Archive for September, 2008

Cafe Scientifique

cafe scientifiqueDo you ever wonder what scientists do when they’re not doing…. science?  Cafe Scientifique is “a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology.”  The concept started in the UK and now they are springing up all over, bringing folks from all walks of life together to debate and discuss what’s new.  Science-types and English majors are both welcome.

We have two cafes in our transit-shed, lucky us.  One in Annapolis, where Cy Jones from the World Resources Institute is going to discuss water trading tomorrow, September 30.  Like carbon trading, only wetter.  Another in Arlington on October 7, where Dr. Don Wilson from the Smithsonian Institution going to talk about Bats: Myth and Reality.  It’s at the Front Page, in Ballston.  If you’ve ever thought about putting up a bat house, this is your chance to ask all those questions. 

Could be a nice addition to the ‘hood.  If the neighbors aren’t too freaked out, that is.

DC Fotoweek Contest Deadline Tonight

FotoWeek DC‘s photo contest ends tonight 11:59 p.m. PDT, so East Coast amateur and professional photographers have until the early morning hours to submit their best images for Spirit of Washington DC, Best of Show and Gold, Silver and Honorable Mention awards in categories including commercial/advertising art, architecture, fine art, personal project, photojournalism/editorial and wedding. Prizes total $37,000 and include cash and goodies like Chrome Imaging and Penn Camera shopping sprees. Finalists will also be exhibited at FotoWeek’s central hub in Georgetown.

The city’s so-called “premier photography event of 2008” could arguably transcend any other from any year. Featuring a slew of sponsors from the national and regional photography, art and culture scene, the November 15-22 event will feature citywide lectures, workshops, exhibitions, portfolio reviews and will end with a Saturday gala at the National Geographic Society’s Grosvenor Auditorium.

The DC Fotoweek Blog highlights sponsors, exhibit spaces and event news.

Bailout, Schmailout?


Everything old is new again

Everything old is new again

If you’re desperate to know how your representative voted on the Bailout Bill (PDF) today, don’t try his or her website!  It looks as if the House servers have just about all the traffic they can handle, and then some, right now.  (Why,, aren’t you providing a roll call in the “related” box on the big front-page story you’ve got right now?  I mean, if there is one local paper in the country that could handle it, it would be you, no?)  Instead, check out the xml file put out by the Clerk’s office.  


Um, don’t look at your 401(k) statement for a while, ok DC?  I don’t want to worry about you.

Nationals: A Terrible Season But Reasons For Optimism

“Muddy” Ruel tags out a Philadelphia Athletics player at Home Plate in 1925.  These Senators went 96-55 to win the American League and make their second straight World Series.  A far cry from today’s Nats.


So in the height of Redskins football madness, you may have missed that the Washington Nationals ended their season with the same whimper of loss that could be heard through most of their games- 102 games in fact.  Along with the distinction of being this year’s worst team in baseball (not the only 100 game loser, but the only team to not break 60 wins) comes the dismal news of 6 coaches getting fired and the continued beating the team takes over having disappointing numbers in attendance and ratings.   


Everyone seems to have lost hope for the Nats-even our very own Patrick.


But not me.  Call me nutty.  Call me an optimist.  Call me completely out of touch with the real world and how baseball works.  All three do apply-but I do think there are good things to take away from this season. (more…)

Bill O’Reilly Visits DC

Bill O'Reilly Signing Autographs on the Set of The Kalb Report at the National Press Club

Bill O'Reilly Signing Autographs on the Set of The Kalb Report at the National Press Club

Yesterday I was at the National Press Club to see Bill O’Reilly‘s interview on the Kalb Report. Host Marvin Kalb was once O’Reilly’s professor at Harvard University, and since has made several appearances on The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News. The personal connection between O’Reilly and Kalb, along with their clashing political philosophies made for a charismatic show loaded with jokes and jabs. At one point, O’Reilly commented on the A- he earned in Kalb’s class: “The minus was given out of spite. I deserved an A.” Kalb was quick to respond, “I should have flunked him!”

The serious side of the interview, debates on opinion journalism, the different news corporations, the war in Iraq, the economy, and a myriad of other current issues, was nothing short of fascinating and enlightening.

Find airings of this edition of the Kalb Report on these stations.

Nationals Lose Race To 100 Losses

It was the one race I thought the Nats could win.

Last year people were talking about the Nationals losing 100 games. Luckily they finished at 73-89, just above the Florida Marlins. There was some hope that maybe they could return to their glory days of 2005 (when they finished 81-81).

Unfortunately things haven’t been going well this season and once again the Nationals are expected to lose 100 games this year. However with their loss to the Angels last night, the Mariners become the first to lose 100 games. Even when it comes to futility the Nationals can’t win.

