The District of Columbia has a new night curfew. Starting this week, people 16 years old and younger cannot be on the streets between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The city, thus, is ordering youths to be outside only during sunlight hours.
Tomorrow is supposed to be 104 degrees with Code Orange air quality.
Is this cruel and unusual punishment?
July 31, 2006
The District of Columbia has a new night curfew. Starting this week, people 16 years old and younger cannot be on the streets between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Eight months after I proclaimed myself a "budding regular" of A.V. Ristorante Italiano, the ownership has sold the property to developer Douglas Jemal to build offices and retail on the site. The restaurant will close in October 2007, according to the Washington Post.
I'll be ordering up a lot of gnocchi until then.
Every now and then, Marnie puts our dishwashing sponges in the dishwasher.
She does this instead of throwing the sponges away when they get dirty. It's hard for me to keep track, but she seems to replace them entirely after a few washes.
She tells me this is a normal thing to do and that households all over the world do the same thing. Is she right?
July 30, 2006
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal said it will put advertising on its front page beginning in September.
Actually, the paper has been easing this way for awhile. It already sells ads on the front page of its Marketplace and Money & Investing sections. The New York Times has text-only ads on its front page, as well as ads on the front of its Business section and its Metro section (on Sundays).
I'm curious when the Washington Post will follow suit. In any case, these moves are fine with me so long as it doesn't end up looking like this.
July 28, 2006
Now that ESPN offers Pardon the Interruption as a free podcast, I no longer need to tune into the network itself.
The only problem with listening to the PTI podcast is missing the gratuitious screen shots of the trampoline bear or of Dasha Zhukova (Marat Safin's girlfriend).
Okay, that's it for posts about PTI.
Appearing on PTI yesterday, Charles Barkley said he plans to run for governor of Alabama in 2014. Barkley said he would run as a Democrat.
Two states over, Karl Malone has said for years he is considering running for governor of Arkansas. Malone, a self-described "black redneck," would run as a Republican.
It's too bad these two are from different states, because this would be the greatest election campaign in political history. Then again, if both those guys win office, maybe Dennis Rodman — who went to school at Southeastern Oklahoma State — will decide to run for governor in Oklahoma.
July 27, 2006
In June, I told the story about getting yelled at for putting my shoes on the airport security conveyer belt.
What I forgot to mention was that three days later, another airport security agent berated me. But this time, it was my fault.
See, normally I take out my boarding pass and ID to have ready when going through an airport's security checkpoint. And I put all my spare change and electronic gadgets in a bag to put through the x-ray machine.
As a result, I've gotten very good at tuning out what the security agents are saying as I walk past them. Usually, they are telling me to do the very things I've already done. Or they are giving instructions on what to do with a lap-top computer. If I have one. Which I never do.
Almost never, that is.
This time, I was carrying a lap-top bag for a friend. (It's a good thing they didn't ask me whether I'd packed the bag myself.) I knew there was a computer inside, but I was in my usual ignore-the-security-agents-because-whatever-they-are-saying-doesn't-apply-
I didn't take out the computer ahead of time. I was scolded. And this time, I deserved it.
In baseball, it is traditional to give aging veteran players the day off when the schedule calls for playing an afternoon game the day after an evening game.
The result is that afternoon games, the ones with the most young children in attendance, often feature each team's "B roster" of scrubs.
As someone with a ticket to this afternoon's Nats-Giants game, I hope Barry Bonds does not have the day off.
Besides, older players probably do better during the day than at night. (I'm sure someone keeps a stat for this. Josh, I'm looking in your direction.) Thus, why not let players rest during the night game and let them play the following afternoon?
July 26, 2006
David Beckham, 31, might end his career by playing for Major League Soccer in the United States. He has one more year on his contract in Spain and said he might like to play in Los Angeles, where his academy is located.
It would be pretty fun to have Beckham playing stateside. But he has hinted that he might sign one more European contract and then come to the U.S.
If that's the case, I don't want him here. He'll be washed up by then, just like Pele was when he signed with the now-defunct North American Soccer League at age 34 right before retiring from soccer.
