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And the truth of the matter is Arnold and I are old. I mean, really old.

True Lies is a 1994 action comedy film directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tom Arnold. The film was a huge hit, and is noteworthy in that it featured visual special effects considered impossible only a few years prior. It's been 20 years since it was released. Time for a revisit, then. [SPOILERS if you haven't seen this movie.] [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 18, 2014 - 95 comments

Fear is the highest fence.

After years of debates, notoriously contentious public meetings, and the looming specter of a civil rights lawsuit, a federal mediation agreement between the Town of Hamden and the City of New Haven, Connecticut resulted in the removal of a 10-foot chain-link fence that separated New Haven's West Rock public housing projects from Hamden's Woodin Street neighborhood for nearly half a century. NYT's Benjamin Mueller reports: In Connecticut, Breaking a Barrier Between a Suburb and Public Housing. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 14, 2014 - 9 comments

"A debilitating brain drain has actually been under way in Congress"

The Big Lobotomy: How Republicans Made Congress Stupid
A quick refresher: In 1995, after winning a majority in the House for the first time in forty years, one of the first things the new Republican House leadership did was gut Congress’s workforce. They cut the “professional staff” (the lawyers, economists, and investigators who work for committees rather than individual members) by a third. They reduced the “legislative support staff” (the auditors, analysts, and subject-matter experts at the Government Accountability Office [GAO], the Congressional Research Service [CRS], and so on) by a third, too, and killed off the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) entirely. And they fundamentally dismantled the old committee structure, centralizing power in the House speaker’s office and discouraging members and their staff from performing their own policy research. (The Republicans who took over the Senate in 1995 were less draconian, cutting committee staff by about 16 percent and leaving the committee system largely in place.) Today, the GAO and the CRS, which serve both House and Senate, are each operating at about 80 percent of their 1979 capacity. While Senate committee staffs have rebounded somewhat under Democratic control, every single House standing committee had fewer staffers in 2009 than in 1994. Since 2011, with a Tea Party-radicalized GOP back in control of the House, Congress has cut its budget by a whopping 20 percent, a far higher ratio than any other federal agency, leading, predictably, to staff layoffs, hiring and salary freezes, and drooping morale.

posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 27, 2014 - 27 comments

Stainless steel spheres of an iron cell magnified 165 billion times

The psychedelic, Tangerine-Dream-like, light dances of time lapse filmmaker Richard Bentley:
The Atomium in Brussels
Dubai skyline
Washington DC
Others
posted by growabrain on Jun 15, 2014 - 1 comment

Transportation planning and alternatives to drunk driving

What If the Best Way to End Drunk Driving Is to End Driving?
posted by desjardins on Jun 4, 2014 - 81 comments

15 potential headquarters for the Illuminati: theories and conspiracies

The Complex City Guide has a bit of information on 15 possible headquarters for the Illuminati, but it's a slideshow with limited information, and there's a lot of information out there, so let's get into it. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 26, 2014 - 74 comments

Bee '14

Tomorrow morning 281spellers will begin to compete for the title of 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion, and starting Wednesday, you can play along. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 26, 2014 - 29 comments

"There’s always an inherent danger when comparing two television shows."

Why Scandal beats House Of Cards at its own game
Why ‘Scandal’ can’t hold a candle to ‘House of Cards’
Barack Obama Says Life in D.C. is “More Boring” Than Scandal and House of Cards Depict [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 30, 2014 - 60 comments

American Cities: Before and After

Smithsonian Magazine's interactive map series on American cities. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 31, 2014 - 4 comments

Guidebooks for Time Travelers

Numerous "Stranger's Guides" written for 19th Century tourists can be found on the Internet Archive. A sample: New York (1828). Boston (1857). Washington DC (1884). Montreal (1872). London (1828). Paris (1822). United States and Canada (1838).
posted by ShooBoo on Nov 1, 2013 - 16 comments

