Friday, July 31, 2009

Still on? Damn Skippy it is!

A year ago today, I wrote “Is this thing on?” as my very first blog post. And now, 218 posts later, here we are. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have even remembered if I hadn’t read Lemmonex’s post from yesterday today about her second blogiversary.

This is how this whole thing got started:

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” — John Adams

(I, like many, had just watched the HBO miniseries John Adams, but I already knew that quote from way back. It’s one of my faves.)

A little pretentious, I admit it. But, maybe, we as Americans have been studying too much poetry, music, statuary etc. over the past couple of decades and need to get back to studying mathematics, philosophy and natural history. It might be a good way for us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and right the ship, so to speak and to mix a metaphor or two.

I’ve gotten to know a lot of great people through writing The Foggy Dew – not The Liffeyswell as the Express insists on calling it (ARRRRGH! Those warthog-faced baboons!). People like her and her and him, and her and her and him and her and her and her. Hopefully, they’re not too embarrassed to be mentioned here. (And, wow, are there just a whole lot more women blogging than men? Or are they just more interesting?)

I’ve written about politics, national security, art and love along side piss, puke, phlegm, penises and pussies. (Strange, I've covered four of the five major and one of the minor TMI "Ps", but never poo. Perhaps I should be grateful?) Gay rights, space travel, searching for a job and tales of both the misdemeanor and felony stupidity of our fellow man have graced this space.

Also, I’ve gotten a chance to show off my pictures. I’ve really enjoyed that. Up until last July, the only people to really see my pictures were the ones who actually visited my home. Now I get to throw them out there for everyone to see. (I’m not going to dig out the links, but here are all the “pretty pretty pictures” posts.)

All in all, it’s been pretty fun. I think I’ve strayed a bit from my intended course – politics and government – but that’s OK. I write about what seems important or silly or stupid or interesting to me at the time and, hopefully, someone at the other end of the Interwebs finds it just important, silly, stupid or interesting enough to take a moment or two to read.

Thanks for reading everyone, hope to see you back here soon.

The Foggy Dew

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Man’s best friend?

I’m gonna piss a couple people off here, but what the hell.

Let me start by saying I like dogs. They’re pretty great for any number of reasons: They’re always, always happy to see you. No matter what your day’s been like, there’s nothing like a wet nose and a wagging tail waiting for you at the door.

I never owned a dog growing up. I once asked my dad when I was about 8 if my brothers and I could have a dog. (Please! Please! Please Dad!) He smiled and said he really like to but, unfortunately, the landlord didn’t allow dogs. It wasn’t until I was older - like when I was 33 - I understood a critical omission my father made. I’d never lived anywhere growing up where my dad didn’t hold the mortgage, and just exactly who the landlord was. As a character in one of my favorite books once said, “It’s not nice to fuck with kids.”

Anyway, like I said, I like dogs. Who wouldn’t love this face?

It’s Snoopy for God’s sake!

Or be inspired by the grace and power of the Rhodesian Ridgeback? (One of my personal faves.)

And this fellow here, he totally reminds me of my brother’s dog Smokey who has unquestionably the flappyist ears I've ever seen and is also, I’m quite sure, considerably more intelligent than some people.

That being said, dogs are dogs and they are most definitely not people. I don’t care what you think. This is a very simple concept some of our friends and neighbors here in the nation’s capital seem to have either a) forgotten or b) willfully overlooked.

Like last night, for instance, at Screen on the Green. What kind of brain dead fucking moron brings their really cute black lab puppy

to an event where a couple thousand people are packed on the Mall? Seriously? Yeah, I’m talking to you, you cretin.

Did any critical thought go into your decision? I’m guessing you and your girlfriend/wife both took a massive overdose of stupidfuckin’moron pills on Monday. Why do I know this? It’s because you not only brought your really cute, adventurous and inquisitive black lab puppy to SOTG - on the end of an 8-foot leash no less - but then, as he’s lustfully eyeing another party’s dinner spread on the adjacent blanket (read: my KFC tenders and my friend's hummus), YOU UNCLIP HIS FUCKING COLLAR AND TURN HIM LOOSE!!

Were you dropped on your head, repeatedly, as a child? There is absolutely no fucking excuse for this kind of behavior. I don’t blame the dog, he was really cute and just doing what dogs do: following his nose toward something that smelled tasty. I blame you, you mouth-breathing jackass!

