Archive for the ‘Life in the Capitol’ Category

The Last Kennedy Brother

Last Wednesday, we all woke up to the news that Senator Ted Kennedy had passed away.  He’d been in the Senate since the age of 30, serving the Bay State for 47 years.

Saturday, we all woke up to news-channel remembrances and the funeral being broadcast from the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston before his internment at Arlington National Cemetery, next to two of his three brothers (the fourth, and eldest, Joe Jr. was killed in WWII and never recovered).  While I was watching, I decided to head down to view the procession as it went down Memorial Drive to the cemetery. I’d seen the Reagan and Ford funeral processions so making the trip down to ANC would just be keeping up my own little tradition. (Story continues after the jump.)

Waiting for the procession

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Happy Birthday, Mr. President

Penny image from US Mint

DCist probably said it best:

The card’s in the mail. Our phone was broken. It just slipped our mind. Whatever the excuse, we failed to properly wish Abraham Lincoln a happy 200th birthday yesterday.

Yes, we here at Metblogs also neglected our 16th President’s 200th birthday!  We were obsessed with thinking about our own ideas for the upcoming three-day weekend, or remembering fondly the days when Lincoln and Washington each had his own holiday (oh, the 70s…), or — perish the thought — making Valentine’s Day plans.

Nevertheless, we want to wish Mr. Lincoln a happy birthday and we’ll plan to do some rootin’-tootin’ celebratin’ at some of the events around town, like the grand-reopening celebration at Ford’s Theatre on Presidents’ Day this Monday.

Nancy Pelosi’s Cat Cam Capers

It appears that Nancy Pelosi is taking a page from Barney Cam and posted a video on her YouTube channel that appears to be a cute video of her cats in the Capitol- I urge everyone to check it out for the pleasant surprise at the end.

After watching the short video I have to say that she may be the hippest Speaker of the House ever.

Package delivery hazards, and being a city mouse

Props to joezilagyi on Flickr

I guess I understand why FedEx offers this service; “real” FedEx is aimed at delivery to offices during the business day.  But then FedEx began contracting out Home Delivery (not without issues) for online orders to folks who are not often home during the day.

I find it interesting that FedEx recently changed its ad campaign from Relax, It’s FedEx to We Understand.  But I don’t think they understand the differences between home delivery to country mice and city mice.  Case in point was delivery this morning of a rug ordered online.

9:55 am: Loud knock at the door.
9:56 am: I open the door and am almost beaned by a rolled-up rug falling at my face.   The guy driving the Penske rental van (illegally parked across the street) calls out “Sorry!” as he gets in and drives away.  I drag the 60-pound package into the house.
9:58 am: I check the FedEx tracking website to see that the package was left “on the porch”.

Okay, I live in a rowhouse in the densest urban neighborhood in DC.  I do not have a “porch”, I have two cast-iron steps outside my front door, which I don’t even own.  No one in their right mind should leave a package at my door.  Right.

And so I will rant briefly about being a responsible online-orderer in the city, which includes:

  • planning accordingly for when one is home to answer the door and when one is not
  • getting to know one’s regular FedEx, UPS, and USPS delivery professional
  • knowing one’s neighbors and relying on one another to get accept packages

I won’t add “expecting a delivery person to be able to read a note taped to the door”, because that’s been kind of hit or miss.  </rant>

Rhee To Discuss Student Disciplinary Policy With Public

Michelle Rhee by Flickr user angela n.

Michelle Rhee has turned heads since becoming Chancellor of Schools in DC. Her unorthodox policies such as weakening tenure power, firing hundreds in the public school system, evaluating teachers in person, and paying students for good grades have been featured in Time Magazine and here on Metblogs. Rhee is now rolling out her new student disciplinary policies, geared towards keeping children in school and instructing constructively through appropriate consequence. She is holding three public forums to discuss these new policies.

Forums (via NBC DC)

So far I’m a believer in Michelle Rhee. The problems in DC are drastic, and drastic problems call for drastic measures. She has a forceful personality; she prioritizes on the spot and makes difficult decisions that ruffle a lot of feathers. Since I have not experienced Rhee in person yet, I will attend one of these forums, either on January 13th or 28th. The changes that are happening in the DC school system will have long term impacts on the local culture. Everyone in the DC area should be a part of these changes.

