January 21, 2008

love letter to a busboy

At the moment I’m waiting for a pizza to be served to me at the Busboys and Poets in D.C. I have to say that I love this place. The walls are adorned with cool art and positive activist messages. The bookstore has an impeccable collection of fiction and non-fiction (though the selection in Shirlington is a little too slanted toward poetry with political themes, IMO). I feel good coming here and giving this place my money.

Also, I checked out the website of Teaching for Change, the nonprofit that operates the B&P bookstores. And I learned this:

We have just been informed that AMC theaters will no longer screen the Citizen Soldier commercial for the National Guard. The Loews/AMC national office called Teaching for Change to report that the commercial generated the second largest number of complaints they have ever received and therefore has been pulled from theaters nationally. Teaching for Change and Busboys and Poets were among those who complained in person and in writing. In fact, Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal complained to the manager when the commercial was shown at a Loews in Washington, DC. Andy told the manager, “I paid to see the film, not be bombarded by Pentagon propaganda. I demand my money back.” The manager gave him a cash refund. Andy went back inside the movie theater and told the audience that he had just received a refund for the movie because of the Pentagon commercial, at which time a line formed at the cashier demanding refunds. They were given to whomever asked for it. Apparently this economic and verbal protest had an impact.

Kick-ass. I believe I’ve seen this same ad and was put off as well, though I didn’t say anything about it. The lesson here is Speak up!

April 3, 2007

war is over

The papers will be incorporated into the artist’s Imagine Peace Tower, which will be installed later this year in Iceland. Ono was vague about the structure’s exact design and said it would be made of light.

Washington Post: Yoko Ono’s Peaceful Message Takes Root.

July 29, 2006

dc/nova music listings

Pat's District provides automatically compiling listings for clubs in Arlington, Va.; Alexandria, Va.; and Washington, D.C., among others. Wonderful. RSS?

November 7, 2005

the Astor Place cube has a name

Remember the Alamo? After Eight Months, the Astor Place Cube Comes Back

"I actually thought we would put it on this post and we’d turn it to the position we wanted it and then stick it like that." But it was never bolted in place. In any case, "I did not realize that the turning was such a factor in people’s enjoyment of it."

People just love that thing. I didn't realize I had an emotional attachment to it until I walked by one morning and saw it covered with some type of sheeting. I thought something was going to happen to it and got very upset.

May 16, 2004

cicada update: anniversary report

I saw a few this weekend. Some good displays of shells on the undersides of our great linden leaves and one fellow on a Rudbeckia bush. Most of the adults I saw were dead, though. I don't think they live very long at all. They're huge and ugly, but they don't trigger my general aversion to small mechanistic creatures that most bugs do.

I have not yet been hit in the head by a cicada. The buzz has started, it's a low roar during the day. It's got a pitch to it, a dominant frequency. I wonder if a distant SETI program is busy interpreting the 17-year cycle of Magicicada for signs of intelligent life.

Feast of sauteed cicadas makes man ill

The man showed up at a Bloomington clinic Thursday, covered from head-to-toe in hives, and sheepishly told a doctor he'd caught and ate the cicadas after sauteing them in butter with crushed garlic and basil.

Finally I offer this gorgeous gallery of Magicicada photographs on

May 7, 2004

a dissenting prediction

You hear them, but you don't see them everywhere. They're in the trees. It's not like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. People talk like we have to come to work in a Kevlar and flak jacket. It's not like that. It's media hype.

Fort Meyer Pentagram: Cicadas gnaw on imagination.

Johnson's advice on what to do with cicadas: children can tie sewing string to them and walk with them around the block.

April 9, 2004

the unknown sandwich mogul

Whilst strolling down Hawthorne Blvd. recently, we noticed a rope with a basket tied onto it had been hung out of someone's second story apartment window, coming down just shy of street level. There was a sign attached: "PB & J Sandwiches - $1".

If you put your dollar in the basket, rang a bell attached to a second rope, the basket would go up, and come back down with, presumably, a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich inside.

~stevenf: The Entrepreneurial Spirit

March 31, 2004

50 most loathsome new yorkers

New York Press: 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers (via Romenesko):

Strand Staffers
SLAVING AT A used bookshop may be a nobler vocation than trading pork bellies, but is it too much to ask that someone make eye contact through his or her Elvis Costello glasses? Is it unreasonable to expect the occasional acknowledgement of a customer's presence? Do new employees take classes to learn how to display utter contempt? Screw the Strand and its narrow aisles and indecipherable shelving practices and overpriced used books and staff of petulant clerks. They can ram all eight miles of books up their mopey asses. Next to them, the people at Barnes & Noble are downright motherly.