Get this through your friggin’ paper-thin skulls numbnuts: There is a place for dogs, IT IS NOT, I REPEAT, NOT SOTG!! (Or any other large gathering of people, for that matter.) I swear to God if this happens again I'm gonna sack punch the two-legged idiot at the end of the leash.

Don’t even get me started on the dipshits who think the combination of a dog, a 20-foot leash and the C&O Canal Towpath is a peachy idea for a Saturday stroll.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A wedding dance for the ages...

At first I thought it might be a little silly. I was wrong.

It's a lot silly, but also very sweet.

Happy Saturday everyone. Last one in July.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Morons galore

You know how a blow job and other stupid crap kinda took over Bill Clinton's presidency?

And how knuckle heads kept on giving George Bush a hard time about drinking, drugs and his time in the National Guard?

Here's me hoping the "controversy" over whether or not President Obama was actually born in the United States doesn't gain any traction. Ever.

Here, watch this video.

This woman, and the other "birthers" just amaze me. You could probably show them a video of the president's Aug. 4, 1961 birth in Hawaii and they'd say, "Can't be real. They didn't have videotape back then." Which is true, but a lot of old footage has been transferred to tape, but that, of course, makes for the possibilities of fakery.

Do these screaming and wailing citizens really believe the GOP would not have dug up the "facts" of Obama's birth and trotted them out during the election? Are they so, so misguided they need something, anything to latch onto to make their lives seem important?

This link here goes to a story about an annoying shock jock who apparently had some unkind things to say about the prez. Don't really care about that, but if you skip down to the comments, that's where the interesting stuff is. The comment about how, because his father was a British subject, Obama is one too and ineligible to be president is interesting. According to current American law (can't find the one from 1961, sorry) Title 8, Chapter 12, Subchapter III, Part I: §1401 (g):
"The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth:
(g) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years...
So, even if Obama was born on the friggin' moon, because his mom was an American citizen, who had spent at least five years of her life in the U.S., that makes him a natural born American.

So, to all the people out there gnashing their teeth demanding the release of Obama's "long-form birth certificate" that will, obviously, prove he's not eligible to be president, I say this: Get some new tin foil for your hats and lock yourselves in your basements. The presidency has not been usurped by a "Kenyan muslim," but earned by a mixed race man born in Hawaii.

(And even if he wasn't, it wouldn't matter since he'd still be a natural born American citizen so shut the fuck up.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

TMI Thursday: The strangers

It's TMI Thursday my friends. For more stories that will entertain and disgust you at the same time go to LiLu’s place for this week's full list. And now, on to the fun!

If possible, this falls into the “cute” TMI category.

A couple years back my friends and I decided we needed a better way to get to the Jimmy Buffett concert. As much fun as it was driving out to whatever venue he was playing at, it generally lost its luster as we sat, and sat…and sat in lines reaching into the next state waiting to exit the parking lot.

So we hit upon a plan. There were enough of us now, and we all had sufficiently well-enough paying jobs (some more than others) that we decided now was the time to rent a bus to take us to Margaritaville. Sweetening the pot, one of our friends, The Doc, offered to pay for half the price of the rental. His logic being it was worth the grand or so he kicked in (about what he makes in four hours in the ER on a Friday night) to see all his friends have a good time.

Who are we to argue?

A joke: What’s the difference between Deadheads and Parrotheads? Parrotheads have 401ks.

Anyway, during the past four years the plan has been a roaring success. No fuss, no muss, no hassle getting to-and-from the show and, best of all, no lines for the bathroom.

The last part cannot be overstated. For the boys it’s not too much of an issue, but I’m thinking since Doc got married he may have a better idea of how the world works from the next porta-shitter over. At least his world, that is.

At one point during the tail-gate, far enough into the beer and tequila I felt the need to relieve myself; I headed inside to the head.

The “Occupied” sign was up in the latch so I enjoyed the AC while I waited.

And waited.

Finally, “Occupied” flipped to “Vacant” and the door opened to reveal not one, but two smiling people (boy and girl, just to clarify).

Two smiling people still in the process of adjusting their leis, grass skirts, zippers and bikini top.

Two smiling people I’d never, ever before, in my entire life, seen.

I had to applaud them and their audacity as they left our rented bus.

