DC Christmas tree pickup is shockingly depressing

Most of us DC transplants grew up in a suburb in some form or fashion. Well, except for those really, really irritating Manhattan bastards that can’t understand how we survived not being in a city. “Didn’t you find it stifling?!?!” Of course we found it stifling! Every second of our adolescence was nothing more than a prolonged, awkward, stifled existence. That trial by fire is part of the reason we are so well adjusted — unlike our Manhattanite counterparts that are clearly excellent candidates for stabbing.

Charlie Brown has nothing on this

Anyway, it was always a sad day when the Christmas trees came down and we had to reenter school. Thankfully, I never really had to witness that mental carnage. The tree was usually taken down while I was at school, and the local garbageman had disposed of it before my return. If he did not, the tree would wait outside my house, wrapped in it’s own skirt that weeks earlier held presents. There was a sort of nice poetry in that — leaving the world wrapped in something that was a part of that tree’s very existence. I am not trying to be sentimental, as I know the tree doesn’t exactly care what becomes of it, but visually I always thought that was nice.

Well apparently DC missed this memo. As TBD reported, starting last week, DC is now picking up discarded Christmas trees. It was supposed to have happened all of last week, but considering not a single one was removed from an 8 block radius of my apartment, it doesn’t surprise me that they will now continue pickup until the 15th.

Yea, this doesn't destroy your soul on the way to work

So what is the proper way to dispose of trees in our nation’s capital? Why, throw them in the nearest tree box of course! Should we wrap them in that nice skirt? Nope! Just your naked, depressing tree. Don’t worry about the 1,000 needles that are going to fall off in the process, all part of the Christmas miracle!

This wouldn’t be so bad if DC were at all quick in their collection of the trees. However, seeing as they seem to think collecting them is a seasonal endeavor, I have to literally pass my old tree on the way to work EVERY DAY. As if walking to work in the cold, gray DC winter wasn’t depressing enough. Now I get to do so being surrounded by a sort of Christmas tree holocaust.

So DC, how about doing us a favor? Going back to real life is sad enough. But being surrounded by the corpses of holiday cheer really doesn’t help matters — so can you please try to pick those trees up in the next week or so? Much obliged.


Cheetah Cubs and the Cuteness Hierarchy

So a month ago, I was convinced that lion cubs were the cutest of cubs. Before that, I was sold on snow leopard cubs being the cutest of cubs. AND now, the Smithsonian Research Institute in Virginia has convinced me that cheetah cubs are the cutest of cubs. OBSERVE:

Come ON. He fits in that little bowl! Such a fierce little guy. You know what is not the cutest of animal young? Human babies. Sad, but true. Looking at that guy in his bowl got me thinking of his cuteness hierarchy and honestly, I don’t think human kids would make my top 50. Not sure if they would make my top 100. The competition:

I mean, those hedgehogs thought that brush was their mother. The only thing that humans beat hand’s down are bird babies (except for precocial birds, like ducks). And, well, the bar is pretty low.

Having read about 4 individual posts on the little guys, it seems that sadly, they will not be moved to the national zoo any time soon. So you must be content with the rapidly aging (but still amazing) Clouded Leopard cubs for the time being.

Removal of video from Portrait Gallery is shameful

This past Tuesday, the National Portrait Gallery removed a 4 minute video depicting a statue of Jesus being covered in ants. The video was created by the late David Wojnarowicz, and was removed due to pressure from both Rep. John Boehner and the insidious Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

The video was part of an exhibit that explored same-sex portraits and sexuality, and was meant as a criticism of the Catholic church for it’s stance on homosexuality, condoms and AIDS prevention.

Why exactly does an organization that boasts over a billion members need a league?

The video can be seen here on the Post.  I’ve watched it twice now, and I will grant you it is somewhat disturbing. But to say it is “hate speech” and needs to be removed is insulting to any fair-minded person.

The basic crux of Donohue’s argument is is it is insulting to Christians, and as such, needs to be taken down. I am sorry, I didn’t realize the moment art offended someone it should be removed from public view? The blatant disregard the Catholic League has for freedom of expression would be dizzying if it stopped there — but it doesn’t.  Donohue has also called on the House and Senate appropriations committees to reconsider future funding for the Smithsonian:

My immediate concern has been relieved. But this is hate speech. It is designed to insult. This is a sad commentary on the judgment of the Smithsonian.

