Archive for February, 2009

Is There No Such Thing As Recession Romance?

"Love or Money" courtesy of Flickr user aymanshamma

"Love or Money" courtesy of Flickr user aymanshamma

I guess I’m lucky I’ve always been a poor bastard.

A quick post over at What’s Up Arlington, brought my attention to the front page story in this past Wednesday’s Washington Post. The headline read, “Market for Romance Goes From Bullish to Sheepish Are Guys With Less to Spend Less of a Catch?” After reading the piece I was angry. I had to read it again to see what was it that spurred the unusual reaction I get from reading The Post. The article caught enough attention for posts on cheap dating over at The Going Out Gurus and The Washingtonian.

It wasn’t the early comment from Neil Walsh who said, “”I was so used to using my financial situation to leverage my dating.” It figures that rich boys really don’t know how to romance a girl past buying her $15 martinis.

I think it was the story of Niko Papademetriou, who now has to take the Chinatown bus every weekend to see his girlfriend in NYC. He used to take flights every weekend, “…there is a lot of fear on [Niko’s girlfriend’s] part, knowing that my industry and the one that we had kind of mentally projected ourselves and our way of life on could be over, or at least on pause for a while.”

I think what I’m feeling is the lack of sympathy for the LTR. As an average joe in DC, I know plenty of friends that take the Chinatown bus. I never knew anyone that could afford to take weekly flights to NYC to see a girl.

And it’s not just the guys that are feeling it- their trophy wives are too. My friend Wendi sent me a New York Times article about a support group called Dating A Banker Anonymous. While it must be hard for women to see their men distraught over the economy, I have to laugh at anyone who has to complain that the economy has forced them to give up caviar and champagne.

The big point I want to make is that romance and love should be about a person, not the glitz and glamour. Sure a man should be confident and money and status helps with that- but a real man doesn’t need any of that to pull it off. Also marriages and relationships are going to be tested, sometimes by forces beyond our control. To me it’s those moments that tests the mettle of the true relationship.

Am I crazy or isn’t love more than money?

Nationals: A Whole New Screech?


In one of the few stories about the Nationals that doesn’t scream “EPIC FAIL,” the Nationals announced that Screech will unveil his “new look” this Monday at 12p at the ESPN Zone.   It seems that in the just under 4 years of his existence Screech (kinda like the Nats themselves) has gotten a little stale.  In fact, over the last year or two my personal experience with the over-sized baby eagle was that they really weren’t washing him that often-especially under the wings.  Yuck.  So a new costume is good, in my opinion, if only for sanitary reasons.

Now rest assured, DC Metblogs is also concerned with the more serious stories surrounding the Nationals-and in due course we’ll be looking at some of those-but for now, what is Screech going to look like?  Is he just adopting the same new jerseys the team is?  Will we adopt a more adult, more menacing looking, Screech the Bad Ass Super Eagle Of Death style?  Well in a (fake) exclusive to DC Metblogs, this blogger has done the work for you-sneaking into Jim Bowden’s office and copying photos that reveal the truth.  After the break I give you The New “Screech The Mascot:”


Obama To Unveil Basketball Stimulus Package?

obama-basketballIt’s a responsibility that comes with being President of the United States. After Hurricane Andrew President George H.W. Bush visited Florida in 1992 and promised that help was on the way. President George W. Bush surveyed New Orleans and hopefully proved to Kanye West that he doesn’t hate black people. Now it’s time for Barack Obama to evaluate and reach out to another disaster that is in desperate need of help: The Washington Wizards.

While rumors have been buzzing about whether Obama will be at the Verizon Center at tonight’s Chicago Bulls game, signs point that it may be a possibility. He is going to meet with his hometown team this afternoon at the White House and Wizards season ticket holders have been e-mailed warnings that there will be increased security and delays for those parking at the arena.

He missed a chance to see The Bulls back in December so it makes sense that he would be at tonight’s game to cheer on his team, while also realizing that The Wizards could benefit from some extra draft picks in that economic package he’s working on. Do you think the Wizards will be a little extra effort in tonight if they knew The President was in the house?

UPDATE: The President did show up and The Wizards managed to perform, pulling off a win against his hometown Bulls.


Big names, small venues

Tom Jones @ 930

Tom Jones @ 930

So, last night I went with a couple of friends to see Tom Jones at the 9:30 club. Yes, knickers were thrown (but not by us). It was an eclectic crowd, with everyone from 18-year-olds to retirees in the mix! Tom had a great band, and sounded pretty darn good for someone who’s 68 years old. He’s perfectly aware of his abilities and his limitations and works to stay within them to give the audience the best possible sound. (Aretha Franklin, I’m looking at you.)