Monday, July 20, 2009

If you believe they put a man on the Moon

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too...Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there." Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked. – John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Sept. 12, 1962

I interviewed a man name of John Hirasaki about five years ago down in Texas. “Who the heck is John Hirasaki?” everyone is now asking and why are you writing about him today, July 20?

Well, Hirasaki is an interesting character. The son and grandson of immigrant rice farmers in Southeast Texas, he worked hard, graduated from high school and college and joined NASA after his graduation in 1963. Hirasaki was one of the young engineers who helped do the hard things to make President Kennedy’s dream of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth” before the decade was out.

He’s also the fourth human to discover what the moon smells like.

“It smelled like after you strike two pieces of flint together, or like a firecracker,” Hirasaki told me during the interview in his Houston-area home in July 2004. Hirasaki was the maintenance engineer who, along with a doctor, William Carpentier, volunteered to spend 21 days with the crew of Apollo 11 after they returned from the moon. This is how I wrote it before:

John Hirasaki, center, Neil Armstrong, left, and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin Jr. peer through the window of the mobile quarantine facility during their journey from the USS Hornet to NASA's Houston Space Center.
“The National Academy of Sciences made it mandatory that we take precautions. There was a concern of potential contamination from another (space) body,” Hirasaki said.
Instead of handshakes from politicians and hugs from their families, the astronauts joined Hirasaki and Dr. William Carpentier inside a highly modified Airstream trailer that served as the mobile quarantine facility during their journey back to NASA's Houston space center.
“All throughout when we were being offloaded from the ship and being transported to Hickam (Air Force Base), there were people lining the route,” Hirasaki says of landing in Hawaii.
“It's intoxicating and you could feel the excitement on the outside of the mission and the event,” he said of the crowds who welcomed the crew home. “You could see it in their expressions and posture.”The 65 hours he spent with the astronauts in the trailer were not spent lying around. Throughout, the astronauts were debriefed, wrote reports and had medical exams. Along with being the facility's maintenance man, Hirasaki was busy unloading the priceless cargo of moon rocks and film the crew brought home to Earth. That work was done in a containment facility on the ship.
"One of the interesting things I noticed was that there was a unique scent I hadn't noticed on other Apollo capsules," Hirasaki said about opening up Columbia, Apollo 11's command module.
“I attributed it to the dust they picked up on the moon,” Hirasaki theorized.
Although most of the rocks were stored in specially made containers designed to protect them from Earth's atmosphere, there was one small bag of samples Armstrong collected and kept with him in case anything happened to the larger cache. “We looked at them, but we didn't touch them because that would mess up the sample,” Hirasaki said of seeing the moon rocks for the first time.
As anyone who reads this little space knows, I’m a big fan of spaceflight. I watch the space shuttle launches, follow the news and generally try to keep myself current on what’s going on when it comes to this subject. This may be because my very first memory is watching an Apollo mission take off from the Kennedy Space Center. It’s amazing the impression a rocket makes on a 2-year-old.
I’d like to think Hirasaki’s statement, “…[Y]ou could feel the excitement on the outside of the mission and the event. You could see it in their expressions and posture,” was still as true today as it was 40 years ago, but I don’t think this is the case. Interrogating the intern who sits near me last week, he seemed unimpressed the anniversary of the moon landing was nigh. I’d hate to think it’s a generation gap, but he’s 23 and unless my math is wrong (and I’m never wrong) he wasn’t even alive when the shuttle Challenger went down.

Two Americans landed on the moon 40 years ago today and 10 more followed in the next three years. The question I have is this: The next time Americans leave boot prints in the regolith of the lunar surface, will any of these men be alive to see those steps? Three moon walkers have died and Charles Duke, 74, (Apollo 16) and Harrison “Jack” Schmidt, 75 (Apollo 17) are the youngest. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin is 79 and his Apollo 11 commander, Neil Armstrong, turns 79 next month.
Spaceflight is important. There are many who believe NASA and all its work is a waste of money that could be better used elsewhere. I disagree. NASA’s budget is minuscule ($18.686 billion for 2010) compared to most other segments of the federal budget.
Simply put, when a nation stops exploring, it starts dying.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The passing of a titan

I just caught a headline, "Walter Cronkite, Dead at 92" and had to pause for a moment to remember the man most, if not all, journalists looked up to as a guiding light in their career. Cronkite, the most trusted man in America, was a lion of the profession and worked in print, radio and, most recognizably, at CBS News.

Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. 

