As a "special friend" of the Newseum (thank you, WFY), I spent five hours this weekend touring the facility and its many exhibits.
It's a fantastic museum of news, one that lives up to its billing as the World's Most Interactive Museum.
Plus, the news crawl on the giant TV in the atrium is not in all-caps — a practice I despise.
Click the image above to see my full album.
March 31, 2008
As a "special friend" of the Newseum (thank you, WFY), I spent five hours this weekend touring the facility and its many exhibits.
March 29, 2008
Congratulations to Erik Hoffland, featured in this week's Washington Business Journal. Erik, you see, is on the board of a non-profit that goes around testing companies that claim to be "green."
For some reason, the article does not mention his ability to help drink towers of beer at Old Dominion Brewpub.
March 28, 2008
- The top sign sign says I can't stand or park to the left between 7 a.m and 6:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday.
- The middle sign says I can't park to the right between 7 a.m and 6:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday.
- The bottom sign says I can't engage in "parked idling" in any directions at any times.
First, what's "parked idling"? And yes I know this is a bus stop, but can I park here after 6:30 p.m. or what?
March 26, 2008
The Board of Trustees that governs Davidson College is footing the bill for every student who wants to attend the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional games in Detroit (bus ticket, hotel, game tickets).
Wow — a free trip to see basketball and dirty up clothes as much as they want!
This school sounds better each day.
March 25, 2008
I correctly picked Davidson College to go to the Sweet 16.
But it turns out that I didn't know one important detail about the North Carolina school:
Tuition includes a mandatory laundry and dry cleaning service fee. Students write or sew their ID number on all their clothes and drop off their dirty laundry at the Lula Bell Houston laundry facility (during business hours, of course). The clean clothes are folded and ready for pickup within 48 hours of drop off.
March 24, 2008
March 20, 2008
Last year, I mentioned that the Newseum would be charging an admission price of $17.91 in recognition of the year the 1st Amendment was ratified.
When the museum opens next month, however, the price will be less cutesy. And slightly higher.
Charles L. Overby, chief executive of the Newseum, told the Associated Press that the admission price will be $20 "because it's a simpler number for administrative purposes."
Wait a minute.
Do they have someone in the back room adding up the revenue by hand?
Don't they use computers? They can certainly afford a few of them, given that they'll be charging $20 per head.
March 19, 2008
March 18, 2008
By now you've seen Juno, right? If you haven't seen it by now, you probably aren't going to. So I can talk about it, then? Good.
When I saw the film, I liked it. Then I talked to Joanna, who pointed out that it sends the message that, for men, promiscuous sex doesn't have repercussions.
(Juno MacGuff is forced to confront an unplanned pregnancy by making many life-altering decisions. On the other hand, not much of anything changes for Paulie Bleeker. Despite his lack of involvement, in fact, he is rewarded at the end.)
This reminds me of a couple years ago, when it occurred to me that Brokeback Mountain might be a setback for homosexual awareness and acceptance, since it gave the impression that the two cowboys became gay due to desperation loneliness, not necessarily that they were born that way.
March 17, 2008
Click this link to join my NCAA Tournament pool.
The pool password is: dl004d
- You need a CBS Sportsline ID (if you are registering with them for the first time, I recommend giving them a fake email address).
- For your team name, use your real name. Or at least your real initials.
- Two entries per person.
- Don't criticize me for using CBS Sportsline instead of a service for which everyone already has an account like, say, Yahoo! (I have my reasons).
March 15, 2008
And I hope the breakdancers we saw today find a good place strut their stuff.
March 14, 2008
When I was younger, I used to play soccer with Ben Skinner.
I grew up and started this blog, writing about mundane things like dropping gnocchi into a pot of boiling water without significant splash-back.
Ben grew up to become E. Benjamin Skinner, a journalist and author of "A Crime So Monstrous," a new call-to-action book about modern-day slavery that has won praise from Bill Clinton, Elie Wiesel and Samantha Power (see the book's Web page for the testimonials). Those of you in D.C. can see him at Busboys & Poets on March 26.
