experience writing for the Jimmy Kimmel Show has given him a broad background and network that makes his podcasts entertaining for both fans of sports and pop culture.

So you can tell that I was thrilled to hear via Twitter that Simmons will be kicking off his book tour in Washington DC with a midnight signing at ESPN Zone. He’ll be there tonight to release his latest book, The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy, and he’ll be signing copies that you can purchase or you can bring in your own copies to be signed (he’s already recommended going to Amazon or Wal-Mart to get the best deals.)

So if you want to know where I’ll be tonight, I’ll be the one with the Red Sox cap standing in line downtown- however I have a feeling there’ll be a lot of Boston caps in line, maybe I should wear my Nationals hat instead.

UPDATE: It was great to shake The Sports Guy’s hand and get him to sign my copy of the book with an insult to my Alma Mater (which neighbors his Alma Mater of Holy Cross.) The event was so big that they didn’t have enough books for everyone, and the line rounded the corner and went down three blocks- glad to see DC has a lot of Bill Simmons fans!

DC Video: Weatherman Tony Perkins Eats A Sock

Tony Perkins eats a sock. (courtesy WTTG-TV)

Tony Perkins eats a sock. (courtesy WTTG-TV)

Last week saw a Labor Day with a few sprinkles as rain kept it a drab affair.

That was bad news to Fox 5 weatherman Tony Perkins, who guaranteed great weather for Labor Day or he’d eat his sock.

Well he kept his word and ate a sock on-air the Tuesday after, if you didn’t hear about it then you can check out the video of the daring feat.

In a man bites dog news world, it only some-what surprises me that he actually ate a sock.

Morning personalities are so wacky they will do anything.

h/t to DCist for the info.

The Tony Kornheiser Show Returns To Radio

KornheiserTony1Fellow Metblogs author Frank should be thrilled this week.

Fresh from his departure from Monday Night Football, he begged and pleaded for Tony Kornheiser to return to radio, well yesterday his dream came true as the The Tony Kornheiser Show returns to ESPN 980 AM, the place where he broadcasted between 1998-2004.

The show is going to air weekdays from 10 AM – Noon and should be available on ESPN 980’s website in on-demand and podcast formats. You should also be able to stream audio live from their website but certain people had trouble listening to Tony’s debut show yesterday. Maybe the return of his show had everyone hitting up ESPN 980’s website.

I first heard about Tony’s return on the B.S. Report with Bill Simmons, and I am a fan of PTI whenever I get a chance to watch it (almost never) so this morning I went to the site and took a listen. I have to agree that Tony really comes alive on radio, and as Jim Williams over at the Washington Examiner puts it, “you tune in to hear about sports and you come away with current events, pop culture and, most of all, an entertaining show — something rare on sports talk radio.”

Now I know what everyone in D.C. has been missing- and I’m glad he’s back.

Kornheiser out on MNF: PLEASE Come Back to Radio!!!



Tony Kornheiser, Washington D.C. resident and national sports writing talking icon, has lost one of his two jobs. 

And yeah, yeah it’s sad and all that Mr. Tony will no longer be in the Monday Night Football booth, replaced by former Bucs coach John “Thank you for the Super Bowl team Mr. Dungy” Gruden.  But that’s not the story.  That’s not the thing to be excited about.

The thing to be exited about DC, the real reason this merits a blog post is the likely (please I hope to God, seriously this needs to happen) return of The Tony Kornheiser Show to radio.  Dozens upon dozens of radio listeners are rejoicing at the idea that this news might herald the return of the single greatest radio show the Washington D.C. are has ever heard.  Ever.

Mr. Tony is an old man (or at least he says so) and the prospect of doing a radio show, PTI and MNF was too much-particularly since his fear of flying meant travel by bus across the country.  It was just too much on his orange headed body to do it all, so the TKS (the job that paid the least) had to go.  

TKS had this kind of Eggnog quality to it:  Delicious, can’t get enough-but only available for a limited time.  Each January we would tune in and each May/June we’d plead with our radios for Tony not to go.  The promise was one day MNF would “wise up” and replace him in the booth with someone who knew football and he would come back and do the radio show. 

So we watched the skies, looking for signs that the prophecy would be fulfilled-and now that day seems to have come.   The most recent “Talking Points” both Wilbon and Kornheiser (May 18th and 19th episodes) seem to indicate that this is a “fo sho.” 

More about the show after the jump, if you’re interested.


WGA Reception Redux With Rachel

(Captain’s Note: Rachel from Rachel, Rachel I’ve Been Thinking was my lovely companion to last week’s WGA reception at the Newseum- here’s her take.)

Courtesy WGA East

Courtesy WGA East

Okay so I’m a little slow on the guest-blogging but last last Friday (that would be May 8th), Patrick took me as his plus-one to one of the many pre-/post-party events surrounding the White House Correspondents Dinner (aka journalist prom). We got to attend probably the funniest event of the weekend, maybe not including the actual dinner, because President Obama’s speech was hysterical.

Nonetheless, The Writer’s Guild of America, East hosted a reception, stand-up show and panel all packed into one evening at the Newsuem, highlighting the world of comedy news. There are many things to focus on from the night (open bar!) but in particular, the stand-up from writers of the Daily Show, Colbert and Letterman was pretty hysterical. They certainly knew how to play to the very liberal, very hip, urban crowd and the jokes were full of Obama-loving, Bush-hating rhetoric. And pointed cracks at their own awesomeness and general writing prowess.