Meanwhile, did you know that Beckham is part Jewish?
July 25, 2006
E-mail spammers have developed a new technique to get my attention: they make the messages appear to be coming from my own account.
As a result, I have to actually glance at them before hitting delete.
Often, I think to myself: "It sure is nice of me to offer myself cheap Viagra and low-interest mortgage rates. But why would I need to transfer $46 million to myself on behalf of the Nigeria Exports Promotion Council?"
July 24, 2006
July 21, 2006
I've thought a bit this week about the adage "don't trust anyone over 30."
The phrase "over 30" is ambiguous. Does it apply to people who are a single day over 30?
Or does it refer to people who are older in whole integers?
(After all, everyone who is 30 is already "over 30." And if 30-year-olds are not to be trusted, than the adage should have been "don't trust anyone over 29.")
In February, I missed my chance to take home a free bar stool when the Flying Scotsman closed.
The building has sat empty since then, but it will open in September as Hamilton's Bar & Grille. It will serve American food and have a 40-seat outdoor patio. And it promises to subscribe to all satellite sports packages.
July 19, 2006
It has only been a couple months, but it feels like ages since Marnie & I wrapped up our two-week vacation by drinking Hinano, a Tahitian beer, while sitting on the deck of our bungalow overlooking Opunohu Bay on the island of Moorea.
We carried home a bottle of Hinano, and last weekend we decided to re-enact part of our vacation. However, this time we were sitting on our balcony overlooking a courtyard and a dirty alley filled with trash.
The setting wasn't as beautiful, but my companion was.
July 18, 2006
When I learned that Cheerios launched a new flavor, I knew I needed to try it.
Fruity Cheerios is sort of like Froot Loops, only healthier and with less sugar (It even has less sugar per serving than my usual Apple Cinnamon Cheerios.)
The problem, however, is that taking away the sugar defeats the whole purpose of Froot Loops. Without sugar, Froot Loops is just crunchy food coloring.
July 17, 2006
A lot of people, more than there should be, run the air conditioner in their car full blast but leave the windows open.
For years, I've been confused by this behavior. But last week, I reaped the benefits.
Biking down the street on a recent 90-degree day, I stopped at a light. As I was wiping my sweaty brow, a car pulled up with its windows open, blowing its arctic cold air on me.
The light turned green a moment later, but it was just the break I needed.
Is competitive cheerleading a sport? What about bowling? Or competitive eating? Or darts? Or diving?
To me, a sport must meet the following criteria:
- It must be an athletic competition.
- Competitors must win by beating their opponent on a scoreboard, not by winning a majority of judges. In my definition, activities that are determined by judges are performances, not sports.
And indeed ESPN will televise the World Series of Darts tomorrow.
The network will put cameras in dartboards to provide interesting angles. Interesting, but not a sport.
Last year at this time, I was pleased to learn about grocery stores tagging fruit with laser tattoos instead of stickers. I still haven't seen this at my local stores, though, which is frustrating because I hate pealing off the stickers. (And yes, I know the stickers are edible. But I still can't convince myself that it's okay to eat a sticker.)
But here's an even bolder idea: advertising on food.
The New York Times reports that CBS has launched an ad campaign using eggs.
July 15, 2006
The University of Minnesota is building a new on-campus football stadium. To help finance the $248 million project, the school took $35 million in corporate sponsorship from TCF Financial Corp. Here are a couple of the provisions, as reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
- The school will give the bank the names and addresses of 236,300 alumni and season ticket holders to use for marketing purposes.
- If the school erects a lighted sign on the stadium exterior that says "Home of the Golden Gophers," it must post a nearby sign with the words TCF Bank Stadium illuminated "with the same or greater lighting quality and intensity."
July 13, 2006
Marnie & I aren't very handy.
At least, that's what Marnie told a friend last week. At first, I took that as an insult.
I mean, if you're in a pinch and need a guy to blog about stupid things, who is handier than me? And I can wire stereo equipment and set up password protection on a wireless router.
