29 July 2009

More On Texting While Driving

Remember this? Apparently, the states cannot be trusted to make what laws they feel are best for their people ... thus this.

28 July 2009

Random Music Tuesdays: "Common People" by William Shatner

Wait, Diarist. William Shatner?!

Yes. William Shatner.

Now I know this flies in the face of all that is good and wholesome in music. I know that Shatner is known more for the cadence of his delivery than for his singing chops. (Don't believe me? This live performance is infamous!) The absolute failure of his first music album should all but ensure that his name should never, ever grace anyone's music list.

Yet here is is. This week's Random Music Tuesdays choice for your listening pleasure. And he would never be here were it not for the saving grace, musical genius, and production skills of one auditory visionary who saw the potential in Shatner that none other in the universe could see.

And for that, Mr. Folds, I thank and salute you.

Because Has Been has got to be one of the best albums you've never heard or owned. (And if you have heard it and/or own it, you'll no doubt agree with me whole-heartedly.)

This isn't a review of the album. (Mostly because, if it were, it would be about five years late.) No, I believe that this album can speak for itself. There is so much heart, so much emotion, so much raw power in it to be ignored. And, like the Borg, resistance to it is futile.

I know you're still skeptical. That's why I've brought this offering. The opening track is such good fun ... and the vocals are so emotively powerful ... that all of your skepticism will be swept away. So listen to the track. Then buy yourself a copy and see what you've been missing these past five years.

Nassif Building Returns to Life

Well, it isn't the Nassif Building anymore. Now it's called the Constitution Center. And it's much prettier with this facelift.

Before ...

After ...

Now all they need is a tenant.

The New "Drinking And Driving"

A recent study has shown that texting while driving is not one of the best ideas.
After examining the behavior of truck drivers covering more than 6 million miles of road, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute concluded that people who send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash (or what they call a near-crash event) than nondistracted drivers.
I have been guilty of texting while driving, though lately I've been severely curtailing my texting time to red lights. But even that is not a good idea, since fourteen states plus the District of Columbia have banned texting behind the wheel.

The message in all of this? Don't use your cell phone while driving unless it's an absolute emergency.

14 July 2009

Too Soon?

My answer, in a word, is YES! People, there's a reason parks, monuments, airports, et cetera are named after people after history has borne out that person's worthiness of such an honor. It's so that we don't look back in embarrassment on an emotional mistake. I strongly urge my city council to postpone this proposal at least until the man is out of office.

Random Music Tuesdays: "Somnambulist (Simply Being Loved)" by BT

This week's featured song is by another hometown star, BT, who hails from Rockville, MD. It's probably his most famous song and holds the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003 for the largest number of vocal edits in a song . Plus it's catchy. So enjoy!

Somnambulist (Simply Being Loved) - BT

07 July 2009

Random Music Tuesday: Michael Jackson

Today, in case you didn't know, was the final send-off for Michael Jackson. In honor of one of the world's greatest entertainers ever (and because I've already said my peace), I offer not a song from the man but something marginally better. Because while imitation may be the greatest form of flattery, spoofing is the greatest form of honoring.

06 July 2009

Busted ... Yet Again - UPDATED

It seems these days, my councilmember has been spending more time fighting for his freedom than he has been fighting for the benefit of the Ward he was elected to represent. I guess he simply has too much time on his hands ... and we all know what they say about idle hands.

Seriously, Ward 8, can we finally say enough is enough and elect someone who actually bring some positive attention to our neighborhoods instead of appearing in mug shots? Is there any way we can forcibly remove him from office? I know the man created the District Youth’s Employment Act of 1979 (a.k.a. "the summer youth work program"), which gave a great number of District residents their first job and important first steps toward a brighter future; but he's been riding that PR gravy train for thirty years. He has done nothing over the past twenty years but make our city (and our Ward) a punchline. He is an embarrassment and a distraction. He has to simply go away.

We need and deserve better than this.

UPDATE - 13:17: Right on cue, we have dueling stories. one version came from one of the horses' mouths. The alternate story came from the other horses' attorney's mouth.

02 July 2009

The Stella Awards

I got an email today from a friend about this year's Stella Awards. I found the email so funny that I was going to post it on here. Unfortunately, while quite humorous, the list was totally bogus. So I found the real site with the real awards. And now, here for your ready pleasure, are the latest (2007) Stella Awards Runners-Up and Winner. (And, believe me, you'll love the winner since he's a hometown boy.)

