Friday, August 31, 2007

OK, Virginia's not ALL bad...

At least there are a few people with a sense of humor over there. Though I am still not going across the river ever again unless absolutely necessary, since I believe that there is now a mandatory death penalty for driving 80 in a 55.

Courtesy of Bill M., taken at a recent DC United game (yes, the D is cut off)...


Courtesy of The DCeiver:


Now I know what they mean by Virginia Is For Lovers...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Blelvis Update

I didn't realize this at the time. But August 16 - the day I ran into Blelvis - is the 30th anniversary of Elvis' death.

I am a believer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

DC Drunk Driving Deaths Down

The Examiner notes that deaths due to driving under the influence of alcohol are down significantly in 2006 versus 2005. Well, down from 19 to 12. With a sample that small it's hard to read too much into it. Of course that didn't stop MPD from taking credit for the decline, because of their "outreach" programs. Whatever that means.

In reality, if anything's responsible, I'd have to go with DCist - it's Metro being open until 3 AM on the weekends, which only started a few years ago. So why on earth would Metro be considering ending late-night service to cut costs? That's possibly the single best thing that's happened in DC since Marion Barry left office. Let's hope this idea is off the table in a hurry.

Friday, August 10, 2007

El Pollo Rico is Back!

El Pollo Rico, the insanely good spit-roasted chicken restaurant in Wheaton, is back open for business. The storefront had been shuttered for about three weeks following a raid in which nine employees were arrested by the INS. Four members of the Solano family, who own the joint as well as another outlet in Arlington, had been arrested on Federal charges of tax evasion, money-laundering, and harboring illegal immigrants.

None of that mattered today. Francisco Carlos Solano, one of those charged, was behind the cash register as always, selling half-chickens and fries for about six bucks a pop as fast as people could buy them.

Dozens of people waiting for their chix fix from the crook cooks.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

All Right.... Crime Spree!

You really have to wonder what's going through her head. DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier, in response to the typical summertime surge in crime and the typical gentrifier's outcry upon realizing that the ghetto where they bought their $670,000 house last month has crime, enacted the All hands On Deck initiative for the third time this summer.

According to Lanier, this miraculous program, which costs nothing, "is good for public relations, which to her, plays a part in successful policing." At least she's being honest: it's all about PR. I'm so pleased that our police department puts it's public image at the top of it's "to do" list, rather than, say, actually fighting crime in any kind of effective way.

So, what exactly is the result of these brilliant "All Hands" initiatives? Well, they sure arrest a lot of people - more than 1,000 in a single weekend, to be exact. Unfortunately, arresting drunks, hookers, and pot dealers -- the vast majority of whom will be back on the street the next day -- doesn't really do much to keep people safe from street crime. Frankly, your average small time drug dealer probably improves public safety - he's there all the time and knows everyone who comes and goes. Thugs don't mess around on blocks where everyone knows everyone. But the proof is in the pudding - and these initiatives so far seem to have had little effect.

OK, well, if it doesn't cost anything, what's the big deal? Unfortunately, this is, quite simply, a lie. Nothing is free. You cannot wave a magic wand and create police officers who are willing to work overtime, for free.

The cost is coming now. As the Examiner reports, all these cops who worked overtime for the latest All Hands fiasco last weekend, have been taking some time off later in the week. From the aforementioned Examiner article: "In the 1st District station on Wednesday afternoon, 14 officers were on patrol for an area where the department requires at least 30."

So, Ms. Lanier, perhaps you can explain why double-loading the police force for two days, and then being half-staffed for two more, helps us in any way. If more police is better, than why isn't fewer police worse? To the extent that you think a greater police presence will hinder crime, don't you think a dramatically reduced police presence will be a free pass for the same criminals?

So, kids, grab your pipes and chains... the cat's away. This weekend, it's gonna be a crime spree!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Dog Days

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit driving to work. The uphill walk between the Silver Spring metro and my office this morning was excruciating. Fortunately I brought my machete, so I was able to carve a swath through the wall of humidity. No matter. By the time I got to the office - which, in a departure from the usual, is mercifully well air-conditioned today - I probably looked about like this minus the Hawaiian shirt.

Oh yeah, and this just in: Major delays on the Red Line due to a suspicious package left on a train. That means I'll probably be rotting on the outdoor platform in Silver Spring for at least 45 minutes before a train comes.

Not exactly what one likes to see when contemplating public transportation.

