July 31, 2008
July 30, 2008
Rain Day, it turns out, is a Greene County tradition dating back to July 29, 1876, when a farmer walked into the Daly & Spraggs Drug Store on High Street and chatted up pharmacist William Allison. According to the Waynesburg legend, the farmer declared that it had always rained on that day. It was the farmer's birthday, you see, and thus he had paid particular attention.
The pharmacist used this insider information to bet salesmen who came into his store that it would rain on July 29.
A Rain Day wager tradition was born.
Then a Rain Day festival.
Then Miss Rain Day.
1Miss Rain Day 2008 is Alissa McCracken. The buzz during this year's Rain Day was that an out-of-town friend of the late Gregory Shipe gave birth to a Rain Day baby. Shipe, a Waynesburg native, was murdered in Northwest D.C. three years ago. Since then, his friends have trekked to Waynesburg on Rain Day in his honor (having heard about the town's festival for years, but never having gone themselves).
(Lavern's pancakes are fantastic, by the way.)
I never saw that episode, since I stopped watching the show after the second season.
July 29, 2008
fPITTSBURGH, Pa. — During an interview before the Pennsylvania primary in April, Jon Stewart told Barack Obama he should stop by Primanti Bros. for a quintessential Iron City meal.
Yesterday, I followed his advice and stopped by the shop's Market Square outpost for its iconic sandwich, which includes meat, cheese, hand-cut french fries, tomatoes and coleslaw between two slices of Italian bread.
It was enough to last me both lunch and dinner.
July 25, 2008
Soon, someone in the building next door put up Donkey Kong in the window.
Since then, many more 1980s-era arcade game characters have popped up in nearby buildings. There's Q*bert, Ms. Pac-Man, Centipede, Princess Zelda, Frogger, MegaMan, Space Invaders and many more.2
My office's contribution is Mario (pictured above) and there are plans to make an elaborate scene that include pipes and Koopa Troopas.
(Click to enlarge.)
2I was surprised that the Washington Post noticed this trend. Then again, we are a mere block from their newsroom.
July 24, 2008
Verizon Wireless spokesman David Clevenger1 revealed this week that the mobile phone company stores the content of text messages "for a very short time — days."
Clevenger continued: "We have 68 million customers, and we wouldn't be able to keep all their text messages. We have no reason to do it."
First of all, it seems plausible that Verizon could indeed store text messages if they wanted to. Gmail, for example, stores 7,000 MB worth of email for of its tens of millions of non-paying customers.
Also, I question whether Verizon has "no reason" to want to keep the content, as Clevenger claimed. It seems to me that there could be plenty of reasons why some of its 70,000 employees may become curious to see the content.
1He serves as Verizon's executive director of media relations for the Midwest region. It's not clear whether he also covers the Industrial Midwest region.
More facts have emerged on the Congressional Bowl, to be played here in the District on Dec. 20: the game will pit the 9th-best ACC team against Navy, assuming both are bowl eligible.
It's too bad the game will be at Nationals Park instead of RFK Stadium, but I'm still planning to attend.
July 23, 2008
Continental flight 458, headed from Houston (IAH) to Washington (DCA), made an emergency landing in New Orleans (MSY) yesterday after a loss in cabin pressure.
Seven congressmen were on board: Reps. John Carter (R-Texas), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Solomon P. Ortiz (D-Texas), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas).
The seven men were flying to Washington to vote on the Aviation Safety Enhancement Act.
They missed the vote.
But the House of Representatives approved the bill on a 391-0 vote.
Earlier this month, the Obama campaign re-shuffled its communications staff.
It now has six regional communications directors covering the following areas:
- Industrial Midwest
But why make people (reporters, mostly) guess whether a state is "industrial" or not? Why not just list the states for each regional communication director?1
Also, where do North Dakota and South Dakota fit in the Obama campaign's map? Are they part of the Midwest? The West?