Take a look at this video at Time.com. If you have time read the article too. Enjoy this quote from the article, courtesy of Time Magazine.

“We’re in Washington, D.C., in the nation’s capital, and yet the children of this city receive an education that every single citizen in this country should be embarrassed by.” -Michelle Rhee

In Which We Say Goodbye To 2008

Fireworks 2008 by Flicker user afagen

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“Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past.

Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.” -Brooks Atkinson

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As we turn the page on the year 2008, we reflect on the past as much as we look forward to the future. That got me thinking about the turbulent year we’ve had here at the DC Metblog, all captured in this edition of the Year in Review.

January 1, 2008: Wayan wishes DC a happy New Year, winning sports teams, and voting rights. Oh well, maybe next year.

January 7, 2008: Tom Bridge supports Governor Tim Kahne’s push to ban smoking in Virginia bars and restaraunts. This would later be killed by the House of Delegates.

January 10, 2008: Alex Ovechkin signs with the Capitals for 13 years and $124MM, the wealthiest contract in DC sports history. Outraged commuters ride the Metro without pants to protest an increase in fares. One had a suspicious package. Hah.

January 28, 2008: Barack Obama draws 12,000 for a rally in DC. Little did he know that he was less than a year away from his Inauguration.

Anonymous v Co$ by Flickr user irrezolut

February 11, 2008: Anonymous brings its war against Scientology to the streets of DC. In the meantime The George Washington University finalizes its massive development plan for Square 54.

February 12, 2008: The Potomac Primary. Obama and McCain sweep races in VA, MD, and DC.

March 10, 2008: NY Governor Elliot Spitzer is disgraced by his infamous prostitution scandal. Tom Bridge views it as a good ad for the Mayflower Hotel; it could corner the “places to bring your $5,500/hour prostitute” market?Metblogger Carl Weaver is accosted by a Secret Service officer when he attempts to photograph a free Tibet rally at the Chinese Embassy.

Metblogger Carl Weaver is accosted by a Secret Service officer when he attempts to photograph a free Tibet rally at the Chinese Embassy.

March 16, 2008: Metblogger Carl Weaver is accosted by a Secret Service officer when he attempts to photograph a free Tibet rally at the Chinese Embassy.

March 24, 2008: Tom Bridge predicts that the Nationals will finish over .500. For more information fast-forward to September 25th.

March 31, 2008: The Washington Nationals open their new stadium.

April 7, 2008: The Washington Post wins 6 Pulitzer Prizes, the best performance by any paper since The New York Times in 2002.

April 16, 2008: DC gets Popemania and hosts more than a million tourists. Some get anti-Popemania.

April 22, 2008: The Capitals are eliminated from the NHL playoffs by the Flyers.

May 6, 2008: Explosion in Falls Church, VA, scares the shit out of everyone in the DC area and rocks the internets. Turns out it was an earthquake centered in Annandale.

May 15, 2008: DC Council pisses off smokers everywhere by entering a tie for highest national cigarette tax, increasing it to $2/pack to make up for their horribly mismanaged budget.

May 31, 2008: LaSalle Partners, who run Union Station, attempt to stop photographers and implement several odd security policies. Eleanor Holmes Norton opens a can of whoop-ass.

June 26, 2008: The Supreme Court kills the DC law banning handguns.

July 4, 2008: Aside from lots of fireworks and patriotism, the entire DC Metblogs team announces out of nowhere that they are leaving to start their own blog. Tom Bridge, Don Whiteside, Tiffany Bridge, Ben H. Rome, and Wayan Vota post goodbye messages almost simultaneously, catching everyone at Metblogs HQ off guard.

September 11, 2008: 9/11 memorials held throughout DC, including speeches by Rumsfeld and Bush at The Pentagon.

Bomb Squad Investigating Abandoned Greenpeace Stuffed Bear At Columbia Heights

September 18, 2008: Greenpeace places life size polar bears throughout DC to raise awareness for global warming. Several bomb scares and shutdowns ensue.

September 25, 2008: Nationals lose the race to 100 losses. .500 would have been nice.

