Cafe 227

Friday, April 28, 2006

Why I Hate Monopoly

From DCist:

"...a faithful DCist tipster tells us that the good people at Hasbro are developing a new and improved Monopoly release to be called, a little ominously, The Here and Now Edition (eat, drink, and roll dice, Hasbrothers, for tomorrow we'll be buying hotels in the hereafter). To build interest in the game, Monopoly is asking folks to vote online for their favorite city landmarks in 22 cities. The highest vote getters in each city will be represented, and the highest vote getter overall will receive the coveted "Boardwalk" slot, and, we imagine, urban bragging rights for the foreseeable future."

My interest being piqued, I clicked through to the site to vote for my favorite landmarks in several U.S. cities. I was presented with a map with 22 U.S. cities.

But wait...

What's this?

No PITTSBURGH?

Fucking Cleveland gets some represenation, but not Pittsburgh?

WTF!?!

You know what? Fuck Monopoly, I never liked it in the first place.

(For the record, I didn't click on Cleveland to see their "landmarks." Although I imagine they consist of the Cuyahoga River Fire, the Cleveland Steamer, and Kellen Winslow's right ACL.)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Heard on the radio this morning...

I was listening to NPR on WAMU this morning during my drive to work. In between segments, I heard: "WAMU is sponsored in part by Georgetown University..."

WAMU is American University's radio station. Maybe if Georgetown sponsored its own radio station, more than four people would know it exists.

(As an aside - Doza and I had a kick-ass radio show on WGTB our junior year. Thursday nights at 9pm, I think. Doza worked the "wheelz of steel" (that's hip-hop lingo for "turntables"), while I supplied the witty banter. One night, we had a high-school student from California, who was on campus for one of those youth leadership conferences, exhibit his freestyle rap skills. Just a superb show all around.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

WHCD

I'm heading to the White House Correspondents' Dinner pre-parties this Saturday, as I did last year. According to my various sources, a number of celebrities are going to be there, including Clooney, Laurence "Larry" Fishburne, and Anna Kornikova. Predictably, though, the only celebrity whom I'm truly excited to see is Ben Roethlisberger, and if I get a chance to talk to him, I'm going to admit that I openly wept when they won the Superbowl. I hope he'll let me take a picture with him - if my 13-year old brother can get his picture with one of the Super Steelers, I should be able to get one too.

So, here's the deal - because I've been so delinquent in my posting lately, I'm going to make an effort to take as many pictures as possible of celebrities and post them on this site. Actually, since I'm not a celebrity whore like some people I know, I won't be personally taking any pictures. I'm going to have my guest take them, if she's willing. Besides, I'm not sure that I'm even allowed to own a camera in this country anymore since, technically speaking, I'm Arab.

Keep your eyes posted here, and hopefully I'll have some Gawker-style photos for you come Monday. In the meantime, if anyone can hook me up with an invitation to the ultra-exclusive Bloomberg after-party, let me know...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Thank you Doza...

...for providing me with some blog fodder on what has otherwise been a very slow day.

First, here's a video of a sadistic giant easter bunny that wanders around New York City terrorizing innocent people. I think we can all agree at this point that the proliferation of the internet has been a net negative for society. (It was a wash until Google Video and YouTube were introduced.)

Second, here's an article about a real-life "sex spray" that could come to market within three years. According to the article, women, when sprayed with this concoction, experience "'genital warmth, tingling and throbbing', not to mention 'a strong desire to have sex.'" So it serves the same purpose as oxygen does for men. (Ha! I just made a "men are from Mars, women are from Venus" joke! I could totally write for a '90s sitcom.) And for all you naysayers, the article appeared in the Guardian, so it must be true.

And finally, scientists in Denmark recently conducted a study debunking astrology. With this task behind them, they can now focus their efforts on their next project - proving that the world is not flat.

Friday, April 21, 2006

You can buy anything on eBay, part 2...

Naturally, the seller of this Blessed Virgin Mary chicken tender is from Pittsburgh.

If you want my opinion (which I know you do, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this blog), I don't think the chicken tender in question looks like the Blessed Virgin Mary at all. I think it looks like the genie from Disney's Alladin.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I hesitate to post this...

