Friday, April 22, 2005

Over the moon and under the influence

So, saw the Trashcan Sinatras last night at the Ram's Head in Annapolis. Intimate little place, and a nice change of pace from other clubs. I sat about 10, 12 feet maybe away from the band, and, other than one faulty monitor speaker that was quickly repaired, they sounded amazing.

It was funny to see them be funny. Francis, the bespectacled lead singer, was rather stifled the first two times I saw them. Last night - much looser. He was hilarious in parts, commenting on what people ate, complimenting the meals, and making a new Pope joke that wasn't really offensive. He made a small toast to the new Pope, and said "Here's a song he has no clue about." They launched into "What Women Do To Men," a tune about the befuddling, criminally sexual behaviour of these temptresses.

See, the band's primarily Catholic. That joke would be mean if it was done by System of a Down.

For those keeping score, this is the third time I've seen them in 7 months. Didn't see them for the previous 31.57 years of my life. This time, I actually brought money for swag.

2 t-shirts
3 CDs
1 autographed by the band.
1 of the guys recognized me from Austin.

For the old UNIX guys, @set me=!mad

I am a very, very content dude right now. I might also still be a little drunk from last night, and definitely hungry.

But oh so content!

- mi

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

That sound you just heard...

...above the din of bells ringing and smoke pouring from the Vatican's chimney, was the sound of thousands of Catholics shuddering at the prospect of Pope Benedict XVI. Feminism is a curse, priestly pedophilia isn't so bad, and, Mein Gott, descension shall not be tolerated! This guy makes John Paul the Sequel look open-minded. Women - it's a good thing Benedict XVI is 77, otherwise, y'all'd be all knock'd up and pregnut! The menfolks is goin' to the church! Take care of th' youngins'.

Personally, I think he should drop the dict and just go as Pope Benny. Sounds much friendlier, and would help him put a happy tone on his otherwise dour personality. He's got to do something - it boggles my mind at how the Vatican has turned a blind eye to US Catholics during this priest pedophilia scandal. Do they think this is just going to "go away?" Probably - that was their MO during the `40s,`50s and `60s when the majority of this abuse happened anyway.

If I ran any other religious congregation - synagogue, temple, strip mall worship center - I'd put out a sign "Any Catholics Looking for a Change? Come on in!" I'd have a big ole' lapsed Catholic open house, with bingo, hot cross buns and fish on fridays. To make them feel at home, I'd yell at them for being bad Catholics.

But let's face it - there is a huge gap between modern American Catholics and the uber-conservative tone the Vatican has taken over the past quarter century. We're jaded, bitter, and really would like to believe in our beliefs. Our beliefs are just not shared with the men who run the place. Let's do a recap:

America thinks Iran is bad.
Vatican thinks Iran is bad.

America and Vatican are friends.

America thinks Soviet Union is really bad.
Vatican thinks Soviet Union is really bad.

America and Vatican really are friends.

America thinks Iraq is bad
Vatican thinks Iraq is kinda naughty.

America and Vatican are still friends.

America thinks pedophiliac priests are really bad.
Vatican thinks pedophiliac priests are just "misunderstood."

That's the same fuzzy logic that galls me about Michael Jackson's supporters. Dude made three good albums 20 years ago, and has been diddling little kids ever since. At what point does "Thriller" even out the loss of a child's innocence and soul? One child? Two? Five? When do you say "No more kids for you, Michael, even if you did make "Smooth Criminal?"

Same thing with the priest scandal. If the pedophilia wasn't institutionalized, buried, repressed - hell - tolerated and accepted - by the Church, this would have easily been the case of a handful of bad priests with bad urges and bad actions. But when the whole organization is implicit in the scandal, what does that say about any of it?

So, welcome Pope Benedict XVI, of Germany, the country known for keen, progressive thought. Welcome to the current state of the Catholic Church, and please make some amends, otherwise it's going to be awfully lonely in that Vatican City apartment, with just a bunch of paintings and sculptures to keep you company.


Benedict XVI - what does this guy think he is, a Super Bowl?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Parking by Braille

After spending half of my teens and all of my 20s auto accident free, I popped my car-smashing cherry last year in a spectacular spin-out on 695 near the B-W Parkway. Much like holding your urine at a night out, because you know what happens when you break the seal...I banged up my one year old car while attempting to park.

I was checking out a place Sunday in DC - nice place, near Cap Hill and a dog park. I was attempting to parallel park into a spot when I hit the car in front of me. How - I have no idea. I've been parallel parking since the Nixon Administration. I was born during the Nixon Administration. I have squeezed cars twice the size of my Pontiac Vibe, Raider, into spots half as small.

I have become, simply, a bad parker. I can not handle this.

My quarter panels and front bumper are scratched up. The car I hit has a scuff on the bumper. My car definitely took the brunt of the assault.

