Obama can make even ping pong look cool

Ping pong...really?!?!

Ugh. Ping pong ( I refuse to honor it with the moniker ”table tennis”) is one of the nerdiest and least graceful-looking activities one can do. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. But I typically look like a less-puffy version of David Cameron while playing it. But not stupid Obama — he looks cool, calm, coordinated and determined. I mean, does he ever look awkward?

Oh wait, nevermind:


DC has trouble implementing technology from 1859

“Why hello there tourist from some far away land! Welcome to Washington, D.C.,  the world’s most powerful city!  We represent the epicenter of the planet’s most dynamic economy, unparalleled resources and the most mighty fighting force the world has yet known! What’s that? Why do our Metro escalators, a technology perfected in 1889, never, ever work? Well, aren’t you a smart ass.”

Yes, in yet another blow to Metro (though to be fair, no one has died for a while) Metro has announced it will need to close the Dupont and Foggy Bottom escalators for an entire year to perform comprehensive repairs. Seeing as Metro is the perpetual piñata for us DC bloggers, I am sure most of you have heard this by now. And not to pile on, but why does Metro continue to fail at implementing a technology that was essentially perfected around the same time as the radio?

That 1859 is not a typo

I am all for Metro finally addressing the problem directly and not just throwing a few bandaids on it — but the escalators have been in constant disrepair for the better part of a decade. Something tells me if they had been honest with themselves and done this earlier — a year’s worth of repair probably would not have been necessary. Hopefully they learn from this.


You are saved — I Spy Things DC is back

Gather round my children. Your long, dreadful march through the desert is finally over. Dry your eyes — I Spy Things DC has indeed risen. And what better way to reassert ourselves in the blogosphere (why does that word even exist) than offensive religious imagery?

Typical introduction to IronCityspy


But I think some explanations and caveats are in order. DC Spy was forced to slow down her frenetic pace of posts due to an enormous amount of first year law school commitments (volunteering, participating in competitions and general law school rigor). Then, come finals, she had no choice but to simply abandon this blog — and in essence all of you. Now here you are, starved and half deranged from months in the wilderness. What’s that? Why didn’t I fill in the gap with my usual weekly posts? Look, Madden 2011 doesn’t play itself.  I had a very promising young quarterback that needed developing, and, well, it’s called commitment.

Anyway, there was a window there where Spy sincerely considered closing down this blog for good — especially while she spends the summer in Germany helping Russian Oligarchs make more money. But in the end, the enjoyment we get from writing this silly blog and the shocking amount of good-will we’ve received from all of you was simply too much to ignore. So away we go, with a slightly new format. IronCityspy(me) will be handling the bulk of the posts, while DC spy will take over my old slot of ancillary ones. So what does that mean for the content of this blog?

Honestly, we don’t know. I can’t guarantee I’ll keep up with her absurd pace — and half the time my “posts” will be nothing more than pictures with quasi witty captions. But when I am inspired, I do tend to write about places in DC I love, DC absurdity, religion and of course politics (*not stupid partisan hackery — I’d rather blow my brains out than read more of that). Spy will compliment me with fashion, restaurants and her other typical musings.

So what’s today’s DC topic? Really?  Look, I need to walk before I can run so you’ll have that tomorrow. In the meantime, in honor of DC spy, enjoy this cat video.


My work is done.


*For those that are inclined to partisan hackery, please follow @filibstr — though good luck not defenestrating yourself after reading a few tweets.

5 reasons why you should visit the National Geographic ducklings on Easter instead of buying one

Since it is sadly still common practice to buy children ducklings, bunnies and other types of living beings for Easter, I felt I would encourage DC residents to spare Donald’s life  and visit the local Mallard family that has chosen the National Geographic building pond as their home. Here are reasons why you should choose to watch those ducks instead of sacrificing an innocent.

(1) The National Geographic ducks have a ramp

I mean is anything more adorable than this?

(2) Ducks are anatomically incapable of being house trained

Why? Because they do not have a sphincter muscle. True story. In practical terms, this means they eat and defecate constantly with no control over where and when they go -  quickly converting them from adorable pet to perfect duck taco material.