When the man said, "And that's the way it is," we knew it was true. Cronkite was from the old school. He treated reporting as a sacred trust between himself and the public. I think America and the world would be a better place if more newsmen acted this way. Governments and corporations and the man on the street might be a little less apt to take advantage of their fellow citizens if they knew there were more like Cronkite watching.

I once had the chance to hear him speak at the memorial service of another legendary newsman, Charles Kuralt, who died July 4, 1997. But, unfortunately, there was bad weather on Martha's Vineyard and Cronkite wasn't able to make it to his friend's service. And, while I can't regret it because I had no control over the event, I consider this a missed opportunity.

Here are the words he used to close his last broadcast as anchor of the CBS Evening News and, I think, they are just as fitting now as we say a final farewell.

"This is my last broadcast as the anchorman of The CBS Evening News; for me, it's a moment for which I long have planned, but which, nevertheless, comes with some sadness. For almost two decades, after all, we've been meeting like this in the evenings, and I'll miss that. But those who have made anything of this departure, I'm afraid have made too much. This is but a transition, a passing of the baton. A great broadcaster and gentleman, Doug Edwards, preceded me in this job, and another, Dan Rather, will follow. And anyway, the person who sits here is but the most conspicuous member of a superb team of journalists; writers, reporters, editors, producers, and none of that will change. 

"Furthermore, I'm not even going away! I'll be back from time to time with special news reports and documentaries, and, beginning in June, every week, with our science program, Universe. Old anchormen, you see, don't fade away; they just keep coming back for more. And that's the way it is: Friday, March 6, 1981. I'll be away on assignment, and Dan Rather will be sitting in here for the next few years. Good night."

You will be missed Walter.

Rattling around in me head

I just remembered, not that I’d ever forget, that while I was at Parris Island the drill instructors called a recruit’s head the “brain housing group.” (This comes from the part of a rifle where the trigger is, the “trigger housing group.) But I digress. That has nothing to do with the things running through the Dew’s old noggin today.

In no particular order:

The military is being urged by the Institute of Medicine to ban smoking. I’d heard about this and even seen an executive summary of the IOM report. Today, the Raleigh News&Observer (or, as we used to call it, The Noise&Disturber) wrote this article today if you’re more interested.

What I’m wondering is this: What alternatives do the fine doctors of the IOM offer? Seriously, I’ve been there, tobacco and nicotine have their uses in a war zone. Most appreciably helping to keep you wired. Being healthy and tobacco-free don’t help you stay awake while you’re sitting on a Ma Deuce at 2:43 a.m. keeping watch for the bad guys. (Notwithstanding the fact you shouldn’t be smoking while on guard duty since it gives you position away. You’d be amazed how far the light of a cigarette ember carries on a dark desert night.)

Marine Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller became known as the “Marlboro Marine” after he was photographed smoking in 2004 in Fallujah, Iraq. Seriously, would you deny this Marine a smoke after urban combat? I wouldn't. - Los Angeles Times Photo by Luis Sinco
I agree the military should offer quitting assistance…when they Marines, soldiers and sailors get out. Not so much the zoomies, they shouldn’t be smoking anyway since their “combat stress” is considerably less. (Kidding). Also, we’re talking about a group of people who are, generally, in much better shape than your average American. A little bit of smoking between 18 and 25 can be overcome.

Spending money to save money? Seems the president and Congress’s plans to spend more than a TRILLION DOLLARS over the next 10 years on health care reform
don’t meet Congressional Budget Office muster.

You know what? Instead of raising my taxes to pay for health care for the 47 million American’s who don’t have it, how about cutting $200 billion a year out of the current and future budgets to cover the country’s cost share? You really can tell me the government isn’t already wasting that kind of coin on worthless shit. Give me a weekend with the budget and the line-item veto and I’ll git ‘er don.

In his wonderful book Parliament of Whores, P.J. O’Rourke wrote, “Giving money and power to politicians is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

What Congress really needs to do is learn how to control itself. No more earmarks and a balanced budget amendment would be a fantastic place to start. Check out this
article and this list of Oinker Award winners from Citizens Against Government Waste. While I’m a huge fan of biking and bike trails, I’m thinking $9.4 million spent on bike trails could be used to provide good, decent preventive (not “preventative” as I actually heard on pharmacy chain commercial this morning) health care for a couple thousand people.