My ride needs pimped.

I wonder what my Vibe, Raider, would be like pimped. I watched Xhibit do his thing once - I don't need a fish tank in the floorboards, but I would like a new quarter panel. Maybe a nice Thule roof rack would be keen. Uh...I guess I could use a XM receiver, and an iPod interface for the stereo. Put in a subwoofer while you're at it, X. If I'm moving to the city, I could use those urban steel bumpers that protect my delicate little Vibe, Raider. We could get some shrapnel from Iraq, glue it on. Wouldn't take much. Think about it, MTV - the pimping of my ride would be the cheapest of any pimps so far.

Pimp my ride.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Just call me "swami"

Read yesterday's entry, and then read this... (registration might be required)

Close on the Horizon, Plans for Taller Rosslyn
By Annie GowenWashington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 13, 2005; Page A01

Arlington County officials are backing a plan to significantly increase building heights in Rosslyn, making for a more dramatic skyline but raising concerns about airline safety and the future of the sweeping vistas along the Potomac.
At issue is a proposal to build a 39-story office tower in Rosslyn that would rival the Washington Monument in height and soar above the 300-foot-tall buildings that were equally controversial when they went up nearly 25 years ago.


I have my finger on the pulse of the region, baby.

- moi moi moi

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Do I really miss Des Moines????

The short answer to that improbable question is, sussinctly, no. I don't miss sub-zero weather nor the 200+ mph winds. I don't miss the smell of cow crap everywhere. I definitely don't miss restaurants like Red Lobster being termed "exotic."

What I do miss (short of Cajun Prime Rib at Buzzard Billy's and super markets the size of Boston) is the affordability. I had a 2 BR, 1 BA apartment in a fairly pricy part of Des Moines in 1998 and `99. I paid $575 a month for it.

My fantastically cheesy rowhome in Canton (Baltimore, Not Ohio), circa 2001, was $675 a month. Other places in Canton (Baltimore, Not China) were renting for 800 to 1100 a month. Some fantastically-restored places were 1300 a month, but were usually 3 bedrooms.

I haven't found A SINGLE PLACE in DC or Northern Virginia less than $800. That was for a basement apartment. Slightly damp. The rental home's washer and dryer are located IN the basement apartment, meaning the other housemates need to walk through the basement apartment to use the laundry. The house is shared by two women, and we all know how the ladies are prone to doing a load of laundry every day. So...hmmm...I can smell the privacy concerns from here.

A single bedroom place can be found for 900-ish, but, here's the kicker - they have MAXIMUM INCOME, if you make more than, say, 38k a year, you can't have this place. Where in any mathematical sense does this make any sense? Wouldn't a HIGHER income make it more likely for the tenant to be able to afford the rent? If somebody's making 38k a year, they're actually making 26k a year - let's be honest. And 900 a month is really 1000 a month. 12 thousand a year in rent, leaving 14 thousand for things like car, insurance, food...that's not much in an area where gas is almost as much per gallon as a Frappucino.

So far, I have not turned my status as a new Washingtonian (and my complete and utter lack of shame or self-awareness) into himboness. Though it would be fun. The embassies alone churn out enough single lasses to keep any self-respecting American male in the gym 20 hours a day to work off our diet of burgers and beer. And there's so much more - I could sleep my way through Washington's female power structure, from lonely Hill staffers to middle-aged lobbyists who realize their child-bearing years are fading away faster than the viability of Skeet Ulrich's acting career. The man's a dead ringer for Johnny Depp, people - somebody give him a role, please!

I'm not sure when DC became Midtown Manhattan, but it seems to have happened when I wasn't paying attention. It wasn't that long ago when people were moving out of the District faster than U-Haul could get trailers to the city.

DC's traffic sucks so bad because so many people couldn't even dream of living in the city, so they need to move 60, 90, 120 miles away just to afford a decent place at an affordable price. You wanna clean up the traffic and the environment in one fell swoop? Knock down 3 dozen strip malls and replace them with housing. With the multi-billion projects going on the Beltway, with the new bridge and the regroom of the infamous Mixing Bowl, couldn't a bit of those funds go to improve conditions WITHIN the Beltway? Try knocking down a crackhouse and putting up a townhouse.

And get rid of that stupid rule limiting building height to that of the Capitol Dome and the Washington Monument. That law may have been all cute when the area had room to sprawl. This is the 8th biggest metro in the US, and Madison, Wisconsin has taller buildings. Build some skyscrapers, put in 80th floor condos, and increase the population density. Voila' - problem solved.

You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one.