What Marnie meant, of course, is that neither of us is a handyman (is "handywoman" a word?), a term that refers to someone skilled at repairing things around the house. A handyman walks around with a toolbox and knows how to fix a door handle or that funny noise coming from the refrigerator.
By that definition, she's right.
I'm not handy.
During a scene in Seinfeld, Kramer asks George, "Do you have any conceivable reason for even getting up in the morning?"
I've always been uncertain about George's response. He said one of the following two things:
- "I like to get the Daily News," referring to the New York Daily News, a tabloid newspaper.
- "I like to get the daily news," referring to the general act of getting news each day.
July 12, 2006
I remember the fuss when USA Today first sold part of its section banners to advertising.
Today, the Examiner took that more than one step further — the entire front page was an ad.
July 11, 2006
- One is a "2-in-1," while the other is a "3-in-1." (I have no idea what the third function is.)
- One has a a unit price of $4.35 per pound, while the other has a unit price of $23.95 per 100 count. (This drives me crazy — why can't they use the same "unit" when comparing similar products?)
- Both cost $4.79.
- One has fresh scent and one has orange scent. (Evidently the orange scent is not fresh.)
1) Washington National Airport has a new cell phone parking lot. When picking people up, you can now sit with your car in the free lot to wait for them to call you to say they've arrived. This is, of course, better than the alternative, which had been to drive laps around the airport until you ran out of gas and had to push your car home. (Well, the actual alternative was to pay for real parking, I suppose.)
BWI has had a cell phone parking lot for awhile, but I've never used it because they also have a "smart parking lot" that is free for one hour. (BWI's "smart parking lot" probably deserves its own post sometime, since it's the single greatest thing I've ever seen in the history of my life.)
2) A company called D.C. Pedicab has unveiled a bicycle cab service. A ride on the bike rickshaw costs about $5. As strange as they are, Pedicabs might be pretty useful to get around on the National Mall to places like the FDR Memorial. And evidently they pay "drivers" $20 per hour.
What did Marco Materazzi say to Zinedine Zidane? We still don't know.
But Materazzi told Gazetta dello Sport that it wasn't anything about Zidane's mom. "For me the mother is sacred," he said, through a translator.
But Zidane, who was angry at Materazzi grabbing his jersey (and possibly pinching the flesh underneath), reportedly said, "If you really want my shirt, I'll give it to you afterward."
That reportedly prompted Materazzi to say: "I'd rather take the shirt off your wife."
So, here's what we know.
For Materazzi, mothers are sacred. But wives aren't.
Until those wives become mothers, that is.
Everyone I see looks like someone else. That's just the way it is for me.
At the National Portrait Gallery the other day, I made the following decisions:
- Lewis Morris (a Declaration of Independence signatory) looks like Tim Russert.
- William Beckman (an artist seen above in a self-portrait) looks like John Michael Higgins. For that matter, he looks like David Letterman. However, Marnie thinks he looks more like Robert Redford.
July 10, 2006
Italy's national colors are green, white and red. Yet its national team wears blue. Why?
It is reportedly because the blue was the color of the House of Savoy, once the ruling estate of the king of Italy. Blue, thus we are left to reason, is an important enough legacy for Italy's national sports teams, but not for the nation's flag.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Southwest Airlines will launch a pilot program today (pun intended) to assign seats to passengers instead of herding everyone like cattle. Starting today, some Southwest flights from San Diego will give out assigned seats.
(As a side note, the newspaper also says Southwest gets wedding invitations from passengers who met through open seating. How does one invite an airliner to a wedding? Is the ceremony held in a hangar? Haha.)
While Southwest experiments with assigned seating, Northwest Airlines is doing the exact opposite:
Northwest is testing a new policy in which coach passengers have seat assignments but board in the order they line up at the gate.
To sum up: Southwest is trying to be more like Northwest. And Northwest is trying to be more like Southwest.
July 09, 2006
As I live only a few blocks away, I've already been several times to the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum, which opened last week.
Although the courtyard renovation isn't done yet, I like the look of the blue scaffolding. Perhaps they should keep it up as a permanent modern art show.
