DC hates nature but you don’t have to!

Not the best week for DC and nature. Actually, not really a good time for nature in general. As you know, things have been dying in great quantities basically everywhere:

This is never a good sign in movies. Some of these phenomena have been explained, while others remain a mystery. However, our nature ravaging in DC is never a mystery, it’s always idiots doing stupid things like flushing birth control down the toilet. Earlier this month, Police found 6000 pounds of illegally caught rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay, the largest single haul seized in 25 years. The rockfish is Maryland’s state fish and its population is closely monitored, so poaching like this hurts both small fisherman and sustainability. The reward for finding the poachers is $7000, so look for a guy with a fish in his pocket.

DC Hunters are also encroaching on the C&O Canal suburban areas, worrying neighbors who put put their lives in hands of the “duck police” to ensure they don’t get shot enjoying their morning nature walk.

But fear not dear readers, you can give back to our little polluted and scorched environs because this week is….THE ANNUAL AUDUBON GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT!!!! I mean, come on, look how fun birds are!!!!

The third picture is my idiot brother. He actually studies bird behavior and if he wasn’t currently in Hawaii being helicoptered into the rainforest to study some endangered species HE WOULD BE PARTICIPATING. So help our feathered friends. I even have an extra pair of binoculars if anyone wants one.

You think I'm boring?

The count starts this Friday, February 18, and goes through the weekend until February 21. Here is what you do: tally birds in your yard, neighborhood or wherever for at least fifteen minutes . Then you enter the highest number of each species seen at any one time and submit the info here: http://www.birdsource.org. Audubon society then compiles the information from everyone all over the U.S. so we can see what birds we have! They give you checklists to help you identify things. You could do a count every day if you want.

Look. Last year they got 97,200 checklists, with every state represented. They found out the most common birds, as well as some birds (like gulls!) that have gone missing! For all the earth gives us, it’s the least you could do. Details here.

Yikes: DC baggage handler rescued from cargo hold only when screams heard

So, I am sort of obsessed with how little airline employees are paid. Mostly because they control my life in 5 hour installments at least 4 times a year, and I would prefer they were paid more than, I don’t know, this person:

Perez Hilton - for those fortunate not to know

In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, the average U.S. Airways pilot starts at like $25,000, and the average starting major airline salary is $35,000. (1) that’s low, (2) its especially low when you consider mid-career regional pilots have to start at major airlines entry level (3) COME ON U.S. Airways. Though surprisingly, Southwest pays its starting pilots the most – close to 50K. Who knew?  You can read more about it here if so inclined.

San Maarten: One of the hardest landings in the world. Wonder why?

SO how does this relate to news in DC this year, you ask? WELL, I was checking google news for DC based happenings today, when I found out via the Daily Mail that a baggage handler at Reagan-National got TRAPPED in the cargo hold crawl space (about 37 inches high) while loading passenger bags. The grounds crew didn’t know he was in there, shut the door and started tugging the plane out to the runway for take off.

nice digs

He was  only rescued when passengers and crew heard his “yelling and pounding” from inside the aircraft, and grounds crew noticed he was missing. The plane was on route to Connecticut. Nightmare. So, I just wanted to point that out, you know, next time you complain about your job or how airline internet is “too slow.” Basically, watch this:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk]

Amazing. Be happy. And make airline employees happier by advocating for better wages. They deserve it.

DC Packers bars: Where Steelers fans beg for pity drinks

tears for the children

As we all know, my Steelers lost last night. It was a night of drinking, turnovers, drives, injuries, hopes, terrible halftime shows, turnovers, and incompletions that ultimately left SPY alone, snacking on Doritos crumbs with a terrible towel as a napkin. For Steelers fans in the district, there is not much to do today but lament the Steelers loss, the end of NFL, and beg for free drinks out of pity. Your target: jubilant Packers bars. They are (via PackerBars.com) as follows:

  • Hawk’n'Dove – 329 Pennsylvania Ave SW (202) 543-3300
  • Duffy’s –  2106 Vermont Ave NW  (202) 265-3413
  • Trusty’s – 1420 Pennsylvania Avenue SE  (202)-547-101
  • The Exchange – 1719 G St. NW (202) 393-4690
  • Capitol Lounge – 229 Pennsylvania Ave. SE  (202) 547-2098

The Examiner even had an article about the Hawk n’ Dove allegiance. Look. You walk in wearing your bedraggled Steelers shirt, look dejected (not a tough sell) and sigh. The bartender will then look at you and know immediately, it’s the least he can do. If that doesn’t work, go into how difficult it was to go against Rodgers, the lovable underdog, while your quarterback is at worst a rapist, and at best, a goddamn idiot.

They are kind, Midwestern folk, high on the happiness of victory. You can’t lose. Well actually, you can, and you did, but at least you can get a free shot out of it.

