Category Archives: Observations

Observations XVI: Apparently their beige hearts no longer bleed with neutrality

  • It would figure that two days after my brother officially quit blogging, Switzerland would invade Liechtenstein. He warned us about the threat of Swiss tyranny hiding under the guise of neutrality.
  • Congratulations to Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog on the arrival of his daughter. It figures it would happen now, just as I have posted a potentially Bog-worthy entry about Norv Turner.
  • An article in The Times looks at the “family bed” and how some parents are not really happy about having one. Duh. In addition to ensuring nobody sleeps well, the family bed just screams major codependency issues.
  • Recent overplayed songs: Lowdown, The Sweater Song
  • High school sophomores were not even born when Nevermind came out. Time flies.
  • George Michael is done as WRC-TV sports anchor. He has been there forever, but let’s not forget that he only ascended to #1 after the great Glenn Brenner died.
  • Ted Leonsis is dumping on newspapers lately. I’m not sure an AOL employee should be getting too excited about this issue. Lots of media, traditional and even first-wave new media are having some serious challenges right now.
  • By the way, Post editor Len Downie recently did a Q&A with Editor & Publisher that might interest a few WWN readers.
  • A Philly Daily News blogger thinks that Punxsutawney Phil ignored readily available intelligence in his winter prediction this year.
  • It is 62° out. I’m going for a walk.
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  • Observations XVI: Bread, milk, toilet paper!

  • I love the panic that overcomes this area when snow is forecast. I know it is ultimately embarrassing, but it is still a lot of fun.
  • I like that it snowed here on the days pitchers and catchers report. It seems appropriate. I think it snowed last year, too.
  • Is it just me, or would Synchronisity II been a better choice for The Police to perform during the Grammys?
  • sournsweet.com notes that Office Space went the way of Rocky Horror the other night at the Drafthouse.
  • I saw an online ad for Cinderella III. I never knew there was a Cinderella II.
  • A Snapshot™ in USA Today noted that more people snowboarded last year than skied. Perhaps this is why Big Boulder built so many snowboard parks.
  • When I drive west on I-66, the snow is always noticeably heavier right at the Fairfax County line.
  • Indianapolis is the least significant city to ever have a Super Bowl championship. In fact, it might be the least significant American city to ever win a title.
  • The TV show Parking Lot is now available on GetTrio.com. It was by Jeff Krulik and John Heyn (interview), creators of Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Basically, the show is the same idea as HMPL, just with different concerts and events.
  • It turns out that Maryland fans/coaches feel the same way about Heather Dinich as Penn State fans/coaches did.
  • I’m so glad Mike Moss is back on WTOP. I couldn’t stand Richard Day’s voice.
  • There are over 4,000 signatures on an online petition (CDT) to have State College bars celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 2 because March 17 is during spring break. Bars are not officially supporting the idea (The Collegian), but “if demand is there, they’ll plan accordingly.”
  • Happy Valentine’s Day Erica!
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  • Observations XV: Scenes from a Mall