...but I fear I must. I don't know whether or not this is for real, but if it is, that's the weirdest looking baby I've ever seen.

Mullett Toss

And here's a link with the details of the upcoming interstate mullet toss.

NY Times: A Day Late, Dollar Short

Either the NY Times is perpetually late on the uptake, or I'm a trendsetter.

About a month ago, the Times published this article proclaiming the bearded man to be the "modern-day sex symbol." As anyone who's lucky enough to be in Mr. Johnny Shades' inner circle knows, I've had a beard for several months.

Then, a few weeks ago, the Times published this article proclaiming that the U Street corridor "is cool again." As you'll notice from the date on the article, it was published approximately 4 years after I moved into the neighborhood, which also happened to be when the neighborhood actually became cool again. I've got to agree with Yglesias on this - the NY Times piece signifies the beginning of the post-cool era on U Street.

And just yesterday, the Times published this article about the profileration of college kids who like to smoke flavored tobacco out of hookahs. Ok, not only is the hookah trend in the U.S. approximately 5 years old, but I was actually smoking fruit-flavored tobacco out of a hookah on my porch in Pittsburgh when I was a toddler. In fact, my dad was smoking the hookah in Lebanon when he was a toddler.

What's next for the Times? A profile of hip-hop, the hot new music genre that's sweeping the nation? A write-up of Tapas restaurants, a wild new trend in dining? Maybe an in-depth report on the surprising popularity of Texas Hold'em?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Brilliant Marketing by JetBlue...

Go to JetBlue's website, select a city, and then hold down shift and type 'pbj' (without the quotes) on your keyboard.

This is brilliant marketing. Kudos to you, JetBlue, for figuring out the internet generation.

(Oh, and here's the original...)

UPDATE: As of 5:30pm on Thursday, April 20, it doesn't work anymore. I guess it wasn't a marketing ploy by JetBlue after all, and just some prank played by some disillusioned web coder or mischevious hacker. Too bad.

This is why I love rap.

Only in the rap world would women willingly send pictures of their bare derrieres to a guy like Bubba Sparxxx. (Careful at work - immediate sound...)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

You can buy anything on eBay...

This guy was arrested for buying an "Opticon" - an infrared light used by firefighters and other emergency responders to trigger traffic signals - on eBay for about $100 and using it to cut his commuting time.

I am adding an "Opticon" to my Amazon wish list as we speak.

The Pirates Suck

Since I have nothing much too say today (still recovering from a wild, wacky Easter weekend in Pittsburgh), let me just say that the Pirates are the worst organization in the league. Chris Shelton went yard again last night, making him the fastest American Leaguer to ever to hit nine home runs. And as David Schoenfield pointed out in this column yesterday, the Pirates didn't protect Shelton on their 40-man roster after the 2003 season, and the Detroit Tigers drafted him the Rule 5 draft for $50,000. Only the sweet memory of the Steelers' super bowl victory is keeping me sane right now.

PS - This gives me an opportunity to link to the diversion of the week - this baseball game.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I Always Get Picked Last and Jesus ALWAYS Gets Picked First!

In light of Deadspin's breaking the news that the Birmingham Steel Dogs will be wearing Bible-themed jerseys for an upcoming game, a friend pointed me to this website.

Now, I am a good Christian. But this has to be one of the funniest things I've ever encountered.

The number one jersey thus far is the faux-Laker jersey that points the observer to the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 8.

Somehow I don't think that when the Good Lord said to "hear the Word and spread it to others" he didn't anticipate Kobe Bryant being his Poster Boy or "spreading" the "Word" like Kobe chooses to...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

God or the Girl?

I was really hoping Conor would comment on this new reality TV show on A&E before I could get to it. See, unlike him, I'm still a practicing Christian and would hate to incur the wrath of the Almighty for disrespecting the Catholic Church during holy week. But I couldn't resist.

Basically, "God or the Girl" follows four young men with a calling to the priesthood who must decide whether to enter the seminary or not.