The TRUE Stella Awards -- 2007 Winners
by Randy Cassingham
Issued February 2008

Unlike the FAKE cases that have been highly circulated online for the last several years (see http://www.StellaAwards.com/bogus.html for details), the following cases have been researched from public sources and are confirmed TRUE by the ONLY legitimate source for the Stella Awards: http://www.StellaAwards.com. To confirm this copy is legitimate, see http://www.StellaAwards.com/2007.html.


2007 Runners-Up and Winner:

#3: Sentry Insurance Company.

The company provided worker's compensation insurance for a Wisconsin "Meals on Wheels" program. Delivering a meal, a MoW volunteer (who was allegedly not even wearing boots) slipped and fell on a participant's driveway that had been cleared of snow, and Sentry had to pay to care for her resulting injuries. Sentry wanted its money back, so it sued the 81-year-old homeowner getting the Meals on Wheels service. It could have simply filed for "subrogation" from her homeowner's insurance company, but by naming her in the action, it dragged an old lady into court, reinforcing the image of insurance companies as concerned only about the bottom line, not "protecting" policyholders from loss.

#2: The family of Robert Hornbeck.

Hornbeck volunteered for the Army and served a stint in Iraq. After getting home, he got drunk, wandered into a hotel's service area (passing "DANGER" warning signs), crawled into an air conditioning unit, and was severely cut when the machinery activated. Unable to care for himself due to his drunkenness, he bled to death. A tragedy, to be sure, but one solely caused by a supposedly responsible adult with military training. Despite his irresponsible behavior -- and his perhaps criminal trespassing -- Hornbeck's family sued the hotel for $10 million, as if it's reasonably foreseeable that some drunk fool would ignore warning signs and climb into its heavy duty machinery to sleep off his bender.

But those pale in comparison to...

THE WINNER of the 2007 Stella Award: Roy L. Pearson Jr.

The 57-year-old Administrative Law Judge from Washington DC claims that a dry cleaner lost a pair of his pants, so he sued the mom-and-pop business for $65,462,500. That's right: more than $65 million for one pair of pants. Representing himself, Judge Pearson cried in court over the loss of his pants, whining that there certainly isn't a more compelling case in the District archives. But the Superior Court judge wasn't moved: he called the case "vexatious litigation", scolded Judge Pearson for his "bad faith", and awarded damages to the dry cleaners. But Pearson didn't take no for an answer: he's appealing the decision. And he has plenty of time on his hands, since he was dismissed from his job. Last we heard, Pearson's appeal is still pending.

Copyright 2008 www.StellaAwards.com -- this message may be forwarded as long as it remains complete and unaltered.

Good Morning ... WTF?! (Explosion On Good Hope Road SE)

My condo building was evacuated around 07:00 this morning by D.C. Fire and Rescue. One of the units on my floor exploded. I have no word yet on the cause of the blast. Only the owner of the unit was injured; his injuries were not life-threatening. The rest of us are standing around outside, waiting on more details of what happened. I hope to have more later.

-- Post From My iPhone

UPDATE - 08:43: Around 08:00, we were allowed back into the building. It appears that roach bombs were the cause of the explosion. Apparently, the unit owner wasn't home when the exterminator visited our building a bit ago and so still had roaches. The unit owner had one roach bomb in the bathroom and two in the kitchen (in cabinets). The fire investigator believes that the stove's pilot light ignited the chemicals from the roach bombs. I was with Regina (the condo board president), Vernon (our maintenance guy), and 7th District Police Officer Schramm when they went into the unit. I took a look around (from the outside of the unit) and listened to their conversation. And let me tell you, we were lucky. The unit owner has crap piled up all over the place, with a couple walkways between the piles of crap. There were paint cans under the dining room table. There were all sorts of chemicals in the kitchen (where the explosion apparently originated). If any of those other chemicals had exploded ... if any one piece of the crap in that unit had caught fire ... well, this would have been a vastly different post.

Oh. Yeah. And the roaches survived the whole ordeal.

UPDATE - 15:08: My photos are on WJLA's website.

UPDATE - 03:47: DCist links to the WJLA website, siting that WJLA was reporting the story ... which is true ... except that The District Diaries reported it first (and as it happened) then tipped off WJLA.

Oh. Yeah. And yes, IntangibleArts, the bugs are all OK. For now.