This is religious bullying at it’s worst. Donohue is insinuating that if the Smithsonian does anything else that “insults” or “offends” Catholics, he’ll do all he can to remove their funding.

You know what offends me? When the Church systematically covers up child rape. Or how they are partially responsible for the spread of Aids throughout Africa. Or Donohue arguing there is a correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia. And you know what is actual hate speech? Donohue blaming the deaf victims of torture and molestation for not speaking up sooner.  But I would never argue against their right to say this nonesense. So why exactly does Donohue feel entitled to rail against free speech?

Another moral compass

But the opposition to this hasn’t been entirely religious. John Boehner has come out against “taxpayer money” being used on something so “offensive”. Have a look at what his reptilian spokesman, Kevin Smith, had to say:

American families have a right to expect better from recipients of taxpayer funds in a tough economy,” Smith said. “While the amount of money involved may be small, it’s symbolic of the arrogance Washington routinely applies to thousands of spending decisions involving Americans’ hard-earned money.

This is populist drivel. He is essentially implying regular Americans think: “we don’t want our money to go to this queer stuff”. Look I get the Libertarian argument that government is not meant to fund things like art — and I think that logic has merit. But, also according to the Post, the show was PRIVATELY FUNDED and underwritten by foundations that support gay and lesbian issues. It’s not costing the taxpayer anything! So to use this as some kind of big government – Washington insider – misuse of taxpayer money rallying cry is inconceivably cynical.

This was an excellent opportunity for the Smithsonian to stand up in defense of free speech — to show they would not be intimidated by religious and political thuggery. But instead they decided on a craven and pathetic response; removing the video. This is shameful and disgusting and should not be tolerated by those of us that cherish free expression. Thankfully, there is a protest in support of the video being held today at 5:30, as well as others speaking out against this. Art is meant to challenge and be controversial. I understand Donohue and Boehner want a gallery full of Norman Rockwell paintings — but don’t expect the rest of us to go along quietly.


Remember, remember the 5th of November…

The gunpowder, treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason, should ever be forgot…


God, such an awesome scene. Sometimes I wish I could be a revolutionary. However, I am far too self-preservationist and cowardly. I also don’t like loud noises. Or masses of people. Although I would bring snacks. Anyways, in honor of Guy Fawkes Day, here are some treasonous news items and events going on around DC.

  • People in Montgomery County hate speeding cameras so have decided to light them on fire (Post)
  • The AFI European Film festival kicks off today. Go you Socialist Benedick Arnolds, watch your fancy multiple award winning European films with your warm idiot beer (DCist)
  • Apparently metro escalators have a “safety feature” that when they are overcrowded they speed up and dump all the passengers on the floor. Thanks metro, now the terrorists win (City Paper)
  • Damn the Man. Go to the Punk Rock Flea Market! Also, a beloved friend will be selling thrifted wares at one of their booths. Support SPY friends! Facebook invite HERE
  • Masquerade Party at the Museum of Unnatural History, which looks like THIS. Amazing. Who wants to wear their Guy Fawkes mask and stop by the Church of Scientology on the way back??? (Express)

“The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me…V.”

Godspeed my dear revolutionary reader(s). Enjoy the weekend!

The day we have all been waiting for is finally here!

November 2nd, 2010. The day most red-blooded Americans have been counting down for months — if not years. A day where we can all come together and partake in something unique to this American experiment. I am referring to, of course, the McRib being brought back nationally for the entire month!


Look, I get that it’s election day and 9/10 DC denizens have been anxiously checking their Blackberry’s (likely clipped to their belts in the nerdiest way possible). But it’s just been excruciatingly hard to get excited for this election. Having previously voted in uber competitive Pennsylvania and Virginia, the prospect of pulling the lever for a non-voting member of Congress really doesn’t get my blood flowing.  But you know what does? The McRIB. Well, maybe not literally as it mostly clogs it — but you get my point.