There's plenty of blue chip hill rats 'round here ready to jump ship

The unexpected death of U.S. Representative Edgar Englewright (VA-14) launches the beginning of a whirlwind morning for Chief of Staff, Elliott Clarice, and his happy band of misfits. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 28, 2013 - 6 comments

20 years, black cat, black cat

It's been twenty years since Dante Ferrando opened the Black Cat Club on 14th St in DC. The neighborhood has changed immeasurably, but the music is still going.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Sep 13, 2013 - 17 comments

The Kommandant's Daughter

"Brigitte Höss lives quietly on a leafy side street in Northern Virginia. She is retired now, having worked in a Washington fashion salon for more than 30 years. She recently was diagnosed with cancer and spends much of her days dealing with the medical consequences. Brigitte also has a secret that not even her grandchildren know. Her father was Rudolf Höss, the Kommandant of Auschwitz." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 10, 2013 - 81 comments

'Real World' AIDS activist Sean Sasser dies at 44

Sean Sasser – perhaps best known as Pedro Zamora's love interest on the Real World: San Franciscopassed away from mesothelioma. He was 44. [more inside]
posted by fredosan on Aug 8, 2013 - 50 comments

"A culture of dissent must be nurtured and protected if it is to thrive"

The United States' National Security organization has many parts, from the famous (NSA, CIA) to the mundane (OCI, NGA) to the more esoteric (NRO, CSS). But even the most dedicated Washington insider may not have heard of INR. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 26, 2013 - 21 comments

"We’re giving just enough to prevent them from dying."

Because of nationwide shortages, Washington hospitals are rationing, hoarding, and bartering critical nutrients premature babies and other patients need to survive. Doctors are reporting conditions normally seen only in developing countries, and there have been deaths. How could this be allowed to happen?
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 23, 2013 - 113 comments

Maybe go back to Rockville after all...

Montgomery County MD, a wealthy, sprawling suburban county outside of Washington DC - its blandess famously mocked by REM's ("Don't Go Back to Rockville.) - is moving towards adopting some of the most progressive and potentially transformational approaches to suburban/urban planning in the US. Driving the change is a concern that young, creative millenials are no longer interested in moving out to the suburbs.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy on Jun 10, 2013 - 84 comments

The memorial that no one wanted built except the veterans

Although ranked tenth in "America's Favorite Architecture," compiled by the American Institute of Architects, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial - sometimes referred to as simply 'The Wall' - was the at the center of political and artistic controversy and opposition from the time of its announcement in 1981. The Wall, situated in Constitution Gardens adjacent to the National Mall, is "...often referred to as the veterans 3rd battle. The 1st being survival in Vietnam. The 2nd, was dealing with the rejection experienced upon returning home from war. And, the 3rd, building the Wall." [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on May 24, 2013 - 59 comments

Sociology in My Neighborhood

JR pledged to “use art to turn the world inside out” but does this mural strip away historical meaning and leave only the commodification of authenticity? "In contrast to Dr. King's and the sanitation workers' demands for significant economic change, JR's demands are for vague existence."
posted by spamandkimchi on May 14, 2013 - 3 comments

I hope your patience with my bama shit was worth it

Political reporter John R Stanton (aka Big John) has been thinking about the gentrification of DC. Late last night, he tweeted up a story about DC in the old days, personified by a junkie named Raymond.
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 9, 2013 - 16 comments

Not quite retirement age yet

The Washington Spirit are a professional soccer team in the National Women's Soccer League. Like many of the lower earning professional sports, they have to be creative about costs, and often arrange host families for their players. Instead of host parents, Diana Matheson and Robyn Gayle got host grandparents. Several hundred of them.
posted by jacquilynne on Apr 22, 2013 - 7 comments

"More like Statue of Watery, right?"

How Popular Tourist Destinations Will Look Submerged In 25 Feet Of Water [Pics] [more inside]
posted by laconic skeuomorph on Apr 10, 2013 - 53 comments

"But what is the sane response to an insane situation?"