October 1, 2008: Live grenade found and removed in Rock Creek Park. DC collectively sighs in relief.

October 15, 2008: Patrick Pho runs a hugely successful live blog of the final Presidential debate.

October 19, 2008: Chancellor of Schools Michelle Rhee announces a program to pay middle-schoolers for good grades.

October 27, 2008: Metro police begin controversial random bag search program in stations.

November 2, 2008: Shadow Senator Paul Strauss nailed with a DUI two days before the election. Strauss would go on to take over 80% of the vote in DC.

November 15, 2008: Metbloggers go live with Inauguration Central. Emergency G20 Summit shuts down parts of DC.

December 15, 2008: The George Washington University enters the Inaugural Parade for the first time since 1949. They are the only university in the country with a float in the parade.

December 31, 2008: So as we turn the page on 2008, I just want to wish everyone the best. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Thanks for being loyal readers through thick and thin, and all of us here at Metblogs look forward to giving you a great 2009!

Happy Holidays Washingtonians

Christmas DC at dusk from Flickr user Shane Bee

Hello from my stomping ground in North Haven, Connecticut. I knew I was home when two little girls ages four and 18 months woke me up yelling that Santa had come. 4:07am. My stomach was still grumbling from the massive 7 inch Santa cookie I ate while playing Saint Nick only a couple hours before. Living in DC makes coming home to a small suburban town like North Haven almost surreal. There is something to be said for spending time with family and old friends, but going from Inauguration fever in DC to “are all the roads going to get plowed?” fever in No.H. is nothing short of unnerving.

Today is at once a day of celebration and a day of sobering reality for the families of those folks who fell victim to the mayhem of Christmas Eve. Millions of families nationwide had to make cutbacks and sacrifices in light of tough economic times, but some resorted to theft and violence. NBC Washington reports 5 robberies in 90 minutes in wealthier Northwest neighborhoods in DC, an elderly man who was beaten to death near the Watergate Hotel, and a shooting occurred at Westfield Mall in Wheaton. These incidents only represent the tip of the iceberg. Here in Connecticut, my sister reported from her job at Burlington Coat Factory that dozens of people attempted petty theft during the day yesterday. It is a desperate time and many are suffering for it.

Today we would be right to spend a few minutes counting our blessings and thinking about the other families who will be struggling to put food on the table after pushing budgets to the limit for Christmas. We should reflect upon the family who will not have a grandfather at the holiday table today, and who will never look at the Watergate Hotel the same way again. And then we can celebrate; this is, after all, a holiday. We should enjoy being with those whom we don’t see often enough. We should enjoy the good food and gifts.

I set out to write a happy and upbeat Christmas post, but I guess it is a good thing that it is tempered by the reality of our current state of affairs. Holidays are not an escape from reality. If anything, they get us closer in touch with the realities of the economy, a culture of crime, and continually strained family values. Yet that understanding allows us to celebrate good fortune and togetherness, and therein lies the true meaning of Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

Don’t Drive Drunk

Don’t drink and drive also please wear your seat belt.

December is the most dangerous month when most of people get killed or life time injured by accidents.
I do not care where ever you go, when ever you go, we all know time location and our work all is important but think.
Is your life is not important ???
Your children are also important…
When you are at the driving seat, you are responsible of all people who are sitting with you, so tell them WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT OR GET OFF FROM THE CAR !!!!
Must View:
If I can wear it than why cant you ?
Seat Belt Picture by WK

Lose Child in the car, this could be her last trip, she was making face when I took her picture, so cute to lose…

Lose Child - Picture by WK
Can you feal the pain ?
Injured in Car Accident - Picture from Flickr
Drive Slow in Winter.
Picture from Flickr

This could be your future house for the life time, so the choise is yours, do you want to wear the seatbelt and drive safe or this bed is waiting for you.

Picture from Flickr

Sisterhood Of The Traveling Post-Its

Maybe it was the freezing temperatures that kept people at home that night. When I walked into Mackey’s Public House this past Saturday the crowds were light but cheery.

I was out on the town after watching the Wizards come so close but not close enough against the Lakers. At least they pulled off a comeback but I have a bad feeling when it comes to the future outlook of the home basketball team.