Even the Simpson's recognize the perfection!

This is an area DC Spy and I often disagree on. When I look at the McRib,  I see the absolute pinnacle of modern civilization. How man could have constructed such a shining beacon of culinary excellence still astounds me. But I suppose that’s just the romantic in me – as spy tends to focus on a few minor details about this monument to sandwiches. “They just mash pork byproducts together in the shape of a rib” is the usual refrain. “I can’t imagine a more disgusting looking thing” has also been said.

Look, trying to explain the deliciousness of the McRib is about as useful as describing color to the blind. It’s an experience that defies any quantification. I’m not going to waste my time defending the McRib to Spy — but I’ll certainly feel a twinge of sorrow for her.

So today, do go out and vote. But if you are feeling as underwhelmed as I am, let’s just say I know the perfect pick-me-up.


Get your rally caps on!!!! (And other district news)

It’s Friday afternoon and I am too busy with costuming, cleaning and “working” to write a post. So in honor of the rally I give you video of Stephen Colbert addressing a panel of his fears (starts 1:20 in). He is encouraging people to dress up as fears so I figured this would give you some ideas. OH, the rally schedule is here.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Fear for All Pt. 1
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election March to Keep Fear Alive

Part II of “Fear for all” is on his website

BEARS!! Oh, not into rallying? Drinking the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert haterade that they are being too “real news” (spare me, HEARD it)? Then here are some other DC headlines:

  • Zoo pictures of animals celebrating Halloween! See their flickr account
  • Zombies try to attack National Mall. Turned away because they forgot to get a permit (Post)
  • Sigh. Some people just don’t have what it takes to be a terrorist (MSNBC)
  • Yellow line named DC’s most romantic metro line, which is…wait what? (DCist)
  • Every road seems to be closed this weekend. Here’s what to avoid (WTOP)
  • Planned Parenthood is handing out Stewart condoms at the rally. Stewart: “This now means I’m truly f*cked” (TBD)
  • Sign with candidate’s name on it in front yard is a “game-changer” in congressional race (The Onion)

Georgetown students tire of binge drinking, build meth lab

Fine, it wasn’t a meth lab. It was dimethyltryptamine (DMT) lab. Leave it to Georgetown students to pick the most complex drug possible to make in their dorm room.

Over the weekend, Georgetown Freshmen John Romano ’14 and Charles Smith ’14 were arrested and charged with manufacturing DMT with an intent to sell it from their dorm room, Harbin 926. Initial coverage reported it was meth.  The manufacture and sale of DMT carries a potential 20-year prison sentence and a $1 million fine. DMT is a naturally occurring hallucinogen common in South American Shamanic practices. It is also naturally released by our bodies right before we die (Wikipedia). Yikes.

Scene of the crime from the Hoya

So a few comments about this. First off, not surprised it wasn’t meth. Georgetown isn’t nearly heartland enough for meth and the city of DC loves its crack. Though kind of disappointed. If the Hoyas were going to get busted, meth could have at least combated our sportcoat and sperrys reputation.

Not meth's strongest market

Secondly,  how industrious are our freshmen?? Sure, they were illegally making drugs to then illegally sell them in their dorm room, but they were pretty damn efficient to get a DMT lab up and running 2 months into freshman year of college. My greatest freshman year accomplishment was accidentally calling the Georgetown paramedics on myself while drunk. But I guess after immediately quitting all the extracurricular activities that got you into Georgetown, you have to focus your energy somewhere.

Not the safe ride service

Finally, not surprised it was some naturally occurring Latin American drug. No, they probably weren’t hippies. The Georgetown hippy is a rare breed, and usually exists as a liberal arts nerd-hippy hybrid. However, there are 74893275 Georgetown students who both study foreign cultures and love drugs. A drug linked to an interesting foreign culture that you could then “study” abroad or even better advocate to legalize?? GOLD MINE.

Oh, and I wanted to give advice to these students based on their Georgetown major. However, it turns out I am awful at using Facebook and for some ungodly reason couldn’t find them. I am also lazy so gave up immediately. Anyone have any information? You will be rewarded will be a marginally witty and probably cliched comment!