My So-Called Stalker [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 26, 2013 - 43 comments

Gayest Cities in America, 2013

Advocate.com has compiled a list of the gayest cities in America. Their eclectic criteria and point system is explained in the article. [more inside]
posted by Sailormom on Jan 23, 2013 - 63 comments

What I'd Give To You

Rites of Spring, Live at 9:30 Club, 1985: Hain's Point (and another 1985 version from BCC Comm. Center) [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Dec 9, 2012 - 12 comments

Fiscal-Cliff-Diving

There's been a lot of talk in the US media about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the "Grand Bargain" What are they?
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration."
Fiscal Cliff 101: 5 Basic Questions Answered. What's Happening: Fiscal Cliff Explained [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 1, 2012 - 214 comments

¿Sí Se Puede?

The November 6th elections saw a lot of historic decisions made in the United States -- the first black president re-elected, marijuana legalized for the first time in two states, gay marriage affirmed by the voters in four, and even the first openly gay senator. But perhaps the most underreported result yesterday came from outside the country altogether: in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a solid majority voted to reject the island's current status and join America as the long-fabled 51st state. How the bid might fare in Congress is an open question, but both President Obama and Republican leaders have vowed support for the statehood movement if it proves successful at the ballot box (while D.C. officials ponder a two-fer gambit to grease the wheels). Though it would be the poorest state, joining the Union might bring economic benefits to both sides [PDF]. And politically, some argue the island might prove to be a reliably red state, despite the Hispanic population, although arch-conservative governor and Romney ally Luis Fortuño appears headed toward a narrow loss. But the most important question here, as always, is: how to redesign the flag? (Puerto Rican statehood discussed previously.)
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 7, 2012 - 108 comments

R I D N O U

"From Washington, D.C.: The Nation of Ulysses"
"Brothers and Sisters, what are your real desires?" 9:30 Club 1991, Part 2
"That's how you do this song, loose baby. Okay, 1 2 3 4" Live at Peace Center 1992, Part 2
Live at Jabberjaw
posted by OmieWise on Oct 12, 2012 - 15 comments

Jailhouse interview with DC sniper Lee Malvo

“I was a monster,” Malvo said. “If you look up the definition, that’s what a monster is. I was a ghoul. I was a thief. I stole people’s lives. I did someone else’s bidding just because they said so. . . . There is no rhyme or reason or sense.”
posted by silby on Sep 30, 2012 - 158 comments

Transit Triathlon

If you've spent any time in Washington, DC during the past few years, you're probably familiar with Capital Bikeshare; the region's immensely popular bikesharing program. The system's big red bikes are designed for casual use, and are built like tanks to avoid damage, vandalism, and theft. This past weekend, one Falls Church, VA resident undocked one of the 40lb bikes, and rode it to the finish line of the Nations' Triathlon. [more inside]
posted by schmod on Sep 11, 2012 - 34 comments

Fallout 3 vs. Reality

Fallout 3 vs. Reality - A fan of the video game series Fallout 3, which depicts a post-apocalyptic world, travels to Washington, DC and Las Vegas to take photos of the locations as they exist today and compares them to screen captures from within the game. (via Reddit thread)
posted by Argyle on Jul 3, 2012 - 51 comments

"And by the way, your kid's stroller sucks."

The Mommy-Fight Site. What does it mean to raise a child in "America’s highest-income, best-educated Census area? D.C. Urban Moms and Dads might be as close as it gets to a field guide to parentis Washingtonianis" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 14, 2012 - 80 comments

Am I William Woods? Well...who's asking?

Billy Woods is quietly making the best rap music around. [more inside]
posted by broadway bill on Apr 16, 2012 - 20 comments

Mark every death. Remember every victim. Follow every case.