One innovation? The duck diaper - seriously

(3) If, after growing tired of said defecating duck, you humanely set it free in a pond, it won’t last past its first birthday

This is because your duck was raised on a farm,  has no animal instincts whatsoever, and will likely try to be friends with a motorcycle. If it has the dumb luck of remaining in its park area and living off of children’s snacks – it will ultimately die when the winter arrives or it is enslaved by the mutant ducks who dominate urban ponds. So basically, you sold your duck into a trafficking ring. Bravo.

Your duck's new pond friends!

(4) The National Geographic staff have taken precautions to overcome the inherent stupidity of ducks

Because ducks are one of nature’s weakest, sorriest creatures, mother mallards will actually abandon their young if people get too close to them – yes, simply leave and never come back. How Darwin hasn’t taken care of this ridiculousness is beyond me. However, the Nat Geo folks have put up signs making sure people don’t come too close. Your duck on the other hand, won’t have such signs.

(5) Ducklings become full grown ducks in 30 days

To a certain extent, this is apt, because 30 days is about the time it will take your kid will stop caring or feeding Dr. Quackerson and move on to wanting a hamster-ey. At that point you are left with a disinterested kid and, well, an effing DUCK. A duck that looks like this and literally cannot do anything but quack around confusedly.

Awkward teen duck

I mean look at that feather tuft. For his sake, leave him to his farm life. His existence shouldn’t be sacrificed because you made a stupid impulse purchase. And besides, the Nat Geo ducklings are MIGHTY cute.

Xristos Voskrese!! (Happy Easter!)

DC Spring Obsessions

Happy Earth Day! As I sit here in isolation, I started clicking around what’s new in the world. Much of this is from DC – as that is the universe of a SPY. Since my DC exploration has temporarily stalled, I invite you to enjoy these wonders – so that I can live vicariously.

So dear readers, enjoy the things to do…

…and things to covet…

…and things to accessorize…

…and things to preserve…

…and things to wear to a fancy party with a horse…

…and things to just take in….

Enjoy the weekend guys! See you next week.

Museum of the Americas, DC Fashion District at Long View Gallery
Glamourai (in Balenciaga), Ring from Charm in Georgetown
Female Tie by Ginger Roots Design, Necklaces by Claranette
Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Shenandoah
Outfit by Urban Chic, Dress by Line & Dot at Treat Boutique
LOVE sign at Dupont Circle (in honor of VA is for Lovers)

Adidam Washington Post ads and why I could be a spiritual leader

So I don’t know if anyone else has noticed these ads in the Washington Post:

Yeah. I did. Having that face stare at me while I read about a man being glued to a toilet seat at Walmart (yes that happened) was just too odd, so I did some investigation. What did I find? (1) Adi Da (the guy) is dead – He died in 2008 at 69, (2) this ad is to join the Maryland chapter of the religion of his devotees, and (3) I really need to become a spiritual leader.

According to Wikipedia, this guy, born Albert Jones, was a Lutheran, raised in Long Island, attended Columbia and Stanford, did tons of psychotropic drugs in yuppie Palo Alto before moving to Greenwich village where he did yoga and things. His dad said he needed to get a job so he trained to be a Lutheran minister, had a breakdown and dropped out, became a Scientologist, then dropped out of that and started traveling around India until one day he said he realized “the bright” (spiritual enlightenment) in LA, opened an Eastern religion bookstore  with a Scientologist’s backing, and started lecturing about his autobiography he had just written .

The most spiritually enlightened of mullets

Then he founded his religion, then called “The Dawn Horse Communion,” now called Adidam, in which he declared himself “the divine lord in human form,” and declared that people can find spiritual enlightenment through him.

I am like the sunlight in the morning. I intensify the light of morning until you Awaken…Am your own True Self-Nature Appearing within the dream to Awaken you. I am your Awakening, and your Always Already Conscious Statefrom the ad link (specifically tailored to Washington Post readers)

It is in the style of Indian religions, and has involved meditation, yoga and “sexual theater” (i.e. group orgies).  He was under investigation for sex abuse and tax evasion – he had numerous wives. He changed his name multiple times, including once to “Bubba Free John.” Technically the religion consists of 7 steps toward enlightenment, titled things like “abiding in consciousness,” and there are all these other details about the stages etc that I have no patience to address now.

