This post is late thanks to the Metro

Dear Reader(s),

The post you were going to get today was set to be grand. It was supposed to have it all; intrigue, drama, excitement, adventure, romance, et al.  Your beloved IronCityspy woke up early this morning to ensure the dozen or so of you would have a brand new entry to greet your day. Then this happened:

Typical day on the Red Line

Thankfully I was able to save a transcript of this morning:

8:25 a.m [IronCityspy]: “What a glorious Winter morning! [checks watch] Aces, I’ll be 10 minutes early for work today! [Begins to whistle].

8:31 a.m. [IronCityspy enters Dupont Metro, all escalators are broken]: “Well this is highly irregular… I am sure this is just some sort of preventative maintenance for all of our safety!”

8:33 a.m. Metro leaves Dupont Station en route to Shady Grove

835 a.m. Metro arrives at Woodley Park

836 a.m. Metro abruptly stops in-between Woodley Park and Cleveland Park. [Train conductor]: “We’ll be moving shortly — there is a small issue on the track ahead”.

8:45 a.m. [Train conductor, shouting]: “THERE IS A SITUATION AHEAD. WE NEED TO TURN AROUND AND HEAD BACK TO DUPONT. REMAIN SEATED!!!”. Fellow passengers appear to either be praying or making some sort of final preparations.

8:48 a.m. Train safely arrives at Dupont Station. [Train conductor]: “This train will continue on to Shady Grove. Do not leave train”. [New passengers heading in the direction of Shady Grove pile on].

8:53 a.m. [Train Conductor] “Attention passengers, this train is headed towards Glenmont. All headed to Shady Grove please disembark”

8:54 a.m. [IronCityspy has aneurysm]

So if you are keeping count at home, DC’s public transportation took 30 minutes to get me to the exact spot I started from. And what was the issue that caused the the train conductors to prepare for the rapture? Why a small insulator fire on the track. I don’t even know what a  metro insulator is, but I am willing to bet my life wasn’t exactly hanging on the precipice.

Metro, as a rule I try not to complain about you too much. I knew when I signed up to live here that I’d be dealing with the clown college of the urban transportation systems. But you caused my beloved readers to miss out on a masterpiece — something I can not forgive.

-IronCityspy

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.

-IronCityspy

Need a symbol for your 2010 Washington Redskins?

Spy has given me a edict from her spy perch that I need to pump the breaks on serious posts for a while. I guess my attacks on the Catholic Church, DC Metro Police and a host of other topics didn’t quite mesh with her worthy contributions.

Spy critiquing IronCityspy's latest post

She wants things that are “funny” and “lighthearted”, much to my chagrin. Fortunately for her, we do live in a city that  features the Washington Redskins — the clown college of the National Football league.  I have kept intentionally quiet on their descent into madness this season — mainly because mocking them would be like picking on the retarded. However, this past week (a win no less) gave us the perfect analogy for their entire season:

Wow. I literally could take about 12 different angles why this encompasses everything you poor fans have had to put up with this year. Just unbelievable.

So my dear suffering fans, please let me know which part of this abomination is most relevant for this season? Easy play mishandled? Something great turning into something very awful very quickly? The only consistent offensive threat dropping the easiest pass in the history of the world? The one pass Rex Gross man didn’t shotgun in hopelessly mishandled? Or, if you’d rather, let me know which other play is more apt? I mean, let’s face it, you have quite a few to choose from.

-IronCityspy

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.

-IronCityspy

Remembering slain dog in Adams Morgan

Yesterday was a sad, but hardly unexpected, day in the IronCityspy family. Gretta, the trusty family dog, finally succumbed to old age.  I say “not unexpected” as Gretta was 16.5 years old, and if you know anything about larger dogs, the only logical explanation for her longevity is that she made some sort of wicked covenant with dark forces.

Not the prettiest -- but good nonetheless

Gretta was a rescue dog; barely missing the proverbial chopping block. She was a wild and obviously mishandled puppy, coming to us with a variety of questionable behavioral issues. She was dog-aggressive, skittish around loud noises and new people, and all-together not what people think of when describing man’s best friend. Moreover, my parents’ laissez-faire approach to training her didn’t really help matters. But no matter; we either got her over or “managed” most of these issues and she ended up being a cherished, if imperfect, member of our family.

With her passing, I was reminded of another animal that had a very similar start to Gretta — but a life hardly as full. I am referring, of course, to Parrot, the pit bull mix who was tragically shot to death by a police officer some 4 months ago.

Cut tragically short

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George Mason is officially the coolest DC area school

God, maybe the coolest school in the entire country after this weekend.

