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September 30, 2007
September 28, 2007
NEW YORK — One of my friends gave birth to a baby boy this week and another friend, as of press time, was set to deliver any hour now. If the newborns are wondering what they have to look forward to, they need wait only 30 years.
- Amy spent her 30th birthday zip-lining through the Costa Rican jungle.
- KWT called upon friends to help her celebrate her 30th year by using an ice luge to do shots of whiskey and Jägermeister. (See the picture above of Eric & Kate trying their hands at the ice luge. Trying their mouths, actually.)
- Marnie found the occasion so special that she celebrated it twice (first on a foggy morning in Thames, New Zealand, and then — after crossing the international date line — waking up in a hut on the beach in Tahiti to start the day all over again).
The dress code at the event, I'm told, is "below 14th St. au courant."
Asked to elaborate, the host explained: "Below 14th St. means generally more artsy, open and bohemian for Manhattan. In contrast, uptown is generally more stiff and conservative. And if you show up in khakis and a golf shirt, we will promptly supply scissors for your convenience."
I will report back as to whether the shirt I chose avoids the scissors.
September 27, 2007
According to today's Washington Post, three of the 25 Fairfax, Va., public high schools "have turf" football fields. The story quotes someone who says, "I see turf fields as being an improvement on Mother Nature."
I know saying artificial turf is a mouthful, but shortening it to just turf conveys the opposite meaning.
Turf means grass. Unfortunately, it also means fake grass.
We need a word that doesn't convey its exact opposite meaning.
When I was in high school, my dad had a Zack Morris cell phone, which I thought was the coolest thing ever.
It's all about expectations, you see.
For example, I got a new cell phone yesterday.1 My RAZR V3XX looks fancy, but it doesn't come with any ring tones to choose from.
I'm stuck with the default ring unless I purchase a $30 CD filled with ring tones or pay to download one.
For all I know, the Zack Morris phone only had one ring too, but that didn't matter at the time.
1I have a new number too. Please update your address book. Effective immediately, my new number is ALL-EDEN. Same area code.
September 26, 2007
This site is sponsored today by a $6 product called the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which Marnie & I used before our open house to make our home look shiny and new.
I'm not usually one to rave about cleaning supplies, but the Magic Eraser is pretty darn cool. Even the Cool Tool blog agrees with me.
September 25, 2007
Marnie & I have never been to Marrakesh, an upscale Moroccan restaurant where visitors reportedly dine for hours on seven-course meals. As we walked past it on our way to A.V. over the years (back when A.V. existed), Marnie often remarked that she found it cool that there are no English words on the building.
With A.V. closed, perhaps we will try Marrakesh one day.
September 23, 2007
Religious confessions are making a comeback, according to an article on the newsstands timed to coincide with Yom Kippur.
- Catholic priests now hear confessions at a mall in Colorado Springs., Colo.
- Bishops have banned text-message confessions, which had been popular in the Philippines.
- An evangelical congregation in Florida accepts confessions posted to its site: ivescrewedup.com.
- The XXX Church videotapes people confessing their porn-related addictions and posts them to YouTube.
September 21, 2007
Although tourists are flocking to the infamous Minneapolis airport men's room where Larry Craig was arrested, they won't catch a glimpse of the Idaho Republican — he reportedly flies through the Denver airport nowadays.1
I suppose it makes sense — there are no direct D.C.-Boise flights, and none of Northwest's other hubs connect to Boise.
But this creates a problem for the senator, because now that he seems to be flying to Idaho on United instead of Northwest Airlines, I wonder what will happen to all his Northwest frequent-flier miles.
1That information was covered extensively in stories on my recommended reading list. Those of you reading this page via RSS should know that you can subscribe to the feed, bringing the Editor's Salon direct to your RSS reader.
September 20, 2007
Today we will be discussing the "tiger hawk" logo for the University of Iowa mascot, named Herky The Hawk.
(The nickname Hawkeye came from the hero of James Fenimore Cooper's "The Last Of The Mohicans.")
Above, we see the tiger hawk logo.
Now let's rotate it 90 degrees.
Did Iowa draw that logo after watching Fred Flinstone?
September 19, 2007
Remember when I discussed ordering the second-cheapest wine at a restaurant?
Well, today's New York Times says the practice is quite common indeed: "The restaurant industry has a longstanding belief that the lowest-priced wine on the list will never sell. Nobody wants to be seen as cheap. But the second-lowest-priced wine, that’s the one people will gobble up."