Skinner reveals that in 1850, a slave would cost as much as $40,000 in today's money. But nowadays, sexual and domestic slaves are for sale in Haiti for $50.
He explained to me that he goes by E. Benjamin these days to avoid confusion with the professional surfer by the same name. Here's our full conversation:
Today, you write, there are more slaves than at any time in history. Are most people surprised to hear that?
The word "slavery" has lost its meaning in popular consciousness. If you go to merriam-webster.com right now and look up "slavery," the first definition that comes up is "drudgery; toil." Few know that real slaves — those forced to work under threat of violence for no pay beyond subsistence — are today more numerous than ever.
You say that people around the world don't seem to care about modern-day slavery because they don't know it exists. As people become aware, what can they do?
Three critical steps: learn about the crime; shout about the crime to public, business and civic leaders; and support those actively fighting to stop it. Much more detail at http://www.acrimesomonstrous.com/information/abolition.
During the presidential campaign, Ron Paul went on Meet the Press and said the U.S. didn't need the Civil War to get rid of slavery — Paul said the U.S. government should have just bought all the slaves and released them. As you researched the book and came across slaves, were you tempted to just buy all the slaves that you could so that they could be free?
I saw that. You know, the frustrating thing is that Ron Paul claims to be a libertarian, which is a philosophy that I often lean toward, but he is so wrong on this point. I take my cues from Henry David Thoreau, another libertarian, who railed against the Fugitive Slave Act and refused to acknowledge the right of property in man.
I took Thoreau's logic — and the hard-learned wisdom of many failed would-be redeemers — into my own work and early-on established a principle that I would not pay for human life. Was that an easy decision when I was offered a raped, suicidal young woman with Down syndrome in exchange for a used car? No, nor was it an easy decision in the other instances. But ultimately, I feel that it was the right decision.
How many times per hour do you check to see how high the book is climbing Amazon's best-selling list?
David, you know me well. Actually, I'm glad that, at least so far, I've been so busy that I haven't been able to check that. But I do hope it sells--the more people understand the crime, the sooner we build a consensus to end it.
What's the deal with the initial to start your name?
It stands for "Eric." I use it because I have a doppelgänger in a pro surfer called Ben Skinner, who hitherto has dominated the Google bandwidth.
When it comes to soccer, who was the best sweeper you ever played with?
My man, [dl004d]. But don't tell Tim Raducha-Grace I said that, or he'll bring the might of the U.S. Congress down on top of me.
March 13, 2008
What's the deal with the white tops?
Evidently, they paint the trucks brown but figure there's no point in finishing off the tops since no one is looking at them from above?
March 12, 2008
March 11, 2008
Today's Wall Street Journal has an interesting story about a desalination project in Australia in which ocean water is converted to drinking water.
The process involves taking 50,000 gallons of sea water every minute, running it through special filters that separate out the salt, pumping the fresh water to the local water system and putting the leftover salt back into the ocean.
I know it's a big ocean, but won't it become more ... salty if we keep taking away the water and leaving the salt?
March 10, 2008
To hear announcers tell it, Brett Favre was a great quarterback because:
- He loved to win.
- He refused to lose.
- He was a competitor.
- He loved the game.
Surely there are "real" reasons why Favre was a good quarterback.
Here are a couple:1
He had amazing footwork. He sensed pressure well and knew how to stay in the pocket while avoiding pass rushers. His superior arm strength let him throw effectively even off his back foot, an important skill since quarterbacks are often running for their lives and thus unable to plant their feet properly.
1Side note: In 2005, I wrote that Favre was a better quarterback than he was in 1995. I stand by that assessment.
March 08, 2008
The real estate section of yesterday's Examiner takes a look at the revitalization of Northeast D.C., calling it a "renaissance." The newspaper features the Woodridge neighborhood, which is adjacent to my own, and talks about how affordable and wonderful the area is.
But the Examiner doesn't point out one important benefit of living in Northeast: neighborhoods here don't get the Examiner automatically delivered to everyone's door whether they want it or not. Jeremy writes: "Our entire street is littered with slimy rotting papers and I'm now on a crusade to make it stop!"
Why not move to Northeast, Jeremy?