"Homicide Watch is a community-driven reporting project covering every murder in the District of Columbia. Using original reporting, court documents, social media, and the help of victims’ and suspects’ friends, family, neighbors and others, we cover every homicide from crime to conviction." [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan on Mar 13, 2012 - 8 comments

The Pyramids of Washington DC

According to the National Building Museum's new exhibit on unbuilt DC, there have been lots of proposed pyramids on the National Mall that were never built, including memorials for Washington and Lincoln. Also, a proposed National Sofa. [more inside]
posted by nonane on Jan 13, 2012 - 14 comments

These Were the Writers in My Neighborhood

Have your Chipotle burrito at John Dos Passos' house. Read Silent Spring in Silver Spring. You can now take a real or virtual walking tour of literary DC, from Roald Dahl to Philip K. Dick to Zora Neale Hurston with DCWriters.org. Two DC-area poets have put together a compendium of 123 (and growing) residences in the DC area where novelists, poets, and playwrights plied their trade. The buildings may not all have plaques, but they are still standing: Dan Vera and Kim Roberts focused on not "documenting what used to be here, but what people could actually go and take a look at."
posted by HonoriaGlossop on Dec 18, 2011 - 18 comments

Mighty fallen

Security camera footage shows the Washington Monument shaking during the recent earthquake. [more inside]
posted by twoleftfeet on Sep 27, 2011 - 48 comments

I have a dream...

The Washington Mall welcomes another hero. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is unveiled. Sitting directly between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, "the composition of the [King] memorial utilizes landscape elements to powerfully convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King's message: justice, democracy, hope and love." [more inside]
posted by darkstar on Aug 22, 2011 - 72 comments

Wayside School Is Not Funny In Real Life

In 1972, Washington, DC opened the doors to the HD Woodson Senior High School. It was the city's first new school in twelve years, and the first to be constructed after riots devastated the city in 1968. Like its sister school across town, it had been built to withstand another riot, and protect its students within its fortress-like walls. For a time, it stood as the pride and joy of the city's school system, featuring a diverse range of academic and vocational programs in a state of the art 8-story building complete with escalators, science labs, and a six-lane pool; a symbol of hope for a downtrodden community. By 2008, however, things had gone horribly, horribly wrong. The building was literally crumbling, many of its original facilities had closed due to neglect, only 13% of sophomores were proficient in reading or mathematics, and violence was a daily concern. Facing no other choice, the city closed the school in 2008, and demolished the brutalist structure shortly thereafter.

After a three year series of delays, next week, students will begin classes in the newly reconstructed HD Woodson High School; a 3-story state of the art building complete with elevators, science labs, and an eight-lane pool; a symbol of hope for a downtrodden community -- leading many to question: Will it work this time? The correlation between architecture and academic performance is not well-studied, and previous efforts have been inconclusive at best.
posted by schmod on Aug 18, 2011 - 49 comments

Those ubiquitous Tourmobiles in DC

If you have spent anytime at all on the National Mall in Washington DC, you have no doubt seen the Tourmobile trolleys shuttling tourists around to the major attractions surrounding the National Mall. Some are now questioning the 40+ year old monopoly that the operator has held on tourist transportation on the Mall, especially in light of the National Park Service's refusal to open up bidding, or even allow more economical or environmentally friendly services to compete.
posted by COD on Jul 29, 2011 - 54 comments

But where did the German newspapers come from?

Hidden Tunnels, Bugs, and Bigamy: A Strange and True D.C. Story: "Reports indicated that the tunnels were long and extensive – that they may have reached as far as Rock Creek Park. Some electric lighting was discovered inside. For days, wild theories abounded – was it a Confederate soldier hideout? A stop on the Underground Railroad? A liquor depot for bootleggers? A counterfeiter’s lair? Or maybe a secret laboratory for 'Dr. Otto von Golph’s' experiments?

None of the above." [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Jul 8, 2011 - 41 comments

It's not the spectacles and pagaentry.....