September 18, 2007
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Sure they went home by the end of the 3rd quarter, but Maryland's students made an impressive showing by filling their sections a half hour before the start of their nationally televised match-up with No. 4 West Virginia last Thursday.
Before the kick-off, Army paratroopers pumped up the crowd by jet-packing from the sky and landing at midfield.
If only the military's main duty these days was to entertain football crowds...
September 17, 2007
A couple years ago, SAL posed a question about highway mileage signs.
Yesterday's Houston Chronicle addresses this issue. In Texas, the article states, mileage between two cities is measured from the closest exits to each city's center. (The article mentions the stretch of I-10 from Katy to Houston, a drive I made myself in February.)
Marnie & I got a good offer on our condo six days after we put it on the market. It came with a lot of strings attached, however, leading me to become quite stressed out. To get my mind off these tense negotiations and the prospect of having to move by Oct. 18 into a house we have not yet found, I flipped on the TV to load up my recording of "Meet The Press," which had aired earlier that day.
I promptly heard John Kerry say this:
"You wouldn't negotiate the sale of your home the way we're negotiating in Iraq. ... You have to create uncertainty. You have to create leverage."
Great, now I'm even more confused. But if I have to be creating uncertainty, maybe that's the point.
September 15, 2007
PHOENIX, Ariz. &mdash US Airways, based in nearby Tempe, makes no secret which NFL team it roots for. On this particular day, as on most days, the airline's support didn't help. Later in the evening, the Arizona Cardinals lost their season opener to the San Fransico 49ers.
September 14, 2007
Since it is across the street from the shuttered Klondike Casino that is now boarded up and abandoned, I paid my visit during the daylight hours and didn't get to see the sign glowing at night.
The design reminds me of the doo-wop theme in Wildwood, N.J., which I'd like to visit again sometime. So long, Vegas.
September 13, 2007
Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson writes that Apple's decision last week to reduce the price of its iPhone would have him "hopping mad" if he had bought one when they first came out earlier this summer.
Robinson writes: "The sky-high price was supposed to guarantee a decent period of exclusivity. For a time, if you bought an iPhone, you were supposed to be the envy of your friends." He adds, "The aura of supercool should have lasted longer than a couple of months."
Robinson seems furious at Apple for making its product more affordable. Such outrage over lower prices baffles me, but economist Steven D. Levitt1 attempts to explain it. Sure, Levitt writes, it is only natural for a product to get cheaper over time as the cost of making it falls and the product itself is no longer new and in high demand. But Levitt says "consumers hate it when companies follow practices that look like they are designed to maximize profits."
Jeez, isn't maximizing profits the entire point of the company's existence to begin with? What consumer doesn't know that?
1As I've discussed, Levitt spells his name the wrong way but makes many provocative arguments.
September 12, 2007
Oprah Winfrey held a $3.4 million fund-raiser on Saturday for Barack Obama at her California home.
As you know, I'm not here to talk politics. Instead, I want to call attention to this detail of the event: "Oprah's guests were bused in from a Santa Barbara fairground so as not to clog the narrow, estate-filled roads of nearby Montecito."
First of all, it is cute that guests such as Sydney Poitier, Chris Rock, Forrest Whitaker and Stevie Wonder carpooled together on a bus to a $3.4 million event.
Also, it is pretty cool that there is a community somewhere that does not like its roads clogged with celebrities driving around trying to get to a party.
I can picture the conversation among the Montecito locals: "Say, wasn't it nice driving through town on Saturday night? The roads were so empty. It wasn't at all like normal evenings when Chris Rock cuts me off when I'm trying to turn left at Coast Village Rd."
September 11, 2007
SOMEWHERE OVER UTAH — On the flight to Las Vegas, I sat next to a U.S. Army soldier who has returned from tours in Baghdad and Kabul and expects to be called back soon. He decided to spend what might be his last free weekend partying in Vegas.1
We chatted about life in Kabul and Baghdad. Aside from looking at Jodi's dinars, I'm quite removed from U.S. military involvement and it does not affect my day-to-day life. As a result, it was good for me to be reminded of the ongoing war.
1Take a look at this blog entry, in which Eric explores whether people vacation in Vegas only because they think they are supposed to. This soldier told me he booked his ticket to Vegas on Expedia.com from a computer terminal at his base in Kabul. If Las Vegas is idealized in the U.S., its image is even more luring in Kabul.
When Robert Redford told me in May (as the narrator of a planetarium show) that the dinosaurs were killed by a giant meteor that struck the earth at the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, I was surprised to hear the theory spouted as fact.