He’s out supporting his new album.

The show put me in mind of a couple of other big-name, small-venue shows I’ve seen in the fifteen years I’ve lived in the DC metro:

  • Tony Bennett at the old 9:30 Club (which was way, way, way smaller than the existing venue); he was playing an impromptu charity show and admission was the price of a can of food
  • David Bowie at Nation (about the same size as the existing 9:30 Club)

How about you, DC? What great surprise acts have you seen around town, and where was the show?

Arlington Bars Make Top List: See It Is Cool To Come Out To NoVA!


"Eat Bar" courtesy of Fickr user voteprime

I  saw that some local bars made the Washingtonian’s Best 75 Bars list in the March issue. (Thanks to What’s Up Arlington for the news link.) While 75 is a round number for lists- why not do the top 100? Maybe there’s not 100 bars in DC but I bet there are. While I’d love to see the top of the list I’ll have to wait til the put the list online, my recession dollars won’t be going towards a hard copy anytime soon. But here are the Arlington establishments that were mentioned:

I constantly hear great things about this bar and it’s sister restaurant- and it’s only a hop, skip, jump away from where I live! However I haven’t had a chance to check it out a whole lot- has anyone else been there? I ended my night there once and really enjoyed the wine bar, I should try going out there again sometime.

I am a big fan of the Tavern, I was just there this past Monday catching up with long-lost Pho relatives. It’s a little more upscale than your regular bar but not too fancy to become a lounge. Perfect place to entertain your out of town guests, they also have great outdoor dining.

This was actually the other place my distant cousins discussed going to before we went to the tavern, I haven’t been but I hear they do tapas and they always seem full on the weekends- anybody been?

This is another place I really want to check out, however my friend Krissy had a bad experience with the obnoxious and loud crowds there so I have been hesitant to go out there.

Funny story, one of my former roommates thought it was a gay bar just because of the name. I’ve been there a couple of times and I’ll say that Galaxy Hut is a really chill place to grab a beer- I haven’t been to the patio behind the bar but I hear it’s cool.
I’m kinda surprised Whitlow’s didn’t make the list but I’m glad Clarendon Ballroom didn’t make it- I hate that place. Has anybody peeked at the entire list? I’d love to hear what’s on top- hopefully not some stupid lounge or club but a real bar.

Smoke on your pipe, and put that in

Last Cigarette image by Flickr user justj0000lie

"My Last Cigarette" by Flickr user justj0000lie

Wow, Virginia.  I never thought I’d see the day.  The legislature a)actually stopped arguing long enough to pass a bill and b) it was a smoking ban!

The new law was passed Thursday by surprisingly wide margins and, once signed by Governor Tim Kaine, will take effect December 1.  Bars and restaurants will no longer be able to allow smoking, unless they are “private clubs” or construct separately-ventilated enclosed rooms for smokers.  Some outdoor patios will also be smoker-friendly.

Smoking bans have been rejected numerous times over the past ten years or so by the state legislature.  But now Virginia, home of Philip Morris (Marlboro Country!), where tobacco leaves are painted on the state Capitol and the DMV offers tobacco heritage license plates, will be the 25th state (including the District) to enact a ban in bars and restaurants.

Pay-What-You-Can At Wolly Mammoth

col3_photo2In recession times theatre and other entertainment activities are more of a luxury than a necessity. However the Pay-What-You-Can reading series at Woolly Mammoth should be very recession friendly since you can pay whatever you want.

The reading series kicks off tonight at 8 PM with a reading of David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Snow Angel.”

Other readings this month will include “Box Americana, A Dream of Wal-Mart” on February 24th; “Restoration Comedy” on March 3rd; and  Kate Crackernuts on March 10th at the Wolly Mammoth Theatre Lab on 733 8th Street NW.

All shows start at 8 PM and include a talk-back after the show. A bargain for those interested in watching some acting (just remember a reading isn’t a full fledged show by any means.)

I hope to grab some change and make one of the readings, I haven’t been to the Wolly Mammoth theatre yet but it looks dazzling and the price is right for me.

Check out Wolly Mammoth’s website for more details.