Signs of the Apocalypse #238: Rep. Bob Allen

In another all-to-frequent incident of lawmaker hypocrisy, Rep. Bob Allen (R-Fla) has been arrested in a sting after agreeing to pay $20 for a blow job.

Allen was the Tampa Police Union's 2007 Lawmaker of the Year. The Florida Times Union reports: "In his seven years in the Legislature Rep. Bob Allen of Merritt Island has built up a 92 percent approval rating with the Christian Coalition of Florida on issues like abortion, marriage and pornography."

The story just keeps getting more bizarre, as Allen, following his arrest, claims, in essence, that fear of black men and the weather led him to this situation. Just read it. Awesome.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Suing your customers

In this story we read about 19-year old Jhannet Sejas who recorded about 20 seconds of the Transformers movie with the video mode of a pocket camera, and was promptly arrested for video piracy.

In the comments (from another site) someone writes:

"i took out a cell phone in a theatre recently, to check the time, and put it on vibrate. a guy can down from the projection box apparently, asked to see my phone. i ask why, he says to check if it had a camera.

So. It seems that the MPAA is tearing a page from the RIAA's handbook, and throwing the baby out with the bathwater: they are pissing off the very people they depend on for survival, their customers.

The absurdity of hassling people for recording (or, in the case of our commenter, simply opening his cell phone) a movie with a pocket camera, or cell phone, cannot be overstated. Within hours of a movie being released (or in some cases, before it's even been released), a high-quality bootleg is typically available on the Internet. These are sourced from prerelease DVDs that get leaked, or are telesync recordings that are made by the video camera operator himself. What possible threat, then, is a barely-watchable, and necessarily incomplete recording made by a patron for fun?

RIAA and MPAA have apparently decided that the best way to deal with sagging record sales and movie viewership is to have their customers arrested. Yet these are the people who are actually still going to movies, and still buying music! These are fans of Hollywood, the very consumers of their product! This kind of legal action has no effect on piracy as everyone knows. Movies and CDs continue to proliferate freely around the internet.

I believe in paying for a product, even if I can get it for free, if it's a good product. I buy CDs and DVDs all the time. But when I read stuff like this, it doesn't exactly make me feel good about supporting them.

This continued hostility towards their own customers shows how shortsighted the entertainment industry is. More than eight years after Napster forever changed the way people consume music, they still aren't getting it. Where once there was an opportunity for these organizations to embrace the technology to the benefit of everyone, instead they continue to dig their own grave as the world marches on around them.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Weekend getaway

I went to Maine over the weekend for the 2nd annual running of the Beach to Beacon 10K by myself, John & Tony. This race is in it's 10th year and is probably Maine's biggest running event and also a nationally recognized race that attracts elite runners. The race course is very cool, if hilly, winding through Cape Elizabeth and finishing on the waterfront near Portland Head Light. Which, conveniently, is about a mile from John and Leigh Ann's home. And it's an excuse to come to Maine in August, when the weather in DC is atrocious, and hang with good friends. Best of all, the beer drinking and fried seafood eating is fully justified by the 10K.

This year was not my finest performance (you can look up the results at that link), but no matter... the race was fun, and the rest of the day was amazing. Perfect weather for taking John's '69 Pontiac Bonneville convertible to the beach. I can't think of anything that would have made for a more perfect day.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Shut the Internet down!!

This is absolutely priceless. Clearly fame has it's privileges. No matter how much of a crackpot you are, you can still get your looney tunes opinion in print.

"I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span."

Ummmm... we'll get right on that!!

"In the early seventies there were at least ten albums released every week that were fantastic."

I am guessing he's referring to this sort of thing.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

DC is like...

Comment from a story on DCist. Cracked me up.

MD is the butterface girl who kinda smells but has a HUGE rack and will blow you behind the bleachers because she thinks this will make her popular but everybody's really laughing at her.

VA is her cuter sister who's kinda dull but she can hold her liquor, she knows how to field strip a gun in the dark, and she doesn't mind cleaning fish.

DC is the baby daddy next door who's doing them both, all the time telling them, "Please, baby, please, baby, baby, please! That girl don't mean anything to me. I f**k her but I LOVE you! Can you help me out with $1.2 billion to take care of my shortys."

He also does it with men once in a while but HE'S NOT GAY. He just wants to get his pole smoked once in a while.

[64] Posted by: monkeyrotica | August 1, 2007 3:24 PM