31 July 2007

The Sunday Night Club

As the Boomtown Rats so eloquently put it "Tell me why I don't like Mondays". We know why. Another week back at the grind. The weekend is over. The stress begins anew.

This is why Sunday night should be the best time for stores, for restaurants, for everybody. Not S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y--Saturday! No, Sunday! Nobody wants to end the weekend. Everybody's working for the weekend... and when it draws to a close, it sucks. Nobody wants to face it. This is when we want to get this party started!

Hence I propose the Sunday Night Club. There should be all kinds of activities for Sunday night for people in denial about Monday. Bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, meditation halls, they should all be open late Sunday night. There should be Sunday night concerts. Because I want to rock and roll all night (and party every day.)

I just think this town is missing a billion dollar opportunity. It's not like we have blue laws here anymore. Everything's open on Sunday anyway but the sidewalks tend to roll up around 5 or 6. Huge mistake. Somebody could be making a fortune helping us extend the weekend groove.

30 July 2007

Restaurant Review: Madigan's Waterfront

We had the pleasure of exploring old town Occoquan, VA, this Saturday--something we hadn't done in many moons. We were surprised at all the changes taking place in Occoquan (building high dollar condos on the riverfront, several businesses changing hands, etc.) Hopefully, the town will retain enough of its initial charm throughout all the changes.

While we were there we ate lunch at Madigan's Waterfront Restaurant at 201 Mill Street. It was a hot day but we still opted to eat outside, overlooking the river, where they were dredging. Romantic? Not really but it didn't smell like a river, so that's something. :) Plus we got to see geese and ducks.
Ambiance: I'd give it 22/30. It was pleasant and not as cheasy-looking as a lot of seafood places. The umbrellas kept the sun off and there was enough seating to have plenty of water-side tables.
Service: 28/30. We had a server who had a trainee with her. This can sometimes be a hassle for customers but this experience was delightful. The two of them played off each other and it was more like having two dedicated servers for the two of us. The primary server was knowledgeable about the menu and specials.
Food: 24/30. Everything was tasty, attractively presented and fresh. The menu had a huge variety of seafood options plus three additional daily specials. We had the fried clams appetizer which were larger, moister, lighter and less greasy than I'd expected. They were quite good but I would have preferred a little more flavoring--perhaps a touch of cayenne or even black pepper. Hubby had the tortilla tilapia (excellent) and I had the Cajun mahi-mahi (good.) Both came with fresh salad and a couple of sides. Hubby had a wheat beer which hit the spot on a hot day. I had their white flight of wine. It was strange in that they brought me three white wines with a place mat that explained what each one was but the wines didn't seem to relate to each other in any way (a Riesling, a Pinot Grigio, and a Chardonnay from different wineries/regions.) They were all all right but I got the feeling the restaurant was offering a flight because it was a way to sell more wine, rather than because someone had put together intriguing combinations.
Vegetarian Options: 5/30. Very limited. Pasta. Vegetable plate. That sort of thing.
Cost: 20/30. Not as outrageous as some but not a "cheap eats" either.
Extras: Plenty of on-street parking and (at least the promise of) a tiki bar. (+2)
Overall: 20/30. It's a nice spot for a huge variety of well-prepared seafood.

Bring Back "The Class"

Did you watch the sit-com "The Class" last year? It appears that CBS has not made space for it in its fall line-up. If this bothers you as much as it bothers me, please take 10 seconds to go to:

and click on the Feedback link at the bottom of the page and send them a comment requesting the return of this show!


29 July 2007

The End of the Washington City Paper

Sad News from the Washington City Paper...