The concept of “spending money on health care to save money” is ridiculous. Congress and the president need to stop spending money to save money as any average moron knows. Although, as we all know, the morons in Congress are above average in many ways. Instead of coming up with new taxes to fund their new program, how about cutting out the wasteful spending instead and apply those savings to health care?

Or is that too simple a concept?

Occumbo! And, finally, news from Italy has Pope Benedict XVI slipping and falling in the bath and breaking his right wrist. How do you say “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” in Latin?

Two things I’m wondering about this incident: With his right hand and wrist in a cast, will worshippers have to worry about the Pontiff bonking them on the head with his fiberglass club when he gives his blessing? And, two, did the Vicar of Christ maybe, perhaps, even just a little, swear a little as his 82-year-old bones snapped? Or was he a stoic Aryan and took the pain like his Teutonic ancestors?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More TV ads I hate

I was thinking last night while sitting on my balcony reading, summer’s not like it used to be. Used to be we’d spend all night out either playing Kick the Can (as children) or drinking (as college students).

The one thing we didn’t do, really, was watch TV. TV sucked during the summer. Except for the chance to catch up with the episode or two of you favorite show you missed way back in February, who’d want to be watching re-runs when you could be outside playing/drinking.

That’s changed a bit in this new millennia with shows like Eureka, Saving Grace, True Blood and Weeds making their season premiers when the sun is high in the sky. All of these are shows worth watching but, again, are they worth giving up playtime for?

One that that hasn’t changed about TV, whether it’s during the summer or deep in the winter, most of the commercials you see suck. Seriously.

I’m pretty much the guy networks hate. I divver most of my shows and watch them the next day, just so I can fast forward through the horrendous commercials. And there are some really bad ones out there, ones that need to go away. For example:

Anything involving insurance and our evolutionary ancestors. Those fucking Geico-caveman ads are no longer funny. They haven’t been funny since, oh, about five minutes after the first one aired. That one, the one with the spokesman apologizing to the cavemen in the fancy restaurant for saying “Geico, so easy a caveman can do it.”? That one was funny. None of them since have had the slightly element of humor in them.

It’s time for the caveman to fall in a glacier. Maybe, when he reappears in 10,000 years, we’ll have figured out how to yank his Actors Guild card.

Any of the ads showing people shopping for a PC and then getting money to pay for it. (Disclosure: I own a Mac, and love it.) These “You find what you want and we pay for it” ads are so contrived I dive for the remote to change the channel every time I see one. You know? For a grand I could find any number of computers that would suit my needs. The most annoying thing in the ads are the people who seem smug and happy about “not being cool enough for a Mac.” Yes, Macs cost more than PCs. There’s a simple reason for this, they’re better computers. Just about anything a PC can do, a Mac can do better, faster and with fewer chances of the machine crashing.

The fact that PC makers revel in the fact that they sell cheap, crappy computers is enough to make me never want to own one again.

That Enterprise Rent-a-Car commercial with the couple packing for a get-away. In Ghostbusters, Gozer the Gozarian asks Ray if he’s a god. Ray answers truthfully, “No” and the team gets spanked. After they dust themselves off and are girding their loins for another try at Gozer, Peter says, “The next time someone asks if you a god Ray, you say YES!”

I always think of this line when I see this annoying Enterprise commercial. Scene: Man and woman in bedroom packing for a couple’s getaway. Woman comes out carrying a red negligee in one hand and a black one in the other.

“Red or black,” she asks with a seductive smile.

“Both,” answers her lover with a look of anticipation on his face more extreme than the one I wore that special, special night with a girl named Debbie. (Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge say no more, eh?)

Here’s the point, “The next time your girl asks you if she should bring a red or a black negligee with her on a romantic weekend, you say NEITHER!” This way there’s fewer things to get in the way of the sex.

This ad wins the prize because it has two really annoying parts. The second is that, yes, Enterprise will pick you up, but why the hell do they have to deliver a giant SUV to the front of your house with a driveway and a two-car garage? Are you really living in the ‘burbs without at least one car in the garage? How hard would it have been to film this scene outside a condo building?

