Archive for December, 2004

A Couple Best-of-2004s

I figured I ought to put up a few of my best-of-2004s. Here they are, in no particular order:

Best criminal: The Serial Arsonist. Okay, so he started in March of 2003. However, he’s been quite active in 2004, since the police still haven’t caught the guy. Since the serial arsonist has started arsoning, 45 different fires have been set. This guy must really know how to cover his tracks.
Best Show: Sondre Lerche at IOTA in Arlington. If you ever get a chance to see this guy perform, go. Not only is he an incredible musician and songwriter, he’s a really good performer. Half the concert, it was him, a guitar and the audience. For the other half, the opening band came on an played for/with him. And between songs, he jokes with the audience, tells stories, and generally comes off as a graceful and charming fellow.
Best Politician: Marion Barry. He’s back, as a Ward 8 DC council member. Heck, just a few days ago, he was recommended for a seat on the Metro board.
Best New Restaurant: Great Sage. I actually just went out there for lunch earlier today. Great Sage is a vegetarian restaurant in Clarksville, MD (in between Baltimore and DC) which focuses on healthy versions of traditional American-style foods. It’s a bit far from DC proper, but the drive up there can be quite pretty, and the food is very much worth it.
Best Brunch: Asylum. Saturday and Sunday, from 11ish to 4-5 ish, this biker-friendly bar serves up a great brunch for cheap. They have all the basics, scrambled eggs, pancakes, etc., and they have an incredible vegan menu to go along with it (I suggest the chili-cheese tofu scramble).

I know there’s a bunch I’ve missed, but I’m not that good at this whole remember-the-past thing–I’d rather look forward to the future. Woo 2005! May the new year bring us less Metro crashes and more affordable housing!

tsunamis and new year brings us closer together

hi everyone — i’m guest blogging for chicago this week, as i’m home for the holidays. thought this was relevant to post to both cities.

although the tsunamis hit lands in the far away from here, we know there are many friends, colleagues, neighbors and acquantainces who are suffering losses and hurt of this natural disaster.

many communities are joining together to pool relief efforts. in chicago, i witnessed a meeting yesterday w/ leaders from the indonesian, indian and thai communities lead by a statement and speech by rev. jesse jackson, sr. after the tv news crew left, we sat down to talk about what needs to be done by our chicago communities to help those in need. medical and food demands are immediate, but the effects of this disaster are going to be long-lasting. these countries will need to rebuild entire regions, everything from the public infrastuctures to communities and economies.

families have been torn apart. thousands of children were victims, and i overheard a comment that we’ve lost a generation. of those who survived, they are now orphans. i know many americans will look to adopt these children, but that requires changes in immigration policies to expedite their entry and placement into homes.

most relief fund entities, such as the american red cross, doctors without borders and unicef (just to name a few) have deployed resources across the area and are looking mainly for monetary donations and volunteers. the money will help directly by providing funds for immediate expenses (e.g., travel for voluneers and medical supplies) while supporting local economies. for a list of other organization supporting disaster relief in southeast asia, check out the network for good, a resource for nonprofit organizations.

local environment and global weather is going to be greatly affected. i’m not an environmental expert, but the winds in chicago last night and this unusually warm weather are concerning.

anyway, a few thoughts for the new year. this is a moment in history not to be forgotten, as we’ll feel the effects for years to come.

peace & joy this holiday season…

other resources include: bloggers without borders, lost remote, metroblogging bangkok and tsunami help.

Help If You Can

As we sit in DC, at the cusp of the new year, in a city with a rebuilt Pentagon, in a country that was benefitted by international aid after 9/11, perhaps now is a time that we can help someone out. Every time I see the news, my heart sinks further. 50,000 60,000, 75,000, 115,000 dead. The numbers keep rising and rising. Our government has sent $35M of cash up front and are promising billions more to follow, but I think if we can do more as individuals, we ought to.

As we look at what’s coming up tomorrow, and how much we’re willing to spend on a party with fancy dress, or a dinner with our friends, it’s immense. Find $20. Find $50. Find $100 if you’re feeling generous, and help out people who’ve lost everything they hold dear.

Give, if you can.

Also, there’s another group that’s growing in strength that perhaps you ought to consider. Bloggers Without Borders that you should join. Check them out, they can explain what it’s about far better than I ever could.

mmmmm . . . spicy food

This is my *first post* on the DC Metblog, so here goes:

Tyler Cohen is an economist at GMU, and specializes in cultural economics. He hosts his own blog, and is also a great food and art critic. He

He’s like Bill Nye the Science Guy, but for your kitchen.

Coming to the DC area on the 18th of January, your favorite TV chef and mine (well, mine anyway): Alton Brown!

AB will be at the Clarendon Barnes & Noble at noon on the 18th, and the Bailey’s Crossroads Borders at 7:30 PM for signing, Q&A and general kitchen geekery. Get all the details here.

The 10 best concerts in and around DC for 2004

This list is based on individual sets by bands rather than total concert bills. There were a lot of great bands to come through the area in 2004 and it was tough to narrow down a top 10 out of the 40 or so that I went out to see this year. That said, here’s the list.

10. Einsturzende Neubauten @ the 930 Club: In what was probably their final tour of America those whacky Kraut noise-mongers put a sold-out 930 Club through the ringer with a set spanning their 20 year career.