Hoya saxa!

Man builds cat city and a DC news roundup

Beloved reader(s), apologies on the late post. Oh so tired this afternoon. But while  lesser men in my position would simply opt out of posting,  this SPY is dedicated to her craft. So…. here are some pictures of a homeless cat city this crazy person built in Florida taken from an article that was written a year ago!!! New York Times, I’m waiting for your call…

Cat rush hour!!!

Cat church! (But no cat temple or cat mosque?)

Cat city hall with lurking lobbyist cats!

cat suburbs: affordable and convenient!

Mr. Mitten's award-winning garden

Pictures are all from laughing squid. You want more? click here!

In all seriousness, the place is called Caboodle Ranch and is for homeless cats. It is pretty amazing and for a good cause. They accept donations you know. Donate for a cat art museum! Here are some DC headlines:

  • Virginia elementary school textbook taught children that thousands of African Americans fought for the South in the Civil War. Yeah. they didn’t. (Washington Post)
  • Big video game case going up against the Supreme Court on free speech. Want games covered by the 1st amendment? Rally on November 2nd (Games Radar)
  • Safeway massacres ginko tree in front of store. Apologizes (City Paper)
  • God DCist is good at weekend event roundups. Want something to do this weekend? Click HERE.
  • So many road closures this weekend. TBD maps them out! (TBD)

(thanks to Alina for the cat city tip!)

Michael Bay Transformers car crashes into actual police car (of course it does)

AMAZING. I love it when headlines make articles. As many know, Michael Bay is filming stupid Transformers 3 in DC. Over the weekend, the Transformers “bumblebee” car, whatever idiot robot car that is, crashed into an ACTUAL cop SUV while filming the scene. Observe:


Aside from this being the most interesting scene of Transformers ever filmed, there was speculation over whether it was part of the movie. It wasn’t.

Come on, OF COURSE it wasn’t. Did the cop car explode on impact? No. Were the cops overly fake tanned? No. Did the illiterate jive-talkin’ robots yell “‘uh oh, po-po comin’!” in the most racist way possible? No. Was it accompanied by dialogue like THIS?!

Sam: I just read a 903-page astronomy book in 32.6 seconds. I had a meltdown in the middle of my class. I am seeing symbols ever since I…
: Since what?
: Ever since I touched the Cube splinter.

Not the cube splinter!!!! No matter. The fact is, Michael Bay just hit an actual police car with his fake robot cars and my day just got a little brighter. Nobody was hurt.

National Zoo lion cub pics and the best of this week’s DC news!

Happy Friday! Here are some shots of the lion cubs born at the National Zoo:

More photos of the lion cubs on the National Zoo website here!

Have you seen anything as fiercely adorable? The cubs are 2-weeks old and had their first vet exam on October 6th. The exam went well and all the cubs are healthy. Now the cubs are very wee, which means they are still in the nursery and away from public view. However, the zoo does have a cub cam, so check it out! Other zoo news? The giant anteater is pregnant and is due in October, more photos of the baby gorilla have posted on the website, and the zoo is holding a contest to name their new baby kiwi!

More kiwi photos on the National Zoo website here

Right now, the kiwi is simply called “Squeakers.” This could be the cutest name in existence. I kind of want it to be called Squeakers forever. However, if you can do better, then vote! Here are some other district headlines:

  • METRO MADNESS this weekend. All the lines are being reconfigured. Before you board, click here.
  • Even farmers markets go into hibernation for winter. Check We Love DC’s list of all the farmer’s markets and their closing dates
  • 24 people inexplicably faint and fall ill during Obama’s speech in Bowie, MD. I know there is a joke here about liberals, Godlessness and plagues, but I just can’t find it (DCist)
  • TBD gives their Eastern conference NHL preview. I’d still go with ScienceSPY’s though
  • Want to go to the Jon Stewart rally but don’t know where it is? Fear not! The location has been announced!
  • IronCityspy would be furious if I did not mention today is John Lennon’s 70th birthday. Google UK has a very cool video in his honor. If you know of any local pubs or music venues doing something for him today, write them in the comments!