Foremost Things That Are So Unnecessary

Unfrozen ice turds – okay losers, just because it snowed 20 inches, doesn’t give you the right to kick snow over your dog’s business and skip away. Now that the snow is mostly melted, these chunks of wet poo are festering in the sun like bacon on a skillet. Disgusting.

Lingering regurgitation smell – whoever ralphed all over my condo building’s lobby before dying in the bushes (I presume), shame. The. smell. will. not. leave.

Skype spammers – I will hunt down the perpetrators with a vengeance and forgive them their sins. Then I will crack skulls.

Stupid Olympic ‘Events’ – the Biathlon? With its lycra suits, uphill skiing, and guns. A winning combination invented by polar bear hunters and stolen by the Russians. Curling? When you can’t afford to build a bowling alley and craft a round ball, you go play behind the shed on thin ice with sticks and stones. Snowboarding? Go back to bone-crunching into trees and face-planting into snowbanks. The world wants its medals back.

Facebook redesign – listen Facebook, everybody uses you. A lot. Stop trying to fit in and just be.

Magic Grow Creatures – Just add water! Bad impulse purchase in an attempt to relive my childhood. Slimy, gross, probably toxic, and vastly unimpressive. Now how to dispose of the other seven rubbery nuggets of vaguely safari shapes without killing whatever still lives in the Anacostia River?

Trying to be Canadian – no dice on the poutine, Good Stuff Eatery. Your burgers, tasty, but keep clear of the Olympic-themed cubes of cheese curds and gravy gruel. No one wins.

Blustery, gusty wind – you are frigid and friendless. Stop.

The Bitter End – I always fight until it. Seems I lose.

The Wrong Stanley Was Convicted

The Adventures of Flat Stanley Episode I

Recently my niece, Alora, sent me her school project, known as Flat Stanley. The goal is for this little paper guy, colored to kindergarten taste, to see the world and for the recipient (me) to write about his exploits and take photos and all that. Seems like the wrong type of thing to expect out of me, but I sucked it up and painfully complied. Hold on for Episode I of an epic journey that surely will go down as the best two minutes of your day… 

Meet Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley arrives in Washington, D.C. Sadly, he did not receive a personal welcome from President Obama himself.

Where in the world?

Ahh, Washington, D.C.!
Flat Stanley’s first trial was to survive the vicious jaws of the dreaded Kuma monster.

Flat Stanley is food

After almost losing his head, Flat Stanley tries on a scarf to hide his scotch tape surgery.  

Oops, wrong city!

Flat Stanley tries his hand at chess. Unfortunately, he has no fingers to move the pieces.

Not a Grand Master  

Flat Stanley wonders what it’s like outside. Luckily, his host requires him to don a special protective suit. 

Snow Suit!
Flat Stanley hops out of his suit to make a new friend.
Meet Frosty

Stay tuned for more…will Flat Stanley learn the customs of the strange natives of Washington, D.C.? Will the Kuma monster return? Will he lose more then his head? All this and more on the next episode…

On Writing: Terribly Useful Tips

You actually believe that I would offer up something useful? So gullible. You’d be lucky to get a single pointless tip out of me. Actually, here is a pointless tip…

Writing Inspiration

Often, while trying to sleep, I get a burst of inspiration. I throw aside my covers, jump up, crack my knee, blindly look for illumination and glasses, grab a pen that doesn’t work, fumble for paper, scratch said paper with said non-working pen, curse, scramble for another pen, and finally scrawl down my idea.

When I wake up the next morning, I’ve forgotten all about it. Except for the throbbing knee. Later (sometimes days), I will find some random scrap of paper laying about. I look at it from different angles, but for the life of me, I can’t decode the chicken scratch. Who wrote this? Then, much like a 3-year-old, I get frustrated and petulant. Maybe I throw something. Maybe I kick and scream.

After awhile, I chuck the paper and strike the thinking man’s pose. (Photos available) Then, explosively, I land on the perfect idea. Simple. Elegant. Brilliant.

I furiously play at the keyboard like it’s an out of tune piano. I try to wrestle this fresh idea into some semblance of sense. Letters, words, whole musical sentences, wildly careen off my fingertips and magically appear on the screen. Then I pause. I catch my breath. Now is the hard part. I must break this idea like a stallion, so it will be tame and pliable. Taking a deep breath, I jump back into the fray. Soon, it’s all over but the crying. I own that idea. Now I can shape it. It’s like silly putty. I give it a few more tweaks, slap on a witty retort, add a period (or not depending on my mood), and voilá…perfection. I have just crafted the Pulitzer blog post of the century. I click ‘save draft’ and go grab a beer.

Sometime later (usually sobered up), I peek in on my wonderous idea. My jaw drops open. What utter, useless crap! Bollocks! Did my dog puke this up?

I fall back in my chair, pursing my lips for an epic curse. But I refrain and simply click ‘publish’. I’ve got other things to do.


“Of all the fatiguing, futile, empty trades, the worst, I suppose, is writing about writing.”Hilaire Belloc

Blizzard of ’10 and Tales of Snow

DC blizzard of 2010…

Day 1 (Friday)

Snowing. Not sticking. Flop of a snowstorm?