9. PJ Harvey @ the 930 Club: At a recent show in France, Ms.Harvey announced that she will never be playing live again. Maybe that’s why her set this year was so stupendously passionate. She delivered a fiery farwell to a crowd that didn’t even know she was singing goodbye.

8. Alcian Blue @ the Warehouse Next Door: Why these guys aren’t local heroes is beyond me. Scratch that, why they aren’t national indie heroes is beyond me. Their show at the Warehouse Next Door put them in company with bands like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine for sheer gutsy handling of unbridled guitar power. The one plus of their undiscovered local status though is that we’ll probably see them playing in DC 3 or 4 times in 2005.

7. The Cure @ Merriweather Post Pavilion: The Cure headlined a festival of their own design this year and treated each city it visited to some of the best Cure inspired acts of today. The line-up was great, but as good as it was no act on it could compare to the majesty that is The Cure. I caught this tour twice and the DC area show was wonderful. In fact it was their only set in the country to feature the songs it did. The Cure treated the DC fans to 2 1/2 hours featuring almost every single of their career.

6. Tackhead @ the Black Cat: In what was probably the most unexpected reunion tour of the year, Tackhead played to a crowd of 20 to 30 fans during the hurricane scare and the Black Cat rocked harder than it did all year.

5. Buckethead @ the 930 Club: Watching the man in the mask grind that axe was simply stunning. If this list was based on sheer power of an individual performer, Buckethead would take number 1 hands down.

4. Acid Mother’s Temple @ the Ottobar: A rare visit from these Japanese guitar gods. This performance was truly spectacular. A display of precision playing masked as a swirling maelstrom of chaotic noise. Watching Acid Mother’s Temple is like watching Hendrix, Buckethead and Kevin Shields in a great guitar throwdown in the sky. This show was so powerful you could feel the Ottobar shaking.

3. Slayer @ Nation: Of all the “hard rock” bands I’ve seen in my life, the set by Slayer this year takes the cake. Dave Lombardo’s drum set was so damn big you couldn’t even see the guy but you sure could feel that double-bass kick in your gut. Talk about pure evil vocals meeting soul crunching drums with machinegun guitars. Slayer’s set at Nation proved they are the best metal band ever, period.

2. Isis @ the Black Cat: The Isis show at the Black Cat was such a perfect combination of musical elements that I look for in a show that it is difficult to rank them as number 2, but alas that’s where I’ve got to put them. Isis are technically a metal band but really are so much more. The 6 man band is a unit of extremely serious musicians that play with such focus and passion that I’ve rarely seen an act that match their presence. Their music is a combination of power and beauty rendered like no one I’ve ever heard. To call them the “Mogwai of metal” is not entirely accurate but it comes close to giving an impression of how damn good they are. This show was strength, beauty and passion captured in sound. Nobody else this year could touch them except…

1. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ the Recher Theater: The theater was drenched in red light projected from the back of the stage, putting the band in dramatic silhouette for the entire two hours that they submerged the audience in aural bliss. Technically a “warm-up” show to prepare for the Coachella Festival, this performace was the first time the band had played after a brief hiatus. What they called a “warm-up” I’m declaring best concert of the year. The packed theater seemed to be awe-struck at the wall of sound these 3 guys were able to produce. Everyone just kind of swayed with their eyes closed as the BRMC enveloped us with a sonic display rarely achieved. This show is the best of the year because for all the power, passion and precision on display in our area this year, it was this show that blended it all into a perfect concert that took the crowd out of themselves, out of the theater and raised us all to pure music nirvana.

God I love music. I can’t wait for the shows of 2005.

We’re back baby!

DC has made it back onto the most dangerous cities in America list. We now rank 6th most dangerous in the nation and 2nd among cities with populations higher than 500,000.

This stat makes me feel like my life in DC has come full circle. We were number 2 nationwide when I moved here 11 years ago, then fell off the list for most of the 90’s. I wish I could say it’s good to be back.

For the rest of the list go here.

The New Great Compromise

Is it possible that DC might get baseball after all?

for those on the go

so i fell for it last night. the weather reports said 4-5 inches of snow. i had an early am flight and said to myself and my roommates, “heck no, i’m not driving in the dark, on ice & snow (coz i know the streets wouldn’t be plowed), to fly in blustery winds to ny.”

it was definitely a gamble as all flights to laguardia were delayed, either due to mechanical issues (like them de-icing the planes in lga) as well as weather — high winds (scary scary). anyway, i made it to nyc after 6 or so hours or fretting on what to do. i think this might have helped: the Air Traffic Control System Command Center is wireless! go to and check how your airport of choice is doing.


i could have been making all these decision snuggled in bed, instead of standing by the window freezing my @ss off and calling all the travel numbers.

Person Stuck Under Orange Line Train

WASHINGTON – Authorities at Metro are reporting a person is trapped under an Orange line train at the Metro Center station in the District.

— Via WTOP News.

This sounds deeply deeply unpleasant. I took the Metro over to Farragut West today and the trains were running slowly, I’m amazed no one’s been killed.


Blue and Orange line service has been suspended between Federal Triangle and Farragut West due to the earlier incident of a person struck by a train.

Becoming glad I drove today.

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