The Washington Times has an in-depth list of all the problems with the Nationals, from play on the field to problems with ordering office supplies. I’ve heard the Nationals described as a “glorified farm team” and while I want to defend that description- if you get in trouble for ordering too many pencils you must be a farm team.

I’d say there’s always next year but you need to actually have to have prospects in the farm system for their to be a future.

Battle of the Cupcakes

cup cake, yum, yum

photo by lilivanili.

And no, I’m not talking about a match-up between the Washington Nationals and the Seattle Mariners.  While South Capitol and N street has played host to Washington DC’s biggest cupcakes this year, there is a whole other battle involving the literal confections. 

That’s right-a cupcake cook-off.  Thanks to Washwords (who loves her cupcakes too) I’ve been tipped off that tonight, at 6:30pm, The Washington Club is hosting the first annual DC Cupcake Contest, and if you haven’t RSVP’d that is apparently no problem.  According to Blonde’s I-View showing up at the door in business attire and with $5 to donate will gain you entry to the “sugary wonderland” inside.  It looks like five cupcakeries and eight individuals will be vying for the top spot at this, I must say, delicious sounding competition.

As an aside, I have to say that this brings up a question that’s been bubbling in my mind.  What is it with DC and cupcakes?  Is it me or does there seem to be a bigger connection than “We are a bunch of busy people who love a good sugar rush?”  I can’t seem to go four feet with out someone giving me a Cupcakerie recommendation-and up until today, I didn’t think that was a real word!  The Post is running a contest which I’ve got several solicitations to vote for from friends, and I found DelleiciousDC in my research today-which is a blog that is devoted to cupcakes….in DC.  It’s not even cupcakes in general, it’s regional!  (It was also a fascinating read, btw.)

So how about it DC?  Am I missing something or is this really just about our love for frosting covered cake in a circular form?  Are you going tonight or do you have a cupcake suggestion you want to pass along?

I for one will be watching our metaphorical cupcakes probably post their 100th L of the year weather permitting.

Pickup DC Style Ultimate Frisbee, Pickup Friends

Courtesy of Flickr User Kyle Walton

Courtesy of Flickr User Kyle Walton

I just found this ad on the Washington, DC Craigslist:

We have two long running pickup ultimate frisbee games that are looking for a few new players. A number of the regular players have recently headed off to new and exciting lives involving international travel, marriage, grad school or longrunning saturday morning hangovers, so a few new regulars would be welcome.

The pickup games are ALL skill level and very laid back. We have everyone from overweight shorter guys to incredibly sneaky and fast women to 6 foot 5 former college athletes and total novices. We welcome all ages and genders, and we generally don’t keep score. The spirit of ultimate frisbee is collegial and fun, and we try to make sure that everyone has a good time. Its just good exercise and a ton of fun.

I’ve seen these guys playing on the Mall before and it always looks like they are having a great time. Stop by and get some frisbee in. You might just see me there one of these days.

Saturday Game Location
Saturdays from 11am to 1pm
In the Field of Garisson Elementary School on the Corner of S and 11th NW-two blocks from the U street metro

Tuesday Game Location
Tuesdays from 6-8 pm
On the Mall in front of smithsonian air and Space museum. Corner of 7th and Jefferson SW

New Ocean Hall


image by flickr user jef safi under a CC license

image by flickr user jef safi under a CC license

This weekend is filled with all sorts of events and activities for the adventurous Washingtonian!  If you are feeling outdoors-y and energetic, why not try out BikeDC?  

But if you are not, the Smithsonian’s newly renovated Ocean Hall is having its grand opening celebration on Saturday.  The Aloha Boys and Tlingit Community will perform, before the unveiling.  There’ll be a Q&A with the museum team that worked on the exhibition (I have a friend who worked herself crazy on this project so I am very interested to hear about this!).   In addition, book signings etc will be happening around the museum during the day.  Check out the giant squids or whatever is on display, and maybe stop by and say hi to the Hope Diamond while you’re there.

Shear Madness I Tell You!

Its Madness! Shear Madness!

It's Madness! Shear Madness!

After 9,000 performances at the Kennedy Center, along with a ton of shows elsewhere, I must have been the only guy in the world who had not seen Shear Madness yet… until Saturday. It is an audience driven Barbershop murder mystery that touches on current events and pop culture to produce a hilarious, interactive exhibition. The actors have an amazing ability to separate their feelings from their characters, which creates an atmosphere friendly to back and forth jabs between those on-stage and in the crowd.

If you haven’t seen it yet, join the 8 million who have experienced Shear Madness. You will not regret the decision. Shows are Tuesday-Friday at 8pm, Saturdays at 6pm and 9pm, and Sundays at 3pm and 7pm. Tickets are $40 and you can order them online.

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