The Great Washington Auto Show Advertising Debate of 2011

So as you all know, I SPY did not have a post yesterday. Normally the culprit of such omissions is either my laziness or complete lack of time management skills (i.e. this 5pm post), but not yesterday. Oh no, yesterday was the result of a great DEBATE between Ironcityspy and DCspy over the merits of this Washington Auto Show (it’s going on now!) commercial:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4My5-bDa9ac&feature=player_embedded]

Actually THIS is the main commercial but you can’t embed it. It’s worse. Anyways, I entrusted the post to Ironcityspy, assuming he would talk about how absolutely awful this commercial is. In my mind, only DC could make fast, expensive concept cars seem budget and lame. It is also just not funny. At all. God, I got through like 10 seconds. SO, picture my dismay when Ironcityspy presented me a post in which he endorsed that abomination of an ad! He contends it is a bit different, more ironic, less machismo, and submitted the following evidence in his defense:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpw-dJinzK0]

Granted, that’s dismal. But it’s also kind of AWESOME awful. At least it wasn’t trying to be that “I love the 90s” guy vibe, unlike the current commercial. He also analogized it to the stupidity of Coors Light commercials. You know, the ad abortions where it is a coach “talking” to guys about Coors Light by inserting sound bytes from press conferences, but the only sound bytes they ever find are “yes,” “maybe,” “hard to tell,” or other stupid innocuous things so that it is not clever at all??? Fine, I can admit that those are stupid and broseph-oriented as well. However, somehow, in trying to be irreverent, the Washington Auto Show ended up being just as intolerable.

So I throw it to you readers. Thoughts? Do you endorse the ad???

Beer me an invention

So I had a job interview today in addition to about 987562 other things, which is why I SPY was sidelined. My apologies. Blogging just doesn’t pay the bills. Anyways,  I had to talk about my passion for innovation and technology or some other stupid interview topic, which got me thinking of inventions, which led me to THIS:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiu_IX14wLI]

It’s your invention of the day: a beer cup that fills from the bottom up! So cool! How doesn’t it leak???? It debuted at a Flyers game last week and is supposed to save time at concession stands. I mean, intuitively it doesn’t seem like it would save THAT much time, especially since the quickest way would be to hand someone a can, but Bottom’s Up claims a cup a second. I am mesmerized. You can find actual information about the invention here. This video shows the process:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-sOgG3h6l0&feature=player_embedded]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQsXW5kLtTk]

Sweet, right? I guess the upside to having to repeatedly justify why EVOLUTION exists is that scientists are inventing ways to get drunk as quickly as possible. Cheers for science!

Sea Catch: Where fresh seafood meets Rat Pack decor and the first computer

On its website, Sea Catch describes itself as “Georgetown’s best kept secret,” and I have never read a more apt description. To be honest, when Ironcityspy dragged me to Sea Catch a couple weeks ago, I was filled with suspicion. Look. I went to Georgetown, have lived and worked in DC for years and had never really heard of Sea Catch. It’s old. It’s located on the ground level of an innocuous brick building  on a side street. It borders the canal, which is where I was secretly worried they got their fish from. I expected it to be empty. I expected bland Americana.

Fancy some sea fare today, old chap?

I was wrong. So utterly wrong. Sea Catch does good, fresh seafood. Plain and simple. Their crab cakes are divine. Their menu has remained virtually unchanged through time, but has classic staples like pan seared scallops with wild mushroom risotto, Crab and Boursin Stuffed Tilapia, and a selection of perfectly grilled fish with buerre blanc and mixed vegetables. The produce is so fresh, they don’t even own a freezer. They offer a $1 oyster happy hour and, for the high rollers, an $80 shellfish skyscraper, both from their marble raw bar. I mean, come on.

The restaurant is also wonderfully throwback. Now, glancing at Yelp, it seems most people rave about the outdoor deck on the canal. I went during the winter so have never experienced this. What I can say is that the inside feels like Frank Sinatra’s local watering hole, complete with stone walls, wood floors, roaring fireplaces, and crooner music. Unless you are going on a date, I recommend the more casual front room with casual tables and booths. However, if you are Cary Grant taking Deborah Kerr out on the town, the pink fancy back room may just be your bag, baby.

Finally, as if Sea Catch wasn’t surprising enough, the innocuous building I mentioned turned out to be the “birthplace of the original computer.” What? Yes. Apparently it’s a historic site because Hollerith’s Tabulating Machine Company operated there in 1890 and their tabulating machines were so popular that in 1924 they merged with two other tabulating machine operations to form “International Business Machines Corporation,” or, as we know it, IBM. It was registered as a historic site in 1984.

Yes. I ate crab cakes at the birthplace of the computer. And they were delicious.