New computer simulations back up the death-by-meteor postulate. Last week, U.S. and Czech researchers calculated that there is a 90 percent probability that Redford is right.
The simulations show that a collision of rocks in the asteroids belt caused an asteroid called Baptistina to slam into our planet and create the 110-mile-wide Chicxulub Crater, triggering giant tsunamis, global wildfires and dust storms — killing the dinosaurs.
September 10, 2007
We tailgated beforehand (see picture below), although not at the official pre-game party, which organizers billed as the World's Largest Tailgate Party, with 13,000 merrymakers consuming 28,000 bratwursts, 60 gallons of mustard, 40 gallons of ketchup, 60,000 beers, 17,000 bottles of water and 5,500 chicken sandwiches.1
The Badgers escaped with a last-minute victory, leaving Wisconsin fans (ones who did not bet money on their team to cover the spread, that is) free to party, 5th Quarter-style, at Sam Boyd following the game.
September 09, 2007
PARADISE, Nev. — I spotted an iPod vending machine at the Atlanta airport in January, and I came across one the other day at McCarran International Airport. Then again, McCarran also has slot machines, making innovative vending machines fit in quite well. Plus, the iPod machines give winning gamblers something to do with their money without having walk more than a few feet.
PARADISE, Nev. — A taxi driver stands outside his idling cab on Las Vegas Blvd., watches Wisconsin fans stroll The strip and observes: "Fucking cheeseheads. They don't know how to enjoy themselves. They come all the way to Las Vegas and they eat at McDonalds."
September 07, 2007
Given Marnie's aforementioned love for José Andrés, it was a given that she & I would attend an event by the chefs of Café Atlántico — José Andrés, Katsuya Fukushima, and Ruben Garcia — at our neighborhood public market.
We did not manage to corner Chef Andrés and let him defend Jason's attacks on his "small plates" concept, but we did eat several helpings of his guacamole.
September 06, 2007
As we've discussed, Tony Snow wants to leave the White House to make more money.
As it turns out, so does President Bush himself.
Bush told author Robert Draper that he looks forward to his post-presidency when he can "replenish the ol' coffers" by giving paid speeches, adding that he plans to make "ridiculous" money on the lecture circuit
There's nothing wrong with wanting to make money. But since most people in the world would love to trade coffers with him, it is unbecoming of a president to talk about it.
Meanwhile, the expression "replenish the ol' coffers" sounds like a quote from the ol' ballcoach Steve Spurrier. Was he coaching up the president on what to say?
September 05, 2007
- I ate a shrimp burger at Central.
- I finally saw the Simpsons movie. (The first half is fantastic.)
- I watched a day's worth of college football, including the entire Michigan/Appalachian State game, the Wisconsin/Washington State game and the Packers/Titans exhibition game.
- I played 2 1/2 hours of doubles tennis with friends.
- I united with my long-lost third cousin.
- I went to a pre-Labor Day cookout.
- I went to a Labor Day cookout.
September 04, 2007
We have been to Citronelle, Richard's five-star flagship restaurant in Georgetown, and wanted to see the world-renowned chef's take on casual dining. We shared a salmon and ahi tuna carpaccio appetizer, and I ordered a shrimp burger for my main dish.
1Marnie has proposed renaming the area José Andrés Quarter, after the Spanish chef credited for bringing the small-plates concept to America and 50 billion of his restaurants to Penn Quarter. Perhaps Michel Richard wanted to tap some of that market.
September 03, 2007
I read this morning that the Common Share, the Adams-Morgan tavern known best for its friendly pricing scheme, shut down this weekend.
The Common Share charged $2 for pints of beer, $2 for liquor shots and $2 for mixed drinks.
Come to think of it, it's easy to see why they might have been strapped for cash.
It opened in 1998, the same year I moved to D.C.
News of its demise was probably well known to regulars, but it's been almost three years since I've lived in Adams-Morgan, and I was out of the loop.
Goodbye, Common Share.
September 01, 2007
White House press secretary Tony Snow announced his resignation yesterday. The Washington Post reports:
He insisted yesterday that he is leaving not for health reasons but to recoup the income he lost when he left his job as a radio and television host to take the $168,000-a-year job as press secretary.He doesn't mean that literally, of course — Tony Snow wasn't at risk of living on the street.
"I ran out of money," he said.
Let's assume that he meant to say that he simply wants more money, which is a perfectly acceptable thing to want. This sentiment is the sort of thing to keep to one's self when speaking to a public that on average makes far less than $168,000 per year.
As a communications expert, Snow should have known better.