The Last Days of the Good Ol’ Days
Posted by Mike DeBonis on Jul. 27, 2007, at 1:28 pm
So we’ve had a couple of days over here to process the
sale of City Paper to its first new owners in 25 years. For us in editorial, we’re still not sure what exactly this will mean—we’re going to have to cut an already tight budget, but that was probably going to happen in any case. The most upsetting part of this is by far is that our local production operations are almost certain to be moved to Atlanta.
Say what you will about what actually goes in the paper (and you certainly will, judging from the comments on any
CP-related DCist post), but never have I heard a sour word about the beautiful paper that the folks in our production department—led by award-winning art director Pete Morelewicz and production director Mike Kalyan—have put out over all these years. More than that, they’ve been wonderful friends and colleagues, and it’s heartbreaking to think we’ll no longer be sharing beer and snacks at our Wednesday closes.
So we’re going to enjoy our last few weeks together as much as possible. And when Pete sent this to me to post here, it was my honor to indulge him:
The recent sale of City Paper to an Florida-based newspaper chain cast a dark pall over the office here. Last night’s long-ago-planned staff weenie roast—an event normally filled with blissful drinking—felt a bit like a wake. There was still drinking, but it was more of the mournful type, the kind my Aunt Dorothy reserves for the passing of a loved one. And in a way, the party marked just that.
The new owners of City Paper have promised “efficiencies” by outsourcing creative operations to Atlanta and slashing the editorial budget. News stories are often shared among the different papers the company owns, so readers in six different cities can experience the same cover story. City Paper, of course, has always prided itself on unique, local coverage. But what good reason is there for that to continue?
D.C.’s sense of individuality—its very spirit and passion—has been under attack for some time. The serial D.C. haters, long complaining that D.C. is no New York or no L.A., have succeeded in stripping D.C. of its character. Chain stores and suburban implants have changed the city’s complexion. U Street, with its two Starbucks in a three-block stretch, is no longer the seedbed of local creative talent. Places like State of the Union and the Grand Poobah have yielded to a bland mix of chain stores and “luxury” lofts.
The new owners of City Paper obviously understand this changing dynamic. The new residents of U Street enjoy national chains. They like to have a dose of NYC or L.A. (or their own hometown) in D.C. They crave to be a part of a larger whole, sharing the common experience of a standard-issue latte with the millions of others who do the same each day. These people will respond well to a “local” paper whose vital parts will be made elsewhere and shipped back into the District.
There was a certain appeal to a local paper back when D.C. was a city of neighborhoods, with pride in its distinctiveness, however quirky. But the landscape has changed, and the comfort of the generic has set in. The time has come for our local paper to be just another mass-produced import.

26 July 2007

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand--A. Lincoln

I did not vote for the current president. This is no secret. I believe there is a good argument for impeachment at this point and even convening a war crimes tribunal.

Having said that, I have to step back and look at how we must look to the world at large. I mean aside from the atrocities that are in the headlines every day (including both the Iraq stories, the Gonzales-style stories, and even the Hollywood atrocities that are Lohan and Hilton.)

No, what I mean is: Every 4 years we vote for President. Well, some of us vote and some of us don't even know or care who's running. But we elect a president--even though the country is pretty evenly divided between rabid left-wingers and rabid right-wingers. And so whichever side wins the election immediately has to contend with the other disgruntled side.

Both sides spin and smear. Both sides go for the jugular. And both sides have at least been threatened with impeachment. I do not hold better hope for the 2008 president.

To the outside world we must look insane or idiotic or both. That's sure how it looks from the inside. Maybe Lincoln was right: A house divided against itself cannot stand. Maybe it's time to reassess what America is and should be all about. Let's hope we have less bloodshed this time around than we did with the civil war.

The Feline Reaper

Have you seen this? It's all over the news.


Poor Spelling is the Means

Have you noticed that there are websites that have alMOST the same address as very common websites. So say you want www.blogger.com but you fail to spell it correctly or you suffer from "fat fingers" and what you get is www.bloggear.com... is it just a coincidence that this address is so close to a popular address? Maybe, but I think not. Here's my conspiracy theory du jour: there are people that take advantage of misspellings and confusion (was that .com or .net??) to redirect web flow to their own nefarious purposes. I think they pick names that are one letter off or exactly the same except for the extension and take advantage of the halo effect of web popularity.

Well, that's what I think. But, then, I'm not a very trusting individual.

25 July 2007

Tasker Volt in the Sunday Source

The Washington Post ran a writing contest that closed today. The challenge: to continue a serial about their invented gritty PI, Tasker Volt.

It was fun coming up with the next 300 words. I love this sort of challenge: short and sweet. I don't imagine I'll win but it was fun giving it a go.

I'm curious to see how many entries they get. I'm guessing they'll get, oh, 30,000.

24 July 2007

The World Series of Pop Culture

Have you caught any episodes of VH1's World Series of Pop Culture?

If you missed it I strongly recommend you try to catch it in re-runs. This show will make you feel good in two ways: 1) you're not the only one with incredibly detailed useless knowledge in your brain and 2) you're affliction is nowhere near as bad as these people's.