  • Aside from cutting through the food court at Pentagon City to get to the Metro, I spend very little time in malls. I did little Christmas shopping at Tysons Corner Center last week. I was successful, but reminded that even in one of the best malls in the country still suffers from the same problems as all malls — bad service and scary teenagers. Seriously, the majority of teens there seemed to have unnatural hair colors, lots of visible piercings or both. The only young women there who didn’t seem to have lots of body mods were wearing hijabs. For all I know, they have green hair underneath.
  • After a trip to Hershey, my boss came back with eight different kinds of Hershey kisses. EIGHT! As a culture, we just might be getting too specialized. The ones with caramel were really good though.
  • I’ll miss having classical music on the radio. D.C. might be the worst major radio market in the country.
  • D’oh! Russia seems to have fully embraced never stopped its old ways.
  • I can’t say that I am a Mariah Carey fan, but her “All I Want for Christmas is You” is one of the better original pop Christmas songs. That’s not enough for me to overlook her ripping off the Tom Tom Club though.
  • John Denver and the Muppets — A Christmas Together is the best Christmas album. We listened to it while we decorated our tree.
  • It always seems to be less than 30° on the night of a company holiday party.
  • We have nine Penn State ornaments on our Christmas tree.
  • I really missed spinach, I’m glad it has returned. Along similar lines I never get around to buying green onions because whenever I think of it, they are being recalled by a Mexican restaurant chain.
  • Another state (Pennsylvania) wants to sell or lease a toll road (The Inky). I am very skeptical of this being a good idea.
  • Cable TV has officially run out of ideas: Animals in The Womb
  • If there was an ocean in Colorado, everyone would move there.
  • I don’t think there is anything that ruins a workout quite like running on an elliptical next to a woman with a serious eating disorder who has just soiled herself.
  • I think I blew out my PC’s speakers with “The Laundromat Song” by The Dead Milkmen.
  • You can always tell when a Collegian columnist is taking Dr. Calvert’s Media Law class.
  • Tons of old school reminders lately, the latest being the song “Heaven Beside You” by Nervarna & Chains. That tune was ubiquitous my freshmen year. Also, someone found my site by Googling one of my former roommates names.
  • Hmm, that reminds me of a Steely Dan song I need to buy.
  • Merry Widow, my favorite run at Big Boulder ski resort, has been turned into a snowboard run, d’oh! That seals it, nothing but Camelback from now on. Hopefully, it will get cold up there soon.
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  • Observations XIV: Was Bill Hicks ever wrong about music?

  • The last time I was in Pennsylvania I heard the song The Last Ten Years (Superman) by Kenny Rogers. He recaps all the problems of the last decade, along with some famous passings and all I could think about was why was Kenny Rogers the one who gets to write this song? Really, if a song like this had to be written, couldn’t it have been by someone that didn’t have The Gambler Part 17 on their resume?
  • Fritz’s blog has really hit the ground running. He has about ten movie reviews up already. T. William, he’s really cleaning your clock on what should be your bread n’ butter — you were class marshall for Film/Video.
  • Recent earworms: Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash, Under Pressure – Queen/David Bowie, You Were Meant for Me – Jewel
  • There was briefly a little controversy over the name of one of the Caps bloggers. Recently, Off Wing Opinion joked that DC Sports Chick was going to initiate litigation aganist DC Caps Chick. I had hoped to show video of two women’s hockey players fighting as a gag, but alas such video does not exist. In fact, fighting in women’s hockey may not exist. Also, DC Caps Chick dropped the DC and is just Caps Chick now.
  • Is there a good way to get from Arlington Memorial Bridge to Rock Creek Parkway via bike? I always wind up crossing the street in an awkward place.
  • Recent overplayed songs on DC radio: Do it Again – Steely Dan (Big 100), Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz (DC 101). I also heard Aerosmith’s Dude Looks a Lady three times coming back from Happy Valley the last time. I also heard Man in Motion (St. Elmo’s Fire) twice.
  • Driving up N. Glebe Road the other day I realized that Marymount University probably has a pretty good view. I’ll stop by sometime and check it out.
  • I need to come up with something new for my countdown. It almost seems too early for the Outback Bowl to be used.
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  • Observations XIII: Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos

  • The Democrats won Congress by not being the Republicans. If they believe that they have a mandate from the American public, they will lose power in 2008. I also think that fears from some Republicans about this being a major shift to the left are unfounded. I think the left will be more dissapointed with the performance of the new majority two years from now than the right.
  • It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Lynn Swann had actually run for governor in Pennsylvania. He was potentially a very attractive candidate; very likable, part of the party of most rural Pennsylvanias, a former Steeler, etc. Many people in Pennsylvania’s interior absolutely hate Philly native Gov. Ed Rendell. How much of the hate is from policies and how much is from an anti-Philly bias, I don’t know. Now that it is all over, I hope ABC rehires Swann as soon as possible.
  • Of all the fast food places in the area, Boston Market seems to be the least competent. I have pretty much stopped going there because they can’t seem to make a sandwich correctly the first time. Earlier this week I figured I would give hem another shot and went to the McLean one which was out of turkey. I walked out and eventually discovered a Booeymonger’s in Ballston. I wish we had one of those or Potbelly in the Tysons/Vienna area; I want a sub option other than Subway. Wawa would also be great. I know Sheetz is not ever coming here.
  • Recent earworm: That damn Mellancamp song
  • I have lived in Pentagon City for about five years, but only flown at of National once. Granted, I have flown about six times since then, but I would have hoped to have bene able to use when I actually flew.
  • I’m way overdue for going to another city on the Northeast corridor. One of these days I’ll have to get up to Philly for my cheesesteak.
  • I think it would be really funny if the president of the Human Rights Campaign or similar organization was revealed to have an intimate hetero relationship on the eve of a major event like Coming Out Day. The media reaction could be very interesting.
  • When possible, I like to get my haircut at Fetterolf’s Barber Shop in State College. They are cheap and best of all, actual barbers who can do things like cut my hair without asking “what number?” They know how to use a straight razor too. I get their twice during football season and another time or two during the rest of the year.
  • My record on mayor’s bets is about 2-6-1 in the last three years. Someone will probably have to start a AlwaysBetAgainstWFY.com site.
  • I was unaware that Pittburgh’s Original Hot Dog Shop (aka “The O”) had closed. Erica and I went there in 2000.
  • I finally started buying iTunes. What I’m buying so far:

    Lay Lady Lay, Bob Dylan
    What I’d Say Ray Charles
    Here’s Where the Story Ends, The Sundays
    Brazil, Django Reinhardt
    Take Five, Dave Brubeck
    Schindleria Priematuras, Yes
    Fire on High, ELO

  • I wonder if JerSea Enterprises is rushing out orders of EXIT 9 magnets, stickers, etc.
  • Though it may be hard to believe, Jack Palance was from the Hazleton area.
  • I miss the old General Drafting Co./TravelVision/Exxon/American maps. They were always my favorite since they were easy to read and provided lots of useful information. Since they were bought out by Langenscheidt Publishing (who also owns ADC Maps) the quality has gone down and the traditional look is gone. I think it is is a loss for cartography.
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  • Observations XII: You are looking live

  • A lot of people hate — HATE Brent Musburger; I think Hunter S. Thompson wanted to strangle him with his bare hands, but never got around to it. That being said, I think I am immune from truly hating Musburger because his weekly announcement “YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE…” at the beginning of The NFL Today way back when. He should do that for college football as well.
  • I kind of like the “Life Will be There Tomorrow” song that Outback Steakhouse uses in their radio spots. I like it much more than the restaurant in fact.
  • Over the last month Snoop Dogg has been arrested at John Wayne and Bob Hope airports. If there is a Frank Sinatra Airport what are the odds he will get arrested there in November?
  • How is Firefox 2? Is there anything I should know before I make the switch?
  • Sheryl Crow‘s “Everday is a Winding Road” has been used in commercials for at least two different car companies. I guess her songs go through car companies like she goes through men.
  • Recent earworms: Eastbound and Down (Jerry Reed), Nobody Bothers Me (Jhoon Rhee), that Outback song
  • The trend towards making nicknames from the first syllable of two words is tiresome. Enough with MoCo (Montgomery County) WaPo (Washington Post) and half the new hip neighborhoods in New York and some of wannabes in D.C. NoVa and JoePa get to stay because they predate the birth of most of the people who use MoCo or NoMa. Stop trying so hard to be cool. Nearlington also has to go, though I don’t personally know anybody lame enough to use it. That one might have worked if Arlington was shaped in such a way that there was a clearly defined northeastern section of the county.
  • It turns out Geno’s Steaks, the Philly cheesesteak joint that made headlines for their English only policy, uses South American beef (The Inky). Pat’s King of Steaks on the opposite corner also uses “immigrant beef” sometimes. It appears that Jim’s, my personal favorite (though I have not been to Pat’s yet), uses “USDA choice top round western steer beef.” I assume that is the western U.S.
  • Erica and I have only been to Woo Lae Oak which recently suffered fire damage to the exterior, once. It was okay, but as someone once said, “it was awfully expensive for a place where you have to cook your own food.”
  • I am getting annoyed waiting for Blogger Beta to be available for people who use Blogger, but have their own hosts. I want categories. I hope it has a scheduler too. Then again, since this morning’s post was delayed by 3 hours by Blogger troubles, categories should be the least of my worries.
  • The first frost of the season in Pentagon City was Oct. 26
  • For several years I have enjoyed reading Southern chef Robert St. John’s column. It appears in one of “my” newspapers. St. John is now posting the columns on a blog, so you can read them too. If I am ever in Mississippi, I will go to one of his restaurants, even though Southern food has little appeal to me.
  • Big green guide signs with clearview font are starting to appear on I-66. I hate clearview font, bring back button copy FHWA Series E!
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  • Observations XI: Moltar would be pleased