The mayor of Washington DC has been arrested, along with 6 of the 12 members of its city council, during a protest today near a US Senate office building, objecting to the city's use as a bargaining chip while negotiating the 7th Continuing Resolution to avoid a government shutdown last Friday. The bill prohibits the District of Columbia from locally funding abortion services, and imposes a locally-unpopular school voucher program. Had the government shutdown taken place, the DC government would have also had to suspend most of its operations including trash pickup. For those of you keeping track, Vince Gray is the 3rd (of 6) DC mayor to be arrested while in office. [more inside]
posted by schmod on Apr 11, 2011 - 93 comments

Underage Tomfoolery

Tired of the hype around MTV's (and before that, the BBC's) modern teen drama Skins? Miss the 90s? Try Orange Juice in Bishops Garden, a web series, detailing the lives of a group of teenagers as they navigate high school in the year 1994. The show is set and shot in the greater metropolitan Washington DC area and is created by the DC-area filmmaker, Otessa Ghadar. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Feb 19, 2011 - 14 comments

"People are so mean on the internet." - Complaints Choir of Chicago

The Complaints Choir phenomenon, started by the Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, has spread all over the world since last we paid it any attention, from Birmingham to Helsinki, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Poikkilaakso, Bodø, Penn State, Canada, Juneau, Gabriola Island, Sointula, Jerusalem, Melbourne, Budapest, Malmö, Chicago, Florence, Copenhagen, Vancouver (2), Philadelphia, Sundbyberg, Milano, Åland, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Rotterdam, Basel, Umeå, Ljubljana, Gdansk, Arizona State University, Washington, DC, Horace Mann School, Durham-Chapel Hill, Auckland, Toronto theatre students, Kortrijk, Cairo (2), St. Pölten, Maribor, Port Coquitlam, Ústí nad Labem, Columbus & Kauhajoki (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). For more information, including a 9 step guide to forming your own complaints choir, go to the Complaints Choir website. Finally, here's the Singapore Complaints Choir, whose performance was banned by the Singapore government.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 19, 2010 - 40 comments

"The Coolest Political Poll D.C.'s Ever Seen"

Neat, interactive visualization of Washington D.C. polling data
posted by unknowncommand on Sep 9, 2010 - 17 comments

Posted from the National Mall

The National Mall in Washington DC is a site for many historic events. Starting today mall visitors have access to free unrestricted WiFi (even the blue) from 3rd to 14th streets. This is just the latest addition to DC's expansive public WiFi network.
posted by humanfont on Sep 9, 2010 - 14 comments

The Cake Felt 'Round the World

Less than a year after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States detonated the fourth and fifth nuclear weapons under the name Operation Crossroads in July 1946. Beyond testing the capabilities of nuclear bombs, the Navy said it wanted the Bikini tests treated like "the story of the year, maybe of the decade, and possibly of a lifetime." Only two of the three bombs were detonated, and the project was shut down over the next months. To celebrate the efforts of Operation Crossroads, a cake in the shape of a mushroom cloud was featured at a publicized event on November 5, 1946. In response to this display, Reverend Arthur Powell Davies, the minister of the Unitarian All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., gave a sermon on the "utterly loathsome picture" and the message it sent to other nations. That sermon set off a flurry of replies and reactions, that extended around the world, including a connection formed between Reverend Davies' All Souls Unitarian Church and school children in Hiroshima. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 8, 2010 - 62 comments

You're gonna go up the street 12 pixels, hang a left, then straight 44 pixels to 77th street...

8bit Cities: Amsterdam - Austin - Berlin - Detroit - London - New York - Paris - San Francisco - Seattle - Washington, D.C.
posted by BeerFilter on Jul 9, 2010 - 17 comments

A lengthy engagement

"Wow, what a long engagement that was!" During a chance second encounter in Baltimore in 1945, Henry Schalizki, now 88, and Bob Davis, now 89, met and fell in love. More than six decades later, the couple finally legalized their union.
posted by a.steele on Jun 28, 2010 - 60 comments

Strasburg Debuts Tonight

He was previously introduced to the blue a year ago wherein he was heralded as the most incredible pitching prospect of all time. A year later, almost on cue, Stephen Strasburg makes his MLB debut tonight in Washington DC amid much fanfare. [more inside]
posted by Lacking Subtlety on Jun 8, 2010 - 64 comments

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