If that's the case, shouldn't it be called "God or the Boy"? Hah!

Ok, I admit, that was the lazy joke to make. But bear with me here - I've got a ton of work to do these days and scant time for creativity.

Anyway, according to the article, the series was created by Darryl Silver, Stephen David and David Eilenberg. If I were to guess, I would say that they're not Catholic.

Electric Football

I've never heard of electric football. But I still may purchase the new Super Bowl edition of Miggle Toys' electric football game, which features "plastic players" who "vibrate on a painted steel gridiron."

According to Miggle President Michael Landsman, electric football is "social as opposed to handheld games, which are antisocial." Judging from the pictures of the Pittsburgh Electric Football League's members, I disagree.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Humorless Hilltop?

So... through Mike Birbiglia's HILARIOUS Secret Public Journal, I learned that he recently came to good ol' Georgetown, our alma mater. He performed at Gaston Hall, host of such illustrious previous acts as Tom DeLuca the Hypnotist, Ben Folds Five Before They Released "Brick," and any gathering of more than 2 Georgetown Chimes sounding like a barbershop quartet.

Much to my chagrin, it appears that not only did GU students not publicize his appearance, they didn't even sell it out!!! This is an absolute travesty. I caught his act at NYU and found it to be some of the best stand-up I'd ever seen. Plus, Mike is one of THE preeminent young comics in America, headlining his own tour, releasing a CD, and appearing constantly on Comedy Central (even performing for the troops).

Georgetown, wake up! Birbigs is like the 3rd most famous alum behind Clinton and Ewing... or something like that. Does no one on the Hilltop appreciate good humor anymore?

Shit, injuninjun wrote a 7,000 word rambling lovefest for Dave Chapelle. And HE'S CRAZY!!! (That applies to both parties named in the previous sentence).

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Clear and Concise Immigration Plan

The New York Times gave us this gem from a speech our president gave at the national Catholic prayer breakfast about the most important issue facing our nation (beyond, you know, that Iraq stuff:

Mr. Bush added "I'm confident we can change—change our immigration system in ways that secures our border, respects the rule of law, and, as importantly, upholds the decency of our country."

If I even knew what this meant, I might be able to agree or disagree, or even discuss it. As it stands, I will simply admire it and share it with you.

Even the Economist Agrees

Check out the cover of this week's Economist. "The Rise of Soft Paternalism," it proclaims. I haven't opened the magazine yet, but I know this has something to do with the smoking ban in DC bars. (Yes, I know that DC is technically a "federal district" as opposed to a "state," but you have to give the Economist a pass for not knowing the difference. They're British, after all.)

That eye looming in the background? It's Jim Graham's.


Mankind Continues to Disappoint...

How are you going to beat a pregnant woman with a stick?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bicycle. Monkey. Ashy Larry.

(Ed's Note: It has been a long day at work - otherwise I would have posted this sooner.)

Yesterday evening during the middle of a call with a client I got a call on my cell from my friend Dan who works at the Capitol. Since I was on a conference call, I didn't pick up. Dan didn't leave a message so I called him back right when I got off.

The transcript of what I remember from our conversation is below:

me: Yo, Dan - What up?
Dan: Dude - you shoulda picked up your cell phone man!
me: Dan - I was WORKING - talking on the phone with a client. What's up?
Dan: I wanted to see if you wanted to go to the Chapelle show tonight at the Improv.
me: HWHAT?
Dan: Dude - Chapelle is performing at the Improv tonight and I wanted to know if you
I interrupt
me: HWHAT?
Dan: Bro.....I...
I interrupt
me: I get it.....now are you serious? And how do you have tickets?
Dan: I don't have tickets, but.....
me: how are we going to get in then man!!! I bet you that shit is sold out!
Dan: Look....listen...Dave Chapelle just left but...
me: Chapelle is WHERE? LEFT WHERE? WHAT? WTF? DUDE? WHAT IS GOING ON??!!!