So I was at a table with my date when I see a server walk over and strike up a conversation with a table of women. He wasn’t getting drink order or phone numbers- but inquiring about the mess they appeared to have made on their table.

I glanced over and noticed that these ladies were drinking on a table covered in Post-It notes.

The small white company branded notes told me that the display wasn’t part of the bar decor. Laughter was the only understandable behavior as the women scribbled down notes on new post-it notes and stuck them on the table, their friends, and their own body parts. Was this some drinking game I’ve never heard of? Was it the result of a long happy hour that’s evolved to behavior too drunken to really understand? After the server left I had to do the same and I leaned over to find out.

I walked over and introduced myself, asking what was on these notes that were being exchanged. A blonde probably the size of my pinky told me that each note represented a different ex-boy friend and the night was spent exchanging stories while creating paper representations of old flames.

And just like that I was sucked into a scene fit for any romantic chick flick or episode of Sex and the City.

After the explanation I was handed a blank pad and a pen and asked to contribute. Any combination of words, sentences, or diagrams were permitted. As I write this I have thought of five better stories I could have recalled but I scribbled down the first thing that came to my mind that night.

I won’t disclose what I wrote but it was one word and it required no explanation once I slammed it down on the table.

The ladies hooted and hollered and stuck the note on my pants.

I didn’t get any of their names but found out that they all knew each other through a combination of roommates and classmates at various graduate and undergraduate studies. I’m actually glad I didn’t get a name for fear that I may become a post-it note, an inside joke scribbled on a piece of paper on a night of drinking.

The owner of the pad and originator of the spontaneous activity had two post-it notes stuck on her shirt. One read “Leggy”, which is apparently her nick name, and the other read “Emotionally Uninterested.”

She explained, “I dated this guy who told me that he wasn’t emotionally unavailable to women- he was just emotionally uninterested.”

Other stories that were told me that night included trickery to land a date in the Bethesda Metro, a proposal in the middle of the ocean, and a Marine who hasn’t made a move after three dates.

“We’ve been dating for a month and after three dates he hasn’t even kissed me- isn’t that weird?”

After looking at the owner of the note I wondered myself and it sparked debate and further stories between me, my date, and her.

The conversation between the ladies soon turned to dancing so my date and I returned to our table to enjoy our drinks and watched four ladies and a pad of post-it notes out in Washington DC.

As I finished my drink the DJ puts on Beyonce’s latest track, a catchy dance beat called “Single Ladies.”

I laughed as it was an appropriate theme song of the night, as the ladies sang, danced, and displayed their bare ring fingers.

The National Christmas Tree is Alive

National Christmas Tree 2000

There are a lot things that I love about winter in DC:  ice-skating on the Mall, the Downtown Holiday Market, watching panic-buying of bread and milk each time snow is forecast…  And one of my favorites happened this week:  Tree-Lighting Time.

I’ve got friends who have lived here for decades, but don’t believe that the “National Christmas Tree” is a live blue spruce that was actually planted at the Ellipse on October 20, 1978.  It happens that I know this because before Executive Avenues East and West were closed after 9/11, I used to walk up the Ellipse and past the White House from Constitution Avenue to my job at Farragut North on a fairly regular basis.  (If’n I were President, I’d totally relax the restrictions around the WH.  I really, really, really miss that short-cut.  But I digress.)  I walked right by it, and stopped to read the marker at the base of the tree.   It was lit lastnight amid “Pageant of Peace” festivities and mad-crazy traffic jams.

In contrast, the Capitol Christmas Tree (lit by the Speaker and Majority Leader on Tuesday of this week in a Pageant-less lighting ceremony) is a cut tree.  It’s part of a collection provided by the US Forest Service, from a different state each year.  They’re used to decorate government offices in DC.  This year’s Sub Alpine Fir hails from out in Big Sky country…it’s from the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana.

This year both trees are lit (at least partially) using energy-efficient LEDs rather than incandescents, to cut down on costs and electricity usage.

No word yet on what sort of bulbs will be used when the National Menorah is lit.  The Festival of Lights begins at sundown on  December 21, and there will be a celebration to light the Menorah at 4 PM that day. And of course, each night another bulb will be added!

So get on out there, DC, and take in the holiday sights!

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