Making Science Fair

Props to DrBacchus on flickr

Props to DrBacchus on flickr

Do you remember your first science fair project?   All that research in the library, carefully printing your experimental procedure, plotting your results, and the nail-biting presentation for the judges — it’s all coming back, isn’t it?   Well, thousands of students are going through that same thing right now in preparation for the 2009 District of Columbia Mathematics, Science & Technology (DC MST) Fair on Saturday, March 14 at the McKinley Technology High School from 8:30 until noon.

One piece of this is still needed, and that’s judges.  For the senior projects that means very knowledgeable folks; trust me, these kids are sharp!  For the junior projects, more a more general background is needed.  And really, it’s not all robots!  Expertise is needed in animal sciences, behavioral and social sciences, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, chemistry, computer science. earth and planetary science, engineering, environmental sciences, mathematical sciences, medicine and health sciences, microbiology, physics and astronomy, and plant sciences. The two top winners here will go on to compete with students from all over the world at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

To be honest, the DC fair has been pretty dismal in the past, owing primarily to a lack of staff support.  I’ve judged science fairs across the region for several years and I can tell you that the DC fair has come a long way.  It was still worth going to even when you were lucky to get a printed list of projects, let alone the catered breakfast and lunch, packet and clipboard, and staff support that’s provided today (by the very generous and competent Walter Reed Army Institute of Research).  The reason it’s worth it is simple: the kids.  These are the ones who have the drive to make a career in science and technology and a difference in the world.  Many have had little or no exposure to the S&T community, so the 5 or 10 minutes you spend with them is priceless.

The deadline to register in DC is March 2, 2009.  See you there?

And on the theme of fairness, here are links to other 2009 area fairs and the hours they are open for judging: 

Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the Wakefield High School, Saturday, March 7th, 9:30 AM until 1:00 PM

Montgomery Area Science Fair at the Reckord Armory Building at the University of Maryland, Saturday, March 21, 8AM until 5:30 PM

Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the Robinson Secondary School, Saturday, March 28th, 7:30 AM until noon

Prince George’s Area Science Fair at the Howard B. Owens Science Center at the PG Community College, Saturday, March 28th, 7:45AM until 1:00PM.

Uncle Sam A One Trick Pony?

untitled-1The Oscars are only days away but the recession is now. My friends at Funny Or Die couldn’t wait to poke some fun at another possible hero that will rise from the ashes- Uncle Sam.

In a shot by shot parody of The Wrestler Trailer, Seth Morris and Alyssa Milano show us what would the film look like if it was a true American icon making a comeback. A lot of the videos I put on the web are often rip offs of video styles I enjoy so I have a lot of the respect for the piece. However I agree with the friends that watched it with me, I believe Alyssa Milano does a good Marisa Tomei but she should try channeling her character a bit more.

It’s also really interesting how The Wrestler easily compares to our current economic times, metaphorically, “two words: Stimulus Package.”

What do you think? Funny or Die?

Bicentennial Bash at Ford’s Theatre

Ford's Theatre new orchestra seating

Renovated Ford's Theatre

On Monday, February 16, the folks at Ford’s Theatre celebrated their Grand Reopening with a birthday bash for Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial, and DC Metblogs was invited to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the sparkling new theatre.

Warren Brown prepares some CakeLove for Lincoln's Birthday Bash

Warren Brown prepares some CakeLove for Lincoln's Birthday Bash

The renovation took 18 months to complete.  The theatre itself was renovated and generally spruced-up with new painting, lighting, carpets, and seating; and a new lobby/museum/gift shop was added, with new restrooms and elevator access.

The experience starts with entry into the spacious new lobby, next door to the old box-office lobby which opened right from the seats to the street.  The new lobby has artifacts on display, including the coat that Lincoln wore to the theatre on the night he was assassinated (April 14, 1865).  It was made by Brooks Brothers, just for the President to wear, and has fancy shields-and-eagle stitching in the lining.  Neat!  Just beyond the display is the gift shop, which offers far more books than kitsch, I’m pleased to report.   (Kitsch can be found just across the street at the Old Town Trolley depot.  Trust me.)   And why not?  Lincoln is apparently the most popular subject of biography in the universe.  OK, maybe that’s a little strong, but he’s pretty popular.

For this special occasion, Warren Brown and the folks from CakeLove were on hand to offer Presidents’ Day patrons some of their delicious cupcakes as a complimentary grand-reopening  treat.  Since I was already getting pretty special treatment, I left my cupcake for another kid to enjoy.   (More on my visit after the jump.) (more…)

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