The comics’ heavy-handed liberalness was a point in the panel discussion,when one audience member asked why the conservative media hadn’t jumped on the comedy news bandwagon. Certainly it could work in the same way that Daily Show and Colbert (obviously the two favorites of the night) make a point of mocking media and politics. A writer for one of the shows (I had a hard time keeping them all straight — it was an open bar after all) said that conservative comedy is out there — in the form of Fox & Friends every single day — and he had the unenviable job of watching every minute of it. No doubt comedic gold.

But the formula works. A very clear theme emerged during the course of the event: these guys (and it was almost all men) were largely unconcerned with making the kind of pop culture waves that they have so often made. When both the recent feud with Jim Cramer by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner were mentioned as great moments, not only for the shows, but for media and news in general, the writers simply said that, sure, they were really proud of those kind of results, for making people sit up and listen, but their goal on a day-to-day basis is just to make people laugh.

One writer said, we don’t expect to be educating anyone. We’re just there to shine a light on the things we expect our audience already knows.

That seems to be the key to comedy news success. To really poke fun, you have to know what’s going on in the first place. And only then can you really laugh at it.

No Reservations With El Pollo Rico

l I had a fever today. I’m not talking about the possible fallout from a night of debauchery. I’m not talking about a fever who’s remedy is more cowbell. I’m talking about a fever for chicken- Peruvian Chicken to be exact.

It all started when my intern was watching No Reservations in D.C. it featured a few places I was familiar with, including some Vietnamese restaurants in Eden Center. Then Mr. Bourdain randomly stops by El Pollo Rico, one of the many Peruvian chicken shops in Arlington. Peruvian chicken is one of the many cuisines that run rampant just like Kebobs, Sushi, and Ethiopian. He gave a glowing review of the place as he went behind the counter to see it first hand.

Now my only experience wit El Pollo Rico has been at the catered lunches that will sometimes feature the cuisine from El Pollo Rico, however it’s been awhile since that’s happened and since watching the program the conversation between my intern and I has often included trying to find this world renown El Pollo Rico.

So this past weekend I found myself starving and I decided I was going to go online and find it. It’s actually just down the street from my house in Clarendon, so I happily drove down and found it without any problems. It is a bit off the beaten path over on 932 N Kenmore St in Arlington.

The building is a plain brick building with no markings other than a yellow sign and the smell of roasted chicken in the air. The parking lot was already full and when I walked inside there were two long lines of hungry patrons waiting to get their chicken on.

The restaurant itself is pretty simple, wooden chairs and tables fill the sparsely decorated space. The shop is cash only and offers nothing but chicken in three sizes (quarter, half, and whole.) I was pretty hungry so I got the half chicken with fries and cole slaw. I was impressed with the amount of food I got for only $8. Definitely a cheap eat.

I wasn’t a big fan of the lime hot sauce but I quickly fell in love with the yellow mustard/mayo like sauce. I used it for dipping my fries in as I scarfed down the take-out order at home.

After eating every finger-licking bite I believe I have now found a new staple to my lazy weekends. Is anybody else  in love with this local favorite? I know I am.

On space and anarchy

orphans1We attended a screening of the new documentary Orphans of Apollo at George Washington University on Friday evening, and have been mulling ever since. On the surface, this is a documentary that tells the ill-fated story of a millionaire’s attempt to lease the Mir space station back in 2000. A bit deeper, it’s a thought-provoking look at why commercial access to space remains speculative fiction.

The tagline is “Join this band of rebels out to change the course of history in space, as they board a private Gulf Stream jet, fly to Russia and negotiate one of the most remarkable business deals of the final frontier.” The story is told in interviews with the participants, mixed with some great footage of this bunch of starry-eyed kids who grew up watching the Apollo landings and reading Heinlein. When they teamed up with MBAs intent on leveraging post-Soviet technology, they sidestepped decades of global politics. Watching it play out was fascinating (even if you’re not a closet space geek).

The underlying message, however, still makes me squirm. Our government dangles space as the future, promising scientific discovery, technological innovation, and life on the final frontier. But as one of the participants observes, “the government views anything you send into space as a weapon”. And of course, that’s true, but it’s also politics-as-usual and therefore complicated. Control of space for communications, global positioning, as well as more traditional weapons is a huge priority for our government, and the Outer Space Treaty is ticklish at best.

Me, I’d love to see Dancing with the Stars in microgravity. But I’m settling for great documentary films like this.

Read the blog, order the DVD, or post comments at

Funny Or Die Hits DC For High Fives

Just when I thought I was done with the Inauguration beat the hits keep on coming!

The Funny or Die crew visited DC during the Inauguration to film the latest installment of their high five montages.

My friends at Funny or Die sent along word about the video and when I saw it, I was immediately laughing. Now I thought the first couple were great but the DC version includes more celebs, pundits, and politicians than ever! They definitely did a great job taking advantage of the influx of famous names in town for the weekend.

I’m a sucker for DC locales and they did a great job of getting high fives all over downtown. The list of names range from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to Howard Dean to even Newt Gingrich. Celebs like Jack Black, Nelly, and even Obama Girl make an appearance. I especially like the sinister looking Larry King.

Click on the image below to watch the video:

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