So my alma mater, George Mason University, doesn’t exactly have the best of reputations. It is still something of a commuter school, horrendously located in the middle of god forsaken Fairfax and is entirely made-up of terribly modern brick and tan buildings. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great appreciation for that institution and it only improves year after year. But dating Spy and seeing all the pride and brilliance that comes with Georgetown, I have always had a twinge of envy.

Well, after this weekend no longer:

Yes, that is Bill Murray! Quite literally the coolest man alive today.  Now I know other schools have celebrity fans that go and cheer them on, but:

  1. They usually make some semblance of sense. Bill Murray has utterly no connection to GMU.
  2. No celebrity is anywhere near as awesome.

I can’t emphasize that last point enough. If anyone out there even dares to argue that “X” celebrity is better, I may have to cut you.  I think Woody Harrelson sums it up nicely.

Never crosses the streams

I’ve been an admirer of his for as long as I can remember — Arlnow and I can probably perform every scene from Ghostbusters by heart — something Spy knows all too well — so I obviously couldn’t be more proud that he chose my school to arbitrarily support. But for those of you keeping up with Mr. Murray, this is hardly anything new. A quick recap:

Jesus Christ is that amazing.

Turns out Murray is actually a well-known hoops fan (Spacejam, anyone?) and his son is friends with a GMU assistant. So considering all-things Murray, this is considerably less random.

Hopefully he imparted some wisdom onto the Patriots

Knowing Murray’s reputation, I don’t think we’ll ever be seeing him at another GMU game. I am sure some of my compatriots will be disappointed by this, but like Halley’s Comet, we must enjoy the fact he came at all. Plus, doesn’t having Condy Rice as a fan now seem far less impressive?

- IronCityspy

Cheers to Peter Solari for the excellent find.

The Archbishop of Washington DC is now a Cardinal. Oh good.

Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington DC, has recently been elevated to the rank of Cardinal. I didn’t realize his ascension through the ecclesiastical ranks would be as big a story as it has been, but there has been no shortage of ink spent on it and Wuerl’s life.

He took the Pope to the National's stadium? Really?

I’ve been aware of Wuerl for quite some time, as he is a Pittsburgh native and formally the Archbishop of Pittsburgh. He is considered to be theologically conservative, which is a nice way of saying he is stuck in the 15th century. Lost in the uniformity and generally flattering articles written about the man are a few of his more egregious moments:

  • He supports determining whether a pro-choice Catholic politician should be denied Communion on an individual basis. While this is considerably more progressive than some of his counterparts that wish to deny communion to any pro-choice politician, please note he says nothing about denying pro-death penalty politicians. According to the church, these “sins” are equal.
  • He was quoted as saying: “The Catholic Church … holds that ordination has been, from the beginning, reserved to men, a fact which cannot be changed despite changing times”.  So according to him, the church is not supposed to change even though everything else we know or think is subject to reevaluation?
  • When DC was debating same sex marriage, Wuerl issued a particularly insidious statement  saying Catholic charities would no longer be able to assist in adoptions were this law to pass. While clearly an ultimatum, he backed off the statement slightly, only to end spousal benefits for employees of Catholic charities after the city legalized same-sex marriages.

None of this should come as a surprise as the current Pontiff is about as reactionary as we can possibly imagine — and would stand to reason he’d elevate similarly backward members.

Bernard Law -- should be in jail

It should be noted though that Wuerl has been critical of the church’s handling of priests that engaged in child rape. He even successfully lobbied against reinstating a priest that allegedly tortured children in his care. While compared to the evil and criminal Bernard Law, Weurl certainly seems like an enlightened choice. But wasn’t his reaction exactly what any of us would do? Can you imagine a school teacher not protesting to his superiors over the recent hiring of a known pederast? This just strikes me as basic decency and sanity over Wuerl having some sort of intrinsic wisdom.

I am not a Roman Catholic, so I could be missing something here — but I simply do not understand why this man deserves such adulation. I honestly invite the faithful to let me know in the comments — especially my many liberal Catholic friends out there.

-IronCityspy

The Redskins need to Fire Bruce Allen

As I’ve written multiple times before, I have always been incredibly skeptical of Bruce Allen’s hiring. I distrust any person who earns a job based on who their father was — and considering how crazy that family tree is, I tend to think the nepotism is even more indefensible. But after the absurdity that was the Donovan McNabb contract, I think this experiment needs to be pulled IMMEDIATELY.

Fire this man -- well, both of them actually.