  • Most Washingtonians think WTOP has the best traffic reports in the afternoon, but I disagree. Why? DC101 has the CHiPs theme playing while they tell me about backups, so they win.
  • Blogger has been acting up over the lunch hour, making it difficult to post. Also, when are they going to get around to making Blogger Beta available to people who aren’t on Blogspot? I want categories!
  • Speaking of Blogger, isn’t it odd that it still does not have blog in its dictionary?
  • Have you ever gotten a HEREHEIS or HERESHEIS candy bar? They are customized Hershey bars in either baby blue or pink that parents of newborns send out. I was given one, but I have not eaten it. It would seem weird to eat a customized candy bar with my nephew-cousin’s name on it.
  • It looks like today and tomorrow will be the last days that I can go biking for the season. Daylight Savings Time is ending soon, so I won’t be able to get home in time and ride. It’ll be getting cold too.
  • I am getting to the point where I know enough about photography to be very frustrated with my current digital camera.
  • A friend asked me when I was going to get a MySpace account and I reminded him that I have had a domain for 8 years.
  • After a trip down Skyline Drive on Sunday, we drove home through Charlottesville. It had been a while since we had been at the home of UVa. It is a beautiful town, but the “college town” part of it is only a handful of blocks long. It does have a separate downtown though which includes a pedestrian mall. I also like that the football helmet logo and V’s are painted onto some of the streets. State College ought to steal that idea.
  • While in Charlottesville we stopped at littlejohns for lunch. That deli smells better than it tastes, but I still enjoyed my sammich.
  • Driving back from Charlottesville, we took VA 28 through Manassas instead of going all the way to I-66 on US 29. It was a good idea until we got to the city; next time I’ll take VA 234 from VA 28. By the way, the interchange between those two roads is a HUGE stack interchange reminiscent of LA freeways. That just might be a bit much for that neck of the woods.
  • Sunday’s ride marked the second consecutive weekend I had traveled through the commonwealth. I was in Virginia Beach for nephew-cousin Jacob’s Christening last weekend.
  • One of my Metroblogging DC colleagues has suggested that Northern Virginia join with D.C. to become the 51st state. That won’t happen for lots of obvious reasons, but I, too, am frustrated that the do-nothing legislature takes our tax money, only spends half of it on us, then badmouths us. It sure would be interesting if a few respectable politicians ran on a separation platform though, it might scare people enough to get us more of our fair share of taxes spent where we live. By the way, Maryland’s D.C. suburbs (Raw Fisher) are also in a similar situation.
  • Speaking of politicians, the two major-party Senate candidates are awful, I don’t think either is worthy of a vote.
  • Recent earworms: Tom’s Diner (Suzanne Vega), Trust (Megadeth)
  • I think I’m going to dress up and go out for Halloween this year. It’s been years since I have done that; I think I was “invisible pedestrian” last time. Any suggestions?
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  • Observations X: Ten, ten, ten, everything, everything, everything