To sum up: cavemen need to quickly become extinct again; when PC makers try to be cute like Apple they will always fail; and your wardrobe for a sexy weekend away should consist of a toothbrush.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Some of this, a dash of that…

This weekend just past was one of those weekends that can only be described as…pleasant. I saw a great movie Friday night, went for one of my favorite bike rides on Saturday and spent Sunday wandering around the recently reopened Eastern Market. The only downside was dinner on Saturday (after the bike ride), but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The movie
It’s a small film, playing in only two theaters I could find in D.C., but
The Hurt Locker is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while (read the Chicago Tribune's review). It takes place in Baghdad in 2004 and focuses on the lives of the men assigned to disarm the improvised explosive devices scattered about the besieged city like leaves in the fall. [Note: I just checked and it’s actually playing in five D.C.-area theaters, so git while the gittin's good.]

Jeremy Renner (28 Weeks Later, The Unusuals) is Staff Sgt. William James, a soldier who seems to live his life as if he’s already dead. I don’t mean that he is morose or looking for death. He just accepts the fact he’s in a dangerous profession and if he thinks too hard about it, he’d never be able to get out of bed in the morning.

One of my favorite parts comes after James inspects a suspected car bomb and discovers it packed with explosives. Instead of running, like any sane person, he starts taking off his protective suit. W
hen asked why he's doing it, he says, “There’s enough boom in this to kill us all, I might as well die comfortable.”

Some of the scenes, like that of a man locked in a suicide vest or the discovery of a booby trapped body, may seem over the top. But, according to friends who served in Iraq, they are some of the more mild tactics used by the insurgents.

All in all, The Hurt Locker is a great movie that never tells you how to think about the fighting in Iraq, it only makes you think. The Hurt Locker gets two thumbs and two big toes up from the Foggy Dew.

The Ride
Saturday morning/afternoon I went out for one of my favoritest bike rides in the area:
The Crescent and the Park. It has other names, (the Zoo Review according to, but I like to call the little 20-or-so-miler in the map below The Crescent and the Park. Not very creative, I know, but it’s better than the Zoo review.

The ride took me from G-town up the C&O Canal towpath to the Capital Crescent Trail up to Bethesda. The Crescent is one of the many rails-to-trails trails in the area and I totally recommend it. It’s totally paved (although the part of the towpath I rode is crushed stone), only goes slightly uphill, is pretty shady and has some great scenery. The only annoying part is actually riding through Bethesda to get to the Georgetown Branch extension, which takes you to Rock Creek Park.

For those of you worrying about pulling yourself up the hill from Georgetown to Bethesda, don’t worry, you get all of that back once you reach RCP. The best part? Beech Avenue is closed to (most) traffic on the weekends, so you can go as fast or slow as you like along this part.

The only down side is the bike path in RCP is really in need of an overhaul. Those with skinny-tire bikes may not enjoy it as much as those of us who are used to a few bumps and potholes.

The dinner
After my ride I was, to put it plainly, hungry enough to eat…well, anything. I was particularly craving meat. But seeing as how I was a bit tired after my ride I decided I didn’t want to drive to my favorite barbeque joint and so I decided to try another place.

The new place I tried was the Rocklands Barbeque & Grilling Co. in Arlington.


Now I’ve never thought I was a snob when it comes to food. Ask any of my friends, I’ll eat just about anything you put in front of me. But I think when it comes to meat, fire and smoke, I’ll make an exception.

I’ve been lucky enough to live in two very different barbeque havens: Eastern North Carolina and Texas. If you don’t already know, the Carolinas are all about the pork, and Texas is, well, in if it sits still long enough in Texas they’ll throw it in the smoker. But Tejas is famous for, and rightly so, it’s brisket.

I went to a party earlier this year catered by Rocklands and enjoyed their work. I’m thinking now that might have been an anomaly. Perhaps caused by the fact the meat was all cooked onsite. Not that it wasn’t cooked onsite at their location in Arlington, but it was mass-produced there, and that’s the problem.

First off, the brisket was charred a little too much for my taste, which means most people would think it was burnt through-and-through. And second, and this is the worse sin, there was a lot of, how to I put this gently, a lot of “connective tissue” in the pork. And by “connective tissue” I mean cartilage. The part of the animal you can’t really eat because it’s pretty disgusting to chew. I shudder just thinking about it.

The coleslaw was OK, the addition of little carrot cubes and peas was interesting, but coleslaw is merely a side show when it comes to meat. Don’t get me started on the beans.

All I can say is if you find yourself with a hankerin’ for some barbeque, avoid this place.