At this point I turned into a bumbling idiot. The long and short of it was that Dave Chapelle was at the Capitol yesterday visiting a friend of his who is a Capitol Hill Police Officer. This Capitol Hill Police Officer introduced Dave Chapelle to HIS friend Dan. Chapelle ended up inviting Dan to his show at the Improv and told him to bring a friend. Dan called me but I didn't answer (see conference call above) Dan called another friend of ours that is known to the people on this blog - but this friend was coaching a Little League game and couldn't commit at that point. Mind you - Dave Chapelle was listening to the phone call and was making faces and saying shit like ....."WTF? What....this guy doesn't want to come to my show? What's up with that...." To be fair, the abovementioned softball coach had no idea that Dave was listening to his phone call.

Dan called me, I told him we wouldn't miss it for the world and we made plans to meet Dan's friend at the show so we could get in. We went to get drinks at the Front Page where our favorite bartender Soup was working ("HE'LL GET YA DRUNK!) before the show and got to the Improv around 10:30. We couldn't find Dan's friend but through several strokes of luck - managed to get in and get great seats.

The opening act was this guy named Ryan Connor. I was pretty impressed. He was a really funny comedian and reminded me of a taller, skinnier, hippier, more crass version of Mike Birbiglia. If you get a chance, check him out.

After Ryan Connor's entertaining 1/2 hr set, Dave came out and started his act. He riffed on so many topics and freestyled and interacted with the audience throughout the evening that I do not know how I can do it justice. He is really that funny in person and he had everyone laughing all night long.

Highlights include:

  • Making fun of Comedy Central and the media at-large for thinking he's crazy.
  • Poking some fun at Carlos Mencia.
  • Dropping some knowledge about Iceberg Slim and his book 'Pimp'. I'm getting this off of Amazon ASAP.
  • Calling Mos Def during his act and not getting an answer.
  • Getting a call from Common and putting him on speakerphone during the show. Common talked to Dave and the audience. Very very cool.
  • Talking about Chocolate City.
  • Talking about how it's all a GAME and how he is no longer going to be part of the game.

More important than the two hours of comedy he brought to DC was some of the knowledge he dropped. He talked in plain terms about what happened to him and about walking away. He wasn't preaching - just telling a real good story.

He ended the show with a story from Iceberg Slim's book 'Pimp. The story revolved around Iceberg's favorite lady of the night (although he referred to her in more colorful terms). Essentially this woman had spent a long time in the service of Iceberg Slim and she wanted to start a new chapter in her life and go to work in the circus. She asked Iceberg if she could leave and he agreed - but on one condition; that she help him one last time before she left. So they made a plan and set up the date and he asked her to meet her last job. Well - the plan backfired, the woman freaked out and Iceberg was called in to fix the situation. Iceberg told her he'd take care of everything, as long as she would continue at her job for several more years. She agreed.

The moral of the story?

Iceberg later says that he actually set her up to fail in order to keep her with him. He manipulated the situation in every way so as not to lose her. Dave described it in a lot more graphic detail, but with respect to Aziz's family I'll leave out the rest of the colorful language.

To paraphrase Dave.....'THAT....ladies and gentlemen....is the game'.

Dave Chapelle with the Big Injun that Could

If you ever have a chance to see Dave Chapelle perform, go do it. It is definitely worth it. Dave Chapelle is NOT crazy - he's just doing his thing, and that's fine by me.

Free Wyclef Concert Today

From an unknown source. Let me know it it's true:

"Free Wyclef Jean concert today, April 5 @ 2:30 p.m

Grand Ballroom, basement level of the Fairmont Hotel

2401 M Street, NW, Washington, DC"

RIAA Hates College Students

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has once again proved that it has no soul. For those of you who are not familiar with the RIAA, they are the trade group that respresents the recording industry in the United States.They are also the people that have sued a deceased grandmother, sued a 12 year old girl, and thought the Sony rootkit fiasco was no big deal.

The RIAA has once again scored very highly on the unintentional comedy scale. "Comedy" might be the wrong word actually. Feel free to substitute your own. One of their representatives actually said the following to a college student: “In fact, the RIAA has been known to suggest that students drop out of college or go to community college in order to be able to afford settlements.”

That copy of Gold Digger better have been worth it.