Sea Catch
1054 31st Street NW
Washington D.C., DC 20007

Werner Herzog reads Where’s Waldo and DC news roundup

Confession. I was so busy this afternoon that I forgot about I SPY. I know, I know. How could one forget a thing that enlightens so many??? Well, fear not. SPY has returned bearing gifts, namely 5 lines of marginally interesting news and a video of Werner’s Herzog reading Where’s Waldo. What can I say, the bar is low. Enjoy:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvWh6PMi9Ek]

His reading of Madeline is also excellent. AND here is some DCish news:

  • National map of shame. It basically lists one awful thing each state excels at. DC didn’t make the map. Why? Because we top too many categories. Seriously. Go for the gold!!! (DCist)
  • Vactican tells people to “be themselves” on the internet. Well, unless you molest children, then you can just be a Cardinal (Kotaku)
  • WMATA is taking suggestions for a new metro car layout. Do I hear slip n’ slide??? (WaPo)
  • It might…SNOW TOMORROW!!! AHHHHH! CHAOS!!! I think that’s the appropriate DC response (NBC)
  • Track work on the red line. rinse. repeat. (TBD)

Alexandria Restaurant Week THIS WEEK and new DC restaurants opening in 2011!

This post will not be long since I have many things to do today and my night last night was approximately THIS:

Superbowl! Yes, I know we aren’t the lovable underdog. Deal with it. In other news, this week is Alexandria Restaurant week!!! It technically started on Friday (sorry) but it lasts until January 30th. ALSO, unlike DC restaurant week where the deals are not always the most economic, you can get a $35 meal for two or a $35 prix-fixe meal for one. Now, a $35 meal for two is really not bad. DETAILS HERE

via food porn daily

Also, We Love DC compiled a list of all the slated new restaurants opening in 2011. SO MANY DELICIOUS things. I wouldn’t dare compile my own list because theirs is glorious and exhaustive. They divided it into two parts:

Part 1
Part 2

Finally, did you hear that a Cooper’s Hawk was found in the Library of Congress????! Another reason why Library of Congress is made my 30 days of DC list. While normal local libraries have pigeons, we have majestic hawks. I assume he was there looking for treasure hidden in the declaration of independence. Or campaigning against the bald eagle for title of national bird.

Jesus. That was a terrible joke. Forgive me, it’s Monday and cold.

30 days of DC: #2 You can watch a play and plan Lincoln’s assassination simultaneously

Yes, I am talking about Ford’s Theater. You know, your local neighborhood theater that President Lincoln happened to be assassinated in. Personally, I think date night to Ford’s Theater is one of the most awesome DC date nights you can do, which is why it makes the list. Even though it was closed for renovation in January, it reopened TODAY. Here’s are 5 reasons its a must:

  1. They show awesome plays. I went to Ford’s Theater one Valentine’s Day and saw Jitney by August Wilson. Although I am partial to Wilson given his Pittsburgh roots, it was a damn fine play. The award-winning Carpetbagger’s Children is currently playing.
  2. It is a beautiful theater. The massive presidential box where Lincoln sat, the deep red floors, the old (but still comfy) seats. You can feel how the assassination must have felt. You aren’t all that far from Lincoln. If the moribund intrigues you, you can even plan an assassination in your MIND
  3. If you are the cheapest date on the planet you can take a tour for free. While the tour offerings vary daily, you can often see the museum, the theater, or hear a ranger talk about the history. $2.5o if you want to splurge for an advance ticket. You can also see the house Lincoln died in (the Peterson house) for free across the street, although that is currently closed for maintenance until Spring 2011.
  4. Once you finish the play you are in effing Penn Quarter at 10th and E (i.e. DC restaurant CENTRAL). The Chinatown/Penn Quarter restaurants are some of the best ,so walk over to one of Jose Andres’s many establishments OR Proof OR District Chophouse, OR anything really!
  5. They offer activities for kids. Now, I hesitated to include this because, let’s be honest, historically-themed kid’s activities are terrible. Nobody wants to play with a hoop and a stick. HOWEVER, in honor of Lincoln’s birthday, the theater is doing special family events during the day starting January 29th. You can find all the details here. Let’s just say, for kid-friendly things, they are not that bad. No petting zoos.

The end of a typical date night to Ford's Theater

Look, Lincoln was effing assassinated in your neighborhood theater. Literally nowhere else in the world can say that. Parlay this piece of history into a Penn Quarter date night and you will look like the most hip and cultured boyfriend/partner/psuedo-dating companion ever. Just saying.

Baby for sale on DC Craiglist: Here’s some other stuff I found

A firesale????

So as many of you may know, someone attempted to sell a baby on craigslist a few weeks back. The Post broke the story and printed a copy of the ad, which read like this:

We had a kid but we just can’t handle it right now in our lives. she is up to date on her vaccinations medical records will be provided. we have been calling her Juliet but you can rename her if you want. sorry if you think this is wrong but we think the best way of insuring a happy life for her is to give her to an affluent couple that wants to have kids enough [sic] to pay for it. pics on request.

Yikes. The police raided the home but found no baby. The story just ends there. Have no idea what happened. NBC? After reflecting on this ridiculousness for about 5 seconds, I figured I had two options: I could either (a) post a thought-provoking piece on the slippery slope of informal craigslist transactions, OR (b) take 10 minutes and try to find something better than a baby selling on DC craigslist. I obviously chose the CHALLENGE. Here is what I found for sale in 10 minutes… Continue reading