Eastern Market
What can I say? D.C. got its money’s worth with the rehabilitation of Eastern Market. As my friend and I decided, the fire was probably the best thing that could have happened to the historic market. If for no other reason than the fire probably made the place a lot cleaner.

The crowd you’d expect on a sunny Sunday afternoon was there, pawing over the produce and the overpriced trinkets splayed about. If you’re looking for something to do next weekend (or the one after that), head on over and explore this reborn D.C. treasure.

[Note: I took a bunch of pictures and will be adding them here one of these days. So keep an eye out.]

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Oooooo! Ahhhhh!

Seeing as how it's Friday (even if the date above does say Thursday, this is a Friday Picture Post), and I guess it's time for some more pictures. As it's easy to see, these were all shot last Saturday night from the balcony of my good friend the Disaffected Scanner Jockey.

It was the first time I'd taken my new camera out for a spin at night and, well, I'm pretty darn happy with the results. The fireworks on the National Mall lasted about 13 minutes by my watch and, during that time, I shot about 200 or so pictures. For those interested in the technical details: they were shot from a tripod, using a remote shutter release, with an f8 aperture, shutter speeds ranging from 1.6 seconds to 2.5 seconds and an ISO (film speed equivalent) of 100.

Now, in no particular order, onto the pictures!

Got a little of the Washington Monument in this one

A close-up

An extreme close-up

I really like the feathery effects from this one

Next year, I'm planning on being on the Mall, even if I have to camp out there. I want the shot of the fireworks exploding right behind the Washington Monument. Just 359 days to go...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Have to say it...

I gotta ask everyone this question: What the fuck is up with the whole world going nuts over Michael Jackson dying and getting planted?

Yes, he was a decent singer, but he was a singer who hadn't put out a song worth buying in more than a decade. He did nothing to change the world for the better and, basically, he was just a consumer of oxygen the rest of us could use. And he was a total nut job.

I do not understand some people's mania and worship of "stars." I can't think of a single person in movies, TV or music who's memorial service I'd go to. (Disclaimer: I once went to the memorial service for Charles Kuralt, but that was because he was a Carolina guy and it got me out of an afternoon's work painting dorms during the summer of '95.)

Also, aside from my blood relations and a small circle of friends, there isn't a single living being I'd shed one tear for if they died. I may be momentarily taken aback by the death of someone famous, or even not so famous if it's sufficiently gruesome. But, to tell you the absolute truth, if I don't know you I'm not going to lose a second's sleep over your shuffling off this mortal coil.

Hmm, maybe it's just me?

Monday, July 6, 2009


You ever just feel violated? I do today.

When I came home late from a lovely Fourth of July party early Sunday morning I had not a care in my little mind except for how quickly I could get to sleep. That feeling of goodwill toward my fellow man came crashing down with a resounding “THUD” as I approached the door to my humble abode. (It could have been a “THWACK” or a “THUMP,” I wasn’t thinking too clearly at the moment due to the shock, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a “KERCHUNK.”)

For the past three or so years, ever since I forgot to take it down after Christmas and decided “What the Hell, I’ll leave it up,” a wreath, very similar to the one below, has hung on my door.

No more, though. Some black-hearted scoundrel working alone or, more likely, a team of miscreants, absconded with my Christmas Ball wreath and sucked a little of the joy out of my life. My door, once colorful, exciting and welcoming, now stands stripped of its character. It’s now just another door. One amongst many, it’s only defining characteristic is its lack of a knocker and a number (said items having been ripped off at some point before I hung the wreath).

I don’t know who perpetrated this heinous villainy, but I’m pretty sure I could describe them if I saw them. Yes, I’m looking at you Mr. Drunken 22-to-27-year-old khaki-wearing former frat boy hoping to impress your girlfriend with your “score.” I’m also pretty sure whoever did it lives in my building or is a friend of someone who lives there, mainly ‘cause it’s not winter and they wouldn’t have a coat to hide it under as they made their getaway.

Seriously, I wish I could do a Mel Gibson in Ransom: Go on TV and put a bounty on the heads of the jackasses who took my wreath.

Today I, and my neighbors whose lives were also brightened by the Christmas Ball wreath, mourn my loss, especially because I know we’ll never see my wreath again. As I understand it, the local gendarmes working the wreath-crime unit currently have an eight-month backlog of cases. With every passing minute, the hopes of escape and recovery grow dimmer.

The worst part is now I have to go out and find an even uglier door decoration.