  • Is it just me or is lending a DVD of Office Space to your boss just a bit contradictory to the spirit of the movie?
  • My brother alerted me to this ABCNews.com story about Germans concerned about the infusion of English words into the common vocabulary. He notes that “why is it every time I hear something like ‘KEEPING GERMAN PURE’ in an article I feel like fleeing to Norway?” That is one way of looking at it. I have no sympathy either, after all Germany did ruin the 20th Century (twice). A few English words won’t kill them.
  • I don’t know what the Democrats are thinking by pushing forward with an anti-Wal-Mart agenda; people in middle America LOOOOOOVE Wal-Mart and the last time I checked, middle America was where the Democrats were losing elections. Duh.
  • For many years my family and I have gone to the Dunn Loring Mobil for car inspections. It was always busy (I bet it is one of the busiest in NOVA) it generally passed any car which was particularly handy with some of our older cars. Anyhow, I drove Erica’s car to it the other morning and was surprised to discover that not only the 7 to 7 hours were gone (replaced by 8 to 5) but it was now a Sunoco and the was a new inspector. The previous inspector had been there for at least ten years. I wonder what happened to him.
  • Thanks to Sweet I discovered the #1 song in the U.S. on the day I was born was Barbra Streisand’s Evergreen. This will certainly please my mother who was calling the Brooklyn songstress Barbra long before Linda Richmond ever did. It however, depresses me. My brother’s song was oddly appropriate though. Find out for yourself.
  • It does not look like I am ever going to write a recap to my (first) trip down the shore. A few notable things though — there were plans carrying signs for Lynn Swann (running for governor in Pennsylvania) and PA Tourism (ha!).
  • Turning onto W. Beaver Ave. from S. Atherton Street a couple of Saturday’s ago I saw the bank sign that said the temperature was 44°. While it was cold and unpleasant, I knew it was not that chilly since my previous trip to State College was in that kind of weather. I wish I had a thermometer on me at the time to see how warm it actually was outside. That made me realize that a thermometer would be a great feature on a wireless phone. Perhaps this has already happened and I am just several years behind the times. An altimeter would be good too.
  • Can you believe that stupid Ben Rothliesburger didn’t wear a helmet on his appendix?
  • One thing that makes working really late more palatable is listening to Penn Jillete’s radio show at 7 p.m. on WJFK (106.7). Marc Fisher recently wrote about him in The Post.
  • Somehow, The Dead Milkmen became part of my soundtrack for trips to Penn State games.
  • Shouldn’t the band Ten Years After be Fifty Years After now?
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  • Observations IX: Nine, nine, cause I lost count

  • I was hoping to get this up before I went down the Shore, but I wound up working late at the end of the week hence the delay.
  • Kimberly Jones, the former CDT Penn State football for the beat writer is now the baseball equivalent of a sideline reporter for YES Network. Does this mean we can expect to see Heather Dinich take on a similar role with MASN someday.
  • USA Today reports that Heinz is among several companies now offering personalized products. I think the Yurasko Christmas shopping just got easier.
  • Kevin Smith had thousands of people waiting 12 hours in line (Asbury Park Press) for an autograph. Honestly, I like some of his movies, but that’s just nuts.
  • While we are on the subject, I was disappointed by Clerks II. It had its moments, but seemed very thrown together and slow, not too mention pointlessly vulgar — even for a Smith movie. It is almost as if Smith set out to prove that he has learned nothing as filmmaker or screenwriter since the original Clerks.
  • Wida’s on Long Beach Island has closed (Asbury Park Press)! The new place, Daddy O, has a retro-hipster motif.
  • Deputy Editor Fritz Hamme notes that Donald Sutherland played Homer Simpson in the 1975 film The Day of the Locust. Wasn’t that a Bob Dylan song?
  • Is it just me or do we never hear about Ayatollah Al-Sistani much any more? Remember how getting his blessing was vital for anything going on well over there?
  • Marc Fisher had a great article on what he calls “toxic parents” in The Post Magazine recently. In the follow-up chat, he confirms what he tries to hide in objectivity — don’t try to be a “cool parent” by trying to be your kids “friend.” It makes a lot of sense to me someday I suppose I’ll test the theory out.
  • Ten years ago, when I was at the Old School (PSU Hazleton) I remembered observing the cultural tensions going on between Pocono’s natives and the outer-borough transplants that were moving there in droves. Now, we find out that some of those transplants are gang members who have moved to in planned communities (USA Today). It is all very ironic.
  • I am going to post a chili dog comparison sometime soon. So far, The Vienna Inn, Ben’s Chili Bowl, and Hard Times Cafe are on the list. Any other BeltwayLand area spots I should check out? I’m thinking Weenie Beennie, at the end of the W&OD Trail, might be the wild card.
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  • Observations VIII: Eight, eight I forgot what eight was for