March 07, 2008
As Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each try to position themselves as the front-runner, both are campaigning against John McCain and taking shots at the man endorsed the other day by President Bush. The two Democrats get a lot of attention on the campaign trail — televised speeches and perhaps a few more debates, which amount to 90-minute infomercials for the Democratic Party.1
Meanwhile, McCain is getting less attention. There's nothing much for him to do until the Democrats elect their nominee. So there's less for pundits to talk about and fewer reasons to interrupt cable news programing to show one of his speeches.
McCain should have asked Huckabee to stay in the race so they could hold weekly debates. McCain could even debate Ralph Nader a few times.
Speaking of people staying in the race, John Edwards could have been kingmaker if he'd have stayed around. On Jan. 28, I told my sister: "When you have three candidates, all of whom are accruing delegates at a regular pace, it's possible there won't be a nominee before the convention. As you can see, Edwards has no reason to quit now!"
Two days later, Edwards left the race.
But I was right, sort of. Even if Edwards pulled just 3 percent of the vote in each state, he'd have more than enough delegates to be in charge of whether Obama or Clinton won.
1Here's what I mean by this: Obama and Clinton may argue about whose health care plan covers more people or who has better uses in mind for the money the government would save by removing Bush's tax-breaks for the wealthy... but discussing those topics on national TV for hours on end ultimately helps Democrats rather than Republicans.
March 06, 2008
Washington, D.C.'s power brokers cater their fat cat events with food from Costco — specifically the warehouse club's outpost in Pentagon City, Va.
I know this because the New York Times told me so.
Brushing aside the city's elite in the Costco shopping aisle, SJB found this Pentagon-shaped chocolate for our party. I've been eating it all week.
March 05, 2008
Until March 10, you can download Ana Laan's song "Paradise" for free from iTunes. This track, along with the rest of the album "Chocolate and Roses," was produced by Leo Sidran, a friend of this site.1
Anyway, you'll become more familiar with the song (that is, those of you without DVRs) next week when it will be featured in the new "Dove Bold" commercial campaign.
Here's how iTunes describes the song: Ana Laan's sweet, sublime voice spins gentle melodies in both Spanish and English. The track's rhythm has a light bossa-nova, '60s bachelor pad-esque stylishness, but Laan's cooing vocal turn is the true highlight.
Click here to download for free on iTunes.
1Sort of. He doesn't really read this site. I guess he's too busy eating egg cream and writing commencement addresses.
March 04, 2008
The office is at 1101 New York Ave. NW. Naturally, then, I expected the building to be on New York Ave.
Instead, it's on I St, one block from New York Ave.
My old condo building tried the same thing — it petitioned the city to have a Massachusetts Ave. address rather than one on L St. (where it was located). The city denied that request, saying emergency personnel wouldn't be able to find the building unless its address was the street on which it was located.
I suppose Google has more sway with the city than the board of directors at the Quincy Park Condominium.
March 03, 2008
While Barack Obama spends his time touring the country running for president, the rest of America has lined up to apologize to him. Here are some of the apologies so far. If your name isn't on this list, remember: there's still time.
- Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) said he was sorry after calling Obama “articulate and bright and clean.”
- Bill Shaheen, the
New Hampshireco-chair of the Clintoncampaign, said he was sorry after he said Republicans would have an easy time beating Obama because of the senator’s teenage drug use. Illinois
- BET founder Bob Johnson said he was sorry after he attacked Obama for doing drugs as a teenager.
- Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said he was sorry after slamming Obama for attending the
, one of the nation’s finest, rather than a school for the impoverished. Punahou School
- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he was sorry that Bill Cunningham, a radio talk show host in
, used Obama’s middle name, Hussein, and called him a “hack” during a McCain rally. Cincinnati
- CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said he was sorry for an on-screen graphic showing the senator’s name during a story about Osama Bin Laden.
- MSNBC’s Chris Matthews apologized for an on-screen graphic showing Osama Bin Laden’s name during a story about the senator.
- Robert Ford, a state senator from
, apologized for saying Obama would not win because he is black. South Carolina
- Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) apologized for stating, incorrectly, that Obama attended a “secular madrassa.”