Peck at laptop.

Now sticking. Coming down hard.

Stand still. Listen to the whisper of snowflakes hit the ground. Perfect.

Day 2 (Saturday)

Wow. Look. Snow everywhere. 18-20 inches.

Cars have disappeared.



This never happens.

Football in the snow. Boom. Tackle you. We score. And again. And again. We win. Next game. We win again. Go cry somewhere else.

People shovel. Incessantly. Everywhere.

My dog explores. Not to his liking. Still yellow.

H Street. Neighborhood people out for a drink. Overdressed. Too hot. Need air. Find beer. Cheesy poofs. Perfect.

Day 3 (Sunday)

Super Bowl. Ribs and wings. Go Colts. Damn, they lose.

Snowball fight. Too much ice in that one. Sorry. Watch out. Gotcha.

Day 4 (Monday)

Office closed.

Peck at laptop.

People done creating snowmen/snow angels. Old hat.

Day 6 (Wednesday)

Look out window. Snow falling. Again.

Peck at laptop.

Oblige my dog his desire to go outside.

Oblige my dog his more urgent desire to come back inside.

Peck at laptop.

Look out window. More snow falling.

Wind howls.

Day 7 (Thursday)

Sunny. New snow. 5-6 inches.

Peck at laptop.

Trek through snow. Forgot office key card.

Trek back through snow. Get key card.

Trek through snow.

Peck at laptop.

Cars stuck on streets. Each a new puzzle to unstick. Good samaritans everywhere.

Day 9 (Saturday)

Snow melting. Steady, non-perceptible.

Piled high yet – to the side.

Stand aside to let people pass on the narrow snow trails. Walk on roads. Standard practice now.

An ice world. Dirty. Wet.

Day 10 (Sunday)

Hike through snow.

See the Capital and memorials amidst the snow drifts. The Mall not cleared. No shovels out.


Step in the deep patches. The dirty patches. The icy patches. Keep walking. Slow but steady.

Windy. Piercing.

Cold. Hot cocoa. Wait forever. It’s not that hard. Hurry. Finally.

Smiling life-size Obama.

Tired. Find beer. Food. Perfect.

Day 11 (Monday)

Snowing again.

Peck at laptop.


Oodles Of Ostentatious Opining On the Oscars

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter Æ.

Author’s note: Open your facial orifices with oomph for an onslaught of overwrought opinions that are completely otiose. They should oscillate just enough to cause odium. Don’t oppugn or outmuscle this orotund obstacle.

‘Tis the season for discourse on the 2010 Academy Awards. I have my opinion (obviously), and you have yours (ostensibly). Read on for some thoughts on who will win in nine of the main categories.

Best Picture – both Avatar and The Hurt Locker are front-runners, so it might make more sense to pick one of those two. But I think too much pre-buzz will convince voters to be edgy or contrary (just like when Shakespeare in Love won in 1998, say what?) and they will pick the next ‘best’ option, which is of course:

  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds (Winner)
  • Precious
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air

Best Actor – I consider this pick a lock:

  • Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) (Winner)
  • George Clooney (Up in the Air)
  • Colin Firth (A Single Man)
  • Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
  • Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)

Best Supporting Actor – I can’t imagine how Christoph Waltz’ portrayal of the Nazi, Hans Landa, would not win in a cakewalk:

  • Matt Damon (Invictus)
  • Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)
  • Christopher Plummer (The Last Station)
  • Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
  • Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) (Winner)

Best Actress – maybe Sandra Bullock could win, but really, no:

  • Sandra Bullock (The Blide Side)
  • Helen Mirren (The Last Station)
  • Carey Mulligan (An Education)
  • Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
  • Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia) (Winner)

Best Supporting Actress – haven’t seen the movie Precious, but this seems to be a lock by all accounts:

  • Penélope Cruz (Nine)
  • Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air)
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart)
  • Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air)
  • Mo’Nique (Precious) (Winner)

Adapted Screenplay – I figure this movie won’t win much, so one token Oscar will come here:

  • District 9 (Winner)
  • An Education
  • In the Loop
  • Precious
  • Up in the Air

Original Screenplay – since it might not win Best Picture, voters will make up for it here in this category:

  • The Hurt Locker (Winner)
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • The Messenger
  • A Serious Man
  • Up

Best Animated Feature Film – no contest:

  • Coraline
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • The Secret of Kells
  • Up (Winner)

Best Director– please, the dude spent five years, invented new technology, and had to get actors to perform in ways they never dreamed of:

  • James Cameron (Avatar)
  • Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Lee Daniels (Precious)
  • Jason Reitman (Up In the Air)

I think that the Academy will spread the love this year, but Avatar will end up with the most Oscars with five total.


Let it snow, let it snow…okay now stop!

Nearly 20 inches of snow dumped on Washington, D.C. over Friday and Saturday. I’d say that’s a solid haul for 24 hours. It is certainly the most snow that has fallen on a city that I was living in at the time.

Here we embark on a brief photo journey of this ‘snowmageddon’ on Capital Hill.

The streets are alive with the sound of snowflakes:



A little game of football in the snow…

A snowball fight at Lincoln Park…

And so much more…