Friday, September 30, 2005

Escape From The Asphalt Jungle

Today was so beautiful, that I decided to go hiking on the Capital Crescent Trail this afternoon. The trail starts along the Potomac River in Georgetown and wends its way around Northwest DC to Silver Spring, MD.

So Shorty and I got in the car and drove to Georgetown. Parking was at a decided premium, and I started to get that familiar tight feeling in my chest as I negotiated the streets and scanned the curb for a spot -- while waiting patiently for the determinedly slow-footed pedestrians to cross the street at each stop sign. No doubt they were competing to see who cross the slowest.

Finally, after a near-accident caused by hyper-aggresive driver (the type with crooked baseball caps driving "souped-up," early model VW and a large Chinese character sticker on his window), a parking space emerged just yards from the trailhead. I parked, grabbed my bag, my camera, the dog and hopped out of the car.

As I fished around in my pockets for some quarters before realizing that the parking meter was broken. A number on the base of the meter gave a D.C. Public Works phone number to call and report the problem -- and presumably avoid getting a ticket from D.C.'s notoriously venomous and retarded parking enforcement officers. Here's an almost verbatim transcript of my call:


"Hello, you have reached the District of Columbia Department of Public Works Parking Meter Division. To report a broken parking meter, press 1 now."



"Hello, you have reached the District of Columbia Broken Parking Meter Repair Hotline. No one is available to take your call.


If you are calling to report a broken meter...


please remember that you can still be ticketed if the meter is expired...


And so I walked towards M Street, to one of Georgetown's many sandwich shops to get something to eat and a bottle of water for the hike, and decided on the first place I saw that did not have a huge line. I tied Shorty's leash securely to a piece of pipe coming out of the sidewalk right next to the door and ran in to order.

And literally the second my foot crossed the threshold, Shorty started barking that load, insistent bark which is the hallmark of the poorly behaved dog. Everyone in the deli looked to the doorway to see what the commotion was about, then looked at me to see what kind of inconsiderate bastard leaves his dog tied up outside to bark and cry while other people try and eat lunch and have fifteen minutes of peace and quiet to themselves.

I resolved to order as fast as possible before Shorty had an anuerism and to minimize the disturbance to others.

This is an almost verbatim transcript of my conversation with the monosyllabic, glassy-eyed employee who was wearing super-baggy "shorts" that almost swept the floor:


ME: [with my money already out of my wallet, held out to the employee, invoking the international signal of "I'm In A Hurry"] Could I get A...turkey sandwich on an everything bagel with mustard, no mayo, swiss cheese and two bottles of water to go, please?"

EMPLOYEE: Ummmm....... you want lettuce and tomato?

ME: [tense]What? Oh, yeah, sorry, sorry, yes please. That's all, thanks. How much is that?

EMPLOYEE: You want the bagel toasted?

ME: [tenser]Sure. Yes.


EMPLOYEE: You want cheese?

ME: [with confused look, since I thought I already asked for this; tenser still] Um, yes please. Swiss.


EMPLOYEE: Swiss cheese?

ME: [No, asshole, Swiss chard, WTF did I just say? tense-to-very tense] Yes. Swiss cheese.

EMPLOYEE: Turkey, right?

ME: [extremely tense]Yes! Turkey.


EMPLOYEE: Um...what kind of bagel?

ME: [staring at him for a moment, convinced that he is purposely being a dumbass; about to explode]Everything. [pause] an everything bagel.

EMPLOYEE: [after pausing to consider my order, and slowly ringing it up] That'll$9.25.

[I hand over a 20 dollar bill, Shorty still wailing like a banshee]

EMPLOYEE: you have anything smaller? 'cause, um.......


[I paid and proceeded to wait fifteen minutes for my sandwich. I was the only person at the counter the whole time. Shorty continued to bark even after I untied his leash and started walking him down the sidewalk.]

Food and drink in hand, I made for the beginning of the Capital Crescent Trail, crossing a footbridge over the C&O Canal...

The trail began just beyond this apparently unused bridge...

...and had some beautiful scenery: old fireplace from the remains of a house:

this is the C&O Canal about two miles upstream from the photo I took on the footbridge in Georgetown:

Friday, September 23, 2005

Ted Leo and Thievery Corporation, But Who Else Will Be Down On The Mall This Weekend?

I saw a link to this article by David Corn on Instapundit. It delves into the background of International ANSWER, a vocal left-wing anti-war group. and one of the organizers of tomorrow's anti-war rally on the National Mall here in DC.

Int'l ANSWER is described as being tightly interwoven with the Workers World Party (WWP), which in the past has lauded the North Korean government of Kim Jong Il for resisting the influence of multinational corporations, supported the Soviet Invasion of Hungary in 1956, and argued against the war-crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

ANSWER has a history of drawing less-radical people who oppose the war to its demonstrations by hiding the extent of its hard left buffoonery. These aren't merely stridently liberal, anti-war, NPR-and-Trader Joe's types. These are bring-back-Uncle-Stalin and Mao's Little Red Book types.

UPDATE: Instapundit has linked to another article on ANSWER and their problems with Jews.

Wailing Cassandras

This is a list of quotes from various presidents and legal directors of NARAL, NOW and other liberal women's organization regarding the nominations of past Supreme Court justices: Powell, Stevens, Kennedy and Souter. It's an interesting read, because all the quotes sound exactly the same -- hysterical predictions of dire consequences for women if any of the justices are confirmed and precisely what we are hearing about the Roberts nomination. Of course, the "back-alley butchery" that one woman predicted would follow Souter's confirmation has not come to pass.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Google Earth Is The Greatest Invention Ever....

I've wasted countless hours since downloading it -- taking aerial tours of the Grand Canyon, the house I grew up in, my apartment in DC, my apartment from law school, Mecca, the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo, my wife's childhood home, my parents' former house in England, New York City, and Boston. In that order.

Open Discussion Thread

...on why Sleepless In Seattle totally, completely, utterly sucks ass.

Monday, September 05, 2005

An Email To Andrew Sullivan


You write:

[Bush's] nomination of Roberts for Chief Justice seems like a strange gamble for me. Someone who has not yet been on the Court should now be leading it? I know there are precedents, but this strikes me as a way to buy time.

Bush's nomiation of a newcomer like Roberts to be Chief Justice is anything but strange -- of the 16 Chief Justices that have served since 1789, 13 have been selected from outside the Supreme Court -- meaning that 81% of Chief Justices were "someone who [had] not yet been on the Court." (03/2005 Denis Steven Rutkus and Lorraine Tong, The Chief Justice of the United States: Responsibilities of the Office and Process for Appointment, CRS Report for Congress, link here)

You dismiss this fact so blithely that I wonder if you even bothered to check and see how many sitting justices were elevated to Chief before you posted the quoted remark, which qualifies more as a "strange gamble" than the Roberts nomination.

-- Michael Lichtenstein