They have categories of trivia like "The Tao of Bill Murray" where they give you a quote that Bill Murray said and you have to name the movie. And it isn't all Animal House either. How many Madonna albums can you name? How many actors from the original cast of 90210? Do you know the name of the Love Boat? How about if they give you a lyric or two from a Weird Al song... can you name the original it's spoofing?

This is amazingly intricate useless stuff and these teams kick butt!!! Awesome.

Joe Bob says "Check it out!"

23 July 2007

What a Long Strange Trip It's Been

Hello Faithful Reader,

I am happy to be back home and blogging again. Since my last post I have been in Savannah and Gray, Georgia, to a cousin's wedding in DC and then to Huntsville, AL.

I can heartily recommend Savannah as a way fun town--good food, good music, good drinks, lots to see and do, and we were lucky enough to have a crowd of 16 fun-loving folks from five states on the trip to share the joy.

Huntsville... well, I was there for work and I can definitively say that I am not a Huntsville kind of gal. Everybody was very nice to me there but there's just a whole different energy there. And I saw women that, I swear, looked like Peggy Hill. I know, I know, she's a Texan, but these people had the same look.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of my travels from my handy-dandy Palm Zire because it lost power before I could back up the pictures. Sigh. It happens. I do get dependent on technology.

Meanwhile, the long days continue to be gloriously good for the soul. We took advantage of the good weather yesterday and went out to Indigo Landing, a lovely spot on the Potomac off the GW Parkway in Alexandria. We were somewhat transported back to Savannah because they serve "low country" cuisine there. Lovely to sit on the deck, sip drinks and nibble on the tasty food while watching the sailboats drift by.

I hope the summer is treating you well,

05 July 2007

Summertime and the Living Is Easy

I love this time of year. Is there anything better than long, sunny days followed by clear, warm nights? Fresh fruit in abundance and variety? Day lilies and lightening bugs? Picnics and light picnic wines? Street festivals? Dining al fresco?

Oh sure, there are wildfires in California and the Southwest is experiencing record high temperatures but here there's just the usual Summer experience. Long hot days, the occasional thunderstorm, and a desire by most to be out and about.

So yesterday we had fireworks on the court where we live. Not just sparklers but the real McCoy. Neighbors spent hundreds, probably thousands, on fireworks. We grilled and everyone on the court, and beyond, brought food and drink and sat out and chatted and watched all the pretty, noisy explosions.

And in the midst of this, it made me think about how the American identity is so tied to war. Our celebration of our country is a series of larger and larger explosions, often accompanied by military music. Our national anthem talks about "bombs bursting in air". Our national bird, now off the endangered list for the first time that I can remember, is a bird of prey.

And still, with reminders of war, in a country slogging through a most difficult war, I have the luxury to stop thinking about war. I am grateful for the country I am born to; the generous, inclusive spirit of the people around me; and especially the long, peaceful Summer days.

I'll be spending quite a few enjoying the great outdoors, while the gettin' is good, and away from this blog. I wish you a lovely Summer experience filled with the things that make you smile.

02 July 2007

Movie Review: Ratatouille

We decided to do something we rarely do: we saw a movie in the theater when it was released! Outrageous, I know. We decided to see Ratatouille, in Digital at the AMC Hoffman, after a brief visit downtown to the Smithsonian Folklike Festival, a swing through the Museum of Natural History to visit the fabulous jewels, and a drink and ceviche at Oyamel.

So to Ratatouille... I liked this movie very much. It took me back to the days of great Disney animation but with Pixar's great advances. The animation is amazing, the acting/voicing is well done and the story line is solid.

Simply put, it is the story of Remy, a rat with great olfactory skills who dreams of being a cook. At a deeper level, it is an expression of the American dream: if you want it bad enough and work hard enough, you can attain it, no matter who (or what) you are.

It truly has a lot of charm for both kids and adults. And even the rats--and hundreds of rats fill the screen--come across as likable. "Uchhh, how can you watch that?! I can't stand to look at the commercial" says my mother. Well, if you're very anti-rat or downright phobic then this movie is not for you. Otherwise, check it out.

Extra bonus: Before the film, they showed a Pixar short entitled "Lifted" that was very funny.

Personally, I think the short is the optimal format for animation. Like in the days of my youth when you always got a cartoon before the feature. They ought to return to that.

I give the film 3.5 out of 4 jujubees.