It is ironic that in a World Cup marred with ejections due to players faking injuries, the tournament ended with a red card that was actually legitimate. (And it almost didn't happen, because the ref didn't actually see the offense take place.)
France's Zinedine Zidane rammed his head into Italy's Marco Materazzi. We can all see that.
What's less clear is why.
Britain's ITV said Materazzi tweaked Zidane's nipples moments earlier. But look for yourself at the video. After whatever happened (and Josh points out that it looks more like Zidane got felt up than had his nipples tweaked), Zidane turned around and gave a "what-the-fuck-was-that" look to Materazzi.
Here's a better view of the alleged nipple twisting.
Then the players glared at each other and possibly traded insults. And that's when Zidane committed the act.
What did Materazzi say? We might never know for sure. (I'm still waiting to hear what really happened in the Eagles huddle at the end of the 2005 Superbowl. Did Freddie Mitchell really have to call plays because Donovan McNabb was unable?)
The rumors are that Materazzi called Zidane a "harki," a term used to refer to Algerian traitors who fought against the Arabs on behalf of the French. (For what it's worth, The Hindu newpaper says Zidane's father was not an harki.)
July 07, 2006
By now we've learned what Germans call the World Cup (Die Weltmeisterschaft).
And we've learned the purpose of the semi-circle around the goal box (it marks an "exclusion zone" for penalty kicks).
Let's move on to a few more questions:
- Why does Italy, reputed to be the world's capital of fashion, let its players wear uniforms with pre-painted armpit stains? Is this the future of fashion? Will designers soon start mass-producing this style into dress shirts and sports coats?
- Why do World Cup coaches — many of whom are the most famous people in their home countries — wear badges around their necks while on the sidelines during games? Once they are admited into the stadium, can't they take that thing off? It would be like forcing Mick Jagger to wear a back-stage pass while already back stage. Or while performing.
- Since it is traditional for players to trade jerseys with their opponents at the end of games, do teams arrive at the World Cup with tons of jerseys in case they keep advancing through the tournament? And what do players do with the jerseys they aquire each game? Over the course of a career, do veteran players have dressers filled with hundreds of jerseys from enemy players?
July 06, 2006
At the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, you can walk along a patch of the original Route 66 pavement; see the ruby slippers from Wizard of Oz; laugh at the "puffy shirt" from Seinfeld; and stare at the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star-Spangled Banner.
However, the most unusual item might be an artifact in the Ray Charles exhibit: a braille copy of Playboy from the musician's personal collection.
(On a related note, Congress approved legislation last week to issue up to 400,000 silver dollars commemorating Louis Braille. No word yet on how many Braille coins Playboy will charge for its upcoming issue.)
July 05, 2006
- When France plays Italy in Germany, in what language do players argue with a Ukrainian ref?
- Why do home teams do better in the World Cup? Crowd noise in soccer is more like a dull roar with constant singing and chanting from both sides — why does that favor one team over another?
- When injuries occur, why can't they just stop the clock instead of letting it run and having to add extra time at the end?
- When they add extra time at the end, how come it is always full integers like 2 minutes or 3 minutes? There's obviously some rounding going on. Why not be precise?
- Why are they constantly using different balls each tournament? What's wrong with the traditional soccer ball?
- Why don't they use sudden death for the overtime periods?
- Why don't they allow more substitutions in overtime? Forcing tired guys to keep running around makes it less likely that goals will be scored.
- What's the point of the semi-circle around the goal box?
July 03, 2006
Let's take a closer look at a Jay-Z song called "Izzo (Hova)."
The semi-autobiographical song is about a drug dealer named Hova who went though some crazy shit so that you don't have to. Or so he says. One part of the song bothers me:
H to the izz-O, V to the izz-AVA, presumably, is refering to the state of Virginia. But the home of the Terrapins is Maryland, not Virginia. I guess maybe he couldn't find anything to rhyme with Virginia Cavaliers.
Fo' shizzle my nizzle used to dribble down in VA
Was herbin' em in the home of the Terrapins