  • When we went to Uptown for Superman Returns I was suprised to see that the Cleveland Park McDonald’s had closed. I cannot think of any other McDonald’s (other than the “Express-concept” locations from the ’90s) that had closed. I was even more surprised when I read (in a Sietsema chat, I think) that it had been closed for a few years. It must have lost its lease in the shopping center it was in, because I cannot imagine that it failed as a business with so many people regularly lined up across the street waiting to get into Uptown.
  • Speaking of Superman Returns, I am really surprised it has not done better at the box office. While I don’t need box office totals to validate my liking the movie, but I am concerned that it will mean that any sequels will be done on the cheap, a road we have been down previously.
  • A while back I had an email exchange with someone about the state of New Jersey. It reminded me of this great essay that argues the Turnpike is misinformation campaign to keep people from discovering the “real” Jersey. I also observed (and contributed to) a post bashing Jersey on Metroblogging Philly. Man, some Pennsylvanians just cannot get over the one-way tolls; which, by the way, are run by bi-state agencies. The one-ways make a whole lot more sense than two-way tolls. I love jughandles too. Why so much Jersey-hate?
  • Although I believe that mankind’s carbon-based fuel emmissions are a source of some global warming, I am not convinced that it is the only source. I have heard that the nightime lows on the days that planes were grounded following 9/11 were significantly lower than usual. The reason for this was less cloud cover, and it does not take a leap of logic to believe that not having hundreds of jets flying the sky creating contrails meant fewer clouds. I am very curious to find out if this is true.
  • I still do not have interest in An Inconvienent Truth though, “Powerpoint as entertainment” (as described by fellow Metroblogger Don Whiteside) does not sound that interesting to me.
  • In fact the next movie that I really want to see in the theater in Spider-Man 3. Clerks II can wait for DVD, though I may see it in the theater.
  • Last Wednesday Blogger, Flickr, and another Web application I use were I were all down. Tough day. Actually, the tough days have been plentiful for Blogger lately. Also, MySpace.com, owned by Rupert Murdoch, was down for 12 hours the other day.
  • No Gene Weingarten chat this week :(
  • Pittsburgh is extending their light rail from the Golden Triangle to the North Side sports complex via tunnels under the Alleghany River (Post-Gazette). Good for them.
  • Speaking of Pittsburgh, we are talking about going out there for a Caps vs. Pengyunz game this winter. If we do, I am going to have to make sure that I talk incessantly about D.C. I might even have to pretend to be a Redskins fan. Call it payback for all the ‘burgh transplants that are here. : )
  • I am not guilty of supermarket fetishism. While some folks love Wegman’s, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s, I am perfectly content with the tiny, “ghetto Giant” in Shirley Park.
  • Marc Fisher’s constant posts about Google Trends last week were boring.
  • The CDT has reinvented Blue again. You may recall Blue was a daily section targeted to Penn State students a couple of years back. It even got a lot of trade press, but ultimately, it only lasted a semester before turning into some sort of weekly. Now, it is being pushed again, but to the 18-34 demographic instead of just PSU students. After seeing the first issue, I don’t think it will suceed. Getting local advertisers is critical and if they keep on featuring content about things to do outside of Happy Valley, like they did last week, local advertisers won’t buy in. Who wants to put ads in a publication that encourages readers to leave town?
  • It was very tempting to subtitle this post “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape”
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