1I don't want to get into a whole thing here, but Wisconsin isn't exactly void of industrial areas — particularly around the Oscar Mayer, Kraft, Johnsonville, Miller Brewing, Kimberly-Clark and Northern Paper Mills industrial plants.
July 18, 2008
Layers of basalt rocks off the Washington and Oregon coasts could store 100 years worth of CO2 emissions, according to scientists.1
The rocks have zero permeability, meaning it would be impossible for the CO2 to leak. Plus, at 2,700 meters deep, CO2 is denser than water and thus wouldn’t rise to the surface.
The rocks in question are in the Juan de Fuca plate.
Juan de Fuca.
Juan de Fuca.
Wait, how do I know that name?
Oh, right — the 600 earthquakes in April. And he was a Greek navigator. Got it.
Earthquakes. CO2 storage. Greek navigator.
I'll be ready the next time his name comes up again.
1I am referring to research by David S. Goldberg, Taro Takahashi and Angela L. Slagle published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
July 15, 2008
In its multi-part series "Who Killed Chandra Levy," the Washington Post reveals that the intern liked to work out in the gym. And go jogging in nearby parks.
But a closer look at the details shows that Levy did not like walking uphill. Or on routes that would take her right by my apartment.
For example, here's how she visited her boyfriend, Gary Condit:1
A few times per week, according to the Post, Levy would work out at the Washington Sports Club on Connecticut Ave. (1), take the Metro (2) to Woodley Park (3) and then walk to Condit’s apartment (4).
1Condit runs a couple of Baskin-Robbins ice cream shops in Arizona these days, but at the time of course, he was a congressman.
July 13, 2008
July 10, 2008
Elevator etiquette calls for all riders to face the door. Everyone knows this.
But what happens if there are two doors?
In particular, let's say you enter the elevator through one door but know for a fact that it's the other door that will open on the next floor.
July 09, 2008
Today’s Politico discusses unofficial Capitol Hill job e-mail lists, pointing out that those lists — not the official published listings — are the best way to find vacancies before they’re already filled.
The article quotes Paul Teller, who works for a House Republican caucus, as saying that the secret lists filters out applicants who are too dumb to know the lists exist:
“To get a job on the Hill, you have to be a good networker, have a little savvy. The job search is kind of that first hurdle and test to doing that. It provides a good weeding-out of people. If you can’t do a basic networking-type thing … then maybe you’re not Capitol Hill material.”
He’s probably right. Indeed, the lists aren’t hard to find.
Then again, if day-to-day congressional jobs regularly call upon staffers to locate secret email lists, maybe that skill should be listed in the job description.
July 08, 2008
At TomTom (above left, click to enlarge), patrons may not wear white t-shirts.1
Peyote Cafe (above right, click to enlarge) appears to allow tight-fitting white t-shirts, narrowing its ban to "baggy white t-shirts."
Presumably, colored shirts may be baggy at Peyote Cafe. But not "excessively baggy."
At least neither establishment bans "MC colors" like Lucky Strike. I still have no idea which colors those are.
1What's wrong with white t-shirts? Isn't that a classic look?
July 07, 2008
I always thought that the term "dap" was an initialism from the black power movement that stood for "dignity and pride."
So did the Baltimore Sun.
But William Safire examined the issue yesterday and didn't mention "dignity and pride" (even to rule it out as a backronym), instead noting that "dap" may be rooted in the word "dapper."
That strikes me as a lame explanation. I hope it's wrong.
The 100-foot sculpture of a man struggling to rise out of the ground finally left D.C.'s Hains Point, his home of 27 years, in favor of National Harbor in Maryland's Prince George's County.
I don't like its new location, although the model of the National Harbor development (pictured above) does make it appear quite popular.
July 06, 2008
July 02, 2008
It's especially useless when, as in this case, I get around to watching something days later.
But is it ever useful?
What are the chances that viewers care about the other information on the crawl — such as a car-bomb in Iraq or violence in Gaza — if they're on the edge of their seat waiting to read what day it is?