Yoda-inspired shot

I mean. He is a crazy person. Also sort of looked like a serial killer in his youth. Which seems funny until you realize Adidam has enough money to do ads in the Washington Post, has quotes from UN Officials who have found enlightenment, and has spiritual centers internationally. One of my friends told me she wanted to be a spiritual guru. She said it would involve cucumber slices, yoga and Death Valley. Honestly, why not? Here is what you need

  • Cited influence of a small religious sect in a warm-weathered developing country that is not easily accessible
  • A designated number of steps that must be followed but the final two steps can never ever be realized
  • Temple in a tropical place with manicured grounds
  • A Scientologist friend (for money)
  • Your own garden where grow your vegetables and fruits
  • Ambiguous phrases (i.e. beauty that transcends without, becomes beauty that compels within)
  • A fountain or even better, a stream
  • Forced isolation and awkward silence
  • An autobiographical spiritual awakening
  • Beaded necklaces
  • A pilgrimage to somewhere hotter, more remote and more isolated
  • Flowing shirts (just not linen – you imperialist)

Now, obviously drugs, sexual liberalism and other things are optional. However, let me stress that it must occur in warm weather – nobody wants isolation in Siberia. So is Adidam my spiritual teacher? No. But if you need one, let me know. Many cucumber slices await you.

DC’s indifference to Georgetown basketball is infuriating

With yesterday’s snoozefest of an NCAA national championship mercifully over, my mind started wandering to college basketball as it pertains to DC. We’ve recently had something of a renaissance with this sport, as the plucky mid majors (George Mason and VCU) and the traditional power (Georgetown) all having reached the final 4 in the past 5 years. While no shortage of ink, copy and air time has been spared for the little guys, I find myself fairly irritated by the decided lack of coverage Georgetown has received locally.

While I am not from these parts originally, I’ve had the pleasure of having been educated and lived in NOVA, worked all throughout Montgomery county in Maryland and now live firmly within the borders of the District.  As such, I’ve interacted with just about every sort of bloc that has come from this region. And it seems unless you went to Georgetown (as our beloved Spy did), the general reaction from the region’s denizens is a shoulder shrug and to talk instead about the big state school.

I mean come on!

It’s almost comical how frequently this occurs. If I am at work with some folks from Rockville, all they discuss is their love of Maryland basketball (despite having gone to some stupid school in Colorado or something). Or if I turn on my favorite radio program the Junkies (sarcasm), all the Virginians want to do is call in with utter disgust that Virginia Tech was denied a bid. Maryland, VA Tech? Really? I understand if you went to these schools, but everyone else really doesn’t have an excuse. Maryland has been wallowing in mediocrity for over a half decade and Tech has only just generated a competitive program. By contrast, Georgetown while serially underperforming, has an excellent program and consistently ranks as one of the top schools in the country. More to the point, it’s actually in DC and has a long and glorious history of excellence and breaking down racial barriers.

You are loyal to THIS?!?!?!

I get why some people dislike Georgetown. The students are typically very smart, often wealthy and sometimes (but not always) come from a landed family. Moreover, private schools and those affiliated with Rome (sorry about those posts again Mr. Ratzinger) make themselves pretty easy targets. But Georgetown is DC through and through, and it is usually far closer to where you grew up and live than any of these other big state schools. So come on DC, put aside the class and religious warfare for once and get behind a program that actually can make us proud. Oh, and what the hell is a Hokie anyway?


A delicious sandwich on a Friday afternoon

I figured since it was Friday and not exceptionally warm out, I would end the week on a high note – namely, a note of sandwiches. You see, Ironcityspy is now working in Courthouse – and after a few hungry visits, I have concluded that Courthouse is one of the best places around for work lunches. Don’t believe me? Think about it. You have Pho 75, Five Guys, Ray’s Hell Burger, Dehli Dhaba, and Fireworks. You also have tons of places to sit down and watch sports. If you want, you could even truck it up to El Pollo Rico in Clarendon for some cheap and delicious Peruvian chicken.

Such delightful foods behind that sign!