Just Let Your Soul Glo

Don't let the tragedy of this story mask the transcendent comedy:

"The Baychester joint was sprayed with nearly a dozen 9-mm. bullets, including one that sailed through the rest room door, sources said.

The slug scraped the side of Clarke's head, then got trapped in her hair, sources said.

'It got stuck in her weave,' a police source told the Daily News. 'It was unbelievable.'"

Or rather, "unbeweavable." Oh yeah, I went there.

Another bonus of this story is that it gives me a chance to share this web site with you...


Monday, April 03, 2006

Janice Soprano Faces Trial in Uniontown

Just try and tell me this Crystal Weimer character doesn't look like Janice Soprano. Just try.

The Triumph of Fascism in DC

As DCist reported last week, today marks the first day of the workplace smoking ban in DC. As of today, it's illegal to smoke cigarettes restaurants. The ban will be expanded to bars and clubs on January 1, 2007. At best, it's government paternalism. At worst, it's mild fascism.

What I don't understand is why state and municipal governments throughout the country view this as an all-or-nothing proposition. Has anyone considered the market solution - that is, auctioning off a limited number of smoking licenses to bars and restaurants? Bars and restaurants win - the establishments that value the right to smoke will pony up the money to buy the licenses and pass the cost through to their patrons. The city wins - by holding an auction for the licenses, they maximize their income from the sale of the licenses. Restaurant/bar workers win - they are free to choose between working at a smoking or non-smoking establishment based on their own personal risk/reward analyses. And patrons win - those who abhor cigarette smoke (and, in turn, freedom) can choose to go to the non-smoking establishments, while those who value smoking will be willing to pay incrementally more for drinks at smoking establishments. Tell me, why wouldn't this work?

If I thought the country were ready for an Arab president, I would run.

Pizza Pizza, Burger Burger

Remember Little Caesars? I thought they disappeared long ago. I was wrong - apparently, they've been growing steadily for the past 5 years, and Friday's Washington Business Journal (print edition) reports that they plan on opening "70 Washington-area locations within the next 10 years." I really had no idea.

On another local fast food-related note, Five Guys' burgers now has 87 locations, and continues to expand beyond the DC-metropolitan area. I remember driving 30 minutes in college to one of their two locations in the unfamiliar suburb of Arlandria to indulge in their delicious burgers. Now, they're all over the place - even in Pittsburgh. How times have changed.

"It's Extremely Bizarre"

That's how Charlotte District Attorney Michael Bonfoey described this case. I tend to agree. I mean, where does one even procure "neuticles"?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

More Evidence that Google is Unstoppable

It's 9:45 on Saturday night. Most of my friends are out at bars, having fun, enjoying the beautiful weather, enjoying life, etc. I'm putting cash flow models together for a transaction scheduled to close Monday to appease an investor who got skittish at the 11th hour. I would complain, but things could be a lot worse - for instance, I could be a college student in Chechnya.

Anyway, I'd like to use this brief break in the action to share a new, free service from Google that I learned about last night. It's called - well, I don't know what it's called. But it's like a free directory assistance. Here's how it works: You send a text message of the place you're looking for to "466453", and Google will send back a text message with the address and phone number.

For instance, say you're stumbling home from Millie & Al's (this assumes you just moved to DC, so you don't know any better). Clearly, you're wasted and hungry, but you just read an article in the City Paper about how the jumbo slices have roughly 20,000 calories each and are rife with e. coli. You remember reading about Ben's Chili Bowl in your Intern's Guide to Washington, and you think it's somewhere nearby, but you can't remember the precise location. What do you do?

In the past, you probably would've stumbled due east drunk, taken a wrong turn, ended up in Columbia Heights, been beaten, mugged, and left for dead. But not anymore, thanks to this new Google service (and the rapid gentrification of Northwest DC). Now, you can just text "ben's chili bowl washington dc" to 466453. You'll recieve - almost instantaneously - a text back from Google with Ben's Chili Bowl's address, phone number, and the approximate distance from the center of the city (which, according to Google maps, is somewhere between the White House and the Ellipse).

Now back to work...