The general narrative that emerged after the much maligned Vinny Cerrato was fired went something like this: “With the hiring of Bruce Allen, the Redskins will finally have a proven winner and someone that won’t be a rubber stamp for what the owner wants”. Well, the first point is questionable, the second laughable.

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Chick flicks for the rest of us

Apologies for the lack of a post yesterday — DC Spy is in the midst of law school hell, so you’ll likely be seeing me battening-down the hatches for a little while.

At any rate, being that this is Friday, Spy will probably expect some fashion of “date night” tonight. Well, if I weren’t nobly battling a brutal upper-respiratory infection that is– but I digress. While I am not sure this is true for all of you, for us “date nights” typically center around movie watching. This is utterly phenomenal for me, as I love nearly all movies. “The Mummy” for 3,000th time on TBS? Sign me up! “The Rock” is on again on USA? Get ready to hear “I’m only borrowing your humvee” for the next two weeks!

"...Womack!"

But there are two notable exceptions to my movie-philia: chick flicks and those abortions of cinematography known as “spoof movies” (think David Zucker, Wayans brother’s types — Scary Movie, Dance Movie, etc…). While those spoof movies are universally abysmal, the same can not be said for chick flicks. While most are cheesy, contrived, cliched and usually unwatchable — there are still a select few that I will happily endorse. So without further adieu, I give you my top 5 chick flicks: Continue reading

Why the Redskins are going to lose Monday night and why I feel bad about it

Redskins fans, I feel absolutely terrible for you. I honestly, sincerely do. I’ve spent nearly a decade delighting in your struggles. I’m not sure why really. Generally, you are a pretty agreeable lot. I think it stems from the general wickedness of your owner. Or maybe I just like watching big market teams with unending funds struggle. Whatever the reason, I’ve been as derisive as one can possibly be.

Awful

But after this season, I’m slowly beginning to thaw. The embarrassing string of events that has transpired makes me feel nothing but sympathy — which I’ll explain:

By now, all of you have heard about Donovan McNabb’s (whom they shipped a 2nd round pick to receive, yet still have not resigned) two minute drill benching. The week that followed was one clumsy and demeaning excuse by Mike and Kyle Shanahan after another. Both of whom, you remember, were touted as the latest saviors for this franchise. I think a quick summary is in order:

  • Mike Shanahan — Despite being a two-time Superbowl winning coach, has yet to have any sort of consistency since John Elway’s retirement. Promising quarterbacks Brian Griese and Jake Plummer both sputtered after failing to impress him.  The Albert Haynesworth saga was so protracted and unnecessary that it remains a distraction even to this day. And now McNabb, a quarterback who’s lack of weapons and protection are incredibly well documented, has been called everything from out of shape to poorly prepared by Shanahan. This is what you want from a head coach? A team savior?

Savior... and fake tanner enthusiast

  • Kyle Shanahan — Mike’s 30 year old son and offensive coordinator. Kyle is the definition of being born on third base and thinking he hit a triple.  Look at his professional career — literally EVERY SINGLE STOP  he made the man that hired him had previously been on his father’s staff. Many point out his offense was number one in the league last season with Houston. This would be an impressive point, except he simply ran the head coach’s system — which hasn’t suffered at all since he left. Kyle has inherited his father’s smugness, suggesting the issues are a matter of execution instead of game planning. The temerity of this statement can not be understated.
  • Bruce Allen — Washington’s new and impressive general manager. I have never liked Bruce Allen. I’ve documented some fairly convincing reasons here. But once more, we have a man born into an incredibly prestigious family and who has never really earned anything. His father is the legendary former coach of the Redskins, and his brother is a former Virginia governor and senator. Okay, an incredibly racist former senator that when asked if his mother was Jewish, took it as an insult — but a senator none the less! At any rate, the Redskins fans have to suffer through another unqualified general manager with a spotty record.

This all gets me back to my original point — this is unfair to Redskins fans. It’s not unusual for new coaching staffs to generate buzz, but this staff believed and helped propagate the hype. If their aging quarterback doesn’t perform? It must be his conditioning. If the losses start mounting? No worries, we are all geniuses — we’ll get it sorted.

This coming Monday, the entire nation will get to watch as McNabb’s former team comes to Washington. This time though, I doubt Michael Vick will be taken out of the game. As such, I can think of absolutely no scenario where the Redskins don’t get demolished. This is a shame. Donovan McNab deserves better than this. His teammates deserve better than this. And most of all, the suffering fans don’t need to see yet another national debacle.

I could be wrong — maybe they really are geniuses. They’ll need to be if they expect to survive Monday.

-IronCityspy