It is also home to one of my favorite DC sandwiches – the Monty. The Monty is from Earl’s Sandwiches on Wilson Blvd in between Courthouse and Clarendon. It’s ingredients are as follows: Freshly roasted beef, cooked medium rare and served warm with mayonnaise and barbeque sauce on a toasted sesame seed roll. It looks like this:

DELICIOUS. What? It is basically meat and sauce on a bun you say?  Ignorant fools. As any  devout follower of the pulled pork sandwich already knows, it’s all you ever need. That and Earl’s roasts all their meat, peppers and garlic in house, they hand cut their fries, and their crab cakes are made to order and their soups are made from scratch. It is this attention to freshness and detail that makes the place so good.

So you should go. Pick up this simplest of sandwiches from the smallest of sandwich shops (Earls seats about 10 people) and grab a local DC Dominion root beer while you are there. Or malt vinegar for your fries.  Earl’s even has non-meat offerings for those that don’t eat delicious things. Oh, but eat the Monty HOT. Hot sandwiches don’t deserve to go cold in your bag. Do it for the SANDWICH.

Earl’s Sandwiches
2605 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 248-0150

Why I love DC in the spring and some restaurant news

Actually that is sort of a disingenuous title. I tend to hate spring. I mean, I like spring in the abstract/Walden Pond sort of sense – the slow retreat of winter, the budding of tulips, daffodils and other lovely flora, the idea that soon bbqs, beaches and warm days will be the norm. However in real life, spring is a tease. It is hot, then it is cold – it is June and it is still cold even though it should be summer and spring should have ended like ages ago but it didn’t.  It rains all the time.  Spring breezes are cold breezes. Sometimes it will randomly snow. I hate pastel colors. Basically, I like spring for about 3 weeks – then I want summer.

Soothing April showers!

However, the one thing my warm-weather self will admit is that DC is very pretty in the Spring. Exhibit A, the dog park near my house:

Seriously, could anything look more idyllic? Also since we are talking about new flowers opening and rebirth after winter and other poetic things, the U Street area will be getting a host of new restaurants just in time for spring.

  • Standard, the burger joint, has already had a soft opening next to Home Rule at 14th and S St (Borderstan)
  • Pizza No. 17 opened at 17th Street at Q, next to Agoura (review forthcoming, as I stopped by)
  • The Pearl Dive Oyster Bar and BlackJack Lounge is set to open “late spring/early summer” at 1612 14th St (14th and U)
  • Boutique steakhouse Lost Society will be opening in the Spring at 14th and U (14th and U)
  • Touchdown a sports bar has opened on U Street at 13th (no word as to its companion chipper – Codmother) (U Street Girl)
  • Oh and don’t forget a new Dunkin Donuts will be classing up the space next to the Gibson on 14th (DCist)
  • And, further afield, we have Medium Rare, a new steakhouse that just opened this week in Cleveland Park (PoP), the Queen Vic a British pub opened on H Street (for drinks only now, kitchen should open soon) (check their FB page) as well as many new places lined up all over the city that will be disclosed on ispy in time

I mean, all of these things sound amazing – make spring’s Russian roulette of weather worth it. They are also all within walking distance of my house. SCORE. Happy spring!

Of course the missing Bronx Zoo Egyptian Cobra has a Twitter account

So as you may or may not know, New York City’s Bronx Zoo has closed their World of Reptiles exhibit after an Egyptian Cobra went missing on Friday afternoon. Yes. A cobra – as in a deadly and venomous 20-inch snake. It looks like this:

Before it broke out of dodge, it was being held at a separate facility not accessible to the public. Although zoo officials believe that the cobra is most likely hiding somewhere within the facility grounds, they have alerted the public out of safety – stating that cobras seek closed in spaces and do not like going out in the open. Well, unless they are hungry that is, which is how the keepers hope to find it.

Have they found it? Of course not. However, despite living in the shadows the cobra has managed to establish a twitter account. And it is quite amazing. You can find it here: BronxZoosCobra. Some tweets include:

I mean. He is quite witty for a snake in hiding. Anyways, to my New York friends… good luck and godspeed. I have read that it is an adolescent, which means, upside, it’s smaller than most, but downside, it has rudimentary control over its venom so could easily kill you. It is also likely filled with angst and wearing a Hot Topic sweatshirt.