It's not like DC is *THAT* glamorous, either. New York, LA - they're both expensive, but you actually get something you pay for - in NYC, you get the joy of living in a city that never sleeps, with unparalleled culture, entertainment, excitement, Woody Allen and 2 baseball teams. LA - you get a chance to drink chai with George Clooney and be discovered while stopped in traffic. People are really pretty out there, and most of us would be willing to pay for better scenery. DC - let's might run into a page from the junior Senator from Montana at a softball game. If you're lucky, you might get cut off by Alan Greenspan. You will be cut off by a bike messenger.

New York was home to Sex in the City. LA is home to Vivid Video. Washington has crowded Metro cars where you *might* get an accidental grab-and-poke, but it's even money if it's from a girl or a guy.

There's lot of single women here, no doubt, and many of them are foreign and spectacular. Here's the J.Lo - BUT all the hot ones have boyfriends back home. The ugly ones gripe about the lack of single men. The slutty ones write about their hook-ups on their blog, and turn their cut-rate trollopness into a book deal (this means you, Jessica Cutler). Every one of them fashions themselves as a policy wonk. The ticking of the DC area's collective biological clock is amazing - deafening, omniprecent, tangible. So many women concentrate on their career that they forget about social lives. They all wake up at 38 and go "CRAP!"

Their first question to a potential mate is "What do you do?" which is answered in Denver with "skiier" or "hiker" or "kayaker" and in Austin as "guitarist" or "drummer" or "acoutstic singer-songwriter." None of those would get you anywhere in DC., boys. The correct answers here are "lawyer" or "doctor" or "lawyer." Men in those professions are considered "good husband material." Anything is worthy of only contempt or a pity one-night stand.

Much like "Dr. Strangelove," Pickens is Slim.

The town is so pent up, so me oriented, so lost-in-its-communal-iPod that Craigslist's Missed Connections gets more hits than Elle MacPherson's webcam. Read the posts - I double dog dare you - you will see a town that thinks it is so powerful in its worldview, but powerless to say hello to an attractive stranger. Put down The Examiner and Examine her, Washington!

If I could work my mojo into free lodging, you know I would. When I find "Bitter Divorcee Night" at the Bethesda Yacht Club, I'm all over it. Otherwise, I'll just scan the rental ads like the Zapruder film and hope I fall into a dog-friendly place to live, close to work. And if that cute brunette I made eye contact with at Zola's the other night reads Craigslist's MCs, too, and recognizes herself, all will be glorious.

When it gets down to it...I just really miss Skeet Ulrich.

telecomic out.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

more slower thans...

... than an Iowan with a Palm Pilot
... than CVS in flu season
... than a government employee on break
... than a Pentium 133/16MB RAM trying to run SuSE Linux 5.3 ( I mean, seriously, who would do that???)
... than a Mexican restaurant during the Atkin's Diet craze
... than a ghetto movie theater playing "Sideways"
... than a redneck family wondering how they got a free trip to Chicago, only to be "shocked" when they appear on Jerry Springer
... that same family wondering why their trailer home gets punk'd by every tornado in a four state radius
... than a Georgian watching Dennis Miller
... than Muhammad Ali reading a limerick
... than a Colorado surfer
... than Samuel Beckett's sequel "Godot STILL Ain't Here Yet"
... than a drunk guy ordering at Denny's at 3:12AM
... than a stripper on Jeopardy!
... than a Star Trek fan on a date

How Slow Is My DC Commute?

slower than...

1) a redneck in college
2) a Japanese taxi driver
3) an old guy in the buffet line
4) a fat kid in gym class
5) George W Bush in a spelling bee
6) Bil Clinton in a sorority house
7) Larry King in a marathon
8) a Jamacian bobsledder
9) a Nebraska slalom
10) a fire drill at a nursing home (slip-sliding away...)
11) an amputee doing sign language
12) Stevie Wonder speed reading
13) the Robert Blake jury
14) the keynote address at the NORML convention "Hey, man...who's hungry?"
15) Ozzy Osbourne doing math
16) a made-for-Lifetime movie
17) introductions at the first meeting of Stutterers Anonymous
18) Mexican Basketball League's Slam-Dunk Contest "it's day three and nobody's tall enough to touch the rim!!!"
19) You know that guy in the `86 Escort doing 20 MPH under the speed limit willingly on an other-wise empty road? Well, slower than that.
20) a stoned barista at Starbucks "A decaf maci-what, man?"
21) a southerner trying to give directions
22) a southerner in med school
23) an Amish rave
24) a turtle porno
25) pretty much any Kevin Costner movie since Bull Durham
26) Bingo night at the Tourette's foundation
27) a southern library
28) a Wal-Mart greeter
29) the relative airspeed of the Aruban horsefly in given revolution to the PRX-49 asteroid rotating in the 4th ring of the Van Claussen belt.
30) double-coupon day at Shopper's Food Warehouse


Monday, April 04, 2005

this just in...

the Pope is still dead. Stay tuned to CBS News for the latest developments.